Studies in the Scriptures
Zion's Watch Tower
THE GREAT WHITE THRONE
"I saw a Great White Throne and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heavens fled away; and there was found no place for them."
[November 8, 1914]
The shaking described in
is now in progress, and will continue until all things are removed which are out of harmony with the Divine standards.
As a result of this shaking there will be "a Time of Trouble such as never was since there was a nation."
Everything false, bogus, inequitable, will be shaken.
In financial parlance this is equivalent to saying that the "water" will be squeezed out of all the stocks and bonds. By methods once sanctioned, but now everywhere reprehended, stocks and bonds have been issued for sums far beyond the actual value of the properties. These stocks and bonds have cost their present owners varying sums from nothing up to par; but their actual value is what the properties would cost, plus a reasonable percentage of allowance for right of way and business "good will." In ordinary times these had a market value built upon hope of their future prosperity. Now, however, the general public has become aware of the real situation and is fearful to touch at any price these shares and bonds of over-capitalized companies, and the most sound and solvent of them share the public distrust. Now, in the opening of the New Dispensation, when everything is being "shaken," we are to expect that all such stocks and bonds will be shaken in value until everything like dishonesty and inequity shall have been shaken out.
Forty years ago the world’s great bankers and financiers concluded that it would be to their interest to demonetize silver and have only a gold standard. This
finally accomplished what they foresaw and intended: it curtailed the world’s monetary supply and enabled the bankers the better to control the entire situation throughout the world. By an elaborate banking system (valuable in some respects), it made each gold dollar chase itself and do the work of five dollars or ten dollars, assisted by bank checks and drafts. Thus the profits of the larger banks increased amazingly by reason of higher discount and interest charges, making them rich at the public expense.
The public, of course, acquiesced in the law demonetizing silver and making gold the single standard. But they did it under misapprehension, because they believed the bankers’ tale—that this was really the best thing for the people, and not merely a measure in the interest of the banker and at the expense of the people. It is perhaps but fair to say that less than one-half of the bankers understood the philosophy of the matter; the others were guided by the wealthier and more astute, who did fully understand.
The result has been great profits to the bankers, and great power; for without them, railroad stocks and bonds could not be handled successfully. The bankers took over large issues of railroad stocks and bonds, by what is known as the underwriting process. They were capable sales agents for the bonds at a good round percentage of profit, advancing money on the bonds and holding them for sale to the public.
THE DAY OF RECKONING
Now we see fulfilled the Scripture declaration, "He taketh the wise in their own craftiness." (
.) How so, do you ask? I reply that the great banks have their vaults well filled with these bonds and stocks on which they had hoped to make large profits; but which, on the contrary, they are now unable to sell at any price.
These stocks and bonds reckoned in as part of the banks’
assets, show them to be wealthy, with immense surpluses; but now the "water" is to be taken out of these stocks and bonds. It will show an immense shrinkage in the resources of these banks. They will become suddenly poor without actually losing a cent, by reason of the market value of their securities falling.
This fact is realized by all banks. They realize that if the Day of Reckoning has come, and their holdings—their securities—are to be reckoned at their actual value, it will mean that instead of large resources and surpluses, some of the richest banks will become insolvent and be called upon by the government, either to close their doors or to make good their shortage. And right there will be their difficulty; for the rich men of the world have their capital invested similarly, and the reaction will be bound to unfavorably affect all the great commercial enterprises of the world. As all went well, amazingly well for the bankers and the wealthy by reason of the demonetization of silver, so when the Day of Reckoning shall have fully dawned, things will go especially hard with these same people. And, although the stoppage and the reconstruction will involve the whole world, poor and rich alike, nevertheless in many respects the rich will feel the pressure most.
The liquidating process had already begun before the present European war started. The Hartford and New Haven Railroad, the Chicago and Rock Island, and others, have been called to account. With these the "water squeezing" processes of the law have been threatening, and will undoubtedly accomplish their thorough "shaking."
