« הקודםהמשך »
than are to be found recorded on the pages of history. * * * * Those who were so fortunate as to witness the exhibition of shooting stars on the morning of Nov. 13, 1833, probably saw the greatest display of celestial fireworks, that has ever been seen since the creation of the world."*
5th ITEM. “And the heaven departed as a scroll,” This brings us to the end, or“ great day of His wrath.” The events presented in the 7th chapter, verses 1-4, occur under the sixth seal, commencing in the interval between the darkening of the sun and the falling of the stars, and running down to the consummation, or end of time. Hence, we shall refer to them in this connection.
Chap. vii: v. 1. “And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.”
The position of the angels is marked on the four corners of the earth. This language is in accommodation to the ideas prevalent at that age of the world. They conceived of the earth as one vast plain, having four corners, corresponding to the four cardinal points of the compass. The four winds of heaven were each designated by their appropriate names among the Latins, Boreas the north-wind, Notus the south wind, Eurus the east wind, and Zephyrus the west wind. The idea, therefore, presented in the symbol is, that the entire winds of heaven were restrained, so that all
* Prof. Olmsted.
motion of the atmosphere ceased; and not only was all violence to the land and sea prevented, but they did not blow on any tree. The action of the angels in holding the winds, implies that power is requisite to curb their violent motion. Thus, if a lion were said to be chained, we would understand his native ferocity was restrained. We now inquire, what agencies are symbolized by the winds ? Says Barnes, "the winds are the proper symbols of wars and commotions."*
“And upon Elam will I bring the four winds from the four quarters of heaven, and will scatter them toward all those winds ; and there shall be no nation whither the outcasts of Elam shall not come: For I will cause Elam to be dismayed before their enemies, and before them that seek their life : and I will bring evil upon them, even my fierce anger, saith the Lord ; and I will send the sword after them, till I have consumed them." (Jer. xlix : 36, 37.)
“ The essential ideas, therefore, in this portion of the symbol cannot be mistaken. They are two, (1) That at the period of time here referred to * * * * there would be a state of things which would be well represented by rising tempests and storms, which, if unrestrained, would spread desolation afar; and (2) that this impending ruin was held back, as if by angels having control of those winds; that is, those tempests were not suffered to go forth to spread desolation over the world. A suspended tempest; calamity held in check; armies hovering on the borders of a
* See Notes.
kingdom, but not allowed to proceed for a time; hordes of invaders detained, by some restraining power not their own, and from causes not within themselves, any of these things would be an obvious fulfilling of the symbol."
“And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads,” (vs. 2, 3).
“As to what was to be designated by the seal, the main idea is clear; that it was to place some such mark upon his friends, that they would be known to be his, that they might be safe in the impending calamities.”
The commotion that existed among the nations during the wars of Napoleon Bonaparte, are appropriately represented by the four winds of heaven, when the four powers of the Holy Alliance combined to hold in check these political winds. The ostensible object for which these beligerent powers rallied, marshalled, and concentrated their armies, was “to preserve the peace of the world." This grand design was effectually carried into execution at the battle of Waterloo, that great crisis in the history of Europe. Soon after Napoleon, like a caged lion, was stationed on the Island of St. Helena, and the winds of heaven, the commotions in the political world, completely suppressed.
" And I heard the number of them which were sealed; and there were sealed a hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Is. rael," (v.4).
Says Barnes, in relation to the scaling process, “what this would be, whether a profession, or form of religion, or the holding of some doctrine, or the manifestation of a particular spirit, is not here designated." And again, "the design of scaling the persons referred to seems to have been to secure their safety in the impending calamities. Thus the winds were held back until those, who were to be sealed, could be designated, and then they were to be allowed to sweep over the earth."
About the year 1820, Joseph Wolf, a distinguished and learned Jew, commenced preaching the gospel of the coming kingdom. Soon after, namely, about the year 1823, Edward Irving made a proclamation of the same message, and in 1834 the doctrine began to be preached in America. Thus, as the sealing angel ascended from the east, did the doctrine of the immediate coming of Christ arise in the east.
As we believe no doctrine has ever been promulgated in modern times, which has so tried the faith of the churches, and tested the fidelity of God's children, and purified the hearts of those who believed, we can but apply the prophecy to the glorious doctrine of the Advent of our Lord. The various points referred to by Barnes, as being a fulfilment of the sealing process, namely, "a profession or form of religion, the holding of some doctrine, or the manifestation of a particular spirit,” are all embodied in the Advent movement. And as the truth preached to Noah and to Lot was intended “to secure their safety in the impending calamities." so all who have this hope in them will purify themselves “even as He is pure.” This at least, is the ligitimate influence of the doctrine; and those who are thus sanctified to God, and consecrated to His glory, will be prepared to "escape all those things, that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man."
The salvation of the Church depends on their watchfulness. Says Jesus, "Watch ye therefore,” (for this purpose) “ that ye may escape.”
None will escape these impending calamities but those who know the will of God and do it. The Almighty exercises a parental care over those that love Him with all the heart. Says David, “Know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himself. We have a practical demonstration of this principle in the case of Lot. “ Wilt thou,” saith the Patriarch Abraham, “also destroy the righteous and the wicked?”
" That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked : and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? (Gen. xviii: 25).
It is just as certain that our heavenly Father will provide for the security of His people in the future, as that He has done it in the past. Surely the Judge of all the earth will do right; for the principles of His moral government remain unchanged. As the knowledge of definite time, as well as of the event, was essential in the case of Lot, in like manner will an understanding of both time and event be essential to the Church prior to the coming of Christ, in order to a preparation for that glorious and heavenly scene. And we may rest assured that all the light needed will be