(G. B. Thompson twice assures his readers that Jesus must return in their generation. I have highlighted those assurances. Also, this essay provides a concise summary of the prophecies of Christ’s return.)
Christ’s Return at Hand.
By G. B. Thompson.
THE Lord is coming. This stupendous event, the most sublime of the ages, is near at hand; it hasteth greatly. The second coming of Christ is the great central truth of God’s Word. Without it our hope is vain, and the believers of every nation and all ages are perished. The glorious doctrine of the coming of the King has cheered many a fainting heart, and buoyed up the footsteps of many a weary pilgrim, journeying toward the celestial city.
All the holy seers since the world began have spoken of the coming of our divine Lord. It is upon this tremendous and gJorious event that all the prophecies focus. That we might not err, and might have strong confidence and hope regarding the certainty of this supreme hour, we are prophetically brought down again and again through the rise and fall of earth’s mighty empires till the end. And as the prophets, with unerring pen, describe the passing of the proud and ambitious kingdoms of this earth into the tomb and dust of time, they point us beyond the din of conflict and the dismantling of empires to the everlasting kingdom of our Lord which “cannot be shaken,” but which will stand forever.
The Great Image of Daniel 2.
In Daniel 2 is presented in outline the history of the world from the days of Babylon till the end oftime. The symbol used is that of an image, whose head was of gold, breast and arms of silver, sides of brass, legs of iron, and feet of iron and clay. The image is smitten upon the feet by a stone cut out with- out hand, and broken to pieces, becoming like the chaff of the threshing-floor swept before the wind.
The four universal kingdoms of earth—Babylon, Medo-Persia, Grecia, and Rome—are here symbolised, beginning with Babylon, 607 B.C., and ending with the division of Rome into ten parts between the years 356 and 483 A.D. The fifth universal kingdom —the kingdom of God—is symbolised by the stone. This kingdom is to be established in the days of ” these kings,” that is, the days of the ten kings, the division of which was symbolised by the mixture of clay and iron.
Where do we stand in this line of prophecy? Babylon, Medo-Persia, Grecia, and Rome have passed away; the dust of ages rests upon their tomb, and for over fourteen centuries the world has been living in the feet of the image, weak and divided, waiting for the stone to smite, and the everlasting kingdom of the Most High to be established. Surely it behooves us to be ready to meet the King of kings.
The Symbolic Beasts of Daniel 7.
In Daniel 7, by means of beasts symbolising earthly governments, we are again taken by the prophet of God through the history of these same kingdoms till the end of human history, to the time when the saints of the Most High take the kingdom. The former outline is filled in with other important specifications. The four divisions of the Grecian Empire, and the terrible warfare waged against the truth and people of the Lord by the Papacy, symbolised by the little horn, are foretold.
But the specifications here foretold by the venerable prophet within the walls of Babylon, have all been filled in. The little horn has fulfilled the terrible predictions. He has spoken the great words against the Most High, worn out His saints, and then while prancing about in the plenitude of power, has dared to place his hands upon the law of God, and sought to change the law which was handed down amid the awful and majestic scenes of Sinai; which was spoken with the voice of God, and traced with His own finger upon the imperishable stone of the mountain.
His temporal dominion has been taken away, and we are waiting for the next event to take place. What is it ? Listen! And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him.” For over a century we have been waiting for the saints to take the kingdom to which they are heirs. And, bless the Lord, the waiting period is almost over.
Daniel 8 and 9.
In Daniel 8 and 9, beginning with Medo-Persia, we are again brought down through the history of the world to the judgment—the closing scene connected with the plan of human redemption. Having out- lined the rise and history of these nations once more, the prophet said, ” Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.”
The cleansing of the sanctuary synchronises with the work of the Investigative Judgment. They are one and the same. The twenty-three hundred days, or years, here brought to view, mark the opening of the final Investigative Judgment in the heavenly sanctuary, which, when finished, will bring the end of human probation and end the ” mystery of God,” which is the gospel.
This period began with the going forth of the commandment to ” restore and to build Jerusalem ” (Dan. 9:25), and ended in A.D. 1844. Therefore, since A.D. 1844, or for a period of sixty-two years, we have been living in the solemn hour of the Judgment. Since that date the tribunal of the universal Judge has been in session. The supreme court of the universe, from whose decisions there is no appeal, has been settling the destiny of mortals who have lived on this earth. This work can cover but one generation—and that the last. It must therefore soon end, and the fiat from the Judge of all the earth go forth to proclaim the mystery of God finished. It is to such a solemn hour as this that we are brought in this line of prophecy. The next event is the coming of Christ on the cloud, to reap the harvest of the earth.
OUR Lord’s Great Prophecy.
In our “Lord’s great prophecy” as given in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21, we are once more brought down to the closing days of the last generation. In answer to the question of His disciples, “What shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world ?” Jesus said, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.” “Then,” said the Saviour, ” shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven; and then shall, all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” Matt. 24 : 29, 30.
In Luke we are told further that there would be, as signs of the end, “distress of nations, with per- plexity ; the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth.” “Then,” He said, ” shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”
These signs are all either in the past, or being fulfilled before our eyes. The sun was darkened May 19, 1780; the moon has been turned into the appearance of blood; the stars fell in that remarkable meteoric shower of Nov. 13, 1833; and on every hand we can see the nations distressed, the sea roaring, and men’s hearts filled with fear because of the things which they see coming on the earth. The Saviour declared that the generation who witnessed these signs should not pass away until the Son of man should come in power and great glory. The signs have been fulfilled as our divine Lord foretold, and the end is surely at the door.
Numerous other lines of prophecy might Be cited, had we the space, all of which reach their culminating point in our own time, and speak in the clearest tones that the history of this sinful earth is almost finished, and the Saviour is soon to appear with His fan in His hand to thoroughly purge His floor, and gather the wheat into the garner.
Prophetic Lines in the Revelation.
In the book of Revelation are many lines of prophecy which find their fulfilment in our own time. Wrapt in holy vision, the lonely seer of Patmos is carried down again and again through the history of the church militant until we reach the church triumphant. There are the seven churches, the seven seals, and the seven trumpets, among other lines. A study of each of these shows us to be in the very closing scenes connected with the scheme of human redemption. We are living in the seventh, or Laodicean, period of the church. The great Lisbon earthquake in 1755 announced to all the world that the Lamb had opened the sixth seal. The seventh, when opened, brings us to that period when silence will be in heaven, when Jesus with all the holy angels will come to reap the harvest of the earth. Since 1844 the seventh trumpet has been sounding. And it is under the sounding of this trumpet that the “kingdoms of this world” become the “kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ,” and the saints reign with Christ forever and ever.
The long-drawn-out controversy between sin and righteousness is nearing its close, and the waiting church of God is soon to receive the reward to be bestowed when the Lord shall come. May the glad day hasten.