and the REVELATION
Uriah Smith - 1897
- Part D
the Book of Revelation
Powers Professedly Christian
558 - VERSE 1. And
I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up
out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon
his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
2. And the beast which I saw was
like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a
bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon
gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. 3.
And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death;
and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered
after the beast. 4. And
they worshiped the dragon which gave power unto the beast:
and they worshiped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the
beast? Who is able to make war with him? 5.
And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things
and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue
forty and two months. 6.
And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme
his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.
7. And it was given unto him to make war
with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given
him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. 8.
And all that dwell upon the earth
shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book
of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
9. If any man have an ear,
let him hear. 10. He that
leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that
killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here
is the patience and the faith of the saints.
sea is a symbol of "peoples, and multitudes, and nations,
and tongues." Rev. 17:15. A beast is the Bible symbol
of an unrighteous nation, or power, representing sometimes
the civil power alone, sometimes the ecclesiastical in connection
with the civil. Whenever a beast is seen to come up out
of the sea, it denotes that the power arises in a thickly
populated territory; and if the winds are represented as
blowing upon the sea, as in Dan. 7:2, 3, political commotion,
civil strife, and revolution are indicated.
559 -- By the dragon of the previous chapter, and the
beast first introduced in this, we have the Roman power
as a whole brought to view in its two phases, pagan and
papal; hence these two symbols have each the seven heads
and ten horns. (See on chapter 17:10.)
seven-headed and ten-horned beast, or, more briefly, the
leopard beast, here introduced, symbolizes a power which
exercises ecclesiastical as well as civil authority. This
point is of sufficient importance to justify the introduction
of a few of the conclusive arguments which go to prove it.
line of prophecy in which this symbol occurs commences with
chapter 12. The symbols of earthly governments embraced
in the prophecy are, the dragon of chapter 12, and the leopard
beast and two-horned beast of chapter 13. The same line
of prophecy evidently continues into chapter 14, closing
with verse 5 of that chapter. Commencing, therefore, with
verse 1 of chapter 12, and ending with verse 5 of chapter
14, we have a line of prophecy distinct and complete in
Each of the powers here introduced is represented as fiercely
persecuting the church of God. The scene opens with the
church, under the symbol of a woman, anxiously longing for
the promise to be fulfilled that the seed of the woman,
the Lord of glory, should appear among men. The dragon stood
before the woman for the purpose of devouring her child.
His evil design is thwarted, and the child is caught up
to God and his throne. A period follows in which the church
suffers severe oppression from this dragon power. And though
in this part of the scene the prophet occasionally glances
forward, once even down almost to the end, bacons all the
enemies of the church were to be actuated by the spirit
of the dragon, yet in verse 1 of chapter 13 we are carried
back to the time when the leopard beast, the successor of
the dragon, commences his career. From this power, for the
long period of 1260 years, the church suffers war and persecution.
Following this period of oppression, the church has another
conflict, brief, but sharp and severe, with the two-horned
beast. Then comes deliverance; and the prophecy closes with
560 -- church brought safely through all her persecutions,
and standing victorious with the Lamb on Mount Zion. Thank
God for the sure promise of final victory!
one character which ever appears the same in all these scenes,
and whose history is the leading theme through all the prophecy,
is the church of God. The other characters are her persecutors,
and are introduced simply because they are such. And here,
as an introductory inquiry, we raise the question, Who or
what is it that persecutes the true church? - It is a false
or apostate church. What is it that is ever warring against
true religion? - It is a false and counterfeit religion.
Who ever heard of the civil power, merely, of any nation,
persecuting the people of God? Governments may war against
other governments, to avenge some wrong, real or imaginary,
or to acquire territory and extend their power, as nations
have often warred against the Jews; but governments do not
persecute (mark the word - do not persecute) people
on account of their religion, unless under the control of
some opposite and hostile system of religion. But the powers
introduced in this prophecy, - the dragon, the leopard beast,
and the two-horned beast, - are all persecuting powers.
They are actuated by rage and enmity against the people
and church of God. And this fact is of itself sufficiently
conclusive evidence that in each of these powers the ecclesiastical
or religious element is the controlling power.
the dragon: what does it symbolize? - The Roman empire,
is the undeniable answer. But this is not enough. No one
would be satisfied with this answer and no more. It must
be more definite. We then add, The Roman empire in its pagan
form, to which all must also agree. But just as soon
as we say pagan, we introduce a religious element;
for paganism is one of the hugest systems of counterfeit
religion that Satan ever devised. The dragon, then, is so
far an ecclesiastical power that the very characteristic
by which it is distinguished is a false system of religion.
And what made the dragon persecute the church of Christ?
- It was because Christianity was prevailing against paganism,
sweeping away its superstitions, overturning its idols,
and dismantling its
561 -- temples. The religious element of that
power was touched, and persecution was the result.
now come to the leopard beast of chapter 13. What does that
symbolize? The answer still is, The Roman empire. But the
dragon symbolized the Roman empire, and why does not the
same symbol represent it still? - Ah! there has been a change
in the religious character of the empire; and this
beast symbolizes Rome in its professedly Christian form.
And it is this change of religion, and this alone,
which makes a change in the symbol necessary. This beast
differs from the dragon only in that he presents a different
religious aspect. Hence it would be altogether wrong
to affirm that it denotes simply the Roman civil power.
this beast the dragon gives his seat, his power, and great
authority. By what power was pagan Rome succeeded? We all
know that it was by papal Rome. It matters not to our present
purpose when or by what means this change was effected;
the great fact is apparent, and is acknowledged by all,
that the next great phase of the Roman empire after its
pagan form was its papal. It would not be correct, therefore,
to say that pagan Rome gave its seat and power to a form
of government merely civil, having no religious element
whatever. No stretch of the imagination can conceive of
such a transaction. But two phases of empire are here recognized;
and in the prophecy, Rome is pagan until Rome is papal.
The statement that the dragon gave to the leopard beast
his seat and power, is further evidence that the dragon
of Rev. 12:3 is not a symbol of Satan personally; for Satan
has not abdicated in favor of any other malevolent being;
and he has not given up his seat to any earthly power.
it may be said that it takes the leopard beast and two-horned
beast together to constitute the papacy, and hence it is
to these that the dragon gives his power, seat, and great
authority. But the prophecy does not say so. It is the leopard
beast alone with which the dragon has to do. It is
to that beast alone that he gives his power, seat,
and great authority. It is that beast that has a head that
is wounded to death, which is afterward healed; that beast
that the whole
562 -- world wonders after; that beast that receives
a mouth speaking blasphemies, and that wears out the saints
for 1260 years; and all this before the succeeding power,
the two-horned beast, comes upon the stage of action at
all. The leopard beast alone, therefore, symbolizes the
Roman empire in its papal form, the controlling influence
show this more fully, we have but to draw a parallel between
the little horn of Dan. 7:8, 20, 24, 25, and this power.
From this comparison it will appear that the little horn
referred to and the leopard beast symbolize the same power;
but the little horn is acknowledged on all hands to be a
symbol of the papacy. There are six points of identity,
as follows: -
1. The little horn was a
blasphemous power. "He shall speak great words against
the Most High." Dan. 7:25. The leopard beast of Rev.
13:6 does the same. "He opened his mouth in blasphemy
The little horn made war with the saints, and prevailed
against them. Dan. 7:21. This beast also (Rev. 13:7) makes
war with the saints, and overcomes them.
The little horn had a month speaking great things. Dan.
7: 8, 20. And of this beast we read, Rev. 13:5: "And
there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and
The little horn arose on the cessation of the pagan
form of the Roman empire. The beast of Rev. 13:2 arises
at the same time; for the dragon, pagan Rome, gives him
his power, his seat, and great authority.
Power was given to the little horn to continue for a time,
times, and the dividing of time, or 1260 years. Dan. 7:25.
To this beast also power was given for forty-two months,
or 1260 years. Rev. 13:5.
At the end of that specified period, the dominion of
the little horn was to be taken away. Dan. 7:26. At the
end of the same period, the leopard beast was himself to
be "led into captivity." Rev. 13:10. Both these
specifications were fulfilled in the captivity and exile
of the pope, and the temporary overthrow of the papacy by
France in 1798.
563 -- Here are points that prove identity; for when
we have in prophecy two symbols, as in this instance, representing
powers that come upon the stage of action at the same
time, occupy the same territory, maintain the
same character, do the same work, exist the
same length of time, and meet the same fate,
those symbols represent the same identical power.
all the particulars above specified do apply alike to the
little horn, and the leopard beast of chapter 13, showing
that these two symbols represent the same power. It is admitted
on all hands that the little horn represents the papacy;
and he who claims that this leopard beast does not represent
the same, must, to be consistent, show that at the same
time that the papacy arose, there arose another great power
exactly like it, occupying the same territory, bearing the
same character, doing the same work, continuing the same
length of time, and meeting the same fate, and yet a separate
and distinct power; which would be as absurd as it would
be impossible. TOP
head that was wounded to death was the papal head. We are
held to this conclusion by the very obvious principle that
whatever is spoken in prophecy of the symbol of any government,
applies to that government only while it is represented
by that symbol. Now Rome is represented by two symbols,
the dragon and the leopard beast, because it has presented
two phases, the pagan and the papal; and whatever is said
of the dragon applies to Rome only in its pagan form, and
whatever is said of the leopard beast applies to Rome only
in its professedly Christian form. But Rome was pagan in
John's day, who lived under the sixth or imperial head.
