The Brooklyn Citizen, October 12, 1914


Last evening a splendid congregation listened spellbound to Pastor Russell at the Temple, W 63rd Street. His address inquired into the reason why in God's providence the world is being ushered into "a Time of Trouble, such as was not since there was a nation." What special sins call upon Justice for extraordinary penalty? The Pastor's text was, "And the nations were angry, and Thy wrath is come." Rev. 11:18

After some introductory comments upon his text, the speaker read a number of corroborative scriptures Is. 34:1-6; Jer. 25:15, 16, 27-38; Is. 66:15, 16; Luke 21:24-26; Rev. 6:9-11; 2 Thess. 1:3-10. Commenting on the scriptures as he went, the Pastor claimed that their united testimony referred to the present time, mistranslated the end of the world; properly interpreted, the end of this Age, lapping upon and inaugurating the New Age- "the world to come."

God's people Israel typified Spiritual Israel. All others were called the nations, the people, the Gentiles, and were outside covenant relationship with God. Many of the Scriptures quoted had a double application: in a smaller sense, to the affairs of Typical Israel; in a large sense their fulfillment belongs to the end of this age. Of Natural Israel it was written, "They are not all Israel who are of Israel"; and similarly we might say today, not all are Christians who profess to be. Jesus emphasized this same thought when he referred to "Israelites indeed," and speaking of His Church, He referred to some as "the very Elect," thus distinguishing them from the numerous mass of Christians who in a formal manner say, "Lord, Lord," and draw nigh with their lips, when their hearts are far from Him.


Applying the matter now, the Pastor declared that the whole world are Gentiles, except the true followers of Christ, His saints, and the loyal-hearted Jews, who are still God's people under their Law Covenant. In classing the great mass of Jews and of professed Christians as a part of the world the Pastor meant no unkindness; for he declared that there are many noble characters amongst the Gentiles amongst those who are not in covenant relationship with God, who are neither under the Law Covenant nor under the Covenant of Grace. God has an eventual blessing for all who love righteousness and truth under the blessing of Restitution. Acts 3:19-23

However, to understand God's dealing in the present time, nominal Christians, or mere professors, must not be confounded with the "little flock" who have responded to the Gospel Call, "Gather My saints together unto Me, said the Lord; those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice" self-sacrifice. (Psa. 50:5; Rom. 12:1) If we shall recognize these saintly Christians of every nation and denomination as being the one true Church, "whose names are written in Heaven," and if we shall recognize all others as Gentiles, we shall be getting the eye of our understanding into true alignment with the mind of God as expressed in the Bible. From this standpoint only can the prophecies of the Bible be understood.

Thus seen, God is not merely calling nations to war, to battle, as nations; but in a more particular sense the call is to all Gentiles, irrespective of national boundaries. And it is worthy of note that throughout the Scriptures, the great masses of India, China, etc., are comparatively ignored. Because they have not come into particular contact with God's Messages they are not so particularly included in the judgments, chastisements, troubles, foretold to be coming upon the earth at the close of this Age. In other words, unintentional ignorance of God is not a crime to be punished, but a defect to be corrected in due time by the blessings of Messiah's Kingdom.

The blow of the Divine rod is therefore to be expected upon the so-called Christian kingdoms upon nominal Christian people. The responsibility of those and their punishments will be in proportion to their knowledge and their failure to live up to the knowledge possessed. Ignorance is not wickedness in God's sight. [HGL617]


When thinking of the wrath of God coming upon the world, we are not to think of the Almighty as having exercised great patience for centuries and finally losing His temper and wreaking vengeance upon His creatures. Such a thought might be gathered from some of the expressions of the Scriptures, because of adaptation of language to human comprehension, and because of more or less loss of the true sentiment in translating and through the mental gloss of the translators. In any event, let us remember that this wrath of God and the judgments coming upon the world are wholly different from the legends namely, eternal torture at the hands of demons, taught us by our creeds. Instinctively, a part of the dread we have of death in every form by war, famine and sickness is the fear, that eternal torture nightmare thrust upon us from childhood, inculcated by all the creeds of Christendom, but wholly without Bible foundation when the latter is properly translated and rightly understood.

