How should the Revelation of Jesus to the Churches be looked at?

Come Lord Jesus
Come Lord Jesus

Revelation 1:1-2 (KJV)

1 “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: 2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. ”

Rev 1:1The Revelation of Jesus Christ,…. Either of which he is the60f0 author: for it was he that sent and showed it by his angel to John; it was he, the lion of the tribe of Judah, that took the book, and opened the seals of it, and which is a very considerable proof of his deity; since none but God could foreknow and foretell things to come, or declare the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet, as is done in this book: or of which he is the subject; for it treats much of his person, offices, and grace, and of Christ mystical, of the state of his church, in the several ages of time; or it is that revelation which was first made unto him, to which sense the following words incline:

which God gave unto him; not to him as he is God, for as such he is omniscient, and foreknew whatever would come to pass, and needed no revelation to be made to him, but as he was man and Mediator; and this was given him by God the Father, and put into his hands, to make known as being a part of the administration of his prophetic office: the end of its being given him was,

124541to show unto his servant things which must shortly come to pass: the Arabic version adds, “in future ages”; things that were to be hereafter, the accomplishment of which was necessary, because of the certain and unalterable decree of God, the good of his people, and his own glory; and these were to come to pass quickly, in a very little time; not that they would all be fulfilled in a short space of time, for there are some things not fulfilled yet, though it is nineteen hundred years ago and more, since this revelation was made; and we are sure there are some things that will not be accomplished till a thousand years hence, and more, for the millennium is not yet begun; and after that is ended, there is to be a second resurrection, and a destruction of the Gog and Magog army; but the sense is, that these things should very quickly begin to be fulfilled, and from thenceforward go on fulfilling till all were accomplished. Now to show, to represent these things, in a clear manner, as the nature of them would admit of, to the servants of Christ, all true believers, read and hear and diligently observe them, and especially to the ministers of the Gospel, whose business is to search into them, and point them out to and particularly to his servant John, was this revelation made by Christ, who immediately answered this end:

and he sent, and signified it by his angel unto servant John; he who is21 the Lord of angels, and to whom they are ministering spirits, sometimes sent one angel and sometimes another; and by various emblems, signs, and visions, represented and set before John, a faithful servant, and a beloved disciple of his, the whole of this revelation.

Rev 1:2Who bore record of the word of God,…. Of the essential and eternal Word of God, his only begotten Son; as John the apostle did in his Gospel, and in his epistles, and also in this book; and which is a clear evidence of his being the writer of it,

And of the testimony of Jesus Christ; that is, the Gospel, which testifies of the person of Christ, of the truth of his divinity, and reality of his human nature; of the union of the two natures, divine and human, his person: of his several offices, of prophet, priest and King; of what he did and suffered for his people; and of the blessings of grace which they receive by him:

90ccand of all things that he saw; with his bodily eyes, as the human body of Christ, the miracles he wrought in it, the transfiguration of it on the mount, the crucifixion of it, and the piercing of it with a spear, and the resurrection of it from the dead; and also the visions recorded in this book; and such a faithful witness serves greatly to confirm the authority of this book, and to recommend the perusal of it. The Complutensian edition and the Arabic version read, “which are, and which shall”, or “must be hereafter”, as in

Rev_1:19. Websters Dictionary Definition: REVELA’TION, n. [L. revelatus, revelo. See Reveal.]

1. The act of disclosing or discovering to others what was before unknown to them; appropriately, the disclosure or communication of truth to men by God himself, or by his authorized agents, the prophets and apostles.

How that by revelation he made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in few words. Eph 3. 2 Cor 12.

2. That which is revealed; appropriately, the sacred truths which God has communicated to man for his instruction and direction. The revelations of God are contained in the Old and New Testament.

3. The Apocalypse; the last book of the sacred canon, containing the prophecies of St. John. NOTICE THAT ALL IS TO BE REVEALED NOT HIDDEN AWAY FOR A CHOSEN FEW TO KNOW,WE ARE ALL TO BE BLESSED BY JUST READING IT! Interpretation. — Modern interpreters are generally placed in three great divisions:

00031(a) The Historical or Continuous exposition,(THIS IS WHERE I STAND) , the Revelation is a progressive history of the fortunes of the Church from the first century to the end of time.

(b) The Preterits expositors, who are of the opinion that the Revelation has been almost, or altogether, fulfilled in the time which has passed since it was written; that it refers principally to the triumph of Christianity over Judaism and Paganism, signalized in the downfall of Jerusalem and of Rome.

god-on-throne(c) The Futurist expositors, whose views show a strong reaction against some extravagances of the two preceding schools. They believe that the whole book, excepting perhaps the first three chapters, refers principally, if not exclusively, to events which are yet to come. Dr.Arnold in his sermons, “On the Interpretation of Prophecy,” suggests that, we should bear in mind that predictions have a lower historical sense, as well as a higher spiritual sense;(THIS IS THE BIG ERROR THEY MAKE) that there may be one or more than one typical, imperfect, historical fulfillment of the prophecy, in each of which, the higher spiritual fulfillment is shadowed forth more or less distinctly. SPRITZING THE SCRIPTURES IS ALWAYS A DANGEROUS MODE OF INTERPRETATION,BECAUSE IT LEAVES THE DOOR OPEN TO “FALSE DOCTRINAL ASSUMPTIONS” TO BE MADE WITHOUT HAVING TO PROVE ANYTHING AT ALL!! IS IT NOT THE HEIGHT OF ASSUMPTION TO BELIEVE THAT GOD CANNOT JUST SIMPLY “SAY” WHAT HE MEANS,AND MEAN EXACTLY WHAT HE SAYS ? THIS IS SOOOO SIMPLE CHURCH,NO COMPLICATED INTERPRETIVE PROCESS WAS EVER NEEDED TO KNOW WHAT GOD WAS REVEALING IN THE REVELATION,NOTHING TO WAIT FOR EXCEPT HISTORY TO UNFOLD AND FOR US TO DO WHAT WE WERE CALLED TO DO,WIN THE LOST NOT WAIT FOR THE RAPTURE TO GET US OUT OF HERE. IT IS IN THE “HISTORICAL” PLAN OF GOD THAT NEEDS TO BE FOCUSED ON NOT SOME “SECRET PLAN KNOWN ONLY TO A FEW TEACHERS TO BE GERMINATED OUT A LITTLE HERE AND A LITTLE THERE AT THE “HIGH COST” OF THIS BOOK AND THAT BOOK ,THIS SEMINAR AND YET ANOTHER SEMINAR JUST TELL US ABOUT” A LITTLE KNOWN PROPHESY NEVER REVEALED UNTIL NOW” AND SO IT GOES ON AND ON AND WE ARE LEFT KNOWING LESS AND LESS ABOUT THE TRUTH,BECOMING MORE AND MORE CONFUSED AS TIME GOES ON!rfheartani_e0

However, I am not setting forth with an uncertain tiller or a wobbly compass. Not that I have any special endowments, but rather, this is based on a line of interpreters stretching over many generations. These former voyagers over the centuries have assessed their past, charted their position, and pointed the way forward. By them, the direction that we are taking is clearly marked and the destination is well in view. We can see a vision of the truths that are in the Book of Revelation –they will be clearly unfolded. I invite you to start the voyage and stay with it until the mists have rolled away.

afi0062Study in history and in the Book of Revelation has led me to what I had thought were some startling conclusions, Russia would undergo changes that would transform her anti-Christian perspective to one of, at the least, not being an enemy of the Christian religion. At that time that did not look possible in the near future, a revival of the Christian faith coming into Russia, centered in a movement in the Ukraine that would engulf Russia and spread from there to the nations. NOW THIS IS A CONCLUSION THAT I NEVER THOUGHT I WOULD SAY:”The Second Coming of Christ is not Imminent” I SPENT 32 YEARS AS A DISPENSATIONALIST and taught it with conviction until God “REVEALED THE REAL TRUTH”about the Revelation to me through various sources,not the least of which was much prayer..he let get a hold of a book called “End Time Delusions” by Steve Wohlberg and my change of heart began! And trust me I don’t change my mind without the FIRMEST OF EVIDENCE and much study! Based on conclusions from prophecy that these above-mentioned events needed to unfold before the plan of God was complete. Those who predicted the return of the Lord at any momentafi015 had not the foggiest notion of the times and seasons that the apostle Paul spoke about in Thessalonians. I have not predicted the time of the second coming; I have said as did Paul that that day will not come until certain events happen. There are other historical events as well but the overthrow of Russian, official, anti-Christian activity is to be cataclysmic, either physically (a great disaster) or spiritually (a great revival). The second coming of Christ is after that event which will take place in historical time. Perhaps His coming may be sooner than I think but no sooner than the events that are predicted and outlined in this Revelation come to pass. ONE THING IS SURE,HE WILL NOT COME AT THE BEHEST OF SOME TEACHER JUST TO MAKE HIS BOOK SALES INCREASE OR HIS PROPHESY CONFERENCES TO GAIN MEMBERSHIP! In some evangelical circles the concept of the imminent return is something sacred, and to express the belief in a non-imminent return is just short of heretical. Significantly, What the church fathers of the first three to five centuries said about the second coming indicates that they did not think it imminent in their time.

an-book_page_flip_lg_whtJesus said:

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life:

and they are they which testify of me. John 5:39

Intro to the Revelation of Yeshua to the Churches…..as it should be plus an introduction to Historicism!

A TABLE OF REVELATION’s SYMBOLS and what they mean.

z3564399In this table I give only the leading Symbols used by John, with their apparent meaning. The definitions have been obtained from Mede, Elliott, Lange, Campbell, Archdeacon Lea, and other sources.

Adultery.–Idolatry or apostasy; especially the latter. As Christ is represented as a bridegroom and the church as a bride, apostasy, or unfaithfulness to him, would be spiritual adultery, and a false church properly represented as a harlot.

Angel.–Any agent or messenger of the divine will. The term may be a symbol of any movement of nations, or in history which carries out the divine purposes.

Ascension to Heaven.–Exaltation in power and glory. Prosperity.

Babylon.–The city which carried Israel into captivity. Hence, a symbol of any power that renders them captive, whether it be Pagan or Papal Rome.

Balances.--A symbol of justice, but when used to denote the weighing out of food, a symbol of scarcity.

Black.–The color of mourning; hence a symbol of calamity and sorrow.

Black Horse.--The horse was not used as a beat of burden by the ancients, but for purposes of war. Hence it is a symbol of war, and a black horse is a symbol of calamitous war.

Blood.–A symbol of the carnage of war. [410]

Beast.–The term rendered beast in the Revision means a savage wild beast. Hence it is a symbol of a cruel, tyrannical persecuting power. The term used in chap. 4, rendered beasts in the Common Version, is not the same. Instead of “Four Beasts” that should be rendered “Four Living Creatures.”

Binding.–This symbol means to restrain, to hold; also to deprive of power and render helpless.

Book.–The record of the divine will. To seal a book is to conceal its meaning, since ancient books were rolls and could not be read when sealed. To open seals is to disclose the meaning. To devour a book is to become master of its contents. The book with seven seals is the book of human destiny, an outline of the great events which connect themselves with the church until its final triumph. The opening of its seals is the revelation of future history.

Bow.–The bow, a warlike weapon, when held in the hand is a symbol of war.

Bride.--The spouse of Christ, the Church, the New Jerusalem.

Bridegroom.–Jesus Christ.

Candlestick.–A symbol of a church, which should be a light in the world. The seven golden candlesticks are the seven churches. A symbol of any light-giving agency.

Chain.–A symbol of bondage or affliction. To chain is to render powerless. To bind Satan with a chain is to destroy his power.

Cloud.--An emblem of power and majesty. To ride upon the clouds is to appear in glory and exaltation.

Crown.–The symbol of royal majesty. To enjoy exaltation and honor. To receive the crown of life is to receive the honors of eternal life.

Darkness.–The well known symbol of calamity and affliction.

Day.–“I have given you a day for a year.” One revolution of the earth on its axis is a symbol of its annual revolution in its orbit. “Twelve hundred and sixty days” means as many years.

Death.–A symbol of destruction.

Dragon.--The old pagan Roman Empire. The dragon was originally a symbol of a monarch. In Revelation it means the persecuting monarchy of Rome.

Earth.–The ancient civilized world, which corresponded in John’s time with the Roman Empire. Political powers.

Earthquake.–Political and moral revolutions and convulsions of society. The shaking of the established order of things. The subversion of states and fortunes.

Eclipse.–Or the darkening of heavenly bodies, means the obscuration of the glory of kings and potentates of which sun, moon and stars are symbols.

Egypt.--The place of spiritual bondage. A condition of sinfulness. Opposition to Christ.

Euphrates.–The symbol of the Turkish power. To be “bound by the Euphrates” is to be restrained at that river.

Elders.–Probably princes of righteousness.

False Prophets.--A false spiritual power which falsely claims divine authority for its teaching.

Fire.--Fierce destruction. Never the symbol of a blessing, but of a curse.

Fire from Heaven.–Divine destruction; but fire brought down from heaven by the two-horned dragon means excommunication and anathemas of a false spiritual power.

Flood.–Symbol of overpowering. Distress from persecution or any cause.

Forehead.–A mark in the forehead means a public profession.

Fornication.–Idolatry. See Adultery.

Grave.–To put in the grave, signifies to consign to oblivion. “Not to suffer dead bodies to be put into the grave,” means that they shall be remembered.

Hail.–Ravages and destruction.

Hand.–A mark in the hand means the manner of life, or practice.

Harlot.–An idolatrous community. The great Harlot is the apostate church. See Adultery.

Heavens and the Earth.–The world. The political and religious universe. A new heavens and new earth imply a passing away of the old order of things and the establishment of a new order.

Horse.–Used only for warlike purposes by the ancients and hence a symbol of war. The color of the horse indicates the condition of his rider and the state of the war.

Horns.–“The great horn of the first king;” Daniel. A symbol of kings, kingdoms, or power. Seven horns indicate enormous power.

Incense.–The prayers of the saints.

Islands.--European states. In the prophets the “isles of the sea” meant the countries in and beyond the Mediterranean; hence, Europe.

Jerusalem.–The capital of Judea and the seat of the temple becomes a symbol of the church of Christ. The “holy city” is contrasted with the “great city,” Jerusalem with Babylon, or the true with the false church.

Jezebel.–An unholy woman is a symbol of an unholy influence in the church.

Key.–A symbol of power to deliver or imprison, to open heaven or hell, or to shut them; of power to save or destroy.

King.–Supreme power of any kind. A government; a kingdom.

Lamb.–The symbol of a sinless, sacrificial offering. The Lamb of God is Christ slain as a lamb from the foundation of the world.

Lion.–A symbol of kingly power.

Locusts.The locusts, a devouring pest bred in the deserts of Arabia, are a symbol of devouring Arabian armies. The Arabians under Mohammed.

Manna.–The bread of life. The truth of Christ.

Measuring Rod.-The standard by which the church is measured. The Word.

Mountain.–Some person or power conspicuous among men. Highly elevated. A great prince or government. A burning mountain is a baleful, destructive power.

Moon.--A symbol of powers, rulers and great men which are not supreme. A light which shines by reflecting another light.

Merchants.–A symbol of those who make a gain of godliness and traffic in religious privileges.

Palm.--A symbol of joy or victory.

Pale Horse.–An image of desolating war, and a reign of death.

Red Horse.–An image of cruel, bloody war, distinguished by awful carnage.

River of Life.–Christ is the fountain of life. The abundant, ever flowing life that Christ bestows, is fitly symbolized by a river. The river, and tree,

Rod.–The symbol of rule. The rod of iron is a symbol of resistless sway.

Scarlet.–This color, the color of blood, symbolizes bloody cruelty. A scarlet woman is a persecuting church.

Seven.–The perfect number. Completeness.

Stars.–Shining lights in the world. Conspicuous men, whether in the church or the state.

Sun.--As the great light giver, in one sense a symbol of Christ. Also a supreme ruler. The moon and stars indicate great lights of society, but inferior to the sun.

Sword.–A symbol of slaughter. Also of conquest. A sword in the hand indicates by carnal weapons. A sword proceeding from the mouth indicates conquests by the word of God. [412]

Temple of God.--The church of which the tabernacle and temple were types. The temple of God in heaven, open, is the abode of God, heaven itself, the church above.

Throne.–A symbol of authority.

Trumpet.–The blast of a trumpet signifies the forward march of armies, carnal or spiritual. Also the proclamation of war or peace.

Time.–Time, times and half a time is an annual revolution of the earth, a year, two years, a half year, or three and a half years. “Seven times” passed over Nebuchadnezzar, or seven years.

Wine Press.–A symbol of an effusion of blood and of distress.

White.–To be clothed in white is to be innocent, pure, and to be triumphant.

White Horse.–Triumphant and glorious war.

Whore.–Apostate church. See Adultery.

Winds.--Symbol of commotion; of mighty movements. The “Four Winds” are four invasions of the Roman Empire.

Witness.–The two witnesses are the two Testaments, for such is the meaning of the latter word.

Woman.–The “woman clothed with the sun” is the pure and faithful church. The Great Harlot is the false, faithless, apostate church. The church is often symbolized by a bride, or a woman bearing children. A pure woman represents a faithful church; an adulterous woman, “a harlot,” a false, apostate church. of life mean essentially the same.

trumpets1THE SCOPE OF THE REVELATION.

John states that the book is a record of things “which should shortly come to pass.” He saw outlined in his vision events which were at that time in the future, but which were “shortly” to become history. No one would suppose that it was the divine purpose to reveal all the changing history of nations, races and kingdoms for the last eighteen hundred years, and hence, a question necessary to interpretation is: To what countries and series of events do the predictions apply? If we turn to the Old Testament prophets we will be guided to a correct answer. The central thought in all their predictions is the future history of the people of God. All that they utter is related, either directly or indirectly, to the fortunes of Israel, temporal and spiritual, the typical nation, and the spiritual nation, or in other words, to the fortunes of the Jews and of the Church. With this great object before them they predict the fate of the great Gentile nations with whom the Jews came in contact, who influenced their fortunes, or became their oppressors. Hence we have Assyria, Babylon, Tyre, Egypt, etc., made burdens of prophecy.

Exactly the same is true of New Testament prophecy. The prophets speak of the future of Israel and of the Church, and necessarily reveal much concerning the opposing and persecuting nations. It was not in the mind of Christ to give in Revelation the outline of all history, but to outline the fortunes, tribulations and triumphs of the Church. The Church was, in the earlier centuries, almost wholly within the bounds of the vast, persecuting empire of Pagan Rome. Hence this opposing power would come before the prophetic vision, and we will find that the symbolism often refers to the Roman power. Let it be ever present to the mind of the reader that John was the victim of Roman persecution, and an exile on Patmos when he wrote; that he had never been beyond the boundaries of the Roman Empire, and that there is no historical authority for supposing that any apostle ever stepped upon soil that a Roman citizen would call foreign. Since this mighty empire affects so closely the interests of the Church, it is in harmony [413] with all we know of prophecy to expect it to be the subject of prophetic vision. That Pagan Rome is, to a greater or less extent, the subject of the predictions is agreed by almost all interpreters, but the agreement is by no means so marked that Papal Rome, the great spiritual despot upon which the mantle of the pagan empire fell, is also an important element in the explanation of the visions. I believe that a close and unbiased study of the text compels the conclusion that a great apostasy, a false church, a persecuting spiritual power, is revealed which mightily influences the fortunes of the Church, and that its characteristics are found strikingly exhibited in certain periods of the history of the Papacy. There arises a great apostasy, a false church that produces for the time a mighty influence upon the saints of Jesus Christ. This is also a subject of prophecy. I am then prepared to affirm that the general scope of the Book of Revelation is similar to that of the Old Testament prophets; that its primary object is to outline the history of the church; that, in subordination to this primary object, it portrays the fortunes of the two great persecuting powers, Pagan and Papal Rome. The changing fortunes of the Church are portrayed, running like a golden thread through the dark panorama of history, until at last, in God’s good time, the battle is fought to the end, the victory won, and the triumphant Church enjoys the fruition of all its sufferings and labors and the glories of the New Jerusalem.

the-ki3DIVISIONS OF THE BOOK.

In order to have an understanding the reader must keep in mind that there is more than one series of visions, and that these overlap each other, revealing different features of the same period. The whole book might be divided as follows:

PART I. Chapters I-IV.-This part embraces the Introduction, the Vision of the Son of Man, the Letters to the Seven Churches, and Vision of the Opened Heaven and the Throne of God.

PART II. Chapters V-XI.-This part opens with a Vision of a Book sealed with Seven Seals in the Hands of Him who sits upon the Throne–the Book of Destiny; the Contents hidden by the seals. The Lamb of God prevails to open the seals; that is, to Reveal the Future. As each is opened a vision appears which presents a Symbol representing a Period of Human history. Six seals are opened in succession, followed by a pause before the opening of the seventh seal. When the seventh seal is opened it is found to embrace Seven Thunders and Seven Trumpets. The trumpets are blown in succession, each followed by Great Events, and when the last is blown the End comes when Christ triumphs over all. The Seven Seals, with the Seven Trumpets, contained under the last seal, reach to the end of time.

PART III. Chapters XII-XVIII.–This part opens with a Vision of a Woman, a symbol of the Church; an Enemy of the Woman which appears with as a Seven-headed and Ten-horned Beast, understood to be a symbol of Pagan Rome; a Two-horned Beast, which I understand to be Papal Rome; there also appears sitting on the Seven-headed Beast a False Woman, a symbol of a False Church. The figures change and these opposing powers under the name of Babylon are overthrown.

PART IV. Chapters XIX-XX.--These chapters describe the Great Victory over the opposing powers, the Millennial Period, and the Final Uprising and Defeat of Satan.

PART V. Chapters XXI-XXII.--These chapters describe the Glorious Home of the Redeemed Saints, and embrace Closing Exhortations. [414] THIS IS TAKEN FROM B. W. Johnson’s

The People’s New Testament (1891)

THE REVELATION

OF JOHN.

CHAPTER I. PLEASE NOTE,THERE ARE WORKING LINKS WITHIN THE TEXT WHICH TAKE YOU TO OTHER STUDY MATERIAL!

The Vision of the Son of Man.

SUMMARY.–Preface. John to the Seven Churches. In the Spirit on the Lord’s Day. The Revelation of the Son of Man. The Seven Stars and Seven Candlesticks.

z101496241-3. The Revelation. Apocalypse, or uncovering, so the Greek word means. The curtain of the future is lifted. Of Jesus Christ. The revelation is made by Jesus Christ. See chapter 5. God gave him to shew. See chapter 5. He who sits on the throne gave to the Son the sealed book of the future to open it. Shortly come to pass. The series of events began to unfold in a few years after John wrote, and has rolled on through all the centuries. Lange renders the Greek translated “shortly” by the phrase “in quick succession,” which is nearly its meaning. It implies successive order. He sent and signified. The things “which must shortly come to pass.” By his angel. Here, and throughout the Apocalypse the office of unveiling the different scenes appears to be assigned to a particular angel. See 4:1; 21:9; 22:1; 22:8, etc. To his servant John. A usual designation of the prophets. See Isa. 49:5; Amos 3:7; Rev. 19:10. 2. Who bare record. John is meant, who made the record of all he saw and heard. 3. Blessed is he that readeth. There is a reference to the custom that had already grown up, at the close of the first century, of reading the apostolic writings publicly in the churches. The benediction is pronounced on the public reader; on those that hear, and lastly upon those that keep the words contained in this prophecy. The time is at hand. The period to which the prophecy relates is near.

