Parley P. (Parley Parker) Pratt.

A voice of warning and instruction to all people: or, An introduction to the faith and doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints online

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which after stating the great wickedness of which
he had been guilty, in turning to idolatry, and
also murdering his brethren of his father's house,
who were better than himself, proceeds thus:
" Behold, with a great plague will the Lord smite
thy people, and thy children, and thy wives, and
all thy goods ; and thou shalt have great sickness
by disease of thy bowels, until thy bowels fall
out, by reason of the sickness day by day." In
the same chapter it is written, that the Philistines
and Arabians came against him, and took his
wives, and children, and goods captive ; and,
after all this, the Lord smote him in his bowels
with an incurable disease, and his bowels fell out
by reason of his sickness, so that he died of sore

In the 6th chapter of Joshua, 26th verse, there
is a wonderful prediction concerning Jericho :
" Cursed be the man before the Lord, that
riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho. He
shall lay the foundation thereof in his first-born,
and in his youngest sou shall he set up the gates
of it."

Alter this curse the city of Jericho lay wast*


for ages, none daring to rebuild it at the expense
of their first-born and of their youngest son ;
until after a long succession of judges and kings,
when hundreds of years had passed, Hiel, the
Bethelite, who lived in the days of Ahab, probably
supposing that the Lord had forgotten the curse
pronounced upon it by Joshua, ventured to
rebuild the city ; but no sooner had he laid the
foundation thereof than Abiram, his first-born,
died, and still persevering in the hardness of his
heart, he set up the gates thereof, with the loss
of his youngest son, Segub, according to the
word of the Lord by Joshua ; see 1 Kings xvi
34. We might fill a volume with instances of a
similar kind, dispersed through the historical
part of the Scriptures ; but we forbear, in order
to hasten to a more full examination of the books
of the Jewish Prophets. We shall trace them in
their fulfilment upon Jerusalem, Babylon, Tyre,
Egypt, and various other nations.

Babylon, the most ancient and renowned city
of the world, was pleasantly situated on the banks
of a majestic river, that flowed through the
plains of Shinar, near to which the tower of
Babel once stood. It was laid out four-square,
and surrounded with a wall upwards of three
hundred feet high, and sixty miles in circum-
ference ; having a hundred gates of brass, with
bars of iron ; twenty-five gates on each side,
which opened to streets running through the
city a distance of fifteen miles ; thus forming the
whole city into exact squares of equal size. In


the midst of these squares were beautiful gardens,
adorned with trees and walks, diversified with
flowers of varied hue; while the houses were
built upon the borders of the squares, directly
fronting on the streets. In the midst of this city
sat Nebuchadnezzar, enthroned in royal splendour
and magnificence, and swaying his sceptre over
all the kingdoms of the world, when it pleased
God, in a vision of the night, to unveil the dark
curtain of the future, and to present before him,
at one view, the history of the world, even down
to the consummation of all things. Behold! a
great image stood before him, whose head was of
fine gold, his breast and arms of silver, his belly
and thighs of brass, his legs of iron, his feet and
toes part of iron and part of miry clay. He
beheld, till a stone was cut out of the mountain
without hands, which smote the image upon the
feet, which were part of iron and part of clay,
and brake them in pieces ; then was the iron, the
brass, the silver, and the gold broken to pieces
together, and became as the chaff of the summer
threshing floor, and the wind carried them away,
and there was no place found for them ; but the
stone which smote the image became a great
mountain, and filled the whole earth. When
Daniel was brought in before the king to tell the
dream and the interpretation, he exclaimed,
" There is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets,
and maketh known to the king, Nebuchadnezzar,
what shall be in the latter days." Then,
after telling the dream, he continues thus :



