Time, and Its Relation to the Divine Plan
On Monday afternoon there was no regular meeting, about 300 friends gathered in the Auditorium and had a song service led by Bro. McPhail. Quite a number of the friends enjoyed the surf, also.
"Time, and Its Relation to the Divine Plan" Bible Studentsí Convention, St. Paul Tuesday Evening, 7:30 P. M.
Discourse by Bro. John Edgar. Subject, "Time, and Its Relation to the Divine Plan " Brother Edgarís discourse on "Time Features," was in substance as follows: Dear Friends: It gives me great pleasure indeed to meet you all. I have come all the way from Scotland to meet you, and to bring to you the warm greetings of the friends over there. I see the same spirit displayed here that I see there; -we all have the one Lord, the one faith, the one baptism, and the one spirit.
Before making up our minds to come, my wife and sister and I sat down and counted the cost. It meant a considerable sacrifice of money and of time, and of ease; but after we did make up our minds, and especially since we came, the sacrifice has turned into pleasure, and I suppose you all recognize that it is the Lordís way of doing. We have not come to study the customs, or see the sights of the country, but we have come for the sake of the truth; we have come to meet the "Truth" people; we have come to be filled somewhat more with enthusiasm in the Lordís cause, and to carry that enthusiasm back and invest our brethren over the sea with that enthusiasm, and I want you all, dear friends, to help us as much as you can, because the time is now so short.
We have been helped a great deal today by our dear Brother Russellís address, and for the valuable hints Brother Cole gave us. Ali of these things are great helps to the Lordís people everywhere, and we over in Britain need that help perhaps more even than you do.
Now, dear friends, as you are all aware, the first and most important study for all the Lordís children is how to develop the graces of the spirit. The time prophecies are altogether secondary to that. In order to be an overcomer we must understand what the graces of the spirit are, and how to develop them; and we must put that knowledge into practice. Nevertheless, the time features of Godís plan are of great importance. There are some of the Lordís people who have no great talent in the way of figures; some cannot understand the time prophecies very well, and such are required to take a good deal on faith from those who do understand them. But the more we do understand these matters, the more we become established, and the more we increase in faith toward God, and the more we have confidence in His wisdom, and love and power; and we get a clearer understanding of that wonderful book, the Bible, and a clearer knowledge of Godís wonderful plan of salvation. The time prophecies have been hidden in the past, but are now revealed so as to give us an understanding of the time in which we now live-the time of the harvest of the Gospel age, the time of the end. It is very important that as the Lordís children we should direct our energies in the way in which God wants us to direct them; and unless we do understand that we are now in the harvest period, we cannot do this. But if we do understand and fully comprehend that this is the harvest period, then we shall hear the Masterís voice, "Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice." This is the harvest message. It is no longer the time for going out and sowing the seed only, but the special work now is a reaping work, the harvest work; and these come in the time prophecies. We now know how to direct our energies, and our hearts are lifted up as we see that the time is so near when we shall be forever with the Lord. No wonder Daniel exclaimed, "Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days." We have come to that time.
We understand that time expired in October, 1874, and we are now in that blessed time, the time for the unveiling of all the mysteries, the time for the knowledge of the time prophecies, the time to understand that the Gospel age will soon be finished, and the Bride will soon have made herself ready. When we realize these facts, we want to get established in the matter of the time prophecies. You know our motto for this year is, "In due time." It is a very important message, and none but those who understand Millennial Dawn recognize the true significance of those words "In Due Time."
In the talks I shall give there will be nothing new, but it will all be confirmatory of what is already taught in the second and third volumes of Millennial Dawn. I was not always sure that Brother Russellís interpretation was correct, but now I am positive that the interpretations of time prophecies in the Dawn are absolutely correct.
That is a great thing to be able to say, dear friends, and I hope that every one of you will be able to say the same thing.
There are a great many things to speak about, and it is impossible in the course of two talks to mention all there is in reference to all the charts before us, but it will be necessary to make a selection.
Rest and Restitution
We will first take up this chart, called the Rest and Restitution chart. You know God used the people of Israel as a typical people, to carry out certain types and shadows for our admonition. One of the important things God had these people do was to observe times and seasons; he had them divide time into periods of weeks or years, from the time they entered the land of Canaan. The seventh year was to be held as a Sabbath year, a rest year, a year in which they were not to work on the land; the land had its rest. Then after a cycle of seven of those periods, the next year, the 50th, was to be observed as a jubilee year, and during that year the Israelites were to get back all the possessions they owned fifty years before, or that their forefathers had owned at that time. In this way God was showing forth the great times of restitution, about which we all know-the great Jubilee which began in October, 1874.
Some who do not understand much about these subjects may say, "Well, if the great times of restitution of all things began in October, 1874, we do not see the things restored yet. How does that come about?" Simply be cause these great times of restitution fill the whole period of a thousand years. This is the great antitype. If you look back to the typical times of restitution you can easily comprehend that in the first month of that time, corresponding to the first forty years of this time, there was a great deal of unrest; there was nothing restored during that first month; that was the time for the poor and the oppressed, and the slaves, to cry out, "Liberty," "equality," "fraternity," "the land for the people," "the rights of man," etc., which are the same cries we hear today. That was the time for the poor to call for their own; that was the time for the rich to cling to what they had, and to refuse to give it up-a time of great trouble, requiring the whole jubilee year to get things fully restored. So it will require the whole thousand years for the times of restitution of all things to what they were before the fall.
The last typical jubilee that was held was in the year 626 B. C., and there the type ceased. Now, we known Jesus said that not one jot or tittle of the law would fail until all be fulfilled. But some one will say, "Well, here we have the last typical jubilee year, and here we have the great anti-typical jubilee, beginning in 1874; evidently, then, we see the type must have ceased, because there is such a long interval from that last typical jubilee in 626 B. C. and this great anti-type beginning in 1874." Dear friends, the type ceased at that time, but the anti-type did not begin merely in 1874. Why is that? Because we must remember this: That not only was the jubilee year a type, but the cycle leading to that jubilee year was also a type. Therefore we have here during a period of 950 years, 19 jubilee years, the last one occurring in the year 626, and there the anti-type began at that year; first with the great anti-typical cycle, and then with the great anti-typical jubilee.
