The subject of the Antichrist has for ages been one of absorbing interest to the people of God.  Quite a large place is given to the Antichrist in Scripture: Daniel writes about him (Ch. 7, 8, 9, 11, 12 in his Book; Paul writes of him in Second Thessalonians (Ch. 2), and John writes concerning him in his letters and in the Book of Revelation.  The early church was well instructed about this sinister person.



It is known that there are many types of Christ in the Bible, but it is not so well known that there are also many types of the Antichrist.  In the Garden of Eden the Lord said to Satan: “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed  “Thy seed” is the first reference to the Antichrist in the Bible.  Antichrist is the very son of the Devil.  What Paul said to Elymas, the sorcerer, may well be said, of the Antichrist: “O full of all guile and all villainy, thou son of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness” (Acts 13: 10, A.V.)  Moreover, as the true Messiah has many names throughout the Scriptures, all of which are needed to fully describe Christ and His work, so there are many names throughout the Scriptures for the Antichrist, and all help to give the full picture of him and his opposition to Christ.



John is the only one who definitely calls him “the Antichrist using the article “the” each of the four times he names him.  Some of his other names are the “little horn”, the “king”, “the prince that shall come”, “the man of sin”, “the son of perdition”, and “the beast”.



You will recall that one of the names of the Antichrist is “the son of perdition” (2 Thess. 2: 3).  Twice in the Book of Revelation he is said to “ascend out of the bottomless pit” (Rev. 11: 7; 17: 8).  He is later to “go into perdition” (Cf. Rev. 17: 8 and 19: 20).  Hence his name.



The great antagonist of our Lord Jesus Christ will not appear on earth in person until after the emergence of the ten horns, the ten kings mentioned in Daniel (7: 8, 24), “And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them” (v. 24).  The next verse tells of his doings, which agree with the words of Revelation (13: 5), and thereby show that the “little horn” (Dan. 7: 8, 24) is the same as the “beast” (Rev. 13: 5).  Identification of the two statements as referring to one and the same person cannot be clearer.



Daniel is the great Old Testament exponent of this strange character, and his writings give us much of the information we have about him.  A thoughtful reading of Daniel (Chs. 7, 8, 9, 11, 12) will show that he is to appear and act out his part on the stage of history a short time before the coming of the Son of Man to establish the Messianic Kingdom.  His career on earth begins and ends some time after the fulfilment of First Thessalonians 4: 16, 17.



In attempting to show where we are in God’s prophetic plan in reference to the Antichrist, I can only indicate the modern trend which is paving the way for his coming and which will finally produce the full-blown apostasy and the Antichrist himself.



The fulness of iniquity.  Daniel (8: 23, 25) speaks of this:-  “When the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up ... and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, (and work with effect), and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. ...  He shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand  Second Thessalonians (2: 8-12) speaks also of this same thing- that apostasy and wickedness cause God to send the Antichrist - the Wicked One.  “And for this cause - (‘because they received not the love of the truth’) - God shall send them strong delusion ... that they all might be damned  Antichrist shall come as the just judgment of the Lord Almighty upon those who thus paved his way and threw open the door


- The Alliance Weekly.


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The Church of God on earth will be greatly reduced, as we may well imagine, in its apparent members, by the open desertion of the powers of the world.  This desertion will begin in a professed indifference to any particular form of Christianity under pretence of universal toleration - which toleration will proceed from no spirit of charity and forbearance, but from a desire to undermine Christianity by encouraging and multiplying sectaries.  The pretended toleration will go far beyond a just toleration, even as it regards the different sects of Christians.  For Governments will pretend indifference to all and give a protection and preference to none.  All Establishments will be laid aside.  From the toleration of the most pestilent heresies, they will proceed to the toleration of Mohammedanism, Atheism, and at last to a positive persecution of the truth of Christianity.



In these times the temple of God will be reduced almost to the holy place, that is, to the small number of real Christians who worship the Father in spirit and in truth; and regulate their doctrine and worship and their whole conduct, strictly by the Word of God.  The merely nominal [and carnal] Christians will all desert the profession of the truth when the powers of the world desert it.