Furthermore, we should remember that while God has foretold the troubles of the Day of Wrath for centuries and indicates that He will have to do with their precipitation upon the world, nevertheless elsewhere He also shows us that these troubles really come from ourselves that they are the outgrowth of human wrongdoing, and that these dire penalties of sin would have wrecked our social and religious fabric long, long ago had not Divine Providence forefended us holding back the storm of human passion and avarice, and permitting it to come only now, in the end of the Age, at the time when Divine Providence has Messiah's Kingdom in full readiness to take control. Just so soon as the storm of human passion shall have taught humanity its needed lessons, and shall have liquidated the long standing accounts, Messiah's Kingdom, with a clean state, will be inaugurated.

We have reached the end of this world the end of this Age. The long promised Day of blessing and Divine favor is already dawning. God through Jesus' sacrifice has provided for all human sin frailties traceable to original sin. These are all to be forgiven absolutely. Certain willful sins have been more or less punished during the lives of the sinners; and some of these, recorded in human weaknesses, mental, moral and physical, will be gradually gotten rid of during Messiah's Kingdom under the Restitution processes which will then prevail. All will have an opportunity of rising up, up, up to human perfection; and those who have willfully degraded mind and body will have the steeper path to climb and the longer one. Nevertheless, they will be able to come to the fullness of human perfection and everlasting life if they will, under the blessings and with the aid of Messiah's Kingdom.


At first this might seem to be a full settlement for all of the world's sins; but not so, according to the Scriptures. In Jesus and in His saintly followers all down through this Gospel Age, the world has had God's cause, the cause of righteousness and truth, more or less clearly manifested. Every persecution against these members of the Body of Christ is a crime against God and against righteousness. Of such sufferings the Apostle says, "If any suffer as a Christian, let him glorify God on this behalf; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth on such." 1 Pet. 4:14, 16

As a blessing rested upon all the Lord's faithful people who have suffered unjustly, so correspondingly a Divine curse, or penalty, has rested upon all persecutors of these, their responsibility being gauged by the degree of their knowledge, and their punishment proportionate. On the books of Justice, however, God represents that the lives of all His faithful ones cry out for vengeance; and that while mercy comes to all mankind through the sacrificial death of the Savior, this does not alter the fact that Justice calls for certain punishments for crimes more or less wilful and therefore not included in the Savior's atonement.

Thus it was in the end of the Jewish Age, which may serve us as a pattern or illustration of the ending of this Age. St. Paul, writing of that time, says: "Wrath is come upon this people to the uttermost, that all things written in the Law and the Prophets concerning them should be fulfilled." The great time of trouble with which the Jewish Age ended was a righteous retribution for unsettled claims of Justice. The Just One had been slain, and although the merit of His sacrifice will yet avail for every Jew and for every other member of Adam's race, nevertheless Justice visited a punishment upon the people who said, "His blood be upon us and upon our children." (Matt. 27:25) Notice,

however, the vast difference between these Bible judgments and the eternal torment judgments falsely declared by every one of our creeds, which indirectly tell us that every Jew at death goes to eternal torment because he is not a Christian.

But the Scriptures declare that the punishments upon the Jews which culminated in the destruction of Jerusalem in A D 70 were, some of them, for sins committed long before. Notice Jesus' words, "The blood of all the Prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, shall be required of this generation; from the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, who perished between the altar and the temple." Luke 11:50, 51.

Wherein was the justice in exacting all that of the people living in the close of that age? We reply that those people had far more responsibility than all who preceded them. They had a great Light amongst them, shining from Jesus and the early saints. In their treatment of these light-bearers, crucifying them and variously injuring them, that last generation of the Jewish Age partially exonerated their forefathers, who had done similar things with much less enlightenment, and upon the enlightened ones fell the "wrath."


