IN the latter part of our last lesson, Jesus gave his disciples a brief account of what was to take place among the nations of the earth, and of the experiences that the people of God should pass through, from that time down to his second coming. He also said that when the gospel of his second coming, to set up his kingdom upon the earth, should have been preached to all nations, then the end of the world should come. 

He then went on to answer their question about the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. He said, " When ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. 

Then let them which are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let them which are in the midst of it depart out, and let not them that are in the country enter thereinto."  "And let him that is on the housetop not come down, neither enter therein to take anything out of his house; and let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment." "For these be the days of vengeance, that all things that are written may be fulfilled." 

After this, he told them of the great papal persecution spoken of by Daniel, saying that it would be more severe than anything of the kind that had ever been in the world, or ever would be. He also said that except those days should be shortened, no flesh would be saved, or in other words, that all God's people would be destroyed; but that for the elect's sake, those days of persecution would be shortened. 

Speaking of the last days, Jesus said, "Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, inasmuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, 

Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.   For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together." 

After having thus answered the first question, and having given so many precious admonitions, Jesus went on to answer their second question. He said that just before the close of the 1260 years of papal persecution, and after the severe tribulation of those days should be chiefly past, certain wonderful signs should be given in the heavens. That the sun should, be darkened, and the moon should not give her light; the stars should fall from heaven; and the powers of the heavens should be shaken. 

The great persecution here spoken of, was carried on by the Roman Catholic Church, with the pope at its head. It is thought that as many as fifty million Christians were put to death by order of the Church of Rome. Many of these were tortured in the most cruel manner. Some were pulled in pieces by horses, some were cast headlong into deep wells, some were burned at the stake; others were cut in pieces with knives, or tormented in ways too horrible to mention. The time set in prophecy for this persecution to close, was the year 1798. At this time, Rome was entered by a hostile army, the pope was made prisoner, and the Catholics no longer had power to put Christians to death. But about twenty years before this time, the power of the pope was so far restrained that the tribulations of the Christians nearly ceased. 

On the 19th of May, 1780, the sun was darkened,-and the day became so dark that the people had to leave their work in the field; candles had to be lighted in the houses; fowls went to roost; and the cattle came lowing to the barn, thinking that night had come. On the evening that followed, the moon appeared like blood, and gave no light. There were no clouds in the sky, and no eclipse could have occurred at that time, for the moon was full; yet it was one of the darkest nights ever known. A few years later there was a remarkable falling of the stars, such as was never known before. Thus we may see that all the words of our Saviour have been fulfilled, except those about the shaking of the powers of the heavens. And they will undoubtedly be fulfilled before long. 


AFTER speaking of the darkening of the sun and moon, and the falling of the stars, our Lord continued 

in the following words: "And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven; and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn; and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." 

The sign of the Son of man in heaven is probably the cloud on which he will appear.  

After thus talking with his disciples about the signs that should betoken his second appearing, he says to them, "And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh." In order to show them how certainly they might look for his immediate coming, when they should see these signs, he drew an impressive lesson from nature, saying, "Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; when they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand; so likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand;" or as Mark records it, "Know that it is nigh, even at the doors." Having thus shown how all may know when his second coming is at hand, he cautions the generation that shall then be living upon the earth, saying, "Take heed to yourselves lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares." 

"What I say unto you, I say unto all, Watch." 

He then gave them the beautiful parable of the Ten Virgins, as found in the first thirteen verses of the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew. 

After this, he gave a parable representing the Judgment, in which he taught that whatever we do for the poor, the sick, or the afflicted, will be accepted as done for Christ himself; and that if we forget to help the needy, it will be set down against us the same as if we neglected our Lord under similar circumstances. 

"And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples, Ye know that after two days is the feast of the Passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified. Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, and consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him. But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people." 

"Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them. And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money. 

And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude;"