Bible Studies

08-1895 General Conference Sermon by A.T. Jones

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The lesson tonight will be directly connected with the lesson that closed on page 33 of the Bulletin, that is, the close of the second lesson, the one on the position and aims of the papacy, and that you may get the connection clearly, I will read a few lines from the last of it, taking again the sentence that was quoted from the letter from Rome, that what we do know is, that a world is in its death agony, and that we are entering upon the night which must inevitably precede the dawn, and that in preparation for this agony of death of the world, the papacy is casting off the old slough, putting on a new form in every conceivable way in order to fulfill her mission in these times that are to come, as was read.

[Here was read on page 33 from the quotation, "What we do know is that a world is in its death agony" to the end of that lesson.]

Now we will study that a little while in the Scriptures. And these scriptures, like all others that we are quoting and studying here, are scriptures with which we are all perfectly familiar; scripture which all have often quoted and of which we expect the fulfillment. And the first one is in Rev. 13:8:

All that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

That shows that the papacy is to have control of this whole world and all that is in it, and of everybody that is in it, except only those whose names are written in the book of life of the Lamb--those who belong to the kingdom of God and are separated from this world. So that, as an actual fact, the papacy does--that Scripture shows it,  too--have possession in the times when these things shall culminate, of all those of this world, because Christ's disciples are not of this world. There stands the word--not that God wants it so, but it will be so in spite of all that He wants to the contrary--that all whose names are not in the book of life and retained there will worship the beast. They will do it; it matters not what they have their minds made up to do or not to do; that thing they will do. They cannot help doing it, because not having their names in the book of life of the Lamb, they will be of this world entirely and therefore will be of the papacy entirely, because whatsoever is of this world is of the papacy in the times in which we live. This shows that the power of the world is brought once more into her hand.

Now a verse in the 7th chapter of Daniel. This power will be used by her for the only purpose for which she ever used any power in the world or for which she ever shall use it--to compel all to do her bidding. All that she ever used any power for was to force upon everybody her dictates. All that she wants with power now is to do that,  and everything that she is doing anywhere on the earth is devoted to that one point of getting back her power over the world. The evidences of this that have been given in the lessons we have already had are before all, and I need not cite any of these.

And so it is written, 21st and 22d verses:

I beheld and the same horn made war with the saints and prevailed against them, until the Ancient of days came,  and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High, and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.

That is at the coming of Christ, of course. So that when it is written that "all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him," it is also written of the same time that this power which she shall have gained and is now gaining over the world and in the world is used for the purpose of compelling all to do her bidding--to compel all to worship the beast. And those who will not do that, she makes war against, till the day that they enter into the kingdom of glory at the coming of the Lord.

Another verse or two: Rev. 17:1,2.

And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters.

Now before reading the second verse, I wish to call a little more attention to the first verse. The angel that reveals this judgment and explains it and the time in which it comes is one of the angels that has the seven last plagues to be poured out. This shows that the revelation of this judgment is in the time immediately preceding the plagues, for it is one of the angels to whom was given one of the vials of the plagues to be poured out. So that when the time comes that the plagues are imminent and are as it were hanging over the world, then this chapter will be understood, then it will shine forth by the revelation of Jesus Christ, the revelation of the angel which he sends.

This, being one of the angels having the vials, he does not say, Come here and I will show thee the woman; he does not say, Come here, and I will show thee the great whore; but "Come hither; I will show thee the judgment of the great whore."

Then again: As it is one of the seven angels that have the seven last plagues who reveals this, that shows that the revelation will be in the time when the plagues are just hanging over the world and are ready to fall. And as the revelation is the judgment of her and not the revelation of herself that shows that the revelation and this chapter which describes it and the times which are connected with it--that there and then will be the time of the revelation of these things that the angel has to tell.

Now I am not starting on a study of the seventeenth chapter of Revelation, nor undertaking to explain that chapter. I am reading this simply to get the time when the thing is to be, and now for the second verse:

The judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters; with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.

When? When does this angel appear? Just before the judgment of her falls. Who is he? One of the seven that have the plagues. So that, by this double count, this is plainly just before the judgment of her. When is it, then,  that the kings of the earth are referred to in this verse? At the same time, assuredly. At that time what will be the condition of the kings of the earth--not some of them, but them--as respects this great harlot? O, they have all held illicit connection with her. And the inhabitants of the earth at that time have all been made drunk by her.  Then that tells the same thing that the other verse does, that "all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him,  whose names are not written in the book of life."

Well, after the angel goes on describing this judgment of her, or rather the events that immediately precede the judgment, then another angel joins. Rev. 18:1:

After these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils and the hold of every foul spirit and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.  For all nations--

How many of them? All. When? In this time when one of the seven angels with the seven plagues appears and tells of the judgment of Babylon.