This shows us at once that six of the heads, including the
imperial, belong to the dragon; and if it was any one of
these heads which was wounded to death, then it was one
of the heads of the dragon, or one of the forms of government
that belonged to Rome in its pagan form, and not one of
the heads of the beast; and John should have said, I saw
one of the heads of the dragon wounded to death. But he
says that it was one of the heads of the beast that was
wounded to death. In other words, this wound fell upon some
form of government that existed in the Roman empire after
its change from paganism
564 -- to Christianity. But after this change, there
was but one head, and that was the papal. 1
Thus it is placed beyond controversy that it was none other
than the papal head that was wounded to death, and his deadly
wound was healed. This wounding is the same as the going
into captivity. Rev. 13:10. It was inflicted when the pope
was taken prisoner by Berthier, the French general, and
the papal government was for a time abolished, in 1798.
Stripped of his power, both civil and ecclesiastical, the
captive pope, Pius Vl, died in exile at Valence in France,
Aug. 29, 1799. But the deadly wound was healed when the
papacy was re-established, though with a diminution of its
former power, by the election of a new pope, March 14, 1800.
(See Bower's History of the Popes, pp. 404-428; Croly
on the Apocalypse, London edition, p. 251.)
beast opens his mouth in blasphemy against God to blaspheme
his name. (See mention under Dan. 7:25 of the presumptuous
titles assumed by the popes.)
blasphemes the tabernacle in heaven by turning the attention
of his subjects to his own throne and palace instead of
to the tabernacle of God; by turning their attention away
from the city of God, Jerusalem above, and pointing them
to Rome as the eternal city; and he blasphemes them that
dwell in heaven by assuming to exercise the power of forgiving
sins, and so turning away the minds of men from the mediatorial
work of Christ and his heavenly assistants in the sanctuary
verse 10 we are again referred to the events of 1798, when
that power that had for 1260 years led the saints of God
into captivity, was led into captivity itself, as already
The symbol as here presented has but seven heads, denoting
seven forms of government, not contemporaneous but successive.
Of course only one head is ruling at any one time; but all
are placed alike upon the dragon and beast to identify both
these symbols as denoting the Roman power. Six heads belonged
to the dragon; that is, six forms of government were developed
and passed away one after another,while the religion of
Rome was pagan; and only one remained to be developed after
the change to Christianity, and that was the papal; which
as a spiritual power continues to the end (2 Thess. 2:8),
and as a temporal power to the time when his dominion is
taken away just before the end. Dan. 7:26.
565 -- VERSE 11 And I beheld another
beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like
a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. 12 And
he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him,
and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship
the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.
13 And he doeth great wonders, so that
he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the
sight of men, 14 And
deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those
miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast;
saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should
make an image to the beast, which had the wound by the sword,
and did live. 15 And
he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that
the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that
as many as would not worship the image of the beast should
be killed. 16 And he causeth
all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond,
to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
17 And that no man might
buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the
beast, or the number of his name.
verses bring to view the third great symbol in the line
of prophecy we are examining, usually denominated the two-horned
beast. We inquire for its application. The dragon, pagan
Rome, and the leopard beast, papal Rome, present before
us great organizations standing as the representatives of
two great systems of false religion. Analogy would seem
to require that the remaining symbol, the two-horned beast,
have a similar application, and find its fulfilment in some
nationality which is the representative of still another
great system of religion. But the only remaining system
which is exercising a controlling influence in the world
to-day is Protestantism. Abstractly considered, paganism
embraces all heathen lands, containing more than half the
population of the globe. Catholicism, which may perhaps
be considered as embracing the religion of the Greek Church,
so nearly identical with it, belongs to nations which compose
a great portion of Christendom. Mohammedanism is an effete
system, which has ceased to be any important factor in the
world's progress. Moreover, it seems to have received enough
prophetic attention in Daniel 11 and Revelation 9. But Protestantism
is the religion of nations which constitute the vanguard
of the world in liberty, enlightenment, progress, and power.
If, then, Protestantism is the religion to which we are
to look, to what nationality, as the representative of that
(Symbol of the United States in Prophecy) TOP
567 -- does the prophecy have application? There are
notable Protestant nations in Europe; but for reasons which
will hereafter appear, the symbol cannot apply to any of
these. A careful investigation has led to the conclusion
that it does apply to Protestant America, or the government
of the United States. We trust the reader will now feel
impatient for some of the reasons for such an application,
and will carefully consider the evidence by which it is
Considered. - Are there any reasons why
we should expect that our own government would be mentioned
in prophecy? On what conditions have other nations found
a place in the prophetic record? - First, if they
have acted any prominent part in the world's history; and
secondly, and above all, if they have had jurisdiction over,
or maintained any relations with, the people of God. In
the records of the Bible and of secular history, we find
data from which to deduce this rule respecting the prophetic
mention of earthly governments; namely, whenever the relations
of God's people to any nation are such that a true history
of the former, which is the object of all revelation, could
not be given without a notice of the latter, such nation
is mentioned in prophecy. And all these conditions are certainly
fulfilled in our government. No nation has ever attracted
more attention, excited more profound wonder, or given promise
of greater eminence or influence. And certainly here, if
anywhere on the globe, are to be found a strong array of
Christians, such as are the salt of the earth and the light
of the world, whose history could not be written without
mention of that government under which they live and enjoy
the conviction has fastened itself upon many minds that
the hand of Providence has been conspicuously manifest in
the rise and progress of this nation.
Pownal, an English statesman, in 1780, while our
Revolution was in progress, predicted that this country
would become independent, and that a civilizing activity,
beyond what Europe could ever know, would animate it; and
that its commercial and naval power would be found in every
568 -- quarter of the globe. He then speaks of the probable
establishment of this country as a free and sovereign power
revolution that has stronger marks of divine interposition
superseding the ordinary course of human affairs, than any
other event which this world has experienced."
Tocqueville, a French writer, speaking of the separation
of the United States from England, says: -
might seem their folly, but was really their fate; or rather,
the providence of God, who has doubtless a work for them
to do in which the massive materiality of the English character
would have been too ponderous a dead-weight upon their progress."
Alfred Townsend, speaking of the misfortunes that have attended
the other governments on this continent (New World and
Old, p. 635), says: -
history of the United States was separated by a beneficent
Providence far from the wild and cruel history of the rest
of the continent."
considerations as these are calculated to arouse in every
mind a strong expectation that this government will be found
to have some part to act in the carrying out of God's providential
purposes in this world, and that somewhere it will be spoken
of in the prophetic word. TOP
Chronology of This Power. - At
what period in this world's history is the rise of this
power placed in the prophecy? On this point, the foundation
for the conclusions at which we must arrive is already laid
in the facts elicited in reference to the preceding or leopard
beast. It was at the time when this beast went into captivity,
or was killed (politically) with the sword (verse 10), or
(which we suppose to be the same thing) had one of its heads
wounded to death (verse 3), that John saw the two-horned
beast coming up. If the leopard beast, as we have conclusively
proved, signifies the papacy, and the going into captivity
met its fulfilment in the temporary overthrow of the popedom
by the French in 1798, then we have the time definitely
specified when we are to look for the rise of this power.
The expression "coming up " must signify that
the power to which it applies was but
569 -- newly organized, and was then just rising into
prominence and influence. The power represented by this
symbol must, then, be some power which in 1798 stood in
this position before the world.
in what condition stood the United States of America at
that time? Macmillan and Co., the London publishers, in
announcing their Statesman's Year Book for 1867,
make an interesting statement of the changes that took place
among the leading nations of the world during the half century
between the years 1817 and 1867. They say: - "The
half century has extinguished three kingdoms, one grand
duchy, eight duchies, four principalities, one electorate,
and four republics. Three new kingdoms have arisen, and
one kingdom has been transformed into an empire. There are
now forty-one states in Europe against fifty-nine which
existed in 1817. Not less remarkable is the territorial
extension of the superior states of the world. Russia has
annexed 567,364 square miles; the United States, 1,968,009;
France, 4,620; Prussia, 29,781; Sardinia, expanding into
Italy, has increased by 83,041; the Indian empire has been
augmented by 431,616. The principal states that have lost
territory are Turkey, Mexico, Austria, Denmark, and the
their bearing upon the prophecy before us, these statements
are worthy of the particular attention of the reader. During
the half century named, twenty-one governments disappeared
altogether, and only three new ones arose. Five lost in
territory instead of gaining. Only five besides the United
States added to their domain, and the one which did the
most in this direction, added only a little over half a
million of square miles; while the United States added nearly
two million square miles. Thus the American government added
over fourteen hundred thousand square miles of territory
during the fifty years named, more than any other single
nation, and over eight hundred thousand more than were added,
during that time, by all the other nations of the earth
put together. Can any one doubt what nation was emphatically
"coming up" during the period covered by these
570 -- Certainly it must be admitted that the United
States is the only power that meets the specifications
of the prophecy on this point of chronology.