The next point that puzzles many is this: As these small cycles there leading to the typical jubilee years were periods of 49 years, why then do we take the anti-typical cycle as a period of 50 x 50 years? Why do we riot take them as a period of 49 x 49? Some might say, we take them 50 x 50 because that brings us to the proper year as shown by other prophecies. No, that is not the reason. The reason is, because the type shows that is what we have to do. How does the type show it? In this way: These cycles of 49 years were arrived at in this way by the smaller cycles. These smaller cycles were periods of 6 years, followed by a Sabbath year, and then, when the larger cycle came, the larger cycle was not 6 x 6, but it was 7 x 7. And just so from these smaller cycles of 49 years leading up to the fiftieth year in each case; when the anti-typical cycle came; it was not 49 x 49, but 50 x 50.
Then the last point is this: If this anti-typical cycle comes to October, 1875, as we know, why do we go back a year and begin the anti-typical jubilee year with October, 1874? The reason of that is simply this: That if the jubilee years had been observed all this time, then that year 1875 would have been a jubilee year, beginning with October, 1874 and ending with October, 1875. Now the anti-type always replaces the type, so the anti-typical jubilee began in October, 1874. So we see, then, a beautiful thing pictured in Godís word in this way, -this series of 19 jubilee years leading to this great anti-typical cycle and great times of restitution.
But there is another picture given us by these jubilees with their cycles, a larger picture than that, as shown by Brother Russell in his works. Brother Russell understands, and it seems very reasonable as we go along, that Godís rest began at the fall, and will extend right on until the times of restitution; comprising, therefore, a period of 7,000 years. That is Godís rest-day, Godís Sabbath. If that be the case, then the previous six days of creation were also periods of 7,000 years. Now. we regard each of these days as a week, each week containing seven days of one thousand years each. As there are seven of these altogether, this thousand year day is the 7th of the week, but it is the 49th of the whole series; it is, therefore, a Sabbath day; besides being from one point of view the time of restitution of all things, from this point of view it is a Sabbath day, and the Bible calls it that. You remember Jesus said He was the Lord of the Sabbath, and therefore He became King in 1874, being the Lord of the Sabbath. Then again He said that man was not made for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath for man. And that we can understand, because this day was set apart for the giving of salvation to man. This is the great Sabbath day, the 49th day of the series, and then the next thousand year day is the 50th. That is the grand jubilee of jubilees.
By the end of this thousand year Sabbath day we understand that all things will be restored back to the perfection lost by Adam, and then when it is finished, in the year 2874, Satan is to be loosened for a little season in order to test manís obedience and loyalty to God and to righteousness, and all those who refuse to obey at that time will be cut off in the second death; but all who are obedient will get the first dominion restored to them; and then there will be no more death, no more sorrow or crying, for all the former things will have passed away, and the great jubilee of jubilees, the great times of rejoicing, will never cease, but will extend throughout all eternity.
Some may inquire why, if this is Godís rest-day, did He work on this day. Did not God raise our Lord Jesus Christ from the grave, as the beginning of the New Creation, and set him at His own right hand? Was not that work? Yes, dear friends, it was work after a measure, but Godís law did not prevent that kind of work. Why?
Because as our Lord shows, if a sheep or an ox were to fall in the pit oil the Sabbath, Godís law would not prevent one from pulling it out, but rather encourages, it. This was an act of mercy. Love dictated it. Godís law could not prevent it. Now, if an ox falling into the pit could be raised on the Sabbath day, and Godís law not be broken, how much more could our Heavenly Father raise His well beloved son out of the pit, the death state, on this great Sabbath day!
If this be the Sabbath day, then, as we say, it is divided into an evening and a morning-the evening and the morning of the seventh day. You will notice on the chart how these two parts come in here just in the middle, between two rest years, namely, this one, 626 13. C., the last typical jubilee, and the previous year, the year 627 B. C., the 49th year of that series of Sabbath years, -two rest years. And just as we carry the cycle 2500 years from the end of that year 626 and come to October, 1875, overlapping here a year, so to get the symmetry we would do the same backwards: we would begin at the beginning of this year 627 and go back 2500 years, overlapping here a year, and there we have the first Adamís day, a thousand years, the 2500 overlapping a year; then two rest years in the middle, then again 2500; then the last Adamís day, again overlapping a year. So here we have two rest years exactly in the center of this whole period of 7,000 years, and again we have two rest years at the beginning before the fall, and again we have two rest years on an anti-typical scale at the end, Now, we will study these rest years and Fee how they apply. First of all, in regard to these two rest years: Adam was created in the first of these years. What did Adam require to do then? He required to learn to use his faculties. Could he not just use his faculties at once? No, dear friends, the time that you learned to use your faculties was when you were little children, and you do not remember about that now. But I can give you a case in point: In Glasgow, Scotland, last year a man was blind from his birth had his sight restored to him; he had cataracts in both eyes which were removed. He was between 20 and 30 years of age. When that mail had his sight restored he could at first see light and darkness; he could see objects, but could not determine the shape nor the size, nor the distance. He had already educated his touch, so that lie could begin to educate his eyes now. When he saw all object he had to take it and feel it in order to determine its size and shape. And that is the way he educated his eyes. When he was walking across the room and saw all object in front of him he could not tell its distance away from him, and would stop, thinking it was near him; so he had to put out his hands then go cautiously up to the object until he touched it. He had to learn how to use his eyes. So it must have been with Adam at the first; but being a. perfect man, of course he very soon was able to do that. He had to learn the use of his eyes and ears, and all his other senses; he had to learn also his environment; lie had to learn about the animals. and the plants, and all the other things around, and he had to take possession of all these things. And then he found out something; he found out his need for a companion; he found out he required some one who could enter with him into his schemes, some one with whom he. could share his blessings and joys, And so God gave him Eve. God sent him into a deep sleep, and after a short time of trouble Eve was presented to him. So, while we understand the first year was a time of rejoicing, nevertheless we should understand that the second year, after Eve was presented to him, must have been a time of great rejoicing. We cannot conceive the degree of rejoicing that the perfect. man and perfect Ďwoman had in their companionship with each other. And then came the fall, when all was lost only to be restored seven thousand years afterwards.
