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The Life of Christ

The Line of Future Events

 

Volume 40

 

This volume is based on:-

Matthew 24:1-51; 25:31-46; Mark 13:1-37; Luke 21:5-38.

It is recommended that you read these before you read the book.

 

You may freely copy this book as you desire.

The language of the Scripture quotes has been modernised for easier understanding.


The numbers in the brackets refer to verses in Matthew 24.

On the Mount of Olives

Christ's words to the priests and rulers, "Behold, your house is left to you desolate" (Matthew 23:38), had struck terror to their hearts. They pretended indifference, but the question kept rising in their minds as to the import of these words.

An unseen danger seemed to threaten them. Could it be that the magnificent temple, which was the nation's glory, was soon to be a heap of ruins? The foreboding of evil was shared by the disciples, and they anxiously waited for some more definite statement from Jesus.

Man’s view

As they passed with Him out of the temple, they called His attention to its strength and beauty. The stones of the temple were of the purest marble, of perfect whiteness, and some of them of almost fabulous size. A portion of the wall had withstood the siege by Nebuchadnezzar's army. In its perfect masonry it appeared like one solid stone dug entire from the quarry. How those mighty walls could be overthrown the disciples could not comprehend.

All to go

As Christ's attention was attracted to the magnificence of the temple, what must have been the unuttered thoughts of that Rejected One! The view before Him was indeed beautiful, but He said with sadness, I see it all. The buildings are indeed wonderful. You point to these walls as apparently indestructible; but listen to My words: The day will come when "there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down."

Christ's words had been spoken in the hearing of a large number of people; but when He was alone, Peter, John, James, and Andrew came to Him as He sat upon the Mount of Olives.

"Tell us," they said, "when shall these things be?"

"And what shall be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the world?"

Jesus did not answer His disciples by taking up separately the destruction of Jerusalem and the great day of His coming. He mingled the description of these two events.

Had He opened to His disciples future events as He beheld them, they would have been unable to endure the sight. In mercy to them He blended the description of the two great crises, leaving the disciples to study out the meaning for themselves.

A literal and prophetic speech

When He referred to the destruction of Jerusalem, His prophetic words reached beyond that event to the final conflagration in that day when the Lord shall rise out of His place to punish the world for their iniquity, when the earth shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.

This entire discourse of Matthew 24 was given, not for the disciples only, but for those who should live in the last scenes of this earth's history.

Many false Christs

Turning to the disciples, Christ said, "Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many." (v4-5). Many false messiahs will appear, claiming to work miracles, and declaring that the time of the deliverance of the Jewish nation has come. These will mislead many.

Christ's words were fulfilled. Between His death and the siege of Jerusalem many false messiahs appeared.

A dual statement

But this warning was given also to those who live in this age of the world. The same deceptions practised prior to the destruction of Jerusalem have been practised through the ages, and will be practised again.

"And you shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that you be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet." (v6). Prior to the destruction of Jerusalem, men wrestled for the supremacy. Emperors were murdered. Those supposed to be standing next the throne were slain. There were wars and rumours of wars.

"All these things must come to pass," said Christ, "but the end [of the Jewish nation as a nation] is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in different places. All these are the beginning of sorrows." (v7-8).

Christ said, As the rabbis see these signs, they will declare them to be God's judgments upon the nations for holding in bondage His chosen people. They will declare that these signs are the token of the advent of the Messiah.

Be not deceived; they are the beginning of His judgments. The people have looked to themselves. They have not repented and been converted that I should heal them. The signs that they represent as tokens of their release from bondage are signs of their destruction.

Religious persecution

"Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and you shall be hated of all nations for My name's sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another." (v9-10).

All this the Christians suffered. Fathers and mothers betrayed their children. Children betrayed their parents. Friends delivered their friends up to the Sanhedrin. The persecutors wrought out their purpose by killing Stephen, James, and other Christians. Acts 7:59-60.

