A signs in heaven during the Christ’s second presence
"And as Jesus sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us (…) what shall be the sign (gr. seemion) of thy presence (gr. parousia)…?" (Matt. 24:3)
Having in mind the fact that few recognized the Messiah at his first advent, and that they themselves had doubts and fears on the subject for a considerable time, apostles wished to know how they would be sure to recognize him. At the first advent our Lord showed himself, and was attested by signs – by his wonderful words and works, and by John the Baptist. What sign should they expect to indicate his second presence? was their pointed question.
Our Lord's answer assured them that his people would not be left without a suitable and sufficient sign; but of its character he said nothing. "Then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven:." It will be sufficient for the faithful, watchful people of God, but is not intended for others. It was this class that saw and understood the signs or proofs of his first advent, while the masses of nominal Israel could not discern the SIGNS of their times, and God did not wish that others should discern them; hence many of the wonderful words of life were spoken in parables and dark sayings, that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand, being unworthy of the light then due to the faithful only.
And so it will be in respect to the sign or evidence of the Lord's second presence. It will not be manifested to all mankind: it can be recognized only by Israelites indeed, and they must be honest – without guile.
The word sign is in the Greek seemion and has the significance of proof or evidence.
Hence, "Ye shall see the sign of the Son of Man," does not signify that the Lord's disciples then living will see him, but that they will have an indication or evidence of his presence at that time. The signs of our Lord's second presence will be found in harmony with, and corroborated by, the testimony of the prophets, as was the case at the first advent. (Luke 24:44-46)
"In Heaven:" The sign or proof of his parousia will be given in heaven. Not in the heaven of the Father's presence and before the holy angels, but in the symbolic heaven, the ecclesiastical heaven, the same heaven which shall be so terribly shaken as to shake out its stars. It is in this heaven – the professedly spiritual class –that the sign or evidence of our Lord's presence will first be apparent. Some will "see" the fulfilment of the prophetic declarations respecting this day of the second presence, in the marvelous unfolding of the divine plan of the ages, and will recognize it as one of the signs of his presence. (Luke 12:37) D 597,598
One of the signs – seven angels having seven plagues
Angel signifies messenger. God, in his Day, sends the messengers with the task to execute or announce purposes of his Plan, which includes demolition of Satan power and establishment of the kingdom of Christ. In Revelation the various processes leading to this aim were showed in separate visions so that they could to be clearly understood. In these visions the angels are stepping out and initiating some workings of God. This is our Lord often such symbolic angel, because He, during his second presence, is the Commander-in-chief of the occurring transformations. There are however another symbolic angels being sent by God. An angel are the people of God in the work of pronouncing of the truth and the angels are the various inanimate factors, and also the ideological movements or events playing the essential role in the realization of God's Plan. The mentions in the Revelation about literal spiritual angels are having a secondary role.
The whole God's truth mission being unfolded during the second presence of Christ has been showed in vision as seven angels with plagues. The volumes of the Studies in the Scriptures being published succesively during two stages of the Bible Students movement were the visual representative of this truth. During the first stage, in the USA (1874-1914), were published six first volumes. Lack of the key to the Revelation in that time suggested that its explanation in the future would make up the content of seventh volume. Seven signifies completeness. The seventh volume has been issued in year 1974 as one of results of the second stage of the prophetic movement, which came to being in Poland (1967-1981). The work titled "The Finished Mystery" (1917) was not actually seventh volume yet, nevertheless it contains the valuable materials. Some amount of thoughts being drawn from this book and being combined with the understanding emerging from the last chronological orientation has been presented in the book titled "The Biblical Chronology," which presented the prophetic scenario of the events of the end of the Gospel Age (Rev. 10:8). Thus came into being a set of teachings (seven vials), which the Church used it in the end of the High Calling.
Seven angels of this vision may not to be considered by us as representing the spiritual beings or the inanimate factors of God's anger like a gales, quakes of earth and other natural disasters, bearing in mind that one of those angels explains to John the judgment of the great harlot, whereas the second angel, and maybe the same, shows to him the glory of the Lamb's wife (Rev. 17:1; 21:9).
The content of Studies in the Scriptures was the huge joy for the God’s people, because it was a harbinger of nearing his Kingdom and suppression of every evil. Recognized truths aroused in them faith in God of love; they led them to the sanctifying and building of the Christian character.