In the middle our picture shows two rest years; the first of these years was a Sabbath year; a time, therefore, of rest, and pleasure; but the second year, being a jubilee, was a time of much more rejoicing. As we have already.said, at the beginning of it there was a good deal of trouble, but eventually it was a time of rejoicing for the poor and oppressed; and more especially for the pure in heart it was a time of great rejoicing.
Now, when we come to the last two anti-typical rest years we find the same thing presented to us. In the first of these, namely, the Millennium, as we know it, we find that will be a. time of rest, that it will be a great rest year, during Ďwhich the world, the inheritance of our Lord Jesus Christ, will have its rest, a time when mail will have his rest, the time when man will get faculties which he possessed only in a very imperfect degree before, and the time when he will learn to use those faculties. We cannot use the faculties we have now because we are too imperfect, but at that time man will get perfect faculties given to him gradually, and he will gradually learn how to use them, and he will gradually learn his environment, and all about the plants, animals and minerals, and all this wonderful world contains. What a wonderful time that will be, when all this, knowledge comes to mankind!
And then he will require gradually to take possession of all these things-all just as Adam did at the beginning.
Then at the end will come a short time of trouble, when Satan is loosed, and which will be followed by the grand jubilee of jubilees, the time of unalloyed rejoicing.
Chart No. 7This is the chart which shows the Times of the Gentiles. This is what I call the "dominion" or "kingdom" chart.
We would understand, then, when the 7,000 years are complete man will be restored to perfection, but dominion will not yet be his; it will require a period after that before the dominion is I known of all the families of the earth." And when the dominion will be completely restored to man, under the sovereignty of God. Here on the chart we have this period of 7,040 years. Before that comes the two years during which Adam had the dominion under the sovereignty of God, then the fall. Then comes the 1,000 years of the first Adamís day, the time of the fall and loss of the dominion; then comes the "seven times" period of 2,520 years, during the latter part of which the typical people and the typical kingdom, had favor with God, as the typical children of God, and at the end of which time, in the year 625 B. C. they lost that dominion; then follows the "seven times" more, the Times of the Gentiles, which will end in October, 1914, when Christ, the second Adam, will take His great power to reign, and He will reign for this thousand years, to 2914 A. D., when the dominion will be restored to man under the sovereignty of God, as it was in the beginning. So you see what God did. God is a God of order.
Order is the first law. What God did was evidently this: That He divided the 7,000 years exactly in the middle here at the last typical jubilee year, which pointed to the time of restitution because at the end of the 7,000 years the restitution will be complete. With regard to the dominion He likewise divided the 7,040 years exactly in the middle, and this time, exactly in the middle, He made the typical people lose the dominion. The other features of this chart we will come to by and by.
Now, we shall take up the next chart. This chart, as you perhaps saw at a glance, refers to the parallel dispensations, the Jewish age and the Gospel age. You all know that God set apart this typical people, the nation of Israel, and He said to them, "You only have I known of all the families of the earth." And when Christ came He would now allow his disciples to go into the Gentiles or Samiritans; they were to go only to Israel. Now this special favor of God began at the death of Jacob, and ended at the death of Christ, when Christ cast them off, saying, "Behold, your house is left unto you desolate." There they were cast out of Godís favor.
Brother Russell shows in the second volume of Millennial Dawn that the period of disfavor would be exactly equal to the period of favor. He proves that from Zechariah, Isaiah and Jeremiah, as we all know-the "double."
Therefore, it is an easy matter to find out when the favor would return to Israel. Paul tells us that blindness has happened in part to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. Therefore, the time when favor would begin to return would be the time also when the fullness of the Gentiles would be come in.
Now, we start from the death of Jacob, when the Jewish age began; it could not begin before because the Patriarchal age did not cease until then. So we start from the death of Jacob, the founder of the Jewish age, and measure to the death of Christ, and find the period to be 1,845 years. Therefore, we have simply to add 1,845 to this year 33, and we get the year 1878 as the end of the Gospel age.
Some are apt to say, "Well, surely the Gospel age is not finished yet; 1878 is a long way past." No, dear friends, it is not finished yet, because there is something more. You remember that in this year 33 A. D., about five days before his death, Jesus said, "Behold, your house is left unto you desolate." There the system, the nation, of Israel, was cast off, but we know further that the nation was not dead right there and then; the fall began at that time, but the fall was not complete until the year 70 A. D., when Jerusalem was destroyed and the Israelites were scattered over all the earth, and since then they have been a nation no more. There was the end of the 1,845 years, and then the fall occupying 37 years. The harvest ended in October, 69, and the next year, 70, the nation was destroyed. And so we expect then, seeing that this was a typical people, that from the death of Jesus there was a period of 1,845 years, at the end of which Christendom was cast off; and since that time, the spring of 1878, there has been a gradual fall of Christendom, the end of the harvest being October, 1914, and the next year, 1915, seeing the destruction of this "present evil world." And all the signs of the times point to that, as you are all aware.
Three and one-half years before the end of the Jewish age Christ came, in this year, October 29. You remember Jesus at His birth was not the Christ. Jesus did not become the Christ until He was baptized, because the wordí Christ is the same as the word Messiah, and simply means "anointed." So it was only when Jesus was immersed in the waters of Jordan, symbolizing His consecration to the will of God unto death, and after He was raised up out of the water in symbolism of His rising in newness of life, receiving the holy spirit, that He became the Christ, and that was in October, A. D. 29, all together a period of 40 years from October, 29 to October, 69, the Jewish harvest. Similarly -when we came to this time, 31/2 years before the spring of 1878, our Lord came the second time, and from there is a period of 40 years, ending in October, 1914, the end of the harvest of the Gospel age. Now, we have a great many prophecies pointing to October, 1874, and we have a few of them shown here, and we have also some others pointing to 1914; and so this wonderful chart simply corroborates what the other prophecies state.
