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Proclaiming the 3 angels Messages and

   Abiding in the Father and His Son

 
 

Let The Dead Speak

February 2012 Issue

By ITH Ministries

God has given me light regarding our periodicals. What is it?--He has said that the dead are to speak. How?--Their works shall follow them. We are to repeat the words of the pioneers in our work, who knew what it cost to search for the truth as for hidden treasure, and who labored to lay the foundation of our work. They moved forward step by step under the influence of the Spirit of God. One by one these pioneers are passing away. The word given me is, Let that which these men have written in the past be reproduced. Review and Herald - May 25, 1905

Stephen Haskell - The Cross and its Shadow - Part 5

James White - Millennium Bible Adventism - Sermon 5

Stephen Haskell Picture

Stephen Haskell

The Cross and It's Shadow

Part 5 OF 5

 

Chapter 41

Naphtali

In Jacob's dying blessing, Judah was compared to a lion, Dan to a serpent, Issachar to a strong ass, Benjamin to a wolf, but Naphtali is a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words. Gen 49:21 A hind, or female deer, is a timid animal, ready to flee at the first approach of danger. No one would attempt to bind a burden on a deer.

Naphtali indicates a character quite different from Issachar, couching down between two burdens, or Judah with his kingly power; yet Naphtali has a precious gift that every one may Covet: He giveth goodly words. Unencumbered by many of the heavy burdens and responsibilities borne by some of his brethren, he has time to find those who are downcast and discouraged, and by his goodly words to encourage the despondent and comfort the sorrowful.

Naphtali does not represent the unruly tongue that is set on fire of hell, James 3:5-8 far from it, for he giveth goodly words, and pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones. Prov 16:24

Let no one think because Naphtali spoke goodly words that he represented a light, unstable character; for in the great typical battle of Megiddo, Naphtali were a people that jeoparded their lives unto the death in the high places of the field. Judges 5:18 The literal translation of the original is very emphatic, they desolated their lives to death; they were determined to conquer or die, and therefore plunged into the thickest of the battle. The cause of God was more precious to them than life, and they did not shrink from fighting in the high places of the field, exposed to the fiery darts of the enemy, if the success of the battle demanded it.

There will be twelve thousand of the tribe of Naphtali that throughout all eternity will follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth; twelve thousand that during their probationary life on this earth spoke goodly words, and in difficult places, fearlessly stood firm at their post of duty, ready to sacrifice their lives rather than compromise the cause of God.

In Moses' last blessing, of Naphtali he said, O Naphtali, satisfied with favour, and full with the blessing of the Lord. Deut 33:23 Surely, this is a condition to be coveted by every child of God, satisfied with favour. The Lord greatly favours every one whose sins are forgiven; but how often we are dissatisfied and impatient, and go through life with downcast faces.

Because we are not satisfied with favour, we are not full with the blessing of the Lord. The child of God who fully realizes what it is to be cleansed from sin and clothed with Christ's righteousness, will be satisfied with favour: and if he appreciates the many blessings he receives at the hand of the Lord, and counts them over day by day, he will find that his life is full with the blessing of the Lord.

Naphtali joined with the rest of Israel in crowning David king at Hebron, and the record states that with other northern tribes they brought large quantities of provisions to Hebron at that time. 1 Chron 12:40 Barak, of Kadesh-Naphtali, is the only great hero of this tribe, mentioned in the Bible. The battle fought by him under the direction of Deborah the prophetess was in many respects the greatest battle fought by the ancient people of God, and is a type, or object lesson, of the great battle of Armageddon. Judges 4:6-24

The territory bordering on the west shore of the Sea of Galilee and extending northward, was given to Naphtali. It was a fertile country, and during the reign of Solomon was one of his commissariat districts, in charge of Ahimaaz, a son-in-law of the king. 1 Kings 4:7,15

The territory of Naphtali lay in the path of the Syrian and Assyrian invaders. It was from the goodly land of Naphtali that Ben-hadad and Tiglath-pileser had their first taste of the plunder of the Israelites. In 730 B.C, Tiglath-pileser overran the whole of the north of Israel, and the tribe of Naphtali was carried captive into Assyria.

In the time of Christ, Naphtali no longer possessed the shore of the Sea of Galilee, but it was to be far more renowned than when held by him. Isaiah, more than seven hundred years before Christ, had prophesied that the land of Zebulun and of Naphtali would see a great light, Isa 9:1, 2; Matt 4:15, 16 and in fulfilment of it, Jesus, the Light of the world, had His home in Galilee. It was the cradle of the Christian faith, and from the shores of the Sea of Galilee the leading disciples were called to their life-work. O Galilee, sweet Galilee,
What memories rise at thought of thee!
In mortal guise upon thy shore
The Saviour trod whom we adore. The waves which once His vessel bore
Will sound His praise forevermore;
And from thy depths, beloved sea,
We hear the call, Come follow me. Through ages yet to come, thy name
Will sound His praise forevermore;
'Tis hallowed ground where once He trod,
The Prince of Peace, the Son of God. O Galilee, sweet Galilee,
Thy blessed name will sacred be
In every clime, on every shore,
Till suns shall set to rise no more.

SUMMARY

The tribe of Naphtali sprang from four sons of Naphtali. Gen. 46:24.
The tribe numbered 45,400, when they entered the promised land. NUM. 26:50.
Barak, of Kadesh-Naphtali, is the only great hero of this tribe.
Christ's work in the borders of what had been the Land of Naphtali, was a subject of prophecy. Isa. 9:1, 2.

Chapter 42

Gad

The prophetic words of his dying father open up a volume in the life and character of this son: Gad, a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at the last. Gen 49:19 Gad may be taken as a type of the backslider, who is overcome by a troop of temptations, but awakens to his danger; and in the strength given him from God, overcomes at last, and enters the pearly gates of the New Jerusalem, rejoicing in the Lord,

The secret of the Gadites' being victorious over their enemies, is given in the account of one of their great battles: They cried to God in the battle, and He who entreated of them; because they put their trust in Him. 1 Chron 5:20

When Peter found that he was actually sinking beneath the waves that he had been walking upon, he cried, Lord, save me. And immediately, Jesus stretched forth His hand, and caught him. Matt 14:30, 31In like manner, the one who finds himself overcome by temptations over which in the past he has been victorious, has the privilege, like Gad and Peter, of crying out for help, and he will immediately, receive it, if he puts his trust in God.

To every backslider the Lord sends this message: Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion. Jer 3:12-14 The Lord uses the, symbol of marriage to illustrate the close union between Himself and His people; and when they backslide and dishonour Him, wonderful thought! - He still says, Go and proclaim these words I am married unto you, - the backslider.

Again the Lord asks: Where is the bill of your mother's divorcement, whom I have put away? or which of My creditors is it to whom I have sold you? He answers the question Himself: Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourself. Isa 50:1

The Lord requires but one thing of the backslider: Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God. Jer 3:13 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

To every backslider the Lord says, Come now, and let us reason together: . . . though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. Isa 1:18

Hear the Lord pleading with the backslider: Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. Jer 3:22 That is a wonderful promise; but listen again to His pleading voice: I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for Mine anger is turned away. Hosea 14:4 It is no stinted portion that the backslider receives; the Lord heals his backslidings and loves him freely. Who, that has ever once tasted the peace and joy of sins forgiven, can refuse such offers of pardon and love?

On one of the gates of the city of God, the name of Gad will be written, Gad, the one who was overcome by a troop, but at the last became the victor.

Twelve thousand of the one hundred forty-four thousand will also be marshaled under the name of Gad Rev 7: 4,5 - twelve thousand, who arise from backslidings and defeat, acknowledge their transgressions, claim the promises of God, wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb, and enter as victors the city of God. Rev 7:14

It is very difficult for the human heart to reinstate one who has betrayed his confidence and has spurned love and friendship; but the infinite God will not only heal our backslidings and love us freely, but He also says, I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions for Mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. Isa 43:25

Because they were shepherds, the Gadites requested that their portion be given them out of the land first conquered on the other side of Jordan. They took part in the conquest of the land on the west side of Jordan, and did not return to their families until they were given an honourable discharge by Joshua, at the door of the tabernacle in Shiloh. Joshua 22:1-4 Moses evidently refers to their choice of land and faithfulness in the parting blessing. Deut 33: 20,21

Their inheritance lay between the territory of Reuben on the south and the half tribe of Manasseh on the north. At first the inheritance of Gad embraced half of Gilead; later they possessed all of it. 1 Chron 5:11, 16 They became so closely identified with Gilead, that in some cases the name Gilead is used synonymously with Gad.

The character of the tribe was throughout fierce and warlike, men of might, and men of war fit for the battle, that could handle shield and buckler, whose faces were like the faces of lions, and were as swift as the roes upon the mountains. Such is the graphic description given of those eleven heroes of Gad, the least of them more than equal to a hundred, and the greatest to a thousand; that, undaunted by the swollen floods of Jordan, joined the forces of David at the time of his greatest discredit and embarrassment. 1 Chron 12:8, 12, 13, margin

Gad, although separated from the rest of Israel west of the Jordan, still retained some connection with them. From the following words of Ahab we should infer that Gad was considered a part of the northern kingdom: Know ye that Ramoth in Gilead is ours, and we be still, and take it not out of the hand of the king of Syria? 1 Kings 22:3

Tiglath-pileser carried Gad captive into Assyria, 1 Chron 5:26 and the Ammonites inhabited their cities in the days of Jeremiah. The prophet bewails the condition in the following words: Hath Israel no sons? hath he no heir? Why then doth Melcom (Moloch) inherit Gad, and his people dwell in his cities? Jer 49:1, margin Of all the tribes of Israel, Gad and Reuben alone returned to the land their forefathers had left five hundred years before, with their occupations unchanged. The civilization and persecution in Egypt changed the occupation of most of the tribes.

