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OUR recent visit to Europe revealed no more unrest amongst the people than our previous one. Indeed, we were surprised to find so many evidences of prosperity everywhere and so few manifestations of violent discontent. Some residents confirmed this view, while others thought that there is a deep undercurrent of discontent not manifest on the surface. Our readers know that for some years we have been expecting this Age to close with an awful time of trouble, and we expect it to break out with suddenness and force not long after October, 1914, which, so far as we can understand the Scriptures, is the date at which the Times of the Gentiles—the lease of earth's dominions to the Gentiles—will expire; the time, therefore, when Messiah's Kingdom will be due to begin its exercise of power, which the Scriptures declare will dash the nations in pieces as a potter's vessel. By that time we think the Scriptures indicate that the Church will be complete and will have passed beyond the second veil into the "most holy" and to perfection of spirit nature by a share in the First Resurrection. Nevertheless, how this is all to come about, as we have heretofore declared, is not plain to us—how it will be that all of the Church class will die before that date, changed in the moment of their dying, "in the twinkling of an eye."
But while considering these perplexities, and considering [R4822 : page 157] also the fact that we have no fault to find with the chronological features of the Bible, our mind is directed to an old Scripture which suddenly seems to have a new importance. We refer to the statement, "I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree....Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads."—Rev. 7:1-3.
We have long seen that these symbolic winds represent strife, anarchy, the great time of trouble which is held in check by Divine power until the completion of the harvest work—the sealing of the living members of the elect class with Present Truth. We long ago pointed out that these four winds, let loose, coming together, will constitute a whirlwind, which is the symbolical figure used in the Bible to represent the great time of trouble approaching. And this whirlwind corresponds to the typical one by which Elijah, the prototype of the Church, was taken away. Winds also represent false doctrines.—Ephesians 4:14.
Nothing that we see further contradicts any of the foregoing, but rather, corroborating it, throws a light upon it. The additional thought is that these winds or powers of the air, held in restraint, represent the fallen angels, whose Prince is Satan, "the Prince of the power of the air." Our thought is that the evil angels would long ago have done injury to the symbolical earth, sea and trees, had it not been for the restraint of Divine power. Symbolically, the earth represents organized society; the sea represents the disorganized masses, and the trees [R4823 : page 157] represent the household of faith. The letting loose suddenly of the fallen angels will account well for the suddenness of the coming trouble, which everywhere in the Scriptures is one of its particular features—"in one hour"; "suddenly as travail upon a woman"; "as it was in the days of Noah," and "as it was in the days of Lot."
Again there is a resemblance between the days of Noah and the days of Lot, not merely in respect to the suddenness of the calamity which came, but also in regard to the violence and licentiousness of those periods. Already human prejudice and passions are manifesting a heat such as never before was known—and this, notwithstanding the much greater provision of army and police regulations for the control of society. If discontent, selfishness, passion, frenzy, can sway mankind under present conditions, what may we expect when the "powers of the air" shall be allowed to gain a temporary liberty for the very purpose of manifesting the evil tendencies of the unregenerate heart; for the very purpose of demonstrating that no liberty can bring true happiness, except that which is in full accord with the Divine requirement?