" Thou, O king, art a king of kings : for the
God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom,
power, and strength, and glory. And where-
soever the children of men dwell, the beasts of
the field, and the fowls of the heaven, hath he
given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler
over them all. Thou art this head of gold. And
after thee shall arise another kingdom, inferior
to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which
shall bear rule over all the earth. And the
fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron; foras-
much as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all
things: and as iron that breaketh all these shall
it break in pieces and bruise. And whereas thou
sawest the feet and toes part of potter's clay, and
part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided ; but
there shall be in it of the strength of the iron,
forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with
miry clay. And as the toes of the feet were
part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom
shall be partly strong and partly broken. And
whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay,
they shall mingle themselves with the seed of
men ; but they shall not cleave one to another,
even as iron is not mixed with clay. And in the
days of these kings shall the God of heaven set
up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed:
and the kingdom shall not be left to other people,
but it shall break in pieces and consume all these
kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Foras-
much as thou sawest that the stone was cut out
of the mountain without hands, and that it brake


in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver,
and the gold, the great God hath made known
to the king what shall come to pass hereafter ;
and the dream is certain, and the interpretation
thereof sure."

In this great view of the subject we have
presented before us, in succession, first, the king-
dom of Nebuchadnezzar; second, the Medes and
Persians, who took Babylon from Belshazzar, and
reigned over all the earth ; third, the Greeks,
under Alexander, who conquered the world, and
reigned in the midst of Babylon; and fourth, the
Roman empire, which subdued all things ; fifth,
its division into eastern and western empires, and
its final breaking up or subdivision into the various
kingdoms of modern Europe, represented by the
feet and toes, part of iron and part of clay. And
lastly, we have presented before us an entirely new
kingdom, organised by the God of heaven in the
last days, or during the reign of these kings,
represented by the feet and toes. This last
kingdom was never to change masters, like all the
kingdoms which had gone before it. It was
never to be left to other people. It was to break
in pieces all these kingdoms, and stand for ever.
Many suppose that this last kingdom alluded to
was the kingdom of God which was organised
in the days of Christ or his apostles. But a
greater blunder could not exist ; the kingdom of
God set up in the days of Christ, or of his apos-
tles, did not break in pieces any of the kingdoms
of the world ; it was itself warred against and


overcome, in fulfilment of the words of Daniel,
7th chapter, 21st verse, " I beheld, and the same
horn made war with the saints, and prevailed
against them ; " also 22nd verse, " Until the
Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given
to the saints of the Most High ; and the time
came that the saints possessed the kingdom ; "
also verse 27th, "And the kingdom and dominion,
and the greatness of the kingdom, under the
whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the
- saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an
everlasting kingdom ; and all dominions shall
serve and obey him."

John records, Rev. xiii. 7, " And it was given
onto him to make war with the saints, and to
overcome them ; and power was given him over
all kindreds, and tongues, and nations." In fulfil-
ment of these sayings, power has been given to the
authorities of the earth to kill the Apostles and
inspired men, until, if any remained, they were
banished from among men, or forced to retire to
the desolate islands, or the dens and caves of the
mountains of the earth, being men of whom the
world was not worthy ; while, at the same time,
many false prophets and teachers were introduced
in their place, whom men heaped to themselves,
because they would not endure sound doctrine.
In this way the kingdom of God became disor-
ganized, and lost from among men, and the
doctrines and churches of men instituted in its
place. But we design to speak more fully on this
subject when we come to treat on the subject of


the kingdom of God. Suffice it to say, that the
kingdom spoken of by Daniel is something to be
organized in the last days by the Gq^ofheavejj
Jlimsel^rwithout the aid of human institutions or
the precepts of men. And, when once organized,
it will never cease to roll ; all the powers of earth
and hell will not impede its progress, until at
length the Ancient of Days shall sit, and the Lord
Jesus will come in the clouds of "Heaven, with
power and great glory, as the King of kings, and
Lord of lords, and destroy all these kingdoms,
and give the kingdom and the greatness of the
kingdom under the whole heaven, to the Saints.
Then there will be but one Lord, and His name
one, and He shall be king over all the earth.

