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A Voice of Warning

By Apostle Parley P. Pratt

Chapter One—On Prophecy Already Fulfilled

Apostle Parley P. Pratt
Apostle Parley P. Pratt
Apostle Parley P. Pratt
Apostle Parley P. Pratt

"We have therefore a more sure knowledge of the word of prophecy, to which word of prophecy ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light which shineth in a dark place, until the day-dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scriptures is given of any private will of man. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." (2 Peter 1:19-21) 1

In order to prove anything from scripture it is necessary to lay down some certain rule of interpretation, without which the mind is in uncertainty and doubt, ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. The neglect of such a rule has thrown mankind into confusion and uncertainty in all their biblical researches. Indeed, while mankind are left at liberty to transform, spiritualize, or give any uncertain or private interpretation to the word of God, all is uncertainty.

"For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope." (Romans 15:4)

Now suppose a friend from a distance should write us a letter, making certain promises to us on certain conditions, which if we obtained, would be greatly to our profit and advantage. Of course it might be said the letter was written for our profit and learning, that through patience and comfort of the letter we might have hope to obtain the things promised. If we clearly understood the letter and knew what to expect, it would afford us comfort and hope; whereas, if there was any doubt or uncertainty on our minds in the understanding of the same, we could derive no comfort or hope from the things written, not knowing what to hope for. Consequently, the letter would not profit us. And so it is with the Scriptures. No prophecy or promise will profit the reader or produce patience, comfort, or hope in his mind until clearly understood, that he may know precisely what to hope for. Now many of the predictions of the prophets can be as clearly understood as the almanac when it foretells an eclipse; or else the Bible of all books is of most doubtful usefulness. Far better would it have been for mankind if the great Author of our existence had revealed nothing to His fallen creatures, than to have revealed a book which would leave them in doubt and uncertainty, to contend with one another from age to age respecting the meaning of its contents. That such uncertainty and contention have existed for ages, none will deny. The wise and learned have differed, and do still widely differ from each other, in the understanding of prophecy. Whence then this difference? Either revelation itself is deficient, or else the fault is in mankind. To say that revelation is deficient, would be to charge God foolishly. God forbid—the fault must be in man. There are two great causes for this blindness.

The Penalty of Lost Inspiration

Firstly, mankind have supposed that direct inspiration by the Holy Ghost was not intended for all ages of the Church, but that it was confined to primitive times; that "the canon of Scripture is full"; that all necessary things have been revealed and that the Spirit which guides into all truth is no longer needed. Therefore they sought to understand by their own wisdom and by their own learning what could never be clearly understood, except by the Spirit of truth—for the things of God knoweth no man, except by the Spirit of God.

Secondly, having lost the Spirit of inspiration, they began to institute their own opinions, traditions, and commandments; giving constructions and private interpretations to the written word instead of believing the things written. And the moment they departed from its literal meaning, one man's opinion or interpretation was just as good as another's. All were clothed with equal authority, and from thence arose all the darkness and misunderstanding on these points which have agitated the world for the last seventeen hundred years.

Among the variety of objects which attract the attention of mankind, there is one thing of more value than all others; a principle which if once possessed, greatly assists in obtaining all other things worth possessing, whether it be power, wealth, riches, honor, thrones, or dominions. Comparatively few have possessed it, although within the reach of many others; but they were either not aware of it or did not know its value. It has worked wonders for those who have possessed it. It enabled some to escape from drowning, while every soul who did not possess it was lost in the mighty deep. It saved others from famine, while thousands perished all around them. By it men have often been raised to dignity in the State; yea, more—some have been raised to the thrones of empires. The possession of it has sometimes raised men from dungeons to palaces; and there are instances in which those that possessed it were delivered from the flames, while cities were consumed and every soul, themselves excepted, perished. Frequently, when a famine or the sword has destroyed a city or nation, they alone who possessed it escaped unhurt. By this time the reader inquires, "What can this thing be? Inform me and I will purchase it, even at the sacrifice of all I possess on earth."

Foreknowledge

Well kind reader, this treasure is foreknowledge—a knowledge of things future. Let a book be published entitled Knowledge of the Future, and let mankind be really convinced that it did give a definite knowledge of future events, so that its pages unfolded the future history of the nations and of many great events, as the history of Greece or Rome unfolds the past—a large edition would immediately sell at a great sum per copy; indeed it would be above all price. Now kind reader, the books of the prophets and the Spirit of prophecy were intended for this very purpose. Well did the apostle say, "Desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy" (1 Corinthians 14:1).