4-8. John to the seven churches which are in Asia. The churches are named in verse 11. The term “Asia” did not mean in the first century what it does now, but only the Roman province called Asia, of which Ephesus was the capital. All the seven churches are in that province. It is supposed that SEVEN, the perfect and sacred number, were chosen, because the seven were to symbolize the whole Church of Christ. There were in the province of Asia more than seven churches at this time, as we know, Colosse, Miletus (Acts 20:17) and Hierapolis (Col. 4:13) being named in the New Testament. Grace be [415] to you. The benediction, like that in the apostolic epistles, shows that Revelation is an epistle also, addressed directly to seven churches and through them to all the church. From him which is. The I AM. See Exod. 3:14. From the seven Spirits. The Holy Spirit. The numeral seven indicates fulness, perfection. It is the sacred number. The sevens are constantly repeated through Revelation. There are seven churches, seven spirits, seven seals, seven trumpets, seven thunders, seven vials, etc. 5. And from Jesus Christ. Some of the glories of Christ, the third whose grace is invoked, are named. The faithful witness. Because all that he says is faithful and true. The first born of the dead. See notes on Col. 1:18. Through Christ’s resurrection from the dead life and immortality were brought to light for us all. Hence he is called the “first born.” The prince. The rightful ruler of all the rulers of the earth. Unto him that loveth us. The tense is present, as in the Revision. His love never ceases. Washed us. Rather, as in the Revision, “loosed us.” This was done by the shedding of his blood. 6. And he made us. Here the Revision must be followed. He made us to be a kingdom; to be priests unto his God. His disciples are constituted a kingdom; a kingdom in which each one is a priest. No disciple needeth a priest to offer incense or sacrifice for him, for he can go directly to the Father through Jesus Christ. See notes on 1 Pet. 2:9. Christians are called priests, but are never called kings in a correct translation of the New Testament. 7. Behold, he cometh. Christ. With clouds. See Matt. 24:30; 26:64; Acts 1:9, 11. The clouds denote the glory and terrors of his coming. Every eye shall see him. He will then come to meet all mortals. They which pierced him. Israel, the nation which rejected and crucified him is meant. See Zech. 12:10, which is here quoted. All the tribes of earth shall mourn over him. In consternation because he is coming to judge the world. 8. I am the Alpha and the Omega. The first and last letters of the Greek alphabet; hence “the beginning and the end.” All begins with God and he closes the drama of earthly history.

p02-449-11. I John. He here names himself for the third time. The fourth and fifth times are in 21:2 and 22:8. Companion in tribulation. A partaker of the sufferings of the church like you. Kingdom and patience. In the kingdom they were called to patient endurance. Was in the isle that is called Patmos. For description of this island see Introduction. “It appears to be the certain result of historical evidence that the Apostle John was banished to the island of Patmos during the reign of Domitian (A. D. 81-96) and in the fourteenth year of that reign, and was recalled from Patmos to Ephesus by the Emperor Nerva in A. D. 96.”–Bible Commentary (Speaker’s) on Revelation. For the word of God. Banished on account of preaching the word of God. 10. I was in the Spirit. Was lifted to that [416] spiritual exaltation in which revelations are given. On the Lord’s day. The day of the Lord’s Resurrection, the first day of the week. In the earlier apostolic writings the day was called “the first day of the week,” but by the close of the century it began to be called “the Lord’s day,” as here. Epistles of Barnabas, Ignatius and Dionysius, written near this time, so style it, and the name is of common occurrence from this time onward, and is confined to Sunday. It is not confounded with the “Sabbath day” of many centuries. See Dr. Wm. Smith’s Unabridged Dictionary of the Bible, article “Lord’s Day.” Heard behind me a great voice. Heard but did not see the speaker. 11. I am Alpha and Omega. These words are omitted in the Revision, as not found in the best MS. What thou seest. In all the visions of the Book of Revelation. Write in a book. The Greek says “in a roll,” which was the form of books in the East at that time. Unto Ephesus. The seven churches are now named. For notes on these churches and the cities where they were located, see the chapters 2 and 3. Two of the churches named had received epistles from the Apostle Paul.

afi015112-16. I saw seven golden candlesticks. The first things seen when he turned to see whence the voice came were the seven golden candlesticks, which symbolized the churches (verse 20). 13. And in the midst. It is a beautiful thought that he who said “I will be with you always” is represented as moving in the midst of the church. Like unto the Son of man. A term used in Dan. 7:13 and applied by the Savior to Himself, but never applied to him by the New Testament writers except here, Rev. 14:14 and Acts 7:56. A garment down to the foot. The long robe of a high priest girt about with the golden girdle of a king. 14. His head and his hair were white. White is the color of purity and of triumph. The idea here is not age but heavenly glory. His eyes were as a flame of fire. Bright, piercing, all seeing, flashing light, and also a consuming fire of the wicked. 15. Feet like unto fine brass. Shedding forth splendor like burnished brass heated in a furnace. His voice. His voice was mighty like the sound of surging waters. 16. In his right hand seven stars. “The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches” (verse 20). And out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword. This two-edged sword is a symbol of the word by which Christ’s conquests are won. See Eph. 6:17; Heb. 4:12, and compare Rev. 19:15. His countenance. The glory of his countenance is the same that was manifested at the Transfiguration. [417]

angel17-20. I fell at his feet as dead. Overcome with awe. No sinful man can stand before God and live; hence the impression made by the appearance of the Lord is that of terror. Fear not. But when the Lord spoke to the disciple it was with the old love. How often before had Jesus said “Fear not.” I am the first and the last. See verse 8. The attributes claimed for Jehovah are also claimed for Christ. 18. He that liveth, and was dead. Put to death but living. Have the keys of death and of Hades. Not only a victor over death, but the very gates of death and Hades are under his control. Hence he can deliver from the dead whom he will. 19. Write. Not only the vision just seen, but the things which are, viz., the description of the state of the churches given in chapters 2 and 3; and also the things which shall be, viz., the revelation of future history recorded in chapters 6-20. 20. The mystery of the seven stars. The Lord himself at once explains what the seven stars and seven candlesticks symbolize. The seven candlesticks represent the churches, or organizations appointed to “let their light shine” and become “the light of the world.” And the seven stars are the angels of the churches. These were, I think, the evangelists of the churches. See note below.

THE APPEARANCE OF CHRIST. He was arrayed in a priestly robe and girt with a kingly girdle of gold. Heavenly purity was indicated by the dazzling whiteness of his head and hair, and the splendor that shone from his countenance was like that of the unclouded sun. Every manifestation of the divine glory is accompanied with brilliancy and splendor. “In him is no darkness at all.” The burning bush of Horeb, the glory of Sinai, the Shekinah of the tabernacle, the City of which God and the Lamb are the light, the transfigured Savior of Hermon, the Son of Man of Patmos, and all the visions of the prophets of both covenants, indicate that whenever the Deity manifests itself, there is a revelation of heavenly splendor. The Son of Man, the Man of Sorrows, the Lamb of God, is also the Bright and Morning Star, and the Sun of Righteousness. It is thus, crowned with majesty, garbed in light, and shining as the sun, that John beholds the Son of Man walking amid the golden candlesticks and holding the seven stars in his hands.

THE SEVEN STARS. I shall not take up space to discuss the various views as to the nature of the angels of the churches. It has been held that they were heavenly angels, were diocesan bishops of the cities, were pastors or elders, or were messengers sent from the churches to visit John in Patmos. The word angel means a messenger, and is equally applicable to the messengers of God and those of men. John the Baptist is called in Mark 1:2, angel, or messenger, and the term is often applied to human beings. It is certain that it is in this passage. John is told to write to these angels, and certainly the letters were not sent to the angels of heaven. Nor does this language suggest the idea of messengers sent to visit John in Patmos. In that case the letters might be sent by them to the churches, but would certainly not be written to them. It becomes evident, therefore, that the angels were men filling some office in connection with the churches. There is not the slightest evidence that diocesan bishops existed until much later than this age, and hence I do not think that they are meant. The term can hardly apply to an elder, for there seems to have been a plurality of elders in all the churches, and it is not likely that one would be singled out. It is my judgment that the angels were the preachers or evangelists of the churches. As [418] these evangelists not only labored at home, but were often sent out, and were messengers to carry the good tidings, there is a fitness in applying the term to them. We know from the epistles of Paul and from church tradition, that Timothy was long the evangelist at Ephesus, and it is possible that he may have lived and labored until the time of John’s banishment. If so, he was the angel to whom the epistle to the church at Ephesus was directed. Then we conclude that the seven stars held in the hand of the Lord, supported and strengthened by him, shining with his light, are the seven preachers of the churches of Asia.

Itroduction to Historicism (Christian eschatology)

History Revealed
History Revealed

Please note that I (The Minister of Blog) am NOT an Adventist nor do I hold too many tenants of the modern Churches that the Bible does not DIRECTLY TEACH! I believe the Bible to be the ONLY RULE to live by WITHOUT man’s interventions or inventions attached to it, this is a hard thing to accomplish in this day and age as the influence of men’s thoughts has spoiled the otherwise pure words of God. With MUCH prayer and patience one can separate the truth of God from MOST of men’s teachings without error becoming a cancer in the church, but it is of the utmost importance that one dedicate oneself to prayer and fasting surrounded by the Word of God on a daily basis so that error does not enter ones viewpoint. Always keep in mind that the Word’s of God ARE ALWAYS PURE from the standpoint of the Original Languages of the Old Testament and the New Testament study from this perspective is of the utmost importance and there are many tools that can make this easy IF you look at your Christian Book store. The following information is taken from Wikipedia

In Christian eschatology, Historicism is a school of interpretation which treats the eschatological prophecies of Daniel and Revelation as finding literal earthly fulfillment through the history of the church age and especially in relation to the struggle between the true church and apostasy. Historicism stands in contrast to Preterism, Futurism and Idealism.

Emerging within the early church, historicism became a dominant eschatological interpretation in the ProtestantCatholic conflicts of the Reformation. A Historicist approach was taken by Martin Luther,[1] though claims that John Calvin held to the Historicist interpretation[2] are not universally recognized.[3] Among conservative Protestants, historicism was supplanted in the 19th century by futurism, with the rise of dispensationalist theology.[4][5][6] Historicism continues to be taught in churches arising from the Adventist movement.

A common feature of Historicist interpretations, which makes them controversial, is the identification of the Antichrist (1 and 2 John), the Beast (Revelation 13), the Man of Sin or Man of Lawlessness (2 Thessalonians 2) , the “Little horn” of Daniel 7 and 8, and the Whore of Babylon (Revelation 17) with the Roman Catholic Church, the Papal system and each successive Pope himself (a common position held by Protestants in the Reformation, which is not prevalent today). Such an identification, however, is not unique to Historicism, has not been held by all Historicists, and has been and is currently, held by some Futurists.

Similarly the day-year principle is a characteristic feature of Historicism, though not a defining feature as it is not unique to Historicism. The principle of a ‘mystical’ or symbolic interpretation of prophetic time durations has been held even by Preterists such as the Jesuit Luis De Alcazar of Seville.[7]

Prophetic commentaries in the early church were often partial or incomplete, usually interpreting individual passages rather than entire books. The earliest complete commentary on the book of Revelation was carried out by Victorinus in 300 AD. Nevertheless, an overview of the various prophetic expositions from the 1st to the 5th centuries demonstrates that prophecies were uniformly interpreted on a Historicist basis. [8] Though looking to the future fulfillment of certain prophetic passages, the overwhelming number of Early Church Fathers understood the events of Biblical prophecy (especially as contained in the books of Daniel and Revelation), as encompassing the duration from the ascension of Christ to his second advent.[9]

Throughout the medieval era the Historicist interpretation became increasingly developed by the expositions of expositors such as Andreas, Primasius (both 6th century), Bede (730 AD), Anspert, Arethas, Haymo, and Berengaud (all of the ninth century).[10] In the 10th century the Catholic bishop Arnulf of Orleans was the first to apply the ‘man of sin‘ prophecy in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-9 to the papacy.[11][12] The same interpretation was given by the Catholic abbot Joachim of Floris in 1190[13] and the archbishop Eberhard II in 1240.

Historicism in Seventh-day Adventist teaching

See also: Seventh-day Adventist eschatology and Day-year principle

The Seventh-day Adventist Church advocates a historicist approach to the books of Daniel and Revelation.[14] However, some progressive Adventists and certain members of the Adventist Society for Religious Studies disagree with some of the traditional interpretations.

Prophecies of Daniel

Seventh-day Adventists teach that the four successive kingdoms described in Daniel chapters 2 and 7 correspond to Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome. Traditionally it has been taught that the “little horn” found in Daniel 7:8 and 8:9 refers to the Papacy; the reference to changing “times and law” (Daniel 7:25) refers to the change of the Christian sabbath from Saturday to Sunday, and the attack on the sanctuary (Daniel 8:11) to the mediatorial ministry of Roman Catholic priests.[15] The “time, times and half a time” (Daniel 7:25) represents a period of 1260 years spanning 538 CE and 1798 CE, when the Roman Catholic Church dominated the Christian world.[16] The feet of the statue in Daniel 2, made of mixed iron and clay, represent modern Europe.[17] The “cleansing” of the sanctuary in Daniel 8:14 (KJV) and judgment scene in Daniel 7:9-10 refer to an investigative judgment beginning in 1844.

Adventists teach that the prophecy of seventy weeks in Daniel 9 stretches from 457 BCE to 34 CE, and that the final “week” of the prophecy refers to the events of Jesus Christ’s ministry.[18]

The interpretation of Daniel 11-12, and the time periods contained therein, has been problematic for Adventists, and although there have been various attempts to pinpoint the precise events, consensus is lacking.[19][20] Traditionally, the “time of trouble” mentioned in Daniel 12:1 is taken to be a reference to the final crisis just prior to the second coming.

Prophecies of Revelation

Traditionally, Adventists have believed that the seven churches of Revelation 2-3 represent seven eras spanning Pentecost and the second coming. The “Laodicean” (or “lukewarm”) period (Rev 3:14-22) represents the present era, which began in 1844.[21]

The seven seals and seven trumpets of Revelation 6-9 are generally taken to represent events which took place during the Christian era up to 1844. For example, the first four trumpets have traditionally been identified with the pagan invasions of Western Christendom in the 5th century CE (by the Visigoths, Vandals and Huns), while the fifth and sixth trumpets have been identified with the assault on Eastern Christendom by the Muslim armies and Ottoman Turks during the Middle Ages.[21] Revelation 6:12-13 was fulfilled in the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, the dark day of May 19, 1780, and the Leonids meteor shower of November 13, 1833.[22] The vision of the angel and little book (Revelation 10) represents the Millerite movement; the “bitterness” of the book (Rev 10:10) represents the Great Disappointment. The vision of two witnesses (Revelation 11) corresponds to the events of the French revolution.[21] (However some Adventists today are cautious about these identifications, and many either omit or reject them.[citation needed])

Revelation 12-13 contains a prophecy about the forces of evil in the middle ages and end times. The dragon represents both Satan and pagan Rome. The Remnant church is mentioned in Revelation 12:17. The first beast of Revelation 13 (from the sea) symbolizes the Papacy, and the second beast (from the earth) symbolizes the United States of America. The “image to the beast” represents Protestant churches which will form an alliance with the Papacy, and the “mark of the beast” refers to a future universal Sunday law.[23]

According to the traditional interpretation and conservative scholars, Revelation 14 contains the three angels’ messages, which represent the mission of the Remnant (that is, the Seventh-day Adventist church). The seven last plagues (Revelation 15-16) occur during the “time of trouble” following the close of human probation. Revelation 17-18 recapitulate with a description of Roman Catholicism (Babylon, the great whore) and its final downfall.[24]

Finally, Revelation 19-22 describe the second coming of Jesus, the millennium, the final (or “executive”) judgment, and the new creation.

List of Proponents

References

  1. ^ Leroy Edwin Froom, The Prophetic Faith Of Our Fathers, volume II (1948) pages 267-279
  2. ^ Francis Nigel Lee, ‘The Non-Preterist Historicism of John Calvin and the Westminster Standards’ (2000)
  3. ^ Leroy Edwin Froom, The Prophetic Faith Of Our Fathers, volume II (1948) page 436
  4. ^ Gerhard Hasel, ‘Crossroads in Prophetic Interpretation: Historicism versus Futurism’, paper presented to the 1990 World Ministers Council, July 3, 1990, Indianapolis, Indiana
  5. ^ Francis Nigel Lee, ‘John’s Revelation Unveiled’, 2000
  6. ^ David Pio Gullon, ‘Two Hundred Years From Lacunza: The Impact Of His Eschatalogical Thought On Prophetic Studies And Modern Futurism’, The First International Jerusalem Bible Conference, June 1998
  7. ^ ‘…Alcasar does positively determine about these three years and an half, that they must necessarily be understood in a Mystical Sense, to answer the nature of a Mystical Prophecy, as this is. According as we see the half hour in the 8th. Chapter, and the five Months in the 9th. Chapter, to be taken; which he says, are an Instance in the Prophecy, to direct us to the Mystical Use of Time in all other places of it. And to take the Days and Months in their literal sense, he says, Is not at all suitable to an Enigmatical Style.’ Drue Cressener, preface to ‘The Judgments Of God Upon The Roman Catholic Church, &c.’, 1689
  8. ^ Leroy Edwin Froom, The Prophetic Faith Of Our Fathers, volume I (1950) page 456
  9. ^ David Pio Gullon, ‘Two Hundred Years From Lacunza: The Impact Of His Eschatalogical Thought On Prophetic Studies And Modern Futurism’, The First International Jerusalem Bible Conference, June 1998
  10. ^ EB Elliott, ‘Horae Apocalypticae’, volume IV, Appendix I, fifth edition, 1862
  11. ^ Leroy Edwin Froom, The Prophetic Faith Of Our Fathers, volume I (1950) pages 541-542
  12. ^ EB Elliott, ‘Horae Apocalypticae’, volume IV, Appendix I, fifth edition, 1862
  13. ^ EB Elliott, ‘Horae Apocalypticae’, volume IV, Appendix I, fifth edition, 1862
  14. ^ Frank B. Holbrook (1983). “What Prophecy Means to This Church“. Biblical Research Institute.
  15. ^ Ministerial Association, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (2005). Seventh-day Adventists believe (2nd ed). Pacific Press. pp. 356–357, 293–295.
  16. ^ Seventh-day Adventists believe (2nd ed), pp. 184-185
  17. ^ Seventh-day Adventists believe (2nd ed), p 376
  18. ^ Seventh-day Adventists believe (2nd ed), pp. 358-359
  19. ^ Alberto R. Timm. “The 1,290 and 1,335 Days of Daniel 12“. Biblical Research Institute.
  20. ^ Gerhard Pfandl. “THE TIME PROPHECIES IN DAN 12” (PDF). Biblical Research Institute.
  21. ^ a b c SDA Bible commentary
  22. ^ Ministerial Association, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (2005). Seventh-day Adventists Believe (2nd ed). Pacific Press. pp. 378–380.
  23. ^ Seventh-day Adventists Believe (2nd ed), pp. 190-197, 382
  24. ^ Seventh-day Adventists believe (2nd ed).
  25. ^ Revelation in Notes on the New Testament; Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1884–85
  26. ^ Commentary of the Whole Bible
  27. ^ Acts to Revelation, vol. 6 in Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Old Tappan, N.J.: Fleming H. Revell
  28. ^ The Prophecies of Daniel & the Apocalypse. 1733

External links

Protestant

Seventh-day Adventist

  • Jon Paulien‘s articles The End of Historicism? Reflections on the Adventist Approach to Biblical Apocalypticpart 1, part 2 (PDF) in the Journal of the Adventist Theological Society (supportive).
  • Historicism – based on a journal published from 1985 to 1991, circulated among Seventh-day Adventists, written by Frank W. Hardy (supportive).
  • Kai Arasola, The End of Historicism: Millerite Hermeneutic of Time Prophecies in the Old Testament, a history of the decline of the historicist method of interpretation (historical account).

THE PEOPLE’S REVELATION,CHAPTER 2 & 3

THE REVELATION

CHAPTER II.

Letters to the Churches

SUMMARY.–The Letter to the Metropolitan Church of Ephesus. To the Angel of the Martyr Church of Smyrna. To the Angel of the Church at Pergamos, Persecuted by the Heathen. To the Angel of the Church at Thyatira, Defiled by Idolatry.

The second and third chapters differ from all the rest of Revelation in that they are letters dictated by the Lord to the Seven Churches which have been chosen to represent the entire church of God. The description of their varied conditions and the commendations, rebukes, promises and warnings given them, are a fitting introduction to a book which is designed to reveal the various phases of the church in history, its fortunes, its lapses, its tribulations, persecutions and final triumph. While these Seven Epistles differ in details they will be found to have the same general plan and to have the following features in common: 1. An order to write to the angel of the church. 2. A glorious title of Christ taken from the imagery or language of the visions of chapter 1. 3. A description of the condition of the church, whether good or bad, admonitions and exhortations. 4. A promise to those who persevere and triumph. 5. A closing injunction to “hear what the Spirit saith to the churches.” Four epistles are contained in chapter 2, and three in chapter 3. A close examination will show that there is a distinction. In the last four epistles the closing promise is placed after the injunction to “hear what the Spirit,” etc.; in the first three epistles the promise is before the injunction. The distinction makes two groups of epistles, one of three and the other of four, just as the seven seals, the seven trumpets and the seven bowls are divided into two groups each, of three and four.

THE CHURCH AT EPHESUS. 1-3. To the angel. See note on the Angels of the Churches at close of chapter 1. The church of Ephesus. The city of Ephesus was the capital of the Roman province of Asia, and the greatest city. As a great center it was sought by the Apostle Paul, who founded the church and labored there more than three years (see Acts, chapter 18), and afterwards addressed to it the Epistle to the Ephesians. At a later period he placed Timothy there and addressed two epistles to him. All early church tradition declares that John from about A. D. 70 made this city his home until his death. There is not now standing a single house upon the site of the ancient city, though the ruins are of the most imposing character. The Turkish village of Agasalouk, upon the Smyrna and Aidan R. R., is about two miles distant. These things saith he, etc. See 1:13, 16, 20. 2. I know thy works. The manner of life of the church. There was much to commend. Patience. Rather, endurance. Perseverance in the face of difficulties. Hast tried them which say they are apostles. False teachers, who made false claims. Every age of revolution throws up such false teachers. We often find traces of them in the epistles. 1 John 4:1 shows how to test them. The Ephesian church had put them to the test and rejected them. 3. Hast not fainted. Though called to bear afflictions for Christ they had not wearied. [419]

4-7. Nevertheless. After these words of promise a stain on the garments of the church is pointed out. Thou hast left thy first love. They have not maintained the ardor and devotion of the love of their earlier history. Nothing but the fervent love of the Bride can satisfy the Bridegroom. This change shows that many years must have passed since the last communication of Paul to the Ephesian church. 5. Remember . . . from whence thou art fallen. Note what this exhortation includes: 1. They had been at a height of excellence. 2. They had fallen from that height; there had been a spiritual declension. 3. Repent. The comparison and its proof that they were retrograding should bring repentance. 4. Do the first works. There must be the first love, and the fruits of that love in a renewal of their first works. Unless this is done Christ will come. Not in person, but in providence and judgments. The church with a waning love will be repudiated. Will remove thy candlestick. “Thy” refers to the Angel of the church through whom the address is made. To remove the candlestick would be to suffer the church to cease to exist. How signally this has been fulfilled in the case of Ephesus is seen in the fact that not one vestige of the church remains, and of the city itself naught but mouldering ruins. What concerns us, however, is that this warning is addressed to every church which has lost its first love. Unless it repents, and does its first works, its candlestick will finally be removed from its place. 6. But this thou hast. There is another ground of commendation. They hate the deeds of the Nicolaitanes. Opinions are not agreed concerning this sect, but it is probable that the followers of a Nicolaus are meant who taught that Christian liberty meant license to commit sensual sins. 7. He that hath an ear. The call to solemn attention found at the close of each epistle. To him that overcometh. The Christian life is a battle and must also be a victory. The Greek word rendered “overcome,” is peculiar to John. It occurs once in his Gospel, six times in his epistles, and sixteen times in Revelation, but only “three” times in all the rest of the New Testament. To eat of the tree of life. The symbol of eternal life. The tree is seen in Eden (Gen. 2:9; 3:22), here, and in the New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:2). Paradise of God. Since the tree of life is found in both, Paradise and the New Jerusalem must mean the same. Paul uses the term as a synonym of the “Third Heaven,” or Heaven itself (2 Cor. 12:2-4).

THE CHURCH AT SMYRNA. 8-11. The church in Smyrna. The history of its planting is unknown, but it was probably founded by some of the evangelists under Paul’s supervision. During the second century the church was prominent, and it has never ceased to exist. When I visited the city in 1889, I was told that there were more than 70,000 professing Christians in the place. The city, so old that its beginnings are unknown, is still the second in commercial importance of the Turkish empire. The first and the last. See 1:17. 9. Thy tribulation. Affliction. And thy poverty. Most of those first enlisted for Christ were poor. See 1 Cor. 1:26-29. But thou art rich. Rich in faith, hope and fruits. And I know the blasphemy. Reviling of the Jews against the Lord. Say they are Jews. Those who say that they are Jews were of the Jewish race, but were not of the true Israel. “He is not a (true) Jew [420] who is one outwardly,” etc. (Rom. 2:28). John denies the right of these Jewish opposers to use the term “Jews” in the sense of God’s chosen people. Their synagogue was the synagogue of Satan. Such strong language implies a complete separation of the church and synagogue, an event that occurred at the period of the destruction of Jerusalem. See Acts 21:20-26. 10. Fear none, etc. The church shall suffer, but it need not fear for the reasons about to be given. The devil shall cast. He may use the Jews as instruments but he is the real agent. Shall have tribulation ten days. Whether the “ten days” of persecution means a short time, or a definite period symbolized by “ten days” is uncertain. A day is often a symbol of a year. Ten persecutions are named by church historians and two persecutions of ten years each. It might refer to one of the latter which should bear very heavily on that church. The Diocletian persecution continued ten years and three months. Be thou faithful unto death. Unto martyrdom. The crown of life. Not a royal crown but the garland crown of victory over death. See 2 Tim. 4:8. 11. Shall not be hurt of the second death. Those who win the victory shall live forever. To die the second death is to be sent from the judgment throne into hell. See Rev. 20:14.