But meantime, the war, waiting not for the more gradual processes of the law and the ordinary business, has brought the financial world to a crisis. The nations of Europe are being shaken. The casualties of the war already amount to a million and a half of human beings, and hundreds of millions of dollars. And it is only begun.
Financial values there are greatly impaired, as are
also national credits. The thing wanted is gold, and as in every war, this precious metal has practically disappeared in the nations at war. Their home securities will not be salable for cash, and a general attempt will be made to sell American securities—American stocks, bonds, etc. But who will buy these? America will be practically the only market for them, and as we have already seen, American banks and bankers are loaded down heavily.
When we learn the immense amount of these American shares and bonds held in European hands, we need not wonder that American bankers pale at the thought of their being dumped upon the American market. Reliable financial authorities declare that Europe has about five thousand millions of dollars invested in American securities. If but one-fifth of these be sacrificed to realize gold, it will mean an avalanche—a financial deluge.
American banks, already overloaded with these "securities," cannot purchase all; hence, prices will tumble and wrecks follow.
EFFECT OF SILVER DEMONETIZATION
In view of these matters, is it any wonder that American bankers fear to see the Stock Exchanges open for business? Had the Exchanges not closed promptly when they did, we would have had the most terrible panic ever known. By the closing of the Exchanges that awful panic was
By their closing, the owners of the stocks and bonds have been hindered from realizing upon them; thus the face value of these stocks and bonds has been preserved and thereby the banks and bankers have been permitted to continue to count these shares and bonds at fictitious prices which nobody would pay for them today.
Had silver not been demonetized, bankers would not have had as easy a time as they have enjoyed in cornering the financial market, and getting large rates of interest
and premiums; but neither would they be in the same distress at the present time, for the world would have had twice as much money with which to do its business.
When we consider that the gold coin of the world is not sufficient for even the paying of the
of the debts, we perceive how the banking institutions have had the people, figuratively, by the throat, and now are being choked themselves by their own device.
The interest upon the debts cannot be paid in gold because there is not enough of it to pay the interest.
Hence the only thing remaining to be done is to issue more bonds, payable in gold also, and the interest payable in gold. Now that nobody will buy the bonds, what is to be done? Interest on foreign holdings of American "securities," estimated at only four per cent per annum, means a drainage of two hundred millions of dollars every year in gold, needed to pay that interest. Now we seem to be coming to a dead stop through this war; and the wheels of finance which worked so favorably for the bankers in the past, are turning in the opposite direction and lacerating them financially.
Apparently our financial "house of cards" is trembling and about to fall. Various expediencies are being tried by the governments and the ablest financiers of the world. We might hope that their skill would accomplish the end they desire, and save the present institutions—financial—from being "shaken" to pieces. But, if we are right in our understanding of the Scriptures—if the great Day of Settlement has come, in which all the shakable things are to be shaken and nothing remain except that which cannot be shaken, then we may be sure that all human effort will fail, and the greatest of all crashes of a financial kind that have ever happened will take place.
It will be noticed that I am saying nothing new—that what I have just said has been said in part at least, by many, and published in the newspapers. I am merely bringing together these things, and showing their relationship
to the testimony of the Bible, that we are now in the great day of "shaking." To some this will be considered a fanatical pessimism, because the vast majority of people have absolutely no confidence in the Bible. Nevertheless, when these things shall come to pass in the very near future, some may be helped to an understanding of the true situation—to a recognition of the fact that the "shaking" upon the nations—financial, social, political and religious—is of the Lord, and not accidental.
Under normal conditions American business should be prospering as never before, because her commercial competitors are at war, and unable to properly attend to their commercial interests. Likewise, American securities should be in demand, because all securities of foreign countries have depreciated by the war. But with the gold standard and an insufficiency of gold, the business of the entire world is stagnated. The world’s needs and wants are as great as ever, but it has not the gold wherewith to purchase. The demonetization of silver seems to be referred to by the Prophet Ezekiel (
) saying, "They shall cast their silver into the street"—treat it as a commodity and not as money. The Prophet then tells how gold will become scarce and eventually be completely withdrawn by the people hiding it as though it were an unclean thing, as the Hebrew text implies—"Their gold shall be removed." Thus neither silver nor gold will be available.