What I want particularly to draw your attention to now is this period at the end of each of these "days." You will remember how Daniel was promised that his people would get 70 weeks of favor from the time the commission was given to build the walls of Jerusalem, and in the beginning of the seventeenth week Messiah was to come, and in the midst of that week he was to be cut off, and at the end of that seventieth -week the exclusive favor was to be ended. This part of the chart pictures the 69 weeks up to the coming of Jesus as Christ in 29 A. D., and this part pictures the 70th week of years-a period of 70 years. He came in 29, and He was cut off in 33, and then in October, 36 the end of the 70 weeks had come, which was the end of the exclusive or special favor for Israel. What favor? The favor of the high calling. What a wonderful favor that was! Just think what that favor means! It means that those who are invited to be partakers of this high and heavenly calling are invited to be joint-heirs with our Lord Jesus Christ. As our Brother Brenneisen said in opening this convention, it would be a very great favor to be invited to become president of this nation; most men would consider it was an honor perhaps too high for them, and some might be carried away altogether by such an honor being given to them; but what is that honor compared to the honor of being called to sit down on the right hand of Jesus Christ, to whom all power in heaven and earth has been given! And to sit down there, not for a period of four years, but for all eternity. It is a matter really too vast for our minds to comprehend fully, dear friends. Just think of the highness of your calling. And so during that period, up until October 36, none but the Jews had that wonderful privilege; not a. single Gentile was allowed to enter into that high calling. And then, because of the unbelief of the nation, it was cast off as a system in the midst of the week, and as individuals at the end of the week, and in October, 36 the exclusive favor had ended, and it was then that the first Gentile, Cornelius, received the holy spirit as an earnest of his inheritance.
Now, dear friends, Brother Russell points out in the second volume, in the chapter on parallel dispensations, -which is 4 beautiful and a wonderful chapter, and I would advise you to re-read it several times and get to understand it well, -that this week of years is paralleled at the end of this Gospel age, as shown here: That just as Christ came the first time in October, 29, so at the corresponding time, October, 1874, He came the second time; just as Christ here cast off the fleshly house of Israel in the year 33, so at the corresponding time here in 1878 the spiritual house of Israel (Christendom) was cast off; and, correspondingly, favor began to return to the fleshly house of Israel. That was the year of the Berlin congress, when favor began to return to them, as you all know.
Then in this year B. C. 1813 Jacob died, and the Jewish age began, and here in 33 A. D., Christ died and was resurrected; so we understand in the spring of 1878 the members of the body of Christ who died during the course of the Gospel age -were also resurrected, and from that time henceforth those who die in the Lord are changed in a moment, "in a twinkling of an eye." There is another reason for the blessedness of those who come to this time: That when they die there is no long time of waiting. Of course, I understand that the time of waiting of the others was not apparent to them, that the moment of their death seemed just the moment prior to the time of their awakening, because the interval was a period of unconsciousness; nevertheless, there is a blessed assurance of knowing that when we die, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, we shall be changed to be forever with our dear Lord. That began in the spring of 1878. There is no doubt it was just about that time that the no-ransom theories began to be more prevalent, corresponding to the time that our Lord died; for he cast them off there, and he cast them off here. Then in October, 36 we find one or two things. First of all we find, as stated above, that the special favor ended for fleshly Israel, and the Gentiles began to come in; just so here we find that October, 1881, was the end of special favor for Christendom, and a great crystallizing movement began among the fleshly Israelites, the Jews. Then you remember how prior to that, in October, 36, Peter received a vision when he was in the house at Joppa. You remember how difficult it was for the Jews to understand the length and breadth and height and depth of Godís mercy. They could not get it out of their minds that the favors of God were to be forever only to the Jews. Even the disciples had to get something special in the way of information on that point; and so, even though our Lord had said to the disciples, Go preach the Gospel to others, nevertheless it required a special revelation of God in order that Peter, the first of the Apostles, might in this respect understand the matter. You remember when he was on the house-top he saw a vision, a sheet was let down, and how God told him he was not to call unclean anything which God called clean. So there Peter, and consequently the other disciples, began to understand the wideness of the ransom; began to understand that the ransom was something far greater than they had imagined before.; that it included the Gentiles as well.
Well, dear friends, it is rather remarkable, and there seems to me to be a correspondence in it, that in 1881, -I do not know about the month of October, but in 1881, the corresponding year, -our Brother Russell was alone with the Lord for three days, and it was only then for the first time that he began to understand the wideness of the ransom, studying the tabernacle shadows. He understood it then better than ever before, and as a consequence we have come to understand it also.
Do you not see the remarkable parallelism between the corresponding week of years at the end of the Gospel age? And here comes a simple proposition that is bound to occur to every one of you: Namely, that if this seventieth week is paralleled at the end of the Gospel age, then can it be that the whole seventy weeks have a parallel also in the Gospel age? They have, dear friends. Having thought on that simple point, the next thing was to go back to the beginning of the 70 weeks, find out what occurred there, then get the corresponding dates at this time, and find out whether the events correspond or not; -and they do. We find a, whole series of events occurring at the beginning of these 70 weeks, and also find a whole series of events occurring at the corresponding dates exactly in the Gospel age; the former typifying the latter. There is something wonderful there. It shows how God has been so supervising and overruling things, keeping back and allowing things to take place at certain times in order to suit His purpose, because all of these important things are happening in Godís due time; and the more we understand the plan of God in regard to time features, the more that fact will.be forced upon us, and the more our hearts will go out to God because of His love, and His power, and His justice, and His wisdom.
Before detailing the various points here I should like to mention how we find corresponding dates. It is a very simple matter. You notice for example that each of these periods are 1,845 years. It follows, therefore, that any date in the Jewish age will have its corresponding date in the Gospel age at a distance of exactly 1845 years.
There is the beginning of the Jewish age. 1845 years afterwards brings us exactly to the Gospel age. Take ten years after the beginning of the Jewish age, and 1,845 years forward will give ten years after the beginning of the Gospel age. So with any date. So with this date, 536 B. C. 1845 years afterwards brings us to this year, 1309 A. D. So it is a. very easy matter to get corresponding dates. A good many friends come to me and say, "This is wonderful, here we have corresponding dates." I do not see anything wonderful in that, for it is a very easy matter to get corresponding dates; the point is, do the events which occur on those dates also correspond?
If so, then we have chronological parallels.
