Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing (epiphany) of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Titus 2:13
the Truth, and not His agents, however largely He may use them as His mouth and hand.
(21) The sixth part of our Lord's Second Advent mission toward His own is set forth in the following words: "He shall purify [thoroughly polish, develop] the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and as silver." The word translated purify is the verb from which is derived the noun translated in the preceding sentence, purifier, which we saw means, not to be one who purges out the dross of error, but to be one who develops the silver of Truth. Therefore the verb should be rendered here by the word polish, develop. The verb form here used in the Hebrew shows that the idea of thoroughly polishing, developing, is the thought. Above we saw under point four that the Lord rids us of our faults, which is the destructive part of character development. Here the other, the constructive side of such activity is brought to our view; for it means that our Lord enables His own to grow, become strong, balanced and crystallized in Christlikeness. The word purge, used in the second clause, does not contradict this. Rather it confirms it from the following point of view: That part of our constructive character development which is wrought already in us becomes an agency in us to destroy our faults and by such destructive work—exercise—is itself increased in character growth (Rom. 8: 13; 12: 21; Heb. 5: 14; Gal. 5: 16, 17). Hence this part of our text treats of our Lord's constructive work on our characters, as distinct from His destructive work thereon, brought to our attention above.
(22) By the sons of Levi in this text the Little Flock and Great Company are meant. This becomes manifest from the type. The typical sons of Levi were the descendants of Jacob through his son Levi. At Sinai these became divided into two classes, the sacrificers and their assistants, usually called priests and Levites. These took the place of the firstborn in
Israel (Num. 3: 40-51), who, St. Paul assures us, type the Church of the firstborn—the Little Flock and the Great Company (Heb. 12: 23; Rev. 7: 1-8, 8-17). This is further suggested by their purging and development being pictured forth by the refining and developing of gold and silver. While ordinarily in Biblical symbols gold represents that which is Divine and silver represents the Truth (1 Cor. 3: 12, 13), exceptionally gold is Biblically used to represent the Little Flock and silver to represent the Great Company (2 Tim. 2: 20). According to this, our text teaches that the sixth part of our Lord's Second Advent mission to His own is to develop the Little Flock and the Great Company in character, growth, strength, balance and crystallization, among other ways of accomplishing which He uses their past attainments in this respect destructively against their faults ("purge them"). He accomplishes this through the Spirit, Word and providences of God. This text stresses mainly the providential experiences whereby He accomplishes these for His people, e.g., losses, disappointments, delays, restraints, shelvings, siftings, our and others' faults, mistakes and failings, chastisements, necessities, hardships, misunderstandings, oppositions, poverty, riches, sorrow, sickness, suffering, persecution, etc. He also ministers the Word to them to this end, in its enlightening, energizing, strengthening and cleansing capacities. He likewise, ministers the Spirit to them in the sense of increasing it in them and in the sense of energizing what they have of it unto exercise for good and against evil. By so doing He fulfills the sixth part of His Second Advent mission, expressed in the words, "And He shall polish [develop] the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and as silver." Of course He has done this throughout the Age to the crown-retainers and crown-losers; but this part of His work is not touched on in our text, its view being restricted to a description, brief, but comprehensive,
of the works that He would do toward His own during the Parousia and Epiphany periods of His Second Advent.