This tragical event I take to be typified by the order to the Apostle John to measure the temple and the altar, and leave the outer court (National Churches) to be trodden udder foot of the Gentiles.  The property of ministers will be pillaged, the public worship insulted and vilified by these deserters of the faith they once professed, who are not called apostate because they were never earnest in their profession.  Their profession was nothing more than a compliance with fashion.  When this general desertion of the faith takes place, then will commence the sackcloth ministry of the witnesses.  There will be nothing of splendour in the external appearance of these churches.  They will have no support from Government, no honours, no emoluments, no immunities, no authorities, but that which no earthly power can take away, which they derived from Him who commissioned them to be His witnesses.



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The time is coming when true believers everywhere shall be hated because of their identity with the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.  “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake said Jesus (Matt. 24: 9).  The present growing hostility against true Christianity foreshadows the time when anti-Christ forces that are in the world shall seek to destroy all believers of the “one Faith  The Bride of Christ will escape the snare through Rapture, but foolish virgins left on the earth and others who will refuse to worship the Beast or his image shall be killed (Matt. 25: 1-12; Rev. 6: 9; 13: 7).  As awful as it is to suffer torture and martyrdom, its wholesome purifying effect upon the soul has long been recognized.  The revival broken out in parts of the South has been directly attributed to persecution.  Even so, in the coming tribulation, “many shall be purified and made white and tried” (Dan. 11: 33-35; 12: 10) because of persecution.  How much better it would be, however, for people to purify themselves now that they may be “counted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to passand thus be raptured into the presence of Christ.



The Midnight Cry.



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A PHOTOGRAPH of the political conditions of the closing age, taken several thousand years ago and never even beginning to be fulfilled until the last century, is now becoming startlingly clear.  “There shall be in it” - the group of world-nations in the last stage - “of the strength of the iron*” - the iron was the Roman Empire, hard, absolute, destructive, autocratic – “forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay” (Dan. 2: 41).  It is a marvellous photograph of Imperialism and Communism.  “Whereas thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay, they” - the autocrats of military power - “shall mingle themselves with the seed of men” - the proletariat, the impotent clay; “but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron doth not mingle with clay.”  The Advent immediately follows.  “And in the days of those kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom


* Iron is a symbol of force - autocratic power which enforces discipline: so our Lord, when He comes “to tread the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God  He shall rule the nations “with a rod of iron” (Rev. 19: 15).



Nationalism and Democracy



The clay is defined as being ‘the seed of men,’ that is, the populace and it is described as ‘miry,’ that is brittle, easily smashed, unarmed.  Democracies are one of the wonders of the modern world: for example, in 1913 China summoned a parliament for the first time in a dynasty of four thousand years.  But correspondingly a wave of nationalism, that is, of imperialism, is sweeping over the world: the strength of the iron is in the sword, and vaster armies than the world has ever known are all over the earth; and the two refuse to unite. “Whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay and part of iron, it shall be a divided kingdom”: the word for ‘divided’ signifies unnatural or violent division, arising from inner discord and rupture.



The Cominform



But the ultimate fruition is already becoming obvious.  The Cominform is set on the destruction of all nationalism, to achieve ‘the dictation of the proletariat’; and so it evolves at last - as so signally in Russia - in a fresh Imperialism, a handful of despots in the Kremlin.  Lenin - true Communism - ends in Stalin - pure Imperialism.  Exactly so we shall arrive at Antichrist.






In Napoleon we have already had a portrait of the Antichrist so extraordinarily like the Lawless One that the coming of Antichrist is shorn of all difficulty and made historically certain.  (1) Our first fact about Napoleon is that he bore one of the names of Antichrist.  The words … and … - ‘Napoleon’ - mean a ‘lion’ of the ‘thicket,’ and, speaking of the Antichrist, Jeremiah 4: 7, says:- “A lion is gone up from his thicket, and a destroyer of nations






(2) Again, Napoleon was a birth out of a definite apostasy.  How complete an apostasy was the French Revolution is revealed by one fact - the Republic, in order to wipe out Christianity, changed the dating from ‘anno domini’ to the year of the Revolution: so that the year 1792 became the year 1 - the very thing foretold of Antichrist: “he shall think to change the times and the law” (Dan. 7: 25).  A similar apostasy is to give birth to Antichrist.  “The day of the Lord will not be except the falling away” - the apostasy – “come first, and the man of sin be revealed” (2 Thess. 2: 3).  The reason is obvious.  Apostasy breeds lawlessness; lawlessness breeds anarchy; anarchy compels the rise of a great military dictator: the Iron will be required to master the seething Clay.  As Napoleon said in St. Helena, when he saw Europe seething with revolutions,- “It is only I who can tame them  Lawlessness was in him as it will be in the Lawless One.  “When I am dead and gone,” Napoleon said, “my spirit shall return to France and throb in ceaseless revolution