THE CHURCH AT PERGAMOS. 12-17. Pergamos. The farthest north of the Seven Churches, a city once the capital of the kingdom of Pergamos, which was great and flourishing when John wrote. It still exists with about 14,000 population, of whom over 3,000 profess to be Christians. Which hath the sharp sword. See 1:16. 13. Where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is. In a center of heathen idolatry. Pergamos was a notorious center of idolatry. Thou holdest fast my name. Honor and trust in the name of Christ. Hast not denied my faith. Still continue firm in the profession of Christ though persecuted. Wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr. Some fanciful saint who had suffered martyrdom among them because he was a faithful witness of Christ. 14. But I have a few things against thee. Much as been to the credit of the church, but there is another side. Hold the doctrine of Balaam. Teachers like Balaam who seduce the true Israel into sin. Balaam showed Balak how to lead the children of Israel astray. See Num. 25:2, and 31:16. In the same way there were false teachers at Pergamos who taught that Christians might join the idol feasts and in heathen fornication. [421] 15. So hast thou also them, etc. For Nicolaitanes. See note on verse 6 above. 16. Repent therefore. This may save the sinner, whether an alien, or a church member. To repent one must leave off his sins. I will make war against them. Those who teach and practice these pernicious doctrines. With the sword of my mouth. See 1:16. With all the power of the word of God. 17. I will give to eat of the hidden manna. The bread of life, the bread from heaven. The living bread is Jesus Christ, unseen in the earth and hence called hidden. Will give him a white stone. Among the Greeks a white stone was a symbol of acquittal, as a black stone was of guilt. The white stone implies justification, innocence and victory. A new name written. All conjectures concerning this new name are idle. It is only given to those who have finally overcome and cannot be known to us here, but implies their new relation to God and the Lamb in their triumphant state.

THE CHURCH IN THYATIRA. 18-23. In Thyatira. This is the first of the second group of four epistles. Thyatira has been mentioned in Acts, chapter 16 as the home of Lydia, who was converted at Philippi. It is likely that the church began when she and her household returned. The three churches before named were on or near the coast; the others were in the interior. Thyatira was southeast of Pergamos, and northeast of Smyrna. It is still a place of about 17,000 population, of whom nearly 3,000 profess to be Christians. Like unto a flame of fire. See 1:14, 15. 19. And the last to be more than the first. See Revision. Instead of retrograding their works grew more excellent. 20. Notwithstanding. Of the seven churches only two are blameless. Sufferest that woman Jezebel. Either a person or a party of which the wicked wife of Ahab was a type. As a woman in Revelation is a symbol of the church, true or false, I believe this symbol is used to designate a faction in the church at Thyatira of an idolatrous spirit. This faction had teachers who claimed the gift of prophecy. They taught the doctrine of Balaam named in verse 14. See note there. See also verse 24. 21. I gave her space (time) to repent. The long suffering and mercy shown in the delay of judgment are here pointed out. 22. Behold, I will cast her into a bed. Sickness and a bed are symbols of affliction and punishment. Them [422] that commit adultery with her. This is the term applied to idolatrous Israel (Jer. 3:9; Ezek. 16:32). To practice the idolatrous rites of this faction would be spiritual adultery. 23. I will kill her children. Her children are the adherents; those who perpetuate the immoral practices. The threat implies that they shall come to certain destruction. And all the churches shall know, etc. By reason of the judgments inflicted. Some have strongly urged that by “Jezebel” is meant a Sybil, half heathen, half Christian, claiming prophetic powers, who is known to have lived in Thyatira.

24-29. But to you I say, to the rest that are in Thyatira (Revision). To all who have naught to do with Jezebel. As many as have not this doctrine. Jezebel then represents a false doctrine and a faction. Which know not the deep things of Satan. Have not learned the mysteries and wisdom of Satan taught by these false teachers. I will put upon you none other burden. None other than to avoid the sins of the false faction and teachers. Compare Acts 15:28, 29. 25. Hold fast. To the gospel as it has been taught to you. 26. Keepeth my works unto the end. Until death. I will give power over the nations. In the coming period when Christ shall rule all kingdoms the saints who have endured shall share his authority. 27. And he shall rule them with a rod of iron. A scepter of iron means a firm and enduring power. Rule. Shall rule as a shepherd is the meaning of the Greek word. The rule will not be a cruel, but a guardian rule. As the vessels of a potter. So the nations shall be broken in pieces and all become one under the rule of Christ. 28. I will give him the morning star. The Morning Star is one of the titles of Christ. See Rev. 22:16. This, then, means that Christ will give them a fellowship with himself; they shall share his dominion.

CHAPTER III.

The Epistles to the Seven Churches Continued.

SUMMARY.–Letter to the Church at Sardis; the Spiritually Dead Church. Letter to the Tried and Faithful Church of Philadelphia. Letter to the Lukewarm Church of Laodicea.

THE CHURCH AT SARDIS. 1-6. The church in Sardis. The city of Sardis, once the capital of the great kingdom of Lydia and the home of Croesus, the rich king, lay in the interior nearly a hundred miles east of Smyrna and Ephesus. Though it had lost its former greatness it was still a considerable city in the first century. The church there was planted, no doubt, by some of the companions of Paul. The former city has now ceased to exist, and only extensive ruins remain to testify of its greatness. Like the church at Ephesus, which had lost its first love, the Sardian church which had “a name to live and was [423] dead,” has had its lampstand removed for many centuries. Hath the seven Spirits of God. See notes on 1:4; also 1:6. The perfect number seven denotes fulness. He hath the fulness of the Spirit whom he sends into the earth to do his work. Thou hast a name, etc. Though nominally Christian and living the Christian life, they were really spiritually dead. 2. Be watchful. Be on the watch. Awake! Strengthen the things which remain. What graces and Christian life remain, cherish and strengthen before they disappear entirely. I have not found thy works perfect. Complete, filled up to the standard God requires. 3. Remember. Remember the teaching formerly received, cling to it, and repent of the falling away from it. I will come on thee as a thief. Suddenly; in a sudden judgment. 4. But thou hast a few names. Though the church as a whole is condemned, there were true saints who were commended. Names. Persons. Not defiled their garments. Not been defiled by sin. Shall walk with me in white. In the robes of purity and triumph. 5. Shall be clothed in white raiment. This is the usual promise to him who overcomes; he shall wear the white raiment of the redeemed; though the names of those who are spiritually dead shall be blotted out of the book of life his name shall not be; and he will be confessed before the Father, that is, acknowledged. Book of life. Compare 13:8; 17:8; 20:12, 15; 21:27; Phil. 4:3. The book of life means the roll of those who have become heirs of immortality. Confess his name. Compare Matt. 10:32, and Luke 12:8.

THE CHURCH AT PHILADELPHIA. 7-13. The church in Philadelphia. This city was in the interior, southeast of Sardis, and had never attained the eminence of most of the other seats of the Seven Churches. That the church itself was poor and wanting in worldly endowments seems to be indicated by verse 8. Yet this church and that of Smyrna alone escape censure. Philadelphia is yet a city of 18,000 inhabitants, though bearing a Turkish name, has five churches and a Christian population of about 3,000. He that hath the key of David. See notes on 1:18. The key of the kingdom of God as the Son of David. Hence he only opens and shuts, or determines who shall enter in, or be shut out. 8. I have set before thee an open door. Compare Acts 14:27; 1 Cor. 16:9; 2 Cor. 2:12; Col. 4:3. The open door [424] means great opportunities; generally for preaching the gospel. It probably means here, a way opened to convert the Gentiles. Thou hast a little strength, and didst keep, etc. Through their strength was not great, they had remained faithful in much opposition. Hast not denied my name. The Pagan authorities often tested Christians by commanding them to blaspheme the name of Christ under penalty of death. 9. I will make them of the synagogue of Satan. See notes on 2:9. The bitter Jewish opposers are thus described. I will make them to come and worship before thy feet. Acknowledge that the Lord is with them. It seems also to imply the conversion of these Jewish opposers. 10. Hast kept the word of my patience. Hast endured and kept my word. In the hour of temptation. Of stern and cruel trial. Some great crisis of trial and sorrow which should come on all the world. We may not know just what our Lord referred to, but we can believe that he fulfilled his promise. The Lord’s coming is promised in 2:25; in 3:3, and here. In the first instance it is said he will “come;” in the second, “as a thief;” here, that he will come “quickly.” 11. That no man take thy crown. Not the crown of royalty (Diadema in the Greek), but the garland crown (Stephanos) given as a reward. The crown of the saints is always the latter, a term, which the Greeks did not apply to the royal crown. 12. I will make a pillar. A term implying strength, permanence and honor. In the temple. Not in any material temple, but in the church, either on earth or in heaven. The latter is here meant. The New Jerusalem has no temple in it because it is all temple. Go no more out. Always dwell there. I will write upon. When one enters the church, the spiritual temple below, three names are recorded in his baptismal formula. When he enters the kingdom above, three names are again written upon him; the name of God, of the heavenly city, and Christ’s heavenly name.

THE CHURCH AT LAODICEA. 14-22. The church in Laodicea. Laodicea was situated in the valley of the Lycus, near Colosse and Hierapolis. All three of these churches are named by Paul in the Colossian letter, and an epistle, now probably lost, was sent to Laodicea. The city of Laodicea was very proud of its wealth in the latter part of the first century, a fact we learn from profane history. The church was probably founded by Epaphras, a companion of Paul. The condemnation of the Lord in this epistle is severe, and its extinction is threatened. The site of the ancient city is uninhabited now, and of course the church has long since cease to exist. Saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness. [425] See notes on 1:5; also on 2 Cor. 1:20. The beginning of the creation. The Being from which the creation begins, the Word that made all things. 15. I know thy works. The same statement has been made of all the churches, but in all the others there has been something to praise. Thou art neither cold nor hot. Neither acting hostile to Christ, nor zealous for Him. Christ would rather that men should be opposers than formal, apathetic professors. 16. So then because thou art lukewarm. This lukewarmness was most offensive, and hence the Lord declares that they shall be rejected like nauseous food. The figure indicates loathing. 17. Because thou sayest, I am rich. Worldly prosperity had, probably, made the church indifferent. Knowest not that thou are wretched. Because rejected by the Lord. Poor. Destitute of the true riches. Blind. Blinded by the god of this world. 18. I counsel thee to buy of me gold. “In Christ are all the treasures of wisdom” (Col. 2:3). White raiment. That they may have the wedding garments (Matt. 22:11-13). Anoint thine eyes with eye salve. The unction of the Holy Spirit (1 John 2:20). 19. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. See Heb. 12:5, 16. 20. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. The language implies that Christ is near. If they will open the door by repentance he is ready to enter and bless. If any man hear my voice. Hear and obey. Then the Lord will enter and they shall partake together of the richness of the feast. 21. Will I grant to sit with me in my throne. He shall reign with Christ; that is, as a coadjutor of Christ. As I also overcame. As the result of his overcoming “God exalted him to be a Prince and a Savior,” and “to sit at the right hand of the Majesty of the heavens.” As he was exalted, so he will exalt all his brethren who win the victory over sin and temptation.

ADDITIONAL NOTES

THE FATE OF THE SEVEN CHURCHES. In view of the promises and threats of the Savior to these Seven Churches a concise view of their subsequent history would be helpful. Two of the churches, Smyrna and Philadelphia, are praised without the slightest censure. Three, Ephesus, Sardis, and Laodicea, are severely blamed and threatened with extinction. Two more, Pergamos and Thyatira, are both praised and blamed, and admonished to repent. The two first, Smyrna and Philadelphia, are now and have been since the first century, the seats of churches and of a large Christian population. Of Philadelphia the [426] skeptical Gibbon says: “Philadelphia alone has been saved by prophecy or by courage. At a distance from the sea, forgotten by the emperors, encompassed on all sides by the Turks, her valiant citizens defended their religion and freedom alone for four score years, and then capitulated with the proudest of the Ottomans. Among the Greek colonies and churches of Asia, Philadelphia is still erect–a column in a scene of ruins, a pleasing example that the paths of honor and safety may sometimes be the same.”–Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Chapter LXIV. The three churches so severely censured and threatened, Ephesus, Sardis and Laodicea, ceased to exist many centuries since, and even the cities have long been uninhabited. The two remaining churches, Pergamos and Thyatira, were never entirely blotted out and a small Christian population is found in both places to this time.

ALLEGED OPPOSITION TO PAUL. Renan and some rationalistic critics of Germany have been determined to see in Revelation a strong Judaizing spirit and a bitter opposition to Paul and his work among the Gentiles. Their interpretations illustrate how far astray a man may be led who has a theory to sustain. They insist that the Nicolaitanes, the followers of Balaam, “that woman Jezebel,” and those “who say they are Jews and are not,” are all adherents of Paul. These interpretations are so improbable that they cannot be even considered unless they have some historical basis. That is wanting. Had John been the extreme Judaizer supposed he never would have taken refuge among Gentile churches planted and trained by Paul. Had he sought to revolutionize them traces of his effort would have remained in the writings of the men who had seen, heard and been taught by John. Of this extreme aversion to Paul and his work, Polycarp, Papias and Irenæus knew nothing. It remained unknown to the whole world until discovered by certain modern rationalistic critics. On the other hand, there is not the slightest discord between the teaching of Paul in his epistles and the Book of Revelation.

REVELATION CHAPTERS 4-5..THE THRONEROOM!

THE THRONE OF GOD OPENED IN HEAVEN!

REVELATION Chapter 4

4 After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” 2At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. 3And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne. 4Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. 5From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits [ Or the sevenfold Spirit ] of God. 6Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.

In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. 7The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. 8Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying:

“Holy, holy, holy

is the Lord God Almighty,

who was, and is, and is to come.”

9Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, 10the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:

11″You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.

INTRODUCTION

Come with me and we will see the grand inauguration. First we are introduced to the Majesty On High–God himself is described in resplendent glory. Then we are introduced to heavens ruling class, the twenty four elders. What were they preparing for? None other than the coronation. Heaven’s ball room is filled with guests, no one had ever seen anything this elegant, excitement was in the air, praises were emanating from celestial beings. Then came the great announcement: The Lion of the tribe of Judah, The Lamb of God, The Root of David had appeared– The throne room was filled with applause. Lightening, Thunder, and voices–It was a “heavenly fireworks” seraphim’s and cherubim’s led in the “glory chorus” of Holy, Holy, Holy. They were proclaiming that Jesus the creator was worthy to receive power, honor and glory, for he had created all things.

revch04a.jpg (114586 bytes)
EXPOSITION

1 After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.”

It was fitting for John to describe what he saw in heaven before he begins the recital of the great events that were about to be enacted. This chapter is given entirely to the setting forth the occupants and forces of heaven who were to direct all of the coming events. He first describes in symbolic language what he saw. We must bear in mind that the language is highly figurative even to the throne for that was only “set” in heaven, like the “movies,” where everything is set for the panorama that follows. First we see a door standing open and just through the door we get a glimpse of the triune God with all his attendants. Wow! What a scene. Like the sound of a trumpet a voice says come up hither, and I will reveal to you the future.

In the [Or my] thirtieth year, in the fourth month on the fifth day, while I was among the exiles by the Kebar River, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God. Ezek. 1:1

2 At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it.

Enraptured John’s flesh no longer hinders his vision and senses.

I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. ll Cor. 12:1

John sees the royal seat of God and Christ and describes his radiance and splendor.

3 And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne.

Jasper is a precious stone–quartz like, variegated with divers colors, some sea green dazzling in brilliance. The Sardine stone (Carnelian NIV. and Ruby in the ASV) Blood red in color. In the heavenly scene God appeared like the crystalline brightness of Jasper and the fiery Sardis stone.

Above the expanse over their heads was what looked like a throne of sapphire, [Or lapis lazuli] and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man. I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him. Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking Ezek 1:26-28

4 Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads.

If these elders are the 12 patriarchs and the 12 apostles then the resurrection had taken place before John begins his recital of the great events given in panoramic form which is unthinkable. The Twentieth Century New Testament gives the name councilors instead of the name elders. These 24 are the ruling aristocracy of heaven.

As I looked, “thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened. “Then I continued to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking. I kept looking until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire. (The other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time.) “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshipped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. Dan. 7:9-14

5 From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits [Or the sevenfold Spirit] of God.

Out of the throne proceeded lightning’s and thunder. Symbols of God’s proclamations

On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the Lord descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, the whole mountain trembled violently, and the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder. Then Moses spoke and the voice of God answered him. The Lord descended to the top of Mount Sinai and called Moses to the top of the mountain. Ex. 19:16-20

Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God These seven lamps burning before the throne symbolized the Holy Spirit. Observe Solomon’s throne:

Then the king made a great throne inlaid with ivory and overlaid with fine gold. The throne had six steps, and its back had a rounded top. On both sides of the seat were armrests, with a lion standing beside each of them. Twelve lions stood on the six steps, one at either end of each step. Nothing like it had ever been made for any other kingdom. I Kings l0:18:-20

6-7 Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle.

And before the throne there was a sea of glass. Like a sheet of ice (NEB). Four beasts full of eyes before and behind. They are four seraphim’s or Cherubim’s. The same as Ezekiel and Isaiah saw. They are attendants of God and the workers of his purposes and judgments.

Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. Isa 6:2

and in the fire was what looked like four living creatures. In appearance their form was that of a man, but each of them had four faces and four wings. Ezek. 1:5,6

Then the cherubim rose upward. These were the living creatures I had seen by the Kebar River. Ezek. 10:15

8 Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying:

“Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord God Almighty,
who was, and is, and is to come.”

All of this symbolizes that Gods government is sovereign, firm, enduring, intelligent and rapid in its execution. That God is past, present future, eternal, everlasting.

And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory. Isa. 6:3

9-11 Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”

BOOK SEALED
WITH SEVEN SEALS

Click here for Chapter 5 Streaming Sound

You may scroll along with the text as the soundfile plays.

5 Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. 2And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” 3But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. 4I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. 5Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”

6Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits [Or the sevenfold Spirit] of God sent out into all the earth. 7He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. 8And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9And they sang a new song:

“You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. 10You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.”

11Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12In a loud voice they sang:

“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”

13Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing:

“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!”

14The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshipped.

INTRODUCTION

God is seated on His throne. The scroll of future history is sealed. An angel was asking who was worthy to reveal the future. No living creature in heaven or on earth was worthy. No magician, no astrologer, no sorcerer, no necromancer, no magi, no witch, no observer of times, no enchanter, no consulter with familiar spirits was able to give an accurate forecast of the future. John wept until one of the twenty four elders (heavens ruling class) told him that the “slain lamb”–Jesus–would take the scroll from the hand of God and reveal the future. Suddenly all heaven was seen in a praise-a-thon. A chorus of praise was coming from a hundred million saying that the “Lamb” was worthy to receive praise, riches, wisdom, strength, honor glory and blessing. So great was this celebration that even earth and sea joined in the celebration. All of heaven bowed in reverence to the Root of David.

EXPOSITION

1 Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals.

This scroll contains the secrets of God about the future. It was sealed so that each seal had to be broken to reveal its content.

2 And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?”

To which of the angels did God ever say, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet” [Psalm 110:1] Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation? Heb. 1:13,14

This powerful servant, asks the question Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?

3 But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it.

No living person in heaven or earth is able to reveal the future.

4-5 I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”

Jesus Christ is a descendant of David and David a Descendant of the Tribe of Judea. Jesus was the triumphant one he had conquered Death, Hell, and the grave. He is able to make known the future.

6 Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits [Or the sevenfold Spirit] of God sent out into all the earth.

Lamb signifies innocence and was used for sacrifice.

Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. Ex. 12:3

Seven Horns The all complete sign number for authority. Seven Eyes. The all complete sign number for perfect wisdom.

7 He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne.

Jesus was able to receive the book from the everlasting one.

8 And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

Harps are symbols of the Christians praise and Odors (incense) is a symbol of prayers. Again heavenly creatures are seen worshipping God.

9 And they sang a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.

A new song. A song of redemption. Thou art worthy to take the book. Jesus was worthy because of Calvary . For thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation. We are new creatures in Christ:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 2 Cor 5:17

In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again. “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.” John 3:3-5

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Eph. 2:10

The Christian can now sing:

“I’m redeemed by love divine,

Glory Glory Christ is mine, Christ is mine,

All to Him I now resign,

I have been redeemed”

10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.”

God has made us to be a kingdom (ASV). We are priests. Not after the order of Aaron but after the order of Melchisedec. We are therefore to offer our sacrifice of praise to God continually.

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise–the fruit of lips that confess his name. Heb 13:15.

They will reign on the earth. We reign in the gospel age.

11 Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders.

All heaven and earth ascribing praise to God. It was an innumerable throng.

12-14 In a loud voice they sang: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshipped.

Worthy is the Lamb. All this was to strengthen and encourage the church who was about to be subjected to severe persecutions revealed in opening the seven seals.

This simply means that John saw a heavenly vision of the triune God upon his throne surrounded with the ruling class of heaven praising Him from Whom all blessings flow.

The Peoples Revelation-Chapter 6

OPENING OF THE SEALS

6 I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!” 2I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.

3When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” 4Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword.

5When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. 6Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “A quart [Greek a choinix (probably about a liter)] of wheat for a day’s wages, [Greek a denarius] and three quarts of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!”

7When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” 8I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.

9When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. 10They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” 11Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed.

12I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, 13and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. 14The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.

15Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”

INTRODUCTION

A white horse comes forth, with a mounted cavalier, having a bow and a crown that was given to him. He goes forth conquering and to conquer. During the reign of Trajan, who came from the Island of Crete which was famous for bows, he went forth conquering and to conquer. The empire of Rome grew to its greatest extent. From Armenia to Assyria, from Albania to Carduchian hills, every day new nations fell under the sway of this famed bowman. No sooner had this ended than a fiery red horse bursts on the scene. For the next hundred years the empire is drenched in blood from the Praetorian guards. They were the secret service of the emperors; with their sword they slew emperor after emperor and sold the office. Then a black horse races on the scene with a rider holding a pair of balances. This was a time of extreme taxation and exorbitant prices. Then a pale horse revealed in the opening of the fourth seal symbolizes death, and portrays in horrific panoramas the awful horrors of death during this period of history. The Greek word chlooros, translated “pale” means livid, ghastly, corpse-like. This horse looks like he was dead on foot, having famished away till there is nothing left but skin and bones. His rider is the grim monster of death. This represents a period of war, famine, pestilence and disease. The opening of the fifth seal reveals the martyrs. These martyrs all cried to God for vindication. Rest assured He has not forgotten a solitary wail or groan. Hence, an awful retribution, with accumulated and compound interest, is on the track of all the people in all ages that have persecuted God’s saints. There is but one Greek word for martyr and witness. Martyr is a pure Greek word, translated witness. When Jesus met an infuriated Saul on the Damascus road, He said unto him “I have appeared unto thee to make thee a minister and martyr.”Acts 26:16. From that time forward Paul knew he would have to suffer martyrdom. When he opened the sixth seal there was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth. This must emblematize the terrible political convulsions, which shake every potentate on the globe from the mighty thrones of time-honored empires. The sun emblematizes the kings, the moon the queens, and stars the state governors and all subordinate rulers. We see, amid these terrible national convulsions and a revolution, every ruler is to be shaken from his throne. This was no doubt fulfilled when paganism fell and Christianity took control of the Roman Empire.

EXPOSITION

1 I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!”

Christ the worthy one opens the first seal to reveal an era of future events. One of the four beasts saying, Come and see. This seraphim invites John to view the first scene on “set” in heaven. `

2 I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.

revch06a.jpg (36071 bytes)

FIRST SEAL: 98-192 A.D. Reign of Trajan to Commodus . Ninety four years of prosperous condition. His army went forth conquering. Had a bow. Two races on earth who were famed bowmen. Parthians and Cretians. Trajan was the adopted son of Nerva and his family was from Crete. And he went forth conquering, and to conquer. I will quote from Gibbon’s Decline and fall of the Roman Empire Vol 1 P,5-9:

Such was the state of the Roman frontiers, and such the maxims of Imperial policy, from the death of Augustus to the accession of Trajan. That virtuous and active prince had received the education of a soldier, and possessed the talents of a general. The peaceful system of his predecessors was interrupted by scenes of war and conquest; and the legions, after a long interval, beheld a military emperor at their head. The first exploits of Trajan were against the Dacians, the most warlike of men, who dwelt beyond the Danube, and who, during the reign of Domitian, had insulted with impunity the majesty of Rome….The new province of Dacia was about 1300 miles in circumference….Trajan was ambitious of fame; and as long as mankind shall continue to bestow more liberal applause on their destroyers than on their benefactors, the thirst of military glory will ever be the vice of the most exalted characters….Yet the successes of Trajan, however transcend, was rapid and specious. His fleets ravaged the coasts of Arabia; and Trajan vainly flattered himself that he was approaching towards the confines of India. Every day the astonished senate received the intelligence of new names and new nations, that acknowledged his sway. They were informed that the kings of Bosphorus, Colchos, Iberia, Albania, Osrhoene, and even the Parthian monarch himself, had accepted their diadems from the hands of the emperor; that the independent tribes of the Median and Carduchian hills had implored his protection; and that the rich countries of Armenia, Mesopotamia, and Assyria, were reduced into the state of provinces….Nor was there a province of the empire which, in the course of his reign, was not honored with the presence of the monarch….They preserved peace by constant preparation for war.

The empire grew as this warrior went forth conquering and to conquer. By the year 300 A.D. the empire was three and one half million square miles with 200,000 miles of highway system. Therefore I conclude that the rider on the white horse with a bow and a crown and going forth conquering and to conquer was fulfilled under the reign of Trajan.

3 When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!”

See comments on verse 1.