The same prophecies however, which say about the fall of the kingdoms of this world, they are very ominous and terrific for the huge majority of people. It is because of a curtain of darkness which Satan stretched over the mankind that the light of the gospel of Christ should not shine upon them. Father of the lie has deprived people of faith in God's promise of restoration of happy Kingdom of God on the earth and has told to them to fear of God as the cruel despot, who, in the Last Judgement, will sentence billions of people for eternal death or eternal tortures. Having before themselves so the horrendous perspective, people cling tightly to the old order of the things and are trying at all costs to support falling systems. Such situation brings about that the sufferings and anger of people grow more and more, till they will gain their climax in Armageddon.
In symbolic vision all multiplying disasters, crises, wars, etc. are presented as if they were a result of pouring out by angels the seven bowls of the wrath of God into the earth. The Church does not bring of these plagues to the world obviously. Her is only prophet of God who informs the world about his purposes. On the one hand these plagues are a natural result of the entering of sin into the world, on the other hand they are caused by purposeful activity of our Lord during his second presence aiming at overthrowing of power of Satan.
Since the beginning of this presence symbolic bowls were filling gradually. When seventh volume containing explanation of the Revelation had been published, all the bowls were full. The seventh volume among others teachings contained prophecy that at the end of the High Calling (1977) will appear in Christianity a ten-horned beast and a image of the beast, and that these systems will test faith and endurance of the God's people. These teachings were to seal foreheads of the last members of the Church and to prepare them to give the last testimony (from autumn 1977 to the spring 1981). After this testimony victorious Church was to be taken to heavenly glory.
(1) And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having seven plagues, [which are] the last, for in them is finished the wrath of God.
Seven angels … The Church at the end of the High Calling, which announces judgments of God. Without this testifying, related to the exact frames of time, the world would be prone to regard the increasing defeats as the accidental events rather, than as the symptoms of wrath and God disfavor.
Seven plagues, [which are] the last … Not a particular disease, as the black plague or cholera; but trouble – death, famine, revolution, distress, overthrow. These distresses will be both physical and mental. R5697:6
The pain from these will consist largely of mental chagrin, the disappointment of sectarian hopes and plans, and the wounding of sectarian pride. R1573:4
(2) And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire; and them that come off victorious from the beast, and from his image, and from the number of his name, standing by the sea of glass, having harps of God.
A sea of glass ... The unfettered, irreligious masses of the people. R529:5*
From our standpoint it is transparent. We are enabled to see clearly the forces that control the masses, what they are about to do, and why they do it. R529:5*
Mingled with fire … The whole symbol means, the people in trouble, under the judgments of God. R497:3.
We can see that the fire is "already kindled," ready to break out, a wild, unquenchable whirlwind of flame, when the due time comes. The whole matter is clear as crystal. R529:5*
And them … The very elect, the saintly few, the Little Flock. R5231:5
"Called, and chosen, and faithful." (Rev. 17:14)
The class Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego.
That come off victorious … None will "stand" except the elect. All others are to fall more or less, though some will subsequently be rescued from the catastrophe; "saved so as by fire." (1 Cor. 3:15) R3941:6.
Free from Papacy and from organized sectarian Protestantism to the extent that these have no influence over their actions, professions or thoughts. R497:2
Over the beast … Papacy. R497:2
Over his image … Organized sectarian Protestantism. R497:2
Having harps of God … The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. F233
(3) And they sing … The overcomers. R3078:3
Who see God's plan.. R541:5*
Sing … Intelligently. R3177:5
…the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, O Lord God, the Almighty; righteous and true are thy ways, thou King of the ages. (4) Who shall not fear, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy; for all the nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy righteous acts have been made manifest.
The song of Moses … and the song of the Lamb … At the end of The High Calling – autumn 1977.
"The present truth of this time is the harvest message; that we are living in the harvest time of this Gospel Age, when the Lord is about to make up his jewels, and that the Gospel Age is to close and the new dispensation of Messiah's Kingdom is about to be inaugurated." Q548:2 (1911)
Those who were deluded by Satan at our Lord's first advent so hated the glorious message which he brought, and so hated his purity and truthfulness, that they called him the prince of devils, Beelzebub. He told his followers that if he was thus treated they must not marvel if they shared a somewhat similar experience.