Now, let us study the events of this time. Here at the beginning of these 70 weeks we find a period of reformation in the house of fleshly Israel; and the corresponding time here we find again a period of reformation in the house of spiritual Israel, and the various dates correspond exactly, date for date. At this date, 536 B. C. Cyrus overthrew Babylon and allowed the captive Israelites to return to build the house of God at Jerusalem.
They laid the foundation at that time, but enemies stopped the work until the years 521 to 517 B. C., when the Temple was built under the direction of Zerubabbel; then the work of reformation ceased in a large measure; it went on to a certain extent, but there was not much work done until in the year 467 B. C. when Ezra returned from Babylon to Jerusalem with a band of followers, carrying with them the golden vessels of the Temple.
(At this point in the discourse, the electric lights went out; the newspapers made the following. comment: "During the service for about ten minutes the lights in the hall went out suddenly and the entire hall was left in utter darkness. Some one in the gallery had the presence of mind to strike up the well known hymn, "O That Will Be Glory for Me."
The whole audience was perfectly calm and there was not the slightest disturbance of any character. The society kept singing until the lights were turned on and then Dr. Edgar resumed his discussion. The hall was crowded at the time and the students were so occupied with the address and the thoughts which the speaker was endeavoring to convey, that they would not let any outside influence enter into their minds. " In the year 454 B. C. Nehemiah received his commission to come from Babylon with his band of followers to build the walls of Jerusalem; and there was one of the last acts in a great work of reformation which went on in fleshly Israel, and formed, therefore, a proper time for the beginning of the 70 weeks of favor.
Consideration of the Dates
New, dear friends, let us consider these dates, one by one, with their corresponding events, and compare them with this time. First, let us consider what happened, and what was the condition of affairs before 536 B. C.; and let us compare the time corresponding to that. That was the time during which the fleshly Israelites were in Babylon. Seventy years before that Jerusalem had been destroyed, and the fleshly Israelites had been marched away to Babylon, there to remain in captivity for seventy years. Now, that was the typical time; and we are to understand that that was the beginning of the times of the Gentiles, the beginning of this period of "seven times" shown in this chart, the time during which Babylon had her universal empire for seventy years; and we are to understand that period of 70 years was a typical period. 70 is a symbolic number. It is made up of two numbers, 7 and 10, seven representing perfection, especially the perfection of time, and 10 representing numerical completeness. When we count up figures we go to the number 10, and then after that we must begin at the beginning, at one, again, using the multiples of ten. This figure represents numerical completeness, especially with regard to governments, -ten toes, ten horns, etc. So the period of 70 years represents this complete period; it typifies the complete period of times of the Gentiles, the time of the Gentile governments, the kings of the gentiles. We know that for various reasons besides what I have given you. For instance, God said to Nebuchadnezzar, "Seven times shall pass over thee," and we know that for seven years he lostí his reason. That typifies the fact that men have lost their reason in thinking they can govern the world. Nebuchadnezzar thought he could govern the world, and that was simply a symptom of insanity. Do you know that one of the most manifest features of all forms of insanity is an exaggeration of egotism and selfishness, which we all possess more or less. Sometimes it takes the form of self-glorification, thinking very greatly of oneís self; other times it is self depression, melancholia; but in all forms of insanity in those who can think and reason at all, self is the most prominent feature. Now, dear friends, we are all possessed of that insanity more or less; we are all possessed of this want of judgment; we all are inclined to think of self first, and that is one of the greatest fights the child of God has, to keep self under. Nebuchadnezzar had this insane idea, and God gave him permission to reign, knowing that the lesson would be beneficial to him in the future, and to all others, and knowing that the result would be confusion, misery and death. That typifies the fact that Babylon the Great-the Roman Catholic System, Christendom-has also the same thing. The church of this Gospel age has thought that she could rule the world, which was an insane idea, and God has permitted it in order to teach the church a lesson. Now, the time is coming when this Bablyon the Great will a overthrown, just as Cyrus overthrew this first Babylon the Great in the year 536 B. C. In the 44th and 45th chapters of Isaiah (Isa 44-45) we are told that a certain one Cyrus, who was called by his name before he was born, would come and do this great work. Now we can understand that this heathen king was there named by his name in order that he might prefigure a greater Cyrus who will do a similar but a greater work. Let us understand what he did. The word Cyrus means "sun." This original Cyrus, who in the year 536 B. C. conquered Babylon and let the captive Israelites go free, was a sun to them, because he brought light and warmth into their hearts. Nothing cheered them more than the fact that they could return to their beloved land and there build the house of the Lord. But in due time, dear friends, in the year 1914, the greater Sun, the Sun of Righteousness, shall arise with healing in his -wings; he will take his great power at that time and do a similar work to Cyrus. What did Cyrus do? He overthrew Babylon. So the greater Cyrus will overthrow the greater Babylon. The first Cyrus let the captive fleshly Israelites free-as many as were willing to go free; this greater Cyrus will also let the captive spiritual Israelites go free, but no one will be forced. We are not to imagine that God is going to force any one to free himself from Babylon and to build the house of the Lord, but He is giving an invitation; He says, "Come out of her my people." There is no force employed. It is a free invitation, and we must accept it. When Cyrus freed the captive Israelites they went to Jerusalem and built there the Temple, and the walls of the city; and so in this same way we understand that the Israelites who were captive in Babylon all of this time will be set free to build the great house of the Lord, the great Temple, and build the walls of the greater Jerusalem, the heavenly Jerusalem. And then we know that this Cyrus, way back here in 536 B. C., by this act of overthrowing Babylon became the emperor over that whole world, the universal empire; just as our Lord will also become the great King, the King ofí Kings and Lord of Lords, in October 1914.
Then again we understand this first Cyrus had a dual kingdom. His kingdom was called the MedoPersian Kingdom, because it was composed of two parts which were not divided, but were conjoined, as signified by the fact that the bear, which symbolized that kingdom was raised on the one side, and in the other vision the one horn of the ram was higher than the other horn. So we understand that signified that the Persian kingdom was greater than the other kingdom, the kingdom of the Medes, the Persian kingdom being the one to which Cyrus belonged.
This beautifully prefigures the Millennial kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, which will also be a dual kingdom-a kingdom with two phases, the spiritual and the earthly; but the spiritual phase, to which our Lord belongs, is a much higher than the earthly phase as the heavens are higher than the earth.