(23) In the rest of v. 3 the seventh part of our Lord's Second Advent mission to His own is brought to our attention in the words: "that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness," literally, "that they may be bringers of a meat offering to Jehovah in righteousness." This part of the verse shows one of the reasons why the Lord Jesus develops the Little Flock and the Great Company in character and purges them from faults. It is, among other things, to qualify them righteously to serve the Lord in proclaiming the Truth, especially its deeper and fuller features—the meat offering. As we have already learned, the drink offering represents the setting forth of the easier truths of the Word, and the meat offering represents the setting forth of its harder features. The Truth is for both the crown-retainers and the crown-losers to set forth. The less conformed they are to the Lord's character and the more glaring their faults are, the less qualified are they to preach the Truth helpfully, and the more hindrances do they present to its spread and influence. They are not to say, "Do as I say, not as I do," as certain preachers have brazenly said. They are to be so much like the Lord as to be able to say, "Do as I do and as I say." The former is the presenting to the Lord of a meat offering in unrighteousness; the latter, in righteousness. Therefore, to, enable the antitypical sons of Levi to be bringers of a meat offering to the Lord in righteousness, our Lord, whose high-priestly work it is to make our sacrifice acceptable, to offer it and to enable us to keep in the proper offering attitude, works on our characters to develop, strengthen, balance and crystallize them, as well as to purge out of them their faults. This is gradually and increasingly done by Him. Consequently, we are gradually and increasingly qualified
by Him as the seventh part of His Second Advent mission to His own, to be bringers of a meat offering to the Lord in righteousness. Such making of the antitypical sons of Levi acceptable for sacrifice, such sacrificing of them initially and such enabling of them to co-operate with Him in their sacrificings, our Lord certainly has wrought during the Parousia and the Epiphany. Surely without this character- developing and cleansing work, the Truth could be neither clearly seen nor unctuously preached; hence the offering could not be made in rightousness; and His work it is to qualify and enable them to bring the meat offering, preach the Truth, in righteousness to the Divine pleasing.
(24) That His ministry has in this way increasingly qualified the Little Flock to bring in righteousness a meat offering to God, both in the Parousia and in the Epiphany, is evidenced by the facts. Certainly during the Parousia they presented its glorious truths, not only the simpler, but the deeper ones, and did it in righteousness. As a result of this they did, not all, but the main part of the reaping work, and thus were very efficient in winning the bulk of the feet members of the Christ, as well as many crown-losers and individual Youthful Worthies. Their characters, by the Lord's ministry becoming increasingly like the Truth that they presented, lent power, weight and influence to their message, which thus, ever more effectively, accomplished the reaping work. His ministry to them qualified them for the work of witnessing to the world of sin, righteousness and judgment, the Kingdom to come. This same ministry of our Lord has enabled them to do effectively and fruitfully the work toward Azazel's Goat. As a proof of, and reward for their faithfulness in retaining their crowns, the Lord has given them the honor of confessing the sins of antitypical Israel over Azazel's Goat (Ps. 149: 5-9; Lev. 16: 20-22), leading it to the gate and fit man and abandoning it to the
wilderness condition. Qualified thereto by our Lord's Second Advent ministry on them, they successfully from 1914 to 1916 brought to a completion the preaching that confessed the pertinent sins over that Goat. And ever since the Fall of 1916 they have been doing their other work of setting forth the Truth as to the other parts of the message pertinent to Azazel's Goat. In due time this will lead to the latter's cleansing and thus this feature of their work will be successfully concluded. The same ministry of our Lord on their behalf will qualify them for, and enable them to preach the Word that will help the cleansed Great Company to do its real Epiphany work in righteousness. It likewise qualifies and enables them to preach the Word that gathers and develops Youthful Worthies for Epiphany purposes. Thus we see that our Lord's ministry to the Little Flock during the Parousia enabled it so to preach the Word in righteousness as to gather most of the wheat into the Truth and to develop it aright, and to deal helpfully with the world, the crown-losers not yet manifested as Levites and individual Youthful Worthies, as well as in the Epiphany to preach in righteousness effectively for its work toward the Great Company and the Youthful Worthies according to God's will.
