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"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace, that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!" Isa. 52:7
IN view of all the evidences presented in this and the preceding volumes of this work, we have no hesitancy in proclaiming to the Lord's loyal and faithful people, his beloved Zion, this glorious intelligence: "Thy God Reigneth!" The oft-repeated prayer of the Church has been answered: the Kingdom of God has indeed come. In the days of the present kings of earth, before their lease of dominion expires, it is being set up. The dead in Christ are even now risen and exalted with our Lord and Head. And the "feet" members of the body of Christ, who still tarry in the flesh, catching the inspiration of the glorified throng who have already ascended into the mount (kingdom) of God, reflect a measure of that transcendent glory, as did Moses when he came down from Mount Sinai. The faces of these messengers shine with that heavenly joy which fills their hearts and overflows their lips as they commune together and with the Lord, and go heralding to every nation (mountain) the good tidings of Immanuel's reign begun. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him (the feet of the [C302] Christ) that bringeth good tidings of Millennial joy and peace, assuring Zion that the reign of our Lord is begun!
Wonderful truths are these! the Kingdom of God in process of setting up; the Lord Jesus and the risen saints already here and engaged in the great harvest work, with whom we also, as members of that honored body, as the "feet of him," though still in the flesh, are permitted to be co-workers, to herald the good tidings among men and to apprise them of the significance of the wonderful and troublous events which must prepare the way for and introduce the glorious reign of righteousness.
These are they of whom the prophets foretold, saying, "The Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints"; "The Lord, my God, shall come, and all the saints with thee"; "The Son of Man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels [the saints, his holy messengers] with him"; "A fiery stream [symbolic of severe judgments—a time of trouble] issued and came forth from before him; thousand thousands ministered unto him [not only of his saints, but of numerous other agents and agencies], and ten thousand times ten thousand [all mankind] stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened." Jude 14; Zech. 14:5; Matt. 25:31; Dan. 7:10
Such is the present situation: the great Judge has come—not as at the first advent, in a body of humiliation, for sacrifice, but in the plenitude of his power as a spirit being, clothed with the glory of divine authority, as the representative of Jehovah, completely and forever to put down evil and all unrighteousness, and to restore all who will of the redeemed race to harmony with God, perfection of being and lasting life. The plan of God is now made manifest: we are made to understand it now as never before. The opening of the books of the divine revelation will soon be completed. The judgment of the world is already commencing [C303] upon the institutions of nominal Christendom, and the great work thus begun in a manner unsuspected by the world will progress to the grand consummation foretold by the Lord and the apostles and prophets, until all the world shall be led to look upon the pierced One as the Redeemer and Deliverer sent of God, even as the saints have long been "looking unto Jesus" as the author and finisher of their faith.* The reckoning or judgment which begins with the Church will quickly spread to and include all the living nations; and in due time and order all the mighty hosts of the dead shall be brought upon the scene.
While the glorified members of the Kingdom beyond the veil are doing a work in shaping the current of present events and preparing for the glorious reign, those on this side the veil have also an important work. It is their mission to gather together the elect and to seal them in the forehead (intellectually) with the knowledge of the truth (Rev. 7:3); to separate the wheat from the tares with the sickle of present truth; and to proclaim unto Zion this important message—"Thy God reigneth!" This work, too, is going rapidly forward, and all the faithful, sealed ones are in turn busily engaged in sealing others; and soon the great work will be accomplished—the elect all gathered and glorified.
Blessed was the promise to the early members of the Church, that he whom they saw go away should indeed come again; and blessed has been the hope of his appearing all through the age to the tried and persecuted, faithful ones, who anxiously looked for his coming until they fell asleep with the prospect of awaking in his likeness; but still more blessed are your eyes, O ye saints of today; for your eyes see and your ears hear the signs of the presence of the long-looked-for Hope of Israel.
While in nominal Zion, as the Prophet Isaiah predicted, the sinners who have forgotten or failed to keep their covenant with the Lord are afraid of the dark clouds that obscure the brightness of his face, and fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites, true Zion with eyes of faith sees the King in his beauty, and beholds the land that is yet far off—the land of corn and wine, the glorious inheritance into which this mighty King and great Deliverer has come to lead the fallen race—a land wherein the inhabitants shall not say, I am sick; for the people that dwell therein shall be one whose iniquity is forgiven. Isa. 33:14,17,24
That glorious land, that Paradise restored, we now clearly discern beyond the vista of a thousand years; and with joy and singing, under the leadership of this greater Prophet than Moses, who is even now in our midst, shall the triumphant hosts of the redeemed be led along the grand highway of holiness toward that fair land of rest from sin and death and every evil thing.
"O, sing unto the Lord, ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness. For his anger [which must necessarily be manifested in the great trouble that will soon overwhelm the world] endureth but a moment. In his favor is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." And soon the chastened and converted world shall catch the strain of praise and sing, "Thou hast turned my mourning into dancing; thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness, to the end that my glory may sing praise to thee and never be silent. O Lord, my God, I will give thanks unto thee forever." Psa. 30:4,5,11,12
Now call to mind the steps, well founded in the "sure word of prophecy," by which we have come to this heart-cheering and soul-stirring knowledge. Behind us are all the prophetic landmarks which point to this time as the most [C305] wonderful period in all the history of the world. They have shown us that since 1873 we have been living in the seventh millennium; that the lease of Gentile dominion, "The Times of the Gentiles," will expire with the year 1914; and that the advent of him whose right it is to take the dominion was due in 1874. They have shown us that in the days of these Gentile kings, before their lease of power expires, the God of heaven will set up a Kingdom, and that the setting up of that Kingdom has actually been in progress since the year 1878; that there the resurrection of all the dead in Christ was due; and that therefore, since that date, not only is our Lord and Head invisibly present in the world, but all these holy messengers are also with him. And observe, further, that this date of the resurrection of the dead in Christ parallels the date of the resurrection of the Head of the body. Our Lord's resurrection occurred three and a half years after his advent as the Messiah, in A.D. 29; and the resurrection of his body, the Church, we have seen, was due in the year 1878, three and a half years after his second advent, in October 1874.