The Bible indicates that similar aggregations of punishment are to be expected in the end of this Gospel Age. The great Time of Trouble, or Day of Wrath, is the "recompense of the controversy of Zion" the saints, the true Church. For eighteen hundred years has Jesus prophetically foretold that the Kingdom class would suffer violence; and the violent have usurped the place of the true by force. (Matt. 11:12) All the while, the violent have outwardly been posing as the True Church of Christ, while the saints of God in every epoch and in every century have suffered- [HGL618] "as deceivers, and yet true; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing yet possessing all things." (2 Cor. 6:8) "Heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ" (Rom. 8:17), they have been counted "the filth and offscouring of the earth," "of whom the world was not worthy." Their names have been cast out as evil, and as Jesus prophesied it has been true, "They shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake." (Matt. 5:11) These are bid to rejoice and be exceedingly glad, knowing that their reward in Heaven is great.

But the sin of their persecutors must be liquidated, even though the persecutors themselves will all eventually be forgiven. From this viewpoint, the "Time of Trouble such as was not since there was a nation," and which is now beginning and gradually to be consummated, will be the squaring of God's accounts with the world, preparatory to handing the Kingdom over to Messiah, to be blessed by His rule, as it is written, "I will give Thee the heathen (the Gentiles) for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession." (Psalm 2:8) First must come the breaking in pieces as a potter's vessel, and the great lessons which that tribulation will bring, in order that the world may be prepared properly to appreciate and "love righteousness and hate iniquity."

As illustrative of this principle, note the lesson of Rev. 6:9-11. Following a great persecution, the Lord figuratively represents the martyrs of that period as crying out to Him, even as the blood of Abel is said to have cried out for vengeance. The cry is, "How long, how long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?" White robes were apportioned to them as indicating that from the Scriptural standpoint they were pure, holy, justified through faith and obedience; and the message for all the martyrs of Jesus was: Wait a little season; the vengeance will come, but not until all of this class shall have experienced their share of "the sufferings of Christ."

To these martyrs the suffering brought polishings of character, testings of faith, Divine approval and an increasing glory on the spirit plane as members of the Bride of Christ the blessings to be given to them, in the First Resurrection the chief Resurrection, referred to by our Lord in Rev. 20:6. The closing of the Gospel Age will witness the martyrdom of the last members of the Body of Christ. Then the glory of the First Resurrection will signify the establishment of Messiah's Kingdom, the time for the recompensing of Zion's wounds in the Great Tribulation. Then will be accomplished the binding of Satan; and then Messiah's Kingdom, with all its blessed and uplifting influences, will bless the whole world with the long promised "Restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began." Acts 3:19-23


We do not say that the persecutions of the last members of the Body of Christ will be literally cutting their tongues out, by literally burning them at the stake, by literally crucifying them or beheading them, as was done with some of the other members of the Body in the past. In our day there is a more refined process often used. Some are gibbeted by the pulpit, some are roasted in the public press, some have their tongues cut in the sense that their words are misrepresented, and that they are denied a hearing. And yet there are things in the Scriptures which seem to imply that there may be a literal assassination and destruction of God's faithful people in the end of this Age, as well as a figurative one. But the Lord's grace will be sufficient for them; and the more they shall suffer for His sake, for the Truth's sake, the greater will be their glory and station in the Kingdom.

Who shall be punished for these crimes against the Saints of God? We answer, Babylon; and Babylon signifies what is today known as "the Christian world" a very anomalous term; for the world has no identification with Christianity nor Christianity with the world. The so-called "Christendom" of our day corresponds exactly to the Jewry of Jesus' day. Then Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, were banded together with the Sadducees and the Herodians, the worldly and infidel politicians. Their object was one, namely, the perpetuation of their own institution, regardless of God's arrangement. So here, the civilized world, misnaming itself "Christ's Kingdom," is intent upon the preservation of the great Babylon which it has constructed, and willing to do anything to avoid the destruction which the Bible declares. But nothing that Babylon can do can avert the overthrow of present institutions and the establishment of the new order of things which God has foreordained for the blessing of the world through Messiah's Kingdom, for which His saints have long prayed, "Thy Kingdom Come."


Taking into account the persecutions endured by God's saints throughout this Gospel Age, there must be a heavy account on the books of Justice to be settled. Saintly Catholics, saintly Presbyterians, saintly Baptists, saintly Methodists, saintly people in and out of all denominations have suffered; and Jesus' words still stand true namely, that whosoever would give to the least of His followers even a cup of cold water, would not fail of a reward, and that injury to even the least of these would be punished.