We will now return to Nebuchadnezzar, whom
the Lord, by the mouth of Jeremiah, calls his
servant, to execute his judgments upon the
nations. It seems that the Lord exalted this
great man, and made him a king of kings, and
lord of lords, arming him with his own sword,
and clothing him with power and authority, for
the express purpose of executing His judgments,
and scourging and humbling all the nations of
the earth. Jeremiah, chap, xxv., says, that the
Lord purposed to bring Nebuchadnezzar and
his army against Jerusalem, and against all the
nations round about, that he might bring them
to desolation and captivity for seventy years; and
after seventy years, He would turn and punish the
king of Babylon and that nation for their iniquity.
Now, who can trace the history of the fulfilment


of these great events, so exactly pointed out by
Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Ezekiel, and not to be struck
with astonishment and wonder at the marvellous
gift of prophecy enabling men in those da;\
read the history of the future as they read the
history of the past ? Indeed, the reader of history
in the nineteenth century, holding in his hand
the history of the Babylonians, Medes and Per-
sians, Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians, together
with that of the Jews, will hardly render himself
more familiar with the events which transpired
among those nations, than the Prophets were
seventy years previous to their accomplishment.
The Jews were reduced to subjection by Nebu-
chadnezzar ; their city, Jerusalem, was burned,
together with their temple ; their princes, nobles,
and people were carried to Babylon, together with
all their holy things. All the particulars of this
destruction and captivity were distinctly foretold
by Jeremiah, and the time of its continuance,
viz., seventy years. After subduing the Jews,
the king of Babylon marched his army against
Tyre, the city of merchants, situated at the haven
of the sea, surrounded not only by the sea, but
by a strong wall. A hold so strong required
the utmost skill and perseverance of Nebuchad
nezzar, and his whole army, who laboured inces-
santly for a long time, and at length succeeded
in taking Tyre, and bringing it into capitivity for
seventy years. After which they returned and
established their city, for Jeremiah had previously
foretold the reduction of Tyre, its captivity of


seventy years, and its restoration at the expiration
of that time. After the restoration of Tyre, the city
flourished for a time, but was afterwards reduced
to an entire desolation. Its ruined fragments
are seen to this day in the bottom of the sea ;
its site has become a barren rock, only occupied
by poor fishermen. All this desolation, and even
its present appearance of desolate and perpetual
waste, were clearly pointed out by the Prophets.

But when the king of Babylon had succeeded
in taking Tyre, after many a bald head and peeled
shoulder, caused by the hard service of his army
in the siege, the Lord by the mouth of Ezekiel,
promised to give the spoils of Egypt unto him,
for wages for his army, in order to pay him for
the great service wherewith he had served God,
against Tyre. Next, witness his war in the taking
of Egypt, and bringing it into captivity, until
the seventy years were accomplished.

And finally, trace him executing the Lord's
vengeance and anger against Uz, upon the kings
of the Philistines, and Askelon, Azaah ; Ekron,
Edom, Moab, Ammon ; Dedan, Terna, and Buz ;
and upon the kings of Arabia, Zimri and Elam;
and upon all the kings of the Medes ; and upon
all the kings of the north, far and near ; and
finally upon all the kingdoms of the world, who
were to be drunken, and spew, and fall to rise no
more, because of th'e sword which he would send
among them. But when the Lord had accom-
plished all His mind on these nations. He purposed,
in turn, to puirish this great monarch, and those


who succeeded him ; and also the city and nation
over which he reigned ; and finally to make it
perpetual desolations. AndjJ^thisfoxiheir pride
ami haughtiness. The Lord exclaims, " Shall
the axe boast itself against him that heweth
therewith, or shall the saw boast itself against
Jiim^fehnirshaketh itl? " &c. But, in order to trace
the events of the return of the Jews, and the other
nations, from their seventy years' captivity and
bondage, and the punishment of Babylon, another
and very different character from that of Nebu-
chadnezzar is introduced by the Prophets one
who is in Scripture termed the Lord's anointed.
He may be considered one of the most extraor-
dinary characters that ever the heathen world
produced ; his mildness, courage, perseverance,
success, and, above all, his strict obedience to
the command of that God which neither he nor
his fathers had known, all go to prove that Isaiah
was not mistaken when he called him by name,
as the Lord's anointed, to deliver the nations
from bondage, to scourge and subdue the greatest
city and monarchy that have at any time existed
on the earth, and to restore the Jews, and
rebuild the city and temple. Indeed, he was
one of those few whom the world never produces,
except for extraordinary purposes. But let us
hear the Prophet's own description of him. Isaiah,
chapter xlv. " Thus saith the Lord to his
anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have
holden to subdue nations before him ; and I will
loose the loins of kings to open before him the