4 Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword.

revch06b.jpg (74421 bytes)

This would be fulfilled during a period of civil war. And that they should kill one another: When emperors and contenders battle for the throne they kill one another. And there was given unto him a great sword. A sword was given to the Praetorian Guard when they became a part of the secret service. SECOND SEAL: 193-284 A.D. During this period 32 emperors and 27 contenders died as they fought for the throne. When one was made a Praetorian guard he was given a sword. History shows that these guards were the lawless ones who slew their own emperors. Red was a symbol of carnage, war and bloodshed. Gibbon described this period of history as a period of carnage and warfare. In chapter four he recited the murder of Commodus. The election of Pertinax and his attempts to reform the State. His assassination by the Praetorian guards. In chapter five he tells of the public sale of the empire to Didius Julianus by the Praetorian Guards. Over and over we are told of the Praetorian Guards who murdered their emperor and sold the empire.

5 When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand.

revch06c.jpg (49519 bytes)

Black is a symbol of want, lack, famine; the color of mourning. A pair of balances symbolizes a time of rationing or extreme taxation.

6 Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “A quart [Greek a choinix (probably about a liter)] of wheat for a day’s wages, [Greek a denarius] and three quarts of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!

THIRD SEAL: 193-284 A.D. The death penalty was issued to anyone caught cutting down their own olive trees or vineyards to prevent taxation. Wheat, which was the staff of life, sold for $4.50 a bushel and $1.50 a bushel for barley. Exorbitant prices–cost today would be over $50.00 for wheat and $16.50 for barley. Nor was the rapacious son of Severus (Caracalla) contented with such a measure of taxation as had appeared sufficient to his moderate predecessors. Instead of a twentieth, he exacted a tenth of all legacies and inheritances, and during his reign he crushed alike every part of the empire under the weight of his iron scepter. Gibbon’s Vol. 1. p 161-162:

Swarms of exactors sent into the provinces, filled them with agitation and terror, as though a conquering enemy were leading them into captivity. The fields were separately measured, the trees and vines, the flocks and herds were numbered, and an examination made of the men. The sick and weak were borne to the place of inscription, a reckoning was made of the age of each, years were added to the young and subtracted from the old, in order to subject them to the higher taxation the law imposed. The whole scene was filled with wailing and sadness. (Lactantius) “In the course of this history, we shall be too often summoned to explain the land-tax the capitation, and the heavy contributions of corn, wine, oil, and meat, which were exacted from the provinces for the use of the court, the army, and the capital.

7-8 When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.

revch06d.jpg (48079 bytes)

FOURTH SEAL. A pale horse. This horse was sickly green in color. The color of this horse suggests war, famine, pestilence, disease and death personified. Death and Hell followed him. God said long ago to ancient Babylon, “Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming:” Isa 14:9 Now the empire of Rome is told that Death and Hell is following them. As the barbarous invaders came and killed by the sword, pestilence followed, as many as 5,000 people died daily at Rome. Famine brought about starvation. Fourth part. Gibbon states that about a half of the human family perished. John says about a fourth part.

9-11 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed.

revch06e.jpg (46612 bytes)

The altar was where sacrifices were made. John sees the martyrs under the altar. He would have seen Stephen, who suffered martyrdom at Jerusalem, James the son of Zebedee, Martyred by Herod Agrippa, Phillip, Suffered martyrdom at Heliopolis, in Phrygia. He was scourged, thrown into prison, and crucified . Matthew In Ethiopia he suffered martyrdom, being slain with a halbred in the city of Nadabah. James the Less, he was beat and stoned by the Jews; and finally had his brains dashed out with a fuller’s club. Matthias, He was stoned at Jerusalem and then beheaded. Andrew, He preached the gospel to many Asiatic nations; but on his arrival at Edessa he was taken and crucified on a cross. Mark, he was dragged to pieces by the people of Alexandria. Peter, crucified, as some do write, at Rome. Paul, Crucified at Rome under Nero. Jude, Crucified at Edessa. Bartholomew was Crucified in India. Thomas, Martyred by Pagan priests in India. Luke Hanged on an olive tree by the idolatrous priests of Greece. Simon, Crucified in Britain. The list is endless, historians estimate that at least fifty million were killed by Papal Rome during the dark ages. But, the church daily increased, deeply rooted in the doctrine of the apostles and watered with the blood of saints. Fifth Seal: A.D. 303-313. Persecution. Diocletion tried to extirpate Christianity from the earth. Churches were burnt. Bibles were gathered and destroyed. Millions estimated to have been killed. Christian worship was forbidden.

Faith of our fathers! living still,

In spite of dungeon, fire, and sword;

O how our hearts beat high with joy

Whenever we hear that glorious word!

Faith of our fathers, holy faith!

We will be true to thee till death!

Our fathers, chained in prisons dark,

Were still in heart and conscience free;

How sweet would be their children’s fate,

If they, like them, could die for thee!

Faith of our fathers, holy faith!

We will be true to thee till death!

Faith of our fathers! We will love

Both friend and foe in all our strife;

And preach thee, too, as love knows how,

by kindly words and virtuous life:

Faith of our fathers, holy faith!

We will be true to thee till death!

No doubt that this would include John Wycliffe, Savorarola, Swingli, Jerome, Tindale, Coverdale, the Waldines and Albigines, in which 1,000,000 perished, from the beginning of the Jesuits 1540-1580 900,000 were destroyed. 150,000 perished by inquisition in 30 years. In the low lands 50,000 people were hanged, beheaded, burned alive or buried alive for the crime of heresy (Christianity) They persecuted and tried to put down the reformation in Germany and Switzerland. The historian W.E. H. Lecky says,”The church of Rome has shed more innocent blood than any other institution that ever existed among mankind.” God says to the martyrs “Rest yet for a little season,” We can be assured that God will bring vengeance upon the enemies of Christianity.

12-17 I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”

revch06f.jpg (50783 bytes)

SIXTH SEAL 307-337A.D. The symbols that follow were used extensively in the Old Testament to describe the fall of nation or empire. I call your attention to Isaiah:

See, the day of the Lord is coming–a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger–to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light. The rising sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless. I will make man scarcer than pure gold, more rare than the gold of Ophir. Therefore I will make the heavens tremble; and the earth will shake from its place at the wrath of the Lord Almighty, in the day of his burning anger. Like a hunted gazelle, like sheep without a shepherd, each will return to his own people, each will flee to his native land Whoever is captured will be thrust through; all who are caught will fall by the sword. Their infants will be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses will be looted and their wives ravished. See, I will stir up against them the Medes, who do not care for silver and have no delight in gold. Their bows will strike down the young men; they will have no mercy on infants nor will they look with compassion on children. Babylon, the jewel of kingdoms, the glory of the Babylonians’ [Or Chaldeans’] pride, will be overthrown by God like Sodom and Gomorrah She will never be inhabited or lived in through all generations; no Arab will pitch his tent there, no shepherd will rest his flocks there But desert creatures will lie there, jackals will fill her houses; there the owls will dwell, and there the wild goats will leap about. Hyenas will howl in her strongholds, jackals in her luxurious palaces. Her time is at hand, and her days will not be prolonged. Isa 13:9 -22

The Lord has stretched out his hand over the sea and made its kingdoms tremble. He has given an order concerning Phoenicia that her fortresses be destroyed. ISA 23:11

The moon will be abashed, the sun ashamed; for the Lord Almighty will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before its elders, gloriously. ISA 24:23

All the stars of the heavens will be dissolved and the sky rolled up like a scroll; all the starry host will fall like withered leaves from the vine, like shriveled figs from the fig tree. ISA 34:4

When I snuff you out, I will cover the heavens and darken their stars; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon will not give its light. All the shining lights in the heavens I will darken over you; I will bring darkness over your land, declares the Sovereign Lord. Eze. 32:7,8

I have underlined several words in order to illustrate how the Holy Spirit used symbols. The following symbols are defined SUN Supreme ruler.

Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. ‘Listen,’ he said, ‘I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.’ When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, ‘What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?’ Gen 37:9

MOON represents Rulers, queen and princess rulers but not supreme ruler. STARS Princes and Rulers, Governors, Senators, conspicuous men. BLOOD represents Bloodshed such as war. MOUNTIANS Kingdom

Before your eyes I will repay Babylon and all who live in Babylonia declares the Lord. ‘I am against you, O destroying mountain, you who destroy the whole earth,’ declares the Lord. ‘I will stretch out my hand against you, roll you off the cliffs, and make you a burned-out mountain. Jer. 51:24,25

ISLANDS represents European states. This is a symbol of a great commotion or disturbance or a great rearranging of Government and religion. I believe it to be fulfilled when the Pagan powers fell and Christianity took over the Roman Empire.

THE PEOPLE’S REVELATION,CHAPTER 7

FOUR CORNERS OF THE EARTH

Scrolls of the Four Corners of the Earth

unrolled and connected to history

7 After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree. 2Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: 3“Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.” 4Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.

5From the tribe of Judah 12,000 were sealed,

from the tribe of Reuben 12,000,

from the tribe of Gad 12,000,

6from the tribe of Asher 12,000,

from the tribe of Naphtali 12,000,

from the tribe of Manasseh 12,000,

7from the tribe of Simeon 12,000,

from the tribe of Levi 12,000,

from the tribe of Issachar 12,000,

8from the tribe of Zebulun 12,000,

from the tribe of Joseph 12,000,

from the tribe of Benjamin 12,000.

9After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10And they cried out in a loud voice:

“Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”

11All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12saying:

“Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!”

13Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes–who are they, and where did they come from?” 14I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15Therefore,

“they are before the throne of God

and serve him day and night in his temple;

and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them.

16Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst.

The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat.

17For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd;

he will lead them to springs of living water.

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

INTRODUCTION

This chapter tells us that four angels are standing on the four corners of the earth holding the four winds. They were to prevent the winds from blowing on land, sea, or tree. The Old Testament supplies us with many verses that tell us that the four corners of the earth are the four directions, namely North, South, East and West. In this chapter you will see that the winds of war will not come from any direction till God seals the 144,000 Jews and a multitude of Gentiles, which no man could number. To be sealed in the forehead is to have an understanding and acknowledgment of God – when we hear the gospel of our salvation and believe we are sealed with the Holy Spirit. This group of people had come out of great tribulation. The previous chapter gives us insight into the tribulation that they had gone through. They are before the throne (to be before the throne must mean in prayer and praise). They are serving him day and night. They are living on the top of the mountain, drinking the living water and eating the hidden manna. Alleluia.

EXPOSITION

revch07a.jpg (73847 bytes)

Four angels standing on the four corners of the earth.

1 After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree.

Four corners means from four directions, North, South, East, West.

In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the sea. Isa. 11:10-12

He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters (Corners KJV) of the earth. ISA 11:12

It is evident that when the Bible uses the words “four corners” that it means four directions. When the exile ended God brought his remnant back from Pathros (a portion of Egypt), Cush (Africa), Elam-East of Tigris river (now Iran), Shinar-Babylonia (now Iraq), and Hamath (a Cannanite city). Holding the four winds. Winds as used as a sign of strife, confusion, commotions, destruction, turmoil, war.

I will bring against Elam the four winds from the four quarters of the heavens; I will scatter them to the four winds, and there will not be a nation where Elam’s exiles do not go. JER 49:36

I will shatter Elam before their foes, before those who seek their lives; I will bring disaster upon them, even my fierce anger,” declares the Lord. “I will pursue them with the sword until I have made an end of them. JER 49:37

When God said that he would bring the four winds against Elam (now Iran) he meant war would come from four quarters. The Lord sent three invasions by Assurbanipal and one by the Babylonians. In the passage here in the Revelation we are told that the four winds were to be held so that they would not blow. We understand this to mean that the “Winds of War” would be restrained–that war would be prevented from every quarter. We must therefore look for a period in history when there was a restraining of strife thus preventing war. We assign this period in history to A.D. 340-395 as the fulfillment of this prophecy. Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of The Roman Empire has a heading for chapter 15 Vol. 1 p. 430 as follows: “The Progress of the Christian Religion.” In his enquiry into the progress and growth of Christianity he lists five causes for its growth during this period: 1) the conduct of the government toward Christians, 2) the attitude of it Emperors, 3) the martyrdom of Cyprian, 4) Varying policies of persecution, 5) Galerius’s edict of toleration. As I researched the writings of Gibbon I was faced with the fact that 20% of the Roman Empire was given over to the following of Jesus Christ by the conversion of Constantine. Nor could I fail to see that swarms of Christians were in Egypt, Syria, Jerusalem, Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Etc. Gibbon says, “As soon, as Christianity ascended the throne, the zeal of those barbarians obeyed the prevailing impulsion, the cities of Egypt were filled with bishops, and the desert of Thebais swarmed with hermits.” Gibbon’s p. 490. On page 491 Gibbon writes about a peace that lasts for 38 years. Gibbon estimates the Christian population in Rome at this time to be 50,000. We can say that from Gaul to Africa Gods people were being sealed in the forehead.

2-3 Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: “Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.”

The sealing of the servants in the forehead must mean an open and real acknowledgment of Christ. A public testimony of his grace, a life devoted to his service, a warfare that keeps continually unfurled the banner of the cross.

The man who has accepted it has certified (set to his seal KJV) that God is truthful. JOH 3:33

Set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 2 CO 1:22

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit. EPH 1:13

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. EPH 4:30

Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.” 2 TI 2:19

4-8 Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.

From the tribe of Judah 12,000 were sealed,

from the tribe of Reuben 12,000,

from the tribe of Gad 12,000,

from the tribe of Asher 12,000,

from the tribe of Naphtali 12,000,

from the tribe of Manasseh 12,000,

from the tribe of Simeon 12,000,

from the tribe of Levi 12,000,

from the tribe of Issachar 12,000,

from the tribe of Zebulun 12,000,

from the tribe of Joseph 12,000,

from the tribe of Benjamin 12,000.

There are 19 arrangements of the tribes in the old testament. Here in our text, Dan is omitted. In Genesis 49 Manasses is omitted. In Numbers 13 Levi is omitted. In Ezek 48 there are two arrangements One has Levi and the other omits him. In Deuteronomy 33, Simeon and Levi are omitted. It is evident from the context that nothing but Jews are being considered. If Gentiles were under consideration then the mention of tribe would not be made.

9 After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.

revch07b.jpg (65766 bytes)

This verse shows that a large group of Gentiles were being sealed. The previous verses of the 144,000 were Jews. Clothed in white robes, and palms in their hands. White robes and palms are emblems of peace and victory.

Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed. REV 6:11

10 And they cried out in a loud voice:

“Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”

This was the victory cry. Gods people on earth who have been saved are seen praising God for their salvation. This group of Christians could shout and sing that salvation has been brought down. They wanted to tell the news and spread it over land and sea–they were shouting salvation to our God. Hallelujah!

11-12 All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying:

“Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!”

Not only are the redeemed of earth praising God but all of heaven fell on their faces and worshipped. The sevenfold character of the ascription of praise denotes its universal and all embracing character.

13-14 Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes–who are they, and where did they come from?” I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

One of the elders answered. The elder speaks because he is one of the ruling class in heaven cf. my comments on chapter 4:4 What are these which are arrayed in white robes? It was a rhetorical question. And I said unto him, “Sir, thou knowest.” This reminds us of a similar incident in Ezekiel:

He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “O Sovereign Lord, you alone know.” Ezek. 37:3

These are they that have come out of great tribulation. This refers to the pressure, affliction, anguish, burden, persecution and trouble that these Christians had been exposed to from the first day they became Christians.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble.(tribulation K.G.) But take heart! I have overcome the world. JOH 16:33

strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships (tribulation KJV) to enter the kingdom of God,” they said. ACT 14:22

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble (tribulation K.G.) or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? ROM 8:35

In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. (suffer tribulation KJV) And it turned out that way, as you well know.” 1 TH 3:4

Washed their robes. and made them white in the blood of the lamb.

ACT 22:16 “And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.”

HEB 10:22 “Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.”

1CO 6:11 “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

In the blood. We often sing:

What can wash away my sins?

Nothing but the blood of Jesus;

What can make me whole again?

Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

O! precious is the flow

that makes me white as snow;

No other fount I know,

Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Here is the testimony of Scripture:

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 1 PE 1:18,19

EPH 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.

in whom we have redemption, [A few late manuscripts redemption through his blood] the forgiveness of sins. COL 1:14

15 Therefore,

“they are before the throne of God

and serve him day and night in his temple;

and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them.

Admitted to the presence of God.

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. HEB 4:16

And serve Him day and night in his temple.

It is not necessary for us to die and go to heaven to be before his throne and serve him.

And he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. (Shall spread his tabernacle over them R.V.)

This is an allusion to the Shechinah which overshadowed the mercy seat.

16 Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst.

The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat.

A similar promise is made in Isa. 49:10 regarding the coming of the Messiah.

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. JOH 6:35

But whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life. JOH 4:14

17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd;

he will lead them to springs of living water.

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. JOH 10:11

On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. JOH 7:37-39

OPENING OF SEVENTH SEAL Chapter 8 of the Peoples Revelation!

8 When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.

2And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets.

3Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne. 4The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel’s hand. 5Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.

6Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to sound them.

7The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down upon the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.

8The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, 9a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.

10The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water— 11the name of the star is Wormwood[That is, Bitterness]. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter.

12The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night.

13As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: “Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!”

INTRODUCTION

All of these trumpets tell of war. The successive invasions of the Roman Empire under Alaric, Genseric, Attila, and Odacer are vividly portrayed on the canvas of history. The 1st. was Alaric, king of the Goths (A.D. 395-410). Consider the devastation that was caused by Alaric. The horrors of war cause the trees and green grass to be burned up. The 2nd. Invasion was by Genseric, king of the Vandals (A.D. 423-468). A great mountain, symbol of some kingdom-burning out of control is cast into the sea; the waves are dyed red with blood. The Vandals sail into the Tiber and attack Rome from the sea. The 3rd. trumpet sounds and a star falls from heaven. The rivers and waters are smitten. On the banks of rivers the chief cities of his world have been located. In (A.D. 433-455) Attila, the king of the Huns, invaded the Roman Empire. He was like a meteor streaking across the sky leaving destruction in his way. He is soon burned out. He was styled “the scourge of God.” The 4th. Trumpet sounds and a third part of the sun, moon, and stars are smitten. This must represent political overthrow. The final conquest of Rome came at the hands of Odoacer, king of the Huruli (A.D. 476-490). Rome had not seen an enemy in a thousand years. The Roman senate goes down. It was a time of political upheaval. The winds of war have been released upon the empire.

EXPOSITION

1 When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.

revch08a.jpg (90163 bytes)

A brief period. A state of anxious suspense. Absence of sound. The calm before the storm. The hush before the rush of battle. The quiet that precedes and presages the awful play of the stormy elements.

2 And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets.

These seven angels are poised with trumpets in hand to signal events that are to happen. In the Old Testament trumpets were used to signal that God’s people were to go to Mt. Sinai (Ex. 19:20). It was to sound on the l0th day of the seventh month in the year of jubilee (Lev. 25:9). For the calling of the assembly and the journeying of the camp (Num. 10:2). Here, the trumpets will signal a series of events.

3 Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne.

No particular angel is named. He is to offer the prayers of saints to our God. This was written to encourage Christians of all times to pray–even in times when God is sounding a trumpet of judgment upon certain people.

4 The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel’s hand.

Our God hears these prayers. The judgments constituted in the visions are an answer to them. Recall what the souls under the altar were crying out for in Rev 6:10:

They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?”

5 Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.

All of this is prefatory to the ominous events that are to happen. The censer is hurled to the earth, thus showing that the judgments of God would be upon mankind. Great events were signaled in this fashion. Compare what happened at Mt. Sinai:

On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the Lord descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, the whole mountain trembled violently and the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder. Then Moses spoke and the voice of God answered him. EXO 19:16-19

6 Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to sound them.

The deliberation has now ended. All preparation have been made and the events are about to happen. The Prophet Joel in vivid language describes an awful calamity which was to befall Israel:

Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill. Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming. It is close at hand.” Joel 2:1

7 The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down upon the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.

revch08b.jpg (42246 bytes)

Hail–Fire–Blood. The scene must be one of awful destruction. The three terms must mean devastation of some kind. Note also that there is significance attached to the word “third part.” Gibbon writes,

From the time of Charlemagne to that of the crusades, the world, (for I overlook the monarchy of China) was occupied by three great empires, or nations. The Greeks, the Saracens (Arabians) and the Franks (Latins). Gibbon, Ch 43

The first four angels desolate one third (Latin); the fifth angel lets loose the Saracen invasion and conquers the Saracen part of the world; the sixth angel bound beyond the Euphrates pours its myriads on the remaining third of the world, namely the Greek, and establishes the Turkish Empire upon its ruins. The first trumpet therefore must have its fulfillment in the campaign of Alaric King of the Goths 395-410 A.D., after the death of Theodosius in 395 A.D. The Goths revolted from the Roman power. Alaric, disappointed in his expectation of being in command of the Roman armies, became their leader (Gibbon, 2, p. 213). At the midnight hour the Salarian gate was opened, the inhabitants were awakened by the sound of the Gothic trumpet. 1163 years after the foundation of the imperial city, which had subdued and civilized such a large part of mankind, was delivered to the licentious fury of the tribes of Germany and Scythia (Gibbon, 2, p. 260). Gathered out of the unexplored North like a mighty torrent, they threw themselves like a savage host upon Rome. Barbarous as the Indians of the desert they left behind blackened, scarred, scorched, bloody, and desolate lands. Lands once blooming like gardens now looked like deserts. Rome had not seen a capable enemy in 800 years. The siege lasted for three days as the sack went on. Glutted with blood and spoils they left eight days after Alaric was dead. Bereft of their leader they hurried back and buried themselves in the regions of the north. This I believe to be the first trumpet. Read the history books and decide for yourself.

8-9 The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.

revch08c.jpg (37211 bytes)

In Jeremiah we have a heathen power called a mountain:

“I am against you, O destroying mountain, you who destroy the whole earth,” declares the Lord. “I will stretch out my hand against you, roll you off the cliffs, and make you a burned-out mountain. JER 51:25

We must therefore look for a mountain (heathen power) that will be cast into the sea and attack a third part of the world from the sea. The symbols of blood and ships being destroyed indicate that we should look for a maritime battle. I believe that Genseric, King of the Vandals 423-468 fulfills this trumpet. They rushed over Gaul, swept through Spain, leaped over the narrow straights of Gibraltar, and took North Africa. Then built a fleet and assailed Rome from the seas. For six hundred years no ship was hostile to Rome. The Vandals sailed into the Tiber and met in the shock of battle. The Roman ensign goes down, and the islands and mainland fall into the hands of the Barbarians. Nearly 30 years after the contest began, they rush upon Rome and spare neither age nor sex. The spoil of 800 years and l00 nations was loaded on the Vandal ships. Rome was blasted, sacked, scorched, and pillaged. Genseric died a few months later. Notice that this prophetic utterance says that the mountain (heathen power–the Vandals) would come by the sea. They were a burning mountain. This mountain would be extinguished by the sea. Then, Genseric was extinguished in a few months after his mission was accomplished. The Word of God is never wrong.

10-11 The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water–the name of the star is Wormwood [That is, Bitterness]. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter.

revch08d.jpg (54616 bytes)

As the third angel sounds his trumpet a great star falls on the rivers. The star is bitter and many people die. We must look therefore for a person of high rank. In Genesis 37:9-10, Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Zebulun, Issachar, Dan, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, and Benjamin are called stars. We speak of great actors as stars. Great players in sports are stars.

Lets look at history and see if we can identify a star that fell upon the rivers. I believe that Attila, King of the Huns (433-455 A.D.) fulfills this trumpet. In a manner resembling a meteor in the sky, this brilliant warrior who styled himself “THE SCOURGE OF GOD” appeared suddenly. In three years he was burnt out. He marched through central Asia, North of the Exine Sea, through Russia and knocked at the river boundary of the Roman Empire, overcome opposition at the Danube, crossed the Rhine, and at river Marne 150,000 to 300,000 were slain. The river ran with blood.

The next battle was at the river Rhone. He crossed the Alps and fought a battle at the river Po. Victorious, he marched for the imperial prize. Rome sent out a priestly delegation that intervened in behalf of Rome. He made Budapest on the Danube his capitol and when he died he was buried beneath its waters. This bitter, wormwood star soon ran its brilliant course. This group of people known as the Huns was a nomadic, Mongoloid people who raised horses and sheep. They lived in tents and traveled about carrying their belongings with them. They were fierce fighters and were merciless. Horde after horde had joined together until there was thousands and thousands of them. The first began by swarming across the country murdering, stealing and leaving whole towns in ruins. Attila’s father, Rua, conquered all of northern Europe. The Romans were terrified of their new enemy. So, Theodosius II, emperor of Rome came up with a plan. He offered the Huns a chance to serve in the Roman army. they would exchange a hostage. Rome sent Aetius to the Huns and the Huns sent Attila. Attila was only ten years old when he arrived in Rome. He hated being in Rome and longed for the day he could return to his homeland. In 434 his uncle, Rua, died and Attila became king. Now, Attila had dreams of becoming the ruler of the Hunnish tribes and conquering, China, India and Persia. Because of the Great Wall of China, which was 1800 miles long, he was unsuccessful in his attempt to conquer China. However, he went to work building up a strong Army to attack the Roman Empire. In 451, with his army of 700,000 horsemen he appeared on the Rhine River, crossed over into Gaul (now France) and conquered Orleans. Attila massacred every man, woman and child in the city. Attila slaughtered all who resisted him. They called him the “Scourge of God.” After a defeat at the hands of the Roman General, Aetius, he regrouped and again went after the RomansThe Romans and the Huns agreed that in order to facilitate this that. He now crossed through Hungary, Yugoslavia, and the Northeastern Alps. He soon reached the Po River, north of Rome. As he moved southward through the countryside he laid waste and captured city after city. Rome knew that she could not resist the Army of Attila so she sent a delegation of priests led by Pope Leo I. This delegation bought off Attila and persuaded him to return to his homeland. After he returned home he married and died while celebrating his wedding. His army fell apart and they returned to shepherding. This brilliant star had burned out but the memory of the horror of the Huns still lives on in infamy.