Through His servants, God gave the Jewish people a last opportunity to repent. He manifested Himself through His witnesses in their arrest, in their trial, and in their imprisonment. Yet their judges pronounced on them the death sentence. They were men of whom the world was not worthy, and by killing them the Jews crucified afresh the Son of God. Hebrews 6:6.

In the future

So it will be again. (v9).

The authorities all over the world will make laws to restrict religious liberty. They will assume the right that is God's alone. They will think they can force the conscience, which God alone should control. Even now they are making a beginning; this work they will continue to carry forward till they reach a boundary over which they cannot step. God will interpose in behalf of His loyal, commandment-keeping people.

On every occasion when persecution takes place, those who witness it make decisions either for Christ or against Him. Those who manifest sympathy for the ones wrongly condemned show their attachment for Christ.

Some will give up

Others are offended because the principles of truth cut directly across their practice.

Many stumble and fall, apostatising from the faith they once advocated. Those who apostatise in time of trial will, to secure their own safety, bear false witness, and betray their brothers and sisters. Christ has warned us of this, that we may not be surprised at the unnatural, cruel course of those who reject the light. (v10).

There will be a sign

Christ gave His disciples a sign of the ruin to come on Jerusalem, and He told them how to escape: "When you shall see Jerusalem encompassed [surrounded] with armies, then know that the desolation of it is near. Then let them which are in Judea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the country enter there. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled." (See v15-18).

This warning was given to be heeded forty years after, at the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD. The Christians obeyed the warning, and not a Christian perished in the fall of the city. So it will be again.

The Sabbath warning

"Pray you that your flight be not in the winter; neither on the Sabbath day," Christ said.

He who made the seventh-day Sabbath did not abolish it, nailing it to His cross. The Sabbath was not rendered null and void by His death. Forty years after His crucifixion it was still to be held sacred. For forty years the disciples were to pray that their flight might not be on the Sabbath day. (v20).

The last days

From the destruction of Jerusalem, Christ passed on rapidly to the greater event, the last link in the chain of this earth's history, - the coming of the Son of God in majesty and glory.

Between these two events, there lay open to Christ's view long centuries of darkness, centuries for His church marked with blood and tears and agony. Upon these scenes His disciples could not then endure to look, and Jesus passed them by with a brief mention.

"Then shall be great tribulation," He said, "such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened." (v21-22).

The long persecutions

For more than a thousand years such persecution as the world had never before known was to come upon Christ's followers. Millions upon millions of His faithful witnesses were to be slain. Had not God's hand been stretched out to preserve His people, all would have perished. "But for the elect's sake," He said, "those days shall be shortened." (v22).

The second coming

Now, in unmistakable language, our Lord speaks of His second coming, and He gives warning of dangers to precede His advent to the world. "If any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."

"Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say to you, ‘Behold, He is in the desert;’ go not forth: ‘behold, He is in the secret chambers;’ believe it not. For as the lightning comes out of the east, and shines even to the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be [very public]." (v23-27).

The false christs

As one of the signs of Jerusalem's destruction, Christ had said, "Many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many." False prophets did rise, deceiving the people, and leading great numbers into the desert. Magicians and sorcerers, claiming miraculous power, drew the people after them into the mountain solitudes.

But this prophecy was spoken also for the last days.

This sign is also given as a sign of the second advent. Even now false christs and false prophets are showing signs and wonders to seduce His disciples. Do we not hear the cry, "Behold, He is in the desert" from the UFO people? Have not thousands gone forth into the desert, hoping to find Christ? (v23 & 26).

And from thousands of gatherings where men profess to hold communion with departed spirits is not the call now being heard, "Behold, He is in the secret chambers"? This is the very claim that spiritualism puts forth.

But what says Christ? "Believe it not. For as the lightning comes out of the east, and shines even to the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." It will be plainly seen by all.

The timing of it

The Saviour gives signs of His coming, and more than this, He fixes the time when the first of these signs shall appear: "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." (v29-31).

At the close of the great Catholic persecution [after the middle ages], Christ declared, the sun should be darkened, and the moon should not give her light.

