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light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven 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."
In Mark it is, “ In those days shall be affliction such as was not from the beginning of the creation until this time, neither shall be. And in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And he shall send his angels," &c.
Luke writes, “ These be the days of vengeance and there shall be signs in the sun, and in the mnoon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth; for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of Man coming in a cloud, with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth
Daniel connects the glorious appearing of Christ for the redemption of his people, with "a time of trouble such as never was since there
was a nation, even to that same time.” And Malachi connects the coming of the Lord of hosts with a burning day, such as none of the wicked shall be able to abide, and which he calls “the great and dreadful day of the Lord.”
This day of tribulation, such as never before had been, nor thereafter should be, is doubtless the battle of that great day of God Almighty, which also in the Revelation is connected with the coming of Christ: for there, at that time, we hear his voice, saying, “ Behold, I come.”
But that great day of vengeance is expected soon to take place, before the millennium, at the beginning of the pouring out of the seventh vial : for, in the end, when the apostasy from Christ is perfected by the spirits, or powers of devils, even to “resist the truth,” “as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses," by "working miracles," " with all power and signs," and "doing great wonders in the sight of men;" and also by an union of “the kings of the earth, and of the whole world ;" then will commence • the battle of that great day of God Almighty."
Then, “Behold, I come,” says Christ. “And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake and so great.”
The seventh angel's pouring out his vial into the air, the home seat of Satan's power, signifies the same as his laying hold on him, and binding him, mentioned chapter xx., previous to the mil
lennium. And, in like manner, that dreadful day of the Lord precedes the millennium both in Daniel and Malachi.
Therefore, as the coming of Christ is every where in the Scriptures connected with this great and dreadful day of God Almighty, and as this great day is to come at the beginning of the pouring out of the seventh vial, how soon may the long expected, long desired moment of the appearing of the Redeemer arrive!
Once more; the Scriptures connect the coming of Christ with certain phenomena, both in the heavens and in the earth.
In the heavens, appearances of blood and fire, and pillars or vapor of smoke-the sun darkened, and the moon crimsoned.
In the earth, “ the sea and the waves roaring;" and whirlwinds—" the Lord hath his way in the whirlwind "_" the Lord God shall blow the trumpet, and shall go forth with whirlwinds." That great day of God Almighty is called “the day of the whirlwind,” and the battle thereof "a continuing whirlwind-in the latter days ye shall consider it.” To which are added (though as more remotely connected) the more natural signs, of “ wars, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places."
Respecting these phenomena and omens both in the heavens and in the earth, it will be very difficult for us to remark : they, however, with the other signs of the Lord's coming, will not fail to give to the listening ear of wisdom their momentous instruction.
Now, all these things, which are joined with the coming of Christ, may soon take place;
much sooner than we are aware of: for, the calling of the Jews, “as it depends not upon ordinary means to effect it, so there are like to be no preparations at all unto it until it comes, (as there are not for things extraordinary ;) but à nation shall bring forth in a day, (as the prophet speaks.) And so, in the very year before it, there will be no more outward appearances, or probabilities of it than there are now, or than there have been
since. And therefore our faith need not be put off from this, by the seeing as yet no stirrings or motions at all unto it, or towards it."*
And, also, the final destruction of all Antichrist will be most sudden and unexpected. A mighty angel, in the sight of John, “ took up a stone, like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that greut city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all." In the height of her glorifying herself, saying, “ I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow, her plagues come in one day, death and mourning; and she shall be utterly burnt with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.” Yea, in one hour her judgment comes, and “ in one hour is she made desolate." So, in Daniel, the Antichrist “shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many. And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas, in the glorious holy mountain ; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.”
And, respecting the day of tribulation, do we.
* Dr. Goodwin.
dream, or is it reality, that the alarm trumpet of “the battle of that great day of God Almighty” begins to sound?
And can it be doubted, that the signs in nature -in the heavens and in the earth-have for some time been appearing? We have seen the appearance in the heavens of “ blood and fire, and vapor of smoke.” No words could be used to give an idea of the northern lights,* as they are called, more fitly than these. They so exactly answered the Scripture prophecy, as, at first, to occasion great alarm; but, becoming frequent, now scarcely attract the eye of curiosity.
* They appeared in this part of the world early in the present century, just above the northern horizon; and about the same time, in much the same manner, they appeared in Europe. They, or something very similar, a few times, at some periods, had been observed before, viz., 1621, Sept. 2, they were observed all over France. 1581, they appeared in Germany, in an extraordinary manner, in April and September, and in a less degree at some other times the same year; and the year before, 1580, they were there observed seven times. 1575, they were seen twice in Brabant, Feb. 13 and Sept. 28. 1574, they were observed in England, two nights successively, Nov. 14 and 15. They were also seen there, Oct. 7, 1564, and Jan. 30, 1560. And there were several suchlike appearances in the age immediately preceding the destruction of Jerusalem. Before the beginning of the present century, however, they had not been noticed for near an hundred years; but, from that time, or from March 6, 1716, they became very frequent, and continued gradually to rise, or approach toward the south, apparently widening and spreading as they advanced, and about the middle of this century often reached the zenith of New-England; and at length have proceeded so far south, or have risen so high, as to be seen sometimes in the West-Indies.