12 The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night.

revch08e.jpg (41511 bytes)

Now we are told that the theater has changed to sun, moon, and stars. These symbols were used extensively in the Old Testament to describe the fall of a nation or empire. I call your attention to Isaiah and Ezekiel:

9See, the day of the Lord is coming

–a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger–

to make the land desolate

and destroy the sinners within it.

10The stars of heaven and their constellations

will not show their light.

The rising sun will be darkened

and the moon will not give its light.

11I will punish the world for its evil,

the wicked for their sins.

I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty

and will humble the pride of the ruthless.

12I will make man scarcer than pure gold,

more rare than the gold of Ophir.

13Therefore I will make the heavens tremble;

and the earth will shake from its place

at the wrath of the Lord Almighty,

in the day of his burning anger.

14Like a hunted gazelle,

like sheep without a shepherd,

each will return to his own people,

each will flee to his native land.

15Whoever is captured will be thrust through;

all who are caught will fall by the sword.

16Their infants will be dashed to pieces before their eyes;

their houses will be looted and their wives ravished.

17See, I will stir up against them the Medes,

who do not care for silver

and have no delight in gold.

18Their bows will strike down the young men;

they will have no mercy on infants

nor will they look with compassion on children.

19Babylon, the jewel of kingdoms,

the glory of the Babylonians’ pride,

will be overthrown by God

like Sodom and Gomorrah.

20She will never be inhabited

or lived in through all generations;

no Arab will pitch his tent there,

no shepherd will rest his flocks there.

21But desert creatures will lie there,

jackals will fill her houses;

there the owls will dwell,

and there the wild goats will leap about.

22Hyenas will howl in her strongholds,

jackals in her luxurious palaces.

Her time is at hand,

and her days will not be prolonged. (ISA 13:9-22)

The Lord has stretched out his hand over the sea and made its kingdoms tremble. He has given an order concerning Phoenicia that her fortresses be destroyed. ISA 23:11

The moon will be abashed, the sun ashamed; for the Lord Almighty will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before its elders, gloriously. ISA 24:23

All the stars of the heavens will be dissolved and the sky rolled up like a scroll; all the starry host will fall like withered leaves from the vine, like shriveled figs from the fig tree. ISA 34:4

When I snuff you out, I will cover the heavens and darken their stars; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon will not give its light. All the shining lights in the heavens I will darken over you; I will bring darkness over your land, declares the Sovereign Lord. EZE 32:7-8

I have underlined several words in order to illustrate how the Holy Spirit uses symbols. The following symbols are defined:

SUN – Supreme ruler

STARS – Princes and Rulers, Governors, Senators, conspicuous men

Darkness of the heavens – a kingdom thrown into turmoil, want of clearness, in a dismal condition

When the fourth angel sounds we must look for a time in history when this condition was fulfilled. I believe that that the fourth trumpet was fulfilled under Odaccer King of the Heruli (476-490 A.D.) This Northern Race, encouraged by the apparent weakness of the empire descended upon Rome and slew Agustulus. They abolished the senate that had met for 1228 years. The entire government was extinguished. A period of mental and spiritual darkness shrouded men’s minds. The mighty fabric of the empire had fallen to the dust. Sun, Moon and Stars–Emperor, Princes and great men are smitten. They lost their power and cease to give their light. The period called the DARK AGES begins.

13 As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: “Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!”

The word “woe” is an exclamation of grief–a lamentation. And now, the ninth chapter will show you why the angel tells us to hang on because the worst is yet to come…

THE PEOPLE’S REVELATION CHAPTERS 10-11 : The Angel w/the Book and the Two Witnesses

REVELATION Chapter 10-11

AN ANGEL

WITH A BOOK

10 Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars. 2He was holding a little scroll, which lay open in his hand. He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, 3and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke. 4And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down.”

5Then the angel I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven. 6And he swore by him who lives for ever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it, and said, “There will be no more delay! 7But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.”

8Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me once more: “Go, take the scroll that lies open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.”

9So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, “Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.” 10I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. 11Then I was told, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.”

INTRODUCTION

Early in the 16th century a revolution begun – the reformation movement. For centuries there had been friction between the Catholic Church and the people. One of the principle leaders of the movement was Martin Luther. He was bold enough to publish his protest in the “95 Theses.” This caused a revolt in Germany. This soon had a domino effect throughout Europe. Pope Leo X excommunicated Martin Luther, but Luther burned the decree at Wittenberg. The cries arouse over the sale of indulgences. For money, the church would release people from crimes including murder (by selling indulgences). Then the pope claimed “infallibility.” This supremacy was disputed by England and Germany. Papal power was weakened when she had two popes at the same time hurling words of anger against anyone who should support the other. At about the same time there was a movement in Switzerland by a priest named Zwingli. He married in 1524 openly disobeying the pope. John Calvin settled in Geneva and taught theology which was adopted by the Puritans of England and was carried across the Atlantic by the Pilgrims who came to America for freedom of religion. Scandinavia withdrew its support of the Catholic Church in 1527. Denmark abolished the authority of the bishops in 1536. The Netherlands went over to the Lutherans. Spain, France and Scotland were rejecting the authority of the pope. One by one the ten kingdoms of Europe were leaving the Catholic Church. The entire movement was about a BOOK called the BIBLE.

EXPOSITION

1 Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars.

revch10a.jpg (79828 bytes)

There is little doubt that this belongs to the mighty Reformation movement approved by Heaven. He had a rainbow upon his head which was a symbol of hope and peace. The rainbow is a symbol of an agreement.

I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth. Gen. 9:13-16

In chapter nine we found the Mohammedan movement and the extension of their conquest under the Saracens until they controlled Asia, Africa, and Southwestern Europe. Its conquests were completed according to prophecy; Constantinople was occupied and its empire established upon its ruins. The year is 1453. We must look for an event after this date that historically corresponds to the symbols of this chapter. As we examine the Scripture we notice that it is evidently a religious movement. An angel, rainbow, heaven, book, sea and land all occur in the text. No mention of the previous woe symbols. There is a mighty movement beginning in the fifteenth century that we will direct our attention to. About 70 years after the fall of Constantinople we see the work of Wycliffe, John Huss, and Jerome. The Reformation came at the right period in world history to fit this chapter. It was the greatest movement since the days of the Apostles.

2 He was holding a little scroll, which lay open in his hand. He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land.

He is seen holding a little scroll, not a sealed scroll, but an open scroll. The mighty Reformation period was all about a scroll. The Roman clergy had taken the Word of God from the people. They were opposed to its circulation. The Bible had been put into a dead language by the Roman Church and no one had a right to read it. Until Martin Luther found a Latin Bible in an Augustinian monastery he did not know there were Scriptures other than the ones given to him in the Catholic Breviary. A study of these Scriptures made him a Reformer. After you, my friend, read this little Book you will never be the same again. This movement rescued the greatest Book of all time. Please read the history of this mighty movement and see how aptly it is predicted here in the tenth chapter of the Revelation. He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land. This mighty movement effected land and sea. In other words it effected the whole world. The movement spread through Germany, England, Scotland, Switzerland, the British Isles and across the sea to America and today there is not a country in the world untouched by the Reformation Movement.

3 and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke.

Seven thunders probably refers to the threatening blasphemous anathemas and thunders of damnation that issued from the Roman Potentate. This Roman apostate power that sits in the vatican on the seven hilled city or Rome sent forth Bulls and excommunication. Le Bas says in his account of the life of Wycliffe, p.198, “The thunders which shook the world when they issued from the seven hills, sent forth an uncertain sound, comparatively faint and powerless, when launched from a region of less devoted sanctity.” When Luther published his Theses, an attack was made upon it by the Papal Legate (Cardinal Cajetan) in Germany. This seven hilled potentate, who claims to be the vicegerent of God thundered forth his voice of opposition. In the Epistle Dedicatory of our King James Bible you will find the following:

by writing in defense of the Truth, which hath given such a blow unto that man of sin, as will not be healed. So that if, on the one side, we shall be traduced by Popish Persons at home or abroad, who therefore will malign us, because we are poor instruments to make God’s holy Truth to be yet more and more known unto the people, whom they desire still to keep in ignorance and darkness.

4 And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down.”

Luther at first recognized the Pope’s word equal to Christ. In 1518 he wrote to the Pope defending his course against Tetzel, but adding, “I will acknowledge thy voice as the voice of Christ speaking in thee.” Later Luther said, “When I began the affairs of indulgences I was a most mad Papist, so intoxicated was I and drenched in Papal dogmas, that I would have been most ready to murder or assist others in murdering any person who would have uttered a syllable against the duty of obedience to the Pope.” Again he says, “After being enabled to answer every objection against me from Scripture, one difficulty alone remained–the church ought to be obeyed. If I had then disobeyed the Pope, as I do now, I should have expected every hour that the earth would open and swallow me, as Korah and Abiram.” At first the Reformers considered the words of the Pope as divine authority. In 1520 the Pope sent forth his anathema and excommunication against Martin Luther. He refused to listen to his thunder. Luther summoned a vast audience to Wittemburg and tossed the Pope’s Bull into the fire. This act electrified Europe. Could there be a more striking fulfillment of this verse?

5-6 Then the angel I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven. And he swore by him who lives for ever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it, and said, “There will be no more delay!

This refers to the end of Papal powers–No longer would mankind be without an OPEN BOOK.

7 But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.”

This was anticipatory. For the fulfillment we must wait for chapter eleven and verse fifteen. The end has come, the brightness of Zion’s glad morning has arrived and heavenly beings join in songs of praise and thanksgiving because the mystery of God is finished. In other words the written word of God will be available to all. I will attempt to give a synopsis of how we got our Bible. In giving the following critique of the Bible it is not meant to be complete in every detail but rather an outline.

There are three early copies of the Bible.

l. The Codex Sinaiticus, The word “Codex” means bound. This copy was made in the fourth century. England purchased it from Russia in 1933 and put it in the British Museum.

2. The Codex Alexandrinus, (5th century edition) It is written in Greek and contains the entire Bible except for forty pages.

3. The Codex Vaticanus. Parts of it are lost. It is in the Vatican library. It was written in Greek. Originally the books of the bible were on scrolls. One would unroll the scroll to read the book. Then separate sheets of papyrus were folded and sewn together at the fold. Sets of these were bound together in the form we call a “codex”, and this form was the format for our modern book.

As Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire, translations of the Bible were begun–in Coptic, Syriac, Ethiopic and Latin. Since Latin was the official language of the Roman Empire, the Latin Vulgate soon became the official Bible. The Emperor Constantine was probably responsible for most of the manuscripts that remain.

In the fourth century a brilliant young monk, Jerome, made a translation of the Scriptures into the Latin. For the next 1,000 years it was the main Bible of the Catholic Church. For centuries, the only Bibles were hidden away in monasteries by monks. During the Dark Ages, very little Bible translation was attempted. The Word of God was locked up in the Latin language, which was unknown to the common people. In 1320-1384 John Wycliffe, an Oxford Priest who had been a Rector of 3 English Churches, made a copy of the Latin Bible into English. He was persecuted for his work–discharged from the university and 44 years after his death his bones were dug up by the Catholic Church and burnt in public disgrace.

John Gutenberg of Mainz Germany printed the first book on his printing press in 1450. It was a Bible. John Huss worked for an open Bible at Prague’s University. He was tried as an Heretic and burned at the stake by the Roman Catholic Church. Swingli was working in England for an open Bible. He was buried as a traitor.

William Tyndale was a courageous Reformer who was determined that we should have a copy of the Word of God. He graduated from Oxford. He was driven from England to Germany where he translated the Old and New Testaments. The first copy was printed in Cologne Germany in 1525. Henry the VIII had him strangled and burned at the stake.

Miles Coverdale was a friend of Tyndale. He published a Bible which was largely based on Tyndale’s. In 1530 King Henry VIII broke with Rome and permitted him to publish his Bible in English. Coverdale dedicated his Bible to King Henry VIII. In 1553-1568 under the reign of Bloody Mary, Christians flew to Germany and Switzerland. In Geneva they published a Bible in 1560 called the Breeches Bible.

In 1568 A Revision of the Great Bible was published. They called it the Bishops Bible. The Archbishop of Canterbury was responsible for its publication.

The Catholic church came out with a version in 1610 called the Douay Bible. It was an English Version.

In 1611 The King James translation was offered to the English speaking people. King James of England financed the project and it was dedicated to him. See the Epistle Dedicatory.

Thank God that no longer do you and I have to hear of the forbidden practice of reading our Bibles. No longer can any ecclesiastical Diocese declare you guilty of heresy and worthy of death for no other charge except Reading the Holy Scriptures and believing them. NO WONDER THE VERSE UNDER CONSIDERATION SAYS, “There will be no more delay!”

8-9 Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me once more: “Go, take the scroll that lies open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.” So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, “Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.”

This has been called the BITTER SWEET. God’s judgments make up the bitter and the sweet. When John ate (consumed) the contents of the “open Bible” it was sweet, but an open Bible brought bitterness and sorrow and hardships. When the Bible was restored to the world it was sweet. But the persecutions that followed were bitter.

He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time. Dan 7:25

10 I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour.

Then he said to me, “Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.” So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth. Eze. 3:3

When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O Lord God Almighty. Jer. 15:16

11 Then I was told, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.”

This probably refers to the return of John from Patmos to Ephesus where he published his vision on Patmos. I remember Jesus telling Paul that he would not die in the ship wreck.

Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you. Acts 27:23,24

THE TWO WITNESSES of Chapter 11

1.) I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, “Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, and count the worshipers there. 2But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months. 3And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” 4These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. 5If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die. 6These men have power to shut up the sky so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want.

7Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them. 8Their bodies will lie in the street of the great city, which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. 9For three and a half days men from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial. 10The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth.

11But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. 12Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on.

13At that very hour there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the city collapsed. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.

14The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon.

15The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said:

“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.”

16And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17saying:

“We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty,

the One who is and who was,

because you have taken your great power

and have begun to reign.

18The nations were angry;

and your wrath has come.

The time has come for judging the dead,

and for rewarding your servants the prophets

and your saints and those who reverence your name,

both small and great–

and for destroying those who destroy the earth.”

19Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a great hailstorm.

INTRODUCTION

In the previous chapter we learned of the Bible being translated from dead languages. Now we are told to rise and measure the Temple of God. When the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians he referred to them as the Temple of God. Priests like John Wycliffe of Oxford, Tyndale (another Oxford monk), and Coverdale (who made the first complete English Bible) gave the world a book that contained the correct measurements. The Roman Clergy had taken the Bible from the people. They were opposed to its circulation. They had put it in a dead language and no one but the monks were allowed to read it. Until Martin Luther found a Latin Bible in an Augustinian monastery he did not know there were scriptures other than the ones in the Catholic breviary. After reading the Word of God he became a reformer. He used the measuring rod of God’s word to determine that their doctrine did not measure up the Bible standard. He couldn’t find purgatory, celibacy, nuns, holly water, worship of saints (idolatry), image worship (Although HE LIED ABOUT THE SECOND COMMANDMENT TO COVER FOR THE CHURCHES DECEPTIONS!) After a careful examination of the doctrines of Catholicism one can truthfully say that none of them measure up to the measuring rod. God says the two witnesses (Old Testament and New Testament) would prophesy in sackcloth and ashes (dead languages) during the period of the dark ages and come back to life again. Today we have the LIVING WORD OF GOD.

EXPOSITION

1 I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, “Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, and count the worshipers there…”

The Word of God is now likened to two men, namely Elijah who shut up the sky and it rained not for three years and six months and Moses who returned to Egypt with the ten plagues. The dark ages were a time when the world was gloomy, it groped in darkness and mystery, and things were obscure and unenlightened. While the word was chained in the monasteries and clothed in dead languages the nations received no blessings.

7 Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them.

At the end of the l260 year period 533A.D to 1793 A.D., When the dark ages ended, France condemned the Bible and declared itself atheistic. Voltaire and Rousseau led in France, which decreed that it would worship no Gods but reason and liberty. Atheism became the law of the state. This was the only instance in all history of a deliberate legislative enactment abolishing all religion. It repealed these laws 3 1/2 years later. Frederick the great led in Germany. Tom Paine, Hume, Gibbon and Bolingbrook led in England, Thomas Jefferson and Paine led in America.

8 Their bodies will lie in the street of the great city, which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified.

What a scene. God’s word, which has been likened to two men, is now seen as though it has been killed and left unburied. It is called SODOM from its awful wickedness and EGYPT because of spiritual bondage.

9 For three and a half days men from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial.

France was the staunchest supporter of the Catholic Church. Now the French Revolution has separated it from the Papacy. A malignant sore and foul corruption broke out in France at the end of the 1260-year period. A “reign of terror” that is known as the French revolution. France had long been styled “the eldest son of the church.” She had perpetuated the massacre of Bartholomew, the banishment of the Huguenots, Popes war against the Albigenses (Bohemian Brethren), Martyrdom of John Calas, the inquisitions (150,000 were Killed in 30 years), the rise of the Jesuits in 1540 in which 900,000 people perished. In 1793 this ulcer of the French Revolution had festered and broke. The enslaved masses who were maddened into fury sent Catholic king, royal families, nobles, and priests to the guillotine by tens of thousands, impelling the nation into madness and fury to declare itself atheistic. At one time over 200,000 were imprisoned and as many as 80 were sent to the scaffold in one day in Paris alone. The Papal power received a shock from which it has never recovered.

10 The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth.

The word of God told men plainly of their sins–condemned them for their crimes. They rejoice because it can no longer testify to their shame.

11 But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them.

Like the Word of God has proclaimed, three and one half days pass (3 1/2 Prophetic days equal 3 1/2 years). The two witnesses who are called the two olive trees and the two lampstands, and the two Prophets came back to life. Yes France became Atheistic in 1793 and 3 1/2 years later in 1797 they repealed these laws and the Word of God was living again.

12 Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on.

Heaven is a symbol for a high, exalted and holy place. Therefore the verse is saying that the church is to take its rightful place.

Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him. Dan. 7:27

13 At that very hour there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the city collapsed. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.

God’s Word shakes the nations when it is taught and understood.

The woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth. Rev. 17:18

We will later present proof that the city of Rev. 17 is Rome at this time she was still ruling over the ten kingdoms of Europe. When Luther gave Germany the Bible she immediately fell away from Rome. The remnant acknowledged that God’s word was right.

14 The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon.

15 The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.”

The mystery is finished. The end has come. The brightness of Zion’s glad morning has arrived and heavenly beings join in songs of praise and thanksgiving.

16 And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshipped God.

cf. notes on chapter 4. The Twentieth Century New Testament gives the name councilors instead of the name elders. These 24 are the ruling aristocracy of heaven. They are similar to Senators in our State Government.

17 saying: “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign.

There is little doubt that this is the same as Daniel 7:25-27.

18 The nations were angry; and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great–and for destroying those who destroy the earth.”

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Mt. 25:31-33

And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Rev. 20:12-15

19 Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a great hailstorm.

This will be enough to scare a man out of his wits! Moses saw a similar event at Mt.Sinai and he was scared.

You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, because they could not bear what was commanded: If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned. The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.” Heb. 12:18-21

STAR FALLEN FROM HEAVEN: Mohamed and His Koran REVELATION Chapter 9

This chapter I believe explains this time in history like no other chapter in the bible. We live in interesting times!

The STAR FALLEN
FROM HEAVEN

9 The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss. 2When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss. 3And out of the smoke locusts came down upon the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth. 4They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. 5They were not given power to kill them, but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes a man. 6During those days men will seek death, but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.

7The locusts looked like horses prepared for battle. On their heads they wore something like crowns of gold, and their faces resembled human faces. 8Their hair was like women’s hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth. 9They had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the thundering of many horses and chariots rushing into battle. 10They had tails and stings like scorpions, and in their tails they had power to torment people for five months. 11They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon. [Abaddon and Apollyon mean Destroyer.]

12The first woe is past; two other woes are yet to come.

13The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the horns [That is, projections] of the golden altar that is before God. 14It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” 15And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind. 16The number of the mounted troops was two hundred million. I heard their number.

17The horses and riders I saw in my vision looked like this: Their breastplates were fiery red, dark blue, and yellow as sulfur. The heads of the horses resembled the heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke and sulfur. 18A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur that came out of their mouths. 19The power of the horses was in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails were like snakes, having heads with which they inflict injury.

20The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood–idols that cannot see or hear or walk. 21Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.

INTRODUCTION: BEFORE READING THIS,PLEASE GO TO THIS BLOG ON THE MUSLEM DECEPTION….The Great Lie! & Who Authored the Koran? AS WELL AS: Islam on Trial

There is little doubt that this chapter depicts the rise of Mohammed. The prophet sees a falling star: Mohammed was a fallen star. He who was destined to rule was set aside. He came with a smoke screen of deception like blowing smoke from an abyss. He came with a vast army of workers spreading over the eastern part of the empire. Their work of torment lasted one hundred and fifty years. His torment was worse than the sting of a scorpion. They were all on horseback. This mighty movement had its origin in Arabia. They had long beards, long hair, yellow turbans, and horse tails for banners. Every symbol in this chapter points to Arabia. By the eighth century they controlled Egypt, Greece, Eastern Europe, Spain, Arabia, Syria, Portugal and Africa. He used his “key” the Koran, which has no code of morals, to justify licentiousness, murder and robbery. Mohammed boldly claimed that he had ascended into the seventh heaven, and there before the effulgent majesty of the Almighty where he is informed that he is being sent with the sword to compel all the people in the world to cast away their religion and accept the Koran. The Koran says: “A night spent in arms is more precious in the sight of God than months of fasting and prayer. Whosoever dies in battle, his sins are forgiven. In the Day of Judgment, his wounds shall be resplendent as vermilion, and odoriferous as musk. In the Mussulman’s paradise, seventy-two damsels of sparkling beauty shall minister to the most humble of the faithful.” The Turkish Empire has been the upholder of Mohammedism the last twelve hundred years. It was a penalty of death to profess Christianity in that empire till the treaty of Ryswick, 1844 AD, when the united powers of Christendom forced on the Turks the Act of Toleration. This treaty they have been flagrantly violating.

EXPOSITION

1 The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss.

revch09a.jpg (64606 bytes)

A star fell from heaven must mean that a person of renown fell from his position. As I have before shown, a STAR is a person of high rank. In Genesis 37:9,10 Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Zebulun, Issachar, Dan, Gad, Asher, Naphtali; and Benjamin are called stars. We speak of great actors as stars. Great players in sports are stars. Lets look in history and see if we can identify a fallen star that fell from to the earth. As I continue the historical interpretation we look to the year 612-762 and to the Mohammedan movement. Mohammed was indeed a fallen star. He was of the princely house of the Koreish–the ruling family of Mecca. At birth, his grand father was ruling. Soon thereafter his father died. Then his grandfather died. The boy destined to rule was set aside. Given the key to the shaft of the Abyss. Mohammed began his work with a book called the Koran (Key of the shaft of the Abyss) without this so-called revelation, he could not succeed in his devilish work. He began his work in Arabia, which is 1800 by 900 miles. It is also noteworthy to point out that he began his work in the east the same year that Boniface II became pope. (This is the first pope, despite any claims of the Catholic Church). Sergus a Nestorian Monk is reputed to have wrote the Koran. The reader should note also that their flag has a star and a crescent on it.

2 When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss.

Out of this pit of deception rose a hellish work that we will describe in our comments. Smoke–Mohamed threw up a smoke screen of false doctrine claiming to be a Prophet and to have received the Koran at Mecca. This smoke screen blinded the vision of the Arab world. They were forced to comply with this ruthless leader. It was a religion of the sword. Sun and sky were darkened by the smoke. The minds of men are so confused that they cannot see clearly.

3 And out of the smoke locusts came down upon the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth.

A vast army of evil workers is to emerge upon the earth. The scorpion is the national symbol of the Ishmaelites. This arch deceiver was born at Mecca, a city of Arabia, famous for nothing. Mohammed’s father died when he was only two years old. All the wealth of his father devolved to his uncles. Six years after the death of his father, his mother died. His grandfather, Abd’ almotalleb died the following year. Abu Taleb, his uncle, took him under his protection. He lived sixteen years with him being trained in the employment of a merchant. They traded to Syria, Persia, and Egypt, India, Ethopia, and other southern regions of the globe. At the age of twenty-five, a circumstance happened in Mecca, peculiarly favorable to the advancement of his projected scheme. A merchant of considerable wealth and influence dying in the city, his widow, to whom he left all of his possessions carried on his trade. She gave him discharge of her services. For the next three years he became acquainted both with Jews and Christians, whose religious opinions he would examine with as much attention as privacy would allow.

