WHAT seems at first glance the veriest trifle and wholly unrelated to the matter, has changed our conviction respecting the time when universal anarchy may be expected in accord with the prophetic numbers. We now expect that the anarchistic culmination of the great time of trouble which will precede the Millennial blessings will be after October, 1914 A.D.—very speedily thereafter, in our opinion—"in one hour," "suddenly."
Our readers familiar with the presentation of the subject given in MILLENNIAL DAWN, will recall that the date, October, 1914 A.D., is very sharply defined by two lines of evidence: (1) The Times of the Gentiles—2,520 years from the overthrow of the government of Zedekiah, the last typical king of the Jews, in 606 B.C.; and (2) the Parallels, both the length and various features of the Jewish and Gospel ages. We have found no flaw in either of these prophetic testimonies, nor do we believe that fault can be found with them along Scriptural lines by anybody. The matter that has just come to our attention is that in counting the forty years' harvest of the Jewish age, from October, A.D. 29, to October, A.D. 69, where the year 70 in Jewish reckoning began, we spoke of that harvest time as ending A.D. 70. This is a correct enough statement, because the full end of 69 A.D. is up to the beginning of 70 A.D. We pointed out that the parallels of time in the harvest of this Gospel age began October, 1874, and will end October, 1914—at the beginning of 1915, Jewish time.
All these matters stand just as they were—we have nothing to fault or to alter. But in a recent examination of the closing of the Jewish harvest, with a view to closer scrutiny as to what might be expected in the end of the present harvest of Christendom, we noticed that the actual fall of the Jewish polity was not at the beginning of A.D. 70, but towards its close, and at once we perceived that the forty-year harvest ending 69 A.D. closed before the destruction in its fullest sense came upon the typical people. Instantly we thought of the parallel here and perceived, as above stated, that our forty years' harvest, ending October, 1914 A.D., should not be expected to include the awful period of anarchy which the Scriptures point out to be the fate of Christendom. The matter seems so plain and simple now that we wonder that we or our many critical readers did not notice it long ago. The only plausible explanation is that in the divine will our eyes were holden for the time respecting this matter—possibly [R3389 : page 198] with a view to our expectations that the harvesting opportunities would sooner close, causing our consequent greater zeal in the service.
Looking back to the prophetic testimony respecting the Times of the Gentiles, we perceive that, although the Lord did not give to worldly governments a definite lease of power until 1914, nevertheless our Lord's words, "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be filled full," gives the intimation broadly enough that the determined times or years in which the empire of earth would be in the hands of Gentile governments was a fixed one from the divine standpoint. And if, as we believe the Scriptures to teach, Gentile domination was provided for up to October, 1914, it would seem but a reasonable interpretation that divine power for the overthrow of the kingdoms of this world would not be exercised to their dethronement until after the time allotted for their reign had ended—October, 1914.
True, it was to be in the times of these kings that the God of heaven would take from the mountain, without hands [not by human power], the little stone which should eventually smite the image in its feet. True, also, it was to be in the days of these last kings—represented in the toes of the image—that the God of heaven should set up his Kingdom, which should break in pieces and consume all; but the setting up of that Kingdom we understand has been in progress throughout this harvest time, especially since 1878, since which time we believe that all the overcomers of the Church who die faithful are changed "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye," and are immediately constituted members of the set-up Kingdom on the other side the veil. Quite probably this setting up will consume nearly or quite all of the forty years of harvest time apportioned to it; but in any event, the time for the smiting of the image in its feet will not come until October, 1914 A.D., however much trouble and distress of nations may result from the prior awakening of their peoples under the enlightening influences of the dawning of the Millennial morning. Already such distress or perplexity is felt in quarters national, financial and religious.
Our previous expectation was that the anarchistic period would last some three or four years, and in our mental calculations of the opportunities for harvest work, we naturally cut off those years, and the time thus appeared shorter to us. Now, however, we see clearly that for some of the Church there probably remain fully ten years of experience, opportunities, testings, victories, joys and sorrows. Each year, however, we may expect that the signs of the times will more and more demonstrate the accuracy of our expectations both for the Church and for the world. As already pointed out, the harvest dates shown us in the Scriptures are October, 1874, as the beginning of the harvest; April, 1878, as the parallel to our Lord's death; October, 1881, as the parallel to the termination of the special favor to natural Israelites in the sending of the Gospel to the Gentiles, Cornelius being the first; and October, 1914 A.D., as the end of the forty years' harvest. Any other dates than these are purely speculative. We have never set forth any other dates as being presented by the Scriptures. We did indeed call attention to the date suggested by one of the measurements through the upper step of the Great Pyramid's "Grand Gallery," but in conjunction with the suggestion we particularly intimated that it was merely speculative.