A New God



(3) Again, Napoleon’s attitude to religion is extraordinarily significant.  “The people must have a religion,” he said: “this religion must be in the hands of the government.  It will be said that I am a Papist.  I am nothing.  I was a Mohammedan in Egypt; I shall be a Catholic here  At his coronation, as the Pope approached him to take up the crown, Napoleon seized it, waved the Pope aside, and crowned himself.  The historian Alison tells us the startling fact that Napoleon was anxious to adorn his brow, not only with the diadem of the conqueror, but with the tiara of the pontiff: even so the Antichrist will sit in the Temple of God, saying that he is God.



A New Messiah



(4) Perhaps the parallel is nowhere more startling than in Napoleon’s plans - plans which, in the Antichrist’s hands, will be achievements.  Napoleon said;- “This little Europe does not apply enough of glory for me.  I must seek it in the East: all great fame comes from that quarter  That is, his passion was to absorb the three great Empires that had gone before the Roman.  He summoned the Jewish Sanhedrin for the first time since the destruction of Jerusalem, and drafted plans for the rebuilding of the Temple: so Antichrist is to sit in a rebuilt Temple as the Messiah of Israel.  Plans for a rebuilt Babylon on a vast commercial scale were found among Napoleon’s papers after his death - Babylon is to be the Antichrist’s metropolis; and Napoleon actually offered himself to the Mohammedans as their Mahdi, or Messiah, as Antichrist will be the Messiah of all nations.



A Roman



(5)  One final parallel is curiously significant.  Napoleon was not a Frenchman at all, but a Roman, an Italian; and it is even said - though it has never been proved - that he was a blood-born descendant of the Caesars. Napoleon made his little son ‘king of the Romans,’ a title, like the British ‘Prince of Wales,’ belonging to the heir of the Roman Empire.  At his coronation the Pope chanted, - “My Augustus, live for ever!” and, perhaps most remarkable of all, the Austrian Emperor, who up to that date had represented the Caesars, resigned the Roman Imperial title to Napoleon.  The writer has seen, in the Louvre, in Paris, the crown of Napoleon, in which are actually the jewels that were in the crown of Charlemagne the last of the Roman Emperors.  So prophecy shows that Antichrist’s empire will be a restoration of the greatest Empire the world has ever known.






So now dawns the golden future.  The apex of iniquity brings in the apex of glory.  “A stone was cut out without hands” - an Empire that had no human origin - “which smote the image upon his feet” - not on the legs, but on the feet - “that were of iron and clay” - that is, our own epoch - “and brake them in pieces” (ver. 34).  That the coming Divine Kingdom actually replaces the four successive Empires of the world - Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome proves that this Millennial Kingdom, ‘the thousand years’ reign of our Lord, is literally a Kingdom on the [this] earth.  “In the days of those kings” - the days of desperate amalgamation of imperialism and democracy - “shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed, nor shall the sovereignty thereof be left to another people; but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever



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“EVERYTHING that may abide the fire, ye shall make it go through the fire, and it shall be clean” (Num. 31: 23).



I have worked with gold and silver for years, and when refining we put the metal into the furnace.  So God puts us into the furnace of affliction and of great fiery trial.  If we realised just what God is doing, instead of running away from these trials we would welcome them and say, “0 Lord, this is just what I needed  And we would praise God for everything.  “The Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your soul” (Deut. 13: 3).  He is proving us, getting ready for eternity.  We are here only a moment of time.  Why should we allow these troubles to be so real?  God is teaching us and disciplining us.  If we do not become overcomers we cannot reign with Him, so do not mind the trials, for they will come more and more.  The time is short and He is getting His Bride ready.  There is a little company of saints who have made up their minds to go through with Him whatever it costs.



“He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness” (Mal. 3: 3).  There we have it again so clearly.  We are going right into the furnace, but God sits down, as it were, to watch us.  It is a remarkable thing that when you are refining gold or silver, along toward the close you always sit down and watch it, intensifying the heat; but you watch it until it is done and immediately, when it throws out that rainbow colour, you take it out.  God cannot take us out until He sees the perfect form of Jesus in us.  He says, “Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is” (1 Cor. 3: 13).