Let us enter into the expanded field which lies before us, and search for the treasures of wisdom and knowledge which have been shining for ages like a light in a dark place. We will explore regions unknown to many. We will gaze upon the opening glories which present themselves on every side; and feast our souls with knowledge which is calculated in its nature to enlarge the heart, to exalt the mind, and to raise the affections above the little, mean, groveling things of the world and make one wise unto salvation.

A Rule for Prophetic Interpretation

First, let us understand the rule of interpretation. For this we will not depend on any man or commentary, for the Holy Ghost has given it by the mouth of Peter, who said,

We have therefore a more sure knowledge of the word of prophecy, to which word of prophecy ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light which shineth in a dark place, until the day-dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scriptures is given of any private will of man. (2 Peter 1:19–20)

There is one grand division to be kept in view in the study of prophecy; namely, the distinction between the past and the future. The reader should be careful to ascertain what portion has been fulfilled and what remains to be fulfilled; always remembering that Peter's rule of interpretation will apply to both. If we should find in our researches that every prophecy which has been fulfilled to this present year has been literally fulfilled, it follows, of necessity, that every prophecy which is yet future will not fail of a literal fulfillment.

The Flood Predicted

Let us commence with the days of Noah:

And behold, I, even I will bring in a flood of water upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that liveth on the earth shall die. (Genesis 8:22; Genesis 6:17 KJV)

In the verses which follow the above, the Lord commands Noah to enter the Ark and take with him animals of every kind, etc. In the twenty-eighth verse it is written, "Thus did Noah, according to all that God commanded him" (Genesis 8:28; Genesis 6:22 KJV).

It was well for Noah that he was not well-versed in the spiritualizing systems of modern divinity; for under their benighted influence he would never have believed that so mar-velous a prophecy would have had a literal meaning and fulfillment. No, he would have been told that the Flood meant a spiritual flood, and the Ark a spiritual ark, and the moment he thought otherwise he would have been set down as a fanatic, knave, or fool. But it was so—that he believed the prophecy literally. Here then is a fair sample of foreknowledge, for all the world who did not possess it perished by the Flood.

The Promise to Abraham

The next prediction that we notice is:

And the Lord [God] spake, and he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land which shall not be theirs, and shall serve strangers; and they shall be afflicted, and serve them four hundred years; and also that nation whom they shall serve will I judge; and afterwards shall they come out with great substance. And thou shalt die, and go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again; for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. (Genesis 15:17–19; Genesis 15:13–16 KJV)

The evil entreating of the children of Israel four hundred years, together with their coming out with great substance and the judgments of God upon Egypt, as well as the death of Abraham in a good old age, are all facts too well-known to need comment here. Suffice it to say that it is a striking example of the exact fulfillment of prophecy, uttered more than four hundred years before it had its accomplishment. From this we gather that none of those ancient men knew anything of the modern system of spiritualizing. We quote as follows:

And these holy men said unto Lot, Hast thou any here besides thy sons-in-law, and thy son's sons and thy daughters? And they commanded Lot, saying, Whatsoever thou hast in the city, thou shalt bring out of this place, for we will destroy this place; because the cry of them is waxen great, and their abominations have come up before the face of the Lord; and the Lord hath sent us to destroy it. (Genesis 19:18–20; Genesis 19:12–13 KJV)

Now Lot believed the thing in its literal sense, and took as many of his family as would go with him and escaped for his life, to the great amusement no doubt of the Sodomites, who probably stood gazing after him crying, "Delusion! Delusion!"—they thinking all the while that the prophecy was only a figure. Here is an example of a man escaping from the flames by foreknowledge imparted to him, while the whole city perished. Oh, what a blessing that Lot had no knowledge of the modern manner of interpreting prophecy! If it had once entered his heart that he must come out of Sodom spiritually instead of literally, it would have cost him his life.