Railroad magnates, and the bankers who hold their securities, perceive that if it is difficult to raise money for the meeting of the interest on the bonds it will be more difficult to issue new bonds to replace maturing ones, no matter how sound and well managed the railway may be. Is it any wonder that the trepidation of the financial and political princes of the earth is great, as they look into the future! Their well-grounded fears were prophesied by our Saviour as one of the signs of
the present time: "Men’s hearts failing them for fear and for looking after those things coming upon the earth"—the social order—and because of the shaking of the heavens, the ecclesiastical systems.—
FEAR HUMANITY’S BANE
Sin made moral cowards of our race. From early infancy fear and apprehension especially in respect to things future, have been impressed upon us. We realize that we are imperfect, that our God is perfect, that perfection is the only standard which He could approve, and that some kind of punishment for sin must be expected.
The Adversary, taking advantage of our forefathers, misrepresented the Almighty, and has used our fears to alienate us from Him and to wrest and distort His Message to us in the Bible. St. Paul assures us that this is Satan’s general procedure; that he puts light for darkness and darkness for light. Thus it comes that our text, which is really one of the most beautiful and comforting in the whole Bible when understood, has to many become a lash in the hands of their fears.—
Our text is one of the symbolisms of a Book filled with symbols. God’s people, guided by His Holy Spirit, in due time will appreciate these symbols. For many of them, that due time is already here. The Throne is Messiah’s; it represents His Mediatorial Dominion of earth for a thousand years. Its whiteness symbolizes the purity, the justice, of His Kingdom of Righteousness under the whole heavens.
The heavens and earth which will flee from the presence of the great Immanuel will not be the Heavens of God’s Throne, nor the earth which He has given to the children of men. The heavens and earth which will flee away, and for which no place will be found, are, of course, the symbolical ones.
In Bible symbology the earth represents established civilization; the sea, the restless, dissatisfied masses of humanity; and the mountains, human governments, kingdoms,
which constitute the backbone of present social institutions. The symbolic heavens represent spiritual influences—Ecclesiasticism, Churchianity. Thus interpreted, our text declares that when Messiah assumes control of the world, the result will be that the social system of today, as well as present day ecclesiasticism will pass out of existence—no place will be found for them.
SATAN NOW THE PRINCE
Some may ask, Whatever may be said of the four thousand years before the coming of Christ, may it not be claimed that He has been reigning ever since His ascension to the right hand of God? We answer, If the Redeemer of men has been reigning as the King of earth for the past nineteen centuries, there should be something in the Bible to so teach.
On the contrary the Master’s own words tell us that Satan is the Prince of this Age; that Christ’s Kingdom is not of this world (Age); that He will come again and receive His followers to Himself; that He went into a far country to receive title to His Kingdom and to return to take possession of it; and that at His Second Coming He will be the great King of Glory.—
#Joh 14:16,30; 18:36
#Mt 21:33; 25:14,31
When we scan the pages of history during the past eighteen centuries, we are convinced that Messiah has not been King. To think of Him as such, with the omnipotent power we accredit to Him, would be to charge Him with responsibility for bloody and atrocious persecutions, for wars, famines and pestilences. Surely, no right-minded person, after mature consideration, can rationally accept the theory that we have had the glorious Messianic Reign of Righteousness for the blessing of the whole world, the uplifting of humanity.
No one can think that the Reign of the great Mediator is in the past. We must agree with our text that it is in the future; and that, when established, its effect upon present institutions—political, social, financial, religious
—will be such that they will flee away; no place will be found for them. From this standpoint alone there is hope for the world.
Today we are living at the climax of civilization. Yet we behold more clearly than ever before that the deeply-ingrained selfishness of humanity is a blight upon all our blessings. Selfishness is to be found everywhere.
Although a semblance of righteousness is insisted upon and violators of that standard are styled criminals, nevertheless it seems impossible to legislate equity, justice.
Men’s keen intellects find opportunities for circumventing the laws and committing theft, murder, etc., without danger of punishment.
THE GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT
Neither Jehovah God nor His Representative, Messiah, can in any sense or degree be a party to injustice or inequity. The fact that injustice has been permitted, that inequity has been the rule for centuries, is to be accounted for by the fact that during all this period the world has been under the reign of Sin and Death, the reign of Satan, "the Prince of this world," and of the darkness of selfishness and evil—all of which his name represents; that the world has not been under the dominion of Messiah, the Representative of Jehovah and His righteousness, and love.
The New Dispensation which Messiah’s Kingdom will usher in is pictured in our text. It will be the world-wide dominion of purity, holiness, righteousness, justice, truth—a Great White Throne. No wonder we read that the symbolical heavens and earth, representing the old order of things—social, ecclesiastical—will vanish away!
But let no one think for a moment that ecclesiastical princes, financial princes and political princes will voluntarily acknowledge that the hour has come for a full surrender to Messiah and to all the principles of His absolute righteousness. On the contrary, these privileged
members of our race will be more and more drawn together for mutual protection—for the preservation of the special privileges which have come into their possession.
Even now we see the prophecy of the Second Psalm fulfilling. We are in the very time when the Lord, through the Prophet David, calls the great ones of earth to recognize the true situation of our wonderful day—that the Day of Messiah has arrived, and that He should be recognized and His principles of righteousness obeyed.
But no! The prophecy declares that we are in the day when the people, the masses, will have foolish imaginations—when they will think that by their own strength they can inaugurate a reign of righteousness along the lines of Socialism, or by anarchy. The people must learn that their help is in the Lord and not in their own frail arm. They must see the force of the words, "Blessed are all they that put their trust in Messiah."
"BE INSTRUCTED, YE JUDGES!"
On the other hand, the money kings, earthly rulers and ecclesiastical princes are taking counsel together for the preservation of present inequities of the world, by which they are profiting. The Lord declares that in this they are banding themselves against Him and His newly-appointed King, Messiah. For over a century human liberty has been making progress, despite every endeavor to restrain it. Earth’s potentates perceive the rising tide of human intelligence and of demands for equal rights. They perceive that unless something be done to counteract this general movement, the special advantages of the privileged classes will disappear. Even now they are taking counsel together how to break the restraints which the people are putting upon them, and how to reinaugurate a reign of autocracy, such as prevailed a century ago, but upon a higher plane, controlled by brighter wits, restraining more intelligent masses.
Would that the cultured and influential princes of earth could take the proper view of the situation and
realize the fallacy of their counsels, the impossibility of averting the great changes which are upon us by reason of the time having come for Messiah to take unto Himself His great power and reign! Could the wise of earth realize the situation and fully submit themselves to the Divine requirements of absolute justice and truth, what a blessing it would be to the world! If these princes would turn their attention from the grasping of power and money to the enlightenment and uplifting of the people, they would become ministers of the New Dispensation, which would be ushered in with rejoicing. But the Lord informs us that this will not be the case; and that as a result Messiah’s Kingdom will be ushered in by "a Time of Trouble such as was not since there was a nation."—
God is no respecter of persons. Hence, before His Judgment Throne punishments will be meted out to small and great, when found to be violators of the principles of justice. Would that I could impress this upon many of the lower classes who are crying out against injustice in high places, while practicing similar injustices themselves.
Let it be remembered that the Great White Throne speaks blessings only to those who love righteousness and hate iniquity.
The Master said, "My Word shall judge you in the Last Day." The books then to be opened will be the words of Jesus, of His Apostles and of the Prophets of old. Then all shall see the oneness of the Divine Message of righteousness, and each who would have everlasting life must conform his living and his thinking to those standards therein contained. At the end of Messiah’s Reign, those whose names will have been written upon the
Book of Life will be found worthy of everlasting life; those whose names are not therein written will be destroyed in the Second Death.—