Wesley, in his notes on Revelation 14, written in 1754,
says of the two-horned beast: - "He
has not yet come, though he cannot be far off; for he is
to appear at the end of the forty-two months of the first
of This Power. - There
is good evidence to show that the government symbolized
by the two-horned beast is introduced into prophecy in the
early part of its career; that it is, when first brought
to view, a youthful power. John's words are, "And
I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth, and he
had two horns like a lamb." Why does not John
simply say, "He had two horns"? Why does he add
"like a lamb"? It must be for the purpose of denoting
the character of this beast, showing that it is not only
of a very innocent and harmless demeanor, ostensibly, but
also that it is a very youthful power; for the horns
of a lamb are horns that have but just begun to grow.
in mind that by the preceding argument on chronology, our
gaze is fixed to the year 1798; and the power symbolized
was then a youthful power, according to the present argument.
Question: What notable power
was at that time coming into prominence, but still in its
youth? England was not, nor was France, nor Russia, nor
any European power. For a young and rising power at that
epoch, we are obliged to turn our eyes to the New World.
But as soon as we turn them to this continent, they rest
inevitably upon this country as the power in question. No
other power this side of the ocean is entitled to any mention
in comparison with it.
of the Two-horned Beast. - A
single declaration of the prophecy is sufficient to guide
us to important and correct conclusions on this point. John
calls it "another beast." It is a symbol in addition
to, and different from, the papal beast which the prophet
had just had under consideration; that is, it symbolizes
a power separate and distinct from that which is denoted
by the preceding beast. This
571 -- which John calls "another beast" is
certainly no part of the first beast; and the power symbolized
by it is likewise no part of that which is intended by that
beast. This is fatal to the claim of those, who, to avoid
the application of this symbol to our own government, say
that it denotes some phase of the papacy; for in that case
it would be a part of the preceding, or leopard beast.
this is "another" beast, it must be found in some
locality not covered by any other symbols. Let us, then,
take a brief survey of those symbols found in the word of
God, which represent earthly governments. These are found,
chiefly, if not entirely, in the books of Daniel and the
Revelation. In Daniel 2, a symbol is introduced in the form
of a great image, consisting of four parts, - gold, silver,
brass, and iron,- which is finally dashed to atoms, and
a great mountain, taking its place, fills the whole earth.
In Daniel 7 we find a lion, a bear, a leopard, and a great
and terrible nondescript beast, which, after passing through
a new and remarkable phase, goes into the lake of fire.
In Daniel 8, we have a ram, a he-goat, and a horn, little
at first, but waxing exceeding great. In Revelation 9, we
have locusts like unto horses. In Revelation 12, we have
a great red dragon. In Revelation 13, we have a blasphemous
leopard beast, and a beast with two horns like a lamb. In
Revelation 17, we have a scarlet-colored beast, upon which
a woman sits, holding in her hand a golden cup full of filthiness
governments and what powers are represented by all these?
Do any of them symbolize the United States? Some of them
certainly represent earthly kingdoms, for so the prophecies
themselves expressly inform us; and in the application of
nearly all of them there is quite a uniform agreement among
expositors. The four parts of the great image of Daniel
2 represent four kingdoms, - Babylon, or Chaldea, Medo-Persia,
Greece, and Rome. The lion of the seventh chapter also represents
Babylon; the bear, Medo-Persia; the leopard, Grecia; and
the great and terrible beast, Rome. The horn with human
eyes and mouth, which appears in the second phase of this
beast, represents the papacy, and covers its history
572 -- down to the time when it was temporarily overthrown
by the French in 1798. In Daniel 8, likewise, the ram represents
Medo-Persia; the he-goat, Grecia; and the little horn, Rome.
All these have a very clear and definite application to
the governments named; none of them thus far can have any
reference to the United States. TOP
symbols brought to view in Revelation 9, all are agreed
in applying to the Saracens and Turks. The dragon of Revelation
12 is the acknowledged symbol of pagan Rome. The leopard
beast of chapter 13 can be shown to be identical with the
eleventh horn of the fourth beast of Daniel 7, and hence
to symbolize the papacy. The scarlet beast and the woman
of Revelation 17 as evidently apply also to Rome under pagan
and papal rule, the symbols having especial reference to
the distinction between the civil power and the ecclesiastical,
the one being represented by the beast, the other by the
woman seated thereon.
is one symbol left, and that is the two-horned beast of
Revelation 13. On this there is more difference of opinion;
and before seeking for an application, let us look at the
ground covered by those already examined. Babylon and Medo-Persia
covered all the civilized portion of Asia. Greece covered
Eastern Europe, including Russia. Rome, with the ten kingdoms
into which it was divided, as represented by the ten toes
of the image, the ten horns of the fourth beast of Daniel
7, the ten horns of the dragon of Revelation 12, and the
ten horns of the leopard beast of Revelation 13, covered
all Western Europe. (See Map of the Four Kingdoms, facing
page 81.) In other words, all the Eastern Hemisphere known
to history and civilization, is absorbed by the symbols
already examined, respecting the application of which there
is scarcely any room for doubt.
there is a mighty nation in the Western Hemisphere, worthy,
as we have seen, of being mentioned in prophecy, which is
not yet brought in; and there is one symbol remaining, the
application of which has not yet been made. All the symbols
but one are applied, and all the available portions of the
Eastern Hemisphere are covered by the applications. Of
573 -- all the symbols mentioned, one alone, the two-horned
beast of Revelation 13, is left; and of all the countries
of the earth respecting which any reason exists why they
should be mentioned in prophecy, one alone, the United States
government, remains. Do the two-horned beast and the United
States belong together? If they do, then all the symbols
find an application, and all the ground is covered. If they
do not, it follows, first, that the United States is not
represented in prophecy; and secondly, that the symbol of
the two-horned beast finds no government to which it can
apply. But the first of these suppositions is not probable,
and the second is not possible.
one conclusion can be drawn from these arguments, and that
is that the two-horned beast must be located in the Western
Hemisphere, and that it symbolizes the United States.
consideration pointing to the locality of this power is
drawn from the fact that John saw it arising from the earth.
If the sea, from which the leopard beast arose (Rev. 13:1),
denotes peoples, nations, and, multitudes (Rev. 17:15),
the earth would suggest, by contrast, a new and previously
thus excluded from eastern continents, and impressed with
the idea of looking to territory not previously known to
civilization, we turn of necessity to the Western Hemisphere.
The Manner of
Its Rise. - The
manner in which the two-horned beast was seen coming up
shows, equally with its location, age, and chronology, that
it is a symbol of the United States. John says he saw the
beast coming up "out of the earth." And this expression
must have been designedly used to point out the contrast
between the rise of this beast and that of other national
prophetic symbols. The four beasts of Daniel 7 and the leopard
beast of Revelation 13 all arose out of the sea. New nations
generally arise by overflowing other nations, and taking
their place. But no other nation was overturned in order
to make room for the United States, and the struggle for
its independence was already fifteen years in the past when
it came into the field of prophecy. The prophet saw only
574 -- The word which is used in verse 11 to describe
the manner in which this beast comes up, is very expressive.
It is anabainon (anabainon),
one of the prominent definitions of which is, "To grow
or spring up as a plant." And it is a remarkable fact
that this very figure has been chosen by political writers,
without any reference to the prophecy, as the one conveying
the best idea of the manner in which this government has
arisen. Mr. G. A. Townsend, in his work entitled The
New World Compared with the Old, page 635, says: -
this web of islands - the West Indies - began the life of
both [North and South] Americas. There Columbus saw land;
there Spain began her baneful and brilliant Western empire;
thence Cortez departed for Mexico, De Soto for the Mississippi,
Balboa for the Pacific, and Pizarro for Peru. The history
of the United States was separated by a beneficent Providence
far from this wild and cruel history of the rest of the
continent, and like a silent seed we grew into empire;
while empire itself, beginning in the South, was swept by
so interminable a hurricane that what of its history we
can ascertain is read by the very lightening that devastated
it. The growth of English America may be likened to a series
of lyrics sung by separate singers, which, coalescing, at
last make a vigorous chorus, and this attracting many from
afar, swells and is prolonged, until presently it assumes
the dignity and proportions of epic song."
writer in the Dublin Nation, about
the year 1850, spoke of the United States as a wonderful
empire which was "emerging,"
and "amid the silence of the earth
daily adding to its power and pride."
Martyn's History of the Great Reformation, Vol. IV,
p. 238, is an extract from an oration delivered by
Edward Everett on the English exiles who founded this government,
in which he says: -
they look for a retired spot, inoffensive from its obscurity,
safe in its remoteness from the haunts of despots, where
the little church of Leyden might enjoy freedom of conscience?
Behold the mighty regions over which, in peaceful
(Landing of the Pilgrims) TOP
576 -- conquest - victoria sine clade, - they
have borne the banners of the cross."
the reader now look at these expressions side by side, -
"coming up out of the earth," "emerging
amid the silence of the earth," "like
a silent seed we grew into empire," "mighty
regions" secured by "peaceful conquest."
The first is from the prophet, stating what would be when
the two-horned beast should arise; the others are from political
writers, telling what has been in the history of our own
government. Can any one fail to see that the last three
are exactly synonymous with the first, and that they record
a complete accomplishment of the prediction?
inquiry naturally follows: Has the
United States "come up" in a manner to meet the
specifications of the prophecy? Let us see. A short time
before the great Reformation in the days of Martin Luther,
not four hundred years ago, this Western Hemisphere was
discovered. The Reformation awoke the nations, that were
fast fettered in the galling bonds of superstition, to the
fact that it is the heaven-born right of every man to worship
God according to the dictates of his own conscience. But
rulers are loth to lose their power, and religious intolerance
still oppressed the people . Under these circumstances,
a body of religious heroes at length determined to seek
in the wilds of America that measure of civil and religious
freedom which they so much desired. In pursuance of their
noble purpose, one hundred of these voluntary exiles landed
from the Mayflower on the coast of New England, Dec.