The Famine in Egypt Predicted

Let us examine the prophecy of Joseph in the land of Egypt:

Behold, there come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt; and there shall arise after them seven years of famine; and all the plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine shall consume the land; and the plenty shall not be known in the land by reason of that famine following; for it shall be very grievous. (Genesis 41:29–31)

Joseph then gave directions for corn to be laid up in great abundance during the seven plenteous years, in order to provide against famine. And Pharaoh, being no better versed in the school of modern divinity than his predecessors, never once thought of any other interpretation than the most literal. And thus he was the means, together with Joseph, in the hand of God in saving, not only their nation, but the house of Israel from famine. This is another striking example of the power of foreknowledge. It not only saved from famine, but it exalted Joseph from a dungeon to a palace—from the lowest degradation to the highest honor—so that they cried before him, "Bow the knee." But oh, what mourning and death would have followed had they dreamed only of spiritual famine and spiritual corn!

Having given a few examples of early ages, we will present some of the most remarkable instances of prophecy and its fulfillment, until we come down to the Jewish prophets, where the field opens wide in reference to the most remarkable events of various ages, and terminating in a full development of the opening glories of the last days.

God Does Not Forget

In Joshua there is a wonderful prediction concerning Jericho:

Cursed be the man before the Lord, that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho; he shall lay the foundation thereof in his first-born, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it. (Joshua 6:26)

After this curse, the city of Jericho lay waste for ages; none caring to rebuild it at the expense of their firstborn and of their youngest son, until after a long succession of judges and kings. When hundreds of years had passed, Hiel, the Bethelite who lived in the days of Ahab, probably supposed that the Lord had forgotten the curse pronounced upon it by Joshua, ventured to rebuild the city. But as soon as he had laid the foundation thereof, Abiram, his firstborn, died. But still persevering in the hardness of his heart, he set up the gates thereof with the loss of his youngest son, Segub, according to the word of the Lord by Joshua (see 1 Kings 16:34).

Elijah the prophet prophesied to Ahab that it should not rain for three years and upwards, which came to pass according to his word.

It is related of Hazael the Syrian, who came to Elisha to inquire of the Lord concerning the king of Syria, his master who was sick, that the prophet earnestly beholding him, burst into tears; and Hazael asked him saying, "Why weepest thou?" He then proceeded to unfold unto him the cruelties he would exercise toward Israel, which are too horrible to mention here, lest in so doing I might offend the delicate ear. Hazael, astonished to hear these things predicted concerning himself, which at that time filled him with horror, exclaimed with surprise, "But what! is thy servant a dog, that he should do this thing?" And he said, "The Lord hath shewed me that thou shalt be king over Syria." It was all afterwards minutely fulfilled.

In the Second Chronicles, twenty-first chapter, it is written that there came a writing to Jehoram from Elijah, which after stating the great wickedness of which he had been guilty in turning to idolatry and also murdering his brethren of his father's house, who were better than himself, proceeds thus:

Behold, with a great plague will the Lord smite thy people, and thy children, and thy wives, and all thy goods; and thou shalt have great sickness by disease of thy bowels, until thy bowels fall out by reason of the sickness day by day. (2 Chronicles 21:14–15)

In the same chapter it is written that the Philistines and Arabians came against him, and took his wives and children and goods captive. And after all this, the Lord smote him in his bowels with an incurable disease, and his bowels fell out by reason of his sickness—so he died of sore disease.

We might fill a volume with instances of a similar kind, dispersed through the historical part of the Scriptures; but we forbear in order to hasten to a fuller examination of the books of the Jewish prophets. We shall trace them in their fulfillment upon Jerusalem, Babylon, Tyre, Egypt, and numerous other nations.

The Glory of Babylon

Babylon, the most ancient and renowned city of the world, was pleasantly situated on the banks of a majestic river that flowed through the plains of Shinar, near where the Tower of Babel once stood. It was laid out foursquare and surrounded with a wall upwards of three hundred feet high and sixty miles in circumference; having an hundred gates of brass with bars of iron, twenty-five gates on each side which opened to streets running through the city, a distance of fifteen miles—thus forming the whole city into exact squares of equal size. In the midst of this city sat Nebuchadnezzar, enthroned in royal splendor and magnificence and swaying his scepter over all the kingdoms of the world; when it pleased God in a vision of the night to raise the dark curtain of the future and to present before him at one view the history of the world, even down to the consummation of all things. Behold, a great image stood before him whose head was of fine gold, his breast and arms of silver, his belly and thighs of brass, his legs of iron, his feet and toes part of iron and part of clay. He beheld till a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon the feet which were part of iron and part of clay, and brake them in pieces. Then was the iron, the brass, the silver, and the gold broken in pieces together and became as the chaff of the summer threshing floor. And the wind carried them away, and there was no place found for them. But the stone which smote the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth (see Daniel 2:31–35). When Daniel was brought before the king, to tell the dream and the interpretation, he exclaimed,

there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. (Daniel 2:28)