I see some of the choicest saints going through awful trials, but they are becoming enriched through the ordeal. The Lord revealed to me, when a brother was going through a trial, that it was for an enlarged ministry, and when I saw and heard him again I said, “Praise God  Do you think that God, who has numbered the hairs of our heads, would let the devil touch one of His children so that it would not mean blessing later?  It means an enlarged ministry for the afflicted ones in the days to come, if Jesus tarries.



“Thou 0 God, hast proved us: Thou hast tried us, as silver is tried” (Ps. 66: 10).  “We went through fire, and through water: but Thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place” (Ps. 66: 12).  It is wonderful if a trail can bring us closer to Him, or make us more like Him.  What does it matter if you have much or nothing in this world?  We have God, and having Him, we possess all things.  We need only food and raiment.



“When thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned” (Is. 43: 2).  After all, it is not a particle of the gold that is burned.  The fire will take away only the dross and you will be more like Jesus.  Let some of these truths grip you today.  These trials are for enlargement.  As William Law, one of the greatest teachers, says, “If we could see the purpose God has in these trials, we would run to meet them  But instead of that, we run away from them, but God brings us to the place where we will say, - “Lord, I thank Thee for this fiery trial; forgive me that I thought it a strange thing



- Triumphs of Faith.



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That some worldly minded people believe in the possibility of an invasion of our planet from another world was demonstrated a few years ago when Orson Wells broadcast his famous play, “The War of the Worlds  The play was so realistic that thousands of people, tuning in late, became panic-stricken.  At least one person died of heart failure beside his radio.  Others, in their haste to find a place of safety, stumbled and fell, receiving broken bones.  Roads were crowded with thousands of motorists fleeing to the mountains where they thought to find some degree of security.  The telephone switchboards suddenly became swamped with calls to police headquarters for instructions.  People prayed to God in wild excitement.  One young man rushed into a restaurant where the writer was billed to take his meals during an evangelistic campaign, and with his face as pale as death, announced that the world was coming to an end.  He then dropped to his knees, and at the top of his voice prayed to God to save his soul.  Another old sinner, known to the writer, gathered his family together for prayer after having sent for a minister of the Gospel to help them to get right with God before the fatal hour should strike.  He confessed that at that time he prayed louder and more earnestly than he had ever prayed before in his life.  This strange reaction may have been brought about, though unconsciously, by the reading of comic strips, such as Buck Rogers.  But whether or not this was a contributing factor, the people, not knowing that it was only a play, believed that our earth was actually being invaded by warring hordes from another planet.  The question naturally arises, is such an invasion possible?



Inhabitants of Another World Have Visited the Earth.



The first account of such a visitation is found in Genesis 18: 2.  Three strangers stood before Abraham’s front gate, and upon being discovered were invited in to rest and to partake of refreshment.  They accepted the invitation, and after washing their hands and feet, partook of the repast set before them, consisting of veal steak, hot biscuits, butter and milk.  Two of these same visitors came to Lot in Sodom and stayed at his house all night.  They had every appearance of human beings, but they were not of this world.  Gideon had a similar visitation.  However, his guest refused to eat or to partake of his hospitality.  The visit of Heavenly beings is not uncommon in the Biblical accounts of God’s dealings with men, and since it has repeatedly occurred in the past, it is not unreasonable to believe that there can be other visitations in the future.



The Bible clearly reveals that the Earth Shall Be Invaded by Countless Hordes from two different and distant worlds.  The invaders are sworn enemies of each other.  Both represent two vastly different spheres of influence, one of them having established its fifth column all over the earth in preparation for the coming fierce struggle for permanent possession.  At the first attack occurring some months after the [Pre-Tribulation] Rapture, panic will seize the inhabitants of the earth because of the great danger from which there will be no escape.  Unlike Orson Wells’ play, this will be the real thing.  The first invaders are described by the Revelator as having the appearance of horses with the faces of men.  Their hair is as the hair of women, and on their heads are crowns like gold.  Other peculiarities mentioned are teeth like those of lions, breastplates of iron, and wings that make a great noise like the sound of many chariots, that is, artillery running to battle.  In their tails are stingers like those of scorpions, and with their tails they attack and injure men.  Those thus wounded will suffer severe pain as if struck by a scorpion.  For five months men will be plagued in this manner, and they will not be able to die, for death will flee from them.  If they try to take their own lives they will only add to their torment.  John also heard the name of the leader of these invading hordes, which in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon and in the Greek, Apollyon.



