DAY OF VENGEANCE"
Prophetic Mention of it--The Time at Hand--Object of this
Volume-- General Observations.
day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed
is come." "It is the day of the Lord's vengeance,
and the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion."
`Isa. 63:4; 34:8`. THUS the Prophet Isaiah refers to
that period which `Daniel (12:1)` describes
as "a time of trouble such as never was since there was
a nation"; of which `Malachi (4:1)`
says, "Behold, the day cometh that shall burn as
an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall
be stubble"; wherein the Apostle
`James (5:1-6)` says the rich men shall weep and howl
for the miseries that shall come upon them; the day which
`Joel (2:2)` describes as a day of clouds and thick darkness;
which `Amos (5:20)` says is "darkness
and not light, even very dark and no brightness in it";
and to which the Lord refers (`Matt. 24:21,22`)
as a time of "great tribulation," so ruinous in its
character that, if it were not cut short, no flesh would survive
the dark and gloomy day thus described by the prophets is a
day of judgment upon mankind socially and nationally --a day
of national recompenses--is clear from many scriptures. But
while noting these, let the reader bear in
<PAGE 12> mind the difference between national
judgment and individual judgment. While the nation is composed
of individuals, and individuals are largely responsible for
the courses of nations, and must and do suffer greatly in the
calamities which befall them, nevertheless, the judgment of
the world as individuals will be distinct from its judgment
day of individual judgment for the world will be the Millennial
age, as already shown.* Then, under the favorable conditions
of the New Covenant, and granted a clear knowledge of the truth,
and every possible assistance and incentive to righteousness,
all men individually, and not collectively as nations and other
social organizations, will be on trial, or judgment, for eternal
life. The judgment of nations, now instituted, is a judgment
of men in their collective (religious and civil) capacities.
The civil institutions of the world have had a long lease of
power; and now, as the "Times of the Gentiles" come
to a close, they must render up their accounts. And the Lord's
judgment, expressed beforehand by the prophets, is that not
one of them will be found worthy of a renewal of that lease
or a continuance of life. The decree is that the dominion shall
be taken from them, and that he whose right it is shall take
the Kingdom, and the nations shall be given to him for an inheritance.
`Ezek. 21:27`; `Dan. 7:27`;
`Psa. 2:8`; `Rev. 2:26,27`
the word of the Lord to the nations assembled before him for
judgment: "Come near, ye nations, to hear; and hearken,
ye people; let the earth hear, and all that is therein: the
world, and all things that come forth of it. For the indignation
of the Lord is upon all nations, and his fury upon all their
armies." "The Lord is...an everlasting King: at his
wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be
able to abide his indignation." "A noise shall ----------
*Vol. I., Chapter 8.
<PAGE 13> come, even to the ends of the
earth; for the Lord hath a controversy with the nations...Thus
saith the Lord of hosts, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation
to nation, and a great whirlwind [intense and complicated trouble
and commotion] shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth.
And the slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end
of the earth even unto the other end of the earth." "Wait
ye upon me, saith the Lord, until the day that I rise up to
the prey; for my determination is to gather the nations, that
I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation,
even all my fierce anger; for all the earth [the present social
order] shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy; and then
[afterward] will I turn unto the people a pure language; that
they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with
one consent." `Isa. 34:1,2`;
`Jer. 10:10; 25:31-33`; `Zeph.
3:8,9`; `Luke 21:25`
have already shown* that the time is at hand, and that the events
of the day of Jehovah are even now crowding closely upon us.
A few years more must of necessity ripen the elements now working
in the direction of the predicted trouble; and, according to
the sure word of prophecy, the present generation will witness
the terrible crisis and pass through the decisive conflict.
is not our purpose, in calling attention to this subject, to
arouse a mere sensation, or to seek to gratify idle curiosity.
Nor can we hope to produce that penitence in the hearts of men
which would work a change in the present social, political and
religious order of society, and thus avert the impending calamity.
The approaching trouble is inevitable: the powerful causes are
all at work, and no human power is able to arrest their operation
and progress toward the certain end: the effects must follow
as the Lord foresaw ---------- *Vol. II.
<PAGE 14> and foretold. No hand but the
hand of God could stay the progress of the present current of
events; and his hand will not do so until the bitter experiences
of this conflict shall have sealed their instruction upon the
hearts of men.
main object of this volume is not, therefore, to enlighten the
world, which can appreciate only the logic of events and will
have no other; but to forewarn, forearm, comfort, encourage
and strengthen "the household of faith," so that they
may not be dismayed, but may be in full harmony and sympathy
with even the severest measures of divine discipline in the
chastening of the world, seeing by faith the glorious outcome
in the precious fruits of righteousness and enduring peace.
day of vengeance stands naturally related to the benevolent
object of its divine permission, which is the overthrow of the
entire present order of things, preparatory to the permanent
establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth, under Christ,
the Prince of Peace.