And as his persecutions and oppositions came not from the world, but from the professed holiness people of his time, so all through the dark ages, and at the present time, those opposing the Lord and the truth are not worldly people, but sectarians whom Satan blinded with his false doctrines and misrepresentations.
Our Lord well understood from the beginning how this would bring the hatred of nominal professors of Judaism, and that in thus letting his lips praise the Lord he was doing so at the cost of his earthly life, and all the blessings and privileges associated therewith.
Likewise with those who walk in Jesus' footsteps in the narrow way; however much it may surprise them, they find that the proclamation of good tidings of great joy which shall be unto all people – the loving favor of our God, manifested in Jesus Christ our Lord – told in its fullness, brings the hate, the scorn, the persecution of nominal Christendom of today.
Those who love the present life close their lips and refrain from speaking his loving kindness; but those faithful to their covenant, and appreciative of the Lord's favor as "better than life," will show forth his praise at any and every cost of an earthly kind.
The "harvest" message of good tidings which is now revealed to the Lord's consecrated people, by which they discern the loving kindness of God, which they feel they must tell forth to others, not for money, nor for reputation, but at the cost of worldly reputation, at the cost of financial loss, at the cost of home trials and difficulties – this message is the "new song," that the Lord has put into the mouths of his consecrated ones. This song none others might sing except the elect 144,000, who have the Father's name in their foreheads – publicly professed. If others hear of the song they cannot sing it, because it costs something to sing this song. (R2853)
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"And being established in the present truth." (2 Pet. 1:12)
"And was full the temple of smoke from the glory of the God and from the power of him." (Rev. 15:8)
"And one of the four living creatures (God's Justice) gave unto the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever.” (Rev. 15:7)
(5) And after these things I saw, and the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened: (6) and there came out from the temple the seven angels that had the seven plagues, arrayed with [precious] stone, pure [and] bright, and girt about their breasts with golden girdles.
Came out from the temple … The Temple is the Church: "know ye not that ye are the temple of God." (1 Cor. 3:16). HG83:3
The seven angels … Since it is the saints who are "to execute the judgments written" (Psa. 149:9) we interpret these seven angels to mean the living saints; active agents of the entire anointed company. R498:1
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Various exits of Angels from the temple relate to the activity of God's people who is being in the condition of the begetting, but they still are staying on the earth, still are unchanged to the glory. This transitory state was showed in the Tabernacle of the Congregation, the also called the Tabernacle of Testimony. The Church spends her earthly pilgrimage in first part of the tabernacle, named the "Holy." The "Holy" is the condition of begetting and is pictured also through the symbolic heaven (Eph. 2:6). The Revelation 15:5 relates to both picture and symbol, when it portrays Angels (Church in the body) going out with the Divine mission from the "temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven."
According to the teaching of the Scriptures the Church at this side of the veil participates in punishing the world with the plagues. The Church makes this only by their announcing. Similarly was making Jeremiah, the prophet, whom God recommended "to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down." Prophet, however, has rooted out nothing, has destroyed nothing and has build nothing. He only announced things God purposes to do in the future. More quickly or later, the announced judgments of God fell down on the flogged nation as various defeats.
The special time of announcing of God's wrath came at the end of the High Calling, but yet before taking from the earth of the last members of the church. The old world has to pass in the great time of trouble finishing the Gospel Age, similarly like the Jewish Age ended in the great trouble.
The angels, which went out from the church to pour out the plagues on the old order of the things, represent the "Little Flock" in the end of the High Calling (Rev. 15:5-6). Then they announced, within limits permissible to them in unfriendly conditions, given from God the understanding of matters relating to the end of the Gospel Age.
(7) And one of the four living creatures gave unto the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever. (8) And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and none was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels should be finished."
One of the four living creatures … One of God's four attributes – justice or righteousness.
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Was filled with smoke … When the last of the "living stones" shall have been made ready in the first resurrection, the Temple shall be filled with his glory, and be the meeting place between God and man throughout the Millennium. R5822:2
Till the seven plagues … should be finished … Certainly implies that when the Day of Wrath is passed, the door will be again opened, so that men can enter. This teaches probation after resurrection. HG83:5
Added by: Andrzej