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THE SIGNS OF CHRIST'S SECOND COMING OR THE SIGNS OF THE KINGDOM--WHICH?
TEXT OF ADDRESS BY V.T. HOUTEFF, MINISTER OF DAVIDIAN 7TH-DAY ADVENTISTS SABBATH, JANUARY 22, 1949 MT. CARMEL CHAPEL WACO, TEXAS
We as students and gospel teachers have for years dwelt heavily on the signs of Christ's second coming, but not at all on the signs of the Kingdom. As a result of this, Christendom has theoretically merged the signs of the Kingdom with the signs of the second Advent.
Something similar to this is what the Jews of old did when they were expecting the Messiah's first appearing. According to their private understanding they deeply studied the signs of the restoration of the Kingdom, but not so much of the signs of the Messiah's coming. Thus it was that when they were told that the Messiah had come but not the time to restore the Kingdom, the leaders of the Jews, taking for granted that their private (uninspired) interpretation of the Scriptures was infallible, rejected the message of that day. Then in an attempt to safeguard their influence upon the common people and to subjugate them to their way of thinking, they crucified the Lord, their Saviour and King as they did also kill the prophets who went before Him. Their insistence that the Kingdom be restored in their day, though, profited them nothing.
The fact that Christendom itself is divided and confused, one believing one thing and another something else, is in itself sufficient evidence that besides being in total darkness of the signs of the Kingdom because of private interpretation of the Scriptures, Christendom must be in darkness of many other things as well. In such a confused state of faith, Christendom is definitely no more led by the Spirit of Truth than were the rebellious Jews. Past experience teaches, however, that to try to convince the multitude of this fact would be as formidable a task as to convince the Jews even to this day that Christ is the Messiah that was to come. The difficulty, of course, lies in the fact that hardly a theologian allows for the possibility that his understanding of the Bible might be at least in a measure erroneous, and that Inspiration might almost at any moment manifest Itself anew, unroll the scroll and bring forth timely Truth, "meat in due season," and thus expose their private concoctions of so-called tuth.
Now with all respect and sincerity, by the authority of the Scriptures and by virtue of the facts before me, I say that it would be easier for a chicken to find its roost in the blackest of the night than for uninspired mind to unveil the prophecies and the parables. The difference between the two is that the chicken realizes the futility of trying to find her roost after sunset, but the self-willed man does not realize that he cannot unveil Truth at his own will and without light from above.
We as Christians have obviously failed to note that if the secret things of God, matter not how simple, were
to be unsealed at anytime by anyone, Inspiration would never in the first place have concealed them in symbols and parables. Christendom is still blind to the fact that to attempt to break into the mysteries of God would be to attempt to defeat His purposes; yes, to try to break into the Divine code, is to try the impossible. For example, even when the time did come for the Book sealed with seven seals to be unsealed (Rev. 4 and 5), no one in heaven or on earth was able to do so, but only "the Lion of the tribe of Judah" could break the seals and look into the things which afterwards were shown to John, the Revelator. And though John wrote them, he himself could not before time explain them. Then how can we do such before time and without the Inspiration of the same Spirit Who indicted them? The Word of God plainly warns:
2 Pet. 1:19-21 -- "We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."
No one, say the Scriptures, can privately (without Inspiration) unfold the prophecies, for, reasons the Apostle, as prophecy came not by private effort -- not by the will of men, but by holy men and the Spirit -- neither can it therefore be of private interpretation, but only by holy men led by the Holy Spirit. Moreover, even
after prophecy is thus interpreted, only to the righteous (the penitent) is given the gift of understanding it (Dan. 12:10).
Since we as a people know some of the signs of Christ's second coming, and none of the signs of the Kingdom, we had better now concentrate on the signs of the latter.
Matt. 13:24-30 -- "Another parable put He forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the Householder came and said unto Him, Sir, didst not Thou sow good seed in Thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto Him, Wilt Thou then that we go and gather them up? But He said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into My barn."
This parable of the Kingdom, you note, contains three periods of time: First, the period of sowing the seed -- the time of Christ's ministry; second, the period of growing -- the time from the ascension of Christ to the harvest; third, the time of harvest -- a short period of
time "at the end of the world" (Matt. 13:49), the period in which the earth is lightened with the glory of the angel (Rev. 18:1), and in which all God's people are called out of Babylon (Rev. 18:4). Then those who did not respond to this gathering call will cry out: "The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved." Jer. 8:20. The "harvest," therefore, is "the end of the world." Matt. 13:49. It commences in the church and ends in Babylon.
