“It has long been generally believed that distress and trouble come as punishments for evil doing, upon the wicked. This seeming to be a natural and proper law, people in general have accepted it, thinking that it should be so, even if it is not; yet the hard facts of experience agree with the Bible, that in the past it has been the godly who have oftenest suffered afflictions and persecutions. (2 Tim. 3:12)
But in the “Day of Trouble,” introducing Messiah’s reign, this order will begin to be reversed. In that day, evil powers are to be overthrown, and righteousness, established by a gradual process, shall speedily work out a corresponding retribution to evildoers, and blessings to them that do good–“Tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that doeth evil,…but glory, honor and peace to every man that works good“–in that “day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to every man according to his deeds.” (Rom. 2:9, 10, 6, 5)
And since there is so much that is wrong now, the retribution will be very heavy at first, making a “time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation.” Thus, in vengeance, and trouble, and wrath upon the nations, will the Lord reveal to the world the fact of the change of dispensations (i.e. the Gospel age to the Millennial age), and the change of rulers. And thus, “When the judgments of the Lord are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.” (Isa. 26:5-11)
They will learn that under the new order of things right-doers are to be exalted and evildoers restrained and punished. For clear prophetic testimony relative to this kingdom and its operation on behalf of the humble, the upright, the poor, the needy and the oppressed, and its overthrow of monopolies and every system of injustice and oppression, and the general equalization of human affairs, read carefully Psalm 72:1-19; 37:1-14.
Our King will thus reveal himself gradually: some (i.e. those presently enlightened through the scriptures) will discern the new Ruler sooner than others, but ultimately “every eye shall see [“horao”–DISCERN] him.” (Rev. 1:7) NOT by their physical sight, but by the “EYES OF THEIR UNDERSTANDING”
But “he cometh with clouds“; and while the clouds of trouble are heavy and dark, when the mountains (kingdoms of this world) are trembling and falling, and the earth (organized society) is being shaken, disintegrated, melted, some will begin to realize what we now proclaim as already at hand– that the great day of Jehovah has come; that the foretold day of trouble and wrath upon the nations is beginning; and that Jehovah’s Anointed is taking to himself his great power and beginning his work, of laying justice to the line and righteousness to the plummet. (Isa. 28:17) And “he must reign until” he shall have put down all authorities and laws on earth, contrary to those which control in heaven.
As the trouble increases, men will seek, but in vain, for protection in the “dens” and caves, the great rocks and fortresses of society (Alliances, treaties, trusts, institutions, all the various societies both secular and ecclesiastical), and in the mountains (governments) of earth; saying, “Fall on (over) [cover, protect] and hide us from the face of him that sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of his wrath is come.” Rev 6:15-17
The idolatry of money in which the whole world has gone mad, and which is to have so prominent a place in the trouble, causing not only anxiety for its accumulation, but also for its preservation, is to be completely overthrown, as shown in Isa. 2:8-21; Ezek. 7:17-19.
The great day of trouble will be recognized, and from its storm all will seek protection, though few will recognize the judgments of the Lord then abroad in the world as the result of his PRESENCE, the setting up of his authority, and the enforcement of his laws. In the end, however, all shall [“SEE“] i.e. recognize the presence of the King of glory that he has come, howbeit invisible to the physical eye; and all who then love righteousness will rejoice to obey him and conform themselves fully to his just requirements.
That will be a time of retribution upon all whom by fraud or force, sometimes in the name of the law and under its sanction, have un-righteously grasped the rights or property of others. The retribution, as we have seen, will come FROM the Lord, THROUGH the uprising of the masses of the people. In their distress, loathe to part with a dollar or an acre, or an assumed right or dignity long enjoyed and long undisputed, yet seeing the approaching retribution, many will seek the covering of the hitherto powerful organizations–civil, social and ecclesiastical (religious)–to promote and shield their interests, feeling that alone they must fall. But these shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the Lord’s anger. The approaching conflict and retribution shall cause all the families of the earth to wail; for it will be a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation–no, nor ever shall be again.
It will be “because of him” that they will wail; because of his judgments producing in a natural way the great trouble; because the Lord arises to shake terribly the earth, and to destroy its corruptions. (Isa. 2:21) So far-reaching will be the judgments and the trouble that none shall escape. Ultimately every eye shall discern the change, and recognize that the Lord reigns. The trouble might be greatly lessened could men see and promptly act upon principles of equity, ignoring and relinquishing all unjust privileges of the past, even though legalized; but this, selfishness will not permit until the trouble shall break and overthrow the proud, humble the powerful and exalt the meek.
But not until the great day of trouble is about closing– not until the Gentile kingdoms are ground to powder and utterly removed, no place being found for them, not until great Babylon is utterly overthrown and her influence over the world broken–will the great mass of mankind come to realize the true state of the case. Then they will see that the great trouble through which they will have passed was that symbolically termed “The battle of the great day of God Almighty” (Rev. 16:14); that in proportion as they have aided error and wrong, they have been battling against the law and forces of the new empire and the new Ruler of earth; and that in proportion as their tongues, and pens, and hands, and influence, and means, were used to support the right and the truth on any subject, they had been to that extent fighting on the Lord’s side.
Some will learn the significance of the trouble more quickly than others, because more (meek) teachable. And during all the trouble there will be in the world those (of the Great Company class) who will bear witness to its cause, declaring the Lord’s presence and the setting up of his kingdom which is in opposition to the powers of darkness to be the real cause of the trouble and shaking and overturning of society, showing that all who oppose truth and righteousness are the enemies of the new kingdom, and that unless they quickly surrender they must soon suffer ignominious defeat. Yet the masses will be heedless of wise counsel, as they have always been, until completely humbled under the iron rule of the new kingdom, only at last realizing the folly of their course.
The true teacher and light bearer (Matt. 5:14), THE TRUE CHURCH, the body of Christ, is not to be left in darkness to learn of her Lord’s presence by the manifestations of his wrath and power, as the world will learn of it.
For her enlightenment special provision has been made. By the sure word of prophecy, which shines as a light in a dark place, she is clearly and definitely informed (not only of the Lord’s invisible presence hidden from the world and the professing church), but likewise just what to expect. (2 Pet. 1:19) Through the prophetic word, she shall not only be shielded from discouragement, and enabled to overcome the besetments, snares and stumbling stones so prevalent in “the evil day,” and thus to stand approved of God, but she becomes the light-bearer and instructor of the world.
The Church is thus enabled to point out to the world the cause of the trouble, to announce the presence of the New Ruler, to declare the policy, plan and object of the new dispensation, and to instruct the world as to the wisest course to pursue in view of these things. And though men will not give heed to the instruction until the lesson of submission has been forced upon them by the trouble, it will greatly aid them then in learning the lesson. It is to this mission of the “feet,” or last members of the Church, who will declare upon the mountains (kingdoms) the REIGN OF CHRIST BEGUN, that Isaiah 52:7 refers. (B137-142)
Continued with next post.