Next, the stars should fall from heaven.

And, as it was, so it will be again, for ALL these things must happen to one generation.

The fig leaves

And He says, "Learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near: so likewise you, when you shall see all these things, know that He is near, even at the doors." Matthew 24:32-33, margin.

Christ has given signs of His coming. He declares that we may know when He is near, even at the doors. He says of those who see these signs, "This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled." (v34).

These signs have appeared once already and are recorded in history. (See below). Now we know of a surety that the Lord's coming is at hand. "Heaven and earth shall pass away," He says, "but My words shall not pass away." (v35).

From these words we can know the signs will come again.

The great resurrection

Christ is coming soon with clouds and with great glory. A multitude of shining angels will attend Him. He will come to raise the dead, and to change the living saints from glory to glory.

He will come to honour those who have loved Him, and kept His commandments, and to take them to Himself. He has not forgotten them nor His promise.

There will be a relinking of the family chain. When we look upon our dead, we may think of the morning when the trump of God shall sound, when "the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." 1 Corinthians 15:52. A little longer, and we shall see the King in His beauty. A little longer, and He will wipe all tears from our eyes. A little longer, and He will present us "faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy." Jude 24.

For this reason, when He gave the signs of His coming He said, "When these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draws near." Luke 21:28.

But the day and the hour of His coming Christ has not revealed.

Even He won’t tell us!

He stated plainly to His disciples that He Himself could not make known the day or the hour of His second appearing. Had He been at liberty to reveal this, why need He have exhorted them to maintain an attitude of constant expectancy? (v36).

There are those who claim to know the very day and hour of our Lord's appearing. Very earnest are they in mapping out the future. But the Lord has warned them off the ground they occupy. The exact time of the second coming of the Son of man is God the Father's mystery and only He will reveal it. And when He does He will tell everyone at once.

What the world will be like

Christ continues, pointing out the condition of the world at His coming: "As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the Flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the Flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." (v38-39).

Christ does not here bring to view an earthly millennium with Him ruling, a thousand years in which all are to prepare for eternity. He tells us that as it was in Noah's day, so will it be when the Son of man comes again.

How was it in Noah's day? "God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." Genesis 6:5.

The inhabitants of the pre-Flood world turned from almighty God, refusing to do His holy will. They followed their own unholy imagination and perverted ideas. It was because of their wickedness that they were destroyed; and today the world is following the same way. It presents no flattering signs of millennial glory. The transgressors of God's law are filling the earth with wickedness. Their betting, their horse racing, their gambling, their dissipation, their lustful practices, their untamable passions, are fast filling the world with violence.

As it was

In the prophecy of Jerusalem's destruction Christ said, "Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations; and then shall the end come." (v12-14).

This prophecy will again be fulfilled. (v13).

The abounding sinfulness of that day finds its counterpart in this generation. So with the prediction in regard to the preaching of the gospel. Before the fall of Jerusalem, Paul, writing by the Holy Spirit, declared that the gospel was preached to "every creature which is under heaven." Colossians 1:23.

So now, before the coming of the Son of man, the everlasting gospel is to be preached "to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people." Revelation 14:6, 14. (v14).

The great judgment day

God "has appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world." Acts 17:31.

Christ tells us when that day shall be ushered in. He does not say that all the world will be converted, but that "this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations; and then shall the end come."

Our privilege

By giving the gospel to the world it is therefore in our power to hasten our Lord's return. We are not only to look for but to hasten the coming of the day of God. 2 Peter 3:12, margin. Had the church of Christ done her appointed work as the Lord ordained, the whole world would before this have been warned, and the Lord Jesus would have come to our earth in power and great glory.

A clear warning

After He had given the signs of His coming, Christ said, "When you see these things come to pass, know you that the kingdom of God is near at hand." "Take you heed, watch and pray." God has always given men warning of coming judgments. Those who had faith in His message for their time, and who acted out their faith, in obedience to His commandments, escaped the judgments that fell upon the disobedient and unbelieving.