Barzillai, the friend of David, was a Gileadite; 2 Sam 19:32-39 and so was Jephthah, that mighty man of valour. Among the worthy characters of Gilead, or Gad, was Elijah the Tishbite, who by his word locked heaven for three years and a half; and in answer to his prayer, the clouds emptied themselves again upon the earth.

Elijah was honoured by God as only one other person was ever honored; Heb 11:5 and when the time for his translation drew near, he crossed over Jordan into the land of his childhood, where, by the grace of God, he had gained that strength of character which enabled him fearlessly to rebuke Ahab and Jezebel his wife. It was from his own native land of Gilead that the chariots of God bore him in

triumph into heaven. 2 Kings 2:7-14 Once he has returned to earth, when he with Moses appeared in glory, on the mount of transfiguration, and talked with Jesus of the great sacrifice soon to be offered at Jerusalem. Luke 9:28-31

SUMMARY

The tribe of Gad were the descendants of the seven sons of Gad. Gen. 46:16.
The tribe numbered 40,500, when they entered the promised land. Num. 26:18
Tiglath-pileser carried Gad captive into Assyria. 1 Chron. 5:26. Noted Characters Barzillai, the friend of David. 2 Sam. 19: 32-39.
Jephthah, that mighty man of valour. Judges 11:1
Elijah the Tishbite was from Gilead, or Gad. 1 Kings 17:1.

 

Chapter 43

Asher

Of his childhood and early manhood we know nothing, only that he grew up with his brethren, and went into Egypt with the rest of the family. Asher had four sons and a daughter named Sarah, from whom sprang the tribe which bore his name. 1 Chron 7:30

When the books of the Chronicles were written, the men of the tribe of Asher were spoken of as choice and mighty men of valour; and there were twenty-six thousand of them that were apt to the war. 1 Chron 7:40

When all Israel gathered at Hebron to make David king over Israel, Asher gathered forty thousand that were expert in war. 1 Chron 12:36

Since the name Asher (Aser, the Greek form of the word) is given to one division of the one hundred and forty-four thousand Rev 7:6 the character of Asher is the most important thing for us to consider; and as little or nothing is recorded of his life, we shall have to take the prophetic words of Jacob and Moses as a guide in the study.

The patriarch Jacob's dying blessing on Asher was, Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties. Gen 49:20 These words indicate prosperity.

When Moses pronounced his parting blessing upon the tribes of Israel, he said, Let Asher be blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil. Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be. Deut 33:24, 25

Asher seems to have had an amiable disposition; for he was acceptable to his brethren. Let him dip his foot in oil. Some people have the happy faculty of always getting out of difficulty as if everything was oiled; they apparently step over difficulties that others would fall under. They dip their feet in oil, and pass smoothly over the rough places in life.

The precious promise, As thy days, so shall thy strength be, was given to Asher, the one Jacob said should yield royal dainties, and of whom Moses said, Let him dip his foot in oil. In ordinary life the one who dips his foot in oil, and apparently passes smoothly through life, receives little sympathy. Sympathy is usually extended to the one who does not have his feet oiled, and experiences all the roughness by the way; but God knows that the person who holds tip his head and goes cheerily through life, giving royal dainties of kind words of cheer to others, often in reality experiences heavier trials than the one who sighs and cries on account of the roughness of the way; and to them He says, As thy days, so shall thy strength be.

It is a glorious thing to dip the foot in oil! Oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit; the one whose feet even, are anointed with the Spirit of God, will pass over the rough places in life with a heart full of praise and thanksgiving. Under the feet of such a one will be iron and brass a firm foundation. He will not sink amid the pitfalls of life, for God assures him, As thy days, so shall thy strength be. The feet of the one who dips his feet in oil will be shod with iron and brass. When the beloved disciple saw in vision the Saviour officiating as our High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary, His feet appeared like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace. Rev 1:15 Brass is formed only in the furnace; and the Saviour's feet appearing like fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace, would remind John of the fiery furnace of affliction through which the Saviour had passed.

There are some of the human family who are so imbued with the Spirit of God, and follow so closely in the Saviour's bloodstained footsteps, 1 Peter 2:21 that their feet seem clad with brass, resembling the feet of their Master. Others have their feet covered with iron; they, too, have special strength given them, but do not come into such intimate relationship with the Master as their brethren.

Twelve thousand of the one hundred and forty-four thousand will be of the tribe of Asher, - those who will dip their feet in oil, and will be so filled with the Spirit of God that they will let the Lord by His Spirit smooth the rough places in their pathway. Like Zerubbabel, the mountains of difficulties will become plains before them. Zech 4:6, 7 They will yield royal dainties, words of cheer and comfort, that will encourage others by the way. It is well to learn how to dip the foot in oil, and cultivate the character of Asher.

The Bible gives little more of the history of the tribe of Asher than is given of him as an individual. The tribe is mentioned in connection with the other tribes; but no independent action is recorded of the tribe in the sacred history.

Asher is the only tribe west of the Jordan, except Simeon, which furnished no hero or judge to the nation. The obscurity which enshrouds the members of the tribe is pierced by only one noted character, - Anna the prophetess, who served God with fastings and prayers night and day in the temple. She had the honour of bearing the glad news of the birth of Christ to the faithful ones who were looking for redemption in Israel. Luke 2:36-38 margin

The territory of Asher bordered on the Great Sea, and embraced Mount Carmel, the scene of Elijah's great victory, and continued northward. The descendants of Asher did not have the fierce, warlike propensities of some of the other tribes, and did not drive out the former inhabitants of the land; but the Asherites dwelt among the Canaanites the inhabitants of the land. Judges 1:31, 32 As the result of mingling with the heathen, they were greatly weakened.

When Israel was numbered at Sinai, Asher was a strong tribe; Num 1:40, 41 but in the days of David they had become so reduced that their name is not mentioned in the selection of chief rulers. 1 Chron 27:16-22 Although as a tribe they, departed from the ways of the Lord, yet among them were honest hearts who feared God. When Hezekiah held his great Passover and invited all Israel to join in celebrating the feast at Jerusalem, some entire tribes laughed at the messengers and mocked them; nevertheless divers of Asher . . . humbled themselves, and came to Jerusalem. 2 Chron 30:10, 11. It takes moral stamina to be true to God when the surging masses on every side are rejecting the light of God's word. That spirit of faithfulness never left the tribe, and when the Saviour entered His temple for the first time in human form, of the two persons in all the city of Jerusalem who were in a spiritual condition to recognize the Babe as the Redeemer of the world. one was the prophetess Anna of the tribe of Asher. Luke 2:36.

SUMMARY

Asher had four sons and a daughter, from whom sprang the tribe which bore his name. 1 Chron. 7:30.
The tribe numbered 53,400, when they entered the promised land. Num. 26: 47.
Asher furnished no hero or judge to the nation. Anna, the prophetess, is the only noted character of the tribe of Asher, mentioned in the Bible. Luke 2: 36-38.

 

Chapter 44

Issachar

Jacob likens him to the patient ass or donkey, bearing two such heavy burdens that he couches down beneath them. The fact that this is not a common animal, but a strong one, indicates the strength of Issachar's character. Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens. Then the patriarch reveals the secret of Issachar's self-sacrificing life by giving the motive that actuated him in carrying the double burdens: He saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute. Gen 49:14,15

Many lose the blessing by murmuring and complaining when they are required to carry double burdens. But Issachar was sustained by the thought of the pleasant land in store and the rest by and by. The same hope will sustain burden-bearers at the present day.

In the battle of Megiddo we find Issachar true to the character portrayed in Jacob's dying blessing. The princes of Issachar were with Deborah; even Issachar, and also Barak. Judges 5:15 From the words of Deborah, it would seem that Issachar bore the burden of the battle even more than Barak. The same characteristic is given of Issachar when all the tribes gathered to crown David king of Israel. Issachar had clear discernment. The record states, The children of Issachar . . . were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do. 1 Chron 12:32 They represented men that bore heavy responsibilities, pillars in the cause of God. They were not like Zebulun, expert warriors, ready to rush impulsively into the fiercest of the fight on a moment's notice; but they were able to plan the battle, and to carry the burden of the work.

It takes all the different phases of Christian character to represent the perfect character of Christ. The burden-bearer fills as important a place in the work of God as the kingly Judah or the Levitical teacher.

There will be twelve thousand of each class in that wonderful company, - the one hundred and forty-four thousand, which follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth.

The children of Issachar were a laborious, hardy, valiant tribe, patient in labour and invincible in war. They were valiant men of might. 1 Chron 7:1-5 They possessed one of the richest portions of Palestine. It was bounded on the cast by the river Jordan, on the north by Zebulun, and on the south by the half tribe of Manasseh.