(25) So far as the past and present condition of the Great Company has permitted His developing and purging ministry to work effectively in them, He has been assisting them to preach in righteousness. This they did better as crown-losers not yet manifested as Great Company members, i.e., during the Parousia, than they have been doing as manifested Great Company members in the Epiphany. Hence during the Parousia they righteously preached the Word to the winning of some of the feet members and some unmanifested Youthful Worthies. With the Youthful Worthies ("the strangers") they ("the poor") did most of the gleaning work (1914-1916), while the
Little Flock was mainly occupied in confessing the sins over Azazel's Goat. Their present work is done partly by the good side, but mainly by the bad side of their double minds, hence is not done in righteousness, and, therefore, will mainly have to be burned up. But after they are cleansed they will bring to the Lord a meat offering in righteousness. Theirs will be a glorious work, made real by our Lord's ministry toward them, after their cleansing. In the first place, they will convert the nominal people of God to the Truth in Studies Vol. 1. The Lord is now erecting His Epiphany Tabernacle, whose Most Holy is the Spirit-born part of the Little Flock, whose Holy is the crown-retainers, whose Court is the Great Company and Youthful Worthies and whose Camp will be those who will persist in believing in Jesus as Savior and King. The Epiphany Tabernacle proper is completed, and the Court is now in process of erection, i.e., the posts are being erected, some 40 of which, the Great Company divisions among Truth People, are already in place, and in a few years the rest of the 60 will be put up. Then the curtain will be hung upon the posts and will by them be held up to the view of all in the Camp. This curtain represents Christ as Savior and King. The contents of Vol. 1 may well be summarized in the expression, Christ as Savior and King. This will be the substance of the Great Company's message after they are cleansed (Rev. 19: 5; Num. 8: 20-22). That message will be given by lectures, colporteuring, sharp-shooting, volunteering, conversation and pastoral Work, whose classes will study Vol. 1 of the Studies by the Berean method. Thus they will convert God's nominal people to the Truth of Studies Vol. 1— Christ as Savior and King—after the earthquake has destroyed the beast and his image and destroyed the influence of the nominal church clergy. Thus will the Lord's developing and cleansing work in them enable
them to bring this meat offering to Jehovah in righteousness, which insures its effectiveness.
(26) One other great work will Jesus' developing and purging ministry qualify and enable the Great Company to do—preach so effectively to the Jews as to convert them to Christ. We have already shown that this work is to be done by them in attestation of their purification as a part of the antitypical mother of a daughter (Lev. 12: 5-8), from 1954 to 1956, paralleling the Little Flock's attestorial work as the mother of a son, forty years previous. That the Great Company is to do such a work is also shown in Cant. 5: 8— 6: 1. Their preaching to Israel is described in vs. 10-16; and Israel's conversion is shown in 6: 1. That Israel's national conversion is to take place in Palestine in, and at the end of Jacob's trouble, is evident from Zech. 12: 2-14; Jer. 30: 3-9; Ezek. 39: 17-29. In converting Israel through preaching the Word to them, the Great Company will be bringing a meat offering to the Lord in righteousness, effective in its purpose. And our Lord's ministry in their character development and cleansing will qualify and enable them to preach so unctuously, clearly and convincingly as to win Israel to the Lord. Certainly this will be a glorious result of their "meat offering," and is devoutly to be wished.
(27) When we deeply and devoutly consider the above- described seven parts of our Lord's Second Advent ministry for His own, we may well cry out, "What an excellent ministry He hath obtained!" But such is only a part of His Gospel-Age work; for all through the Age He has been working on the crown-retainers and crown-losers, developing and cleansing them in character for their varied service, as well as fitting them for their future service. This age-long work of His manifests such tact, faith, hope, knowledge, self-control, patience, charity, kindness, longsuffering, forgiveness, forbearance, zeal, generosity and faithfulness as find no equals in any other being
except God. When we consider His wondrous character and great works displayed in His Age-long dealings with the Little Flock and Great Company, especially in His Parousia and Epiphany mission, we are lost in wonder, love and praise. In appreciative adoration at being beneficiaries of so great a ministry, we cry out, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing" (Rev. 5: 12)! Let us unite every power of ours to show Him our appreciation for His loving kindness (O, how good!), by faithfulness to His Father, to Him, to His people and to His cause.