For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her.

How many of them? All of them.

And the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven.

Do not forget then; it is a voice from heaven saying it.

Saying, Come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues.  For her sins have reached unto heaven and God hath remembered her iniquities.

What has she remembered her iniquities for? What does that mean, that God hath remembered her iniquities?  Back in Egypt it was said of the Lord, "I have remembered my covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; I have remembered the promises I made to your fathers. And I will deliver you with a stretched out arm and with great judgments." Ex. 6:5,6. When he "remembered" that the thing was done that had been promised formerly. "God hath remembered her iniquities." And this shows that this remembrance of her iniquities means the visiting of the judgment upon her iniquities.

Reward her even as she rewarded you and double unto her double according to her works; in the cup which she hath filled, fill to her double. How much she hath glorified herself and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her; for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen and am no widow and shall see no sorrow. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death and mourning, and famine. And she shall be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.

This is still the description which the angel gave when he said, "Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore."

And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying,  alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.

Thus when Babylon triumphs, she is destroyed "in one hour," the shortest period of time that is measured in the Bible, aside from the resurrection moment, which is the "twinkling of an eye." So that when this judgment does fall, it falls in that way, and before it falls, these warnings are given, and God gives us signs by which we may know and mark the way up to the time when that is the thing, and the one thing, that comes next.

Now before our eyes in the daily papers, in the situation even as we have examined it in the previous lessons,  the papacy is now carrying on the very movement that is here marked out and is succeeding at every step. In former lessons we have merely touched evidence as relates to the United States. Brother Robinson gave me a copy of Present Truth a day or two ago, and there, on the first page, are quotations from Catholic papers of London, touching the nations of Europe that are counted as not being exactly Catholic and how that these are falling more and more and one by one back into the hands of the papacy.

In the American Sentinel two or three weeks ago you had the evidence, taken from Catholic papers, as to Germany and Switzerland. The Catholic Church holds the balance of power in Germany--a Catholic for Chancellor of the German Empire, and the Catholic Church party in the Reichstag holding the balance of power, so that the government cannot do anything it wants to without their will and permission and they hold for the repeal of all the laws that have been enacted against the papacy or else nothing goes. And they are getting what they want as the days go by.

Switzerland has a Catholic for a president, and of him the London Universe says that he "is as papal as a Swiss guard." It is not strange therefore that the experiences which we have heard from brethren in Switzerland should be manifesting themselves against the truth of God and against the Lord.

The other day I saw a German paper in which the editor and proprietor spoke of a trip he had taken through Europe and, passing through Holland, he saw the parade of Catholics in celebrating the recovery of Holland to the Catholic Church.

In England, for the papacy to get control, only one thing remains of all the things that were done in making England a Protestant country and establishing the succession of sovereigns--all that remains is just that one requirement, that the sovereign shall be a Protestant. The oath to sustain the Protestant succession is gone. And the one remaining point that requires a Protestant succession has become so weakened that the papacy herself is in expectation that even this will soon be so modified that it may be at a moment set aside and she have control once more. About a year ago, the pope, in receiving a band of pilgrims from England and giving them his blessing said to them that there were many signs in favor of England's once more returning to the Church.

These are simply--well, they are more than signs of what is going on; they are the actual facts in the proceedings themselves of what is going on. We cannot count them as signs; they are the thing itself.

In these extracts from the Catholic papers that were printed in the Present Truth, the United States was mentioned among the countries where the papacy is having its greatest success; and directly in the line of these evidences that we have presented already in the lessons is the fact that the United States is to be used, as the pope says, in the molding all the other nations and that this country is to shape the destiny of the other nations,  and the destiny of the other nations is always intended to be simply the return of the world to the papacy and to do her will and to promote her interests in the earth.

So then we stand in the presence and a long way forward, too, in the presence of the events that are bringing the fulfillment of these prophecies to the point when all nations indeed shall be actually joined once more to her.  And when she shall have succeeded in all this movement that is being carried on, when these things are fulfilled,  then her judgment falls. When that point is reached, when that time comes, in which she stands at the place where she can congratulate herself that all these nations are joined to her once more and she has lifted herself to the supremacy out of the turmoils and the agonies, the anarchy and the violence of every kind, to the supremacy, as she did once before, when this is fulfilled, that is the last thing that we shall see before her judgment falls.