Many places noted in sacred history were within the borders of Issachar. It was there that the great victory of Barak and Deborah was won in Taanach by the waters of Megiddo. Judges 5:19 In Shunem was the residence of the noble woman who, when she found her house was not large enough to entertain Elisha, the holy man of God built an additional room and furnished it that she might have the privilege of his association in her home. 2 Kings 4:8-10

By, the rich blessings that came into her 2 Kings 4:12-37 she, realized the truthfulness of the words, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me. Matthew 25:40

It was at the gate of the city of Nain in the borders of Issachar, that the Saviour's words, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise, brought life and health into the dead body of the man whom his friends were carrying to the tomb. Luke 7:11-17

The same territory that was hallowed by the footsteps of the Saviour and the prophets of God, also witnessed the power of the devil. Endor, in the land of Issachar, was where Saul committed the crowning sin of his life by consulting the witch, and thus took himself entirely out of the hands of God and became a prey of the devil. 1 Samuel 28:7-25 Saul was slain because he asked counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to inquire of it. 1 Chronicles 10:13,14 Those who follow the same course to-day will eventually meet the same fate; they will die spiritually, and be eternally separated from the Lord. Isaiah 8:19,20

Jezreel, situated in the fertile plain of Esdraelon, was the scene of the wicked murder of Naboth; I kings 21:1-19 and in the streets of the same city, dogs ate the flesh of Jezebel. 2 Kings 9:30-37

Tola, under whose rule of twenty-three years Israel had rest, was of the tribe of Issachar. Judges 10:1,2 Baasha, who ruled over the northern kingdom twenty-four years, was an Issacharite. He did evil in the sight of the Lord. Elah, his son, followed in his footsteps, and was slain by Zimri, and the kingly power passed out of the hands of the tribe of Issachar. 1 Kings 15:27-34; 16:1-10

Issachar was the center of Jezebel's power, and the Baal worship introduced by her exerted an influence long after her death.

About five years before Issachar was carried captive into Assyria by Shalmaneser, 2 Kings 17:3-6 Hezekiah celebrated his great Passover at Jerusalem. The tribe of Issachar had so far departed from the true worship that they had forgotten to make the necessary purifications; yet some of them responded to the invitation, and went to the feast, though ceremonially unfit to partake of it. Hezekiah was in close enough touch with the Lord to discern that the desire in the heart to serve God was of more consequence than forms and ceremonies. He allowed them to eat of the Passover, and, as they partook of it, he offered the following prayer: The good Lord pardon every one that prepareth his heart to seek God, the Lord God of his fathers, though he be not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary; and the Lord, who seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart, hearkened to the prayer of the king, and healed the people. 2 Chronicles 30:17-20; I Sam 16:7

SUMMARY

Issachar had four sons, from whom sprang the tribe which bore his name. 1 Chron. 7: 1.
When the children of Israel entered the promised land, the tribe of Issachar numbered 64,300. Num. 26: 23-25.
Issachar possessed one of the richest portions of Palestine.
The valley of Megiddo, or the plain of Esdraelon, was within the borders of Issachar.
Tola, who judged Israel twenty-three years, was an Issacharite. Judges 10:1, 2.
Baasha, king of Israel, was of the tribe of Issachar. 1 Kings 15: 27

 

Chapter 45

Zebulun

During his life, Jacob allowed circumstances and his love for Rachel to influence him; but when he faced death, he acknowledged God's original plan of marriage. Genesis 2:24

Zebulun was the youngest son of Leah; he was older than Joseph, and was born while Jacob was serving Laban. Jacob on his deathbed prophetically located Zebulun's inheritance, saying, Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; he shall be for a haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon. Genesis 49:13

Zebulun's portion in the promised land lay between the territories of Naphtali and Issachar, bordering on the southern part of the west shore of the Sea of Galilee, and is supposed to have extended also to the shore of the Great Sea. Moses, in his parting blessing, spoke of Zebulun as a sea-faring people. Deuteronomy 33:18,19

The Bible records nothing of Zebulun as an individual, except his birth. Three sons are ascribed to him, who became the founders of the tribe which bore his name. Numbers 26:26,27 There is no record of the tribe having taken any part in the events of the wandering or the conquest of Palestine.

Deborah, in her song of triumph after the battle of Megiddo, says that among the tribes of Zebulun were those who handled the pen of the writer, or as the margin reads, they that draw with the pen. Judges 5:14 This would indicate that they were a literary or artistic people.

In the battle which was a type of the great battle of Armageddon, Zebulun jeopardized their lives unto the death in the high places of the field; or, according to the marginal reading, they exposed to reproach their lives. Judges 5:18 God and His cause were more precious to them than their own lives or reputation.

Twelve thousand of the one hundred and forty-four thousand will enter the city of God under the name of Zebulun, - twelve thousand who, when the enemies of the Lord are numerous and popular, will expose to reproach their lives unto the death in the high places of the field. There will be men in high places who, like those of Zebulun of old, handle the pen of the writer, and wield a wide influence; these men, when the cause of God is in a crisis, will rise up and jeopardize their lives unto the death in the high place, thus bringing victory to the cause of God.

It was pure love that actuated Zebulun in that ancient battle, for Deborah says, They took no gain of money. Judges 5:19 From the record it would appear that Zebulun and Naplitali were exceptions in this respect. Whether they were more prosperous in this world's goods and better able than the other tribes to go to battle as self-supporting warriors, the record does not state.

After Israel returned from captivity and the cause of God was again in a crisis, Nehemiah, a self-supporting worker, came forward and did what others could not do. When the Saviour hung dead upon the cross and ignominy was heaped upon His disciples, Joseph and Nicodemus, two rich men holding high positions, came forward and performed a work for the Saviour which those who loved Him perhaps more sincerely were not able to do.

While Zebulun and Naphtali may not have loved God more than the other tribes, yet from the record given by Deborah, it would seem that they turned the tide of the battle by risking their lives, and they took no gain of money for their service.

It seems that Zebulun was an intelligent tribe, blessed with this world's goods; but when there came a crisis in the cause of the Lord, we find them risking all to maintain the honor of God's name.

Over two hundred years later there was another crisis in the cause of God. Saul was dead, and the true hearted in Israel, came to David to Hebron, to turn the kingdom of Saul to him, according to the word of the Lord. 1 Chronicles 12:23. Every tribe was represented, but no tribe excelled Zebulun in number and equipage. Fifty thousand expert warriors came, bringing their own instruments of war. They were rangers of battle, able to set the battle in array; and what was of more value to the cause of God than numbers or skill, they were not of double heart, but men the Lord could trust in a crisis. 1 Chronicles 12:33, margin

Who is prepared to perfect such a character in the fear of God, and have the seal of God placed upon his forehead? Who will covet Zebulun's character so earnestly that he will be willing to expose to reproach his life for Christ's sake?

The land of Zebulun has the high honor of being the childhood home of Jesus. Nazareth was situated within its borders. The people here had an opportunity of seeing and hearing more of Christ than those in any other place.

Isaiah prophesied that the land of Zebulun would see a great light. Isaiah 9:1,2 Truly this prophecy was fulfilled, for they had within their borders the greatest Light this world has ever seen. The first miracle performed by Jesus was at Cana in Zebulun. It was also in Cana that the nobleman came to Jesus asking for the life of his son, and the request, like every other prayer of faith, was granted by the Great Physician.

SUMMARY

Zebulun had three sons, whose descendants formed the tribe which bore his name. Gen. 46: 14.
The tribe numbered 60,500, when they entered the promised land. Num. 26: 26,27.
In the typical battle of Megiddo, they were self-supporting warriors. Judges 5:19
Nazareth, the childhood home of Jesus, was within the borders of Zebulun.
Isaiah prophesied that Zebulun would receive great light. Isa. 9: 1, 2.

 

Chapter 46

Joseph

Joseph received one of the three portions of the birthright. It is interesting to note that each part of that birthright has been immortalized.

Judah, in his home life, perfected such a character that the honor of being the progenitor of Christ was bestowed upon him; and before the throne of God in heaven, holy beings point to Christ and say, Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah. Revelation 5:5

Levi triumphed in the time of a great crisis in the cause of God, and thus perfected a character which entitled him to the priesthood, whose work was a shadow of that of the great High Priest in heaven. Hebrews 8:1-5

Joseph, separated from his brethren, surrounded by idolaters in a strange land, gained a victory which entitled him to the double portion of the inheritance. Two portions of the promised land were given to the family of Joseph; and throughout eternity, these two divisions of that distinct company, - the one hundred and forty-four thousand, - bearing the names, one of Joseph and the other of Manasseh, the son of Joseph, will be a reminder of his faithfulness. Revelation 7:6,8 This was prophetically announced in the blessing given by his father:

The blessings of thy father and of thy mother
Have prevailed beyond the blessings of the eternal mountains,
Beyond the glories of the everlasting hills
They shall rest upon the head of Joseph,
And upon the crown of the head of him
Who was separated from his brethren.
Genesis 49:26, Spurrell

Joseph was the eleventh son of Jacob, and the first-born of Rachel, the beloved Wife. Genesis 30:22-24 The first seventeen years of his life were spent with his father's household. Genesis 37:2

The principal points recorded in the early life of Joseph were the great love of Jacob for the lad, the coat of many colors, Joseph's dreams, and his being sold into Egypt.

There was evidently a marked significance to that coat of many colors, Joseph was not a child when given the coat, but a young man seventeen years of age, with an exemplary character. The old father knew that Reuben had forfeited his right to officiate as priest of the household; and as the patriarch watched the godly life of Joseph, it would be only natural that he should select him as the one worthy to fill the holy office, It is possible that in vision he may, have been permitted to see the great heavenly Priest; and that he made the coat as a faint representation of the priestly robe to be worn by his descendants.

But God sees not as man sees; from that group of envious, jealous sons, plotting murder in their hearts, the Lord took one, and purified and refined him until his descendants were fitted to fill the holy office of the priesthood.

The dreams of Joseph, revealing that the family would bow down before him, were more than the jealous hearts of the ten brothers could endure. Benjamin, the twelfth son, was but a child at this time.