Prophet `Isaiah (63:1-6)`, taking
his standpoint down at the end of the harvest of the Gospel
age, beholds a mighty Conqueror, glorious in his apparel (clothed
with authority and power), and riding forth victoriously over
all his enemies, with whose blood all his garments are stained.
He inquires who the wonderful stranger is, saying, "Who
is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah?
this that is glorious in his apparel, traveling in the greatness
of his strength?"
it will be remembered, was the name given to Esau, the twin
brother of Jacob, after he sold his birthright. (`Gen.
25:30-34`) The name was also subsequently applied both
to the people descended from him and to the country in which
they settled. (See `Gen. 25:30; 36:1`;
`Jer. 49:17`.) Consequently, the name Edom is an appropriate
<PAGE 15> symbol of a class who, in this
age, have similarly sold their birthright; and that, too, for
a consideration as trifling as the mess of pottage which influenced
Esau. The name is frequently so used by the prophets in reference
to that great company of professed Christians which is sometimes
called "the Christian World," and "Christendom"
(i.e., Christ's Kingdom), which names the thoughtful should
readily recognize as misnomers, betraying a great lack of understanding
of the true object and character of Christ's Kingdom, and also
of the appointed time and manner of its establishment. They
are simply boastful appellations which misrepresent the truth.
Is the world indeed yet Christian? or is even that part of it
that claims the name?--the nations of Europe and America? Hear
the thunder of cannon, the tread of marshalled hosts, the scream
of bursting shells, the groans of the oppressed and the mutterings
of the angry nations with deafening emphasis answer, No! Do
these constitute Christ's Kingdom--a true Christendom? Who indeed
will take upon himself the burden of proof of such a
monstrous proposition? The fallacy of the boastful claim is
so palpable that any attempt at proof would so thoroughly dissolve
the delusion that none who wish to perpetuate it would presume
to undertake it.
fitness of the symbolic name "Edom" in its application
to Christendom is very marked. The nations of so-called Christendom
have had privileges above all the other nations, in that, to
them, as to the Israelites of the previous age, have been committed
the oracles of God. As a result of the enlightening influences
of the Word of God, both directly and indirectly, have come
to these nations all the blessings of civilization; and the
presence in their midst of a few saints (a "little flock"),
developed under its influence, has been as "the salt of
the earth," preserving it to some extent
<PAGE 16> from utter moral corruption. And
these, by their godly examples, and by their energy in holding
forth the Word of life, have been "the light of the world,"
showing men the way back to God and righteousness. But only
a few in all these favored nations have made proper use of their
advantages, which have come to them as an inheritance by reason
of their birth in the lands so blessed with the influences of
the Word of God, direct and indirect.
Esau, the masses of Christendom have sold their birthright of
special and peculiar advantage. By the masses, we mean not only
the agnostic portion of it, but also the great majority of worldly
professors of the religion of Christ, who are Christians only
in name, but who lack the life of Christ in them. These have
preferred the mean morsels of present earthly advantage to all
the blessings of communion and fellowship with God and Christ,
and to the glorious inheritance with Christ promised to those
who faithfully follow in his footsteps of sacrifice. These,
though they are nominally God's people--the nominal spiritual
Israel of the Gospel age, of which "Israel after the flesh"
in the Jewish age was a type--really have little or no respect
for the promises of God. These, although they are indeed a mighty
host, bearing the name of Christ, and posing before the world
as the Church of Christ; although they have built up great organizations
representing various schisms in the professed body of Christ;
although they have written massive volumes of un-"systematic
theology," and founded numerous colleges and seminaries
for the teaching of these; and although they have done "many
wonderful works" in the name of Christ, which were often,
nevertheless, contrary to the teachings of his Word; these constitute
the Edom class who have sold their birthright. The class includes
almost all "Christendom"--all reared in the so-called
<PAGE 17> Christian lands, who have not
availed themselves of the privileges and blessings of the gospel
of Christ and conformed their lives thereto. The remainder are
the few justified, consecrated and faithful individuals who
are joined to Christ by a living faith, and who, as "branches,"
abide in Christ, the True Vine. These constitute the true Israel
of God--Israelites indeed, in whom is no guile.
symbolic Edom of Isaiah's prophecy corresponds to the symbolic
Babylon of Revelation, and of the prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah
and Ezekiel. Thus the Lord designates and describes that great
system to which men ascribe the misleading name, Christendom--Christ's
Kingdom. As all of the land of Edom symbolizes all of "Christendom,"
so its capital city, Bozrah, represented Ecclesiasticism, the
chief citadel of Christendom. The prophet represents the Lord
as a victorious warrior who makes a great slaughter in Edom,
and specially in Bozrah. The name Bozrah signifies "sheepfold."
Bozrah is even yet noted for its goats, and the slaughter of
this day of vengeance is said to be of the "lambs and goats."
(`Isa. 34:6`) The goats would correspond
to the "tares," while the lambs would represent the
tribulation saints (`Rev.
