"I will stand upon my watch, and fix my foot upon the Tower: and I will watch, to see what will be said to me, and what I may answer to him [the unbeliever] that reproveth me. And the Lord answered me [or gave me an answer for such] saying: Write the vision and make it plain upon tables that he that readeth it may run over it [be able to prove to himself its correctness.] For, as yet, the vision is for an appointed time, and it shall appear at the end, and shall not lie. If it [appear to] make any delay wait for it: for it shall surely come, and it shall not tarry." Habakuk, 2:1-3.—Douay Translation.
This command has been obeyed. By various means—Charts, Diagrams, Concordances and explanations the vision or revelation of God's word has been placed within the reach of the people; yet they are slow to believe that this Gospel age will ever pass away and give place to another; and they say as was foretold, "Where is the promise of His coming (presence)? for since the fathers fell asleep all things continue as they were from the beginning." (2 Pet. 3:4.) This indicates that the class who when the end comes are in darkness concerning it, are unbelievers of God's testimony. This is also further stated by this same prophet (verse 3) "Behold, he that is unbelieving, his soul [understanding or mind] shall not be right in himself; [It will be because he is not right at heart,] but the just shall live in his faith [not slow to believe all that God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets.]
When we and others called attention in 1876 and 1877 to the presence of the Lord, and showed that it was taught by the revelations of God's word, we found few ready to believe our report, and many said, "Where is the promise of His presence?" The only answer we could then give them was, that they should examine the Scriptural evidences offered. But soon outward evidences appeared which corroborate the Scriptures: the railroad riots of 1878 came, and Socialism in Germany, Nihilism in Russia, and Communism in France, began to put on a bold front, and it became evident that the governments of the whole civilized world are resting on the very edge of a smoking volcano, which at any moment might burst forth and destroy them.
In their haste some supposed that all things concerning this day of the Lord, were to transpire immediately, but no, the apostle shows that its trouble will come like spasms, like great waves following each other, each bringing nearer the grand climax stated by the prophet: "I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the nations." (Hag. 2:22.)
These increasing spasms of trouble are referred to by the apostle under a striking illustration, when he says, it comes "As travail upon a woman," (1 Thes. 5:3, Psa. 48:6.) Indeed, the troubles of the day of the Lord are but the labor pains of the old, as the new dispensation is ushered into existence.
Just when men had almost forgotten the trouble of 1878 and Socialism, comes another pang—a semi-panic—but not as previous panics have been, severest on the poor, but the very opposite, severest on the rich; the millionaires are suffering now.
The prophet proceeds to describe this feature of the day of trouble, saying: "As wine deceiveth him that drinketh it, so shall the proud man be [deceived], and he shall not be honored who enlargeth his desire as the grave and is like DEATH, which cannot be satisfied though he [death] gather unto him all the nations and assemble unto him all the people." (Ver. 5.)
What a photograph of to-day: Once to be extremely wealthy was to be "honored," but we have reached the time mentioned by the prophet when such as have no limit to their greed for gain, but like the grave would endeavor to swallow all yet never be satisfied, "shall not be honored," but rather the reverse.
As knowledge increases throughout the world among the masses, they are coming not only to question the rights of kings, and to inquire how and why one man is supposed to be born with the right to command and rule another, his equal or superior in ability, but they are inquiring also, "How comes it that these millionaires roll in wealth which they not only cannot spend, but cannot even know how to stow away, while so many others, their intellectual, moral and physical equals, barely have life's necessities? Since money stands as the equivalent of service, and since the possessors of vast wealth have never rendered the world extraordinary service, the logical conclusion is that they accumulated the excess of their wealth dishonestly, i.e., without giving an equivalent service to the world for it.
This verdict of the people is expressed by the prophet also, (vs. 6,7,) "Shall not all these take up a parable against him and a dark speech concerning him? And it shall be said, Woe to him that heapeth together that which is not his own. How long also doth he load himself with thick clay? Shall they not rise up suddenly that shall bite thee; and they be stirred up that shall tear thee, and thou shalt be a spoil unto them?"
This calls to mind a New Testament prophecy which corresponds to the above: "Go to, now ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries which shall come upon you. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold the hire of the laborers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped have entered into the ears of the Lord of armies....Be patient, therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord." (James 5:1-8.)
This trouble upon the rich, it is expressly stated, will be among the events of the last days of this age; and not only so, but the apostle refers to it as taking place in the Day of the Lord—when he has come. And these circumstances now transpiring corroborate exactly the testimony of the Scripture—the vision "written and made plain upon tables," that we are now living (since 1875) in the beginning of the Day of the Lord.
All that is written of this day will not transpire at once, but each convulsive spasm will prepare for another until the climax is reached. The scriptural evidences of the Lord's presence were clear to some of us before these outward evidences commenced, and these only corroborate previous convictions, but as the Day of the Lord advances others who could not see it from the Scriptures will learn it from the transpiring events, until all—the rich men and the mighty men, and the poor men, the bondmen, and the free men, all, shall realize that "the great day of His wrath is come" and shall seek the protection of the great mountains (governments) and rocks (societies) to shield them from its trouble. (Rev. 6:15-17; Luke 23:30.)
Is it asked why the presence of the Prince of Peace should cause so much trouble? We answer that he is not only a peaceful governor, but a King of righteousness and there can be no true and lasting peace or happiness aside from principles of justice. In the establishment of his kingdom it is necessary to overthrow present kingdoms, because they are upheld by injustice and tyranny. For the same reason titles, and honors of birth, based upon fraud and injustice of the past ages, no less than the wealth and honor grasped dishonestly in our own day, must all fall under the condemnation of the new King who declares that the humble and lowly shall be exalted, and the proud and arrogant debased. During his reign, "the meek shall inherit the earth.
The present financial trouble among the rich is probably not yet ended, their weeping and howling will probably be yet greater, and it is not confined to this land alone, but seems to affect all the money centres of the world. Presently it will cease, to be succeeded by a still more severe trouble after another interval of rest.
Nor should we forget that the present prince, our Lord, is no more favorable to religious monopolies and boastful titles, etc., than to financial and political ones, and these shall no more than the others, escape destruction. The same proud and haughty spirit which leads the world to grasp titles and honor and to increase its wealth, has been and is leading the various sects of the nominal church; and the result to both is the same—"Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall." Let us not be deceived; it is the same spirit which boastfully says, Our denomination is building at the rate of one church a day and hopes soon to double this, which during the past month introduced into a conference for the election of Bishops, the trickery and wire-pulling of a political convention, in the endeavor of the various candidates to be greatest while making a show of In honor preferring one another.
Yes all these fraudulent earthly systems, each claiming to be the true church, shall lose the honor and prestige they so much covet. Their falsities and shams shall be disclosed in this day that shall try every man's work of what sort it is. It will be a blessed deliverance from a man-imposed yoke, to many of God's dear children who are now in these sects, and who are influenced and bound by [R622 : page 1] their theories and customs, mistaking the nominal churches of earth for the true church whose names are written in heaven, and whose law is the word of God and not of men.
Yes this liberty, religious, financial, and political, is what mankind needs and longs for. It is a precious boon, but the path by which it shall be gained is steep and thorny. The [R622 : page 2] overturning of present gigantic systems and monopolies, religious, financial, and political, by the new King in this His day, causes "a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation; no nor ever shall be. (Dan. 12:1; Matt. 24:21.)