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“Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for

your miseries that shall come upon you. James 5:1.

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FROM the specific signs in the heavens, which were to herald the coming of the latter days and awaken the church to look for its coming Lord, our Saviour's prophecy passed on to designate certain general conditions in the world which were to continue until the great day of God comes:

"There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; 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: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” Luke 21:25-27.

Among the developments here foretold, and which contribute to the “distress of nations, with perplexity," we may list the following:

1. Political Unrest - the Arming of the Nations

Following on closely with the signs in the heavens, there appears also the awakening to national aspirations and rivalries in Europe, out of which has grown the arming of the nations. The beginning of the modern race of armaments may be dated from those stirring and eventful years of 1830 to 1848. We have seen the resources of the soil and the inven

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tive genius of man devoted to preparations for war on a scale never before thought of. The prophet Joel foretold these conditions in the last days:

“Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles ["the nations," R. V.]: Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong. . . . Let the heathen be wakened. .

Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision (or “cutting off”]: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.” Joel 3:9-14.

Another prophecy forewarns of the "peace and safety" cry that is to be heard as the end draws near. We are told that many people in the last days will be saying that swords

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are to be beaten into plowshares, and that the nations will cease from war (Isa. 2:3, 4); but the actual conditions are repeatedly described in prophecy as warlike and perilous. Thus the revelator saw the closing days:

“The nations were angry, and Thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that Thou shouldst give reward unto Thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear Thy name, small and great; and shouldst destroy them which destroy the earth." Rev. 11:18.

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