After telling the dream, Daniel said,

Thou, O king, art a king of kings; for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold. And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth. And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron; forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things; and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise. And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters' clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men; but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay. And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter; and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure. (Daniel 2:37–45)

The Prophecy Fulfilled

In this great view of the subject, we have presented before us in succession, first, the kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar; second, the Medes and Persians who took Babylon from Belshazzar and reigned over the earth; third, the Greeks under Alexander who conquered the world and reigned in the midst of Babylon; fourth, the Roman Empire which subdued all things; fifth, its division into eastern and western empires and its final breaking or subdivision into the various kingdoms of modern Europe, represented by the feet and toes—part of iron and part of clay. And lastly, we have presented before us an entire new kingdom, organized by the God of Heaven in the last days, or during the reign of these kings represented by the feet and toes. The last kingdom is never to change masters, like all the kingdoms which have gone before it. It is never to be left to other people. It is to break in pieces all these kingdoms and stand forever. Many supposed that this last kingdom alluded to was the Kingdom of God which was organized in the days of Christ or His apostles, but it is a very erroneous idea, for the Kingdom of God set up in the days of Christ or His apostles did not break in pieces any of the kingdoms of the world. It was itself warred against and overcome, in fulfillment of these words of Daniel:

I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.... And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him. (Daniel 7:21–22,27)

John said,

And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them; and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. (Revelation 13:7)

In fulfillment of these sayings, power has been given to the authorities of the earth to kill the apostles and inspired men; until if any remained they were banished from among men or forced to retire to the desolate islands, or the dens and caves and mountains of the earth—being men of whom the world was not worthy. While at the same time, many false prophets and teachers were introduced in their place, whom men heaped to themselves because they would not endure sound doctrine. In this way, the Kingdom of God became disorganized and lost from among men, and the doctrines and churches of men instituted in its place. But we design to write more fully on the subject of the Kingdom of God. Suffice it to say that the kingdom spoken of by Daniel is something to be organized in the last days by the God of Heaven Himself, without the aid of human institutions or the precepts of men; and when organized it will never cease to roll. All the powers of earth and Hell will not impede its progress, until at length the Ancient of Days shall sit, and the Lord Jesus will come in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and destroy all these kingdoms and give the Kingdom and the greatness of the Kingdom under the whole heaven to the Saints. Then there will be but one Lord and His name one, and He shall be King over all the earth.

The Story of Nebuchadnezzar

We will now return to Nebuchadnezzar, whom the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah calls "his servant, to execute his judgments upon the nations." It seems that the Lord exalted this great man and made him a king of kings and lord of lords, arming him with His own sword and clothing him with power and authority, for the express purpose of executing His judgments and scourging and humbling all the nations of the earth. Jeremiah, in his twenty-fifth chapter, says that the Lord proposed to bring Nebuchadnezzar and his army against Jerusalem and against all the nations round about, that He might bring them to desolation and captivity for seventy years. And after seventy years He would turn and punish the king of Babylon and that nation for their iniquity. Now who can trace the history of the fulfillment of these great events, so exactly pointed out by Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, and not be struck with astonishment and wonder at the marvelous gift of prophecy enabling men in those days to read the history of the future as they read the history of the past? Indeed, the reader of history in the nineteenth century, holding in his hand the history of the Babylonians, Medes and Persians, Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians, together with that of the Jews, will hardly render himself more familiar with the events which transpired among those nations than the prophets were many years previous to their accomplishment.