And then, lastly, dear friends, there is this point: We are told that the laws of the Medes and Persians were unchangeable. Does not this apply in a, wonderful way to this greater kingdom, the Millennial kingdom, the laws of which will be unchangeable?
Now, I understand that that is the complete fulfillment of what happened in 536 B. C., by this overthrow of Babylon. Nevertheless, what we are considering tonight is a partial fulfillment. There was a partial fulfillment in the year 1309 A. D. Some might say, How can there be two fulfillments? My answer to that is this: That a double fulfillment is frequent in the scriptures. I can give you one important example. Elijah was a type of the church in the flesh in this Gospel age. Which is the anti-type; but we know there was another anti-type on a smaller scale, a partial fulfillment, in John the Baptist. Just so here: The great fulfillment of what happened in 536 B. C. is what will happen in October, 1914, although a partial fulfillment occurred in the year 1309 A. D.
Babylon began its power in 539 A. D. That was the time when the "abomination of desolation" was set up; and there began the 1,260 years of the "days of Daniel," the time of the power of the papacy, the end of which was the beginning of the "time of the end."
In passing I should like to draw your attention to the fact that there is a parallel here in the first period of "seven times," the year 1981 B.C. corresponding with the year 539 A. D. In the year 1981 B. C. Isaac and Rebecca were married. Isaac was a type of Christ, and Rebecca was a type of the church. The marriage of Isaac and Rebecca typified the marriage of Christ and His bride. But we know that in this year, 539, there was an anti-typical counterfeit of that. That was the time when the pope became the head, the husband, of the apostate church; and there began the period of 1,260 years.
These periods correspond. What happened in this year 731 corresponds with what happened here in 1789, namely, the French revolution, which was the real beginning of the time of the end. In 731 B. C. two great events happened: One was the siege of Jerusalem by Senaccherib. In that year we know that the king of Syria besieged Jerusalem with a huge army, and we know what resulted. We know that in one night 183,000 Syrians lay dead in the field. There was a miraculous recovery from this time of trouble which seemed to overwhelm Israel at that time. The time when Israel was overthrown was 125 years afterwards, 6 0 6 B. C.
Hezekiah after this Syrian defeat, which was not by himself but by the power of God directly, took some of the glory to himself, and as a consequence he was laid on a bed of sickness, but that sickness was not unto death; he repented, and thereupon miraculously recovered. Now, both of these events indirectly correspond with the French revolution, -when Christendom miraculously recovered, and then 125 years afterwards we expect the downfall of Christendom.
I should like to draw your attention to this: That the events of this year, 731, are detailed in four chapters of the book of Isaiah; the 36th to the 39th, (Isa 36-39) inclusive, and these four chapters are enclosed between two Millennial chapters. The 35th chapter of Isaiah (Isa 35) is a great Millennial chapter, as you all know-the chapter which tells us the desert shall blossom as a rose, and that the ransomed of the Lord shall return, etc. The 40th chapter (Isa 40) is the chapter which begins thus: "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak comfortably to Jerusalem," etc. It is a great Millennial chapter also. It would seem very strange, if we did not understand this fact I am telling you now, why Isaiah should in the 35th chapter (Isa 35) speak of the Millennium, then in the next four chapters go back and tell us about events of 731 B. C., and then in the 40th chapter go clear back once more to the Millennial age; but when we understand that the events in 731 B. C. simply prefigure the events of 1789 A. D., the French revolution, the beginning of the time of the end, the beginning of the day of the Lordís preparation, then we see the purpose; we see that what Isaiah was really doing was this: In the 35th chapter he tells about the Millennium, then in the next four chapters he tells us about the French revolution as the beginning of the time of the end of this present evil age, the time of the end of the Gentiles, the time of the beginning of the Lordís preparation the time, therefore, when we can say: "Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned:" that the time of her recovery is drawing nigh. So in fact we are not really jumping way back, but speaking about the same time.
And there is a further point here, namely, that those who believe that the book of Isaiah was written by two different men at different times are proven wrong. They divide the book of Isaiah at the end of the 39th chapter (Isa 39).
They say the first 39 chapters were written by one man at one time, but from the 40th chapter on it was written by somebody else at some other time. Now we see that here is a link between the 39th and 40th chapters which binds the two parts together. But this is a little digression from our subject, and we will go on. The point I have been referring to is, that Babylon the Great, began in 539, and will not be finally destroyed until 1915; but a partial destruction took place in 1309 A. D. Up to that time Babylon was a simple empire, you may say, and that was just in the very middle of the papal millennium. Up until that time the pope had been king of kings and lord of lords; he had universal sway over the world; but in the year 1309 his power began to be broken. How? In this way: A certain pope, Boniface the VIII, had been appointed just prior to that, and this pope was more arrogant than any before him. He issued the famous bull called unam sancti. In this bull he claimed not only temporal and spiritual authority over the whole world, but he said, further, that no man could get eternal salvation except by his sanction. Now at that time the king of France, Philip the Fair, objected to this; he was sufficiently advanced to see that this was nonsense, and he did something no king had ever done before him in the time of the papal supremacy; he made the pope a prisoner, and that was in 1309, the very middle of the papal supremacy. It was Charlemagne who began the papal Millennium; it was France and Napoleon the Great who finished the papal Millennium; and it was the king of France in the middle of that Millennium who made the pope a prisoner and began to break the power of the papacy. The pope, being an old man, died as a consequence of the indignities and injuries received. Then another man was appointed pope, and he died in the course of a year. Then a man who had sold himself to the king of France was appointed pope. Now, this man could not go to Rome because the people of Rome would have risen up in anger against him, and so he had to seek his seat of empire somewhere else. He finally, in this year 1309, chose Avignon as his seat. and there began what is called the Babylonish captivity of papacy, which lasted about 70 years. During all of that time there were seven popes in Avignon, and they were under the power of the king of France, and during that time Britain, Germany, Switzerland, and other kingdoms, refused any longer to have the pope as their umpire and arbitrator as before, because they recognized that if they appointed the pope as arbitrator his decisions would simply be decisions of the king of France, as he was under the power of the king of France. So there we see the power of the papacy broken, and Babylon, to a certain extent, overthrown. -a partial fulfillment of what occurred in the year 536 B. C. There was the opportunity for the captive spiritual Israelites in Babylon to become free, and to lay the foundation of the Temple-meaning by that the reformed church, the spiritual temple. That is just what all historians tell us; they tell us that if we want to study history of the reformation, we must begin with Avignon; that Avignon constitutes the dawn of the Reformation. But only the foundation was laid in that year, just as in 5 36 B. C. it was only the foundation of the House of the Lord that was laid; the enemies came and stopped the work, and it was not until this time, 521 to 517, that the material Temple was built in the Jewish age; and so we find the corresponding years, 1324 to 1328, when the spiritual temple was built by Marciglio.