(28) Above we called attention to our Lord's sevenfold mission to His own in the Parousia and Epiphany. But His pertinent mission extends to others than His own. Among these others is Babylon, whose hour of judgment, wasting and destruction will now be briefly discussed [written March, 1922]. Lately we have been struck with the use of the expressions, "in one day," and "in one hour" (Rev. 18: 8, 10, 17, 19), as describing the periods within which Babylon's judgment, wasting and destruction begin and end. We are all, of course, aware of the fact that a symbolic day may be a year (Rev. 11: 3), or forty years (Ps. 95: 8-11; Matt. 20: 1-16), or a thousand years (2 Pet. 3: 7, 8), and that there are also other Scriptural meanings for the word day, like an age, etc. It seems quite reasonable to assume that the day of Rev. 18: 8 is not a year–day nor the Harvest day; for an hour of such days would be too short a time to fulfill the work described in Rev. 18: 10, 17, 19. Moreover, the Harvest day is already past, and Babylon is not yet destroyed. The thousand—years day—the Millennial Age- as a day better fits the facts of these verses. We are all aware of the fact that that Age has several beginnings by reason of the lapping of the Gospel and Millennial Ages into one another—1874, 1878, 1881, 1914, etc.
(29) We already have pointed out (Chapter II) that an hour of such a day would be 41 years and 8 months, as we saw in the case of the hour of reaping, from Sept. 1874, to May, 1916, and in the case of the "hour of temptation," from April, 1878, to Dec. 1919. If our assumption is correct that the day of Rev. 18: 8 is the Millennial Age, then the three hours of Rev. 18: 10, 17, 19—one mentioned in each verse—would each represent a period of 41 years and 8 months. This being true, we know from the facts of the case that we must begin the hour of her judgment (Rev. 18: 10) in Sept., 1874, and the hour of her wasting (Rev. 18: 17) in April, 1878; but we could not start the hour of her destruction with either of those dates, because an hour from those dates ended in May, 1916, and Dec., 1919, respectively, and now is in the past, and has not witnessed the beginning of the end of Babylon's destruction. If we should date the hour of her destruction (Rev. 18: 19) as beginning with Oct. 1881 (Sept. 24th was the first day of the seventh month, lunar time, in 1881), that hour would end by June, 1923. (May 16, 1923, will be the date in lunar time, according to which time the hour of reaping and the hour of temptation were reckoned.) If this time-setting is correct, then by June, 1923, Mystic Babylon will begin to go out of existence, which would mean that the antitypical "earthquake" will begin between now and that date.
(30) It will be noticed that there are three kinds of experiences mentioned as coming to Babylon during the day of her overthrow. We believe that these three experiences are mentioned in their chronological order in Rev. 18: 10, 17, 19, i.e., verse 10 refers to Babylon's judgment; verse 17 to her wasting; and verse 19 to her destruction. The items seem so to be stated in order to bring out these three beginning stages of her, overthrow. The hour is also mentioned three times, in order to mark the three different time beginnings
and endings of these three works. We know that not only in October (to be exact, Sept. 12) 1874, the hour of reaping, but also Babylon's crisis—the initial stage of her judgment—began (Rev. 18: 10); for just as our Lord in His First Advent (Oct., 29, to April, 33) by His ministry put the Jewish Church system into its crisis—the beginning of its judgment—so, as a parallel act, by His ministry in His Second Advent (Oct., 1874, to April, 1878), He put Babylon into her crisis—the beginning of her judgment. Thus when the hour of reaping began in 1874 Babylon's crisis also began (Rev. 14: 15; 18: 10).
(31) Again, just as our Lord in April, 33, at the end of the crisis feature of Israel's judgment as a system, declared Israel's house desolate—cast off and given up to wasting— and thereby ended her riches as the hand, eye and mouth of God and as the custodian of God's oracles and Covenant (Matt. 23: 38, 39), and thereby began her wasting, so at the parallel time and as the parallel event in April, 1878, our Lord, at the end of the crisis feature of Babylon's judgment as. A system, declared her desolate—cast off and given up to wasting and thereby ended her riches as the hand, eye and mouth of God and as the custodian of God's oracles and Covenant (Rev. 3: 16; 18: 17), and thereby began her wasting. Again, as in October 36 exclusive favor was withdrawn from all in the Jewish system, and nothing but destruction was left as the portion of that fallen system, from which every feature of special favor was thenceforth withdrawn, so at the parallel time and as the parallel event exclusive favor was in October, 1881, withdrawn from all in Babylon, and nothing but destruction was left as the portion of fallen Babylon, from which every feature of special favor was thenceforth withdrawn. As will be noticed, it is said that her judgment, which included her crisis, sentence and the final reading of her death warrant, would be within an hour, that her wasting
would be within an hour, and that her destruction, annihilation, would be within an hour. The first two already have been fulfilled, and we find that her judgment ended with the end of the hour of reaping—when the reaping of the last saint in Babylon, Apr. 18, 1916, occurred, though in each country this occurred just before it became involved in the World War; for the removal of the last saint from her midst was in each country a beginning of the final reading of Babylon's death warrant (Rev. 7: 3). The wasting from its beginning to the beginning of its end occupied about the full hour allotted to it—from the time when the first sifting—1878—reached Babylon until the time that the sixth sifting—revolution in the Inter-Church and World movement—reached Babylon—1919. It will be noticed that these two hours were contemporaneous with the hour of reaping and the hour of temptation. The hour of her destruction has only a little over a year to run, if our understanding as just given is correct. And within this period the beginning of the end of Babylon's sudden destruction (1 Thes. 5: 3) is to be expected, if the above viewpoint is a right one.
