THE ASSOCIATED PRESS and The United International reported that at 5:30 A.M., July 16, 1945, a light brighter than a thousand suns or moons illuminated the white desert sands of New Mexico and the skies in western United States. One scientist who was watching that first atomic detonation wept.
"My God," he said, "we have created hell!"
From that moment on, our old world has not been the same. We entered, as Billy Graham stated in his book World Aflame, "a new era of history—perhaps the last era."
Most of us have lived through the testing Twenties. We were reared in the thin Thirties and educated in the warring Forties. We labored in the mission fields of the world through the migraine Fifties. We have just left the sick and sexy Sixties, and if I read the signs of the times correctly we are now in the insane Seventies.
What time is it? What makes this hour dangerously late to the church, and for the world?
In short, here are some facts that let us know that time is much shorter than "when we first believed."
1. The almost international and unprecedented revolt and rebellion of the world's youth against the establishment and the adult population of our times.
2. The revival of the ancient and old heathen religions of the world, and the fact that they are now more methodically militant and rigidly hostile to Christianity than ever before.
3. There is the new virus of atheism, which claims not only that there is no God but that the whole concept of God is irrelevant and unnecessary in this decade. Thus to millions, God is not just dead; He is meaningless.
4. There is the population explosion and the fact that people are multiplying and dying faster than we can reach them with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
5. There is the new-morality gospel, which teaches that any kind of conduct is permissible if the individual considers it an expression of "love." Any deed or act is moral if the circumstances warrant it; thus the modern etymology for the word love now firmly includes lust, licentiousness, looting, and lunacy. This strikes at the very root and foundation of Christian dogma and faith.
6. There is the new 'black and minority revolutionary militancy that has arisen in this past decade, which threatens the destruction of our major American cities from without and our systems of jurisprudence from within by riot, revolution, and rebel lion. They forewarn us that we here in America may be now beginning to pay for the two to three centuries of national, legislative, and judicial sins against the strangers within our gates. For woe unto them, says the prophet, "which frameth mischief by a law" (Ps. 94:20); and "turn aside the needy from judgment, and . . . take away the right from the poor" (Isa. 10:2).
7. Then there are the smoking, smoldering, suffocating, seeping fumes of the bottomless pit from the world of spiritism and hypnotism, which threaten to engulf every Biblically unprepared and defense less soul.
8. Finally, there is the new salvation by chemicals rather than Christ. Total satisfaction and complete ecstasy is no longer sought in a redeeming Saviour, but in a drop of LSD on a potato chip or a piece of sugar. Thus twentieth-century "salvation" is now found in pot—not in the prophets. In glue—not the Gospels. In a trip—not in the Trinity. In dope—not in doctrine.
But as the children of Issachar, we—the Advent Evangels of the "everlasting gospel"—must be men who have "understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do" (1 Chron. 12:32).
In reality, what time is it according to God's great timetable?
Turn with me to one of the greatest prophetic chapters of the Bible, Revelation 10, and we will find the answer.
Let us turn on channel 10 of the Book of Revelation. May I respectfully allegorize that: God the Father is the executive director, Jesus Christ is the station manager, The Holy Spirit is chief public-relations agent.
1. John said, "I saw." That's television on Patmos.
2. "Another mighty angel." There are at least thirty-five distinct angels mentioned in the Book of Revelation. This angel by far is the most distinguished of all—He is none other than Jesus Christ the archangel. See Jude 9; Manuscript 59, 1900.
3. "Clothed with a cloud." A cloud is symbolic of reverence, respect, veneration, awe. Ex. 24:10-18; Ex. 34:1-9; Ex. 40:34- 38. As with the sanctuary and dedication.
4. "A rainbow . . . upon his head." This is color television, a rainbow being symbolic of acceptance, forgiveness, grace, and mercy. As with Noah after the Flood. Gen. 9:11-16.
5. "His face was as it were the sun." This mightiest of angels had just departed from the presence of Jehovah, fresh with a message from God. And like Moses after forty days in the Mount, this angel reflected the effulgence of the Father. Ex. 34: 29-35.
6. "And his feet as pillars of fire." On this mighty heavenly television screen John sees the reflection of those golden streets on the feet of this angelic messenger's feet. The streets on which you and I hope to walk someday.
7. "And he had in his hand a little book open." This little book is none other than the book of Daniel—the only book in the Bible ever said to be closed (Dan. 12:4) but whose eschatology would be open in these last days.
8. "And he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth"—meaning his message would not only command but demand and impel the universal attention of the whole world. His right foot was not in the sea, but upon it, denoting the divinity of this heavenly personage.
9. "And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth." This "loud voice" is the same as the "loud cry" made at midnight in Matthew 25:6, and includes at least four final and basic appeals by God to the inhabitants of earth.
a. That the final judgments of God are about to fall upon the earth in the form of the seven last plagues of Revelation 16: 1-21.
b. That Christ's intercession for sinners is about to end—chapter 22:11.
c. That the crucified Christ's final mes sages to earth's inhabitants will include superlative emphasis upon the Ten Commandments in general, and the seventh-day Sabbath as the seal of God in particular— chapter 14:12.
d. And that by thousands of voices supernatural stress will be placed on the imminent appearance of Christ in catastrophic display in the clouds of heaven— chapter 19:11-16; 22:20; Evangelism, pp. 700, 702.
10. "And when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices." These "seven thunders" have to deal with the failures of the two great branches of the Christian church after the close of the New Testament scriptures, and the first 1,000 years of the church—namely, Eastern Christianity with its headquarters at Constantinople and Western Christianity with its head quarters at Rome.
11. ". . . and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not." In other words, hold back the expo sure of Rome and her fallen daughters until the "time of the end" (Dan. 12:4).
Verses 5, 6
12. "And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, . . . [having a seven-word telegram] that there should be time no longer." What kind of time was this? Political? economic? astronomical? social? nautical? No! It could only refer to God's prophetic time, quickly followed by the ending of probationary time, dealing with man's salvation—Ps. 119:126.
What time is it? It simply means that the time of divine "grace," which brings salvation to all men (Titus 2:11), when human history was about to blend into God's eternity, in light of the longest time prophecy in the Bible, namely, the book of Daniel, the eighth chapter, with its 2300-day-year prophecy, was to conclude on October 22, 1844. That after this great prophetic date of the "little book" of Daniel, God would turn off the divine key of prophetic time, take it out of the ignition of probation, and the angel was to announce to all the inhabitants of the world that prophetic time had run out, and that from October 22, 1844, on, the earth's inhabitants would be coasting toward the end of the world. We have been coasting downhill for more than 126 years. No generation doomed for international destruction has ever coasted longer than 120 years (Gen. 6:3), except our present one. This verse and prophecy tells us prophetic time has run out!
"But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets." This "mystery of God" is none other than the "everlasting gospel" of Revelation 14:6, now being preached by God's remnant evangels. It has always had two basic and simple ingredients, from Eden to the imminent return of our blessed Lord, namely:
1. Salvation is only through Christ— Acts 4:12.
2. And the true test of love is obedience to God's ten commandments— John 14:15. My appeal to my own heart and to you, my brethren, is Let us:
1. Make our own personal calling and election sure by confession of sin and rededication of life.
2. Let us pray for the full baptism of the Holy Ghost, that multiplied thousands might quickly take their stand with us as promised in this final hour of earth's history, for as is clearly evident prophetic time has run out.
3. Let us work while it is still called today!