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when they re-appeared, about the year 1817, our ancestors, who had not seen or heard them, were all alarmed, and actually supposed the day of judgment was come.
“During my life, I have been so much accustomed to see northern lights, falling stars, so called, and fire balls, that they have long since ceased to excite my curiosity."..
Such frequency of these occurrences within THIS GENERATION, compared with former ages, is strong confirmation of their being the signs predicted of the last days. Thus, the “great signs” and “ fearful sights” that are predicted in the Scriptures of truth, seem to be all fulfilled, as well as those which our Savior declared should precede his coming.
Verses 32–35: “Now learn a parable of the fig-tree; when his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: so likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away."
As sure as the leafing out of the trees is an indication of summer, just so sure, on the fulfilment of those signs, are Christians to know that the coming of Christ is near, even at the doors. It is not a mere permission to know it, but our Savior commands them to know it; not only that it is near at the doors, but that this generation, the generation that shall witness these events, shall not pass away until all these things be finished. Seventy years are given as the age of man, and sixtythree of those years have passed away since the darkening of the sun, the living witnesses of which are not all gone from the stage.
Although, when all these signs were fulfilled, the church were to know, yet, before these events they were to remain in ignorance of the time. Accordingly, our Savior said :
Verse 36: “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.”
Mark adds neither the Son, but my Father only. This cannot denote that no man or angel, or the Son ever will know before the event; for then our Savior would not know when he was to come, until he arrived. Neither does it say no man ever will know, but only, no one then knew; otherwise it would contradict the previous text, that we are to know when we see all these things.
One thing is very clear, that then the Father only knew, and as our Savior said, Acts i. 7, it was then in the Father's own power; but it was afterwards given to Christ, who sent his angel, and signified it to John, who made a record of it. Rev. i. 14-3: “ The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass: and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John : who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein : for the time is at hand.”
At the time of Christ, the book of Daniel was also sealed up, and was to remain so to the end of 1290 days, from the taking away of the daily, in A. D. 508. Dan. xii. 9—13: " And he said, go thy way, Daniel : for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly : and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand. And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days. But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.” The 1335 days from the taking away of the daily, A. D. 508, extend to 1843, or 45 years beyond the 1290, which appear to have ended in 1798, from which time the seal was to be removed, that the wise might understand. It, therefore, does not follow that that which could not be understood while it was closed up and sealed, and while it was in the Father's own power, will also remain obscured after the seal is removed, the Father has revealed it, and the signs have been seen by which they were to know that it was at the doors.
Verses 37–39: “But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark. And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away: so shall also the coming of the Son of man be."
Noah preached the coming flood 120 years, but they would not believe. Those that were lost had an opportunity to know, but they that were saved alone believed, and entered the ark, while the flood came and carried away all the scoffers and unbelievers, and none others. Even so shall it be in the day the Son of man is revealed.
Verses 40, 41 : “Then shall two be in the field ; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.”
The one will be caught to meet the Lord in the air, the other will be left to perish.
Verses 42—44: “Watch therefore; for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the good man of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready : for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh."
If God has given us the watch, how important it is that we should heed the admonition, and watch that our house be not broken up. Our Savior says, Luke xii. 35–38: "Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that, when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. Blessed are those servants whom the lord, when he cometh, shall find watching; verily, I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.” He also says, that if we will not watch, he will come upon us as a thief, and we shall not know at what hour he will come.
Verses 45–47 : “Who then is a faithful
ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season ? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord, when he cometh, shall find so doing.
Verily, I say unto you, that he shall make him ruler over all his goods.”
Those who prove faithful servants, will