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Elpis Israel
by Dr. John Thomas

This appears from the exhortation of the apostle, who says, "We have a sure word of prophecy whereunto you do well to take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts: knowing this first, that no prophecy of scripture is of one's own disclosure.

For prophecy came not at any time by the will of man; but the holy men of God spake being moved by the holy spirit".

Some were not unmindful of this exhortation, which is as applicable to us as to them; for the day has not yet dawned, nor has the day-star arisen.

Were it not for the prophetic word, the "heirs of the kingdom" would be in as utter darkness as gaol-chaplains, who burn the flesh to cure the soul, or administer the "Sacrament" to gallows-thieves about to die!

The sure prophetic word is itself a shining light, but, having been "put under a bushel," mankind are left enshrouded in Egyptian night.

"Be mindful," saith the scripture, "of the words spoken before by the holy prophets"; and on the ground that this was the case, the apostle adds, "Therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness".

The words of the prophets to which he referred, related to the destruction of the Hebrew commonwealth.

His brethren were acquainted with these prophecies and, therefore, knew what was about to happen, though not the day or the hour.

Hence, this knowledge was to be their caution and security against being led away by the spiritualizers of the time, who wrested the scriptures to their own destruction.

From these premises we may conclude that, as the Lord has also revealed what is to come to pass in these latter days, it is both our duty and privilege to make ourselves acquainted with it, that our faith may grow and be strengthened; that our affections be detached from the fleeting present, and set more firmly on things to come; that our minds may be fortified against error; and that we may be prepared to meet the Lord as those who have kept their garments, and shall not be put to shame.

It is our own fault if we are not "light in the Lord".

He has plainly set before us what is happening in our day, and what is yet to occur.

Hence, while the Priests of the State Church are drowsily exclaiming, while war and political murders abound, "Give peace in our time, O Lord!

" -- and while peace-societies are with infidel voices crying "Peace and safety," they who take heed to the prophetic word "know before" that the hour of God's judgment is come, and that destruction is at the door.

In pursuance, then, of the work before us, namely, that of unfolding the train of events which are to ultimate in the setting up of the kingdom of God, I shall proceed to show the things represented in NEBUCHADNEZZAR'S IMAGE.

This was a colossus in human form, which appeared to the king of Babylon in a dream.

The head was of gold; the breast and the arms of silver; the belly and the thighs of brass; the legs of iron; and the feet part of iron and part of clay.

While the king continued to behold it, a stone poised in the air, unsustained by hands, fell with great force upon the feet, and broke them to pieces.

After they were smitten, the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, were all broken to pieces together, and became like chaff, which the wind so completely swept away that no vestige of the image remained.

The image being thus destroyed and abolished, the stone that smote it became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.

The interpretation given to the king informed him that the head of gold represented the dominion of which he was the head; that the silver part symbolized the monarchy which would succeed his; the brazen part, a third power which should bear rule over all the earth; and the iron part, a fourth dominion strong as iron, that should subdue everything before it.

This fourth kingdom, he was told, should be divided, inasmuch as there were two iron legs, and ten toes.

But as the toes of the feet were part of them of iron and another part of clay, the dominion represented by the ten toes would be partly strong and partly broken.