The Jews were reduced to subjection by Nebuchadnezzar. Jerusalem was burned, together with their Temple. Their princes, nobles, and people were carried to Babylon, together with all their holy things. All the particulars of this destruction and captivity were distinctly foretold by Jeremiah, and the time of its continuance—seventy years. After subduing the Jews, the king of Babylon marched his army against Tyre, the city of merchants situated at the haven of the sea, surrounded not only by the sea, but with a strong wall. So strong a hold required the utmost skill and perseverance of Nebuchadnezzar and his whole army, who labored incessantly for a long time. And at last they succeeded in taking Tyre and bringing it into captivity seventy years—after which they returned and established their city, for Jeremiah had previously foretold the reduction of Tyre, its captivity of seventy years, and its restoration at the expiration of that time. After the restoration of Tyre, the city flourished for a time but was afterwards reduced to an entire desolation. Its ruined fragments are seen to this day in the bottom of the sea. Its site has become a barren rock, only occupied by poor fishermen. All this desolation, and even its present appearance and desolate and perpetual waste, were clearly pointed out by the prophets.

But when the king of Babylon had succeeded in taking Tyre, after many a bald head and peeled shoulder caused by the hard service of his army in the siege, the Lord, by the mouth of Ezekiel, promised to give the spoils of Egypt unto him for wages for his army, in order to pay him for the great service wherewith he had served God against Tyre. Next witness his war in the conquest of Egypt and bringing it into captivity.

And finally, trace him executing the Lord's vengeance and anger against Uz, upon the kings of the Philistines, and Askelon, Azaiah and Ekron, Edom, Moab, Ammon and Dedan, Terns and Buz, and the kings of Arabia, and of Zimri, and of Elam, and of all the kings of the Medes, and all the kings of the north far and near; and finally upon all the kingdoms of the world who were to be drunken, and spew, and fall to rise no more because of the sword which He would send among them. But when the Lord had accomplished all His mind on these nations, He purposed in turn to punish this great monarch and those who succeeded him, and the city and nation over which he reigned; and finally to make it perpetual desolations—and all this in consequence of their pride and haughtiness.

In order to trace the events of the deliverance of the Jews from their seventy years'captivity and bondage and the punishment of Babylon, another and very different character from that of Nebuchadnezzar is introduced by the prophets—one who is in scripture termed the Lord's anointed. He may be considered one of the most extraordinary characters that the heathen world ever produced. His mildness, his courage, his perseverance, his wonderful and speedy success, and above all, his strict obedience to the commands of that God which neither he nor his fathers had known, all go to prove that Isaiah was not mistaken when he called him by name as the Lord's anointed—to deliver the nations from bondage, to scourge and subdue the greatest city and monarchy that has at any time existed on the earth, and to restore the Jews and rebuild their city and Temple. Indeed, he was one of those few which the world never produces except for extraordinary purposes. But let us hear the prophet's own description of him:

Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two-leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight; I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron; and I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the Lord, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel. For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name; I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me. I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God besides me; I girded thee, though thou hast not known me; that they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none besides me. I am the Lord, and there is none else. (Isaiah 45:1–6)

In the thirteenth verse, the Lord says concerning Cyrus,

I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways; he shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives, not for price nor reward, saith the Lord of hosts.

Named One Hundred Years before Born

The reader will bear in mind that Isaiah lived one hundred years before the Jewish captivity and one hundred and seventy years before Cyrus caused their return.

What power but the power of God would enable one man to call another by name a century before his birth, and also to foretell so minutely the great and peculiar events of his life? What must have been his wonder and astonishment, when after many years of wars and commotions, during which he marched forth conquering and to conquer, gathering as a nest the riches of the nations and encamping near the walls of the strongest hold in all the earth, he gazed upon its walls of upwards of three hundred feet in height, with its gates of brass and bars of iron; the people within feeling perfectly safe, with provisions enough to last the inhabitants of the city for several years! But turning the river Euphrates from its course and marching under the walls of the city in the dry bed of the river, he found himself in possession of the city without any difficulty, for Belshazzar the king was drinking himself drunk with his nobles and concubines, and that too from the vessels of the house of the Lord which his father had taken from Jerusalem. And his knees had already smitten together with horror from the handwriting on the wall which Daniel had just been called in to interpret, giving his kingdom to the Medes and Persians.

Having subdued this great monarchy, he seated himself upon the throne of the kingdoms. And becoming familiar with Daniel, he was probably introduced to an acquaintance with the Jewish records, whereby the mystery would be unfolded. He could then see that God had called him by name, that the Almighty hand had directed all his work. He could then understand why the treasures of the earth poured themselves into his bosom and why the loins of the kings had been unloosed before him, and why the gates of brass had been opened and the bars of iron burst asunder. It was that he might know that there was a God in Israel—and none else—and that all idols were as nothing; that he might also restore the Jews and rebuild their city and Temple and fulfill God's purposes upon Babylon. He accordingly issued his proclamation to the Jews to return and for the nations to assist them in rebuilding; for, said he, "God hath commanded me to build him a house at Jerusalem." Ezra said,

Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem. (Ezra 1:2–3)

What a Wondrous Power Moved Cyrus!