The work of the harvest, very obviously, is synonymous with the Judgment that decides who are tares and who are wheat--who are to be burned and destroyed as noxious weeds, and who are as precious wheat to be admitted into "the barn," the Kingdom. Thus it is that the Judgment is the cleansing of the sanctuary (Dan. 8:14), "the house of God," the temple to which the Lord suddenly comes and purifies His servants, the Levites. Here is the way the latter scripture reads:
Mal. 3:1-3, 5 -- "Behold, I will send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me: and the Lord, Whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap: and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.... And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift
witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not Me, saith the Lord of hosts."
How many yields of fruit is the harvest to give? -- If the 144,000 are the "first fruits" (Rev. 14:4), then there must be "second fruits," for where there is no second there can be no first. The word "firstfruits" absolutely necessitates second fruits.
Where do the first fruits come from, and where do the second fruits come from? -- We are plainly told that the first fruits are Israelites -- all from the twelve tribes of Israel (Rev. 7:4-8). Israel certainly stands for the church membership at the time they are sealed; the title "Israel" cannot be construed to mean the world. The firstfruits, therefore, are harvested from the church itself at the time the separation begins. The word "sealed" means placed in a safe place -- sealed. This is exactly what the apostle Peter says:
1 Pet. 4:17, 18 -- "For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?"
Now, then, if the Judgment begins first in the "house of God," in the church, then it will end in the world, outside the church circles. The parable of the "net"
and the Revelation of John very briefly and concisely bring this truth still better to the surface.
Matt. 13:47-50 -- "Again, the Kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."
Clearly, the net represents the gospel church into which are caught both hypocrite and saint. Accordingly, in the time of the firstfruit harvest (the Judgment "in the house of God") "at the end of the world" (Matt. 13:49), the angels sever the wicked from among the just, not the just from among the wicked. But in the second fruit harvest (the Judgment in the world) the separation is the reverse: the just are taken out from among the wicked, not the wicked from among the just, so says The Revelation: "And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." Rev. 18:4. Plainly, the Judgment "in the house of God" is the harvest in which the hypocrites as "tares" are burned, but as bad "fish" they are cast out. In the Judgment in Babylon (in the world), though, not the bad, but the good are taken out and brought into the purified house of God where there is no sin and no sinner, and where there is no danger of the lagues. This same truth concerning the house of God again
comes to us in these words:
Isa. 66:15, 16, 19, 20 -- "For, behold, the Lord will come with fire, and with His chariots like a whirlwind, to render His anger with fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by His sword will the Lord plead with all flesh: and the slain of the Lord shall be many....And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard My fame, neither have seen My glory; and they shall declare My glory among the Gentiles. And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the Lord out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to My holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the Lord, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the Lord."
Again we here see that those who escape the slaying of the Lord "in the house of God" (obviously the firstfruits, "the servants of God"), are sent to the nations who know not God, and from there they bring all their brethren (the second fruits) to the purified house of God where there is neither sin nor sinner, and where the plagues of Babylon therefore do not fall.
We have now positively seen that there are first and second fruits: one from the church -- the 144,000 sons of Jacob; and one from all nations -- the great multitude which no man can number (Rev. 7:9).
Who gathers the firstfruits if the firstfruits gather the second fruits? -- Let us find our answer by reading--
Rev. 14:14-19 -- "And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud One sat like unto the Son of man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in Thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for Thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And He that sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped. And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to Him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in Thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in His sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God."
Here we are again told that there are two reapings, one by the Son of Man, and another by an angel. The reaping by the Son of Man precedes the reaping by the angel. "Son of Man," therefore, gathers the firstfruits, and the angel gathers the second fruits. (The vines, not the fully ripe grapes, he casts in the wine press.) The Son of Man Himself obviously reaps the firstfruits because His servants (figuratively the angel of the church of the Laodiceans) are in no condition to do such a work, for they themselves are "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked," and know it not (Rev. 3:14-18).
Looking down to this very time, the Spirit of Prophecy in Isaiah's day said:
Isa. 63:5 -- "And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore Mine own arm brought salvation unto Me; and My fury, it upheld Me."
Here you note that when the time came there was not even one among His servants "to uphold" the work of the harvest, and consequently the Lord Himself did the work without them.
For the second reaping, however, He uses His guileless "servants," the "firstfruits," the 144,000, as prefigured by the angel with the sharp sickle (Rev. 14:17, 18). And just as there are two fruits and two reapings from two different places, the church and the world, there are, as shown before, also two ways of harvesting: at first the bad are cast from among the good, and at last the good are called out from among the bad.
These are some of the signs and events that precede the Kingdom of glory, the second coming of Christ. Then, too, there are other signs, the first of which is seen from the parable of Matthew 25.
Matt. 25:1-12 -- "Then shall the Kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and
went forth to meet the Bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the Bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the Bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with Him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But He answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not."