Following the retreat of these attackers, the second invasion will commence.  It will consist of an army of two hundred million cavalry men.  Their fiery steeds have heads like lions, tails like serpents, and breastplates of fire, jacinth, and brimstone.  Nothing can withstand them.  By these, one third of the earth’s population will be killed, the invasion lasting exactly thirteen months, one day, and one hour.



What indescribable consternation will be created among all people when this literal visible cavalry from the infernal regions lines up for attack.  Watch that double line of hideous horses and horsemen as they speed over the open countryside, setting everything on fire.  As these fire-belching steeds press on with deafening sound, the whole landscape is quickly turned into a blazing inferno.  The waving fields of grain so sorely needed, hay stacks, houses and barns, go up in smoke.  People hurriedly get into their automobiles to flee for safety. Highways are jammed till progress is slow and painful.  Men and women alike scream in terror as they go. Many die of heart failure; others are trampled under foot or crushed by moving vehicles.  Still the horrible invaders from another world gain on their enemies, the enemies of God, whose dying wails are quickly silenced by these flame throwers.  Their charred bodies are left behind as this Satanic battalion reorganizes for an attack on another sector of the world’s many battle fronts.  The slain are not lamented, neither gathered nor buried.  No news reporter will be able to give a more vivid account of this “War of the Worlds” than this which was given by revelation to John the Beloved on the Isle of Patmos approximately 1900 years ago.  These two invasions come from the Bottomless Pit,* but another invasion, greater than the first, will come as a complete surprise from another direction even before this last army has finished its mission.  There is not only war on earth at this time, but there is war in the Heavenlies.  Michael with his angelic hosts fights against the devil, who is the acknowledged “Prince of the Power of the Air and against the infernal hordes of darkness under his command.  The struggle is short, ending in victory for Michael, and in the casting out of the devil and all his myriads of angels into the earth where they are to be confined for three and one half years.  I hear the Apocalyptic angel cry, “Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time


[* That is, presumably from that lower part of “Hades” / “Sheol” in the underworld of the souls of the dead; and before the time of the Resurrection of some; when our Lord Jesus Christ will, at the end of the Great Tribulation, return to this earth and establish His Millennial Kingdom here. - Ed.]



This earth shall be invaded by two armies from the Bottomless Pit, and two from the heavenly regions.  The first two will be as real and as literal as any army that ever fought on the battle fields of the world.  The third may or may not be visible; nevertheless their wrath and power will be felt on earth.  The fourth and final invasion will be witnessed by all kindreds and tribes, and will strike the utmost terror to the hearts of men.  It will be D-Day for the Godless nations of earth.



This last invasion from the regions of heaven is thus described:-



“I have commanded my sanctified ones.  I have also called my mighty ones for mine anger, even them that rejoice in my highness.  The noise of a multitude in the mountains, like as of a great people; a tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together: the Lord of hosts mustereth the host of the battle.  They come from a far country, from the end of heaven, even the Lord, and the weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole land.  Howl ye; for the day of the Lord is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty” (Isaiah 13: 3-6).



At this time the Antichrist will be in his field commander’s quarters in the valley of Megiddo.  Millions of his best troops will be set in battle line, for the final conflict of this age, when suddenly his purpose is thwarted by an unexpected attack, not by mortal enemies, but by a host of Heavenly beings from outer space.  Every eye shall behold the awesome spectacle; every heart shall be filled with dread as the angelic hosts and the redeemed saints* of all ages led by their commander in Chief, the Lord Jesus Christ, come riding out of the blue on snow-white steeds of war.  No wonder the wicked will call for the rocks and the mountains to fall on them and to hide them from the Face of Him that sitteth on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb.


[* Presumably this refers to those saints of God “accounted worthy to escape, ” the End Times; who kept His word of prophecy, and persevered under trial of their faith in His Word: these only are those who will be translated into heaven, before the Great Tribulation under the Antichrist will set in.  See Luke 21: 24-36; Rev. 3: 10. - Ed.]



John describes the scene in these words:-



“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.  His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.  And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.  And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses clothed in fine linen, white and clean.  And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.  And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS” (Revelation 19: 11-16).



To meet this surprise attack the Antichrist will issue new orders for his troops to change their positions for a counter attack against the celestial figure on the white horse and his [angelic] army.  The ensuing conflict will be sharp and decisive, for the Beast, commonly called the Antichrist, together with the False Prophet that wrought miracles before him, will be quickly captured and cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. Daniel gives the same account as follows:-  “I beheld till the beast was slain and his body destroyed and given to the burning flame  It may be observed that Daniel’s and John’s accounts of the same battle and its outcome are identical, although written over six hundred years apart.  John tells us that the blood of those on the losing side, the enemies of Christ, will flow like a river for two hundred miles, reaching to the heights of the horses’ bridles.



