A Cloudy Day.
The second form of the apostasy was not such utter darkness as the first, and is therefore called a cloudy day. "For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day." Ezek.34:11, 12. The cloudy day was a day of the scattering of God's people. This has been true of Protestantism. God's own people have been divided and scattered among the various organizations of man. The time of the seeking out refers to the evening, when God is going to gather his children together that "were scattered abroad," and they shall be "one heart and one soul" as in the morning.
One more text refers to the cloudy day. "And it shall come to pass in that day that the light shall not be clear, nor dark: but it shall be one day which shall be known to the Lord, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light." Zech.14:6, 7. This day of Protestantism was neither "clear nor dark"; was neither "day, nor night." It was a mixture of light and darkness, truth and error, and therefore is fitly termed a cloudy day.
After those two days there shall be a great revival caused by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. "Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth." Hos.6:1-3.
The two days of beastly power come to an end. The time comes when they shall no longer govern God's true people. It was true of literal Babylon, that had taken captive the children of God, that the time came when they returned from their captivity. The same is true of spiritual Babylon. The children of God have long been taken captive in her. In the evening time, after two days, they shall say, "Come, let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he will revive us in the third day, he will raise us up," etc. Praise God! Then shall we know the Lord. "His going forth is prepared as the morning." Just as God was known in the morning in his holiness and power, just so he will be known in the evening. Throughout the "two days" (apostasy) the Lord in his power to save to the uttermost, to heal, and to exclusively control his church was unknown. Therefore he says: "Then shall the seers be ashamed, and the diviners confounded: yea, they shall all cover their lips; for there is no answer of God." Micah 3:7.
Such is the ignorance of the seers of Babylon. They are educated in the wisdom of the world, but know little of God. Their sermons are the theories of man, and not the pure Word of God. For this reason there is a great spiritual famine in Babylon.
The evening time is called the third day, when God shall send copious showers of rain. The first day is a "dark day," and relates to the reign of the Catholic power. The second or dark and cloudy day relates to the reign of Protestantism. The third day is the "time of the end," when there shall be a consumption of the beast powers. Dan.7:26. Daniel was told that the fourth beast he saw in his vision was a fourth kingdom. This was the Roman kingdom. Three had preceded -- the Babylonian, Medo-Persian and Grecian. This beast had ten horns. Ver.7. These ten horns were ten kings, or kingdoms, which were created out of the Roman empire by the barbarians of the North. History records the overrunning of the Roman empire from A.D.376 to A.D.476 by the different "powerful and warlike nations of the North; namely, the Huns, Goths, Vandals," etc. Thus in one century of time the kingdom of the Caesars gave rise to ten different minor kingdoms.
In verse twenty-four of Daniel seven the prophet was told that another horn should arise after these ten. From the description of this horn we at once learn it to represent the Roman hierarchy, or to be the same as the first beast of Rev.13. In verse twenty-six the prophet says, "Judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end." The apostasy is being consumed by the powerful and sharp judgments of God's Word being executed by the faithful and true who are proclaiming, "Fear God, and give glory to him, for the hour of his judgment is come." This is in the time of the end, this glorious evening hour.
The apostle Paul gives a description of the apostasy in 2 Thes.2. In verse eight he speaks of its consumption, which is being effected in this evening of time. Babylon is being consumed. Hear her cries of pain. The prophet Isaiah foretells the consumption of the apostasy in these words: "And the destruction of the transgressors and of the sinners shall be together, and they that forsake the Lord shall be consumed." This is being accomplished in this present day. The gospel truth is being held up as a "lamp that burneth," and Babylon is consumed. The Lord is washing "away the filth of the daughter of Zion, ... by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning." Isa.4:4.
"Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul."
Morning And Evening Light Compared.
How light shall be the evening? Will God "revive us and raise us up" in the third day to the apostolic plane? The answer is, "His going forth is prepared as the morning." "Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rearward." Isa.58:8.
By these two texts we are given to understand that in the evening the light shall shine as bright as in the morning. The church of God will be raised to the same plane from which it was dragged down by ecclesiastical lords. God's people shall enjoy the same degree of holiness in the evening as they did in the morning. They shall enjoy the same blessed unity -- "one heart and one soul," "and all speak the same thing." They shall possess apostolic faith. They shall have power with God to heal the sick, to open blinded eyes, to cause the lame to walk and the deaf to hear, to cast out devils, and to raise the dead the same as did the saints in the morning. Why shall they be given such power? Because they believe, experience and practise the whole truth. They are free from all manism. God has absolute control in each and every heart. Every hindrance to faith is removed, every barrier between them and God is taken away, and the Lord works with them, "confirming the word with signs following." Glory to his name!