It is the theory of a large number in the nominal church, that the Millennium of peace, when nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more, is drawing near, and is to be brought about by present christianizing influences. We also claim it "nigh, even at the doors," but to be accomplished by a totally different process, viz: by the setting up of that kingdom for which we were ever taught to pray, "Thy kingdom come (that) thy will may be done on earth as it is done in Heaven." We believe also, that the setting up of the kingdom, involves first, the presence and exaltation of the new King (the Christ complete, who will dethrone and bind the former Prince of the power of the air—Satan, and accomplish the final overturning (Rev. 20:2; Psa. 149:8; Ezek. 21:27.) and the complete destruction of the present evil, unjust and oppressive governments and institutions. By the tumult of contending factions, he will dash them in pieces as a potter's vessel. Psa. 2:9; Jer. 13:14.
We seldom mention the outward evidences which support our views, and expectations. It has been our desire to direct your attention not so much to "the things which are seen," but mainly to "the things which are not seen" by the natural eye but discernable only by the eye of faith—in the Word of God. This knowledge it is, which enables us to see things which are coming to pass, but which are not yet discernable by the world. It was this favor of seeing further into the future than the world could look, which Jesus referred to, saying that the spirit of truth would guide us into truth and show us things to come. (John 16:13.) It is both a comfort and a strengthener of faith, to see how Scripture is being gradually accomplished. Therefore we give below some interesting and carefully collected facts regarding the present condition of European nations.
The peace footing of the standing armies of Europe, is as follows: Russia 715,000, France 498,483, Germany 427,274, Austria-Hungary 252,535, Italy 202,271. Those of the lesser powers, Turkey, Spain, Norway, etc., etc., aggregate 643,000 and Great Britain has an army of about 250,000 men. Thus it will be seen that Europe has a standing army of about 3,000,000 men, besides a navy which numbers 250 iron-clad and several hundred wooden vessels.
In addition to these regular armies there are reserve forces of drilled men, ready for immediate call in case of war, as follows: In Russia 2,252,126, Germany 1,500,000, France 1,230,000, Austria-Hungary (army and navy) 1,220,000, Italy 664,105. Great Britain and smaller powers about 2,500,000. This gives the enormous army of over 12,000,000 men ready for immediate action, composed only of trained soldiers in the prime of life. Truly it has been said "Europe is a huge standing camp." "All Europe stands ready for war."
How dreadful, how heart sickening the sight; 12,000,000 men trained in the use of the most devilish instruments of death, stand prepared to slaughter one another at the beck and nod of Emperors, Czars and Kings.
And yet it seems that in our Father's sight,
'Tis well that men should learn the evils now of
[war by bitter taste;
That when hath been o'erturned these governments
[of evil men,
All then might come to love the peaceful reign,
Of Him who's called "the Prince of Peace."
And yet some tell us that these are Christian governments; and all their Kings claim the right to rule—to be of God's authority and appointment. This idea of God's appointment was given by Papacy. Papacy placed in power the ancestors of most of those now reigning; Papacy claimed that in so doing it represented God, and that in fact it was "the Kingdom of God" and had the power and right to appoint the rulers of earth. The earthly governments still cling to the claim of divine appointment and use it as a mighty chain to bind the people under them. Their proclamations are signed, as for instance, King William of Prussia "By the grace of God."
Protestants unthinkingly and ignorantly uphold the decisions of Papacy on this matter, not seeing that thereby, they acknowledge the anti-Christ. This is just as the Word of God foretells—viz: That in the struggle between the people and their Papal appointed rulers just at hand, while the people will be struggling for freedom and their God given rights, the nominal churches will unite with the governments which they appointed and recognize, to help keep the people in thraldom. (Rev. 19:19-20.)
How absurd anyhow to say that the present governments are of God's appointment, or christian governments in any sense. Surely everything indicates, that they are Satan's governments—appointed and sustained by their prince "The prince of this world." (John 14:30 and 12:31.) This their actions clearly demonstrate. Being the Kingdoms of Satan, they must be demolished to give place to the Kingdom of God. How great will be the change, when these, give place to a righteous pure government under the true prince—the "Prince of peace." "In his day the righteous shall flourish." (Psa. 72:7.)
Mankind now groans under these evils, Satan and Anti-Christ appointed governments; but the groaning will soon be over. Satan will soon be bound; (Rev. 20:2) his earthly empires overturned (Ezek. 21:27.) and the kingdom will be given unto the people of the saints of the Most High under Christ. (Dan. 7:27.) The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now—waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God. (Rom. 8:22,19.)
The church now is commanded to be subject to the powers that be for "The powers that be are ordained of God." (Rom. 13:1.) Yes, God, during the "present evil world" (age) not only permits Satan to be its prince, (John 14:30) but also permits the earthly governments of his appointing. He leaves his church and all men for a time under their control, assuring us through His word that shortly the prince of this world shall be bound, and "the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord and his anointed"—during the sounding of the Seventh Trumpet. (Rev. 20:2 and 11:15.)
The Church must not resist the powers that be except in matters of conscience. But now that "Gentile Times" have nearly run their ordained course, their overthrow is at hand. To this end God is raising up His great army, the masses of the world, to overturn all forms of evil and oppression. His army here, as in the overthrow of Jerusalem A.D. 70, will know not God, yet will fulfill His purposes. (Rev. 19:19.) God's army is now being marshalled and His church should stand aloof from both the governments that be, and their opposers. We should remember that "we are not of this world"—"our citizenship is in heaven." (John 17:16. Phil. 3:20.)
The time for the fulfilment of Joel 3:10-16 is nigh at hand and the sooner it comes the sooner will another (Isa. 2:2-4) be accomplished. But first look not for these. First must be gathered from the earthly plane—the little flock—the bride of Christ. And in this gathering of the little flock from out the mass—the mass called by men the church, there will be a shaking, rooting and complete overturning of that mass so full of tares—corrupt with worldly pride. Thus saith the word of God: Judgment must begin at the house of God.