22, 1620. "Here," says Martyn, "New
England was born," and this was "its first baby
cry, - a prayer and a thanksgiving to the Lord."
permanent English settlement was made at Jamestown, Va.,
in 1607. In process of time, other settlements were made
and colonies organized, which were all subject to the English
crown till the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776.
population of these colonies, according to the United
States Magazine of August, 1855, amounted in 1701 to
262,000; in 1749, to 1,046,000; in 1775, to 2,803,000. Then
577 -- commenced the struggle of the American colonies
for independence. In 1776, they declared themselves a free
and independent nation. In 1777, delegates from the thirteen
original States, - New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island,
Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware,
Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and
Georgia, - in Congress assembled, adopted Articles of Confederation.
In 1783, the war of the Revolution closed with a treaty
of peace with Great Britain, whereby the independence of
the United States was acknowledged, and territory ceded
to the extent of 815,615 square miles. In 1787, the Constitution
was framed, and ratified by the foregoing thirteen States;
and on the 1st of March, 1789, it went into effect. Then
the American ship of state was fairly launched, with less
than one million square miles of territory, and about three
million souls. Thus are we brought to the year 1798, when
this government is introduced into prophecy. And now, passing
over a little more than a hundred years, to the commencement
of the twentieth century, the territory of the United States
government has expanded to 3,678,392 square miles, and its
population has increased to over 93,000,000 people. Its
growth in all industrial pursuits, agricultural productions,
cattle raising, newspapers, schools, production of the precious
metals, and wealth of all kinds which pertain to a civilized
people, has been equally remarkable, and furnishes an ample
basis for the application of the prophecy. TOP
Character of the Government
Symbolized by the Two-horned Beast.
- Under this division of the subject we find
still further evidence that the symbol represents the United
States government. In describing this power, John says that
it had "two horns like a lamb." The horns of a
lamb indicate, first, youthfulness, and secondly, innocence
and gentleness. As a power which has but recently arisen,
the United States answers to the symbol admirably in respect
to age; while no other power, as has already been proved,
can be found to do this. And considered as an index of power
and character, it can be decided what constitutes the two
horns of the government, if it can be ascertained what is
the secret of its strength and power, and
(Map Showing the Territorial Growth of the United States)
579 -- what reveals its apparent character, or constitutes
its outward profession. The Hon. J. A. Bingham gives us
the clue to the whole matter when he states that the object
of those who first sought these shores was to found "what
the world had not seen for ages; viz., a church without
a pope, and a state without a king." Expressed in other
words, this would be a government in which the ecclesiastical
should be separate from the civil power, and civil and religious
liberty reign supreme.
needs no argument to show, and even the statement is unnecessary,
that this is precisely the profession of the American government.
Article IV., sec. 4 of the Constitution of the United States,
reads: "The United States shall guarantee
to every state in this union a republican form of government."
Article VI: "No
religious test shall ever be required as a qualification
to any office or public trust under the United States."
The first amendment of the Constitution
(Art. 1) begins as follows: "Congress
shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,
or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
These articles profess the amplest guarantee of civil
and religious liberty, the entire and perpetual
separation of church and state; and what better symbols
of them could be given than "two horns like a lamb"?
In what other country can be found a condition of things
which would meet so completely this feature of the symbol?
A Republican Government. - The two-horned
beast symbolizes a nation with a republican form of government.
This is shown by the absence of crowns both upon its head
and its horns. A crown is an appropriate symbol of a kingly
or monarchical form of government; and the absence of crowns,
as in this case, would suggest a government in which the
power is not vested in any such ruling member, but is, per
consequence, lodged in the hands of the people.
this is not the most conclusive proof that the nation here
symbolized is republican in its form of government. From
verse 14 we learn that appeal is made to the people when
any national action is to be performed: "Saying
to them that dwell on the earth, that they should
make an image to the beast," etc.
580 -- Were the government a monarchy, national questions
would hardly be submitted in this unqualified manner to
the people; and the fact that appeal is here made to the
people shows that the form of the government is such that
the power is vested in their hands; and this is emphatically
the case in the United States government, but not in any
other government to which any one could reasonably think
of applying this symbol. This is another strong link in
the chain of evidence that this symbol must apply to the
United States of America. TOP
The two-horned beast also symbolizes a government
which is Protestant in religion, or which, at least, is
a non-Catholic power. It has been shown that the preceding
beast symbolized the papacy; and of the two-horned beast
we read that he causeth the earth and them which dwell therein
to worship the first beast. But in all Catholic countries,
the people voluntarily worship the beast, or obey the dictates
of Catholicism, without being "caused," or compelled,
to do so by the government. The fact that the people of
this government do not render this worship till caused to
do so by the civil power, shows,that the religion they entertain
is not Catholicism. As an almost inevitable consequence,
it follows that it is Protestantism! for these are the only
two religions of any consequence in Christendom. The United
States is a Protestant nation, and meets the requirements
of the prophecy admirably in this respect. Thus again the
prophecy points directly to this government.
The Dragon Voice.
- After contemplating all the good features presented
in this symbol, it is with pain we read that. "he spake
as a dragon." Before entering upon a discussion of,this
topic, let us look at the points already established. It
has been shown,
That the government symbolized by
the two-horned beast must be some government distinct from
the powers of the Old World, whether civil or ecclesiastical.
That it must arise in the Western Hemisphere.
That it must be seen assuming a position
of prominence and influence about the year 1798.
581 -- (4) That it must rise in a peaceful
and quiet manner, not augmenting its power, as other nations
have done, by aggressive wars and successful conquests.
That its progress must be so rapid as to strike the beholder
with as much wonder as would the perceptible growth of an
animal before his eyes.
That it must be republican in its form of government.
That it must be Protestant in its religion.
That it must exhibit before the world, as
an index of its character and the elements of its government,
two great principles which are in themselves perfectly just,
innocent, and lamblike.
it must perform its work this side of 1798.
we have seen that of these nine specifications, it can be
said, first, that they are all perfectly met in the history
of the United States thus far; and secondly, that they are
not met in the history of any other government on the face
of the earth. It is therefore impossible to apply the symbol
of Rev. 13:11 to any other government but that of the United
But after describing the lamblike appearance of this symbol,
the prophet immediately adds this, "And he spake as
a dragon." The dragon, the first link in this chain
of prophecy, was a relentless persecutor of the church of
God. The leopard beast, which follows, was likewise a persecuting
power, grinding out for 1260 years the lives of millions
of the followers of Christ. The third actor in the scene,
the two-horned beast, speaks like the first, and thus shows
himself to be a dragon at heart; "for out of the abundance
of the heart, the mouth speaketh," and in the heart
actions are conceived. This, then, like the others, is to
be a persecuting power; and the reason that any of them
are mentioned in prophecy, is simply because they are persecuting
powers. And if the United States is the power intended by
this symbol which speaks as a dragon, it follows that this
government is to enact unjust and oppressive laws against
the religious profession and practice of some of its subjects.
is this so improbable an event as might at first appear.
We must remember that in the last days the vast majority
582 -- the people of the most favored lands are to relapse
into the low moral condition described in such scriptures
as Matt. 24:12; 2 Tim. 3:1-5; 2 Peter 3:3, 4; Luke 17:26-30;
18: 8; and it is from such that those who live godly in
Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 2 Tim. 3:12.
is also threatened from another quarter. Roman Catholicism,
which has grown strong through immigration, has fixed its
rapacious eyes on the United States, determined to bring
this government under its power. Votes rule here, and Romanism
controls an immense suffrage, which it carefully manipulates
to its own ends. With such a weapon in its hands, its power
for evil is almost unlimited; for multitudes of unscrupulous
politicians, who under their country's pay, labor not for
their country's good but for their own selfish aggrandizement,
stand ready to help any party carry out any scheme, no matter
how wicked, if that party will keep them in office.
recent years we have witnessed the ominous phenomenon of
the consolidation of the Catholic elements in this country
into one gigantic society, or "federation," as
it is known, which holds annual conventions in our large
cities, and conducts an active campaign in the interests
of the Catholic church. The federation has been careful
to announce that it was not going into politics, - meaning
by this that it would not ally itself with any one political
party, knowing of course that to form such an alliance would
be to incur the opposition of other political parties. It
is however in politics with the idea of controlling all
political parties, and having the opposition of none, which
is the very worst sense in which any church party can be
in politics. This great federation, which now has more than
two million members, can swing its vote and its influence
solidly against any political or governmental action to
which it is opposed; and as between the political parties
which are contending for the mastery in this country, it
easily holds the balance of power, and can dictate terms
to either; so that no matter how an election turns, it is
sure to go in favor of the papacy. Already this organization
has boasted of its power over Congress. When it seemed likely
583 -- government would join with England in some action
toward putting an end to the atrocities practiced in the
so-called Congo Free State under the rule of his Catholic
Majesty Leopold I of Belgium, the federation intervened,
and a feature of the secretary's report at the next convention
(held at Indianapolis, July, 1907), was a lengthy statement
setting forth how the federation had taken action "refraining
the United States from any act of intervention in Congo
not only does the federation aim to control legislation,
national and state, but it is conducting an active campaign
for the suppression of all anti-Catholic literature in public
libraries, and even from circulation in the mails.
regular attendance of the President, and other high government
officials, at mass in a Catholic church in Washington on
Thanksgiving days, and the participation of the President
and Vice-president, and Ex-president, and leading members
of Congress, at the jubilee of Cardinal Gibbons (June, 1911)
are marked indications of the strong hold which Rome is
securing upon this Protestant republic.
addition to this, we have Spiritualism, infidelity, socialism,
free love, and trades unions, or labor against capital,
and communism, - all assiduously spreading their principles
among the masses. These are the very principles that worked
among the people, as the exciting cause, just prior to the
terrible French Revolution of l789 and onward. Human nature
is the same in all ages, and like causes will surely produce
like effects. TOP
- In that part of the prediction which
sets forth the work of the two-horned beast, we read that
"he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come
down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men."