A few years ago we preached the coming of the Lord, as we do yet. We preached everywhere the coming of the Lord, the soon coming of the Lord, even in the generation that is upon the earth and that generation a long way forward in its life. Yet at the same time we told all the people to whom we preached that the Lord was coming,  that He could not come until the United States government had recognized the Christian religion and had set up Sunday instead of the Sabbath. We told them, in other words, that he could not come until this government had made the image of the beast. Then, after having told them that the Lord is coming and coming soon and that the generation is far spent in which He will come, we had to tell them that this thing had to come before He could come, and then we turned to point out to them the steps that were taken and the progress that had been made toward that recognition of religion in the United States and the setting up of Sunday instead of the Sabbath.  These things we told them were the signs by which they might mark the way up to that thing that should be done, and as soon as it should be done, then we would know the coming of the Lord was to be looked forward to as never before.

Now that has been done. We cannot in truth tell the people that the United States is going to recognize the Christian religion. We cannot tell the people any more that the United States government is going to put away the Sabbath of the Lord from the fourth commandment and put Sunday in its place. No man can do that and speak truly. Everyone that speaks the truth on that has to say that has been done and point the people simply to the official record in the proceedings of the government that shows it and there it stands. Therefore, as this is truly so, this text applies as never before, "Now is our salvation nearer than when we believed."

We also told the people that when that thing should succeed, the papacy would rise in triumph at the expense of the Protestants who were doing that and without their expectations and put herself in the place and would receive strength and influence and power from it to mold the world once more to her hand.

Well, we cannot say anymore that the papacy is going to do that. The only thing we can now say is. She is doing it, and point the people now to the facts which show that she is doing it and that that is her one grand scheme for the whole world, to be worked through this power which she already has upon the United States.

But the success of that scheme, the completion of that plan of hers, is simply the fulfillment of this prophecy that we have read, that all the nations would be joined to her; all would be worshiping her; the inhabitants of the earth connected with her; all the world under her hand; all worshiping her, and the power of all the world in her hands to pour out in wrath against those who fear God. The Scripture sets forth in prophecy precisely the thing that everyone of us sees and cannot help seeing, that the papacy is doing. And the very point that the prophecy sets out is the very point at which the papacy aims and toward which she is working and which, when she reaches it, will see the prophecy fulfilled, "I sit a queen and am no widow and shall see no sorrow." And when that plan of the papacy is completed and the prophecy and the papacy meet at that point, then, says the word,  "In one hour" from that point her judgment comes; "She shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her."

Where then are we but in the very days when the judgment of the great whore in the plagues of God are hanging over the world? There is where we certainly stand.

Then see this: As at the first we were obliged to point the people to the signs that marked the coming of the image of the beast and as we are now beyond that and can cite those things no more; so now we are in the time when event after event simply marks the steps which we are to take in passing to the coming of the Lord; and a good many of those steps are taken and we are beyond them.

And in this time what word has the Lord put there to be given to the world? "Come out of her, my people." What for? Why, "that ye be not partakes of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues."

The success of this movement of the papacy that is being carried on is its ruin; her success is her ruin. Her triumph is her destruction, in an hour. Then whoever would not be ruined must separate from her, leave here entirely. And whosoever would not see his fellowmen endangered and ruined must, in the fear of God and the love of souls, say to them, "Escape for your life; for ruin is about to fall."

Her ruin will be how widespread? How much does it embrace? How much is under her control? How many are worshiping her? How far does her wrath extend? And how many are made drunk with the wine of the wrath of her fornication? All the world. Then when the judgment falls upon her, how widespread will be the judgment?  worldwide. When the ruin falls, how complete is the ruin? Utterly. It is said that he cometh up out of the bottomless pit, and "goeth into perdition." "Perdition" means utter destruction; she goes into utter destruction.

Then as certainly as her influence is worldwide; as certainly as all nations are joined to her and the inhabitants of the earth are drunk with the wine of the wrath of her fornication and as certainly as that all that dwell upon the earth are worshiping him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb; so certainly all this shows that everyone will fall in the ruin and will be ruined by the ruin, whose name is not in the book of life.

Then, also as certainly as we stand here, so certainly God has given a message to us in the midst of these events and that message is to warn the world that it is indeed "in its death agony," that out of that death agony the papacy triumphs, that her triumph is her certain ruin, and that whoever will escape must "come out of her."

Now I think we have time to bring a word here that will illustrate this thing so forcibly that all can see it. There was a Babylon of old. God caused the prophet to write out her judgment. In the 50th and 51st chapters of Jeremiah there is written out, in prophecy, the judgment of Babylon. I am not going to read a description of it; all can read it at your leisure, because there is a great deal in it for us even now, but we will read the last verses of the 51st chapter, beginning with the 59th verse:

The word which Jeremiah, the prophet, commanded Seraiah the son of Neriah, the son of Maasciah, when he went with Zedekiah [margin: on behalf of Zedekiah] the king of Judah into Babylon in the fourth year of his reign. And this Seraiah was a quiet prince. So Jeremiah wrote in a book all the evil that should come upon Babylon, even all these words that are written against Babylon. And Jeremiah said to Seraiah, When thou comest to Babylon and shalt see and shalt read all these words; then shalt thou say, O Lord, thou hast spoken against this place, to cut it off, that none shall remain in it, neither man nor beast, but that it shall be desolate forever. And it shall be, when thou hast made an end of reading this book, that thou shalt bind a stone to it, and cast it in the midst of Euphrates; and thou shalt say, Thus shall Babylon sink, and shall not rise from the evil that I will bring upon her, and they shall be weary.