What powerful argument, what mighty influence was it which caused Cyrus to be convinced that it was the God of Heaven (who dwelt in Jerusalem—who alone was God) who had done all these things? He had not been traditioned in the belief of the true God, nor of the Holy Scriptures. Nay, he had ever been zealous in the worship of idols. It was to idols he looked for assistance in the former part of his life. I reply, it was the power of God made manifest by prophecy and its fulfillment; not in a spiritualized sense, not in some obscure, uncertain, or dark, mysterious way which was difficult to be understood, but in positive, literal, plain demonstrations which none could gainsay or resist. Isaiah said that this was the object the Lord had in view when He revealed such plainness. And Cyrus manifested that it had the desired effect. When we come to treat of that part of prophecy which yet remains to be fulfilled, we shall bring positive proof that the heathen nations of the latter days are to be convinced in the same way that Cyrus was; that is, there are certain events plainly predicted in unfulfilled prophecies which, when fulfilled, will convince all the heathen nations of the true God, and they shall know that He hath spoken and performed it. And all the great and learned men of Christendom and all societies who have put any other than a literal construction upon the word of prophecy, shall stand confounded and be constrained to acknowledge that all has come to pass, even as it is written.

The Fate of Babylon

But to return to our research of prophecy and its fulfillment. The prophets had not only predicted the reduction of Babylon by Cyrus, but they had foretold its fate through all ages, until reduced to entire desolation never to be inhabited, not even as a temporary residence for the wandering Arab: "...neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there" (see Isaiah 13:20–22).

Mr. Joseph Wolfe the celebrated Jewish missionary, while traveling in Chaldea, inquired of the Arabs whether they pitched their tents among the ruins of Babylon, to which they replied in the negative, declaring their fears that should they do so Nimrod's ghost would haunt them. Thus all the predictions of the prophets concerning that mighty city have been fulfilled. Edom also presents a striking fulfillment of plain and pointed predictions of the prophets. These predictions were pronounced upon Edom at a time when its soil was very productive and well-cultivated, and everywhere abounding in flourishing towns and cities. But now its cities have become heaps of desolate ruins, only inhabited by the cormorant, bittern, and by wild beasts, serpents, etc., and its soil has become barren. The Lord has cast upon it the line of confusion and the stones of emptiness and it has been waste from generation to generation, in express fulfillment of the word of prophecy.

The Medes and Persians

We now notice the vision of Daniel concerning the ram and the goat, in the eighth chapter of Daniel. The reader will do well to read the whole chapter, but we more particularly notice the interpretation as it was given by Gabriel, as recorded from the nineteenth to the twenty-fifth verses:

And he said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation; for at the time appointed the end shall be. The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia. And the rough goat is the king of Grecia; and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king. Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power. And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power; and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practice, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many; he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand. (Daniel 8:19–25)

In this vision we have first presented the Medes and Persians as they were to exist until they were conquered by Alexander the Great. Now it is known that this empire waxed exceedingly great for some time after the death of Daniel, pushing its conquests westward, northward, and southward so that none could stand before it; until Alexander, the king of Grecia, came from the west with a small army of chosen men and attacked the Persians upon the bank of the river. Plunging his horse in and his army following, they crossed and attacked the Persians who stood to oppose them on the bank, with many times their number. But notwithstanding their number and their advantage of the ground, they were totally routed and the Grecians proceeded to overrun and subdue the country, beating the Persians in a number of pitched battles until they were entirely subdued. It is also known that Alexander, king of Greece, went forth from nation to nation subduing the world before him, until having conquered the world, he died at Babylon at the age of thirty-two years. And thus when he had waxed strong the great horn was broken, and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven. His kingdom was divided among four of his generals, who never attained unto his power. In the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgression of the Jewish nation was come to the full, the Roman power destroyed the Jewish nation, took Jerusalem, caused the daily sacrifice to cease, and afterwards destroyed the mighty and holy people; that is, the apostles and primitive Christians who were slain by the authorities of Rome.