In this specification we have still further proof that the
United States is the government represented by the two-horned
beast. That we are living in an age of wonders, none deny.
(See on Dan. 12:4, remarks on the wonderful achievements
of the present age, and double page of vignettes illustrating
some of the leading triumphs of scientific and inventive
this prophecy is not fulfilled in the great advancement
in knowledge, the discoveries and inventions, so notable
584 -- present time; for the wonders to which the prophet
had reference are evidently wrought for the purpose of deceiving
the people, as we read in verse 14: "And deceiveth
them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles
which he had power to do in the sight of the beast."
This identifies the two-horned beast with the false prophet
of Rev. 19:20; for this false prophet is the power that
works miracles before the beast, "with which he deceived
them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that
worshiped his image," - the identical work of the two-horned
beast. We can now ascertain by what means the miracles in
question are wrought; for Rev. 16:13, 14 speaks of spirits
of devils working miracles, which go forth unto the kings
of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the
battle of the great day of God Almighty; and these miracle-working
spirits go forth out of the months of certain powers, one
of which is this very false prophet, or two-horned beast.
Saviour, predicting events to occur just before his second
coming, says, "For there shall arise false christs
and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders;
insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the
very elect." Here, again, are wonders foretold, wrought
for the purpose of deception, so powerful that, were it
possible, even the very elect would be deceived by them.
we have a prophecy (and there are many others) setting forth
the development, in the last days, of a wonder-working power,
manifested to a startling and unprecedented degree in the
interest of falsehood and error. The earthly government
with which it was to be especially connected is that represented
by the two-horned beast, or false prophet. The agency lying
back of the outward manifestations was to be Satanic, the
spirit of devils. The prophecy calls for such a work as
this in America at the present time. Do we behold anything
like it? Read the answer in the lamentation of the prophet:
"Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea!
for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath,
because be knoweth that he hath but a short time."
Stand aghast, O earth; tremble, ye people, but be not deceived!
585 -- The huge specter of evil confronts us, as the
prophet declared. Satan is loosed. From the depth of Tartarus
myriads of demons swarm over the land. The prince of darkness
manifests himself as never before, and throwing over his
work a would-be heavenly garb, he calls it - Spiritualism.
Does Spiritualism, then, bear these marks of Satanic agency?
The spirits which communicate claim to be the spirits of
our departed friends. But the Bible, in the most explicit
terms, assures us that the dead are wholly inactive and
unconscious till the resurrection; that the dead know not
anything (Eccl. 9:5); that every operation of the mind has
ceased (Ps. 146:4); that every emotion of the heart is suspended
(Eccl. 9:6); and that there is neither work, nor device,
nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave, where they lie.
Eccl. 9:10. Whatever intelligence, therefore, comes to us
professing to be one of our dead friends, comes claiming
to be what, from the word of God, we know he is not. But
angels of God do not lie; therefore these are not the good
angels. Spirits of devils will lie; this is their work;
and these are the credentials which at the very outset they
The doctrines which they teach are also directly contrary
to the Bible. They deny God. They deny Christ. They deny
the atonement. They deny the Bible. They deny the existence
of sin, and all distinction between right and wrong. They
deny the sacredness of the marriage covenant; and, interspersing
their utterances with blasphemies against God and his Son,
and everything that is lovely, and good, and pure, they
give the freest license to every propensity to sin, and
to every carnal and fleshly lust. Tell us not that these
things, openly taught under the garb of religion, and backed
up by supernatural sights and sounds, are anything less
than Satan's masterpiece. TOP
Spiritualism answers accurately to the prophecy in the exhibition
of great signs and wonders. Among its many
586 -- achievements, these may be mentioned: Various
articles have been transported from place to place by spirits
alone; beautiful music has been produced independent of
human agency, with and without the aid of visible instruments;
many well-attested cases of healing have been presented;
persons have been carried through the air by the spirits
in the presence of many others; tables have been suspended
in the air with several persons upon them; and, finally,
spirits have presented themselves in bodily form, and talked
with an audible voice.
Spiritualism answers to the prophecy in that it had its
origin in the United States, thus connecting its wonders
with the work of the two-horned beast. Commencing in Hydesville,
N. Y., in the family of Mr. John D. Fox, in the latter part
of March, 1848, it spread with incredible rapidity through
all the world. A letter to the writer from a leading Spiritualist
publisher, December, 1895, claims five million believers
in the United States, and fifty million throughout the world.
Of those who have become its devotees, Judge Edmonds said,
as long ago as l853: -
the undistinguished multitude, there are many now of high
standing and talent ranked among them, - doctors, lawyers,
and clergymen in great numbers, a Protestant bishop, the
learned and reverend president of a college, judges of our
higher courts, members of Congress, foreign ambassadors,
and ex-members of the United States Senate."
foregoing statement was written many years ago; and from
that time to this the work of the spirits has been steadily
progressing, and spreading among all classes of people.
reason why it is now difficult to estimate the number of
those who might properly be denominated Spiritualists, is
that the more prominent and respectable of the adherents
of this movement are drawing under cover the obnoxious and
immoral features of the system, heretofore so prominent,
and assuming a Christian garb. By this move they bring themselves
and a multitude of church-members upon common ground, where
there is no distinction between them in fact, though there
still may be in name; the latter still remaining with their
587 -- A little work by Hudson Tuttle, What Is Spiritualism?
p. 6, gives a list of twenty-two emperors, queens, princes,
and members of the nobility, who have through Spiritualism
sought counsel in their affairs, or favored and supported
its claims. It is thus preparing to fulfil Rev. 16:14, and
gather the nations to the battle of' the great day.
An Image to the Beast.
- Closely associated with this working of miracles
is the erection of an image to the beast. The prophet thus
connects the two in verse 14: "And deceiveth them that
dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which
he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to
them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image
to the beast which had the wound by a sword, and did live."
The deception accomplished by the working of the miracles
prepares the way for compliance with this demand for the
formation of an image to the beast.
To understand what would be an image of the papacy, we must
first gain some definite idea of what constitutes the papacy
itself. The full development of the beast, or the establishment
of papal supremacy, dates from the famous letter of Justinian,
which was made effective in A. D. 538, constituting the
pope the head of the church and the corrector of heretics.
The papacy was a church clothed with civil power, - an ecclesiastical
body having authority to punish all dissenters with confiscation
of goods, imprisonment, torture, and death. What would be
an image of the papacy? - Another ecclesiastical establishment
clothed with similar power. How could such an image be formed
in the United States? Let the Protestant churches be clothed
with power to define and punish heresy, to enforce their
dogmas under the pains and penalties of the civil law, and
should we not have an exact representation of the papacy
during the days of its supremacy?
may be objected that whereas the papal church was comparatively
a unit, and hence could act in harmony in all its departments
in enforcing its dogmas, the Protestant church is so divided
as to be unable to agree in regard to what doctrines shall
be made imperative on the people. The answer is, There are
certain points which they hold in common, and which are
588 -- sufficient to form a basis of co-operation. Chief
among these may be mentioned the doctrine of the conscious
state of the dead and the immortality of the soul, which
is both the foundation and superstructure of Spiritualism;
and also the doctrine that the first day of the week is
the Christian Sabbath. TOP
now, an ecclesiastical organization be formed by these churches;
let the government legalize such organization, and give
it power (a power which it will not have till the government
does grant it) to enforce upon the people the dogmas which
the different denominations can all adopt as the basis of
union, and what do we have? - Just what the prophecy represents,
- an image to the papal beast, endowed with life by the
two-horned beast, to speak and act with power.
behold, just such an organization as this, a colossal union
of the leading churches of this country, constituting the
greatest and most powerful federation ever formed in the
history of this nation, has within the last few years come
into existence. The mere formation of such a confederacy,
apart from any question of what is to come from it, is one
of the greatest events of modern times; and indeed is hailed
by its advocates as the greatest religious movement since
the Reformation. And this great federation, it is to be
noted, has been formed for the express purpose of controlling
the politics and the legislation of the country, in the
interests, as they view it, of Christianity. By such means
they expect to bring the nation to Christ, and by the extension
of the plan to other nations, usher in the kingdom of Christ
on earth. That is what they say.
note: The printing of this book is
1907, and it speaks of just the beginning of what we see
today in the organization of the World Counsel of Churches
and it's sub-organizations such as the National Counsel
of Churches, and ministerial alliances, etc. End
us note briefly the leading facts pertaining to the formation
and present working of this mighty federation.
the year 1900, a meeting of Protestant ministers was held
in New York City, at which was organized the "National
Federation of Churches." This was followed by the formation
of state and local federations throughout the country.
years later, at a meeting of the organization in Washington,
D. C., a committee of correspondence was chosen, which sent
to all the leading Protestant churches in the United States,
an address on "The Co-operative Relationship of the
589 -- of Jesus Christ, in Christian Work." A
call was made for "the concentration of effort for
the removal of social evils, the cleansing of the centers
of vice and corruption, and the promotion of temperance,
Sabbath observance, and general morality."