When Joseph came to his brothers in the field, at a distance from their father, it would seem that all but Reuben had murderous designs against him. Jewish tradition states that Simeon bound Joseph before they lowered him into the pit, designing that he should perish there; otherwise he might have climbed out, and escaped.

When the dreams of Joseph's childhood were fulfilled, and his brothers bowed with their faces to the earth before him, then he remembered his dreams. Genesis 42:6-9 May we not conclude that Joseph, when he commanded the officers to take Simeon and bind him before their eyes, remembered how Simeon once bound himself, unmindful of his cries for mercy, while these same men looked on without any pity for him? Simeon must also have remembered it, for Reuben had just reminded the brothers of their cruelty to Joseph. Genesis 42:21-24

Joseph had no resentment in his heart; he could say to those men, It was not you that sent me hither, but God. Genesis 45:8 Ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good. Genesis 50:20 Joseph saw only the Lord's hand in it all. When sold as a slave to Potiphar, he realized he was in God's hands. His faith took hold of God; and while serving Potiphar, the muscles of his hands were strengthened through the power of the Mighty One of Jacob. Genesis 49:24, Spurrell.

The psalmist says, The word of the Lord tried Him. Psalms 105:19 He believed the word of God that had been taught him in childhood. It was that word which kept him courageous in prison, and humble when ruling Egypt. His strength, both in adversity and in prosperity, came from the mighty God of Jacob.

When considering the strict integrity of Joseph in the midst of Egyptian darkness, we must not forget that Rachel, his mother, lived until he was about sixteen years of age. After she had, by her godly instruction, fortified her son for the great life-work before him, God in mercy laid Rachel to rest before Joseph was sold into Egypt, so she was spared that great sorrow. And throughout eternity she will see the fruit of her training; for it was no doubt his mother's godly instruction that enabled Joseph to connect with God so closely that his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the bands of the mighty God of Jacob. Genesis 49:25

The Septuagint translation of Gen. 49:26 joins the mother's name with the father's in the blessing: The blessings of thy father and thy mother, it has prevailed above the blessing of the lasting mountains and beyond the blessings of the everlasting hills. The dying patriarch, as he thought of the character of Joseph, remembered the years of faithful instruction which Rachel had given him from his birth until death separated them. The mothers of the other sons are not mentioned in the blessings.

Happy the mother that gives, and thrice happy the child that receives, such instruction. There is a power in godly training in childhood, that moulds the character. It places a diadem of grace on the head of the one who receives it. Proverbs 1:7-9

Joseph saw the hand of God in all the events of his life. Job manifested the same spirit; for after God had permitted the devil to take away, all his earthly possessions, he left the devil out of the reckoning entirely, and said, The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken blessed be the name of the Lord. Job 1:21 This spirit cherished in the heart to-day will make a man great, the same as in the days of Job and Joseph.

The first years of Joseph's life in Egypt were passed in the house of Potiphar, who made him overseer of all his interests. Genesis 39:4-6. His master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand. Genesis 39:3

Joseph's personal appearance is spoken of as goodly and well favored. The wife of his master tried to entrap him; but his reply, How ...can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? Genesis 39:9 showed his strict integrity; but it cost him his position. From a place of honor he was cast into prison. Again God vindicated Joseph, and he was honored by being placed in charge of all the prisoners. Genesis 39:20-23 He accepted his position in the prison as from the hand of the Lord.

After several years of prison life, at the age of thirty, Genesis 41:46 he stood before Pharaoh and interpreted the king's dreams, but he was careful to attribute all the honor to God. Then he was exalted to the second place in the kingdom, Genesis 41:43 where he taught the Egyptian senators wisdom. Psalms 105:21,22

During the seven years of plenty, Joseph laid up large quantities of grain for use during the seven years of famine. He married an Egyptian wife, and his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, were born during these seven years of plenty. Genesis 41:45,50-52

Joseph had been chief ruler in Egypt nine years, Genesis 41:46,47; 45:6 when his brothers came to Egypt to buy food. It is interesting to note that when Joseph told his brothers that he would keep Benjamin as an hostage, he had the satisfaction of hearing Judah, the very one who, years before, had suggested selling Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver, offer to become his bondman for life, in place of Benjamin. Genesis 44:33

Joseph had the privilege of sustaining his father and his brothers many years, and of seeing the fulfilment of his youthful dreams.

During Joseph's long life of one hundred and ten years, we have no record of his ever proving untrue to God in any way. He died with a firm faith in the promise made to Isaac, and Jacob. His last words were, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence. Genesis 50:25 His body was embalmed, and when Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt, they fulfilled his dying charge. Exodus 13:19

When the voice of Christ shall call the sleeping saints from their dusty beds, Joseph will spring forth clad in glorious immortality, to greet the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel, Genesis 49:24 through faith in whom he gained all his victories.

SUMMARY

Two large tribes sprang from the two sons of Joseph. Gen, 46:27.
When the children of Israel entered Egypt, the descendants of Joseph numbered 85,200. Num. 26: 34-37; Gen. 49: 22.

Joseph received one part of the birthright,- the double portion of the inheritance. 1 Chron. 5 : 1.
This portion of the birthright is perpetuated throughout eternity by two divisions of the one hundred and forty-four thousand, representing the family of Joseph. Rev. 7:6, 8.

 

Chapter 47

Benjamin

While little is recorded of Benjamin as an individual, the tribe which bore his name acted a prominent part in the history of the children of Israel.

The character of the tribe seems to be portrayed by the prophetic words of Jacob in his parting blessing: Benjamin shall raven as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil. Genesis 49:27 These words do not describe an enviable character, but rather that of a child indulged and petted until it is self-willed and petulant, as one might expect the youngest son in a large family would be, with no mother to control him.

This same stubborn spirit was shown by the tribe of Benjamin fighting until they were nearly exterminated, rather than deliver up the wicked men of Gibeah, that they might be punished. Judges 20:12-48 Notwithstanding they were at this time reduced in number to six hundred, yet in the time of David they had again become a numerous tribe. 1 Chronicles 7:6-12

In the days of the judges, the Benjamites could furnish seven hundred men that could sling stones at a hair breadth, and not miss. Judges 20:16

About three hundred and fifty years later, we read that the mighty men of Benjamin could use both the right hand and the left in hurling stones and shooting arrows out of a bow. I Chronicles 12:1,2 The Benjamites were the only tribe which seemed to have pursued archery to any purpose, and their skill in the use of the bow and the sling was celebrated. I Chronicles 8:40; 2 Chronicles 17:17; 2 Samuel 1:22.

Benjamin's territory lay north of Judah's, the boundary, line between the two tribes running through the city of Jerusalem.

After the great crisis which resulted from the unfortunate transaction at Gibeah, Judges 19:14-39 there were many things that mould have a tendency to change the stubborn, self-willed nature of the tribe. For twenty years the sacred ark of the Lord remained within their borders, in Kirjath-jearim, with a priest to take charge of it. 1 Samuel 7:1,2

Ramah, a city of Benjamin, was the home of Samuel the prophet, who had an altar built unto the Lord in this place, and offered sacrifices. Samuel went from year to year in circuit to Bethel, and Gilgal, and Mizpeh, and judged Israel in all those places. And his return was to Ramah. 1 Samuel 7:15-17 Mizpeh, the place where the great assemblies of all Israel were held, Judges 20:1; 2 Kings 25:23 was within the borders of Benjamin. Here the Lord wrought a mighty deliverance for His terrified people. The Lord thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines, and discomfited them; and they were smitten before Israel. 1 Samuel 7:5-11

The prophetic words of Moses in his parting blessing on the tribes, indicate that there would be a decided change from the character portrayed by Jacob: Of Benjamin he said, The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by him; and the Lord shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between His shoulders. Deuteronomy 33:12

The same fearless character that Jacob compared to a wolf, destroying everything before it, is changed by the converting power of the Spirit of God; and the strength once used to destroy, is now used to protect the people and interests of the Lord.The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by him.

It is interesting to notice the similarity between the character of the ancient tribe and that of the leading apostle to the Gentiles, who said of himself, I also am an Israelite . . . of the tribe of Benjamin. Romans 11:1

Saul, afterward called Paul, is first introduced to witnessing the stoning of Stephen and consenting unto his death. Acts 7:58; 8:1 Next we hear of him as a ravening wolf, in making havoc of the church entering into every house and haling men and women, and committing them to prison. Acts 8:3 Like a savage wolf, thirsty for the blood of his prey, he was breathing out threatenings and against the disciples of the Lord. Acts 9:1 There was no safety for any of the beloved of the Lord near such a character. But the same strength of character that will cause one to raven as a wolf and to hurt and destroy the people of God, will, when converted, shield and protect the honor of God and His cause. From that time, that Saul, the Benjamite, had had one view of Jesus, Acts 9:3-9 his wolf-like nature departed, and the beloved of the Lord could dwell in safety by him. The saints at Damascus were in no danger: he who had designed to destroy them was now their friend. Acts 9:10-19 God never forgets to return an act of kindness. 1 Samuel 2:30 When Saul shielded and protected the beloved of the Lord, the Lord covered him all the day long; nothing could harm him. The sting of the poisonous serpent was powerless. Acts 28:1-6 There was not enough water in the sea to drown him. Acts 27:23-25 God covered him all the day long.