(32) The interpretation just given strikes us as reasonable. It may be that the hour of her destruction began later than October, 1881, but this seems improbable. There is no special event earlier than that date to begin it; for the time of an hour of 41 years and 8 months has ended already, if we should begin it either with Oct., 1874, or with April, 1878—the special dates preceding Oct., 1881. Nor does there seem to be any specially marked date later than Oct., 1881, at which to begin the hour of her destruction, unless we should take Oct., 1914, which would make the time of the "earthquake" come shortly before June, 1956—a date that seems to be too late to be entertained. Therefore Oct. 1881, seems to be the most reasonable date for the beginning of the hour of her destruction.
However, it is our recognition of the possibility of starting the hour of her destruction at a date between Oct. 1881, and Oct. 1914, that holds us back from positiveness in the matter. The most that we feel free in the Lord to say on the subject is that it is highly probable that the hour of her destruction began Oct., 1881; and with this very reasonable probability in mind, we would not be acting unwisely to look forward with some anticipation to Babylon's experiencing the beginning of the end of her overthrow by June, 1923. If this probability proves to be a fact, as it is quite likely to do, it means that antitypical John's rebuke and antitypical Elijah's letter are very near—yea, at the very doors. These considerations are so many exhortations from our Lord, who is leading us in our warfare, to renewed zeal in our public work, particularly in our special service. Brethren, let us renew our zeal and courage, and then press forward! Who is there among us that would not make for the Lord, the Truth and the brethren the best of the time yet left for this work?
(33) Over a year ago (written June, 1923) we wrote the above in P '22, 56. In it we set forth the thought of the probability of the beginning of the end of Babylon's destruction, and that probably through the symbolic earthquake, coming by June, 1923—to be more exact, by May 17, 1923. We based this probability on the likelihood of the hour of her destruction (Rev. 18: 19) being the period of 41 2/3 years lunar time from about Oct. 1881, to June, 1923—to be more exact from Sept. 25, 1881, to May 17, 1923. Knowing that prophecies usually fulfill in surprising manners, and also not being positive as to whether the date Oct., 1881—to be more exact Sunday, Sept. 25, 1881— when the distribution of the Food For Thinking Christians began at church doors (C 367, Note; compare Z '81, 293, col. 1, par. 2, Reprints) was the date with which that hour began, we cautioned the brethren
against being positive on the subject, since we ourselves saw that the thought was an inference based on what to us was not then entirely definite data. Knowing that the end of Babylon's destruction would be by the coming symbolic earthquake, we also inferred that that earthquake would probably begin before May 17, 1923. We continued to study Rev. 18: 19, remembering that prophetic dates usually fix the beginnings and not the endings of the events to which they refer, and that they sometimes give the events that are Divinely causally connected with their fulfillments as such fulfillments.