The word came to Noah, "Come you and all your house into the ark; for you have I seen righteous before Me." Genesis 7:1. Noah obeyed and was saved.

The message came to Lot, "Up, get you out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city." Genesis 19:14. Lot placed himself under the guardianship of the heavenly messengers, and was saved.

Christ's disciples were given warning of the destruction of Jerusalem. (v15). Those who watched for the sign of the coming ruin, and fled from the city, escaped the destruction.

So now we are given warning of Christ's second coming and of the destruction to fall upon the world. Those who heed the warning will be saved.

What to do while waiting

Because we know not the exact time of His coming, we are commanded to watch. "Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when He comes shall find watching." Luke 12:37. Those who watch for the Lord's coming are not waiting in idle expectancy.

The expectation of Christ's coming is to make men respect the Lord, and fear His judgments upon transgression.

It is to awaken them to the great sin of rejecting His offers of mercy.

Those who are watching for the Lord are purifying their souls by obedience to the truth. With vigilant watching they combine earnest working. Because they know that the Lord is at the door, their zeal is quickened to co-operate with the divine intelligences in working for the salvation of souls.

These are the faithful and wise servants who give to the Lord's household "their portion of meat in due season." Luke 12:42. They are declaring the truth that is now specially applicable. As Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and Moses each declared the truth for his time, so will Christ's servants now give the special warning for their generation.

Troublers in the church

But Christ brings to view another class: "If that evil servant shall say in his heart, ‘My lord delays His coming;’ and shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; the lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looks not for Him."

The evil servant says in his heart, "My lord delays His coming." He does not say that Christ will not come. He does not scoff at the idea of His second coming.

But in his heart and by his actions and words he declares that the Lord's coming is delayed.

He banishes from the minds of others the conviction that the Lord is coming quickly. His influence leads men to presumptuous, careless delay. They are confirmed in their worldliness and stupor. Earthly passions, corrupt thoughts, take possession of the mind. The evil servant eats and drinks with the drunken, and unites with the world in seeking pleasure. See Revelation 17:1-2.

Religious persecution

He smites his fellow servants, accusing and condemning those who are faithful to their Master. He mingles with the world. Like grows with like in transgression. It is a fearful assimilation. With the world he is to be taken in the snare.

"The lord of that servant shall come.... in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites."

"If therefore you shall not watch, I will come on you as a thief, and you shall not know what hour I will come upon you." Revelation 3:3.

The advent of Christ will surprise the false teachers. They are saying, "Peace and safety." Like the priests and teachers before the fall of Jerusalem, they look for the church to enjoy earthly prosperity and glory.

The signs of the times they interpret as foreshadowing this.

But what says the word of Inspiration? "Sudden destruction comes upon them." 1 Thessalonians 5:3. Upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth, upon all who make this world their home, the day of God will come as a snare. It comes to them as a prowling thief.

All asleep

The world, full of rioting, full of godless pleasure, is asleep, asleep in carnal security. Men are putting afar off the coming of the Lord. They laugh at warnings. The proud boast is made, "All things continue as they were from the beginning." 2 Peter 3:4. "Tomorrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant." Isaiah 56:12. We will go deeper into pleasure loving.

But Christ says, "Behold, I come as a thief." Revelation 16:15. At the very time when the world is asking in scorn, "Where is the promise of His coming?" the signs are fulfilling.

While they cry, "Peace and safety," sudden destruction is coming. The successful thief comes AND GOES without being seen. So the time of choice will come AND GO without being recognised for what it is. Soon after, Christ will come personally and it will be too late.

When the scorner, the rejecter of truth, has become presumptuous; when the routine of work in the various money-making lines is carried on without regard to principle; when the student is eagerly seeking knowledge of everything but his Bible, Christ comes as a thief.

The signs of the times

Everything in the world is in agitation even now. The signs of the times are ominous. Coming events cast their shadows before. The Spirit of God is withdrawing from the earth, and calamity follows calamity by sea and by land. There are tempests, earthquakes, fires, floods, murders of every grade. Who can read the future? Where is security? There is assurance in nothing that is human or earthly.

