Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most assuredly believed among us, and which must shortly come to pass: It seemeth good unto me, and also unto the Holy Spirit, to write unto you, that you may know of a certainty, your standing and relation to God; and also of the times and seasons of the fulfilment of the words of his servants, the Prophets.
After our Lord had completed the work which his Father had given him to do, he led forth his disciples as far as Bethany, and lifted up his hands towards heaven and blessed them. While in the act of performing this kind office upon his disciples; he was received up to heaven in a cloud. As the disciples stood gazing upon his exit, two men (angels) stood by them, clad in white apparel, and said: "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner, as you have seen him go into heaven."
Some have labored to show that this promise of Christ's second coming was fulfilled at the destruction of Jerusalem; but such was not the fact. Jerusalem was destroyed during the reign of Vespasian, the Roman Emperor, by Titus, his son. Vespasian began to reign in the 70th year of the Christian era, and reigned nine years. He was then succeeded by his son, Titus, who reigned two years; and Titus was succeeded by his younger brother, Domitian, in whose reign, and by whose order, the Apostle John, was banished upon the Isle of Patmos, in the 95th year of the Christian era; being somewhere between sixteen and twenty five years after the destruction of that city. The Savior, who appeared to John while in banishment, said unto him: "Behold I come quickly and my reward is with me to give unto every man according as his works shall be." It is plain, therefore, that Christ represented to John, that his coming was yet in the future, even sixteen or twenty-five years after Jerusalem was destroyed. Therefore, so far from that promise being fulfilled at that time, it yet remains to be fulfilled. And we may look with certainty for the Son of God yet to appear in the clouds of heaven with great power and glory. The question now arises; Is the Christian world now prepared to behold the day of the coming of the Lord from heaven? The day that shall burn as an oven, when all the proud and they that do wickedly shall be as stubble. This is a question of no ordinary moment. I shall examine it through the glass of the holy scriptures.
The Jews rejected the Messiah when he came to them, and the Gentiles received him; but when he comes the second time, the Gentiles will be entirely unprepared to enjoy his glory; but the Jews will be brought in by virtue of the promise and covenant which God made with their fathers, which I shall attempt to prove from the scriptures.
There was a cause of the Jews rejecting the Redeemer: And what was that cause? It was their previous departure from the law which God gave to them by Moses. The law was given them as a school master to bring them to Christ; and had they not made it void through the tradition of their Elders they would not have disowned their King. The Lord said to them, himself; "If you had believed Moses you would have believed me, for Moses wrote of me. But if ye believed not his writings, how can you believe my words?" the fate which this people met some thirty years after they rejected the counsel of God, is entirely without a parallel in the history of the world. The wretched few that escaped destruction at that time, only seem to have been spared to perpetuate their shame and misery until the day of their redemption, which now, is near at hand.
The Gospel was committed to the Gentiles for the express purpose of preparing them for the second coming of Christ, as the law was given to the Jews to prepare them for his first coming. But the Gentiles have made void the gospel through the tradition of their Elders, which now becomes my painful duty to show: and may the great Shepherd of Israel inspire my heart with a clear view of the fallen state of the christian world at this period, and enable me to declare it with all that sympathy, plainness and christian love, which ever were the characteristics of a servant of the Most High.
In the first place, let me ask: Have the founders of the christian system foretold an apostasy of the church from the true order of worship? They certainly have. Paul says, 2 Thess. 2,3. "Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, &c." Again 1 Tim. 4,1. "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils." Also 2 Tim. 4, 3 and 4. "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and be turned unto fables." -- These passages clearly show what the churches would do when left to act upon their agency, viz: that they would forsake the truths of God and be turned unto fables and traditions of men.
I will now present the Gentile churches before the glass of the holy scriptures, and see if they possess the same form and beauty now, that they did Eighteen Hundred years ago. When Jesus gave his disciples their last commission to go forth into all the world to preach the gospel, he said unto them: "These signs shall follow them that believe. In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents: and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay their hands upon the sick, and they shall recover." It appears that this miraculous power did, and ever will continue with true believers: for the same Being who said, "These signs shall follow them that believe," also said, "Though the heavens and the earth pass away, yet my words shall not fail." It is very readily discovered why the above signs do not follow pretended believers; because Jesus never said they should. There is a difference between the spurious and true coin; although the spurious contains some genuine silver, yet it will not lawfully pass, and is, comparatively speaking, of no real value. By a chemical process, we can very readily discover the difference between the pure and the base: so, by an application of the word of God to any religious body, we may soon determine whether they are believers in the scriptural sense of the word; or according to the notions and opinions of uninspired men. Some pretend to say that the promise of Christ to his disciples, that miraculous signs should follow them that believe, was limited to the apostles. But I think that no honest man, who understands enough of English Grammar to tell the difference between the second and third persons, will contend for any such thing. For Jesus did not say: these signs shall follow you, Apostles; but he said: "These signs shall follow them that believe."