In this parable it is seen that the church is likened to ten virgins, five of whom do not avail themselves of extra oil -- special Truth for this time, that is, these five do not give heed to the truth of the Judgment of the living, the separation or purification of the church. When the cry is made, "Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him," all ten virgins see that the light of their lamps is going out; they see that the message of the Judgment of the dead is passing. Quickly then, the five wise virgins refill their lamps with the extra oil which they have stored in their vessels, and go on to meet the Bridegroom. But the five foolish virgins, those who thought there was no need for extra oil, no need for an extra message, the message of the Judgment
of the living, find themselves in gross darkness. Yes, they find themselves without the light which the message of the Judgment of the living unfolds. Upon discovering their foolish neglect, they rush to obtain oil, light on the subject, but in the meantime the door has been shut (probationary time for the virgins, the church, has closed). When they call for admission they are politely told by the Lord Himself, "I know you not."
The sign of the coming Kingdom which this parable brings forth, is obviously the special message (the extra oil) which announces the Judgment of the living, the message which awakens the open-hearted Truth seekers, and which dooms its opposers, the hypocrites and lukewarm in the church -- those who are satisfied and think themselves rich and increased with goods, in need of nothing (in need of no timely Truth), those who never awake to the fact that they are absolutely destitute. Mind you, these are not my words, read what the Lord says to Laodicea:
Rev. 3:14-18 -- "And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and
white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see."
Another view of this tragic truth is given in--
Luke 14:16-24 -- "Then said He unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: and sent His servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. So that servant came, and shewed his Lord these things. Then the Master of the house being angry said to His servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as Thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the Lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that My house may be filled. For I say untoyou, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of My supper."
In this parable are seen two periods of time. The first period is while the gospel has "bade many" (Luke 14:16) to the marriage supper, the time from the Apostles to the time of His last servant with the last message
God sends to His people, the time all things are "ready." The next period is the time in which His last servant served (Luke 14:17). This servant is sent, we are told, at "supper time," at the end of the day, indicating that he bears the last message. Moreover, he is at first sent to those who have previously been "bidden"; that is, to those who were already in the gospel truth, in the church. At the outset he is to contact a class of people deeply engrossed with the cares of this life, and is to tell them that "all things are now ready," that if they wish they can now prepare and go to the wedding, there to enjoy the Bridegroom's banquet. This is the last call for the supper.
But what happens? -- They excuse themselves from having anything to do with the banquet just then. Some lay the blame on their professions, while others blame having to make a living for the family. Whereupon the Master of the house angrily sends His servant to the poor and to the afflicted, to those who are hungry and not too busy to take heed, to those who are not so encumbered with business and home that they cannot answer His call. This very thing takes place in the "city" proper -- the church. The poor, those who realize that they are not "rich and increased with goods," come in, but still there is room for more.
Then it is that the Lord of that servant commands that he should go after those who are on the highways and hedges -- those outside the church circles, even to the ends of the earth (the "hedges"). But before the servant goes to the highways and hedges on his last
mission, the Master emphatically informs him that those who had been bidden and who excused themselves from coming in, are to be entirely excluded from the banquet; that none of them will be permitted even to taste of His supper; that by turning a deaf ear to the call these have closed their own probationary time, and that there is now nothing that can alter the situation. After this the servant's compelling cry goes out to the nations and the Master's house is filled, the wedding takes place, and the Bridegroom serves all that are in the house, but none others.
This same event is again given from another point of view. This time by the gospel prophet:
Isa. 52:1, 2 -- "Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean. Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion."
This particular prophecy discloses that while the church, Jerusalem and Zion, is asleep and naked with the unclean in her midst, and in captivity among the Gentiles (away from her own land), an awakening cry, a message, comes urging her to arise and put on her beautiful garments, for the wicked, declares the cry, will no more come into her, for they are to be utterly cut off.
The signs of the Kingdom, you see, are even more important for one to observe than are the signs of Christ's coming. If one should miss the signs of the Kingdom, then the knowledge of the signs of Christ's coming would profit nothing, for all such will be frightened at His appearing and say "to the mountains and rocks. Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?" Rev. 6:16, 17.
Are the efforts to set up the pre-millennial Kingdom -- the purified church -- accompanied by great signs and wonders, by noise and pomp? To this question the Lord answers--
Matt. 13:31-33 -- "The Kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof. Another parable spake He unto them; The Kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened."
Zech. 4:6 -- "Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit, saith the Lord of hosts."
Not a blast or a boom, and not a bust either, but the plain, quiet Truth, Brothers, Sisters, is what saves you and brings the Kingdom into being.
What is this pre-millennial Kingdom like? And what other signs precede its establishment? The answer to this question comes through Ezekiel--
Ezek. 36:23-28 -- "And I will sanctify My great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, saith the Lord God, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put My spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be My people, and I will be your God."
Here are additional signs, signs which are displayed within and without the man himself: the scars and defects which sin has written upon the bodies of God's people are washed away; also the sin-hardened heart is carved out of them and a new, tender heart that delights in keeping God's statutes and judgments, is set in.