Now, here comes in a little explanation. We must understand that the year 536 is the end of the chronology as given in the Bible; the chronology is given us year by year right up until 536, and there stops; after that we are referred to the books of secular history. Now that is a wonderful arrangement on Godís part, because secular history is not reliable before 536 B. C., but is reliable at that time and afterwards. So when we come to this year when the temple was built, we are not told how long it was after the return from Babylon, but we axe told that the temple began to be built in the second year of king Darius.
So in studying this matter I had to go to secular history at this point. First of all I looked at the margin of the Bible, the chronology given by Usher, and there I was told that the second year of Darius was not 521 but 520 B. C. So I went to the history of the middle ages, to the year 1325, to find out what happened there, and I found that what happened at that time was the great work of Marciglio; but his great book was written in 1324; there was a difference of a year. I found more books on the middle ages, and they all said the same thing. That book.was written in 1324, so I said, if that was the case, then the temple did not begin to be built until 521, that it could not be 520 B. C., but must be 521. So I went to searching the books 0 f history to look up Darius, and they all said the same thing, that Darius began to reign in 521 B. C. Now, if 521 B. C. was the first year of his reign it surely follows that 520 was the second year of his reign. There was a difference of a year. I looked over history after history on the kingdom of Persia, and they all said the same thing, viz. :That Darius began to reign in 521 B. C. There was a difference of a year; it seemed to mean that the whole thing had to go; but no, I was sure that it would not have to go, because all the other points had been exact; this was the only one where there was a difference, and the difference only one year; there must be some way to explain it. So convinced was I of that fact that I started at the beginning again and, dear friends, it is wonderful to me to say this: I am a very busy medical man, and have not much time to spare on these things, but during the week I was investigating that matter I had a great deal of time to myself, being very slack in my professional work, but as soon as I found the solution of this my work began to grow again and I became as busy as ever; so it seemed to me as if the Lordís hand was in that, as I believe, and you all believe, our Heavenly Father planned all things. "The steps of a righteous man are ordered of the Lord."
Now, what I found was a very simple explanation of the matter. It was found in one of the first books I looked at, but hidden away in a foot-note, and that is why I hadnít seen it at first. Rawlinson points out in his "Five Great Monarchies" that the temple began to be built in the six month of the second year of king Darius, according to Ezra and Haggai. Rawlinson states that these, being Jews, chose the Jewish ecclesiastical year.
Now, you know that the Jewsí ecclesiastical year begins in the spring time. Darius began to reign in the first of January 521 B. C. January 521 was the first month of his reign. Then February 521 was still the first year, March 521 was still the first year, and April 521 was the beginning of the second year, according to the Jews, and so the sixth month was September 521-the sixth month of that second year of Darius, according to the Jews, but still the year 521. So the solution was simple.
Now, Ďthe Temple was built in four years, and more or less work was finished in that time. I am sorry that I have not time to enter into the work of Marciglio, but he was greater than any of the succeeding reformers in very many respects. it is a wonderful book he wrote in 1324, way back there in the dark ages. He advocated republicanism; he said we should have no kings; he said there should be no division between the clergy and the laity; he said the church should have nothing whatever to do with the temporal affairs of this life; that the church should own no property; that the people had the right of conscience, that Christ was the Judge; that Saint Peter never had been at Rome, or if he was there he did not, at least, establish a church; that at any rate the holding of the keys meant simply being the turn-key, and the turnkey was not the judge; that the minister, while he was worthy of his hire and should therefore get his support, he should not receive anything more than he actually required; that if he received anything more he should give it to the poor. So on many points like that he undoubtedly laid the foundation that built the temple of the Reformation; he forged the bolts which were used by succeeding reformers. His great object was to bring about this reformation, but he knew that at that time Republicanism could not hold, for the people were too superstitious for that; so his wish was to put down the papal supremacy. He recognized the church should be subject to the Gentile powers that be, and so to secure this aim he tried to get some man appointed as emperor of the West, an imitation of Charles the Great, in order that another pope might be appointed under him, so as to keep the secular power supreme. In the year 1326 he found what he wanted. He found out that a certain king, Louis, was quarreling with the pope in Avignon, and took advantage of that quarrel, which was insignificant in itself. With a band of followers who were very enthusiastic he approached king Louis of Bavaria and put his proposal before him, and Louis was quite pleased.
Louis joined him, and the band went up to Rome, and the people in Rome received him with that commission.
Why? Because they were sick of the fact that the popes were in Avignon. As long as the popes were in Avignon it meant that the people flocked to Avignon, and the money went to Avignon, and Rome was becoming poorer and poorer in consequence. So when there came a prospect of a pope being appointed in Rome they were as pleased as could be, and accepted it. And there Louis in this year 1328, at the end of the year, was appointed.emperor of the West. And then in that year, 1328, Marciglio died Now Louis was a man of no ability, and full of superstition, who dreaded an ex-communication, and when Marciglio, his great counsellor, died, Louis simply threw up the whole matter and fled from Rome, and the matter ended. The work was finished in four years; -just as the literal temple was finished in four years, and did not go on building again, so this work was finished in four years and did not go on again year after year. But just as the temple being built in four years was used for the purpose for which it was built, so the work of these four years was also used for the purpose for which it was done-the organization of the great reformation. Then follows a lull of about fifty years; and as in 467 Ezra came back from Babylon with the golden vessels of the temple, and then the temple could be used properly with the vessels in it, it was the same way here. In 1378 Wycliffe came back from Babylon the Great, and with him carried the vessels (truths) of the temple to Jerusalem-(to this reformed church.) In the year 1378 a wonderful thing happened. In that year the pope ln Avignon died, and the people rose up and appointed a pope of their own in Rome. But the people in France did not want him, and they also appointed a pope in Avignon. So there were two popes in Europe at the same time. What happened? These two popes immediately arose and quarrelled with each other, called each other all sorts of blasphemous names, and used scurrilous language against each other; each of them claimed to be the vicar of Christ, of this and each of them said the other was Anti-Christ-not knowing, of course, that both were correct. That opened Wycliffeís eyes. Wycliffe had been a reformer, but not a temple reformer. He saw it could not be true that there were two vicars of Christ, more especially considering what language they were using.