The blessing given by Moses says, The Lord shall cover him all the day long, and It shall dwell between His shoulders. Some commentators think that this refers to the temple being built on Mount Moriah, within the borders of Benjamin; but to the one who has childhood recollections of being carried between the strong shoulders of his father over the rough, uneven places in the road, the words have another meaning. The Lord shall cover him all the day long, protect from all harm and danger. And when we come to impossibilities in our pathway, things which our strength could never master, our heavenly Father lifts us in His mighty arms, and carries us safely over that which without his help it would be utterly impossible for us to accomplish. Like the child resting securely. between the shoulders of its father, with its arms clasped firmly around his neck, we accomplish that which is beyond all human power. Blessed place to be! but it is for the one by, whom the beloved of the Lord can dwell in safety. The voice of criticism and slander must be forever hushed by the one who hopes to fill that place. James 1:26

Ehud, under whom the land had rest fourscore years, was a Benjamite. Judges 3:15,30 He was left-handed, and it seems that by using his left hand, he was able more adroitly to slay Eglon, king of Moab, who was oppressing Israel. Judges 3:21-26 Saul, the first king of Israel, was of the tribe of Benjamin. 1 Samuel 9:21 God not only anointed Saul king over Israel, but He gave him another heart. 1 Samuel 10:9 He had associated with him men whose hearts God had touched; 1 Samuel 10:26 and as long as he remained humble, the Lord was with him. 1 Samuel 15:17-23 When he became exalted in his own mind, he was rejected of the Lord. Then the wolf-like propensities in his character were clearly seen; for he like a ravening wolf, for years chased David as a partridge in the mountains. 1 Samuel 26:19,20 His one desire was to slay the beloved of the Lord. I Samuel 18:11; 15:28 In direct contrast with Saul, who spent the strength of his manhood in plotting to destroy the man after God's own heart, is Mordecai, the son of Kish, a Benjamite. Their fathers bore the same name and they may have been related more closely than the tribal connection. The whole history of Mordecai is a series of deliverances of people from trouble. He saved the life of the Persian king. Esther 2:21-23 Afterward Satan and Haman planned to destroy every believer in the true God; Esther 3:8-15 and while Mordecai was earnestly seeking the Lord for deliverance, Esther 4:1-3 God used the kindness he had shown to the king as a means of escape. Esther 6:1-11 Mordecai was raised to an exalted position in the kingdom, and was used by the Lord to shield and protect His people. Esther 8:7-17 The true, lasting victory that extends throughout all eternity does not depend upon tribal connections or hereditary tendencies, but upon a humble trust in God. The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him. 2 Chronicles 16:9 God can humble kings when they disregard His word; 2 Chronicles 36:1-4, 9, 10 and He can take captives and give them kingly power. Daniel 6:1-3; Esther 8:15; 10:3 The natural character of Benjamin is the character of the un- converted heart in every age of the world. Jeremiah 17:9 Happy the one at the present day who, like Mordecai, will stand true to principle, Esther 3:2 and will risk all to protect the beloved of the Lord; he can claim the promise given to Benjamin of old: The Lord shall cover him all the day long and he shall dwell between His shoulders.Twelve thousand having this character, bearing the name of Benjamin, will serve the Lord day and night in His temple throughout eternity. Revelation 7:15

SUMMARY

Benjamin had ten sons from whom sprang the tribe of Benjamin. Gen. 46:21.
When they entered the promised land the tribe of Benjamin numbered 45,600. The Benjamites were noted for archery, and for left handed, 1 Chron. 8:40; 2 Chron 17:17
Ramah, the home of Samuel, was within the borders of Benjamin. Mizpeh where Israel held great assemblies, was in the land of Benjamin.

Noted Characters

Ehud, who judged eighty years. Judges 3:21-26.
Saul the first king of Israel 1 Sam 9:21.
Mordecai, whom the Lord used to save Israel in the days of Esther. Esther 2:5.
Paul, the leading apostle to the Gentiles. Rom 11:1.

 

Chapter 48

Manasseh

After repeating to Joseph the promise of the land of Canaan which had been given to Abraham and renewed to Isaac and Jacob, the old patriarch said, Thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, . . . are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine. When Jacob saw the boys, he said: Bring them, I pray thee, unto me, and I will bless them. Genesis 48:1-9

Joseph placed the first-born at Jacob's right hand and the youngest at his left; but the aged patriarch laid his right hand on the head of the younger, and his left hand upon the head of the eldest as he blessed them. When Joseph saw it, he attempted to place Jacob's right hand on the head of Manasseh, the eldest, saying, Not so, my father: for this is the first-born. But his father refused, saying, I know it, my son, I know it: . . . he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he. Genesis 48:15-20

Like his great Uncle Esau, Manasseh, although the first-born, received the second place in the blessing; but the circumstances were entirely different. Manasseh did nothing to forfeit his privileges in the family blessing. While he did not have the war-like propensities of Ephraim, which enabled him to build up the kingdom of Israel, yet Manasseh's name will outlive that of Ephraim. There was one portion of the patriarch's blessing which seemed to be shared more largely by Manasseh than by his more prosperous brother. The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads. Genesis 48:16

The blessing of the Lord was prized by Manasseh and his descendants. Although they lived at a distance from the center of the nation, and from the temple, and though they had become a part of the northern kingdom, yet they took an interest in all the reforms instituted by the good kings of Judah. When King Asa broke down the idols and renewed the worship of the Lord, they came to him in abundance from Manasseh, when they saw that the Lord his God was with him. 2 Chronicles 15:8,9 When Hezekiah held his great Passover feast, representatives from Manasseh humbled their hearts and came and partook of the Passover. 2 Chronicles 30:1,10,11,18 They also joined in the work of breaking down the images in their own territory. 2 Chronicles 31:1

The work of reform in the days of Josiah was also carried to the land of Manasseh. 2 Chronicles 34:1-6 They did not lose their interest in the temple at Jerusalem, but gave of their means to restore it after its defilement during the reigns of Manasseh and Amon. 2 Chronicles 34:9 It is supposed that the eightieth Psalm was written by some inspired penman of the house of Joseph during one of these seasons of reform.

Little is recorded of the tribe of Manasseh after the settlement in Canaan, but it is gratifying, that faint and scattered as the passages are that refer to that tribe, they all indicate a desire on the part of many to serve the Lord.

The blessing of the Angel rested upon Manasseh, and while Ephraim and Manasseh were the names of the two portions given to Joseph in the earthly possession, the names given to the two divisions of the one hundred and forty-four thousand in the kingdom of God will be Manasseh (Greek, Manases) and Joseph. Revelation 7:6,8 The name of Manasseh is thus immortalized, while that of Ephraim sinks into oblivion.

Gideon, the greatest of the judges, was of the tribe of Manasseh. He seems to have been the only great warrior in the western half of the tribe; the eastern portion were more warlike.

When David went out with the Philistines to battle against Saul, warriors from Manasseh joined. themselves to David; but when the lords of the Philistines would not allow David to go with them to the battle, seven mighty warriors, captains of the thousands of Manasseh, joined David at Ziklag. They helped David against the band of the rovers who had carried captive David's family; for they were all mighty men of valor. 1 Chronicles 12:19-22

After the death of Saul, eighteen thousand of the half tribe of Manasseh were expressed by name, to come and make David king at Hebron. 1 Chronicles 12:31

The five daughters of Zelophehad, of the tribe of Manasseh, are the first women mentioned in the Bible as holding an inheritance in their own name and right. Numbers 27:1-8

If Reuben had never lost his birthright through sin, or if Dan had not formed a character so near akin to Satan that his name was omitted from the list of the twelve tribes, Manasseh's name might never have been given to one of the divisions of the one hundred and forty-four thousand. In all this experience are lessons for every child of God.

When God says, Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown, Revelation 3:11 it is well that we heed the admonition. If we do not, we may find, when too late, that we have allowed the world to rob us of our love for the Master; and that our judgment has become so darkened by sin and unbelief that, like Reuben, we fall far short of doing the work the Lord designed we should accomplish. Some one who, like Joseph, has been separated from those of the same faith, without the opportunities we have enjoyed, will by simple faith and trust in God, do the work we have failed to do, and receive the reward we might have obtained.

The pathway of time is strewn with the wrecks of character, - men who were once true and faithful members of the Israel of God, Romans 2:28,29 and who were written to life in Jerusalem; Isaiah 4:3, margin but who allowed Satan to fill their hearts with envy, jealousy, and criticism, until, like Dan, they have lost their hold on heavenly things, and are no longer numbered with the Israel of God. Hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.

SUMMARY

The only son of Manasseh mentioned is Machir, whose mother was a concubine; from him sprang the tribe of Manasseh. 1 Chronicles 7:14.
When Israel entered Canaan the tribe of Manasseh numbered 52,700. Numbers 26:34.
Gideon, the greatest of the judges, was of the tribe of Manasseh.
The first women mentioned as holding property in their own names, were of the tribe of Manasseh. Numbers 27:1-8.

 

Chapter 49

The One Hundred and Forty-Four Thousand

The redeemed of the Lord are an innumerable company, which no man can number; but among that multitude is one separate company, who are numbered and are designated by their number,-one hundred and forty-four thousand. This company is composed of twelve different divisions, each containing twelve thousand redeemed souls; and each division bears the name of one of the twelve tribes of Israel. (Rev. 7:4-8) The list given in Revelation varies somewhat from the list of the twelve sons of Jacob, (1 Chr. 2:1,2) as Dan is omitted, and the extra division is given the name of Manasseh, Joseph's eldest son.

