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Brother Beebe: - Please give your views on Isaiah 4:1: “And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel, only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach.” Who do the women and the man represent, and what is meant by being called by his name to take away their reproach? I have been a reader of the Signs of the Times for a number of years, and this is the first time I have asked for your views on any subject. Please reply soon, and oblige.

Halcoti Centre, N.Y.

REPLY: We presume this passage and its connection had a primary reference to the judgments of the Lord which were at the time of this prophecy impending over Jerusalem, and Judah, in the execution of which Jerusalem was besieged and taken, and the king and subjects went into the seventy years captivity, according to the word of the Lord. The condition to which they were, as a people, literally reduced by various conflicts with opposing powers, in which their armies had been defeated, and their male population thinned out, seems to be indicated by the anxiety of their women to escape from the reproach which by popular sentiment then prevailing, attached to widowhood and single life. But the prophetic application of the text, when considered in connection with the following part of the chapter, evidently looked forward to the time when the rod should come forth out of the stem of Jesse, and The Branch should grow up out of his roots, Isaiah 11:1 compared with Zechariah 6:12,13, “Behold the man whose name is The Branch, and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the Temple of the Lord,” etc., as having reference to the coming of the Messiah, the setting up of his kingdom, the rejection of the Jewish nation and final destruction of Jerusalem. “And in that day.” The day in which the righteous judgments of God should be exhausted upon the Jews is often referred to in the scriptures as the great and terrible day of the Lord - as the day that shall burn as an oven, when the proud and the wicked shall be stubble to be consumed - as the day in which the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish, and worship the Lord in his holy mount at Jerusalem. It is a period spoken of not only as the year of God’s redeemed, but also as the day of his vengeance. This day, as we understand it, signifies the gospel dispensation, which should utterly supersede the Jewish. It was to be ushered in by the rising of the Sun of Righteousness, and extend throughout all time. Within the limits of that day, the predictions of our text should be realized. “Seven women should take hold of one man.” Harlot women, in many of the figures used in the scriptures, mean false or anti-christian religious organizations. As soon as the religion of our Lord Jesus Christ became measurably relieved from the violent persecution which marked the pages of its early history, and some of the potentates of the earth, from sinister motives, professed to endorse and defend it; thousands who had before been its bitterest persecutors, sought to wipe away their reproach by an assumption of the christian name. It became unpopular and degrading to be longer known in their true characters, as pagans, or Jews, Mohammedans, or infidels, and from that cause they sought the cover of the christian name. In this disguise the man of sin, the son of perdition, was to be revealed, whose coming, as we are informed, should be after the working of Satan, with all deceivableness, with all signs and lying wonders. The old mother, and her household of harlot daughters, showing by the number seven a full and complete brood, would not like to bear the reproach of their real character, but like their mother, claim to be queens, and no widows, they desired to be known as the bride, the Lamb’s wife, and to be called by his name. But while all the anti-christian progeny of Mystery Babylon the Great have evinced their ardent desire to be called by the name of Christ, they have uniformly proposed to stipulate that the privilege they desire shall not be by grace, but conditional, as shown by their proposition: “We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel.” In other words, the Lord should do his part, and they will do their part of the contract. The Lord’s part shall be to shield them from their reproach, by lending the sanction of his name, and they would engage to support themselves, so as to be no expense to him. As for eating his bread, they have no appetite or relish for it. His bread is spiritual, and they being carnal, cannot eat of it, and the apparel in which he clothes his bride is composed of the garments of salvation and the robe of his righteousness. In neither of these have they any desire to appear. Hence, instead of eating his flesh, and drinking his blood, or living by faith upon him, they prefer to eat their own earnings, feasting on their own works, and having all the religion they live for, and instead of wearing the garments of his salvation, they choose to be clothed in their own filthy rags, the fig-leaf patch-work of their own industry. Harlots, in the scriptures, are represented as being passionately fond of gaudy show, and to be so dressed as to attract the licentious gaze of those for whom they lie in wait to deceive. Unto the bride of Christ it is granted that she shall be clothed in linen, clean and white; for the white linen is the righteousness of saints. None but the redeemed of the Lord can wear, or even desire to wear, this spotless robe. It is granted to none but the bride, the Lamb’s wife; it will fit none other, nor do or can others appreciate it. Its fashion, its texture, its appearance in all respects, are suited to the church of God.

Middletown, N.Y.,
August 15, 1862.

Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 5
Pages 243 - 245