Our estimate of what may be reasonably looked for as the order of events in the next ten years is, of course, based upon what the Scriptures indicate to be coming, and is the result of our endeavor to put together these coming events in their seemingly logical order or sequence. We have already pointed out that the "symbolical image of the beast" began 1846.* We are now anxiously looking for the vitalizing of that image as foretold in Rev. 13:15. Our expectation is that this causing of the image to have life, speech and power will have its fulfilment in some pact or union or agreement amongst so-called Protestant denominations, with a sympathetic alliance and cooperation with the Church of Rome. Our expectation is that the spark of life to the organic union begun in the Evangelical Alliance will come from the Episcopal Church, which claims divine authority through apostolic succession—a claim which other Protestant denominations would be glad to be able to make. The Episcopal Church is quite ready to confer the spark of authority and vitality, and we opine that three or four more years will so greatly increase the tendency toward union and toward power amongst Protestants that they will be willing in some form to accept the so-called apostolic ordination and authority. If this be not accomplished by 1910, or evidently be very near to accomplishment at that time, we shall feel a measure of disappointment.
Meantime Socialism (which, although not so intended by its best and ablest leaders, is incipient anarchy, because even its best propositions would prove unworkable under present selfish conditions) will be making strong headway throughout Christendom, and will be causing more and more perplexity to the great, the rich, the mighty, the wise, the influential, according to the course of this world. The quickened "image" will be closely related to the chief captains
*See Millennial Dawn, Vol. III., p. 119. [R3390 : page 199] of industry, finance and politics, and the dread of Socialism and irreligion and anarchy will draw them more and more closely together and make each the more energetic in support of the other.
As a result of these conditions we may expect an increasing disregard of the rights and constitutional prerogatives of all who are not directly active supporters of the powers that be, political, financial and religious. The freedom of speech and freedom to circulate literature will be greatly abridged, under the plea that such abridgment is necessary for the public welfare, which in some respects will be the truth. Anything not fully in line with the rulers of that time will be reckoned as in opposition; and notwithstanding our disposition for peace, and our good will toward all men of all classes and stations, the WATCH TOWER publications will probably come under the ban with those of Socialism—though their teachings be as opposite as the poles. The period following will seemingly be the time when the door will be closing—and opportunities for service will be increasingly diminished, though opportunities for suffering for the Truth's sake may increase.
The lesson to us each and all seems to be that during the next five or six years we should labor with intensified zeal, because we know that the night is coming wherein no man can labor. How glad we are that in divine providence our lot has fallen in the present time! How glad we are that our eyes have seen and our ears heard the precious messages peculiar to this time! How glad we are that we are permitted even at this "eleventh hour" to engage in the harvest work! How glad we are for the prospect of continued opportunities for service—a little longer than we had previously supposed! How glad we are that, no matter how infinitesimal our talents and opportunities may be, the great Reaper deigns to use us still as his co-laborers, and has provided various instruments by which even the smallest, the weakest, the humblest, may through tracts or books or otherwise engage in the wonderful opportunities of the harvest of this age.
In answer to many inquiries respecting the progress of the work, we take this opportunity of assuring the dear co-laborers that it is progressing greatly. The Volunteers are very energetic and we are continually noting favorable results: some of the Lord's truth-hungry sheep are being found and revived; the Colporteurs are finding more and more a readiness to hear as the people awaken to the fact that their theological professors and ministers and many of the membership of the various denominations are drifting farther and farther from faith in God and in his Book. As the chasm between faith and unbelief widens and deepens, as the higher critics become more and more bold, and the evolutionists more and more assertive, the true sheep are getting to listen more and more attentively for the Shepherd's voice, and to realize that they have been following to some extent false guides and have been too careless of the voice of the Shepherd. Now is the time for reaching these hungry sheep, who if not speedily nourished with the Truth will fall into the evolution theories and the higher critical pit of infidelity.