two-leaved gates, and the gates shall not be shut.
I will go before thee, and make the crooked places
straight : I will break in pieces the gates of brass,
and cut in sunder the bars of iron. And I will
give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden
riches of secret places, that thou mayst know
that I the Lord, which call thee by thy name,
am the God of Israel. For Jacob my servant's
sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called
thee by thy name. I have surnamed thee, though
thou has not known me. I am the Lord, and there
is none else, there is DO God beside me : I girded
thee, though thou hast not known me : that they
may know, from the rising of the sun and from
the west, that there is none beside me." In th6
13th verse he says* " I have raised him up in righ-
teousness, and I will direct all his ways : he shall
build my city, and he shall let go my captives, not
for price nor reward, saith the Lord of hosts."
The reader will bear in mind that Isaiah lived
about one hundred years before the Jewish cap-
tivity, and one hundred and seventy years before
Cyrus caused their return.

Here I would pause and enquire, What power
but the power of the great God, could enable
one man to call another by name, a century
before his birth, and also to fortell correctly the
history of his life ? What must have been his
wonder and astonishment, when, after many years
of wars and commotions, during which he marched
forth conquering and to conquer, gathering as a
nest the riches of the nations, he at last pitched


his camp near the walls of the strongest hold in
all the earth? He gazed upon its walls of
upwards of three hundred feqt in height, with it?
gates of brass and its bars of iron ; the people
within feeling perfectly safe, with provisions
enough to last the inhabitants of the city for
several years. How could he think of taking
that city ? Who would not have shrunk from such
an undertaking, unless inspired by the great
Jehovah ? But, turning the river Euphrates from
its course, and marching under the walls of the
city, in the dry bed of the river, he found himself
in possession of the city, without any difficulty ;
for Belshazzar, the king, was drinking himself
drunk, with his nobles and concubines, and that
too from the vessels of the house of the Lord,
which his father had taken from Jerusalem ; and
his knees had already smote together, with
horror, from the hand-writing on the wall which
Daniel had just been called in to interpret, giving
his kingdom to the Medes and Persians. Having
subdued this great monarchy, he seated himseb
upon the throne of kingdoms ; and becoming fami-
liar with Daniel, he was, no doubt, introduced to
an acquaintance with the Jewish records, and
then the mystery was unfolded ; he could then
see that God had called him by name, that the
Almighty had girded him for the battle, and
directed all his work ; he could then understand
why the treasures of the earth poured themselves
into his bosom, and why the loins of kings had
been unloosed before him, and why the gates of


brass had been opened, and the bars of iron burst
asunder. It was that he might know that there
was a God in Israel, and none else, and that all
idols were as nothing ; that he might also restore
the Jews, and rebuild their city and temple, and
fulfil God's purposes upon Babylon. He accord-
ingly issued his proclamation to the Jews to
return, and for the nations to assist them in re-
building, for, said he, " God hath commanded
me to build him a house at Jerusalem." Ezra,
chap. i. 2, 3, says, " Thus saith Cyrus, king of
Persia, the Lord God of Heaven hath given me
all the kingdoms of the earth ; and he hath
charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem,
which is in Judah. Who is there among you of
all his people ? his God be with him, and let him
go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build
the house of the Lord God of Israel, (he is the
God,) which is in Jerusalem."