God Alone Knows the Future

Now let me inquire, "Does the history of these United States give a plainer account of past events than Daniel did of events that were then future; some of them reaching down the stream of time for several hundred years, unfolding events which no human sagacity could possibly have foreseen?"

Man, by his own sagacity, may accomplish many things. He may plow the trackless ocean without wind or tide in his favor; he may soar aloft amid the clouds without the aid of wings; he may traverse the land with astonishing velocity without the aid of beasts; or he may convey his thoughts to his fellows by the aid of letters or by the help of science, to the ends of the earth in a second of time. But there is a principle he can never attain. No, not even by the wisdom of ages combined. Money will not purchase it—it comes from God only and is bestowed upon man as a free gift. The prophet said to the idols, "Show the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods" (Isaiah 41:23; italics added).

Predictions Concerning Christ

These prophecies were literally fulfilled in relation to Jesus Christ. "Behold," said the prophet, "a virgin shall conceive, and shall bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14). Bethlehem was to be the place of his birth; and Egypt, where he sojourned with his parents, the place out of which he was called (Micah 5:2-3). He turned aside to Nazareth, for it was written, "He shall be called a Nazarene" (Matthew 3:23). He rode into Jerusalem upon a colt, the foal of an ass, for the prophet had said,

behold, thy King cometh unto thee; he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. (Zechariah 9:9)

Precisely as the prophets foretold, He was afflicted and despised; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; led as a lamb to the slaughter and like a sheep dumb before his shearers, so He opened not His mouth. In His humiliation His judgment was taken away; and who shall declare His generation, for His life was taken from the earth. He was wounded for our transgressions and by His stripes we are healed; He was numbered with transgressors; He made His grave with the rich; not a bone of Him was broken. They divided His raiment; cast lots for His vesture; gave Him gall and vinegar to drink; betrayed Him for thirty pieces of silver; and finally, when it was finished, He rested in the tomb until the third day—and then rose triumphant without seeing corruption (see Isaiah 53).

Now kind reader, if you had walked up and down with our dear Redeemer during His whole sojourn in the flesh, and taken pains to record the particular circumstances of His life and death as they occurred from time to time, your history would not be a plainer one than the prophets gave of Him hundreds of years before He was born. There is one thing we do well to notice concerning the manner in which the apostles interpreted prophecy, and that is this: They quoted it and recorded its literal fulfillment. By pursuing this course, they were enabled to bring it home to the hearts of the people in the Jewish synagogues with such convincing proof that they were constrained to believe the supposed impostor whom they had crucified was the Messiah. If they had rendered a spiritualizing or uncertain application, like the teachers of the present day, all would have been uncertainty and doubt, and demonstration would have vanished from the earth.

New Testament Prophecies

Having taken a view of the Old Testament prophets concerning prophecy and its fulfillment, and having shown clearly that nothing but a literal fulfillment was intended, the objector may inquire whether the same mode will apply to the predictions contained in the New Testament. We therefore present a few important instances of prophecy and its fulfillment from the New Testament, after which we shall be prepared to examine the numerous prophecies which are still unfulfilled.

The Fall of Jerusalem Foretold

One of the most remarkable prophecies of the Savior is recorded as follows:

And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them who are in Judea flee to the mountains; and let them who are in the midst of it, depart out; and let not them who are in the countries, return to enter into the city. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them who are with child, and to them who give suck, in those days! For there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations; and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. (Luke 21:19–23; Luke21:20–24 KJV)

This prophecy involves the fate of Jerusalem and the Temple, and the whole Jewish nation, for at least eighteen hundred years. About the year seventy, the Roman army compassed Jerusalem. The disciples remembered the warning which had been given them by their Lord and Master forty years before, and fled to the mountains. The city of Jerusalem was taken after a long and tedious siege, in which the Jews suffered the extreme of famine, pestilence, and the sword; filling houses with the dead for the want of a place to bury them—while women ate their own children for the want of all things. In this struggle there perished in Jerusalem near one million and a half of Jews, besides those taken captive; their city laid waste, their Temple destroyed, and the miserable remnant dispersed abroad into all the nations of the earth—in which situation they have continued ever since, being driven from one nation to another, often falsely accused of the worst of crimes, for which they were banished and their goods confiscated. Indeed, they have been mostly accounted as outlaws among the various nations. The soles of their feet have found no rest and they have been a hiss and a byword, and the people have said, "These are the people of the Lord, and are gone forth out of His land."

