The Bible Students Monthly Volume 9, Number 1


"And the earth shall be devoured with the fire of My jealousy. For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve Him with one consent." Zeph. 3:8, 9

The symbolic language of the Bible is in common use amongst the people. For instance, the Bible for 2,500 years has been telling about the great war in Europe, and has likened it to a consuming fire which will eventually destroy completely our present civilization; and, behold! the Editors of our great Journals are writing freely about the great conflagration now raging in Europe, and our honorable President, similarly, has declared the world is on fire and our nation will be fortunate if we do not share in the conflagration also.

The time was when our forefathers read the Bible without realizing that it contained figures of speech and symbolisms such as we use in our ordinary conversation. Hence the mistake that was so generally made of supposing the Bible to teach that our earth is to be literally consumed with literal fire. Not merely Adventists have so believed and taught, but all the creeds of all the denominations contain the same teachings that at the Second Coming of Christ the world is to be burned up. This erroneous thought has helped to blind God's people to the general teachings of the Bible that at the Second Coming of Jesus the world will enter upon the grandest epoch ever styled by St. Peter, "Times of Restitution" literally, years of Restitution Acts 3:19-21

Practically all the creeds of Christendom Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Episcopalians, all teach this doctrine, that the world is to be burned up. The Bible, all the while, has been telling us plainly "The earth abideth forever," and again, "God formed not the earth in vain; He formed it to be inhabited." (Ecc. 1:4; Isa. 45:18) Our earth has never yet been inhabited, and is not even fit for habitation, as a whole. Millions of acres are, as yet, untouched; and other millions are desert wilds. The Bible tells us that "the wilderness shall blossom as a rose," "solitary places shall be glad," and "streams shall come forth from the desert" in Messiah's Day. Isa. 35:1-10; 11:1-9; etc.


Messiah's Day is the great Sabbath Day, a thousands years long, which is to follow the Six Great Days of man's Work Week.

These six Days six thousand years ended forty-four years ago; consequently the great Seventh Day. This accounts to us for the wonderful inventions, developments and increase of knowledge, wealth and blessings of every kind which have come to the world during these forty-four years. Sewing machines, labor saving agricultural machinery, human comforts and conveniences, electric lighting, and motors, automobiles, electric railways, shortened hours of labor, with the passing of the "sweat of face" [HGL32] which was a part of the curse. And our scientific men in full accord with the Bible, though unaware of it, are telling us that we are just on the eve of the most wonderful scientific discoveries that will still further enrich and bless the world. The Bible explains that all this increase of knowledge was foreknown of the Lord and purposed; and that He is taking away the veil of ignorance and superstition which so long has hindered us.


The same Bible which foretold the present great war in Europe, and symbolically pictured it as a letting loose of the four winds of Heaven to the injury of the earth, points us to the next stage of this great trouble, symbolically styling it an earthquake, and declaring that it will be "a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake and so great." Rev. 16:18

This earthquake of revolution is what we might naturally have expected, even without the Divine Message on the subject. It is scarcely supposable, but that this terrible war, bringing only sorrow, misery, distress and death to all the parties engaged, will be a disappointment to them all. Chagrin and discontent will be general. The heaviness of the taxation to meet the interest on great debts will be burdensome. Many agree with us that the people will never submit to such taxation, that neither the interest nor the principal will be paid, and that this will bring revolution; for the wealthy people, holders of the bonds, will attempt to enforce payment. Britain, the richest of the nations, has a stream of $500,000,000 a year income from India; but this great amount will not be even one-half the interest-charge on her enormous debt of $22,000,000,000 as estimated by the lord of her Treasury. And what is true of Britain in this respect, is still more true of the other nations which have no such incomes.