Again: Paul said, God set some in the church, first apostles; secondly, prophets, thirdly, teachers; after that miracles; then gifts of healing, helps governments, diversities of tongues. -- To one is given by the spirit, the word of wisdom; to another, faith by the same spirit; to another, the word of knowledge by the same spirit; to another the gifts of healing; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; and to another the interpretation of tongues." This seems to have been the gospel and order of worship which Paul advocated and established: and said "Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed." Do the gentile churches, of this day, preach and practice the above order? or have they lost it? They certainly have lost it. And have they not great reason to fear that a curse instead of a blessing will rest upon them. If the Jews were broken off because of unbelief, what must the Gentiles expect, who have not continued in the goodness of the Lord? It really appeared to me that every person who is not biased by most unhallowed prejudice, can see that the churches of this day bear but a faint resemblance to those which existed in the days of the Apostles. Whence arises this difference? Do we live under a different dispensation from what they did? If we do, when was the dispensation changed, and by whose authority? If we do not, why not preach and practice the same things which they did?
Because those who are determined to support their peculiar creeds at the expense of truth, and the most plain declarations of holy write, which are found written, as with a sunbeam upon almost every page, will deny the possibility of these precious and heavenly blessings being enjoyed by mortals now. But let me ask: Has God changed so much during the last Eighteen Hundred years? The language of the Bible is, "I am the Lord, I change not: Therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed."
If I am aware that there are many who preach for hire, and love to be called of men, Rabbi, &c. who will seek refuge from the arrows of truth behind the bulwarks of affected sanctity, and put the unhallowed influence in operation which they exercise over the hearts and consciences of their deluded followers, to prevent them from hearing, investigating or receiving the truth. Such hiding places may screen iniquity for a time. But when the trump of God shall sound, such bulwarks shall fall to the earth like the walls of Jericho, leaving those who have taken shelter behind them, exposed to the sword of God's indignation which will proceed out of his mouth saying: Depart ye cursed, &c.
How plain it is, therefore, that a great apostasy, from the true apostolic order of worship, has taken place: and it now becomes my duty to show the awful consequences of this apostasy, however painful may be the task. But
Shall I behold the nations doomed
To sword and famine blood and fire?
And not the least exertion make
But from the scene in peace retire?
No. While kind heaven shall lend me breath
I'll sound repentance far abroad;
And tell the nations to prepare
For Jesus Christ, their coming Lord.
The Jews were the natural branches of the good olive tree; but were broken off in consequence of unbelief. -- The Gentiles were the branches of a wild olive; but were grafted in, where the natural branches had been broken off; and received of the root and fatness of the pure stock. The apostle, Paul, gave the Gentiles a very solemn warning after they had been grafted into the good olive. See Romans 11, and 22. "Behold the goodness and severity of God; on them which fell, severity: But towards thee, goodness; if thou continue in his goodness; otherwise thou shalt be cut off." Nothing is more plain than, that the Gentiles have not continued in the goodness of God; but have departed from the faith and purity of the gospel. Query: Must they now be cut off? Jer. 4, 7, will answer this question. "The lion is come up from his thicket, and the destroyer of the Gentiles is on his way; he is gone forth from his place to make thy land desolate; and thy cities shall be laid waste without an inhabitant." Also, Isa. 24th, chap. is a striking exhibition of the fate of the Gentiles in the last days. But the Jews will be grafted back into their own olive tree. -- Read Rom. 11, 23-28th.
Many are flattering themselves with the expectation that all the world is going to be converted and brought into the ark of safety. Thus the great millennium, in their opinion, is to be established. Vain, delusive expectation! The Savior said to his disciples; that, "As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also, in the days of the coming of the Son of Man." -- Again he said: "As it was in the days of Lot; so shall it be in the days of the coming of the Son of Man." Query. Were all people converted in the days of Noah, or mostly destroyed? Were the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah saved or destroyed in the days of Lot? -- The answers to to these questions are familiar to almost every person, and further comment is necessary.
God will soon begin to manifest his sore displeasure to this generation, and to our own country, by vexation and desolating wars; bloody! bloody in the extreme! The war cloud will arise from an unexpected quarter. The hearts of many, in authority, shall faint, because they shall not know what measure to adopt to avert the calamities of war; so complicated and perplexing shall be the state of affairs at that crisis. Thus will the wicked shortly slay the wicked, except they like the people of Nineveh, speedily repent of their sins which have ascended up, with offence, before the Most High. Wo! wo! to them, saith the Lord, who preach for hire, and pervert the ways of truth. Wo! to them who suffer themselves to be led by the precepts of men, contrary to that which they know to be written in the oracles of truth: they for shall perish! So be unto him who drinketh strong drink, and taketh the name of God in vain! Wo be unto all the wicked ones of the Earth, for the fire of God's jealousy shall consume them, root and branch, except they speedily turn to the Lord. Pestilence and famine will soon show to this generation that the hour of God's judgment hath come. Earthquakes will be more frequent, and destruction in their effects than formerly. Many strange things shall occur which cannot be accounted for. The waves of the sea will soon heave themselves beyond their bounds, laying waste towns and cities; "and truly men's hearts shall fail them for fear." This is the Lord's recompense for the controversy of Zion, whose innocent blood, unavenged, cries to him from the ground. A sort of flies shall go forth among the people, and bite them, and cause worms to come in their flesh, and their flesh shall fall from their bones; and their eyes shall fall out of their sockets; and they shall desire to die; but their desire shall not be granted. Serious losses will soon be sustained both by sea and land; because of whirlwinds and tempests, and devouring fire. The seasons, will henceforth, be more irregular and uncertain in causing the earth to yield her bounty, for the sustenance of her inhabitants. The multiplicity of thefts, robberies and murders, are legitimate fruits of the increasing depravity of man; and shew to us that the world is fast ripening for the judgements of God.