When does this take place? -- After God takes His saints "from among the heathen," "out of all countries,"
and brings them into their "own land," say the Scriptures. Thus shall they dwell in the land that God anciently gave to their fathers, and thus shall they be His people and He their God. Here you see that no one can meet God face to face and live with Him eternally without first having this body-cleansing and heart-changing experience.
Very evidently none who remain ignorant of these signs of the coming Kingdom will have this experience and consequently shall never enter into it, never be fitted to live and reign with Christ.
Since these signs are so vital to salvation, they should no longer be overlooked, but should receive first consideration if we expect Christ's second coming to be for our good, not to our damnation. Indeed, for this obvious reason it is at this late hour this important message is brought to our attention.
This great Truth is again foretold in the words of Zechariah--
Zech. 12:5-14; 13:1-5 -- "And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the Lord of hosts their God. In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem. The Lord also shall save the tents of
Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah.
"In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon Me Whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
"In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon. And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart; all the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart....
"In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness. And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no
more be remembered: and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land. And it shall come to pass, that when any shall yet prophesy, then his father and his mother that begat him shall say unto him, Thou shalt not live; for thou speakest lies in the name of the Lord: and his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesieth. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the prophets shall be ashamed every one of his vision, when he hath prophesied; neither shall they wear a rough garment to deceive: but he shall say, I am no prophet, I am an husbandman; for man taught me to keep cattle from my youth."
The revival and reformation herein presented -- mourning and heart searching caused by appreciativeness of God's great mercy and goodness -- shall be in the day the governors of Judah say, "The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength," in the day the Lord makes even the most feeble among them as David, and the house of David as God, as the angel of the Lord.
When this thorough reformation takes place then the cleansing fountain shall be opened to the whole house of David. In that day the wicked shall be cut off and kept out of the house of David, and the false teachers, "prophets," shall feel ashamed of having ever taught their private interpretations of the Scriptures. Then shall men fully realize that though they could be taught by men to keep cattle, yet no man could teach them to prophesy; that this office is restricted to the Spirit of Prophecy, that no prophecy of the Scriptures is of
Is this cleansing, heaven-fitting pre-millennium Kingdom, set up in probationary time? -- To find our answer we shall turn to the prophecy of Micah--
Micah 3:12; 4:1, 2 -- "Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of the forest.... But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem."
Here we are told that in the latter days, in our time, the ancient Kingdom that was destroyed will be reestablished and exalted above all other Kingdoms. Then people shall "flow into it" because "the law shall go forth of Zion, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem." The gospel work, therefore, is to be finished while its headquarters stand in the Holy Land. Thus the Kingdom is set up in probationary time, in time of salvation and judicial purification, for after it is set up other people from many nations flow into it.
This is what the Bible says, and certain it is that
this is what is to be, for not even the Devil can defeat God's plans or cheat His people. Oh, yes, the Devil will try to explain away what these Scriptures say, but he can never make them say something other than what they do say. Besides, anyone taking the Devil's word in preference to God's, deserves the Devil's reward, and I am sure he will not be cheated out of it.
Since these signs of the times, in addition to others, are of far greater importance than the "Lisbon earthquake," "the dark day," and "the falling stars," we had better awake to the demand which they impose upon us, and which are bound to fit us for the second coming of Christ and for a home in His Kingdom if heeded. But if these signs cannot awaken us, then it is positive that they will cause us to slide down into the bottomless pit while dreaming of being rich and increased with goods, in need of nothing, supposedly on the way to the glory land. What a disappointment and what weeping and gnashing of teeth that would be!
Who is to drive the Gentiles out of the land? -- The answer is in
Zech. 1:14-17, 20, 21 -- "So the angel that communed with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy. And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease: for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction. Therefore thus saith the Lord; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: My house shall be built in it, saith the Lord of
hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem. Cry yet, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad; and the Lord shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem.... And the Lord shewed me four carpenters. Then said I, What come these to do? And He spake, saying, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, so that no man did lift up his head: but these are come to fray them, to cast out the horns of the Gentiles, which lifted up their horn over the land of Judah to scatter it."
Obviously one part of the Gentile nations shall come against the part that is in the Holy Land, and chase them out to make room for God's people. Then will the Lord's feet stand on Mount Olives and the Mount shall cleave in the midst thereof and make therein a very great valley. Thus shall the Lord open the way for His people to flee there to the "valley" where the Lord's feet stand, and all the saints with them (Zech. 14:4, 5).
This truth, you see, supersedes all truths, for without it your other truths will not profit you, will not take you into the Kingdom. It is the last mile of all the miles of our faith through life that takes us Home. We have gone this long; let us, therefore, keep on going right on to glory land, which is no longer beyond the horizon. The mile ahead is indeed the last mile that will take us Home.