At twenty-eight he had gained entire victory over the widow’s (Khadijah) heart and she could no longer resist. She gave him her heart and hand at the age of forty. At the age of twenty-eight, he took up his almost daily residence in a solitary cave, nigh to the city of Mecca, where he pretended to be favored with visions from the Almighty. He told his wife that Jehovah employed the angel Gabriel to bring him down the Koran, which was to contain the doctrines and precepts that heaven designed for his countrymen. She decided he was deranged and that his revelations were fabricated.

At this time there was a monk, Sergus, residing in his house. He was privy to the impostor’s design, and greatly assisted him in bringing it to maturity as he became a convert of Mohammed. That very year the tyrant, Phocas (Roman Emperor), granted liberty to the Bishop of Rome, to assume the title of universal pastor. At the time when the Roman Catholic Church was climbing to the summit of its impious dignity in the north, a monster was forging the chains of delusion for the south.

At the age of forty, after completing the period of his probation in the cell, Mohammed assumed the title: Apostle of God. At this time, he tried his success with the public. For four years, the converts to his new religion were only nine in number. At forty-four, he put forth the leading ideas of his discourses, which were:

? God is one

? he himself was the prophet of God, sent to declare his will to men

? that they who affirm the Almighty to have sons or daughters, are chargeable with impiety, and ought to be detested.

It is unquestionable that his design was to inveigh against the doctrine of the Trinity by one part of this assertion, and to condemn the idolatry of his countrymen by the other. His fellow countrymen were strongly addicted to the worship of three female dieties, known by the names of Allat, Menat, and Al Uzza, whom they impiously denominated the daughters of God. As was expected, the ridicule and opposition he met with from his hearers put his counterfeit patience to many severe trials. People did not hesitate to pronounce him a sorcerer. They openly called him a liar, and viewed everything he uttered as impertinent and fabulous. For the next thirteen years he remained at Mecca.

Perceiving that there was little probability of advancing his religion by persuasion, he and his followers flee to Medina. This city is about two hundred seventy miles from Mecca. He lived there ten years before he died. Mohammed had a deep rooted enmity against the Jews, and made war upon all those adjacent tribes who professed that religion. The whole life of Mohammed after his flight to Medina, was one continued scene of butchery and rapine. He, with his associated and followers, plundered every caravan of it valuable commodities. It would be an almost endless task to give even a catalogue of his numerous wars. This imposter reduced city after city to his religion by the power of the sword. Lust and ambition were the two powerful motives by which he was actuated. For ten years, his life exhibited nothing but highway robbery, plunder, and bloodshed, in which he exceeded even Alexander the Great in atrocity. The religion of Mohammed infects and enslaves more of the globe than six times all of Europe together. In his unbounded lusts, it is clear that he had no less than fifteen wives. By admitting the inspiration of the Old and New Testament and the divine mission of Moses and Jesus Christ, he thereby stole insensibly on the affections of Jews and Christians. But he insinuated that God only designed his mission to be dominate. He was a master at snaring people and the Arch Deceiver of Mankind. We label him Abaddon.

4 They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads.

They were told to “Cut down no palm tree, nor burn fields of corn, cut no fruit trees.” (Gibbon 5 p. 309) They were commanded to kill no Christians. He gave the people three choices: 1) The Koran, 2) Slavery, 3) Cleave head of priest unless they become Mohammedans. (Gibbon 5 p. 189) “And I would have you know that the fighting for religion is an act of obedience to God.” (Gibbon 5 p 309)

5 They were not given power to kill them, but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes a man.

Christians were styled infidels and dogs–insulted and treated shamefully. They were given options: the Koran, tribute, or the sword. They were prohibited to build new churches or sound the bells in the old ones. They were forced to admit scoffing Mohammedans into their assemblies. Those returning to the faith were given the penalty of death. The insults, injuries, oppressions, etc. are indescribable. In just ten years, from 634 to 644 A.D., the Saracens captured 3060 cities, destroyed 4,000 churches, and erected 1400 mosques. We hear but faintly the sounding of the woe trumpet. The Mohammedans took Damascus in 634, Jerusalem in 637, Egypt in 638, and westward to the banks of the Atlantic. They crossed into the borders of Europe in 675, crossed the Hellingspont and besieged Constantinople but were driven back. In 711 they crossed the straights of Gibralter into western Europe and conquered Spain. Their Dominion now consisted of: Asia, Africa, and Southwestern Europe. It was a penalty of death to profess Christianity in that empire till the treaty of Ryswick, 1844 AD, when the powers of Christianity forced on the Turks the Act of Toleration. This treaty has been flagrantly violated to this day.

Five months, can be interpreted by applying the rule of a day for a year, which is a theory taken from Ezekiel:

After you have finished this, lie down again, this time on your right side, and bear the sin of the house of Judah. I have assigned you 40 days, a day for each year. EZE 4:6

Five months would therefore equal l50 years. Their movement lasted from 612 to 762 A.D. Exactly 150 years. The word of God is always right! Sting of a scorpion: this insect is bred in the Arabian sands. When it injects poison into the victim he sinks into insensibility–but does not die. The approaching paralysis and the terrible pain and agony makes the sufferer pray for death. Anyone captured by the Mohammedans would suffer as severely as if a scorpion had stung him.

6 During those days men will seek death, but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.

So horrible were the atrocities committed by the followers of Mohammed. Freedom of religion was denied. Men would rather die than live under these conditions.

Wherever I banish them, all the survivors of this evil nation will prefer death to life, declares the Lord Almighty. JER 8:3

“Ye Christian dogs, you know your option; the Koran, the tribute, or the sword. We are a people whose delight is in war rather than in peace: and we despise your pitiful alms, since we shall be speedily masters of your wealth, your families, and your persons.” Gibbon 5 p 315

7 The locusts looked like horses prepared for battle. On their heads they wore something like crowns of gold, and their faces resembled human faces.

Arabia is the natural home of the horse. There were no foot-soldiers in the army of Mohammed in 632. The Arabians wore yellow turbans and from a distance it would look like crowns of gold. Their faces resembled human faces: this refers to the patriarchal beards.

The noise of a carefree crowd was around her; Sabeans [Or drunkards] were brought from the desert along with men from the rabble, and they put bracelets on the arms of the woman and her sister and beautiful crowns on their heads. EZE 23:42

8 Their hair was like women’s hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth.

The Arabians wore long hair like women. The lions also had their home in the deserts of Arabia. This symbol denotes ability to devour.

9 They had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the thundering of many horses and chariots rushing into battle.

In the Koran we read “God hath given you coats of mail to defend you in your wars” (Koran 11-104). The armor substance that is behind the face of the locust looks like plates of iron that appear on war-horses.

10 They had tails and stings like scorpions, and in their tails they had power to torment people for five months.

A horse’s tail is an emblem of Turkish power. Instead of a flag, a horses tail is seen flying in the breeze. A Pacha of three tails is a very great officer. These officers were over their captives and the torment was like that of a scorpion. Their power was from 612-762 a period of five prophetic months. I list here the eight precepts of Mohammedism. (Turkish Tyranny, p. 181).

1. They are surely infidels who say, “Verily God is Christ the son of Mary.” (Koran ch.5) p. 127.

2. O believers take not the Jews or Christians for friends. (Koran Ch. 5, p. 125)

3. War is enjoined by you against the infidels (Ch 2, p. 76).

4. Fight against them until there be no temptation to idolatry and the religion be Gods. (Ch 2, p. 7).

5. Fight against the friends of Satan. (Ch 4).

6. Kill the Idolaters wherever ye shall find them. (Ch 9).

7. Wherever you encounter the unbelievers strike off their heads, until you have made a great slaughter among them. (ch 4, p 390)

8. Ye are forbidden to take a wife or free women who are married, except those women whom ye possess as slaves.

11 They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon.

“The siege of Constantinople by the Turks attracts our first attention to the person and character of the great destroyer.” (Gibbon’s, 6, p 417) Jesus means Savior. Abaddon means destroyer! It well describes the mission of Mohammed.

Note that real locust have no king: “Locusts have no king, yet they advance together in ranks.” (Prov. 30:27 ) Haley’s Handbook says, “The hardest blows ever to hit Christianity have been Mohammedism from without and Papal Usurpation from within.”

In the Seventh century A.D., Mohammedanism swept the Eastern World like a tidal wave, and Blotted out Christianity in Southwest Asia and North Africa: the Euphrates and Nile Valleys: the Eastern and Southern Borders of the Mediterranean: lands of the Bible Story: lands in which the Bible originated and grew: lands in which God’s Revelation of Himself to Mankind was nurtured and brought to completion: land in which God formed and trained the nation Israel, for two thousand years, to pave the way for the coming of Christ; lands hallowed forever as the scene of Christ’s Life and Death and Resurrection and His Redemptive Work for Mankind: lands which were the Cradle of Christianity, and which were for 600 years Christian: the Original Christian World: in these lands, by one fell blow of the Mohammedanism Sword, CHRISTIANITY WAS BLOTTED OUT, and Mohammedanism was Established. And they HAVE BEEN MOHAMMEDAN EVER SINCE.”

Mohammed, with the sword in one hand and the Koran in the other, erected his throne on the ruins of Christianity and of Rome. Gibbon 5 p. 207

“The sword,” says Mohammed, “Is the key of heaven and of hell: a drop of blood shed in the cause of God, a night spent in arms, is of more avail than two months of fasting or prayer: whosoever falls in battle, his sins are forgiven.” Gibbon 5 p.257

The following will illustrate how they made converts by the sword. At the battle of Bosra the Governor was given the terms.

After Chaled had imposed the terms of servitude and tribute, the apostate or convert avowed in the assembly of the people his meritorious treason: “I renounce your society,” said Romanus, “both in this world and the world to come. And I deny him that was crucified, and whosoever worships him. And I choose God for my Lord, Islam for my faith, Mecca for my temple, the Moslems for my brethren, and Mohammed for my prophet; who was sent to lead us into the right way, and to exalt the true religion in spite of those who join partners with God.” Gibbon 5, p.312

12 The first woe is past; two other woes are yet to come.

Dear reader, there is more lamentation and grief to come.

13 The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the horns [That is, projections] of the golden altar that is before God.

From the golden altar of incense.

14 It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.”

revch09b.jpg (60173 bytes)

The Seer sets another scene before us. We must look for something at the Euphrates river. This river is 1780 miles long and flows into the Persian Gulf. I believe that the Ottoman Empire under Malek Shaw meets the requirements of the text. Consider that it was divided among his four sons at his death. It was divided into four parts: 1) Persia, 2) Syria, 3) Asia Minor, and 4) India. (See Gibbon, 4, p. 169.) “Yet their progress was bounded by the Euphrates.” (Gibbon 6, p. 419) “Accompanied by his four brothers, he passed the Euphrates: the Turkish camp was soon seated in the neighborhood of Kutaieh in Phrygia; and his flying cavalry laid waste the country as far as the Hellingspont and the Black Sea.” (Gibbon, 6, p. 24) They marched out of Baghdad in 1057, crossed the river and the next century their conquest extended to the Hellingspont, and embraced all Turkey. Then came the mighty crusades. For a while, they beat back the Moslem power and recovered a portion of Turkey, between Europe and Asia. The contest lasted for two centuries. Europe weary of its fruitless struggle withdrew. The Turks reorganized and passed over into Europe. The eastern empire was shorn of all its territories and reduced to its city of Constantople.

In 1453 two hundred thousand Turks with cannons, battered down the walls. One hundred thousand of its citizens were slain upon her ramparts. The interval was 396 years. This rapacious, licentious, bloodthirsty, brutal power educated in their religion to believe that all unbelievers (they call anyone who is not a Mohammedan an unbeliever or infidel) were fit for death. Each Pasha is an absolute Lord in his own province. Their rule was intolerable.

15 And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind.

Our Julian year equals 365 days and 6 hours. On the year day principle of Ezekiel 4:6, it would be as follows:

A Year = 365 1/4 Days = 365 Years + 1/4

A Month = 30 Days = 30 Years.

A Day = 1 Year.

TOTAL 396 Years.

1/4 of a prophetic day or year (left out above) = 91 1/4 days.

An hour = 1/12 of a prophetic day or year = 30 1/3 days.

TOTAL 396 years 121 + days

January 18th. 1057 to May 29th 1453 = 396 years 131 days.

To kill a third: Refer to chapter 8:7, where my comments consider a third. The Roman Empire was divided into three parts, namely the Greeks, the Saracens, and the Franks (Latins). This trumpet sounds forth on the Greek part of the Empire.

16 The number of the mounted troops was two hundred million. I heard their number.

Not a foot soldier. (See Gibbon 4, pp.159, 161) “The myriads of Turkish horse overspread a frontier of six hundred miles from Tauris to Arzeroum, and the blood of one hundred and thirty thousand Christians was a grateful sacrifice to the Arabian prophet.” (Gibbon 6, p. 12)

17 The horses and riders I saw in my vision looked like this: Their breastplates were fiery red, dark blue, and yellow as sulfur. The heads of the horses resembled the heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke and sulfur.

This was the color of the Turkish uniform until reorganization a generation ago. The heads of the horses resembled the heads of lions. Take a close look at a flying cavalry with guns shooting from the horses’ heads and their manes flying in the breeze, does this not resemble a lion’s head? Out of their mouths came fire, smoke and sulfur. When a lion pounces on its prey he utters a deafening roar. When these Turks attacked and fired their muskets a deafening roar ensued. Gunpowder was used first by the Turks. I will quote from the history of that time in regard to the first use of artillery.

Among the implements of destruction, he studied with peculiar care the recent and tremendous discovery of the Latins; and his artillery surpassed whatever had yet appeared in the world. A founder of cannon, a Dane or Hungarian, who had been almost starved in the Greek service, deserted to the Moslems, and was liberally entertained by the Turkish sultan. Mohammed was satisfied with the answer to his first question, which he eagerly pressed on the artist. “Am I able to cast a cannon capable of throwing a ball or stone of sufficient size to batter the walls of Constantinople? I am not ignorant of their strength; but were they more solid than those of Babylon, I could oppose an engine of superior power; the position and management of that engine must be left to your engineers.” On the assurance a foundry was established at Adrianople: the metal was prepared; and at the end of three months Urban produced a piece of brass ordnance of stupendous and almost incredible magnitude; a measure of twelve palms is assigned to the bore; and the stone bullet weighed above six hundred pounds. Gibbon 6, p. 426

For the conveyance of this destructive engine, a frame or carriage of thirty wagons was linked together and drawn along by a team of sixty oxen: two hundred men on both sides were stationed to poise and support the rolling weight; two hundred and fifty workmen marched before to smooth the way and repair the bridges; and near two months were employed in a laborious journey of one hundred and fifty miles. Gibbon 6, p. 427

The great cannon of Mohammed has been separately noticed; an important and visible object in the history of the times: but that enormous engine was flanked by two fellows almost of equal magnitude: the long order of the Turkish artillery was pointed against the walls; fourteen batteries thundered at once on the most accessible places; and of one of these it is ambiguously expressed that it was mounted with one hundred and thirty guns, or that it discharged one hundred and thirty bullets. Yet in the power and activity of the sultan we may discern the infancy of the new science. Under a master who counted the moments the great cannon could be loaded and fired no more than seven times in one day. Gibbon 6, p. 435

18 A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur that came out of their mouths.

Refer to chapter 8:7, where my comments consider a third.

19 The power of the horses was in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails were like snakes, having heads with which they inflict injury.

A horses tail was the emblem of the turkish power. Instead of a flag a horses tail is seen flying in the breeze. A Pacha of three tails is a very great officer. The officers inflicted injury of their captives.

Above sixty thousand of this devoted people were transported from the city to the camp and fleet; exchanged or sold according to the caprice or interest of their masters, and dispersed in remote servitude through the provinces of the Ottoman empire. Gibbon 6, p. 449

20-21 The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood–idols that cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.

The papal church has from the beginning been engaged in Saint worship. To this hour she has not repented of her Idol worship, demon worship, saint worship, and murders. In the papal church is found the blood of saints and prophets. Estimates vary as high as 50 million. Sorceries: No group on earth has practiced more tricks to deceive, from talking statues to apparitions. For further reading about their un-repented sins, particularly sexual immorality, refer to a book by Chiniquy, “The Priest, The woman and the confessional,” and a book by McLoughlin, “Crime and Immorality in the Catholic Church.”

When you see Roman Catholic priests walking around with beads, images, crucifixes, and other symbols of idolatry. He had a silver image of our Savior on the cross. His religion is in a dead Christ. All of this is idolatry.

The Strong Angel. The Open Book. Chapters 10-11

THE REVELATION
OF JOHN.

CHAPTER X.

The Open Book.

SUMMARY.–The Strong Angel. The Open Book. Standing on Sea and Land. The Seven Thunders. The Angel’s Oath. John Asked to Devour the Book. Sweet, and Yet Bitter. Called on Again to Prophesy.

CHAPTER X.

The tenth and eleventh chapters should be one chapter. They relate to one series of events. The reader should keep in mind the point reached in the unveiling of the symbols. The sixth trumpet has blown. The Euphratean horsemen have done their work in “a year, a month, a day and an hour.” The Greek Empire, the last remnant of the old Roman world known to John, has fallen. The state of “the rest” is described in the last verse of chapter 9. The events beheld in chapters 10 and 11 up to 11:15 belong still to the sixth trumpet. As the Greek Empire fell in 1453, the symbols in these chapters point to events subsequent to that date.

1-3. I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven. This mighty angel was seen in vision and is to be regarded as a symbol. The description is very much like that of the Son of Man in chapter 1. While the whole may signify some momentous movement the similarity of the description [453] implies that Christ comes in that movement. Let the facts stated be observed closely. 1. He is a mighty angel. 2. He comes down from heaven, enveloped in a cloud. 3. The rainbow about his head is the symbol of hope and peace. 4. The shining of his face and feet indicate that he shall spread light and intelligence. 5. His standing on sea and land shows that his mission was to the whole world. 6. The angel holds in his hand an open book. The roll is not only unsealed, but it is unrolled so that it can be read. This open book occupies a very conspicuous place in his work. The book in the angel’s hand must be an emblem of some fact. 7. The seventh fact is that when he, standing on land and sea, with the open book in his hand, cried in a loud voice, a command, or proclamation, or a call for attention, the seven thunders uttered their voices. The whole evidently signifies some mighty movement on the earth inaugurated by Christ.

THE FULFILLMENT.–Beginning in the early part of the sixteenth century, within a short time of the date already reached, was a movement which corresponds fully to the symbols. Indeed the REFORMATION might be said to have begun earlier with Wicklif and Huss, but was fully inaugurated in the sixteenth century. It was a movement (1) in which Christ came in spirit; (2) a movement full of peace and hope; (3) a movement to diffuse light; (4) a movement for the whole world; (5) a movement due to the influence of the open book. The Reformation was the work of a book. Whatever the Romish clergy may pretend now, there is no doubt that before the Reformation they had taken the Bible from the people. The whole influence of the Catholic Church was opposed to its circulation, and in many instances persons have been burned for no other crime than having the Bible in their houses. The book was left sealed up in dead languages, and it was impossible for it to be read in the native tongue of any European people. This radiant angel, however, has in his hand a book open, significant of the fact that God’s providence the Reformation should present the New Testament, open, to the world.

4. When the seven thunders had uttered their voices, etc. The seven thunders (definite article in the Revision) uttered their voices when the angel cried in a loud voice. John was forbidden to record what they uttered. Certain facts will help us to understand what is meant. 1. The apostate power which had taken away and closed the book of the New Testament was called the seven-hilled city, and is alluded to in Revelation as the woman that sat on seven mountains (chap. 17:9). 2. The word thunder has been constantly used to describe the threatening, blasphemous, and authoritative fulminations issued by the seven-hilled power against its enemies. To illustrate this, Le Bas says in his life of Wiclif, page 198: “The thunders which shook the world when they issued from the seven hills, sent forth an uncertain sound, comparatively faint and powerless, when launched from a region of less devoted sanctity.” These ecclesiastical thunders derived their power from the fact that they were hurled from the seven-hilled city. Very appropriately the bulls and anathemas of Rome may then be called the seven thunders. 3. It is a historic fact that the opening of the book by the Reformation, called forth the loudest voices of the seven thunders. The anathemas that had been wont to shake the nations were hurled at Luther and his supporters.

John says that he was about to write what they uttered. His act is symbolic. He becomes himself a part of the symbolism. His act shows that the voices of the seven thunders claimed a record as of divine authority. There was something uttered, and what was uttered was so presented that John was about to record it in the word of God. Then he heard a voice from heaven which bade him seal up what was uttered and write it not. When we remember that the thunders that issued from the Vatican were regarded by the nations as the voice of God, and that the Pope claimed to be the vicar of Christ, we can understand the meaning of John’s symbolical purpose to record them as a part of the word of God, and also that of the heavenly voice which forbade them to be written. It simply represents what did take place among the reformers. There was an open book offered to the world. This resulted in the voices of thunder of the seven-hilled city. At first there was a disposition on the part even of Martin Luther, to listen to [454] these thunders as divine, but finally he committed the Papal Bull issued against his teachings to the flames to be rejected, and it was rejected by the Reformers.

5-7. And the angel . . . sware . . . that there should be time no longer. The whole passage means that the time remaining is short, and that in the time of the seventh trumpet angel the whole consummation shall be reached. In response to the anathemas, thunders, and persecutions, called forth by the Reformation, the great angel who stands on both sea and land lifted his hand and uttered his solemn oath that the period of probation, persecution and suffering on the part of the Church, soon shall end. In chapter 6, verse 10 the suffering martyrs of Pagan persecution cry, O Lord, how long? And here to the second great body of martyrs assurance is given that events are hastening to the end. The mystery shall be finished when the seventh angel shall sound.

8-11. Go and take the little book . . . eat it up. I will give a synopsis of the events of the chapter. 1. The angel holds in his hand an open book. 2. He calls attention to it in a loud voice. 3. The seven thunders launch their thunderbolts against the reception of the open book by the world. 4. John is about to record their words, but is forbidden. 5. The angel affirms with an oath, that the duration of the power and terror of the seven thunders shall be short, and that soon the seventh angel shall sound universal redemption and triumph. 6. John is bidden to take the book. 7. He receives it and is told to eat it, or to receive and devour its contents. 8. Its words are sweet like honey. In the nineteenth Psalm the word of the Lord is compared to the sweetness of honey. 9. There are bitter effects that follow. The great object of this angel seems to be to present the open book to the world. The book is mentioned four times in the chapter; twice it is stated that the book was open. John, in behalf of humanity, receives the book; a symbol of the reception of the New Testament in their own tongues, received by the nations as a result of the Reformation. The word of the Lord was received by the people with great eagerness and [455] joy. They found it “sweeter also than honey and the honey comb.” But while they devoured the word with great enjoyment, there were bitter effects that followed. Millions, perhaps, in all, were persecuted and put to death because they had accepted the book and suffered it to determine their lives and worship.

There is portrayed last another consequence of eating the book. “Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.” To prophesy is not only to foretell future events, but to declare the message of God. This message had been declared once by the apostles, both in person, and by those who preached their words. Apostolic preaching had almost ceased for many ages before the Reformation. John, the representative of the apostolic body, commanded to prophesy, implies a revival of apostolic preaching among all people and nations.

THE REVELATION
OF JOHN.

CHAPTER XI.

The Two Witnesses.

SUMMARY.–The Temple Measured. The Holy City Trodden Down by the Gentiles. The Two Witnesses. Prophesying in Sackcloth. The Forty-Two Months. The Witnesses Slain. The Witnesses Exalted. The Fall of the Wicked World. The Seventh Trumpet Blown. The Final Triumph.

1, 2. There was given me a reed like unto a rod. There are several points that must be noticed: 1. Who measures? 2. The measure used. 3. What is measured? (1) A reed is given to John to be used as a measure. It is not an angel who measures, but an apostle, the sole representative of the apostles then living. The apostle is a representative of the apostolic body. It is the apostles who are to measure. (2) The measure is not a human one. John did not make it, nor did any other apostle, nor any man, or body of men. The reed was given to him. It is a divine measure. Whatever is measured is to be compared with a divine standard. There is a divine standard for measurement which was given by our Lord to the apostles. This is the New Testament of Jesus Christ. (3) Measure the temple of God. This cannot mean the literal temple. It was not in the part of the world where John was, if it had been standing; nor was it then standing. What is meant is that of which the temple was a symbol; viz., the Church. See notes on 1 Cor. 3:16. And the altar. In the Jewish temple the altar was the place where the worship centered. Without the altar worship was impossible, and the altar is taken as a symbol of the worship. The sacrifices of the altar were all typical of Christ’s atonement. Hence, the measurement has a relation to the death of Christ. And them that worship therein. The measure shall be applied to those who profess to be Christians. It will be seen whether they come up to the standard. 2. And the court which is without the temple. This was the outer court, the court of the Gentiles, the type of the world. This measurement does not relate to the world so much as to the Church. It is given unto the Gentiles. Not only it, but the Holy City. By the Holy City Jerusalem is meant when the term is named literally, but Jerusalem is used often by both Paul and John as a symbol of the Church. See Gal. 4:26; Heb. 12:22; Isa. 2:2; Isa. 52:1; Rev. 21:2. Hence, the prediction is to be fulfilled by a prostration or desecration of the Church by worldly influences. Forty and two months. This period is given several times in prophecy in varied forms. These will all be considered at once below. Here it will suffice to say that this is a period of 1260 days, and a day being a symbol of a year, the period meant is 1260 years.