7:14`; `1 Cor. 3:1`)
who neglected to use the opportunities granted them, and did
not so run as to obtain the prize of their high calling; and
who therefore, although not rejected of the Lord, were not accounted
worthy to escape the trouble as matured "sheep"--called,
chosen and faithful.
reply to the Prophet's inquiry--"Who is this that cometh
from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah?" is, "I
that speak in righteousness, mighty to save." It is the
same mighty one described by the Revelator (`Rev.
19:11-16`), the "King of kings and Lord of lords,"
Jehovah's Anointed, our blessed Redeemer and Lord Jesus.
our information the Prophet inquires further, saying, "Wherefore
art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that
treadeth in the winepress?" Hear the reply: "I have
trodden the winepress alone; and of the nations there was none
with me: and I trod them down in mine anger, and I trampled
on them in my fury; and their blood was sprinkled on my garments,
and all my raiment have I stained; for the day of vengeance
was in my heart, and the year of my redeemed was come. And I
looked, and there was no one to help, and I was astonished;
and there was no one to support; and then my own arm [power]
aided me; and my fury, this it was that upheld me. And I stamped
down nations in my anger,...brought down to the earth their
victorious strength." And the Revelator adds, "He
treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty
God." `Rev. 19:15`
treading of the winepress is the last feature of harvest work.
The reaping and gathering is all done first. So this treading
of the winepress of the wrath of God into which "the vine
of the earth" (the false vine which has misappropriated
the name Christian and Christ's Kingdom) is cast when its iniquitous
clusters are fully ripe (`Rev. 14:18-20`),
represents the last work of this eventful "harvest"
period.* It pictures to our minds the last features of the great
time of trouble which shall involve all nations, and of which
we are so abundantly forewarned in the Scriptures.
fact that the King of kings is represented as treading the winepress
"alone" indicates that the power exerted for
the overthrow of the nations will be divine power, and not mere
human energy. It will be God's power that will punish the nations,
and that will eventually "bring forth judgment [justice,
righteousness, truth] unto victory." "He shall smite
---------- *Vol. III, Chapter 6.
<PAGE 19> the earth with the rod of his
mouth; and with the breath of his lips [the force and spirit
of his truth] shall he slay the wicked." (`Isa.
11:4`; `Rev. 19:15`;
`Psa. 98:1`) To no human generalship can the honors
of the coming victory for truth and righteousness be ascribed.
Wild will be the conflict of the angry nations, and world-wide
will be the battlefield and the distress of nations; and no
human Alexander, Caesar or Napoleon will be found to bring order
out of the dreadful confusion. But in the end it will be known
that the grand victory of justice and truth, and the punishment
of iniquity with its just deserts, was brought about by the
mighty power of the King of kings and Lord of lords.
of these things are to be accomplished in the closing days of
the Gospel age, because, as the Lord states through the Prophet
(`Isa. 63:4; 34:8`), "The
year of my redeemed is come," and "it is the day of
the Lord's vengeance, and the year of recompenses for the controversy
of Zion." All through the Gospel age the Lord has taken
cognizance of the controversy, the strife and contention, in
nominal Zion. He has observed how his faithful saints have had
to contend for truth and righteousness, and even to suffer persecution
for righteousness' sake at the hands of those who opposed them
in the name of the Lord; and for wise purposes the Lord has
hitherto refrained from interfering; but now the day of recompenses
has come, and the Lord hath a controversy with them, as it is
written, "For the Lord hath a controversy with the inhabitants
of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge
of God in the land. By swearing and lying and killing and stealing
and committing adultery they break out, and blood toucheth blood.
Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth
therein shall languish." (`Hos. 4:1-3`)
This prophecy, so true in its fulfilment upon fleshly Israel,
is doubly so in its fuller application to nominal spiritual
noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the Lord
hath a controversy with the nations: he will plead with all
flesh: he will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith
the Lord." "Hear ye now what the Lord saith, ...Hear
ye, O mountains [kingdoms], the Lord's controversy, and ye [hitherto]
strong foundations of the earth [society]; for the Lord hath
a controversy with his [professed] people," "He will
give those that are wicked to the sword,"
`Jer. 25:31`; `Micah 6:1,2`
again the Prophet Isaiah concerning this controversy: "Come
near, ye nations, to hear; and harken, ye people: let the earth
hear, and all that is therein: the world, and all things that
come forth of it [all the selfish and evil things that come
of the spirit of the world]; for the indignation of the Lord
is upon all nations, and his fury upon all their armies: he
hath [taking the future standpoint] utterly destroyed them,
he hath delivered them to the slaughter; ...and their land shall
be soaked with blood, and their dust made fat with fatness.
For it is the day of the Lord's vengeance, and the year of recompenses
for the controversy of Zion." `Isa.
the Lord will smite the nations and cause them to know his power,
and he will deliver his faithful people who go not with the
multitudes in the way of evil, but who wholly follow the Lord
their God in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.
And even this terrible judgment upon the world, as nations,
thus dashing them to pieces as a potter's vessel, will prove
a valuable lesson to them when they come forth to an individual
judgment under the Millennial reign of Christ. Thus, in his
wrath, the Lord will remember mercy.