Two groups forming

Rapidly are men and women ranging themselves under one or other of the banners they have chosen. Restlessly are they waiting and watching the movements of their leaders. On the one hand there are those who are waiting and watching and working for our Lord's appearing.

Another class are falling into line under the generalship of the first great apostate. Few believe with heart and soul that we have a hell to shun and a heaven to win.

The crisis is stealing gradually upon us. The sun shines in the heavens, passing over its usual round, and the heavens still declare the glory of God. Men are still eating and drinking, planting and building, marrying, and giving in marriage. Merchants are still buying and selling. Men and women are jostling one against another, contending for the highest place. Pleasure lovers are still crowding to theatres, horse races, gambling hells, etc.

The highest excitement prevails, yet probation's hour is fast closing, and every case is about to be eternally decided by their own choice.

Time is short

Satan sees that his time is short. He has set all his agencies at work that men may be deceived, deluded, occupied and entranced, until the day of probation shall be ended, and the door of mercy be forever shut.

Solemnly there come to us down through the centuries the warning words of our Lord from the Mount of Olives:

"Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting [overdoing things], and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares."

"Watch you therefore, and pray always, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass [by listening and obeying], and to stand before the Son of man."

My brothers and sisters

"When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: and before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another." Thus Christ on the Mount of Olives pictured to His disciples the scene of the great judgment day.

And He represented its decision as turning upon one point. When the nations are gathered before Him, there will be but two classes, and their eternal destiny will be determined by what they have done or have neglected to do for Him in the person of the poor and the suffering.

What have you done for Me?

In that day Christ does not present before mankind the great work He has done for them in giving His life for their redemption. He presents the faithful work they have done for Him.

To those whom He sets upon His right hand He will say, "Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was a hungry person, and you gave Me meat [food]: I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink: I was a stranger, and you took Me in: naked, and you clothed Me: I was sick, and you visited Me: I was in prison, and you came to Me."

But those whom Christ commends do not know that they have been ministering to Him. To their perplexed inquiries He answers, "Inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these My brothers and sisters, you have done it to Me."

Christians in distress

Jesus had told His disciples that they were to be hated of all men, to be persecuted and afflicted. See also 2 Timothy 3:12. Many would be driven from their homes, and brought to poverty. Many would be in distress through disease and privation. Many would be cast into prison.

To all who forsook friends or home for His sake He had promised in this life a hundredfold.

Now He assured a special blessing to all who should minister to their brothers and sisters.

In all who suffer for My name, said Jesus, you are to recognise Me. As you would minister to Me, so you are to minister to them. This is the evidence that you are My disciples.

All who have been born into the heavenly family are in a special sense the brothers and sisters of our Lord. The love of Christ binds together the members of His family, and wherever that love is made manifest there the divine relationship is revealed. "Everyone that loves is born of God, and knows God." 1 John 4:7.

Practice, not knowledge

Those whom Christ commends in the judgment may have known little of theology, but they have cherished His principles. Through the influence of the divine Spirit they have been a blessing to those about them. Even among the heathen are those who have cherished the spirit of kindness. Before the words of life had fallen upon their ears, they have befriended the missionaries, even ministering to them at the peril of their own lives. Among the heathen are those who worship God ignorantly, those to whom the light is never brought by human instrumentality, yet they will not perish.

Though ignorant of the written law of God, they have heard His voice speaking to them in nature, and have done the things that the law required. Their works are evidence that the Holy Spirit has touched their hearts, and they are recognised as the children of God, for "love is the fulfilling of the law." Romans 13:10.

How surprised and gladdened will be the lowly among the nations, and among the heathen, to hear from the lips of the Saviour, "Inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these My brothers and sisters, you have done it to Me"! How glad will be the heart of Infinite Love as His followers look up with surprise and joy at His words of approval!

All the world

But not to any class is Christ's love restricted.