The kingdoms of this world shall then become the kingdoms of our Lord and of all those - [adjudged as overcomers, who were faithful and true to His revealed word] - who fight on His side.  Victory to them is certain because that victory was assured at Calvary.  The battle now being fought by the spiritual forces of good and evil will be climaxed at Armageddon with victory for the side of righteousness.



- The Midnight Cry.



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“There is hope in a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again” (Job. 14: 7).



I remember years ago just such a crisis presented itself in my own life.  By gentle and persuasive means the Holy Spirit was urging me to yield to God certain things which I dreaded to let go.  Deep in my heart of hearts was the desire to be wholly consecrated to the Lord, but some of the pleasures and ambitions of earth hindered me, and my soul responded to the Lord in some such strain as this:- “If necessary, Lord, wrest these things out of my poor clinging hands, but nevertheless I shall cling to them as long as I may  My faithful Saviour waited in His love, digging and fertilizing by gentle providences until I compelled Him by my continued obstinacy to “cut down” the tree.  By awful and prolonged physical suffering (from which I was at length only delivered in answer to the prayer of faith) and by sharp mental and spiritual conflicts, was the pruning accomplished, and then the “new hope” was manifested and the “tender branch” sprang up.






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A deeply important point to notice in regard to ante-tribulation rapture, or ascension, is that so far from removing from earth all true Christians, it will only remove a small proportion of them, while the great majority of them will be left behind on earth to confront the terrors of the great tribulation, as a chastisement for their backsliding and Laodicean unwatchfulness and indifference in regard to the prospect of the immediate personal coming of Christ.  Yet, being true Christians, they will be finally saved.  This is principally shewn in the prophecies in the twelfth and fourteenth of Revelation.



It is a matter of great consequence to distinguish between the parousia or actual presence of Christ in the atmospheric heavens at the first stage of His coming, and the epiphaneia or visible manifestation of that presence to the world years later at its second stage.  A significant distinction is apparently observed in Scripture in the use of these terms - the word parousia occurring twenty-four times, and the expression epiphaneia six times in the New Testament.  The difference between these two words may thus be explained. The moon may sometimes have risen on a cloudy night above the horizon for five hours, and yet not be visible because of interposing dark clouds which shut it out from our view; nevertheless there is during those five hours an actual (although invisible) presence or parousia of the moon in the ethereal heavens: and when at last the intervening clouds are suddenly withdrawn, the lunar orb becomes at once visible to every upturned eye; this is the epiphaneia, or open manifestation of its previous parousia or presence.



Similarly, there will be the parousia or bodily Presence of the Lord Jesus in the ethereal heavens when He descends from heaven into the air, before the epiphaneia, or open manifestation of that parousia to the world at large, by the withdrawal of the intervening clouds of concealment which will have intermediately shrouded Him from the observation of mortal man.



Various predictions intimate that watchful Christians shall be kept out of and escape the final direful season of Tribulation, and that they may expect redemption even when it begins to come to pass.  “Because thou hast kept the word of My patience (that is, the injunction patiently to wait for My Coming), I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth “Watch ye therefore, and pray always that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man “When these things BEGIN to come to pass, then look up ...”



But a most distinct narrative of the two separate stages in Christ’s coming is given in the twelfth and fourteenth chapters of Revelation, which demand attentive consideration.  In the fourteenth chapter we are plainly told that two separate companies of Christians are to be taken up to heaven at Christ’s coming, and that a considerable interval is to elapse between the removal of each of those companies.  The first company is called the Firstfruits, and consists of a company of watchful Christians, who are taken to heaven before the three and a half years of Great Tribulation; but the second company is called the Harvest, being much more numerous than the firstfruits, and is caught up to heaven after the three and a half years.



Compare verses 4 and 15 in Rev. 14.  The 144,000 Jews in Rev. 7 are an entirely different company from the 144,000 in Rev. 14.  The seventh chapter company are entirely Jews caught up after the Tribulation, but the fourteenth chapter company are chiefly Gentiles, and are caught up before the Tribulation.  In no sense can Jews be called Firstfruits.



- The Prophetic News.