(34) But May 17, 1923, came and went, and the [great] symbolic earthquake has not yet set in. From this we see that the thought of the probability of the symbolic earthquake preceding that date was not realized. Were we, therefore, wrong in suggesting as probably true the thought that by May 17, 1923, the hour of her destruction would be fulfilled? We reply, No. Not only were we not wrong, but fulfilled events demonstrate that that thought has proven correct. For by the beginning of the circulation of Elijah's letter, May 16, 1923, the last day of the hour of her destruction, the beginning of the end of Babylon's destruction set in. This letter is certainly doing a destructive work as respects Babylon, and events will, we believe, yet prove that it is the thing that is Divinely causally connected with her destruction through the symbolic earthquake coming from non-Truth sources.
(35) Some explanations will clarify the thought that by the circulation of Elijah's letter, the beginning of the end of Babylon's destruction set in. This will become clear, if we note what started Babylon's destruction, which set in, of course, with the beginning of the hour of her destruction. That event was the distribution of Food For Thinking Christians, at church doors, which began Sept. 25, 1881. That that booklet began the destruction of Babylon, we can
see from its destructive overthrow of Babylon's errors, and from what our Pastor said of it in the Nov., 1881, Tower, as found in the Tower Reprints, 291, par. 7: "The work … was impelled by an unseen hand and at such a special time, too, that we cannot doubt that it is all of the Lord … as … one of the many instruments to be used in the overthrow of 'Babylon'." Please also see Tower Reprints, 274, pars. 16, 17, which show her destruction was due to begin about Oct. 1881. Thus we see that it was by His Priesthood that the Lord began Babylon's destruction at the outstart of the hour of her destruction. God has always honored His Priests with the privilege of beginning each feature of His plan, after that Priesthood appeared on the scene, as typed by the priests, bearing the Ark, entering Jordan and encircling Jericho in advance of the others. Therefore, when the beginning of the end of Babylon's destruction set in, it also naturally fell to the lot of that Priesthood to initiate that work. This it did by beginning the distribution of Elijah's letter at Philadelphia, May 16, 1923, the last day of "the hour of her destruction," which facts prove to be true.
(36) We desire now to set forth the main pertinent facts as a matter of record for the Church. As stated in our June, 1923 issue: In the first number of The Truth (P '18, 16, par. 1, reprinted among others in P '32, 130, ), we set forth the thought that Elijah's letter implied a future public ministry for the Church after its separation from antitypical Elisha. Later on we came to see that antitypical John's rebuke, though related to, would be somewhat different from antitypical Elijah's letter and would appear before the latter. This distinction is indicated by the contents of each as set forth in the pertinent types (2 Chro. 21: 12-15; Matt. 14: 4). In Luke 3: 19, what types antitypical John's rebuke is set forth in the language, "Herod … being reproved by him for Herodias his
brother Philip's wife," and what types the same as Elijah's letter is set forth in the language of the rest of the verse, "and for, all the [other] evils which Herod had done." As we continued to reason on this distinction, we fell into the thought that, unlike John's rebuke, Elijah's letter would probably not be a specially widespread public work; rather that it would probably appear exclusively in a regular issue of the Herald, and as such a few copies of that particular issue would be sent directly by ourself and other brethren, or indirectly by us and other brethren through some postal clerks, to certain prominent civil officials. We gave this as our understanding to not a few of the brethren, and in P '23, 60, col. 2, par. 1, stated that Elijah's letter would not apparently be widespread. This was our thought up to the day, May 1, that the May 15 Herald was taken to the printer, when the thought first struck our mind as a question: "Should Elijah's letter also be printed as a Volunteer Herald?" May 3, we definitely concluded for some of the reasons given in our June, 1923 issue that it was the Lord's will that this letter be published as a Volunteer Herald. Intermittently, i.e., from May 5 to May 7, we revised this letter for use as a Volunteer Herald. On May 7 we took this revised letter to the printer and ordered 200,000 copies of it printed.