The prime cause of all these calamities coming on the earth, is: the apostasy of the church. If the church was all righteous, they could save the nations from destruction. But the salt has lost its savor; and all men seem determined to pursue their own course. The eyes of Jehovah have not been closed upon the scenes of most abandoned wickedness which have been committed by the world: (The church not being free from the charges.) He has looked down and beheld all your scenes of revelling and drunkenness. He has seen all your frauds -- all your evil designs, and all the snares you have laid to take the advantage of your neighbors. He has, also, seen the sterling virtues of many of the fairest portion of his creation, sacrificed upon the altar of infamy and prostitution. All of which have a tendency to increase the displeasure of the Almighty, and draw down upon the world, the storm of his indignation. The wicked will behold these judgments; and know not what they mean: yet the servants of God will view them as tokens of the coming of the Son of Man, as messengers sent before his face to execute vengeance. They will continue the work of destruction until the Savior comes; for,
Lo! he comes with truth and vengeance,
With his garments died in blood;
To redeem his chosen people,
Favor'd children, sons of God.
When Jesus appears in the clouds of heaven, the saints who have slept, will arise from their graves; and those who are living will be changed speedily, and all be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. Then shall all the wicked, who have escaped the former judgments, be consumed, root and branch. Then shall the earth be cleansed from pollution; and the Lord descend upon it, and all the saints with him, to reign a thousand years while satan is bound. Then will the saints inherit this promise: "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." Then one need not say to the other, Know ye the Lord. For they shall all know him, from the least to the greatest. Then the earth shall be full of the knowledge of God, as the waters cover the great deep. Then shall the saints unite in singing this new song: saying,
"The Lord hath brought again Zion:
The Lord hath redeemed his people, Israel,
According to the election of grace,
Which was brought to pass by the faith.
And covenant of their fathers.
The Lord hath redeemed his people;
And Satan is bound, and time is no longer.
The Lord hath gathered all things in one:
The Lord hath brought down Zion from above:
The Lord hath brought up Zion from beneath;
The earth hath travailed and bro't forth her strength,
And truth is established in her bowels;
And the Heavens have smiled upon her;
And she is clothed with the glory of her God;
For he stands in the midst of his people.
Glory, and honor, and power, and might,
Be ascribed to our God, for he is full of mercy.
Justice, grace, and truth and peace,
Forever and ever --- Amen."
I am unwilling to dismiss this subject, without telling you your duty, in plain terms, that my garments may be clean from your blood in a coming day.
The great body of the clergy are acting without authority from God at this time. My reasons for saying so, are these. 1st. The sick are not healed under their hands. 2. They do not confirm those whom they baptize by the laying on of their hands for the gift of the Holy Spirit: and why? because they are not authorized so to do: Yet it appears, that they rather impeach the system of heaven, than their own course in relation to it. But I say, let God be true, and every man a liar. Christ's doctrine was a doctrine of miracles, and healing the sick; and John the Apostle, says: "Whosoever transgresseth and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ; he hath both the Father and the Son." Again: Christ said unto the Jews, "He that is of God, heareth God's words. Ye, therefore, hear them not because ye are not of God." How, I ask, can the clergy of this day, be of God; and yet deny all miraculous powers? How can God be with them when they have not abode in the doctrine of Christ?
Now, therefore, the word of the Lord is unto all people: REPENT! REPENT! and be baptized in water for the remission of sins; in the name and by the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto that power. There is no class of people exempt from the requirement; but it is in force upon all alike; who have not already obeyed it. Then miraculous signs shall follow you. Pray, therefore, that God may send unto you some servant of his, who is authorized from on high, to administer to you the ordinances of the gospel. Except you do this, you cannot enjoy the celestial glory: But must fall victims to the messengers of destruction, which God will soon send upon the earth.
Now to conclude: I am sensible that I have written in great plainness; and some may consider me quite presumptuous. But I have nothing to retract. "What I have written, I have written;" and that too, under a sense of duty which has been impressed upon me, from the highest authority of which I have any knowledge. The fulfilment of the foregoing predictions, will convince this generation that I have not been presumptuous.
May the great Creator of the Universe, have mercy upon a fallen and perishing world!
N. B. The object of the writer of the above, in pursuing this course, is, that many may be put in possession of this information whose circumstances are such that they do not obtain it by public preaching. Also, it is the present intention of the Author to publish, as soon as circumstances will permit, his Exposition of the Ancient Prophecies, in book form, showing their application to the times in which we live, together with such other matter as he shall think most beneficial to mankind at this period, under the same title which this bears.