THE MEANING AND FULFILLMENT.

After this explanation of the meaning of terms, the significance becomes plain. This prediction will be fulfilled if, under the sixth trumpet, before the seventh is blown, a corrupted Church, corrupted during long ages of apostasy shall be compared with some divine standard. Or, in other words, after 1453 there ought to be an effort to reform the Church, and to conform to the New Testament. Let us ask, who shall [456] measure the Church? It has been measured for hundreds of years, not by the Bible, but by the decrees of councils, and by the decisions of Popes. There was during all this time a voice, almost suppressed, asking that it be measured by the divine standard, but it was stifled. This prophecy, however, implies a movement of commanding power which shall seek to apply the divine reed to the measurement of the Church. Who now, according to John, shall make the measurement; what shall be the standard? Not Popes, not councils, not apostolic fathers, but the reed is given to an apostle, the living representative of the apostolic body. The twelve to whom were given twelve thrones, to judge the twelve tribes of Israel, shall also measure the Church of Jesus Christ in the day signified by the symbolism employed. How? The reed was not their own creation but was given to them. There is but one divine measure that has ever been given. The New Testament, written by apostles, given to them by inspiration, is the divine standard with which the Church, the worship and the worshippers, must be tested. Not the traditions of men, not the decisions of councils, not the decrees of synods, or conferences, not the creeds of any uninspired body that ever met on the face of the earth, but the standard measure is the New Testament.

THE TRUE CHURCH.

This is not the only place where the reed is named as the appointed instrument for the measurement of the Church. If the reader will turn to the twenty-first chapter, he will find that the New Jerusalem, the Holy City, is measured by an angel with a golden reed. In Ezekiel, chapter 40, the prophet sees an angel measure with a reed a temple such as never been seen by mortal vision. The temple itself is just equal to the measure, and it is composed of many chambers, all equal in size to the reed, to each other, and to the temple itself, of which they are parts! This strange symbolism, this representation of what is apparently impossible, most beautifully represents the character of the true Church, when it has reached the fullness of divine measure, and appears as the New Jerusalem. The whole temple is just the size, neither larger nor smaller than the reed. The true Church corresponds exactly with the divine measure of the Word. It neither adds to itself things unknown to the apostles, nor omits the things therein enjoined. As the temple of Ezekiel was composed of chambers, each of which was the same size of the temple, so the Church is composed of many congregations, each of which should correspond exactly to the measure of the whole body. These individual congregations, which make up the spiritual temple, should not differ from each other in name, in creeds, in rites, in observances, as do the sects of modern times. In the true Church, when fully restored, there will be one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one spirit, one hope, one name, one practice.

The symbolism recorded by the apostle evidently describes the measurement of the Church, its worship, and of its worshipers by the divine standard of the New Testament. Our next inquiry is whether history records the fulfillment. Do we find aught in history, subsequent to 1453, which can be regarded as fulfillment of the prophecy? Earlier reformers, such as Waldo, Wiclif, and Huss, made an attempt to reform the Church, but the whole world dates the beginning of the Protestant Reformation with Luther. It was in 1517 that he nailed to the doors of the church in Wittenberg his Theses, by which he broke with Rome. It was held by the Papacy, which then lorded over Christendom, that the writings of the Fathers, tradition, and the decrees of councils were not only an additional measure, but might even set aside the Word of God. The great Reformation planted itself upon the principles maintained by Martin Luther, and the corner-stone of Protestantism is that the Bible is the only rule of faith and practice of the Christian Church. Protestantism has not always been true to its principles, but it has always conceded that the final standard of measurement is the Word of God.

THE TWO WITNESSES.

3, 4. I will give unto my two witnesses. These two witnesses are witnesses for the Lord. They shall bear witness for 1260 days, the forty-two months the Holy City is trodden down. During this time they shall prophesy in sackcloth, a symbol of sorrow and mourning. It implies that these witnesses shall be in tribulation during the period named. 4. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks. The olive tree was the source of the oil used to provide for the candlesticks. The candlesticks, burning the oil, gave forth light. The symbols imply that during this period of 1260 days [457] God shall have two agencies, bearing divine witness, which shall give forth light to men. These agencies shall be filled and sustained by the Spirit.

5, 6. Fire proceedeth out of their mouth. Whatever is signified by these two witnesses, they have the power to destroy. In seeking for the two witnesses we must find agencies which can save life and can destroy it, can shut the heavens and open them, can prevent blessings from descending upon the earth, can inflict curses and plagues on the inhabitants of the earth. The witnesses have supernatural powers.

7-10. When they shall have finished their testimony. The thought is, “When they shall have made their testimony complete.” The beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit. The coming up of the beast out of the abyss is named here, in 13:1, and in 17:3. The powers that come from the abyss are satanic. Compare 9:2 with 9:11. The beast, therefore, represents some devilish power or influence. The word rendered “beast” here, in 13:1, and in 17:3, denotes a savage wild beast of prey. The beast from the abyss should be distinguished from “the beast coming up out of the sea” (13:1), and from “the beast coming up out of the earth” (13:11). They are all malign powers, but the power of evil manifested in different forms. Shall . . . kill them. Whatever the beast represents, that power shall assail the witnesses, and shall slay them for a time. 8. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street. They shall not be buried, but remain in plain sight. I believe that this is what is signified. Though the witnesses were slain, their enemies could not get them out of sight. They could not bury them. Of the great city. This term is used eight times in Revelation. It is never used of Jerusalem. It is in contrast with the Holy City. As the Holy City is a symbol of the church, a wicked City would symbolize a false religion, or apostate church. Spiritually is called Sodom, and Egypt. Symbolically so called. Sodom, with its sins, was a type of this city; Egypt, the house of bondage, is also a type. It is a sinful organization which has enslaved the true Israel. Where also our Lord was crucified. Many commentators have insisted that this refers to literal Jerusalem, but we must remember that the place is one in which our Lord was spiritually crucified. This is done by apostasy. See Heb. 6:6. That the reference is to spiritual declension is plain. 9. Look upon their dead bodies three days and an half. During a period of three and a half days their bodies shall be seen in the street of the city slain, and all shall see them. They shall be conspicuous. This would seem to point to a period of three and one-half years. 10. They that dwell on the earth. This expression, often used in Revelation, always refers to [458] enemies of Christ. These rejoice because the witnesses are slain. They make merry over their death, because these two prophets tormented them. These witnesses, then, prophesied; that is, they spoke the will of God. Their warnings, exhortations, and denunciations of sin tormented the dwellers of the earth.

11-13. After three days and n half. After lying in a state called dead three and a half years, they come to life again. God gave them life. The effect of their appearance was to fill the people of the wicked city with fear. 12. They heard a great voice from heaven. That voice called on the witnesses to come up thither. To be exalted to heaven, symbolically, always means to give power, prosperity and glory. This means that the witnesses now receive power and influence over men. Their exaltation implies that their prophesying is to be accepted as authority over men. 13. In that hour there was a great earthquake. The symbol of commotion, and of political or religious changes. The earthquake is caused by the exaltation of the two witnesses. The result is that the wicked city is shaken, and a part of it falls. A tenth part. A large part. Seven thousand persons. Various explanations have been given for these numbers. In my judgment seven is used because it is the perfect number. Seven thousands would imply totality. The meaning is, therefore, a total overthrow. And the remnant. So complete was the overthrow from the earthquake, that the rest were filled with fear and glorified God. The whole implies that when the witnesses were lifted up, a commotion shook the false religion or apostate church, and that it was destroyed by the commotion. A part of its inhabitants were slain (perhaps spiritually), and the rest repented.

THE MEANING AND FULFILLMENT.

It has been remarked by several commentators that the passage concerning the two witnesses is the most difficult to explain of any in Revelation. Certainly there is a wide disagreement concerning its meaning, but I believe that it can be clearly explained. Let all the facts stated of the witnesses be taken in one glance. 1. There are two witnesses, and only two. 2. These two are witnesses. Their business is to testify to certain facts or truths. 3. The Lord says they are “my” witnesses. They testify for the Lord. 4. The Lord gives these witnesses power. “I will give power,” etc. 5. They shall testify in sackcloth. This implies that they shall testify in sorrow, robed in mourning. 6. They shall do this in 1260 days or, since a day in prophecy is the symbol for a year, for a period of 1260 years. 7. These witnesses are likened to two olive trees and two lampstands. 8. It is stated that they shall have power to destroy their enemies. 9. Also to intercept blessings. 10. At the end of three and half years, or 1260 days, shall be slain. 11. Shall lie unburied, but after three and half days shall rise again. 12. The witnesses are “prophets” and they “prophesy;” that is, they speak by inspiration. 13. Shall have great power and glory and be exalted to heaven. 14. The city of sin shall be overthrown.

There are a number of facts recorded here which must be true of witnesses, and the business of the interpreter is simply to ascertain whether there is anything of which they are true and which would correspond with these facts. (1) The first one of the fourteen facts I have noted is that there were only two witnesses. I have lying before me an open Bible. I find that the book of Revelation is in what is called the New Testament. The whole Bible is divided into two great divisions, which are called the Old and New Testaments. There are, then two Testaments. Note further that the term testament is a word that signifies to bear witness. It is derived from a Latin word, testor, which means “I testify.” The two [459] testaments, then, imply two witnesses. We have, therefore, in the Old Testament and New Testament, two witnesses, whether they are those described by John or not. (2) These two witnesses of the Bible each testify of the Lord. He said to the Jews concerning the Old Testament Scriptures, “They testify of me.” The Apostle John says concerning his life of the Savior, “These things were written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.” One of these witnesses testifies of the Lord in type and prophecy; the other testifies by its history of facts. (3) The two witnesses are the Lord’s. He gives them their power and they testify of Him. Thus far the two witnesses of the Bible correspond exactly with the two witnesses of the prophecy. (4) The two witnesses of the Word are fed with the oil of inspiration and give forth light. (5) These two witnesses speak by inspiration, or “prophesy.” Passing over some marks of minor importance, we come to (6) the statement that the two witnesses have power to destroy. The Word of God can save and it can destroy. It can justify and it can condemn. In the Judgment the fate of men will be decided by the Word. If the reader will turn to Rev. 19:11-15, and read what is written of the conquests, triumphs, and destruction by the Word of God, he will require nothing more upon this point. In fact everything stated of the power of the two witnesses has been affirmed of the Word of God. (7) It is said that for 1260 days the witness shall prophesy in sackcloth. Every reader knows that for ages the Bible was forbidden to the people and locked up in the dead languages. It was even a crime, for which many suffered death, to have the Bible in the tongue of the people. It is proper that we should consider here this period of mourning in which, if I am correct, the witness of the Old Testament and New Testament shall be given in sorrow.

TWELVE HUNDRED AND SIXTY DAYS.

This period of mourning, during which the witnesses shall prophesy in sackcloth is 1260 days. The same period is named in several places in this prophecy. In Daniel 7:25 it is stated that the youngest horn of the sea monster shall have dominion for a time, times, and a half time. This is understood to be a period of three and a half years, forty-two months, or 1260 days. The outer court of the Holy City shall be trodden down by the Gentiles for forty-two months, or 1260 days (verse 2). The woman was fed of God in the wilderness for 1260 days (Rev. 13:6). She was nourished a time, times, and a half time, or three and one-half years, or 1260 days (chap. 13:14). In five different passages the same period of time is named, and evidently covers in each case the same period of the history of the Church. The day being used as a symbol for a year, we know that 1260 years, the horn spoken of by Daniel, which speaks great words against the Most High, shall have dominion; that for the same period the Gentiles, the enemies of the saints, shall be in power; the two witnesses prophesy in sackcloth, and the woman, the type of the true Church, flee into the wilderness. This remarkable period is that of the power and glory of Papal Rome. It becomes us, once for all, to settle when this period began and when it ends.

It is somewhat difficult to mark the exact point in this development of the Romish power, which may be regarded as the beginning of the 1260 years. But I believe that the consummation of the usurpation can be pointed out to the year.

In A. D. 527 Justinian ascended the throne of the Eastern Empire. Before his reign the schism had begun between the Greek and the Roman churches. He healed that schism by force in favor of Rome. If the reader will open Gibbon, Vol. IV., p. 528, he will find an account of a terrible persecution, inaugurated by this monarch, in order to make all conform to the Papal rule. “His reign,” says Gibbon, “was a uniform, yet various scene of persecution . . . Churches with their congregations were surrounded by Catholic soldiers, and the houses were burned with the congregations in them.” At this period, then, the Church is drenched in blood in order to make the Romish power universal. The witnesses certainly prophesy in mourning. What more? In A. D. 531, Justinian, the ruler of the Eastern half of the old Roman world, the ruler of the countries where the churches still protested against the arrogant claims of Rome, decreed and enforced by arms the subjugation of the whole Church to the Roman Pope, and in A. D. 533, he bestowed upon him the title of Rector Ecclesiæ,” or Lord of the Church. (D’Aubigne’s Reformation, Vol. I., p. 42.) In A. D. 533 the “Man of Sin” was certainly fully revealed. The Papacy was completely established. The universal claims of the Pope were sanctioned by imperial power. Here, then, is the beginning point.

During the long period extending from A. D. 533 to 1793, a prophetic period of 1260 years, the two witnesses, the Old Testament and New Testament, remained in sackcloth. Even where the light had begun to spring up and the Protestant Reformation had taken the place of Romish faith, there was still intoleration. Puritans were persecuted in England, Baptists in Lutheran Germany, Calvin burnt Servetus in Geneva, Quakers and Baptists were punished for their religion in the American colonies.

“War was made upon them.” Near the close of the last century the most determined attack ever known was made upon the Bible. Voltaire and Rousseau led in France; Frederick the Great in Germany; Tom Paine, Hume, Gibbon and Bolingbroke in England; Thomas Jefferson and Paine in America. At last the culmination was reached in France. The nation rose in a crusade against all religion. The Convention, [460] composed of the representatives of the mightiest nation then upon the earth, by national law abolished not only the Bible but God. They decreed that France would worship no gods but Reason and Liberty. Atheism became the law of the State.

This is the only instance known to all history of a deliberate enactment abolishing all religion. Most fitly might such an event be styled the slaying of the witnesses who testify of the Lord. For 1260 years the testimony of the witnesses had been in part suppressed; in 1793 it was enacted that they should testify no more, or henceforth should be silent as death. It was decreed that time should date no more from the Christian era, and that the week itself should be abolished because it was a Bible division of time. Let it be borne in mind: 1. That the war was waged by the power from the bottomless pit; an infidel power. 2. The witnesses were slain by the state which has done more than all others to build up and uphold the temporal power of the Pope. They lie in the street of the great city. 3. It is just 1260 years, the prophetic period, from the time when the Pope was styled Lord of the Church by imperial authority, until the state of the abolition of the Bible and of God by “the eldest son of the Church,” or from A. D. 533 to A. D. 1793.

THE TRIUMPH OF THE WITNESSES.

After three days and a half the witnesses came to life. This implies that they regain their power and influence. The French “Convention,” which inaugurated the Reign of Terror, guillotined all the royal family and many thousand citizens, decreed the dethronement of God, and made itself a terror to mankind, continued in existence for a little more than three years, and in about three and a half years the French nation began to recover from its madness. Its atheistic laws were repealed, and Christianity was acknowledged as the religion of the State. This was not all. The resurrected witnesses were in sackcloth no longer. The age of religious toleration had come. With the beginning of the present century a movement began to sweep over the civilized land in favor of religious liberty.

The exaltation of the witnesses has followed. With the nineteenth century began a mighty movement to extend the circulation of the Bible. It is now translated into every written tongue of the earth, and the Bible societies have made it the cheapest book in the world. To all who are not able to buy it is freely given. All are free to study it for themselves. Ours is also the age of missions. At the same time began a movement to preach the truths of the Bible to all nations. The result of this exaltation is that in our age we feel the heaving of a great moral earthquake. It is stated that a tenth part of the city shall be shaken down. Already Rome has lost its hold upon the governments of Italy and France. The trend of events is now towards the falling of the wicked city, the overthrow of its confirmed supporters, and the repentance of the others. These results are in the future; their fulfillment may yet require generations. We cannot name times and seasons, but the result will come.

THE SEVENTH TRUMPET.

14, 15. And the seventh angel sounded. This is the seventh trumpet of the seventh seal. It should bring the end, the final victory, the grand consummation. That is what the apostle now beholds in the vision. The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ. Here is the final triumph. It is the brightness of Zion’s glad morning, the long deferred day of victory, the ushering in of the conquering reign of Christ. The Agency by which this conquest is effected is the exaltation of the witnesses, or the diffusion of the Word of God. This exaltation causes the earthquake, the fall of a part of the Great City, the destruction of a part of its inhabitants, and the repentance of the remnant. These events are followed by the seventh trumpet and the proclamation of the universal reign of Christ. Then the heavenly inhabitants join in pæans of victory and songs of praise and thanksgiving.

16-18. The four and twenty elders, which sat before God. These heavenly princes, in some way identified with the work of redemption, join in worship and praises. “The mystery of God has been [461] finished in the days of the voice of the seventh angel” (10:7). The eighteenth verse will sufficiently explain why this also should be called a woe trumpet. It is the trumpet of judgment.

19. I believe this verse ought to belong to chapter 12, and will there consider it. If it is connected in meaning with verse 18 it signifies that heaven is opened at the close of the seventh trumpet, and that from thence come judgments as well as blessings.

AN ANALYSIS OF PART I.

With Rev. 11:18 closes the first great division of the Book. It brings one series of visions which reaches from the time of John to the end of the world to a close. It will aid those who have studied the preceding chapters to study the results in a condensed analysis.

The first four chapters are not prophecy, except as the history of the Seven Churches is outlined. The future history of the world and the Church is symbolized by a sealed book. It has seven seals. These are seven epochs that reach into the future until the end of time.

THE FIRST SEAL.–The White Horse. The Era of Triumph. The Glorious Period of Roman History; 6:1, 2. A. D. 96 to A. D. 180
THE SECOND SEAL.–The Red Horse. The Era of Blood and of Civil Discord; 6:3, 4. Beginning A. D. 193.
THE THIRD SEAL.–The Black Horse. The Seal of Calamity, and of National Distress; 6:5, 6. Beginning about A. D. 200.
THE FOURTH SEAL.–The Pale Horse. The Era of Famine, Pestilence and Death; 6:7, 8. About A. D. 240 to A. D. 270.
THE FIFTH SEAL.–The Era of Persecution. The last effort of Paganism to blot out the Christian name; 6:9, 10. A. D. 303.
THE SIXTH SEAL.–The Seal of Revolution. The Era of the Overthrow of Pagan Civilization; 6:12-17. Beginning about A. D. 310 and extending to A. D. 350.
THE FOUR WINDS.–A vision of destructive forces that shall destroy the Roman Empire, but held back until it shall be Christianized. The Four Winds represent Four Northern Invasions, also indicated by Four Trumpets; 9:1-17. Fulfilled from A. D. 340 to A. D. 395.
THE FALL OF THE OLD ROMAN EMPIRE.

THE FIRST TRUMPET under the Seventh Seal.–The Gothic Invasion fulfilled by the Invasion of Alaric; 8:7. A. D. 409.
THE SECOND TRUMPET.–The Vandal Invasion. The Conquest of the Seas; 8:8, 9. A. D. 422
THE THIRD TRUMPET.–The Invasion of Attila the Hun. The Scourge of the Rivers; 8:10, 11. A. D. 440.
THE FOURTH TRUMPET.–The Final Overthrow of Rome by Odoacer. The End of Ancient History; 8:12. A. D. 476. These Four Trumpet Invasions are the Four Winds which were withheld. [462]
THE FALL OF THE EASTERN OR NEW ROMAN EMPIRE.

THE FIFTH TRUMPET SOUNDED.–The Mohammedan Uprising. The Saracen Empire; 9:1-12. A. D. 632 to A. D. 782.
THE SIXTH TRUMPET.–The Euphratean Angels Loosed. The Rise of Turkish Power; 9:13-21. A. D. 1057 to A. D. 1453.
REVIVAL OF CHRISTIANITY.

THE LITTLE BOOK and the Seven Thunders.–Symbols of the Reformation of Luther; 10:1-11. A. D. 1518.
THE OLD PATHS SOUGHT.–The Church Measured; 11:1, 2. From A. D. 1516 to the present time.
THE TWO WITNESSES.–The Two Books of the Word of God. In Sackcloth for twelve hundred and sixty years. Slain in 1793. Resurrected near the beginning of this century; 11:3-12.
EVENTS YET FUTURE.

BABYLON FALLS.–11:13. Yet Future
THE SEVENTH ANGEL SOUNDS.–Christ comes. The Judgment; 11:14-18. This ends the first part of Revelation and ends the world.

Chapters 10-11 The Strong Angel. The Open Book. Standing on Sea and Land. The Seven Thunders. The Angel’s Oath.

THE REVELATION
OF JOHN.

CHAPTER X.

The Open Book.

SUMMARY.–The Strong Angel. The Open Book. Standing on Sea and Land. The Seven Thunders. The Angel’s Oath. John Asked to Devour the Book. Sweet, and Yet Bitter. Called on Again to Prophesy.

CHAPTER 10.

The tenth and eleventh chapters should be one chapter. They relate to one series of events. The reader should keep in mind the point reached in the unveiling of the symbols. The sixth trumpet has blown. The Euphratean horsemen have done their work in “a year, a month, a day and an hour.” The Greek Empire, the last remnant of the old Roman world known to John, has fallen. The state of “the rest” is described in the last verse of chapter 9. The events beheld in chapters 10 and 11 up to 11:15 belong still to the sixth trumpet. As the Greek Empire fell in 1453, the symbols in these chapters point to events subsequent to that date.

1-3. I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven. This mighty angel was seen in vision and is to be regarded as a symbol. The description is very much like that of the Son of Man in chapter 1. While the whole may signify some momentous movement the similarity of the description [453] implies that Christ comes in that movement. Let the facts stated be observed closely. 1. He is a mighty angel. 2. He comes down from heaven, enveloped in a cloud. 3. The rainbow about his head is the symbol of hope and peace. 4. The shining of his face and feet indicate that he shall spread light and intelligence. 5. His standing on sea and land shows that his mission was to the whole world. 6. The angel holds in his hand an open book. The roll is not only unsealed, but it is unrolled so that it can be read. This open book occupies a very conspicuous place in his work. The book in the angel’s hand must be an emblem of some fact. 7. The seventh fact is that when he, standing on land and sea, with the open book in his hand, cried in a loud voice, a command, or proclamation, or a call for attention, the seven thunders uttered their voices. The whole evidently signifies some mighty movement on the earth inaugurated by Christ.

THE FULFILLMENT.–Beginning in the early part of the sixteenth century, within a short time of the date already reached, was a movement which corresponds fully to the symbols. Indeed the REFORMATION might be said to have begun earlier with Wicklif and Huss, but was fully inaugurated in the sixteenth century. It was a movement (1) in which Christ came in spirit; (2) a movement full of peace and hope; (3) a movement to diffuse light; (4) a movement for the whole world; (5) a movement due to the influence of the open book. The Reformation was the work of a book. Whatever the Romish clergy may pretend now, there is no doubt that before the Reformation they had taken the Bible from the people. The whole influence of the Catholic Church was opposed to its circulation, and in many instances persons have been burned for no other crime than having the Bible in their houses. The book was left sealed up in dead languages, and it was impossible for it to be read in the native tongue of any European people. This radiant angel, however, has in his hand a book open, significant of the fact that God’s providence the Reformation should present the New Testament, open, to the world.

4. When the seven thunders had uttered their voices, etc. The seven thunders (definite article in the Revision) uttered their voices when the angel cried in a loud voice. John was forbidden to record what they uttered. Certain facts will help us to understand what is meant. 1. The apostate power which had taken away and closed the book of the New Testament was called the seven-hilled city, and is alluded to in Revelation as the woman that sat on seven mountains (chap. 17:9). 2. The word thunder has been constantly used to describe the threatening, blasphemous, and authoritative fulminations issued by the seven-hilled power against its enemies. To illustrate this, Le Bas says in his life of Wiclif, page 198: “The thunders which shook the world when they issued from the seven hills, sent forth an uncertain sound, comparatively faint and powerless, when launched from a region of less devoted sanctity.” These ecclesiastical thunders derived their power from the fact that they were hurled from the seven-hilled city. Very appropriately the bulls and anathemas of Rome may then be called the seven thunders. 3. It is a historic fact that the opening of the book by the Reformation, called forth the loudest voices of the seven thunders. The anathemas that had been wont to shake the nations were hurled at Luther and his supporters.

John says that he was about to write what they uttered. His act is symbolic. He becomes himself a part of the symbolism. His act shows that the voices of the seven thunders claimed a record as of divine authority. There was something uttered, and what was uttered was so presented that John was about to record it in the word of God. Then he heard a voice from heaven which bade him seal up what was uttered and write it not. When we remember that the thunders that issued from the Vatican were regarded by the nations as the voice of God, and that the Pope claimed to be the vicar of Christ, we can understand the meaning of John’s symbolical purpose to record them as a part of the word of God, and also that of the heavenly voice which forbade them to be written. It simply represents what did take place among the reformers. There was an open book offered to the world. This resulted in the voices of thunder of the seven-hilled city. At first there was a disposition on the part even of Martin Luther, to listen to [454] these thunders as divine, but finally he committed the Papal Bull issued against his teachings to the flames to be rejected, and it was rejected by the Reformers.