(37) May 3, for the first time the thought struck our mind as a question: "May not Elijah's letter be related to Babylon's destruction?" Without our mind coming to any certain decision on the question, we, May 8, first began to wonder whether Elijah's letter might not be the act Divinely causally connected with the symbolic earthquake. Within two days we concluded that it would probably be so related to the symbolic earthquake; and with this thought in mind, we decided that we would recommend to the Philadelphia Church to begin the work of distributing this letter after 6 P.M., Standard Time, May 15, which was by
God's time, May 16, and which we had just definitely learned was the last day of the hour of Babylon's destruction. The work of distributing this letter was accordingly started on that date, so far as we ourself were concerned with the thought that it might in some way be connected with the beginning of the end of Babylon's destruction and also with the symbolic earthquake; but if so connected, just how it was thus related to these two events we did not see at that time. It was not until just one week later, May 23, that we came to see it as so related in the sense that it started the end of her destruction and will yet prove to be Divinely causally related to the symbolic earthquake. We now recognize that it was the Lord working on our mind, May 1-10, to influence us to take the successive steps necessary to have Elijah's letter printed as volunteer literature in time to begin its distribution exactly at the close of the hour of Babylon's destruction, in order to enable the Priesthood to begin the end of that destruction on the Divinely designated date. Enemies of ours, of course, will say that we have prearranged the whole matter in order to force the fulfillment of our understanding of a prophecy. But the Lord who has been working out the Parousia and Epiphany events on exact dates, knows that the facts of the case are as given above; and they seem to be of His ordering.
(38) Our experience with the subject of the hour of her destruction is a splendid illustration of the Scripture, "The path of the just is as a shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day." About 2 1/2 years ago [Dec., 1920], a question was asked on Rev. 18: 19, based on the presumption that it had long since been fulfilled. This question providentially started our mind to think on that passage and its related thoughts in verses 10 and 17. By March, 1922, we had a general, but not thoroughly clear understanding of the subject, with a misunderstanding
on the means especially to be used for what we later learned should be considered the beginning of the end of her destruction in that hour, which thoughts we set forth in P '22, 56. Further thought on the passage enabled us to see certain details more clearly, which we set forth in P '23, 59. Yet the subject was not entirely clear before our mind. It gradually cleared up before us from May 3 to May 23, from which we conclude that we do not now have sure data on the time when the symbolic earthquake will begin. And now we take pleasure in setting forth before the dear brethren what is clear to us, to enlighten their minds, to strengthen their faith, hope and love.
(39) Closely related to the thought given above, on Babylon's one hour of judgment, wasting and destruction, is the line of thought given in Rev. 17. We desire, therefore, by a study of Rev. 17 to call attention to some matters, which refer to the overthrow of the papal Antichrist and the Roman Catholic Church. It is not our design here to give a complete interpretation of Rev. 17. Rather it is our design to give some general thoughts on it to elucidate certain matters therein that have not until recently [written in April, 1929], (until about Feb. 1, 1929) become clear. In Studies, Vol. VII, 263 and 264, is a letter of Bro. Driscoll, Bro. Russell's publicity director, that gave Bro. Russell's latest thought on the probable meaning of Rev. 17: 9-11. That letter shows that he had three probable thoughts on the passage; and then it proceeds to give the one which he thought the most probable of the three, but to which, however, he would not commit himself, being uncertain whether it would be the fulfillment or not. We suggest that all read this letter. In the late Summer of 1916, Bro. Russell stated in the Bethel dining room that he did not think it the due time for him to write his promised exposition on Revelation, because, if it were, he would understand everything
in it, whereas he did not yet understand four things in it: (1) its key; (2) the meaning of the number 666 [he thus indicated that he had given up the Adventist thought, once favored by him, that it stood for the sum of the Latin numerals in the title, Vicarius Filii Dei (Vicar of the Son of God), engraved on the pope's crown]; (3) the 1600 furlongs; and (4) Rev. 17: 9-11. He further said that until these matters would become clear to him, he knew that it was not God's will for him to write his long-promised exposition of that Book.
(40) Since his death all four of these matters have become clear to the author. He has in a tentative and general way been holding to the interpretation that Bro. Russell gave Bro. Driscoll, as outlined in the above- mentioned letter; but has kept silent on the matter, in imitation of our Pastor's example, not to teach it until its fulfillment, because until that time it could not be proven to be true, and might, as he suggested, be merely a speculation. But the events that have been connected with the pope's recently regaining temporal power give, we believe, the missing links in the fulfillment of Rev. 17: 9- 11; and therefore we feel safe in announcing that our Pastor's general forecast has been proven true by the fulfilled events—another proof that God favored him with special enlightenment, e.g., among other ways, on future things. He verily was that Servant, despite all denials coming from Great Company and Second Death sifters, whose denials really prove it.