Prophecy has also indicated the manner of our Lord's return, so that, though he is present, we should not expect to see either him or the risen saints, who are now in his likeness except by the eye of faith—faith in the "sure word of prophecy"; though we have learned that those who now constitute "the feet of Christ" shall also shortly be changed to the same glorious likeness. They shall then be spirit beings, like him, Christ, and like all the risen saints who are now with him, and will in due time see him as he is. (1 John 3:2) We have also seen that the coming of the foretold Elias and of the predicted Man of Sin, which were to precede his advent, are accomplished facts.
We have marked, too, the fixed dates to which the Prophet Daniel calls attention. The 2,300 days point to 1846 as the time when God's sanctuary would be cleansed [C306] of the defiling errors and principles of Papacy; and we have noted the cleansing there accomplished. We have noted the fulfilment of the 1,260 days, or the time, times and half a time, of Papacy's power to persecute, and the beginning there, in 1799, of the Time of the End. We have seen how the 1,290 days marked the beginning of an understanding of the mysteries of prophecy in the year 1829, culminating in the great movement of 1844 known as the Second Advent movement, when, according to the Lord's prediction, the wise virgins went forth to meet the Bridegroom, thirty years prior to his actual coming. We have seen the fulfilment of the predicted tarrying; and for fifteen years the midnight cry, "Behold the Bridegroom!" has gone forth. We have marked with special delight the 1,335 days, pointing, as they do, to 1874 as the exact date of our Lord's return; and we have since that time experienced the very blessedness promised—through the clearer unfoldings of the wonderful mysteries of the divine plan.
Then we have seen the great harvest work, in its appointed time and order, beginning in the autumn of the year 1874, gradually and silently, but rapidly, progressing. We have marked the bundling and binding of the tares, and the gathering of the wheat. And what blessing and joy come to us in the assurance that since the summer of 1878, when the King took his great power and began his reign by the resurrection of those who slept in Jesus, it is no longer needful that his members should "sleep" and wait for glory, but that for each the moment of finishing his course in death is the moment of the joyful "change" to the full perfection of the divine nature and likeness. Indeed, "blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth" forever. They rest from their labors, but their works continue; for the work on the other side the veil is the same work in which all the overcomers are engaged on this side the veil; except that [C307] with those who have entered into the glory of the divine nature, the work is no longer laborious, and no longer costs fatiguing sacrifice.
In addition to all this, we see the beginnings of the return of divine favor to fleshly Israel already manifested in the beginning of a turning away of their blindness and prejudice against Christ Jesus, in the opening up of the land of promise and their expulsion from other lands, and also in the returning fruitfulness of Palestine itself. These outward signs alone, aside from all prophetic dates and times, would be strong evidences that we are living in the close of the age appointed for the selection of the Church or Kingdom class, because of the positive assurance of the Scriptures that their blindness and cast-off condition would continue only until the members of the body of Christ had been selected.
Standing thus, as we do, at this late date in the Time of the End, and in the very midst of the harvest of the age, and looking forward for the settlement of all the complicated questions of these feverish times within the brief space of the next twenty-three years, how solemn and intense are the feelings of those who have faith in the sure word of prophecy. The momentous and perplexing questions which will culminate in the great trouble, of which Daniel forewarns us, are now agitating the public mind, and are fast approaching the terrible crisis. But this great crisis of the "day of vengeance" and "wrath" upon the nations we must leave for consideration in the succeeding volume, as the subject is too large and too important for our present space. But let us rejoice in the fact that beyond the trouble, and even beyond the helpful discipline of the reign of Christ, we see the glorious land of rest, the blessed and eternal inheritance of a redeemed and restored race.
Wonderful times indeed are these, yet few heed the sure word of prophecy; and consequently the future is viewed by most men only from the standpoint of present indications. Men see the rapidly gathering clouds, but can know nothing of their silver lining except from the Word of God.
Yes, dear Redeemer and Lord, we recognize thy beloved presence, and rejoice in the evidences of the establishment of thy gracious Kingdom in this our day. Our hearts overflow with gratitude as we see the converging rays of divine testimony—from the law, the prophets, the apostles and thine own hitherto dark sayings, and even from the long-hidden mysteries of Egypt's wonderful "Witness"—now drawn to a glorious focus showing thy believing followers that the glorious day is soon to break, although clouds and thick darkness yet obscure thy glory from all eyes except the eyes of faith of thy betrothed. In this radiant focal light, gem after gem of thy precious truth now gleams with a luster hitherto unknown, and thy majestic presence is reflected by them all.
"Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness." "O, clap your hands, all ye people: shout unto your God with the voice of triumph; for the Lord most high is a great King over all the earth."