So in that year, 1378, he came out as a reformer. He began to translate the Bible, and the first thing he saw was that the golden vessels, (the Word of God,) which had been lying in Babylon, this great system of papacy, were full of abominations, and the worst of all these abominations was the doctrine of transubstantiation. This abominable doctrine took away the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ. When Wycliffe saw that in 1378 he began to teach the world what the sacrifice of Christ meant. He brought the golden vessel back from Babylon to this temple of the reformed church, containing the pure Bible truth with regard to the ransom sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, that our Lord Jesus Christ had died once and for all; and not only did he bring that vessel back, but others. He pointed out the error of the adoration of the virgin Mary, of the adoration of the saints, and of the claim that pennance would atone for sin, and of many other false doctrines. He taught that the abominable doc trines of the papacy were all wrong, and brought forth the truth in regard to these questions. That was the work of Wycliffe, corresponding to the work of Ezra.
Then the work of the reformation grew. Just as 13 years afterwards Nehemiah received his commission to build the walls of Jerusalem, to buttress that great system of Jerusalem, fleshly Israel, so 133 years after the death of Wycliffe, Huss received his commission to do the same thing to buttress the reformation. It was Huss who made the reformation a natural force, and properly, therefore, these two points, the work of Nehemiah and the work of Huss, begins each of the seventy weeks. The 70 weeks brings us to the time 454 B.C. That was about the time of Malachi the prophet. After that we come to this time; seven weeks brings us to 1440, the time of the invention of printing, which did almost more than anything else to carry on the reformation. Then followed 62 weeks. In that period between 1440 and 1874 is a blank, just as the corresponding time in the Jewish age was blank. You know the historical canon of the Old Testament ended with Ezra and Nehemiah, and the prophecies ended with Malachi. Then there is a blank until we come to the New Testament, which tells about the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and John the Baptist. Nevertheless, we know what happened during that time. We know that previous to that there was a gradual rise of the reformation, but during that interval there was a fall, chiefly into two parties; one party holding to the traditions of the elders, which bound them faster and faster into those traditions, and these were the Pharisees; the other party became free thinkers, began to doubt the Bible, began to criticize the Bible, began to doubt the fact of the resurrection, doubting many things and interfering more in the politics of this world, and these were the Saducees. So "in due time" when the Lord came to His own His own received Him not; it was only a remnant who received him.
During the corresponding time there has been a similar work going on in Christendom. First of all, the reformation took its rise; then during this interval a fall, chiefly into two parties: One party holds to the Word of God, and say they believe every word of it, but what they believe is the traditions of the elders, and they have bound themselves faster and faster in those traditions; then there is the other party who are free thinkers, who have begun to criticize the Bible, and disbelieve great parts of it, the higher critics, evolutionists and that class, and interfering more in the politics of this world; and the result was, when our Lord came the second time to His own His own received Him not; but again, to as many as received Him, to them He has given power to become the sons of God. So we see a wonderful parallel in all What I have said will, I hope, have this effect, viz.: To make sure to you that God has been acting in everything according to His own appointed times, and all of these events in the past have occurred just exactly in the way God intended them to happen. Some might say, "What matter is that to us? They are in the past, we have nothing to do now with them, they were already gone." But the point is this: If these things happened in exact years in the past, and God made them to happen as we say He has, then with equal confidence we can look forward to the future, and to this year 1915, and say that just as surely will Christendom be destroyed in that year. In October, 1914 the marriage of the Lamb and His Bride will have come. What does that mean? It means, dear friends, that out of a whole period of forty yearsí harvest 32 have now gone, and only 8 remain; and possibly the reaping work will be finished in less than that time, because you know the reaping work is followed by a threshing work, a sifting work. So we expect the reaping work will be finished possibly before that time!
And In any case many of us will have finished our work before that time, but those who live to the very end of the time have at the very most only 8 years left. Surely we must be up and doing to make our calling and election sure; surely we must be up and doing the Lordís work of the harvest, gathering His saints together unto Him, those who have made a covenant with Him by sacrifice. Is not that the reason we are gathering together?
Are we not the Lordís saints, and that is why we are gathering together unto the Lord, our great Head? And we want to gather out those who are still in Babylon. We want to carry on His work. We have a short time to do it, and we must be up and doing if we are to be pleasing to the Lord. But we are not to be over-anxious. We are not to think it rests on us; we must not be worried about the matter; we must trust in the Lord. I always take great pleasure in a verse which was brought to my attention by Brother Hemery in England: "In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength."
That does not mean quietness and confidence in yourself; it means quietness and confidence in the Lord shall be your strength. The Lord is Ďdoing the work, and simply using us as His instruments. So when we realize that we have the peace of God ruling in our hearts; we do his work but we do not worry about it; we do the work conscientiously, -having a conscience void of offense toward God and toward men; then we can take pleasure in the Lordís words when He says, "Lift up your heads and rejoice, knowing that your deliverance draweth nigh."
Dear friends, although we see the kingdoms shaking, although we know that soon these kingdoms will be cast into the midst of the "sea," nevertheless there is a river, the great river of the water of life that is to flow through the Millennial age, that great river of the knowledge of the glory of the Lord. "There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God." These streams of truth that are coming now make up that great river, the streams whereof make glad the city of God. Yes, dear friends, we who form this city of God are glad because of the truth that is coming to us now, -this truth that the kingdom of our Lord and His Christ is soon to be established, and that if we be overcomers, if we be faithful unto death, we shall share with Him in that kingdom.