By Pastor Russell Pastor of The New York City Temple and Brooklyn and London Tabernacles
"And thou hast tried them which say they are Apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars."—#Re 2:2.
The Present Outlook.
NOW, this is what we are expecting. We do not know just how soon it will be. It may be months, it may be a year or so. But we see that it is very near. We cannot think that the present conditions in Europe will last very much longer without revolution breaking out. I shall be much astonished if some of the countries do not enter into revolution within a year. These nations are impoverishing themselves. Great Britain has already contracted a debt of thirteen billions of dollars, and her minister of finance has told her that nine billions more will be required to keep the war running another year. That will make twenty-two billions. What does that mean? It means that at 5 per cent interest, one billion one hundred million of dollars would have to be raised every year just to pay the interest alone. Do you think the British people can afford to raise that amount every year? Not at all! Do you think they will do it? No. I believe these bonds will be repudiated, and not in Great Britain alone, but the same is true of France and of Russia.
Their children for generations to come could not pay off those debts. They are madly attempting to embargo future generations. Yet all of these countries are saying: "We will not give in. We must conquer!" Well, we shall see! I stake my opinion on the Bible. All these nations will become more and more weakened, revolution everywhere will follow, and they will be crumbled into dust. Every one of them will pass away.
Not a kingdom will be left in all Europe.
Then what will come? Anarchy, naturally enough. And all this because the rich and the poor will say: "Never mind the law!" just as the nations are now saying, in the same anarchistic spirit, "Never mind international law!" Every one of these nations has violated international law. Is this a Christian war? Of course, they all claim that they are fighting for the good of the human race, for the advancement of progress and civilization. But they are fighting to maintain their commerce on the sea, and they are willing to barter the lives of hundreds of thousands, yes, millions of men, if they can preserve their financial standing and increase it and have plenty of business for the future. That is their attitude.
Until this war began it was thought proper to sell even an enemy bread, just as the Bible says, "If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink." But the latest form of Christian (?) doctrine is, "Starve him! Let us take every advantage possible!" Not.even by parcel post or in any way can any food get into Germany. All this is the spirit of anarchy. And it will spread from nations to individuals. The Bible describes what is coming: "Every man’s hand shall be against his brother. There shall be no peace to him that goeth out, nor to him that cometh in."—
OV420 #Zec 8:10; 14:13; #Isa 9:19; 19:2; #Eze 38:21-23.
Man’s Extremity God’s Opportunity.
Ominous as are present conditions, the true children of God can with peace and confidence look up and lift up their heads, since they know that however terrible may be the oncoming troubles, God has provided that through this doorway—Armageddon—Messiah’s Kingdom is to be ushered in—the Kingdom of God’s dear Son. It will mean deliverance, first to the Church of Christ, then to the world. The Bible intimates very clearly that just at the height of anarchy, when men get to the place where everything is going by the board, then will be the opportune moment for Messiah to intervene. Man’s extremity will be God’s opportunity.
In the 107th Psalm, verses 25-31, there is a picture given representing a great storm at sea when men are tossed about and in a terrible condition, and their souls melt within them. "Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and He bringeth them out of their distresses; He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still." Then there is another similar picture. Our Lord Jesus stilled the waves upon the sea of Galilee when the storm was raging and threatening to engulf the ship and all therein. The disciples cried to the Master in their distress, and He arose and rebuked the wind and the waves, and said: "Peace! be still!" and immediately the billows were quiet and the winds ceased, and all was calm. We believe this is a picture of how the Kingdom of Christ will be inaugurated. The Lord will wait until the world is frenzied with fear and despair. They will come to see then that unless the Lord helps them all is lost, everything will go to destruction. Then they will cry unto Him as did the disciples of old, when they said, "Master, carest Thou not that we perish?"
The nations will not then pray to the Lord as they are praying now, each taking it for granted that He is on their side—not as the Germans pray, saying: "God is with us.
Lord, give us the victory over the Russians and French and British!" and not as the Russians, British and French are praying, "Lord bless our armies, and give us the victory over the Germans; help us to crush them!" No, no! It will then be a prayer of real distress. They will not be boasting then, they will have become humble. For "The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that Day (the Day now begun.)" (#Isa 2:11,12,17-22.) But the Lord will permit present civilization to go into destruction, because He has something far better for the world. He will not put a patch upon the old garment. He will have an altogether new arrangement. There will be a "new heavens," a new ecclesiastical arrangement, the Church in glory, and a "new earth," a new social and political order, under control of the Heavenly Kingdom then to take the reins of government.
When we see that it is through the portals of this great Time of Trouble, a trouble such as never was since there was a nation, that the wonderful blessings of Messiah’s Kingdom are to come, then we can have confidence in God and rest of heart even while we see the clouds gathering blacker and blacker. We can rejoice, not at the pain and sorrow and trouble, but because we know that as soon as the entire Church is glorified with her Lord the Kingdom will be fully set up in power, which is to bless and deliver all the families of the earth and bring to mankind the full, clear knowledge of the true character of God, and scatter all the ignorance and blindness, and raise men up from.their fallen condition of sin, sorrow and death, up into the light and blessedness of sons of God—whosoever will, when clear light and opportunity are given.
So our hearts are calm and restful in the Lord, despite present conditions and what is soon to come. It will be
OV421 a brief, dark night, just before the glorious Morning. It will be the wound of the kind but skilful Surgeon who wounds to heal. The malady affecting mankind requires thorough and drastic treatment. Then, in view of these things, let us point men, not so much to the troubles now accumulating and just ahead, but rather to the great blessings beyond. Let us point them to the Lord Jesus Christ, in whom alone there will be safety and rest and strength in this Time of Trouble. The great plowshare of sorrow must do its necessary work to prepare mankind for the New Age, with its uplifting blessings under the Kingdom of Christ.
WHOM WILL YE SERVE? #Joh 19:12,13.
CAESAR’S friends? or friends of Jesus? Solemn question for to-day! Friends of Caesar! Friends of Jesus! Take your sides without delay. If ye pause for man’s forbidding, Caesar’s friendship ye secure; If ye do the Father’s bidding, Scorn, reproach, ye shall endure. Friends of Caesar! Friends of Jesus! Stand revealed! your choice declare! Who in truth two masters pleases? Who may rival banners bear? Jesus’ friends account Him precious, Lose for Him all other gain: Dearer far the smile of Jesus Than the praise of worldly men. Free from Caesar, friends of Jesus! Stand in phalanx! never fear! Love, severely tried, increases; Courage yet! the Lord is near! Onward still, His name confessing, Weaving crowns to grace His brow; Lo! His hands are full of blessing, Lifted for your succor now. Caesar’s friends were we, but Jesus Owns us for His friends to-day! What! shall rival friendship please us, While the Bridegroom is away? No! through grace would we surrender Caesar’s things to Caesar’s care, Whilst to God, our God, we render Filial homage, praise, and prayer.