But the great climax of the trouble that is before them, the Bible represents as a symbolic fire following the great symbolic earthquake of revolution. Fire in Bible language symbolically represents destruction in this case the destruction of the symbolic earth, political, financial, social and the religious heavens. This the picture which St. Peter gives us, saying, "The Day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; the earth also, and the works that are therein, shall be burned up; . . . the heavens, being on fire, shall be dissolved. . . . Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." 2 Pet. 3:10, 12, 13


The new heavens and earth represent the new order of things of Messiah's Kingdom. The new heavens will be the glorified Church, consisting of Jesus and His Bride class, which He has been selecting from the world during the past nearly nineteen centuries a Royal Priesthood. The new earth will be the new social order of things under the control and direction of the new heavens. The great King declares, "Behold, I make all things new." (Rev. 21:1-5.) There will be no patching of present institutions, but a clean sweep of them by the fire of God's anger, which will precede the establishment of the new heavens and the new earth wherein only that which is righteous, equitable, just, true, will be recognized.

Equally symbolic is the statement that then "there will be no more sea." In the symbolic language of the Bible "sea" represents the restless masses of mankind, while the "earth" represents the social order, or structure, and the "mountains" represent the kingdoms or governments. When the new order of things shall have come into power, Socialists, Anarchists and others, discontented with the present order of things symbolically represented by the sea will be no more; for the new order of things will fully and more than meet their desires and expectations. "I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come." Hag 2:7

In the symbolic language of the Bible, all the mountains will be brought low, and the valleys will be exalted. These statements do not refer to the literal earth, to the literal mountains and literal valleys any more than to the literal sea, but signify the great revolutionary processes by which the new order of things will be inaugurated. The high ones will be brought down, the humble ones will be lifted up, and general human equality will be established along the lines of righteousness, however. Some of the rich and favored of the present time may at first feel greatly discontented; but so surely as they are just men, or are amenable to the instructions along the line of justice, they will eventually come to see, appreciate and rejoice in the new Divine order of things, which will be for the blessing of all the families of the earth.


St. Paul prophetically pointed down to our day, and styled it "that evil day." He urged God's people, saying, "Take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day." (Eph. 6:13.) We are already in this evil day; and already thousands of Christians have fallen away from faith in the Lord. They did not have on the whole armor of God. They were unprepared. The day of the Lord, came upon them as a thief (1 Thess. 5:2) and as a snare. Luke 21:35

It sounds paradoxical to say that we are living in the most wonderful time in the world's history, and yet that it is the evil day that the Apostle mentions. This is so because we were in such darkness that, coming into such great light suddenly, many have lost their mental balance. Only those prepared by the armor of the Lord's Word have been enabled to stand.

Notice how fully and distinctly the Apostle has pictured our present distress. He says, pointing exactly to our time, "The fire (of that Day) shall try every man's work of what sort it is." (1 Cor. 3:13) He is not referring to the world, but to the people of God. He proceeds to explain that God's people build upon the Rock Christ Jesus, but that each should be careful to build his faith structure of the proper material the gold, silver and precious stones of the Divine promises. He tells, however, that some do build otherwise with wood, hay and stubble of human traditions and philosophies and speculations. [HGL33] The Apostle declares that the fire of this Day shall try, or test, all these faith structures; and that those built of human philosophies and the creeds of the Dark Ages will be consumed as wood, hay and stubble would go down before a fire. But those who have built their faith upon the promises of God's Word will not suffer loss in this fiery ordeal. The Apostle further intimates that those who suffer the loss by fire may, if they still abide upon the Rock Christ Jesus, themselves be saved so as by fire; for to such the fire will really prove a profitable experience in that it will sweep away the errors and leave them opportunity for building up a holy faith on the Divine promises.

The trouble with the majority is that, while trusting in Jesus, they have had a false faith, a faith built of human traditions and not of God's promises. The reason they do not know what they believe is that their faith structure has been burnt down.


The fire which is consuming this wood, hay and stubble of human philosophy and tradition has emanated from our great schools and colleges. They have been inculcating what is termed Higher Criticism as respects the Bible, and this is merely a refined modern name for infidelity. They have been teaching also Evolution, which is as far from the teaching of the Bible as day is from night.