November, 1905, the plan of general federation was sufficiently
advanced for the holding of the first general convention
in Carnegie Hall, New York City, at which were present several
hundred delegates representing all the leading Protestant
churches in the United States. Denominations with a membership
of 500,000 or more were allowed fifty delegates at the conference,
while those with less than 100,000 membership were allowed
five delegates each. In a speech of welcome on behalf of
the churches of Greater New York, Dr. R. S. MacArthur said
that the conference meant more to America and to the world
than any other that had ever been held.
another meeting, when the report on federation was under
consideration, one speaker (Dr. Dickey) said: "I trust
that one of the practical result of this conference will
be the organization of a force that law-breakers and law-makers
will respect and heed, when great questions of morals are
involved. Our gospel is the fulfilment of the law. It is
our province, in the name of our Supreme King, and seeking
the good of mankind, to ask rulers to respect the church."
And at the final meeting of the conference, Bishop Hendrix,
of the Methodist Episcopal Church, spoke of the nation as
being the last product of the church, and of Christ as being
the world's first citizen. "Christ," said the
bishop, "is not a Saviour from the world, implying
separation therefrom, but the Saviour of the world; and
the kingdom of God is to come by the quiet processes of
civic righteousness." TOP
close of this convention saw the federation fully formed,
and ready to begin its activities in the affairs of church
and state. It embraced, according to official statements,
thirty denominations, and eighteen million church communicants,
representing a general following of fifty millions of people.
The scope of its intended operations may be seen from the
following official statement, which we quote from the Plan
of Federation: -
(The Federal Council of Churches in Session in Carnegie
Hall, New York)
591 -- "4. To secure a large
combined influence for the churches of Christ, in all matters
affecting the moral and social condition of the people,
so as to promote the application of the law of Christ in
every relation of human life."
power of this church federation therefore will be felt "in
all matters affecting the moral and social condition of
the people," and "in every relation of human life;"
which is to say that it will be felt in everything, and
everywhere, throughout the nation.
December, 1908, the first session of the federation, which
took the name, "Federal Council of the Churches of
Christ in America," was held in Philadelphia. It gave
attention to such topics as Week-day Instruction in Religion,
Cooperation in Foreign Missions, State Federations, Local
Federations, The Church and the Immigrant, The Church and
Modern Industry, Temperance, Sunday Observance, Family Life,
and International Relations. When the topic of Sunday Observance
was reached, an unpremeditated incident occurred which drew
aside the veil of outward Christian fellowship, and disclosed
a different spirit dwelling in the inner sanctuary of the
movement, and proved that the theory of federal unity was
too weak to bear the strain of practice. A committee appointed
to bring resolutions on Sunday observance before the council,
presented the following: -
It is the sense of the council that a new and
stronger emphasis should be given in the pulpit, the Sunday-school,
and the home to the Scriptural observance of the first day
of the week as the sacred day, the home day, the rest day
for every man, woman, and child.
That all encroachments upon the
claims and sanctities of the Lord's day should be stoutly
resisted through the press, the Lord's day associations
and alliances, and by such legislation as may be secured
to protect and preserve this bulwark of our American Christianity.
That we rejoice in the prospect of unity of action among
the various organizations striving in America for the preservation
of the Lord's day as a day for rest and worship."
the Seventh-day Baptists, who had joined the
592 -- federation, could not well be expected to subscribe
to such a declaration as this. An effort was accordingly
made to preserve the fundamental idea of Christian unity
and harmony in the council, by the following resolution
which was offered for adoption.
That in these resolutions there is no intention to interfere
with those brethren represented with ourselves in this council,
who conscientiously observe the seventh day of the week
instead of the first day as the day of rest and worship."
sooner was the reading of this resolution finished than
a Methodist bishop (Bishop Neely) was on his feet. "The
people referred to by this resolution," he said, "do
not believe in the Lord's day, but in some other day. These
resolutions emphasize the Lord's day. We must stand for
the Lord's day and not weaken what we say."
Wayland Hoyt made an earnest plea in support of the resolution,
reminding the delegates that the Seventh-day Baptists were
members of the council in full standing, and that the spirit
of brotherhood required that their convictions should be
respected. One of the Seventh-day Baptist delegates, Rev.
A. E. Main, dean of Alfred Theological Seminary, N. Y.,
obtained the floor and said: -
know that we represent the smallest body in this council,
and on that account we recognize with gratitude your recognition
of us, and your invitation to unite with you, as being evangelical
and Christian. We have joined heartily with you in the work
of this federation; and shall it be that in this city of
brotherly love, where a Seventh-day Baptist presided at
a session of the Continental Congress, - shall it be that
this council composed of professed brethren shall favor
legislation adverse to us, and refuse to say that we shall
be free when we stand shoulder to shoulder with you in this
these pleas for religious freedom in the federation were
without result. The sentiment of the council was strongly
in opposition to the resolution. And in the speeches made
against it, pointed reference was made to observers of the
seventh-day Sabbath as being a class of people to whose
attitude the council
593 -- should not give even the semblance of endorsement.
The resolution was lost by a decisive vote.
This incident, coming unexpectedly into the proceedings
of the conference, clearly revealed the fact that this great
federation of churches stands ready to coerce the religious
minority in matters of religious teaching and practice.
And this is so not because of any purpose or desire on the
part of its members to be intolerant toward others, but
because intolerance is inherent in the very nature of the
movement they have inaugurated. To obtain power was the
primary idea of federation; and the power thus obtained,
- the power of numbers, - is not exercised to persuade,
but to coerce. There is another power quite independent
of numbers, - the power of godliness, - which convinces
people of the truth, and draws people together into unity
on the platform of the truth. But it is not such power that
the churches are seeking through federation. What they have
secured is the power of a great religious combine, a church
trust; and it is the nature of a trust to put down everything
that stands in its pathway.
this federation, the churches do not pretend to be bound
together in "the unity of the Sprit," but only
to be federated together, and the spirit of such union is
quite another spirit than that divinely designated, the
"Spirit of truth." The Federal Council laid no
emphasis upon the value of truth; it could not do so when
the very ground upon which it stood was that of the setting
aside of the differences of religious belief among its members,
for the sake of obtaining the worldly power of their combined
avowed purpose of the federation, officially stated, was
to express "the fellowship and Catholic unity of the
Christian church." Yet the intolerant spirit within
it could not be concealed, but ruled the council in opposition
to its professed spirit of fellowship and unity. And when
such is the attitude of this great religious trust toward
those who stand with it and work for its advancement, it
can easily be understood how tolerant it will be toward
the religious minority outside of it.
this great religious trust purposes to exercise a complete
religious monopoly throughout the entire country.
594 -- "The time has come," said a speaker
who voiced the sentiment of the conference, "when the
churches may and must know every individual in the entire
community as accurately as they know their own membership....
It thus becomes possible, as in two states already, to announce
the watch word, 'Some church responsible for each square
mile.' ... The policy of the federation should be to emphasize
the 'responsibility districts' which it establishes. When
these cover the state, and the churches so appreciate their
opportunity and responsibility, that each church will know
the position of every voter on moral issues, and tirelessly
work to place every one upon the right side, moral reforms
will come swiftly and permanently." TOP
answer to the question, then, whether anything like an "image"
to the papal beast can be set up in this country, we have
before us a gigantic ecclesiastical organization of Protestants,
with power to bend the government to its will; intolerant
of its own members when the question of Sunday sacredness
is concerned; by resolution declaring its purpose to exalt
the first-day sabbath both by teaching and legislation,
and by vote refusing to respect the "convictions, rights,
and privileges of those ... who religiously and conscientiously
observe the seventh day instead of the first day of the
week;" expressly claiming to be a federation of all
Christian churches, and therefore recognizing no church
outside of it as Christian; and purposing to monopolize
religious work in every square mile of American territory.
Is not such an organization prepared to deal with any body
of people outside its ranks in very much the same way as
the papacy dealt with dissenters and heretics in the days
of its power?
the first annual meeting of the executive committee of the
federation, held in December, 1909, at Louisville, Ky.,
the intolerant spirit of the organization again appeared
in a speech by the president, Bishop Hendrix of the Methodist
Episcopal Church, in which be spoke of the smaller denominations
as "fragments," and said that if they ever had
any real mission they had served their purpose and should
now be merged into the larger bodies. "In a few years,"
he said, "all religious
595 -- work done by Protestants in the United States,
ought to be carried on by not more than eight or ten of
the larger denominations."
The Mark of the Beast.
- The two-horned beast enforces upon its
subjects the mark of the first beast. We have now in the
prophecy three agents introduced, which we must carefully
distinguish from one another to avoid confusion.