This company have special privileges. They stand upon Mount Zion with Christ, and follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. (Rev. 14:1,4) They have the exalted privilege of serving Christ in the heavenly temple; (Rev. 7:15) and like all the redeemed host, they are faultless before God, and in their mouths is no guile. (Rev. 14:5)

The great reaper death has laid one generation after another of the saints of God in the silent tomb; and lest some might fear that the grave would be the final end of the faithful, God gave the following pledge through His prophet:I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. (Hosea 13:14)

The one hundred and forty-four thousand are redeemed from the earth-from among men. (Rev. 14:3,4) They are alive upon the earth when the Saviour comes, and will be translated, together with the innumerable host who will come from their dusty beds, clad in glorious immortality, when Christ comes in the clouds of heaven. (1 Thess. 4:16,17)

The one hundred and forty-four thousand are distinguished from all others by their having the seal of the living God in their foreheads. All who have this seal are included in this company. (Rev. 7:2-4) This distinguishing mark is called the Father's name. (Rev. 14:3) Ezekiel was evidently shown the same work, and speaks of it as a mark upon the forehead. (Eze.9:4)

We are familiar with the term seal in connection with legal documents. A seal contains the name of the person issuing the document, his office or authority, and the extent of his jurisdiction. The seal placed upon the foreheads of the one hundred and forty-four thousand, is the seal of the living God. Seals are attached to laws and legal documents; therefore we should look for God's seal to be attached to His law. The prophet Isaiah, looking down through the ages, saw a people who were expecting Christ to come from the heavenly sanctuary to the earth, and the message of God to them was, Seal the law among My disciples. (Isa. 8:16)

The Bible was given through prophets, - holy men whom God used as mouthpieces, to make His will known to His people; (2 Peter 1:20,21) but the law of God-the ten commandments-was not given through any human agent. God the Father, Christ the Son, and myriads of heavenly beings came down upon Mount Sinai, (Ps. 68:17) when the ten commandments were proclaimed to the vast multitude of Israel- over a million people. (Duet. 4:10,13,32,33)

Then, lest there might be some mistake in writing out the law which He had given, God called Moses up into the mountain, and gave him two tables of stone, upon which He any had engraved with His own finger the same ten commandments that He had spoken in the hearing of the multitude. (Duet. 10:1-5; Ex. 31:18; 32:15,19)

This law will be the standard by which every son and daughter of Adam will be judged. (James 2:10-12) Has God attached His seal to this law, whereby all may know its binding claims? Remembering that the seal must contain, first, the tame of the one issuing the law; second, the office or authority tested in the lawgiver; and third, the territory over which he roles, let us look for the seal in the law of God.

The first three commandments, and also the fifth, mention the name of God, (Ex. 20:3-7,12) but do not distinguish Him from other gods. (1 Cor.8:5) the last five commandments show our duty to our fellow men, but do not contain the name of God. (Ex. 20:13-17)

The fourth commandment contains, first, the name, the Lord thy God; second, the statement that the Lord thy God is the Creator of all things, and therefore has power to issue this law; third, a record of His territory, which consists of heaven and earth, which He created. (Ex. 20:8-11)

The fourth commandment requires all who dwell in the territory of the Lord God the Creator, to keep holy the seventh day of the week, which He has sanctified and blessed, (Gen. 2:2-3) as a memorial of His creative work.

The Sabbath commandment contains the seal of the law. The word sign is sometimes used as a synonym for seal. (Romans 4:11) Of the Sabbath God says:It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever. (Ex. 31:13,16,17) Moreover also I gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them. (Eze. 20:12)

God blessed and sanctified the Sabbath; (Gen. 2:2) and to the one who will keep it holy, it is a sign, or seal, of God's power to sanctify him. (Eze. 20:12, Isa. 58:13,14)) There is a knowledge of God in the proper observance of the Sabbath. Hallow My Sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between Me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God. (Eze. 20:20)

During the Dark Ages, when the word of God was hidden from the people, the seal was taken from God's law. Sunday, the first day of the week, a day upon which God worked, (Gen. 1:1-5; Eze 46:1) was substituted for the seventh-day Sabbath, upon which He rested. (Gen. 2:3) The Lord revealed through Daniel the prophet that a power would arise which should think to change the law of God, (Dan. 7:25) and that the law would be given into his hands during twelve hundred and sixty years, a period of time mentioned by both Daniel and John. (Dan. 7:25;12:7 Rev. 11:2; 12:6; 13:5)

After that period had passed and the Bible was again in the hands of the people, the true Sabbath of the fourth commandment was to be restored and observed. The breach in the law would be repaired, (Isa. 58: 12) and the law sealed among the disciples of the Lord, who would be eagerly looking for His return. (Isa. 8:16,17)

In Rev. 7:2, this sealing message is represented as coming from the east, or sunrising. We should understand from this that it would begin like the sunrising, first a faint light, steadily increasing until it lightens the whole earth.

Four angels were commissioned to hold the four winds until the work was accomplished. Winds are a symbol of war. (Dan. 11:40) In fulfillment of this we should expect to find that during some period of the world's history the winds of war were miraculously held, while the work of restoring the seal to the law of God was going forward in the earth.

There have always been upon the earth some adherents of the seventh-day Sabbath; but the work of restoring the breach which had been made in the law was begun about 1845, by those who were then watching for the second coming of the Lord. After the time set for Him to come had passed, in the autumn of 1844, the attention of those who had expected Christ to return to the earth at that time was directed to the heavenly sanctuary, where by faith they saw Christ officiating as their High Priest. As they followed the Saviour in His work, the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in His temple the ark of His testament. (Rev. 11:19) Their attention was attracted to the law contained in that ark, (Ex. 25:16) and some of them recognized the binding claim of the Sabbath of the Lord, and accepted it as the seal of the law. About 1847-48 the Sabbath began to be preached as the seal of the law of the living God.

In 1848 occurred one of the greatest upheavals in the national affairs of Europe that had been for many centuries. Decided changes were made in some of the leading nations. In a brief period of time, many of the crowned heads of Europe submitted themselves to the people. It looked as if universal war was inevitable. In the midst of the turmoil and strife, came a sudden calm. No man could assign any reason for it, but the student of prophecy knew that the angels were holding the winds until the servants of God could be sealed in their foreheads.

The forehead is the seat of the intellect; and when the honest in heart see and acknowledge the binding claims of God's law, they will keep holy the Sabbath. The seal placed in the forehead by the angel can not be read by man, for God alone can read the heart. Simply resting upon the seventh day from all physical work will not place the seal upon the forehead of any one. The resting is necessary, but with the rest must be also the holy and sanctified life that is in harmony with the holy and sanctified day. (Isa. 58:13)

Ezekiel saw an angel placing a mark upon the foreheads of those who were distressed because of the abominations practised by the professed people of God. (Eze. 9:1-4) Those who are at ease in Zion drifting with the current, their hearts' affections centered on the world, will never receive the seal of the living God.

The Sabbath reform-the sealing work of Rev. 7:1-4-arose as the sun. For some years there were only a few that kept the Sabbath of the fourth commandment; but as individuals here and there, in all parts of the world, found that the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation teaches that the seventh day is the Sabbath, and that Christ (Luke 4:16) and the apostles (Acts 17:2; 16:13; 18:4,11) kept it, they accepted it; (Romans 3:19) and to-day in every division of the earth there are those who honor God as the Creator, by keeping holy the day which He sanctified and blessed as a memorial of His creative work.

In the Christian church there is neither Jew nor Gentile; all are one in Christ Jesus.(Gal. 3:28) We are all grafted into the family of Abraham. (Romans 11:17-21) The one hundred and forty-four thousand are not necessarily literal descendants of the Jews, (Romans 11:21-23; 9:6-9,24-26) but they are those who have received the seal of the living God in their foreheads, whose lives are in harmony with the holy precepts of Jehovah. (Rev. 7:3)

In Rev. 14:9-14 we are told of a power that is opposed to God's law, and that has a mark which it will try to enforce upon the people by means of the civil power. (Rev 13:13-18) Since the Sabbath of the Lord is given by Jehovah as a sign of His power and His right to rule, the counterfeit Sabbath, or Sunday, the first day of the week, will be the mark of the opposing power. God's law commands all to keep holy the seventh day of the week, God's memorial of creation; but the laws of the land will command all to rest upon Sunday, the first day of the week. (Rev. 13:16,17; Rev. 14:7,9,12)

When this test comes, each person will have to decide for himself. Many, like Peter and John, when they faced the magistrates and imprisonment, will say, We ought to obey God rather than men. (Acts 5:29)

This conflict will continue, says John, until the dragon, Satan, will become so angry with the church that he will make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Rev. 12:17)

Out of this conflict the one hundred and forty-four thousand will be gathered. Their experience will be similar to that of the children of Israel coming out of Egypt. Pharaoh would not allow them to rest on the Sabbath. He called the instruction of Moses and Aaron vain words; (Ex. 5:9) or as Dr. Adam Clarke expresses it, Pharaoh said, Let religion alone, and mind your work. On the same day (Ex. 5:5,6) that Pharaoh complained because Moses and Aaron were instructing the people to rest, the king gave the command, Ye shall no more give the people straw to make brick, and the burdens of the children of Israel were greatly increased. (Ex. 5:7,8)

Satan was determined that the Israelites should not honor the Sabbath of the Lord; but God delivered His people and destroyed Pharaoh and all his host. (Ex. 14:19-31)

On earth the distinguishing mark of the one hundred and forty-four thousand is the seal of God in their foreheads; in heaven it will be the wonderful song which they will sing:They sung as it were a new song before the throne:. . . and no man could learn that song but the one hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. (Rev. 14:3) They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the lamb. (Rev. 15:3) It is a song of experience-wonderful melody! Not even the angel choir can join in those marvelous strains as they echo through the arches of heaven. Even Abraham, the friend of God, with all his faith, cannot join in that song. What a chorus that will be! one hundred and forty- four thousand voices all in perfect accord, singing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb.