Are we asked what are the special sins of our day reprehensible in God's sight? We reply that here, as in Jesus' day, hypocrisy is the greatest of all sins. There were thefts, murders, adulteries and injustices of various kinds in Jesus' day; yet while denouncing all these in spirit, He practically ignored them all in His denunciations of the hypocrisy of the religious rulers of His time. We believe that His judgment of so-called "Christendom" today is of the same order.

There was a time when the world ignorantly thought that the kings of earth were ruling as part of Christ's Kingdom. There was a time when men really believed that their everlasting destiny was in the hands of the clergy, Protestant and Catholic, and that unless they had the good offices of these in baptism, marriage, funerals, etc., they would be eternally tormented. There was a day when all were so deluded as to believe that the entire human family was going down to eternal torment, except the mere handful, the elect saints. There was a time when such atrocious [HGL619] doctrines were fully believed to be of God; but that day has passed a more enlightened day has come.

Our Bible is better understood: the clergy are no longer deceived. They know that the word Sheol of the Old Testament and the word Hades of the New Testament represent the state or condition of death, into which the whole world goes good or bad. They know that these words could not represent torture or fire in any sense of the word. They perceive that the kingdoms of this world are merely political institutions permitted for a time, in the same sense that God permits famines, pestilences, etc., waiting for the glorious epoch of Messiah's Kingdom to bring in the New Order of things.

But notwithstanding this knowledge, the Divine character is still blasphemed. The kings of the earth, told during the "dark ages" that they were the sword of the Lord and servants of the Church, have not been undeceived. Hence the Czar of Russia, the Head of the Greek Church, believes he is working out a Divine destiny; the British, under King George, are equally convinced that they are working out a great destiny as God's Kingdom. The German Kaiser is similarly deceived into thinking that he is the sword of the Almighty. Mark his latest reported proclamation to his army in Poland, which reads:


"Remember you (my army) are God's elect. God's spirit has descended on me because I am Emperor of Germany. I am Jehovah's sword, His representative, the instrument of the Most High. Woe and death be to those who resist my will! and to all who do not believe my mission and to cowards in my army! The enemies of the German people shall perish. God demands their destruction. He it is who through me commands you to fulfil His will!"

These false doctrines of the "dark ages" are bearing a terrible fruitage in the present war. Similarly the teaching of eternal torment, misrepresenting and blaspheming God's character, are bearing an evil fruitage. Millions of people are being turned away from faith in a God of Love and from faith in the Bible as His Message by the most monstrous blasphemies of the "dark ages." I charge the responsibility of all this against the sects and creeds of Christendom. I charge that the ministers, whose eyes are now open to a saner comprehension, have neglected the Bible, have neglected the people, and, instead of helping them out of the darkness, are now leading them into darkness in an opposite direction into Evolution and Higher Criticism and everything contrary to the Word of God. God is still misrepresented in the world. The creeds of the Dark Ages are still hugged to the bosom in outward pretense, while inwardly they are loathed. A great fraud, a great hypocrisy, you say? I answer, Yes: the most astounding the world has ever known. Two hundred thousand professed ministers of God and of Christ are standing before the world today telling the legends of the Dark Ages and seeking to hinder the people from coming to a knowledge of the Truth, meanwhile receiving the people's money and reverence. Does not such hypocrisy, such blasphemy against God, such deception of the people, such keeping of them in darkness, deserve a great punishment, and is it not nigh, even at the door?

What shall we do, do you ask? I answer, Be honest! Be true! Come out of Babylon. Stand free from all such slandering of the Almighty God and His gracious provisions. Stand for the Bible, the Truth, the God of Love and Wisdom, Justice and Power. "Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you." 2 Cor. 6:17 Upon Great Babylon (Gentiles falsely calling themselves "Christendom") is to come a settlement of all the unrequited crimes against God's saints throughout this Age, "a Time of Trouble such as was not since there was a nation." "Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double, according to her works; in the cup which she hath filled, fill to her double. How much she hath glorified herself and lived luxuriously, so much torment and sorrow give her, Therefore shall her plagues come in one day (speedily), death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire (destruction); for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her." Rev. 18:6-8

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