He identifies Himself with every child of humanity. That we might become members of the heavenly family, He became a member of the earthly family. He is the Son of man, and thus a brother to every son and daughter of Adam.

His followers are not to feel themselves detached from the perishing world around them. They are a part of the great web of humanity; and Heaven looks upon them as brothers to sinners as well as to saints. The fallen, the erring, and the sinful, Christ's love embraces; and every deed of kindness done to uplift a fallen soul, every act of mercy, is accepted as done to Him.

The angels of heaven are sent forth to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation. Hebrews 1:14. We know not now who they are; it is not yet made manifest who shall overcome and share the inheritance of the saints in light; but angels of heaven are passing throughout the length and breadth of the earth, seeking to comfort the sorrowing, to protect the imperilled, to win the hearts of men to Christ.

Not one is neglected or passed by. God is no respecter of persons, and He has an equal care for all the souls He has created.

As you open your door to Christ's needy and suffering ones, you are welcoming unseen angels. You invite the companionship of heavenly beings. They bring a sacred atmosphere of joy and peace. They come with praises upon their lips, and an answering chorus is heard in heaven. Every deed of mercy makes music there.

The Father from His throne numbers the unselfish workers among His most precious treasures.

Ignorance is no excuse

Those on the left hand of Christ, those who had neglected Him in the person of the poor and the suffering, were unconscious of their guilt. Satan had blinded them; they had not perceived what they owed to their brothers and sisters. They had been self-absorbed, and cared not for others' needs.

To the rich, God has given wealth that they may relieve and comfort His suffering children; but too often they are indifferent to the wants of others. They feel themselves superior to their poor brothers and sisters. They do not put themselves in the poor man's place. They do not understand the temptations and struggles of the poor, and mercy dies out of their hearts.

In costly dwellings and splendid churches, the rich shut themselves away from the poor; the means that God has given to bless the needy is spent in pampering pride and selfishness. The poor are robbed daily of the education they should have concerning the tender mercies of God; for He has made ample provision that they should be comforted with the necessities of life.

They are compelled to feel the poverty that narrows life, and are often tempted to become envious, jealous, and full of evil surmisings.

Those who themselves have not endured the pressure of want too often treat the poor in a contemptuous way, and make them feel that they are looked upon as paupers.

But Christ beholds it all, and He says, It was I who was hungry and thirsty. It was I who was a stranger. It was I who was sick. It was I who was in prison. While you were feasting at your bountifully spread table, I was famishing in the hovel or the empty street. While you were at ease in your luxurious home, I had not where to lay My head. While you crowded your wardrobe with rich apparel, I was destitute. While you pursued your pleasures, I languished in prison.

When you doled out the pittance of bread to the starving poor, when you gave those flimsy garments to shield them from the biting frost, did you remember that you were giving to the Lord of glory? All the days of your life I was near you in the person of these afflicted ones, but you did not seek Me. You would not enter into fellowship with Me.

I know you not.

Walking in His steps

Many feel that it would be a great privilege to visit the scenes of Christ's life on earth, to walk where He trod, to look upon the lake beside which He loved to teach, and the hills and valleys on which His eyes so often rested.

But we need not go to Nazareth, to Capernaum, or to Bethany, in order to walk in the steps of Jesus. We shall find His footprints beside the sickbed, in the hovels of poverty, in the crowded alleys of the great city, and in every place where there are human hearts in need of consolation. In doing as Jesus did when on earth, we shall walk in His steps.

All may find something to do. "The poor always you have with you," (John 12:8), Jesus said, and none need feel that there is no place where they can labour for Him. Millions upon millions of human souls ready to perish, bound in chains of ignorance and sin, have never so much as heard of Christ's love for them. Were our condition and theirs to be reversed, what would we desire them to do for us?

All this, so far as lies in our power, we are under the most solemn obligation to do for them. Christ's rule of life, by which every one of us must stand or fall in the judgment, is, "Whatever you would that men should do to you, do you even so to them." Matthew 7:12.