Look at Rev. 18:21, in connection with this, in the judgment of Babylon, the description of it:

A mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down and shall be found no more at all.

Is there any correspondence between these two stones? Assuredly there is. Then that sinking of old Babylon pointed to the sinking of Babylon now; the judgment of Babylon in old time pointed to the judgment of Babylon in this time.

Now we notice Jeremiah 51:45: "My people, go ye out of the midst of her." God's people were in that Babylon; he had a people there. He did not want them to be there when the judgment of Babylon fell and caused her ruin;  therefore, he said, "My people, go ye out of the midst of her and deliver ye every man his soul from the fierce anger of the Lord."

What is the word now? As the angel is about to cast that mighty stone into the sea and say, "Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down and shall be found no more at all," the call is, 'Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of here sins and that ye received not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven and God hath remembered her iniquities. . . . For strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.'" Reading again in Jeremiah of the old Babylon:

 

And lest your heart faint and ye fear for the rumor that shall be heard in the land; a rumor shall both come one year and after that in another year shall come a rumor, and violence in the land, ruler against ruler.

The people in Babylon were to have two rumors as the sign for leaving Babylon. Two rumors of what? Two rumors of her fall, two rumors of her destruction. A rumor was to come one year that the armies of the Medes and Persians were on the way! But were they to be afraid that the ruin would be then and was everyone to go as quickly as he possibly could? NO. He could go if he chose, but the ruin was to be in another year. So when the first rumor was to come, then was "the preparation" to "get ready" to go, so that when the second rumor should come, then they had to go or her ruin would be their ruin.

Accordingly, the Medo-Persian army started from Ecbatana in the spring of A.D. 539--the year before Babylon fell--and went partly on the way and then stopped and stayed until the next spring. When the army started, of course the first rumor spread rapidly to Babylon. That was the first sign that everybody there should prepare to get away just as soon as they could. They could in a sense take their time for the actual going, but they must prepare and be ready at the second rumor, for when the second rumor came they must go or perish. When the next spring came, the "other year," the armies started again on the way to Babylon. Then came the second rumor of Babylon's ruin, and the ruin came with the second rumor, and whoever would escape the ruin had to flee when the rumor came.

Now look at modern Babylon and the two rumors of her fall. In 1844 there came the first rumor of the fall of Babylon. Rev. 14:6-8:

I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea,  and the fountains of waters. And there followed another angel saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him, for the hour of his judgment is come, and worship him that made heaven and earth and the sea and the fountains of waters. And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city,  because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.

There was a rumor of the fall of Babylon; that was the first rumor. Now read Rev. 18:1-4:

I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power and the earth was lightened with his glory.  And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils and the hold of every foul spirit and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. . . . And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues.

When that second rumor comes, the rumor ceases only with the judgment which is her ruin. Are we in the time of the second rumor of the fall of the second Babylon? Oh, we are; we certainly are. Then as certainly as that second rumor of the Medo-Persian army in ancient Babylon meant her certain ruin, as certainly as that is true, so certainly we are in the midst of the second rumor now; and whoever will escape that ruin must go. "Come out of her, my people."

And therefore, as certainly as we to whom that message has been given have any care for the souls of men, any fear of God, or any love for the message which Jesus Christ has given us, what is there alone for us to do but to tell the people what is going on; what Babylon has done, what she is doing, how ruin hangs right over her? Tell them the ruin is there, the second rumor has come, she is to sink to rise no more, nor be found anymore at all. But God does not want any man to sink with her. He would have every soul turn away from her and turn to him for the life and salvation there is in Him; therefore, He calls, "Come out of her my people, that ye receive not of her plagues."

That is where we are; there is the rumor abroad. Oh, is it abroad? That is the question. Is it abroad? Have you been sounding it abroad? How long have we been in the time of the loud cry? More than two years. Have you been sounding that rumor these two years, brethren? Have you all been giving the message which has been given you to sound, urging the people to escape from the ruin that is impending and that they must flee to God if they would escape the ruin?

Well, then, shall we not go from this Conference to sound that rumor with the loudest voice that God can give?  Is there anything else to do? How can there be anything else to do? And of all things how can there be anything else thought of by those to whom God has given the message and upon whom He has laid the responsibility of sounding that rumor? "Come out of her, my people."