According to Evolutionists, Nature is a great impersonal God, whose first production of life on the earth was in the form of protoplasm. After thousands of years, they say, an ambitious family of protoplasm evoluted and became tadpoles. For some thousands of years the tadpoles, reigned as an aristocracy on the earth; and then an ambitious family of tadpoles concluded to evolute and become frogs. Thousands of years later there arose an aristocracy among the frogs, which evoluted and became monkies. After other thousands of years an aristocracy among the monkies evoluted and became college professors; and that is the attainment of our day. In Answer – to our queries they boast of their ancestry and also of their posterity, telling us that, in perhaps a million years in the future they will live everlastingly in a representative sense in that their children will have evoluted to a condition of wisdom and discretion wherein they will not need to die.

Contrast this nonsense, the wisdom of this world, with the Wisdom from Above, which tells us the opposite. The Bible declares that God made man in His own image, only a little lower than the angels; that He crowned man with glory and honor, and made him the king of the earth; that Adam became through disobedience a rebel against the Divine Law and consequently came under a death sentence; that God's foreknowledge had already arranged for this catastrophe, and, in due time, provided a Redeemer who gave His life to meet the penalty first imposed on Adam and who thus redeemed Adam and all his race from the penalty which was upon them a death penalty, not an eternal torment penalty. Thus the Bible assures us that, unless Christ had died for our sins, there would have been no resurrection of the dead, and men would have been as extinct in death as a brute beast. But the Bible assures us that, "Since by man came death, by man (Jesus) came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order." 1 Cor. 15:21-23

The Bible tells us that the whole world is asleep in death during the long night of sin, darkness and superstition. The Bible tells us that as soon as the Church shall be complete and glorified with her Redeemer and Lord, the Sun of Righteousness will arise to scatter all the ignorance, superstition and sin of the world of mankind. The Bible tells us that for a thousand years Christ and His elect Church in glory will be Priests, Kings and Judges for the very purpose of uplifting Adam and his race out of their fallen, vain, sinful, weak condition back to the image and likeness of God, as at first. The Bible tells us that the earth shall be filled with the Lord's glory; and that, as His footstool He will make it glorious. Paradise lost will be Paradise restored world-wide. The Bible tells us that those who will either refuse or neglect the opportunities of Messiah's Kingdom will be destroyed in the Second Death absolutely, "as natural brute beasts." 2 Pet. 2:12


When we see the glorious blessings that are just at hand, the fact that they shall be entered upon through the doorway of trouble, seems the less important. Our Socialist friends urge us to join with them, saying, "We are tired of preaching about what God will do by and by; come and join us; be Socialists and do something now." We reply that, we appreciate the fact that many Socialists are intelligent; and that many of them are sincere; but in our opinion their wisdom is the wisdom of this world, which, from God's viewpoint, is foolishness. They are not able to bring about the great changes which they desire, and if they could bring them about, they would be unable to maintain those changes so long as sin and death reign in this world. What the world needs is what God has provided, a Savior and a Great One, able to save to the uttermost completely.

We tell our Socialist friends that we know they will succeed beyond their expectations. Like Samson of old they will pull down the house not only upon others, but also upon themselves- "There shall be a Time of Trouble such as never was since there was a nation," as our Lord Jesus foretold. Matt. 24:21

We should follow the course directed by God's Word, and urge God's people everywhere to do the same to wait upon the Lord to bring about the great change of dispensations which He has purposed and promised. Hear the words of the Prophet: "Therefore wait ye upon Me, saith the Lord, until the day that I rise up to the prey; for My determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them Mine indignation, even all My fierce anger; for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of My jealousy." The fire of God's jealousy, or anger, is not literal fire. It will be the fire of anarchy, by which He will permit humanity to destroy its grandest achievements of civilization.

That the fire of God's jealousy is not literal fire is demonstrated by the next verse, which declares that, after this fire shall have done its work, then the Lord will turn unto the people a pure Message that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve Him with one consent. If the whole earth were devoured with a literal fire, there [HGL34] would be no people left to receive God's pure Message and turn to Him. But after the fire of anarchy and of trouble shall have spent itself, and after the New Dispensation shall have been inaugurated, the "light of the knowledge of the glory of God" will fill the whole earth. Eventually "every knee will bow and every tongue confess to the glory of God the Father." Hab 2:14; Philip. 2:10, 11

Prev   Next