The Saviour has given His precious life in order to establish a church capable of caring for sorrowful, tempted souls. A company of believers may be poor, uneducated, and unknown; yet in Christ they may do a work in the home, the neighbourhood, the church, and even in "the regions beyond," whose results shall be as far-reaching as eternity.

Work is good for us

It is because this work is neglected that so many young disciples never advance beyond the mere alphabet [beginning] of Christian experience.
The light which was glowing in their own hearts when Jesus spoke to them, "Your sins be forgiven you," they might have kept alive by helping those in need.

The restless energy that is so often a source of danger to the young might be directed into channels through which it would flow out in streams of blessing. Self would be forgotten in earnest work to do others good.

Those who minister to others will be ministered to by the Chief Shepherd. They themselves will drink of the living water, and will be satisfied. They will not be longing for exciting amusements, or for some change in their lives. The great topic of interest will be, how to save the souls that are ready to perish.

Social interaction will be profitable. The love of the Redeemer will draw hearts together in unity.

When we realise that we are workers together with God, His promises will not be spoken with indifference. They will burn in our hearts, and kindle upon our lips. To Moses, when called to minister to an ignorant, undisciplined, and rebellious people, God gave the promise, "My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest." Exodus 33:14.

And He said, "Certainly I will be with you." Exodus 3:12.

This promise is to all who labour in Christ's stead for His afflicted and suffering ones.

Love shows

Love to man is the earthward manifestation of the love of God. It was to implant this love, to make us children of one family, that the King of glory became one with us. And when His parting words are fulfilled, "Love one another, as I have loved you" (John 15:12); when we love the world as He has loved it, then for us His mission is accomplished.

We are fitted for heaven; for we have heaven in our hearts.

But "if you forbear to deliver them that are drawn to death, and those that are ready to be slain; if you say, ‘Behold, we knew it not;’ does not He that ponders the heart consider it? and He that keeps your soul, does not He know it? and shall not He render to every man according to his works?" Proverbs 24:11-12.

In the great Judgment day, those who have not worked for Christ yet professed to be His followers, who have drifted along thinking of themselves, caring for themselves, will be placed by the Judge of the whole earth with those who did evil. They receive the same condemnation.

To every soul a trust is given. Of everyone the Chief Shepherd will demand, "Where is the flock that was given you, your beautiful flock?" And "what will you say when He shall punish you?" Jeremiah 13:20, 21.

oooOooo

 

The earthquake

The extensive number of renderings [paintings and records]  of the 1755 Lisbon earthquake found throughout Europe demonstrate the traumatic effect the disaster had on the continent. Depictions of the Lisbon earthquake were created, copied, and widely distributed and discussed throughout all of southern, western and central Europe. Whether created by the new desire to investigate, record, and understand the earthquake in natural rather than strictly metaphysical terms, or created by the more sensational desire to report on human calamity, these depictions indicate that the Lisbon earthquake of 1755 represents a watershed event in European history.  http://nisee.berkeley.edu/lisbon/  It was followed by a large tsunami having three waves.

(This quake now ranks about 14th in world history.)

 

 

The dark day

Religious persecution had almost wholly ceased by 1775. Following this, according to the words of Christ, the sun was to be darkened. On the 19th of May, 1780, this prophecy was fulfilled.

"Almost, if not altogether alone, as the most mysterious and as yet unexplained phenomenon of its kind, . . . stands the dark day of May 19, 1780, - a most unaccountable darkening of the whole visible heavens and atmosphere in New England." R. M. Devens, Our First Century, page 89.

The falling stars

On the night of November 12-13 in 1833 probably the most dramatic meteor storm ever, appeared. Huge displays were observed above the USA; during the 3 hours of maximum [intensity] people fainted, believing the world would end, and that sunrise would be the start of Doomsday. Astronomy On-line. http://www.eso.org/public/events/astro-evt/leonids99/

(This meteor shower is now known as the Leonids
and reappears frequently, the latest in 1999.)

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