5-7. And the angel . . . sware . . . that there should be time no longer. The whole passage means that the time remaining is short, and that in the time of the seventh trumpet angel the whole consummation shall be reached. In response to the anathemas, thunders, and persecutions, called forth by the Reformation, the great angel who stands on both sea and land lifted his hand and uttered his solemn oath that the period of probation, persecution and suffering on the part of the Church, soon shall end. In chapter 6, verse 10 the suffering martyrs of Pagan persecution cry, O Lord, how long? And here to the second great body of martyrs assurance is given that events are hastening to the end. The mystery shall be finished when the seventh angel shall sound.

8-11. Go and take the little book . . . eat it up. I will give a synopsis of the events of the chapter. 1. The angel holds in his hand an open book. 2. He calls attention to it in a loud voice. 3. The seven thunders launch their thunderbolts against the reception of the open book by the world. 4. John is about to record their words, but is forbidden. 5. The angel affirms with an oath, that the duration of the power and terror of the seven thunders shall be short, and that soon the seventh angel shall sound universal redemption and triumph. 6. John is bidden to take the book. 7. He receives it and is told to eat it, or to receive and devour its contents. 8. Its words are sweet like honey. In the nineteenth Psalm the word of the Lord is compared to the sweetness of honey. 9. There are bitter effects that follow. The great object of this angel seems to be to present the open book to the world. The book is mentioned four times in the chapter; twice it is stated that the book was open. John, in behalf of humanity, receives the book; a symbol of the reception of the New Testament in their own tongues, received by the nations as a result of the Reformation. The word of the Lord was received by the people with great eagerness and [455] joy. They found it “sweeter also than honey and the honey comb.” But while they devoured the word with great enjoyment, there were bitter effects that followed. Millions, perhaps, in all, were persecuted and put to death because they had accepted the book and suffered it to determine their lives and worship.

There is portrayed last another consequence of eating the book. “Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.” To prophesy is not only to foretell future events, but to declare the message of God. This message had been declared once by the apostles, both in person, and by those who preached their words. Apostolic preaching had almost ceased for many ages before the Reformation. John, the representative of the apostolic body, commanded to prophesy, implies a revival of apostolic preaching among all people and nations.



THE REVELATION
OF JOHN.

CHAPTER 11.

The Two Witnesses.

SUMMARY.–The Temple Measured. The Holy City Trodden Down by the Gentiles. The Two Witnesses. Prophesying in Sackcloth. The Forty-Two Months. The Witnesses Slain. The Witnesses Exalted. The Fall of the Wicked World. The Seventh Trumpet Blown. The Final Triumph.

1, 2. There was given me a reed like unto a rod. There are several points that must be noticed: 1. Who measures? 2. The measure used. 3. What is measured? (1) A reed is given to John to be used as a measure. It is not an angel who measures, but an apostle, the sole representative of the apostles then living. The apostle is a representative of the apostolic body. It is the apostles who are to measure. (2) The measure is not a human one. John did not make it, nor did any other apostle, nor any man, or body of men. The reed was given to him. It is a divine measure. Whatever is measured is to be compared with a divine standard. There is a divine standard for measurement which was given by our Lord to the apostles. This is the New Testament of Jesus Christ. (3) Measure the temple of God. This cannot mean the literal temple. It was not in the part of the world where John was, if it had been standing; nor was it then standing. What is meant is that of which the temple was a symbol; viz., the Church. See notes on 1 Cor. 3:16. And the altar. In the Jewish temple the altar was the place where the worship centered. Without the altar worship was impossible, and the altar is taken as a symbol of the worship. The sacrifices of the altar were all typical of Christ’s atonement. Hence, the measurement has a relation to the death of Christ. And them that worship therein. The measure shall be applied to those who profess to be Christians. It will be seen whether they come up to the standard. 2. And the court which is without the temple. This was the outer court, the court of the Gentiles, the type of the world. This measurement does not relate to the world so much as to the Church. It is given unto the Gentiles. Not only it, but the Holy City. By the Holy City Jerusalem is meant when the term is named literally, but Jerusalem is used often by both Paul and John as a symbol of the Church. See Gal. 4:26; Heb. 12:22; Isa. 2:2; Isa. 52:1; Rev. 21:2. Hence, the prediction is to be fulfilled by a prostration or desecration of the Church by worldly influences. Forty and two months. This period is given several times in prophecy in varied forms. These will all be considered at once below. Here it will suffice to say that this is a period of 1260 days, and a day being a symbol of a year, the period meant is 1260 years.

THE MEANING AND FULFILLMENT.

After this explanation of the meaning of terms, the significance becomes plain. This prediction will be fulfilled if, under the sixth trumpet, before the seventh is blown, a corrupted Church, corrupted during long ages of apostasy shall be compared with some divine standard. Or, in other words, after 1453 there ought to be an effort to reform the Church, and to conform to the New Testament. Let us ask, who shall [456] measure the Church? It has been measured for hundreds of years, not by the Bible, but by the decrees of councils, and by the decisions of Popes. There was during all this time a voice, almost suppressed, asking that it be measured by the divine standard, but it was stifled. This prophecy, however, implies a movement of commanding power which shall seek to apply the divine reed to the measurement of the Church. Who now, according to John, shall make the measurement; what shall be the standard? Not Popes, not councils, not apostolic fathers, but the reed is given to an apostle, the living representative of the apostolic body. The twelve to whom were given twelve thrones, to judge the twelve tribes of Israel, shall also measure the Church of Jesus Christ in the day signified by the symbolism employed. How? The reed was not their own creation but was given to them. There is but one divine measure that has ever been given. The New Testament, written by apostles, given to them by inspiration, is the divine standard with which the Church, the worship and the worshippers, must be tested. Not the traditions of men, not the decisions of councils, not the decrees of synods, or conferences, not the creeds of any uninspired body that ever met on the face of the earth, but the standard measure is the New Testament.

THE TRUE CHURCH.

This is not the only place where the reed is named as the appointed instrument for the measurement of the Church. If the reader will turn to the twenty-first chapter, he will find that the New Jerusalem, the Holy City, is measured by an angel with a golden reed. In Ezekiel, chapter 40, the prophet sees an angel measure with a reed a temple such as never been seen by mortal vision. The temple itself is just equal to the measure, and it is composed of many chambers, all equal in size to the reed, to each other, and to the temple itself, of which they are parts! This strange symbolism, this representation of what is apparently impossible, most beautifully represents the character of the true Church, when it has reached the fullness of divine measure, and appears as the New Jerusalem. The whole temple is just the size, neither larger nor smaller than the reed. The true Church corresponds exactly with the divine measure of the Word. It neither adds to itself things unknown to the apostles, nor omits the things therein enjoined. As the temple of Ezekiel was composed of chambers, each of which was the same size of the temple, so the Church is composed of many congregations, each of which should correspond exactly to the measure of the whole body. These individual congregations, which make up the spiritual temple, should not differ from each other in name, in creeds, in rites, in observances, as do the sects of modern times. In the true Church, when fully restored, there will be one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one spirit, one hope, one name, one practice.

The symbolism recorded by the apostle evidently describes the measurement of the Church, its worship, and of its worshipers by the divine standard of the New Testament. Our next inquiry is whether history records the fulfillment. Do we find aught in history, subsequent to 1453, which can be regarded as fulfillment of the prophecy? Earlier reformers, such as Waldo, Wiclif, and Huss, made an attempt to reform the Church, but the whole world dates the beginning of the Protestant Reformation with Luther. It was in 1517 that he nailed to the doors of the church in Wittenberg his Theses, by which he broke with Rome. It was held by the Papacy, which then lorded over Christendom, that the writings of the Fathers, tradition, and the decrees of councils were not only an additional measure, but might even set aside the Word of God. The great Reformation planted itself upon the principles maintained by Martin Luther, and the corner-stone of Protestantism is that the Bible is the only rule of faith and practice of the Christian Church. Protestantism has not always been true to its principles, but it has always conceded that the final standard of measurement is the Word of God.

THE TWO WITNESSES.

3, 4. I will give unto my two witnesses. These two witnesses are witnesses for the Lord. They shall bear witness for 1260 days, the forty-two months the Holy City is trodden down. During this time they shall prophesy in sackcloth, a symbol of sorrow and mourning. It implies that these witnesses shall be in tribulation during the period named. 4. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks. The olive tree was the source of the oil used to provide for the candlesticks. The candlesticks, burning the oil, gave forth light. The symbols imply that during this period of 1260 days [457] God shall have two agencies, bearing divine witness, which shall give forth light to men. These agencies shall be filled and sustained by the Spirit.

5, 6. Fire proceedeth out of their mouth. Whatever is signified by these two witnesses, they have the power to destroy. In seeking for the two witnesses we must find agencies which can save life and can destroy it, can shut the heavens and open them, can prevent blessings from descending upon the earth, can inflict curses and plagues on the inhabitants of the earth. The witnesses have supernatural powers.

7-10. When they shall have finished their testimony. The thought is, “When they shall have made their testimony complete.” The beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit. The coming up of the beast out of the abyss is named here, in 13:1, and in 17:3. The powers that come from the abyss are satanic. Compare 9:2 with 9:11. The beast, therefore, represents some devilish power or influence. The word rendered “beast” here, in 13:1, and in 17:3, denotes a savage wild beast of prey. The beast from the abyss should be distinguished from “the beast coming up out of the sea” (13:1), and from “the beast coming up out of the earth” (13:11). They are all malign powers, but the power of evil manifested in different forms. Shall . . . kill them. Whatever the beast represents, that power shall assail the witnesses, and shall slay them for a time. 8. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street. They shall not be buried, but remain in plain sight. I believe that this is what is signified. Though the witnesses were slain, their enemies could not get them out of sight. They could not bury them. Of the great city. This term is used eight times in Revelation. It is never used of Jerusalem. It is in contrast with the Holy City. As the Holy City is a symbol of the church, a wicked City would symbolize a false religion, or apostate church. Spiritually is called Sodom, and Egypt. Symbolically so called. Sodom, with its sins, was a type of this city; Egypt, the house of bondage, is also a type. It is a sinful organization which has enslaved the true Israel. Where also our Lord was crucified. Many commentators have insisted that this refers to literal Jerusalem, but we must remember that the place is one in which our Lord was spiritually crucified. This is done by apostasy. See Heb. 6:6. That the reference is to spiritual declension is plain. 9. Look upon their dead bodies three days and an half. During a period of three and a half days their bodies shall be seen in the street of the city slain, and all shall see them. They shall be conspicuous. This would seem to point to a period of three and one-half years. 10. They that dwell on the earth. This expression, often used in Revelation, always refers to [458] enemies of Christ. These rejoice because the witnesses are slain. They make merry over their death, because these two prophets tormented them. These witnesses, then, prophesied; that is, they spoke the will of God. Their warnings, exhortations, and denunciations of sin tormented the dwellers of the earth.

11-13. After three days and n half. After lying in a state called dead three and a half years, they come to life again. God gave them life. The effect of their appearance was to fill the people of the wicked city with fear. 12. They heard a great voice from heaven. That voice called on the witnesses to come up thither. To be exalted to heaven, symbolically, always means to give power, prosperity and glory. This means that the witnesses now receive power and influence over men. Their exaltation implies that their prophesying is to be accepted as authority over men. 13. In that hour there was a great earthquake. The symbol of commotion, and of political or religious changes. The earthquake is caused by the exaltation of the two witnesses. The result is that the wicked city is shaken, and a part of it falls. A tenth part. A large part. Seven thousand persons. Various explanations have been given for these numbers. In my judgment seven is used because it is the perfect number. Seven thousands would imply totality. The meaning is, therefore, a total overthrow. And the remnant. So complete was the overthrow from the earthquake, that the rest were filled with fear and glorified God. The whole implies that when the witnesses were lifted up, a commotion shook the false religion or apostate church, and that it was destroyed by the commotion. A part of its inhabitants were slain (perhaps spiritually), and the rest repented.

THE MEANING AND FULFILLMENT.

It has been remarked by several commentators that the passage concerning the two witnesses is the most difficult to explain of any in Revelation. Certainly there is a wide disagreement concerning its meaning, but I believe that it can be clearly explained. Let all the facts stated of the witnesses be taken in one glance. 1. There are two witnesses, and only two. 2. These two are witnesses. Their business is to testify to certain facts or truths. 3. The Lord says they are “my” witnesses. They testify for the Lord. 4. The Lord gives these witnesses power. “I will give power,” etc. 5. They shall testify in sackcloth. This implies that they shall testify in sorrow, robed in mourning. 6. They shall do this in 1260 days or, since a day in prophecy is the symbol for a year, for a period of 1260 years. 7. These witnesses are likened to two olive trees and two lampstands. 8. It is stated that they shall have power to destroy their enemies. 9. Also to intercept blessings. 10. At the end of three and half years, or 1260 days, shall be slain. 11. Shall lie unburied, but after three and half days shall rise again. 12. The witnesses are “prophets” and they “prophesy;” that is, they speak by inspiration. 13. Shall have great power and glory and be exalted to heaven. 14. The city of sin shall be overthrown.

There are a number of facts recorded here which must be true of witnesses, and the business of the interpreter is simply to ascertain whether there is anything of which they are true and which would correspond with these facts. (1) The first one of the fourteen facts I have noted is that there were only two witnesses. I have lying before me an open Bible. I find that the book of Revelation is in what is called the New Testament. The whole Bible is divided into two great divisions, which are called the Old and New Testaments. There are, then two Testaments. Note further that the term testament is a word that signifies to bear witness. It is derived from a Latin word, testor, which means “I testify.” The two [459] testaments, then, imply two witnesses. We have, therefore, in the Old Testament and New Testament, two witnesses, whether they are those described by John or not. (2) These two witnesses of the Bible each testify of the Lord. He said to the Jews concerning the Old Testament Scriptures, “They testify of me.” The Apostle John says concerning his life of the Savior, “These things were written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.” One of these witnesses testifies of the Lord in type and prophecy; the other testifies by its history of facts. (3) The two witnesses are the Lord’s. He gives them their power and they testify of Him. Thus far the two witnesses of the Bible correspond exactly with the two witnesses of the prophecy. (4) The two witnesses of the Word are fed with the oil of inspiration and give forth light. (5) These two witnesses speak by inspiration, or “prophesy.” Passing over some marks of minor importance, we come to (6) the statement that the two witnesses have power to destroy. The Word of God can save and it can destroy. It can justify and it can condemn. In the Judgment the fate of men will be decided by the Word. If the reader will turn to Rev. 19:11-15, and read what is written of the conquests, triumphs, and destruction by the Word of God, he will require nothing more upon this point. In fact everything stated of the power of the two witnesses has been affirmed of the Word of God. (7) It is said that for 1260 days the witness shall prophesy in sackcloth. Every reader knows that for ages the Bible was forbidden to the people and locked up in the dead languages. It was even a crime, for which many suffered death, to have the Bible in the tongue of the people. It is proper that we should consider here this period of mourning in which, if I am correct, the witness of the Old Testament and New Testament shall be given in sorrow.

TWELVE HUNDRED AND SIXTY DAYS.

This period of mourning, during which the witnesses shall prophesy in sackcloth is 1260 days. The same period is named in several places in this prophecy. In Daniel 7:25 it is stated that the youngest horn of the sea monster shall have dominion for a time, times, and a half time. This is understood to be a period of three and a half years, forty-two months, or 1260 days. The outer court of the Holy City shall be trodden down by the Gentiles for forty-two months, or 1260 days (verse 2). The woman was fed of God in the wilderness for 1260 days (Rev. 13:6). She was nourished a time, times, and a half time, or three and one-half years, or 1260 days (chap. 13:14). In five different passages the same period of time is named, and evidently covers in each case the same period of the history of the Church. The day being used as a symbol for a year, we know that 1260 years, the horn spoken of by Daniel, which speaks great words against the Most High, shall have dominion; that for the same period the Gentiles, the enemies of the saints, shall be in power; the two witnesses prophesy in sackcloth, and the woman, the type of the true Church, flee into the wilderness. This remarkable period is that of the power and glory of Papal Rome. It becomes us, once for all, to settle when this period began and when it ends.

It is somewhat difficult to mark the exact point in this development of the Romish power, which may be regarded as the beginning of the 1260 years. But I believe that the consummation of the usurpation can be pointed out to the year.

In A. D. 527 Justinian ascended the throne of the Eastern Empire. Before his reign the schism had begun between the Greek and the Roman churches. He healed that schism by force in favor of Rome. If the reader will open Gibbon, Vol. IV., p. 528, he will find an account of a terrible persecution, inaugurated by this monarch, in order to make all conform to the Papal rule. “His reign,” says Gibbon, “was a uniform, yet various scene of persecution . . . Churches with their congregations were surrounded by Catholic soldiers, and the houses were burned with the congregations in them.” At this period, then, the Church is drenched in blood in order to make the Romish power universal. The witnesses certainly prophesy in mourning. What more? In A. D. 531, Justinian, the ruler of the Eastern half of the old Roman world, the ruler of the countries where the churches still protested against the arrogant claims of Rome, decreed and enforced by arms the subjugation of the whole Church to the Roman Pope, and in A. D. 533, he bestowed upon him the title of Rector Ecclesiæ,” or Lord of the Church. (D’Aubigne’s Reformation, Vol. I., p. 42.) In A. D. 533 the “Man of Sin” was certainly fully revealed. The Papacy was completely established. The universal claims of the Pope were sanctioned by imperial power. Here, then, is the beginning point.

During the long period extending from A. D. 533 to 1793, a prophetic period of 1260 years, the two witnesses, the Old Testament and New Testament, remained in sackcloth. Even where the light had begun to spring up and the Protestant Reformation had taken the place of Romish faith, there was still intoleration. Puritans were persecuted in England, Baptists in Lutheran Germany, Calvin burnt Servetus in Geneva, Quakers and Baptists were punished for their religion in the American colonies.

“War was made upon them.” Near the close of the last century the most determined attack ever known was made upon the Bible. Voltaire and Rousseau led in France; Frederick the Great in Germany; Tom Paine, Hume, Gibbon and Bolingbroke in England; Thomas Jefferson and Paine in America. At last the culmination was reached in France. The nation rose in a crusade against all religion. The Convention, [460] composed of the representatives of the mightiest nation then upon the earth, by national law abolished not only the Bible but God. They decreed that France would worship no gods but Reason and Liberty. Atheism became the law of the State.

This is the only instance known to all history of a deliberate enactment abolishing all religion. Most fitly might such an event be styled the slaying of the witnesses who testify of the Lord. For 1260 years the testimony of the witnesses had been in part suppressed; in 1793 it was enacted that they should testify no more, or henceforth should be silent as death. It was decreed that time should date no more from the Christian era, and that the week itself should be abolished because it was a Bible division of time. Let it be borne in mind: 1. That the war was waged by the power from the bottomless pit; an infidel power. 2. The witnesses were slain by the state which has done more than all others to build up and uphold the temporal power of the Pope. They lie in the street of the great city. 3. It is just 1260 years, the prophetic period, from the time when the Pope was styled Lord of the Church by imperial authority, until the state of the abolition of the Bible and of God by “the eldest son of the Church,” or from A. D. 533 to A. D. 1793.

THE TRIUMPH OF THE WITNESSES.

After three days and a half the witnesses came to life. This implies that they regain their power and influence. The French “Convention,” which inaugurated the Reign of Terror, guillotined all the royal family and many thousand citizens, decreed the dethronement of God, and made itself a terror to mankind, continued in existence for a little more than three years, and in about three and a half years the French nation began to recover from its madness. Its atheistic laws were repealed, and Christianity was acknowledged as the religion of the State. This was not all. The resurrected witnesses were in sackcloth no longer. The age of religious toleration had come. With the beginning of the present century a movement began to sweep over the civilized land in favor of religious liberty.

The exaltation of the witnesses has followed. With the nineteenth century began a mighty movement to extend the circulation of the Bible. It is now translated into every written tongue of the earth, and the Bible societies have made it the cheapest book in the world. To all who are not able to buy it is freely given. All are free to study it for themselves. Ours is also the age of missions. At the same time began a movement to preach the truths of the Bible to all nations. The result of this exaltation is that in our age we feel the heaving of a great moral earthquake. It is stated that a tenth part of the city shall be shaken down. Already Rome has lost its hold upon the governments of Italy and France. The trend of events is now towards the falling of the wicked city, the overthrow of its confirmed supporters, and the repentance of the others. These results are in the future; their fulfillment may yet require generations. We cannot name times and seasons, but the result will come.

THE SEVENTH TRUMPET.

14, 15. And the seventh angel sounded. This is the seventh trumpet of the seventh seal. It should bring the end, the final victory, the grand consummation. That is what the apostle now beholds in the vision. The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ. Here is the final triumph. It is the brightness of Zion’s glad morning, the long deferred day of victory, the ushering in of the conquering reign of Christ. The Agency by which this conquest is effected is the exaltation of the witnesses, or the diffusion of the Word of God. This exaltation causes the earthquake, the fall of a part of the Great City, the destruction of a part of its inhabitants, and the repentance of the remnant. These events are followed by the seventh trumpet and the proclamation of the universal reign of Christ. Then the heavenly inhabitants join in pæans of victory and songs of praise and thanksgiving.

16-18. The four and twenty elders, which sat before God. These heavenly princes, in some way identified with the work of redemption, join in worship and praises. “The mystery of God has been [461] finished in the days of the voice of the seventh angel” (10:7). The eighteenth verse will sufficiently explain why this also should be called a woe trumpet. It is the trumpet of judgment.

19. I believe this verse ought to belong to chapter 12, and will there consider it. If it is connected in meaning with verse 18 it signifies that heaven is opened at the close of the seventh trumpet, and that from thence come judgments as well as blessings.

AN ANALYSIS OF PART I.

With Rev. 11:18 closes the first great division of the Book. It brings one series of visions which reaches from the time of John to the end of the world to a close. It will aid those who have studied the preceding chapters to study the results in a condensed analysis.

The first four chapters are not prophecy, except as the history of the Seven Churches is outlined. The future history of the world and the Church is symbolized by a sealed book. It has seven seals. These are seven epochs that reach into the future until the end of time.

THE FIRST SEAL.–The White Horse. The Era of Triumph. The Glorious Period of Roman History; 6:1, 2. A. D. 96 to A. D. 180
THE SECOND SEAL.–The Red Horse. The Era of Blood and of Civil Discord; 6:3, 4. Beginning A. D. 193.
THE THIRD SEAL.–The Black Horse. The Seal of Calamity, and of National Distress; 6:5, 6. Beginning about A. D. 200.
THE FOURTH SEAL.–The Pale Horse. The Era of Famine, Pestilence and Death; 6:7, 8. About A. D. 240 to A. D. 270.
THE FIFTH SEAL.–The Era of Persecution. The last effort of Paganism to blot out the Christian name; 6:9, 10. A. D. 303.
THE SIXTH SEAL.–The Seal of Revolution. The Era of the Overthrow of Pagan Civilization; 6:12-17. Beginning about A. D. 310 and extending to A. D. 350.
THE FOUR WINDS.–A vision of destructive forces that shall destroy the Roman Empire, but held back until it shall be Christianized. The Four Winds represent Four Northern Invasions, also indicated by Four Trumpets; 9:1-17. Fulfilled from A. D. 340 to A. D. 395.
THE FALL OF THE OLD ROMAN EMPIRE.

THE FIRST TRUMPET under the Seventh Seal.–The Gothic Invasion fulfilled by the Invasion of Alaric; 8:7. A. D. 409.
THE SECOND TRUMPET.–The Vandal Invasion. The Conquest of the Seas; 8:8, 9. A. D. 422
THE THIRD TRUMPET.–The Invasion of Attila the Hun. The Scourge of the Rivers; 8:10, 11. A. D. 440.
THE FOURTH TRUMPET.--The Final Overthrow of Rome by Odoacer. The End of Ancient History; 8:12. A. D. 476. These Four Trumpet Invasions are the Four Winds which were withheld. [462]
THE FALL OF THE EASTERN OR NEW ROMAN EMPIRE.

THE FIFTH TRUMPET SOUNDED.–The Mohammedan Uprising. The Saracen Empire; 9:1-12. A. D. 632 to A. D. 782.
THE SIXTH TRUMPET.–The Euphratean Angels Loosed. The Rise of Turkish Power; 9:13-21. A. D. 1057 to A. D. 1453.
REVIVAL OF CHRISTIANITY.

THE LITTLE BOOK and the Seven Thunders.–Symbols of the Reformation of Luther; 10:1-11. A. D. 1518.
THE OLD PATHS SOUGHT.–The Church Measured; 11:1, 2. From A. D. 1516 to the present time.
THE TWO WITNESSES.–The Two Books of the Word of God. In Sackcloth for twelve hundred and sixty years. Slain in 1793. Resurrected near the beginning of this century; 11:3-12.EVENTS YET FUTURE

.

BABYLON FALLS.–11:13. Yet Future
THE SEVENTH ANGEL SOUNDS.–Christ comes. The Judgment; 11:14-18. This ends the first part of Revelation and ends the world.