The papal beast. This power is designated as "the beast,"
"the first beast," "the beast
which had the wound by a sword, and did live," and
"the beast whose deadly wound was healed." These
expressions all refer to the same power; and wherever they
occur in this prophecy, they have exclusive reference to
(2) The two-horned beast. This
power, after its introduction in verse 11 of chapter 13,
is represented through the remainder of the prophecy by
the pronoun he; and wherever this pronoun occurs,
down to the 17th verse (with possibly the exception of the
16th verse, which perhaps may refer to the image), it refers
invariably to the two-horned beast.
The image of the beast. This is, every time, with the
possible, but not probable, exception just stated, called
the image; so that there is no danger of confounding this
with any other agent.
acts ascribed to the image are, speaking and enforcing the
worship of itself under the penalty of death; and this is
the only enactment which the prophecy mentions as enforced
under the death penalty.
mark of the beast is enforced by the two-horned beast, either
directly or through the image. The penalty attached to a
refusal to receive this mark is a forfeiture of all social
privileges, a deprivation of the right to buy and sell.
The mark is the mark of the papal beast. Against this worship
of the beast and his image, and the reception of his mark,
the third angel's message of Rev. 14:9-12 is a most solemn
and thrilling warning.
then, is the issue, which, according to this prophecy, we
are soon to be called upon to meet; namely, human organizations,
controlled and inspired by the spirit of the dragon,
596 -- are to command men to do those acts which are
in reality the worshiping of an apostate religious power
and the receiving of his mark; and if they refuse to do
this, they lose the rights of citizenship, and become outlaws
in the land; and they must do that which constitutes the
worship of the image of the beast, or forfeit their lives.
On the other hand, God sends forth a message a little before
the fearful crisis is upon us, as we shall see under chapter
14:9-12, declaring that all who do any of these things "shall
drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out
without mixture into the cup of his indignation." He
who refuses to comply with these demands of earthly powers
exposes himself to the severest penalties which human beings
can inflict; and he who does comply, exposes himself to
the most terrible threatenings of divine wrath to be found
in the word of God. The question whether they will obey
God or man is to be decided by the people of the present
age under the heaviest pressure, from either side, that
has ever been brought to bear upon any generation. TOP
worship of the beast and his image, and the reception of
his mark, must be something that involves the greatest offense
that can be committed against God, to call down so severe
a denunciation of wrath against it. This is a work, as has
already been shown, which takes place in the last days;
and as God has given us in his word most abundant evidence
to show when we are in the last days, that no one need be
overtaken by the day of the Lord as by a thief, so, likewise,
it must be that he has given us the means whereby we may
determine what the receiving of the mark of the beast is,
which be has so strongly condemned, that we may avoid the
fearful penalty so sure to follow the commission of this
act. God does not so trifle with human hopes and human destinies
as to denounce a most fearful doom against a certain sin,
and then place it out of our power to understand what that
sin is, so that we have no means of guarding against it.
therefore now call attention to the very important inquiry,
What constitutes the mark of the beast? The figure of a
mark is borrowed from an ancient custom. Bishop Newton (Dissertations
on the Prophecies, Vol. III, p. 241) says: -
597 -- "It was customary among the ancients for
servants to receive the mark of their master, and soldiers
of their general, and those who were devoted to any particular
deity, of the particular deity to whom they were devoted.
These marks were usually impressed on their right hand or
on their forehead, and consisted of some hieroglyphic character,
or of the name expressed in vulgar letters, or of the name
disguised in numerical letters, according to the fancy of
says that Ptolemy Philopater ordered all the Jews who applied
to be enrolled as citizens of Alexandria to have the form
of an ivy leaf (the badge of his god, Bacchus) impressed
upon them with a hot iron, under pain of death. (Prideaux's
Connection, Vol. II, p. 78.)
The word used for mark in this prophecy is Caragma
(charagma), and is defined to mean, "a graving, sculpture;
a mark cut in or stamped." It occurs nine times in
the New Testament, and with the single exception of Acts
17:29, refers every time to the mark of the beast. We are
not, of course, to understand in this symbolic prophecy
that a literal mark is intended; but the giving of the literal
mark, as practiced in ancient times, is used as a figure
to illustrate certain acts that will be performed in the
fulfilment of this prophecy. And from the literal mark as
formerly employed, we learn something of its meaning as
used in the prophecy; for between the symbol and the thing
symbolized there must be some resemblance. The mark, as
literally used, signified that the person receiving it was
the servant of, acknowledged the authority of, or professed
allegiance to, the person whose mark he bore. So the mark
of the beast, or of the papacy, must be some act or profession
by which the authority of that power is acknowledged. What
is it? TOP
would naturally be looked for in some of the special characteristics
of the papal power. Daniel, describing that power under
the symbol of a little horn, speaks of it as waging a special
warfare against God, wearing out the saints of the Most
High, and thinking to change times and laws. The prophet
expressly specifies on this point: "He shall think
to change times and laws." These laws must certainly
598 -- laws of the Most High. To apply it to human laws,
and make the prophecy read, "And he shall speak great
words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints
of the Most High, and think to change human laws,"
would be doing evident violence to the language of the prophet.
But apply it to the laws of God, and let it read, "And
he shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall
wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to
change the times and laws of the Most High," and all
is consistent and forcible. The Hebrew has
(dath), law, and the Septuagint reads, nomoV
(nomos), in the singular, "the law," which
more directly suggests the law of God. The papacy has been
able to do more than merely "think " to change
human laws. It has changed them at pleasure. It has annulled
the decrees of kings and emperors, and absolved subjects
from allegiance to their rightful sovereigns. It has thrust
its long arm into the affairs of nations, and brought rulers
to its feet in the most abject humility. But the prophet
beholds greater acts of presumption than these. He sees
it endeavor to do what it was not able to do, but could
only think to do; he sees it attempt art act which no man,
nor any combination of men, can ever accomplish; and that
is, to change the law of the Most High. Bear this in mind
while we look at the testimony of another sacred writer
on this very point.
The apostle Paul speaks of the same power in 2 Thessalonians
2; and he describes it, in the person of the pope, as "the
man of sin," and as "sitting as God in the temple
of God" (that is, the church), and as exalting himself
"above all that is called God, or that is worshiped."
According to this, the pope sets himself up as the one for
all the church to look to for authority, in the place of
God. And now we ask the reader to ponder carefully the question
how he can exalt himself above God. Search through
the whole range of human devices, go to the extent of human
effort; by what plan, by what move, by what claim, could
this usurper exalt himself above God? He might institute
any number of ceremonies, he might prescribe any form of
worship, he might exhibit any degree of power; but so long
as God had requirements which
599 -- the people felt bound to regard in preference
to his own, so long he would not be above God. He
might enact a law, and teach the people that they were under
as great obligations to that as to the law of God; then
he would only make himself equal with God. But he
is to do more than this; he is to attempt to raise himself
above him. Then he must promulgate a law which conflicts
with the law of God, and demand obedience to his own law
in preference to God's law. There is no other possible way
in which he could place himself in the position assigned
in the prophecy. But this is simply to change the law of
God; and if he can cause this change to be adopted by the
people in the place of the original enactment, then he,
the law-changer, is above God, the law-maker. And this is
the very work that Daniel said he should think to do.
Such a work as this, then, the papacy must accomplish according
to the prophecy; and the prophecy cannot fail. And when
this is done, what do the people of the world have? - They
have two laws demanding obedience, - one, the law of God
as originally enacted by him, an embodiment of his will,
and expressing his claims upon his creatures; the other,
a revised edition of that law, emanating from the pope of
Rome and expressing his will. And how is it to be determined
which of these powers the people honor and worship? - It
is determined by the law which they keep. If they keep the
law of God as given by him, they worship and obey God. If
they keep the law as changed by the papacy, they worship
that power. But further: the prophecy does not say, that
the little horn, the papacy, should set aside the law of
God, and give one entirely different. This would not be
to change the law, but simply to give a new one. He was
only to attempt a change, so that the law that comes
from God, and the law that comes from the papacy, are precisely
alike, excepting the change which the papacy has made in
the former. They have many points in common. But none of
the precepts which they contain in common can distinguish
a person as the worshiper of either power in preference
to the other. If God's law says, "Thou shalt not kill,"
and the law as given by the papacy says the same, no one
can tell by a person's observance of that
600 -- precept whether he designs to obey God rather
than the pope, or the pope rather than God. But when a precept
that has been changed is the subject of action, then whoever
observes that precept as originally given by God, is thereby
distinguished as a worshiper of God; and he who keeps it
as changed is thereby marked as a follower of the power
that made the change. In no other way can the two classes
of worshipers be distinguished. From this conclusion, no
candid mind can dissent; but in this conclusion we have
a general answer to the question, "What constitutes
the mark of the beast?" and that answer is simply this:
The mark of the beast is the
change which the beast has attempted to make in the
law of God. TOP
now inquire what that change is. By the law of God, we mean
the moral law, the only law in the universe of immutable
and perpetual obligation, - the law of which Webster says,
defining the term according to the sense in which it is
almost universally used in Christendom, "The
moral law is summarily contained in the decalogue, written
by the finger of God on two tables of stone, and delivered
to Moses on Mount Sinai."
now the reader will compare the ten commandments as found
in Roman Catholic catechisms with those commandments as
found in the Bible, he will see in the catechisms - we mean
those portions specially devoted to instruction - that the
second commandment is left out, that the tenth is divided
into two to make up the lack caused by leaving out the second,
and keep good the number ten, and that the fourth commandment
(called the third in their enumeration) is made to enjoin
the observance of Sunday as the Sabbath, and prescribe that
the day shall be spent in hearing mass devoutly, attending
vespers, and reading moral and pious books. Here are several
variations from the decalogue as found in the Bible. Which
of them, if any, constitutes the change of the law intended
in the prophecy? or are they all included in that change?