(41) Much of this chapter, in general outline, has been made clear to us in Studies, Vols. II, III and IV, and in our Pastor's Tower articles. But many of its details were not by him made clear, and that because not yet due. We will find a summary of most of such thoughts of his in the Comments. But some of these things have been made more or less obscure to not a few of the Lord's dear people by erroneous
interpretations set forth in the Society's, P.B.I.'s and Olsonism's books on Revelation. One of these darkenings is as to what is represented by the angel (v. 1) whose explanation forms the contents of Rev. 17. Our Pastor properly explained the seven angels with the seven bowls (mistranslated vials) as representing the Lord's people in the Harvest time, while, e.g., Vol. VII explains this particular angel to mean itself, i.e., Vol. VII (in its Revelation part). Like our Pastor, who gave us privately his thought, we understand the seven vials to represent the seven volumes. It was not in his day yet seen that bowls, as distinct from chargers, cups and spoons, represent refutational teachings, while chargers represent correctional teachings, cups, doctrinal teachings, and spoons, ethical teachings-—instructions in righteousness (Is. 52: 11; 2 Tim. 3: 15-17). This became clear in 1923, as set forth in a special article thereon. Please see P '23, 133-138. Accordingly, we understand the angels' bearing and pouring out the seven bowls (Rev. 15: 16) to represent the Lord's people in their capacities of giving out, explaining, discussing, elaborating, etc., the refutative teachings of the seven volumes. Not only is the angel of Rev. 17 not Vol. VII, but he is not even the Lord's people in their capacity of giving out, explaining, discussing and elaborating the refutative teachings of Vol. VII. Rather, he is the Lord's people in their capacity of giving out, explaining, discussing and elaborating the refutative teachings of Vol. III, as this chapter, we believe, will show conclusively.
(42) Our definition implies that the pouring out is not limited exclusively to the refutative contents of the volumes. It also includes, as we understand it, whatever is germane to the subject matter there treated. For example, neither Vol. III nor any other volume explains how long the hour will last during which the eighth king and the ten horns will exercise authority together. But further on in this chapter, in
our explanation of matters germane to Vol. III, we will, as one of the Lord's people pouring out that vial, give that duration; and others of the Lord's people will thereafter join us in continuing to pour out that part of the refutative teachings of, or germane to Vol. III. It—the duration of the hour—is to be announced as a forecast, according to the statement of the angel, and it is precisely for this reason and the reasons given in vs. 13-17 that we are now publishing this article; otherwise we would leave the subject matter of this article over until after the symbolic earthquake, when we, D.v., will write our promised exposition of Revelation. Not only in a general way does Vol. III, pages 19-226, cover the main features of Rev. 12, 13 and 17, but specifically on page 131 do we find a diagram that gives us a partial key to the seven-headed and ten-horned beast of Rev. 17 and a fairly full key to the seven-headed and ten- horned beasts of Rev. 12 and 13. Please see the diagram.
(43) The foregoing remark leads to another consideration that must be kept in mind to enable us to see daylight on the subject of Daniel's ten- (eleven, counting the little—papal—horn) horned beast and the three seven- headed and ten-horned beasts of Rev. 12, 13 and 17. While in general they represent Rome, they represent it from four not just identical standpoints. The ten horns of Daniel's beast are not the same ten horns as those of the three Revelation beasts. Again, the seven heads of the beast of Rev. 12 and 13 are not just the same as the seven heads of the beast of Rev. 17, though much alike. Our Pastor's diagram (Vol. 111, 131) shows that he there counts Rome as a republic as the first head, and this is correct for the beasts of Rev. 12 and 13, but is not correct for the beast of Rev. 17. Why, one may ask, should we differentiate between the ten (eleven) horns of Daniel's beast and the ten horns of the three Revelation beasts? We answer that the ten horns of the Revelation