As the twelve tribes, after crossing the Red Sea, all united in the song of triumph, so the last representatives of the twelve tribes of Israel on earth, as they stand a mighty phalanx on the sea of glass before the throne of God in heaven, will sing the song of Moses and the Lamb.

SUMMARY

The one hundred and forty-four thousand receive the seal of the living God in their foreheads. Rev. 7:2-4.
They obtain the victory over the beast and his image. Rev. 15:2.
Are redeemed from among men. Rev. 14:3,4.
Stand upon Mount Zion. Rev. 14:I.
Follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. Rev. 14:4.
Sing a song that no one else can sing. Rev. 14:3.
Serve Christ in the heavenly temple. Rev. 7:15.

A seal attached to a legal document must give the name, office, or authority, of the one issuing the document, and the territory over which he rules. God has a seal; this seal is connected with His law. Rev. 7:3,4; Isa. 8:16.

The fourth commandment contains the seal of the law of God. It gives His name,- Lord God; His authority,- the Creator; and His territory,-the heaven and earth which He has made. Ex. 20:8-11.

Sign and seal are synonymous terms. Rom. 4:11.
The Sabbath is the sign, or seal, of the law of God. Eze. 20:12, 20.
A blessing is pronounced upon the one who will keep the Sabbath. Isa. 56:1, 2.

 

Chapter 50

The Lost Tribes

Much has been said and written about the lost tribes of Israel, and many fanciful theories have been invented in regard to them. We will not attempt to follow any of these lines of argument, but will speak of those tribes which are truly lost.

In the previous chapters we have seen that Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, Benjamin, and Manasseh, not only had a part in the land of Palestine, but that their names are immortalized, and will be represented in the kingdom of God throughout eternity, while the names of Ephraim and Dan sink into oblivion. They are the lost tribes of Israel. Why was proud Ephraim, who was the strength of the kingdom of Israel, and Dan, who was surpassed only by Judah in the number of its warriors when they entered the promised land, left out of the final great gathering of Israel as tribes?

Ephraim was the son of an Egyptian princess who was an idolater, as far as we have any record. It is very probable that most of Ephraim's life was spent among the Egyptians, for we can hardly suppose that with his proud connections he associated much with the Israelites in Goshen, until a king arose that knew not Joseph.Exodus 1:8. Manasseh lived in the same surroundings; but the fact that Ephraim had received first place in the blessing of the patriarch, may have filled his heart with pride and given a different mould to his life. Ephraim was about twenty-one years of age when he received Jacob's blessing. He had the godly example of his father before him for many years; for Joseph lived to see Ephraim's children of the third generation. Genesis 50:23

Only one glimpse of the individual life of Ephraim is given. The record states that his sons, in a marauding expedition, stole the cattle belonging to the men of Gath, and the men of Gath slew them. Ephraim their father mourned many days, and his brethren came to comfort him. 1 Chronicles 7:21,22. While Ephraim was still mourning the loss of his children, another son was born to him, and he named him Beriah, or evil, because it went evil with his house. 1 Chronicles 7:23. Strange as it may seem, from Beriah came the most illustrious of all his descendants, - Joshua, the great leader of Israel. 1 Chronicles 7:27. Oshea, the son of Nun, Numbers 13:8,16. was chosen as one of the ten spies, and after his faithfulness had been tested on that occasion, his name was changed from Oshea, help, to Joshua, the help of Jehovah. This change of names was common in ancient times, for names then indicated the character of the bearer. Abram became Abraham when he received the promise; and after the night of wrestling, Jacob, the supplanter, became Israel, the prince of God. Genesis 17:5; 32:28, margin

Another illustrious descendant of Beriah was his daughter, Sherah, who built two cities. 1 Chronicles 7:24. Samuel, the last judge of Israel, was of the tribe of Ephraim. It was in Shiloh that Hannah gave Samuel to Eli, the priest. 1 Samuel 2:24-28. Samuel is one of the strong characters of the Bible. Few men have filled so many offices during a long and useful life as did Samuel. He officiated as priest, but he was not a priest. 1 Samuel 7:9. He judged Israel all the days of his life. 1 Samuel 7:15. He was also a great educator, and established the schools of the prophets. When but a child Samuel was entrusted with the Spirit of prophecy, (1 Samuel 3:1-21) and it is usually supposed that a portion of the Bible was written by him.

Ephraim as a tribe had many advantages; but they failed to profit by them. They were envious and jealous, always sensitive over supposed slights. Judges 8:1; 2 Samuel 19:41-43

After the death of Solomon, the kingdom was divided, and from that time the history of Ephraim is the history of the kingdom of Israel.

Jeroboam, their first king, was an Ephrathite. It was God that rent the kingdom out of the hands of Rehoboam, and gave ten tribes to Jeroboam; 1 Kings 11:29-31 and if he had walked humbly with God, an entirely different history would have been written of Ephraim. It was the same spirit of jealousy and suspicion that had marred the history of his tribe, that influenced Jeroboam to make the golden calves, and set them up in Bethel and Dan, thus establishing a system of idolatrous worship. 1 Kings 12:26-33 The Lord sent a message of warning, and even performed a miracle upon the person of the king; 1 Kings 13:1-6 but Jeroboam returned not from his evil way. 1 Kings 13:33

There are few things more mournful than the steady descent of the haughty, jealous tribe of Ephraim from the pinnacle of success, - their leader the leader of the entire nation, and the center of the worship at Shiloh within their borders, - to the sudden captivity and total oblivion which closed its career.

Some most pathetic messages were sent by the Lord to the tribe of Ephraim. Almost the whole of Hosea's testimonies were entreaties for Ephraim to repent. I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by their arms; but they knew not that I healed them. I drew them with the cords of a man, with bands of love; . . . but the Assyrian shall be his king, because they refused to return. Hosea 11:3-5 Hosea gives the reason for the downfall of Ephraim: Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake not turned. Hosea 7:8 God's kingdom and the kingdoms of the world are entirely distinct. No one can serve God and mammon. Ephraim was a cake not turned; he did not have a thorough experience in the things of God. One cannot mix himself among the people of the world, spending his strength in the pursuit of wealth and fame, and at the same time be a member of the true Israel of God.

The Lord pleaded with Ephraim, saying, How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee, Israel? Hosea 11:8 Again, He said, I have written to him the great things of My law, but they were counted as a strange thing. Hosea 8:12

Idolatry was the great sin of Ephraim; he failed to appreciate the sacred things of God. After the pleadings of the Lord were rejected, then the word went forth, Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone. Hosea 4:17 My God will cast them away, because they did not hearken unto Him, Hosea 9:17 nor accept His love.

There are many idolaters in the world today, traveling the same road over which Ephraim passed. They are not worshiping idols made of metal, wood, or stone, for the popular gods of the present day are not of that form; they are money, wealth, pleasure, and high position. God is calling after them, but they, like Ephraim, are joined to their idols. Like Ephraim of old, they are reckoned as a part of the church of God, but the theatre and pleasure resorts have more attraction for them than the house of prayer, and worldly society is more enjoyable than the companionship of saints. They will one day be taken captive by a King greater than the kings of Assyria and Babylon. The great King of all kings will arise and shake terribly the earth. In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they have made each one for himself to worship, to the moles, and to the bats, . . . for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of His majesty, when He ariseth to shake terribly, the earth. Isaiah 2:20,21

Dan was the fifth son of Jacob, and his descendants composed one of the strong tribes of Israel. Sixty-four thousand four hundred warriors were marshaled under the standard of Dan as they entered the promised land. Numbers 26:42,43 For some reason the large tribe of Dan was given one of the smallest portions of the inheritance, and in time they pushed northward and fought against Leshem, and took it, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and possessed it, and dwelt therein, and called Leshem, Dan, after the name of Dan their father. Joshua 19:40-48 Jeroboam set up his golden calves, one in Bethel in the territory of Ephraim, the other in the city of Dan; and the Danites were given over to idolatry. Even before the days of Jeroboam, we find the Danites worshiping graven images. Judges 18:30

When the tabernacle was built in the wilderness, God especially endowed Aholiab, of the tribe of Dan, with wisdom to devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, Exodus 31:3-6 and also gave him ability to teach others the same art. Exodus 35:34. These gifts remained with the tribe of Dan, and were doubtless the reason why they were attracted toward the wealthy city of Tyre, and intermarried with its inhabitants. 1 Kings 7:13,14

Years afterward, when Solomon built the temple, Hiram, king of Tyre, sent a descendant of Dan, one still possessing the gifts given his forefathers by the Lord, to make the cunning work in gold, silver, and brass, for the temple, 2 Chronicles 2:13,14 in Jerusalem.

The tribe of Dan still kept its place among the Israelites in the time of David; 1 Chronicles 27:22 but after that the name as applied to the tribe vanishes, and it is seldom mentioned, except when referring to the northern city by that name.

Samson is the only ruler furnished Israel by the tribe of Dan. He judged Israel for twenty years. Judges 13:2; 15:20 The blessing pronounced upon Dan by Jacob, portrays his character: Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward. Genesis 49:16,17 Like the blessing pronounced upon Reuben, the first part portrays the character he might have possessed, if he had embraced the opportunities God placed in his pathway. What a contrast between a judge, respected and honored by all, and a serpent by the roadside, ready to fasten its deadly fangs into the flesh of every passer-by!

Dan was the first son born of the concubines, but the old patriarch gave him an honored place among the tribes of Israel. Naturally he was endowed with the quick, keen discernment that makes a good judge; but he did not exercise the gift as God designed; he used it in detecting the evil in others, instead of the good.

An adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward! What words could better describe the evil tongue that is set on fire of hell and is full of deadly poison? James 3:6-8 Dan represents the backbiter, for the adder strikes the heels of the horse. Such characters are hated by both God and man. The word of the Lord says, Whoso privily slandereth his neighbor, him will I cut off. Psalm 101:5 The prophetic words of Jacob reveal why the tribe of Dan has no part in the eternal inheritance; God had decreed, long before they sealed their destiny by their wicked course, that no backbiter should ever stand on Mount Zion.

The psalmist asks the question, Lord, who shall abide in Thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in Thy holy hill? In other words, Who will serve Thee day and night in Thy temple, and stand with Thee upon Mount Zion? He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbor, nor taketh up reproach against his neighbor, is the answer of Jehovah. Psalm 15:1,3

Reuben, by great searching of heart, overcame his natural character, which was unstable as water, until it could be said of him, Let Reuben live, and not die; and Levi, by the grace of God, changed his father's dying curse into a blessing. Judah, by the help of the Lord in his daily life, prevailed above his brethren to such an extent that the dying father could say, The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come, and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. Gad, although overcome by a troop of temptations, gained the victory, and overcame at last. Benjamin, from ravening as a wolf, learned to trust in God so fully that of him it could be said, The Lord shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between His shoulders. Asher learned to dip his foot in oil, and pass smoothly over the trials that, without the spirit of God, could never have been mastered.

Ephraim and Dan, with the same opportunities that their brethren had of overcoming evil traits in their characters, failed to gain the victory, and are not reckoned with the one hundred and forty-four thousand who will stand on God's holy hill and abide in His tabernacle.

In families all over the land today the same story is being repeated. Brothers, reared by the same parents, surrounded by the same environments, are passing over the same experiences as are recorded of the sons of Jacob. Of them, 1ike the wheat and the tares, the commandment is given, Let both grow together until the harvest. The same sunshine and storm that ripen the golden heads of wheat for the garner, ripen the tares for the final destruction; so the same daily blessings from the Father of lights ripen one individual for the kingdom of God, and the other for final destruction. Each one is the architect of his own character. To all the call is given, Look unto Me, and be ye saved. The one who will keep his mind stayed on God, by beholding will be changed. Day by day a transformation will take place in the soul, which will cause angels to marvel at the work wrought in humanity.

The same Christ who once walked the earth, clothed in human form, will by His divine Spirit, dwell in every human being who will open wide the door of his heart and bid Him enter. He who will meditate upon Christ, and study His sinless life, by beholding the glory of the Lord will be changed into the same image from glory to glory.

Christ is sitting for His portrait in every disciple. It is possible for poor fallen humanity through the power of God to reflect the divine character. Christ covers the marred life with the spotless robe of His own righteousness. God and angels beholding the individual thus clothed, see only the perfect character of the divine Son of God; and throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity, the redeemed will witness to the transforming power of the blood of Christ.

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James S. White 
Bible Adventism Series
SERMON FIVE
 
The Time of the End (in Daniel 12)

TEXT: But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. Dan.12:4.

The time of the end noted in the text is not the end itself. It is evidently a period of time just prior to the end. In the time of the end many were to run to and fro, and knowledge upon the grand subject before the prophet's mind, was to be increased.

The words of the book, named in the text, are undoubtedly the prophecy of Daniel, the several chains of which reach down to the close of all earthly kingdoms at the second coming of Christ.

Shut up the words, and seal the book.

Prophecy is history in advance. To the prophets themselves, their own prophecies could afford but little light, the prophetic scenery spread out before them being the history of the future. The apostle, speaking of the prophecies relative to the plan of salvation, embracing the sufferings of Christ at his first advent, and also the glory that should follow at his second advent says: "Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you; searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us, they did minister the things which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from Heaven; which things the angels desire to look into." 1 Pet.1:10-12.

The prophecies relative to the first advent of Christ were not an especial light to the prophets in their day. But they were given for the benefit of the believing about the time of their fulfillment. From the very nature of the case, they were, in a degree at least, shut up until about that time. So with those prophecies which relate to the second advent. They were not designed for the especial benefit of the prophets, the apostles, the martyrs, or the reformers; but they are an especial light to those who live in the time of the end. The book was to be shut up and sealed until that period of time should arrive, called the time of the end. What then?

Many shall run to and fro. Whether this be fulfilled in turning and searching to and fro in the Scriptures for light upon the subject of the fulfillment of prophecy, or by men called of God to the work, traveling to and fro with the message from God to the people upon this subject, the fulfillment is evident. Both have been done within the last half century as never before.

Duffield on Prophecy, p. 373, says: "The word translated, run to and fro, is metaphorically used to denote investigation, close, diligent, accurate observation - just as the eyes of the Lord are said to run to and fro. The reference is not to missionary exertions in particular, but to the study of the Scriptures, especially the sealed book of prophecy."

 

Clarke says: "Many shall run to and fro. Many shall endeavor to search out the sense; and knowledge shall be increased by these means. This seems to be the meaning of this verse, though another has been put upon it; viz., `Many shall run to and fro preaching the gospel of Christ, and therefore religious knowledge and true wisdom shall be increased.' This is true in itself; but it is not the meaning of the prophet's words."

Matthew Henry says: "They shall read it over and over, shall meditate upon it; they shall discourse of it, talk it over, sift out the meaning of it, and thus knowledge shall be increased."

Gill says: "Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased; that is, toward the end of the time appointed, many shall be stirred up to inquire into these things delivered in this book, and will spare no pains nor cost to get a knowledge of them; will read and study the Scriptures, and meditate on them; compare one passage with another, spiritual things with spiritual, in order to obtain the mind of Christ; will carefully peruse the writings of such, who have lived before them, who have attempted anything of this kind; and will go far and near to converse with persons that have any understanding of such things; and by such means, with the blessing of God upon them, the knowledge of this book of prophecy will be increased, and things will appear plainer and clearer, the nearer the accomplishment of them is; and especially when prophecy and facts can be compared."

And knowledge shall be increased.

This does not mean general knowledge; but the words must be limited to the subject presented to Daniel. The book of Daniel contains chains of prophecy which reach down to the end of earthly kingdoms, and the Judgment.

Chapters 11 and 12 are one chain, reaching down to the time when Michael shall stand up, the time of trouble such as never was, and the resurrection of many. Chap. 12:1, 2. In verse 6, one says to the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?" The end of the wonders is the close of these scenes connected with the Judgment. In the next verse the answer is given by the man clothed in linen, with a most solemn oath, with both hands raised to heaven.

But says Daniel: I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?" Verse 8. The prophet here makes earnest inquiries relative to the scenes connected with the second advent.

Read the angel's reply: "Go thy way, Daniel; for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end."
Verse 9. The prophecy of Daniel, which points distinctly to the period of the second advent, was closed up, and sealed, till the time of the end. What then? In verse 4, Daniel was told that in the time of the end many should run to and fro, and knowledge should be increased. This relates to the theoretical part of the work. But, in verse 10, the angel's answer to the earnest inquiry of the prophet, relates to the work of preparation, and the results of the great Second Advent movement. He says: "Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand."

Here are two classes, the wicked and the wise. The wise are those who are being purified and made white. They are wise in reference to the things of God, and the kingdom of Heaven. They understand by the opening prophecies the events which terminate the wonders shown to the prophet. They see these things clearly, believe, prepare, and rejoice in the blessed hope. Here we should be impressed with the practical bearing of the Second Advent faith and hope.

The truly wise, those who are being purified, and made white, and tried, understand. They will listen to the voice of warning, and will be instructed, and will understand that the day of the Lord is coming, and hasteth greatly. They will be waiting and watching, and will be ready when the Lord shall come. Of these Paul speaks: "And unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation." Heb.9:28. Or, as Peter exhorts: "Wherefore, beloved, loved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless." 2 Peter 3:14. Again, "Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness." Verse 11.
But the wicked shall do wickedly, and none of the wicked shall understand.
They do not seek for the Spirit of truth. They are led by the spirit of error. They doubt, scoff, and mark their course of rebellion against the truth of God by doing wickedly. May God pity the blind sinner.

That there is a period of time in which the church is especially to look for the second coming of Christ, is evident. Many, however, take the ground that it was right for the early Christians to look for Christ's second coming in their day, that it has been scriptural for the followers of Christ in each generation since to expect his coming in their day, and that nothing more, in this respect, is required of the church at this time.

It is true that some of the early church received the idea that Christ would come in their day. And it is evident that the Thessalonian church thus believed from the fact that the apostle in his second epistle to them, corrects this error. He says: "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 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, who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God." 2 Thess.2:1-4.

From this testimony we conclude that there were those who had taught the Thessalonians to expect the second advent in their day. But the apostle exhorts them not to be troubled with this idea, and warns them against being deceived by it. He then states that the day of Christ would not come, except there came a falling away first, and that Man of Sin (the Papacy) be revealed. He points the church of Christ down over the period of the apostasy, and the twelve hundred and sixty years of Papal supremacy, to near our time, and guards all the way with a warning against being deceived with the idea that Christ might come during that period.
And why did his warning cease there?
Answer: At that point the time of the end commenced, when the prophecy of Daniel was to be unsealed, knowledge on the subject of Christ's coming was to be increased, and many run to and fro.

What a beautiful harmony in the testimonies of the angel and of Paul. The angel says to Daniel, "The words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end." Paul says to his brethren, "That day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that Man of Sin be revealed."

The apostle's warning reaches down to the time of the end, where the words were to be unsealed. This plainly shows that the last half century has been the period for the subject of the second advent to be brought out, and this the only time that the church of Christ could scripturally look for the coming of the Lord.