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against following the traditions of men that make void the Word of God.
With the coming of this generation there has come just such a message, in the rise and progress of the advent movement, the burden of the message being expressed in the very language of the prophecy –“Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come.” Rev. 14:7. And the movement is spreading rapidly “to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.” Thus in vision the prophet on Patmos heard the message given; and when its warning cry had reached all nations, he saw Christ coming in the clouds of heaven to reap the harvest of the earth.
“Even at the Doors" Of the beginning of the special signs of the last days, Christ said:
“When these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” Luke 21:28.
But of the time when these signs should all be seen fulfilled or in process of fulfilment, the Saviour said:
“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.” Matt. 24:32-35.
In this generation we see these things. All about us the signs have appeared. We know, then, by the word that shall not pass away, that the generation has at last appeared that is to see the Saviour coming in power and great glory. “Of that day and hour knoweth no man," but we may know "that it is near, even at the doors”- the day for which the saints of God have hoped through all the ages.
Part I So important is it that we understand the events leading on to the end, that repeatedly the "sure word of prophecy" outlines the course of this world's history, and sets up waymarks along the highway to the everlasting kingdom.
In the light of prophecy we see the hand of God guiding and overruling through all history, shaping events for the carrying out of His purpose to end the reign of sin and to bring in the reign of eternal righteousness. His prophetic word foretells events of history, that we may know that He is the living God over all, and that we may understand that the divine purpose will surely be fulfilled. Above a wicked world there is a God in heaven, waiting only the appointed time for the accomplishment of His purposes.
"I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that
are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure. . . . I have spoken it, I also will bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it. . . . My salvation shall not tarry: and I will place salvation in Zion." Isa. 46:9-13.
In the dream of Nebuchadnezzar, recorded in the second chapter of Daniel, the Lord revealed in brief but graphic outline the course of history from the days of Babylon to the end of the world. The four great universal monarchies Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome — were represented by the various parts of the metallic image. That prophecy described particularly the division of the Roman Empire into the kingdoms of western Europe. “In the days of these kings,” declared the word of the Lord, the God of heaven was to set up His kingdom, bringing an end to all earthly powers.
In the seventh chapter we are taken over the same course of history, in Daniel's vision of the four beasts. Here also chief attention is devoted to the fourth great kingdom; and especially to its divided state; for the events taking place at this time are of the deepest eternal interest to all men.
In this vision Daniel saw four universal empires represented by great beasts. One after another the symbolic beasts arose, did their work, and gave place to the next scenes in the history. The angel clearly explained to Daniel the meaning of the vision:
“These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever."
Of necessity, then, it is a repetition of the story of the four universal monarchies dealt with in the second chapter, and ending with the setting up of the everlasting kingdom.
Let us place the view given the prophet in vision alongside the record of history.
First, however, a word as to the manner in which the great beasts appeared to the prophet: