VIEW FROM THE WATCH TOWER
THE FIRE OF THIS DAY
PRAYERS that God would stop the great European war have not been answered. On the contrary, as pointed out in these columns nearly a year ago, the entire world is involved and distressed. The Bible predictions that the armies of all nations would be gathered to the valley of Jehoshaphat is proving true. (Joel 3:9-14.) The Valley of Jehoshaphat is the name of the cemetery outside the walls of Jerusalem, and the prophecy signified that the armies of all nations would be gathered as one vast cemetery. With a battle front of over sixteen hundred miles, and with all kinds of infernal machinery, the flower of Europe's manhood goes down to death. All the participating nations are regretful, for each had hoped for greater successes than yet achieved. The Bible indicates great disappointment of all nations--no great victory for any, but, on the contrary, humiliation and impoverishment. Already the bonds of all the warring powers are greatly depreciated. All national debts are so heavy that many thoughtful people are expecting that a result of the war will be repudiation of all national debts, as well as social revolution. Great victories and final achievement console the people for great losses; and similarly, great national disasters in the face of a successful foe, tend to cement the national spirit; but with a terrible war, with heavy losses, peace will mean discontent, revolution and, according to the Bible, ultimate anarchy. How consoling the thought given us by the words of Jesus, that for the Elect's sake these days shall be shortened, but that otherwise the entire human family would be obliterated as the reign of selfishness and enmity would progress!
Thanks be to God that we know who the Elect are-- Jesus and His saintly followers glorified! Thanks be to God that we can have confidence that these will constitute the Kingdom of God's dear Son, and be backed by all the Power of Heaven in the establishment of the Reign of Righteousness! Thanks be to God that we can have full confidence in the Divine promises to the effect that the outcome of Messiah's Reign will be "peace on earth and good will toward men" in a world-wide Eden! Thanks be to God that we can trust His promise that Messiah's Kingdom will be successful in the complete uplift of the fallen race out of sin and death--back to the image and likeness of God for whosoever will! Thanks be to God that after all shall have had full opportunity for such recovery, all wilfully wicked will be utterly destroyed in the Second Death!
Thus far we are told the war is not deeply felt nor deeply impressed upon the average non-combatants. In all the warring countries business is fairly good. Money is kept in circulation by the manufacture of munitions of war and military equipment and supplies. Thus far the chief brunt falls upon the soldiers in the ranks and upon bereaved widows and orphans. The chief evidences of war, except on the scenes of strife, are the numbers of men everywhere in military uniform, and the numbers of women wearing mourning. However, as credit depreciates and gold becomes more scarce, the prices of commodities of every sort will advance, wages in Europe will be forced upward, with accompanying labor troubles, leading on to the foretold great earthquake--revolution (Rev. 16:18); leading on still further to the predicted fire which is to consume every vestige of present civilization --not a literal fire, but anarchy.
This fire has already begun as respects religious faith. Hearken to the Apostle Paul, "The fire of that day shall try every man's work of what sort it is." It will prove who have builded character and faith with the gold, silver and precious stones of Divine promises, and who have builded their hopes with the wood, hay and stubble of human tradition. The latter, the Apostle declares, will be utterly burned or destroyed by the symbolic fire of this Day, while the former class of faith alone will be able to withstand that fiery time. Do we not already see this? Do we not see that the great professors of colleges and nearly all the great ministers of the various churches have completely lost faith in the Bible? Do we not see that the greater enlightenment of our time is making the creeds of all denominations ridiculous, absurd, to their own upholders and to all mankind? Do we not see that those who have abandoned the Bible have practically nothing left--merely their own guesswork? Do we not see that the guesswork of evolutionists is already proving unsatisfactory to them, and that they are losing all faith in a personal God, and merely assuming the possibility of an immortality of which they have no proofs and of the character of which they have only speculation? Ah, as the Apostle indicated, those who have the faith, the character structure represented by the gold, silver and precious stones of Divine Revelation--these alone have an anchorage of soul sure and steadfast which enters into that within the veil, and fastens for support to the merit of the sacrificial death of the great Redeemer who, "by the [R5715 : page 196] grace of God, tasted death for every man," and who by the grace of God is to be the great King whose Kingdom will deliver Adam and his race from sin, death, ignorance, superstition, into the liberty of the children of God.
THE LORD'S BRETHREN NOT IN DARKNESS
Present conditions are very favorable for the spread of the Truth. Everywhere the public are thinking more than ever respecting religious things, and wondering what it means that great nations, each purporting to be Christ's Kingdom, should be so locked in deadly strife. Their perplexity and questions furnish excellent opportunity for explaining the Bible hopes and teachings. They are ready as never before for the message that these kingdoms are deceived into thinking themselves Christ's Kingdoms, whereas the Bible calls them "kingdoms of this world" and Gentile kingdoms. They are ready for the Message that Messiah's Kingdom is to furnish the remedy for all the ills of the world by uplifting mankind out of ignorance, superstition, sin and death. They are ready for the information that although Christ was eighteen hundred years ago declared worthy to become the King He has not yet taken office in the full sense of the word, but is waiting for the completion of the Church, which has been in process of calling and disciplining and polishing for more than eighteen hundred years. They are ready for the Message that Christ is now taking to Himself His great power and beginning His reign, and that the present disturbance of Europe is what is described in Revelation as the nations being angry, and God's wrath having come, etc.--Rev. 11:18.
In view of these favorable factors, we perceive our privilege in continuing to give no uncertain sound upon the silver trumpets of Jubilee. Apparently many of God's servants are being sealed in their foreheads with this knowledge, this Present Truth, as the Scriptures predicted: "Ye brethren are not in darkness that that Day should overtake you as a thief" (1 Thessalonians 5:4), though it shall come upon the whole world as a thief and a snare. As the Savior said, perplexities are causing the hearts of men to fail for fear and for looking after the things coming upon the world, still future, but because of the sealing in our foreheads--the clear intellectual knowledge--the servants of God may, as Jesus suggested, be lifting up their heads and rejoicing, realizing from present developments that their deliverance draweth nigh --that the resurrection of the Church and her glorious establishment as Messiah's Bride in the Kingdom, are near at hand, even at the door.
WINDS OF WAR LET LOOSE
How plainly now we can see what we saw less distinctly in the past--that the winds of war have been held back for approximately forty years to give opportunity for the sealing of the servants of God in their foreheads, for the spread of true Bible study all over the world, in all languages. Any one thinking of the present war as being suddenly thrust upon the nations is surely short-sighted. [R5716 : page 196] For forty years the newspapers of the world have been foretelling this war as imminent; every fall they would declare that it must come by spring; every summer they would declare that it must come by fall, and it was so long held back by Divine interference that many began to wonder whether or not the war might be ultimately avoided. But not so; the war is the only way in which the Kingdom of Messiah can be established. It will be in vain that the message might be sent to the Czar of Russia, to the Kaiser, or to the Emperor Francis Joseph, or to the British King that the time has come for Messiah to set up His Kingdom, and that all kingdoms of earth should now be turned over to Him. They would laugh at such a proposition and resist it at every cost. Instead, God merely lets loose the winds of war--He will no longer restrain--He will allow human selfishness to take its own unwise course. He will allow all nations to deceive themselves into thinking that they will be more firmly established, and enlarge their domains and pave the way to future prosperity by this war. Surely it is in view of this that all nations have been preparing for this war for forty years, by the building of great dreadnaughts, the organizing of great armies, etc., each according to its sphere of influence and greatest power. Is it not a master stroke of Divine Wisdom which permits the nations claiming to be Christ's kingdoms to destroy each other's power, to weaken each other, and to demonstrate by their strife that they have not even the first conception of the Spirit of Christ, of which, the Apostle says, "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His," a principle which is applicable to nations as well as individuals? At the same time it should not be forgotten that there are saints of God in every land, and that doubtless there are saints in every army--in these armies because of conscription--in these armies to fulfil the demands of the governments, but with fullest determination that they at the same time owe their highest allegiance to the kingdom of kindness, and fully determined that they will kill nobody. We are hearing from the front, that they are seeking to live up to the teachings of the Word of God, pointed out in the sixth volume of SCRIPTURE STUDIES, and that they are being blessed in so doing. What more could we ask?
"WAIT YE UPON ME, SAITH THE LORD"
Inquiries come to us respecting the advisability of enlisting in hospital corps, rather than to be conscripted for the regular service later on. Our advice would be to wait for the leadings of the Lord's providence and to take such steps only when fully assured of their wisdom. Now is a good time to remember the words of the Lord, "Wait ye upon Me, saith the Lord." It would be a mistake, however, for any of the Lord's people to think themselves called upon to interfere in any manner with the world's course in respect to enlistment. Let the worldly use their own judgment, while God's consecrated people use theirs. To be "subject to the powers that be," implies not merely a willingness to serve under compulsion, but implies also that we will not oppose earthly governments in any public manner. The public reproof and overthrow will come from the Lord. The smiting of the image, which will grind it to powder, will come not from the Church in the flesh, with carnal weapons, but from the Church in Kingdom glory, backed by Divine Power.--Daniel 2:45.
There never was a time of greater need that all of
God's people should remember the Apostle's instruction,
"Let your moderation be known to all men." Even in
discussing the Time of Trouble emphasis should be laid
not so much upon the trouble as upon the glorious Kingdom
which will be inaugurated at that time and through
the instrumentality of the trouble. Let us remember one
another in prayer at this time and especially those who
are in desperate situations. The Lord seems to have provided
the Vow as a special means of comforting and
supporting one another. Approximately 15,000 have already
indicated to us that they have taken the Vow, and
that therefore they belong to this great world-wide Prayer
Circle which remembers each other and all the laborers in
the Lord's Kingdom daily at the Throne of Grace.
[R5716 : page 197]
KILLED, WOUNDED AND PRISONERS
RED CROSS SOCIETY REPORT TO MARCH 1, 1915.
Prominent newspapers are publishing the following:
The total killed in the European conflict up to March 1 of this year was 2,136,000; seriously wounded, 1,150,000; slightly wounded, 3,781,000; prisoners, 1,764,000, making a total of 8,831,000.
These appalling figures were compiled by the Red Cross Society, and were furnished by the German consulate in Denver today.
The tabulated figures show the losses as follows:
Germany. Austria. France. England. Russia. Totals.
Dead ....... 482,000 341,000 464,000 116,000 733,000 2,136,000
Slightly... 760,000 618,000 718,000 185,000 1,500,000 3,781,000
Seriously.. 97,000 83,000 439,000 49,000 482,000 1,150,000
Prisoners... 233,000 183,000 495,000 83,000 770,000 1,764,000
Totals.....1,572,000 1,225,000 2,116,000 433,000 3,485,000 8,831,000
Allies, without Belgians, Serbs and Montenegrins, 6,034,000.
Germans and Austrians, 2,797,000.