What powerful argument, what mighty influ-
ence was it which caused Cyrus to be convinced
that it was the God of heaven who dwelt at
Jerusalem, who alone was God, and who had
done all these things? He haji not been tra-
ditioned in the belief of the true God, nor of the
holy Scriptures. Nay, he had ever been very
zealous in the worship of idols ; it was to idols
he looked for assistance in the former part of his
life. I reply, it was the power of God, made
manifest by prophecy and its fulfilment ; not in
a spiritualized sense, not in some obscure, uncer-
tain, or dark mysterious way, which was difficult


tn lp understood; but in positive, literal, plain
demonstration,which none could gainsay or resist.
Isaiah says that this was the object the Lord had
in view when he revealed such plainness. And
Cy_rus manifested that it had the desired effect.
I I would here remark that when we come to
treat of that part of prophecy which yet remains
to be fulfilled, we shall bring proof positive that
the heathen nations of the latter days are to be
convinced in the same way that Cyrus was ; that
is, there are certain events plainly predicted in
the Prophets, yet future, which, when fulfilled,
will convince all the heathen nations of the true
God, and they shall know that He hath spoken
and performed it. And all the great and learned
men of Christendom, and all societies, who put
any other than a literal construction on the word
of prophecy, shall stand confounded, and be con-
strained to acknowledge that all has come to pass


ut to return to our research of prophecy and.
its fulfilment. The prophets had not only pre-
dicted the reduction of Babylon by Cyrus, but
they had denounced its fate through all ages,
until reduced to entire desolation, never to be
inhabited, not even as a temporary residence for
the wandering Arab ; " and the Arabian shall not
pitch tent there." See Isaiah xiii. 19-22.

Mr. Joseph Wolfe, the celebrated Jewish Mis-
sionary, while travelling in Chaldea, inquired of
the Arabs whether they pitched their tents among
the ruins of Babylon, to which they replied ip


the negative, declaring their fears that, should
they do so, Nimrod's ghost would haunt them.
Thus all the predictions of the Prophets concern-
ing that mighty city have been fulfilled.

Edom also presents a striking fulfilment of plain
and pointed predictions in the Prophets. These
predictions were pronounced upon Edom at a
time when its soil was very productive and well
cultivated, and everywhere abounding in flourish-
ing towns and cities. But now its cities have
become heaps of desolate ruins, only inhabited by
the cormorant, bittern, and by wild beasts,
serpents, &c., and its soil has become barren;
the Lord has cast upon it the line of confusion,
and the stones of emptiness, and it has been
waste from generation to generation, in express
fulfilment of the word of prophecy.

We will now give a passing notice of the vision
of Daniel, recorded in the 8th chapter of his
prophecies, concerning the ram and the goat.
The reader would do well to turn and read the
whole chapter; but we will more particularly
notice the interpretation, as it was given him by
Gabriel, recorded from the 19th to the 25th
verses. And he said, " I will make thee know
what shall be in the last end of the indignation,
for at the time appointed the end shall be. The
ram which thou sawest having two horns, are the
kings of Media and Persia; and the rough
goat, is the king of Grecia; and the great horn
that is between his eyes, is the first king. Now
that being broken, whereas four stood up for it,


four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation,
but not in his power. And in the latter time of
their kingdom, when the transgressors are come
to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and
understanding dark sentences, shall stand up;
and his power shall be mighty, but not by his
own power, and he shall destroy wonderfully,
and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy
the mighty and the holy people; and through
his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in
his hand, and he shall magnify himself in his
heart, and by peace shall destroy many ; he shall
also stand up against the Prince of princes ; but
he shall be broken without hand." In this vision
we have first presented the Medes and Per-
sians, as they were to exist until they were
conquered by Alexander the Great. Now, it is
a fact well known that this empire waxed
exceedingly great for some time after the death
of Daniel, pushing its conquests westward, north-
ward, and southward, so that none could stand
before it; until Alexander, the king of Grecia,
came from the west, with a small army of chosen
men, and attacked the Persians upon the banks of
the river, and plunging his horse in, and his
army following, the} r crossed, and attacked the
Persians, who stood to oppose them on the bank,
with many times their number: but, notwith-
standing their number, and their advantage of
the ground, they were totally routed, and the
Grecians proceeded to over-run and subdue the
country, beating the Persians in a number of



pitched battles, until they were entirely subdued.
It is also well known that Alexander, the king
of Greece, went forth from nation to nation,

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Online LibraryParley P. (Parley Parker) PrattA voice of warning and instruction to all people: or, An introduction to the faith and doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints → online text (page 2 of 13)