During all this time the Gentiles have possesed the land of Canaan and trodden under foot the holy city, where their forefathers worshiped the Lord. In this long captivity the Jews have never lost sight of the promises respecting their return. Their eyes have watched and failed with longing for the day when they might possess again that blessed inheritance bequeathed to their forefathers; when they might rear again their city and Temple and reestablish their priesthood, and worship as in days of old. Indeed, they have made several attempts to return but were always frustrated in their attempts, for it was an unalterable decree that Jerusalem should be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles should be fulfilled. 2

On the subject of this long dispersion, Moses and the prophets have written very plainly; indeed, Moses even mentioned the particulars of their eating their children secretly in the siege, and in the straitness wherewith their enemies should besiege them in all their gates. Whosoever will read Deuteronomy, twenty-eighth chapter, will read the history of what has befallen the Jews, which was foretold by Moses with all the clearness that characterizes the history of past events, thousands of years before its accomplishment.

Concerning Our Day

A prophet named Agabus

took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles. (Acts 21:11)

The fulfillment of this prediction is too well-known to need any description. We therefore proceed to notice a prophecy of Paul, recorded in Second Timothy:

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2 Timothy 4:3–4)

This prophecy has been fulfilled to the very letter; for it applies to every religious teacher who has arisen from that day unto the present, except those commissioned by direct revelation inspired by the Holy Ghost. But to convince the reader of its full accomplishment, we need only point to the numberless priests of the day who preach for hire and divine for money, and who receive their authority from their fellowman. And as to fables to which they are turned, we need only to mention the spiritualizings and private interpretations which salute our ears from almost every religious press and pulpit.

There is another prophecy of Paul well worth attention, as illustrative of the times in which we live. It is as follows:

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce-breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof; from such turn away. (2 Timothy 3:1–5)

From the last verse of this quotation we learn to our astonishment that this awful wickedness applies to professors of religion ONLY; that is, this would be the character of the (so-called) Christian part of community in the last days. Do not startle, kind reader, we do not make the application without positive proof to the point. For remember, nonprofessors have no form of godliness, but those ungodly characters spoken of were to have a form of godliness, denying the power thereof.

If you doubt Paul's testimony on the subject, look around you—examine for yourselves. "By their fruits you shall know them." My heart is pained while I write. Alas, has it come to this? Has the Spirit of truth removed the veil of obscurity from the last days only to present us with a vision of a fallen people, an apostate church full of all manner of abominations and even despising those who are good, while they themselves have nothing left but the form of godliness, denying the power of God— that is, setting aside the direct inspiration and supernatural gifts of the Spirit which are always in the Church of Christ? Was it for this only that the Holy Spirit opened to the view of holy men the events of unborn time, enabling them to gaze upon the opening glories of the latter days?

O ye prophets and apostles, ye holy men of old, what have ye done if ye stop here—if your prophetic vision only extended down the stream of time to the present years? Alas! you have filled our minds with sorrow and despair. You have left the Jews wandering in sorrow and darkness, far from all their hearts hold most dear on earth—their land a desolation and their city and Temple in ruins, and they without the knowledge of the true Messiah.

The Gentiles, after partaking of the root and fatness of the tame olive tree, having fallen, after the same example of unbelief, are left without fruit—dead, plucked up by the roots with naught but a form of godliness, while the power that characterized the ancient Church has fled from among men.

The complete book may be purchased from the Restoration Bookstore or online.

1 All biblical scriptures quoted are from the Inspired Version of the Holy Scriptures. In the original A Voice of Warning, references were from the King James Version. When King James references are different numerically, they are listed with the letters KJV and are place immediately following the Inspired Version references. It should also be noted that though many of the Inspired Version and King James references are the same numerically, in many cases there are differences between the two texts.

2 The reader of today is reminded that much has happened concerning the Jews since this book was first published in 1839. Perhaps the most significant fact of all is the formation within the Palestinian region of the Republic (or nation-state) of Israel in 1948, and the subsequent return of many Jews to their homeland. Since her formation, there has been much unrest and conflict between Israel and her Arab neighbors. The words of the holy prophets have continued to be fulfilled, as time has passed between the writing of this book and the present.

 
 

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