Most of our readers are perhaps aware that our understanding of the word leads us to the conclusion that "The time of trouble" or "Day of wrath," covering the forty years from 1874 to 1914 is in two parts or of two kinds: first a time of trouble upon the church during which she (the nominal church) will fall from her present position of influence and respect with the world, and many will fall from truth and from faith. This trouble upon the church and also the fact that we shall be in it but protected and safe is shown by the 91 Psalm.
We need not fear the terrors of darkness nor the pestilence that walketh in the darkness. That is, if we the "little flock" abide under the shadow of the Almighty and have Him for a Refuge we need not fear this dark hour coming upon the church; neither need we fear the pestilence (infidelity) that will stalk abroad during that time; neither need we fear the arrow that flieth by day—The arrow is the scornful speech of the Infidel and unbeliever—for as we are elsewhere told—"The wicked shoot out arrows at the righteous—even bitter words."
These arrows—bitter scornful words of infidelity and the pestilence of systems of error &c.—are to cause "a thousand to fall at thy side and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee." Why will these influences so destructive to others, not affect the "little flock?" Let vs. 4 answer: "Under his wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be thy shield and buckler."
Yes it is easy to see that the pestilence and arrows, &c., referred to here are not the literal, since we well know that the truth does not protect against such things. Truth has always been a shield against error and infidelity but how needful it will be—how needful it is in this evil day for it is evident that this great wave of ungodliness and infidelity has already commenced to sweep over the world and we will be in it as Paul said, referring to this very time. "The fire (trouble) of that day shall try every man's work of what sort it is. And again: "Take unto you the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand in that evil day," when "a thousand shall fall at thy side." But out from this fire God will gather His Gold and Jewels more polished and more separated from dross. "It shall not come nigh thee." You will have His truth for your shield against all the arguments and errors which will cause the fall of others during this "evil day."
The trouble coming upon the world will follow the trouble on the church as a natural consequence and is the second part of the trouble of this "Day of wrath." Will the saints be here during its continuance upon the world? No, we remember Jesus said: "Watch ye that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all those things coming upon the world and to stand before the Son of Man." A glorious anticipation is this, that we are to be gathered together unto our living Head—Christ, and to enter into His kingdom before the pouring out of the vials of wrath upon the world.
This is in harmony too with the thought expressed by David. "To bind their Kings with chains and their Nobles with fetters of iron, to execute the judgments written, this honor hath all his saints." Again as Paul says: "Know ye not that the saints shall judge the world?" "Therefore judge nothing before the time."
The thought harmonizes too with Daniel's expression: "In the days of these Kings (the ten powers representative of the Roman Empire before they are destroyed in this "Day of the Lord") shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom...and it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever." (Dan. 2:4.) We remember how this harmonizes with the statement of Jesus: He represents his church now as His Kingdom (but not set up—not in power), and says: "He will gather out of His Kingdom all things that offend and they that do iniquity, and then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun"—be set up. They must be set up before the time of trouble fully comes upon the world, for "IT shall break in pieces and consume all these." All can see, therefore, that our setting up must be before the plagues which are represented as destroying earthly kingdoms.
"There came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me saying, come hither, [R113 : page 1] I will show thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God."
We have perhaps all seen by a previous article that John was a sort of representative of the church to be translated—"If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?" When he was called to see the "Mystery Babylon" he was taken into the wilderness to see her. So with us, when we come to recognize the Babylon church in its true light as in God's sight, we must go into a wilderness, a condition of complete separation from the world, a condition of humility, alone with God, and when he feeds us and only then can we see the Nominal church as it is—a Babylon or Confusion company to be spewed out of the Lord's mouth.
As to see Babylon—John went into the wilderness, so now when called to see the Bride of Christ, he is carried away to a great and high mountain. What does this show? That we, the church of translation must go up into the great Kingdom—enter into the joys of our Lord and be in His likeness before we can see as we are seen and know as we are known. The bride can only be seen from the standpoint of the Kingdom, "Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God" (the Bride). "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit he cannot enter into the (Mountain) Kingdom of God." (John 3:3 and 5.)
This shows that we shall be changed and caught up to meet the Lord before we see the Church—the Bride. But it teaches more, if you examine closely it shows that we shall be taken up into the Mount or Kingdom before the seven last plagues are poured out on the world. Notice that it says that the angel who talked with him and took him up was one of those having the seven vials of wrath. Now were these vials full or empty; had they been poured out or were they to be, after John is shown the Bride in the mountain? We answer: The Word says they were full. In the Greek the word full is emphatic as if to call our attention to the matter. Oh, how very full of meaning is every word that God has given.
Notice, too, how much this is in harmony with another type of the same thing given in the Law. You remember how Moses as the type of Christ had left the glory of the Court of Egypt to have part with his people. When he came to them, to deliver them the first time, he came to his own (natural Israel), and his own received him not. He went away, took the Gentile wife and returned again to deliver his people. Now remember, that as he came the second time and before the plagues were poured upon Egypt, Aaron came to meet him as we shall be caught away to meet our Lord. Aaron did meet him in the Mount of God. We are to go up into the Kingdom, and are to be joined to Christ before the plagues are poured out, and, like Aaron, we are to assist in pouring them out.
Oh, how glorious the thought of soon entering into the joys of the Lord, soon entering the Mount of God. Are we prepared to enter in? Are we clothed in the pure white robe of Christ's righteousness? Is it clean, without spot, or wrinkle or any [R113 : page 2] such thing, or is it all besmeared with stains of earth? Be not deceived: If walking hand in glove with the world, minding earthly things, you are almost sure to get your garments crushed and stained, and to be unprepared for the marriage. And if left out of the marriage you cannot escape the things coming upon the world, but will be obliged to wash your robes and make them white, and to come up to the Kingdom through great tribulation. That will truly be a great blessing and favor to be one of "The Virgin's, companions that follow her," but not so grand will that be as to be a part of the bride, "The King's daughter all glorious within "She shall be brought unto the King in raiment of needle-work." Blessed indeed will it be to be "called to the marriage supper of the Lamb," but more blessed to be the bride whose marriage (then past) will be celebrated.
Oh, beloved brethren and sisters, let us lay aside everything else as an ambition, and bend all our energies to seeking first, or principally "the kingdom of God. It is too high and too grand to miss. All things else are not worthy to be compared with our high calling in Christ Jesus and the glory that will be revealed in us.