Let it be borne in mind, that, according to the prophecy,
he was to think to change times and laws. This plainly
conveys the idea of intention and design,
and makes these qualities essential to the change in question.
But respecting the omission of the
601 -- second commandment, Catholics argue that it is
included in the first, and hence should not be numbered
as a separate commandment; and on the tenth they claim that
there is so plain a distinction of ideas as to require two
commandments - so they make the coveting of a neighbor's
wife the ninth command, and the coveting of his goods the
all this they claim that they are giving the commandments
exactly as God intended to have them understood; so, while
we may regard them as errors in their interpretation of
the commandments, we cannot set them down as professedly
intentional changes. Not so, however, with the fourth
commandment. Respecting this commandment, they do not claim
that their version is like that given by God. They expressly
claim a change here, and also that the change has been made
by the church. A few quotations from standard Catholic works
will make this matter plain. In a work entitled, Treatise
of Thirty Controversies, we find these words: -
word of God commandeth the seventh day to be the Sabbath
of our Lord, and to be kept holy; you [Protestants], without
any precept of Scripture, change it to the first day of
the week, only authorized by our traditions. Divers English
Puritans oppose, against this point, that the observation
of the first day is proved out of Scripture, where it is
said, the first day of the week. Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2;
Rev. 1:10. Have they not spun a fair thread in quoting these
places? If we should produce no better for purgatory and
prayers for the dead, invocation of the saints, and the
like, they might have good cause indeed to laugh us to scorn,
for where was it written that these were Sabbath days in
which those meetings were kept? or where is it ordained
they should be always observed? or, which is the sum of
all, where is it decreed that the observation of the first
day should abrogate, or abolish, the sanctifying of the
seventh day, which God commanded everlastingly to be kept
holy? Not one of these is expressed in the written word
of God." TOP
the Catechism of the Christian Religion, by Stephen
Keenan (Boston, Patrick Donahue, 1857), p. 206, on
602 -- subject of the third (fourth) commandment, we
find these questions and answers: -
"Ques.- What does God ordain by this commandment?
"Ans.- He ordains that we sanctify, in a special
manner, this day on which he rested from the labor of creation.
"Q.- What is this day of rest?
"A.- The seventh day of the week, or Saturday;
for he employed six days in creation, and rested on the
seventh. Gen. 2:2; Heb. 4:1; etc.
"Q.- Is it, then, Saturday we should sanctify,
in order to obey the ordinance of God?
"A.- During the old law, Saturday was the day
sanctified; but the church, instructed by Jesus Christ,
and directed by the Spirit of God, has substituted Sunday
for Saturday; so now we sanctify the first, not the seventh
day. Sunday means, and now is, the day of the Lord."
the Catholic Christian Instructed (J. P. Kenedy,
New York, 1884), p. 202, we read:
"Ques.- What warrant have you for keeping the
Sunday preferable to the ancient Sabbath, which was the
"Ans.- We have for it the authority of the Catholic
Church, and apostolic tradition.
"Q.- Does the Scripture anywhere command the
Sunday to be kept for the Sabbath?
"A.- The Scripture commands us to hear the church
(Matt. 18:17; Luke 10:16), and to hold fast the traditions
of the apostles. 2 Thess. 2:15. But the Scriptures do not
in particular mention this change of the Sabbath."
the Doctrinal Catechism (Kenedy, New York), p. 174,
we find further testimony to the same point: -
" Ques.- Have you any other way of proving that
the church has power to institute festivals of precept?
"Ans.- Had she not such power, she could not
have done that in which all modern religionists agree with
her - she could not have substituted the observance of Sunday,
the first day of the week, for the observance of Saturday,
the seventh day, a change for which there is no Scriptural
603 -- In Abridgment of Christian Doctrine (Kenedy,
New York), p. 58, we find this testimony: -
"Ques.- How prove you that the church hath power
to command feasts and holy days?
"Ans.- By the very act of changing the Sabbath
into Sunday, which Protestants allow of! and therefore they
fondly contradict themselves by keeping Sunday strictly,
and breaking most other feasts commanded by the same church.
"Q.- How prove you that?
"A.- Because by keeping Sunday they acknowledge
the church's power to ordain feasts, and to command them
finally, W. Lockhart, late B. A. of Oxford, in the Toronto
(Catholic) Mirror, offered the following
"challenge" to all the Protestants of Ireland,
- a challenge as well calculated for this locality as that.
He says: -
do therefore solemnly challenge the Protestants of Ireland
to prove, by plain texts of Scripture, these questions concerning
the obligations of the Christian Sabbath: (1)
That Christians may work on Saturday, the
old seventh day; (2) that
they are bound to keep holy the first day, namely, Sunday;
(3) that they are not bound to keep holy
the seventh day also."
is what the papal power claims to have done respecting the
fourth commandment. Catholics plainly acknowledge that there
is no Scriptural authority for the change they have made,
but that it rests wholly upon the authority of the church;
and they claim it as a token, or mark, of the authority
of that church; the "very act of changing the Sabbath
into Sunday" being set forth as proof of its power
in this respect. For further testimony on this point, the
reader is referred to a book entitled, The Change of
the Sabbath, in which are also extracts from Catholic
writers refuting the arguments usually relied upon to prove
the Sunday-sabbath, and showing that its only authority
is the Catholic Church. TOP
says one, "I supposed that Christ changed the Sabbath."
A great many suppose so, and it is natural that
604 -- they should; for they have been so taught. And
while we have no words of denunciation to utter against
any such persons for so believing, we would have them at
once understand that it is, in reality, one of the most
enormous of errors. We would therefore remind such persons
that, according to the prophecy, the only change ever to
be made in the law of God was to be made by the little horn
of Daniel 7, the man of sin of 2 Thessalonians 2; and the
only change that has been made in it, is the change of the
Sabbath. Now, if Christ made this change, he filled the
office of the blasphemous power spoken of by both Daniel
and Paul, - a conclusion sufficiently hideous to drive any
Christian from the view which leads thereto.
should any one labor to prove that Christ changed the Sabbath?
Whoever does this is performing a thankless task. The pope
will not thank him; for if it is proved that Christ wrought
this change, then the pope is robbed of his badge of authority
and power. And no truly enlightened Protestant will thank
him; for if he succeeds, he only shows that the papacy has
not done the work which it was predicted that it should
do, and so that the prophecy has failed, and the Scriptures
are unreliable. The matter would better stand as the prophecy
has it, and the claim which the pope unwittingly puts forth
would better be granted. When a person is charged with any
work, and that person steps forth and confesses that he
has done the work, that is usually considered sufficient
to settle the matter. So, when the prophecy affirms that
a certain power shall change the law of God, and in due
time that very power arises, does the work foretold, and
then openly claims that he has done it, what need have we
of further evidence? The world should not forget that the
great apostasy foretold by Paul has taken place; that the
man of sin for long ages held almost a monopoly of Christian
teaching in the world; that the mystery of iniquity has
cast the darkness of its shadow and the errors of its doctrines
over almost all Christendom; and that out of this era of
error and darkness and corruption, the theology of our day
has come. Would it, then, be anything strange if there were
yet some relics of popery to be discarded ere the reformation
605 -- complete? A. Campbell (Baptism,
p. 15), speaking of the different Protestant sects, says: -
of them retain in their bosom, - in their ecclesiastical
organizations, worship, doctrines, and observances, - various
relics of popery. They are at best a reformation of popery,
and only reformations in part. The doctrines and traditions
of men yet impair the power and progress of the gospel in
nature of the change which the little horn has attempted
to effect in the law of God is worthy of notice. True to
his purpose to exalt himself above God, he undertakes to
change that commandment which, of all others, is the fundamental
commandment of the law, the one which makes known who the
lawgiver is, and contains his signature of royalty. The
fourth commandment does this; no other one does. Four others,
it is true, contain the word God, and three of them
the word Lord, also. But who is this Lord God of
whom they speak? Without the fourth commandment, it is impossible
to tell; for idolaters of every grade apply these terms
to the multitudinous objects of their adoration. With the
fourth commandment to point out the Author of the decalogue,
the claims of every false god are annulled at one stroke;
for the God who here demands our worship is not any created
being, but the One who created all things. The maker of
the earth and sea, the sun and moon, and all the starry
host, the upholder and governor of the universe, is the
One who claims, and who, from his position, has a right
to claim, our supreme regard in preference to every other
object. The commandment which makes known these facts is
therefore the very one we might suppose that power which
designed to exalt itself above God would undertake to change.
God gave the Sabbath as a memorial of himself, a weekly
reminder to the sons of men of his work in creating the
heavens and the earth, a great barrier against heathenism
and idolatry. It is the signature and seal against atheism
and idolatry. It is the signature and seal of the law. This
the papacy has torn from its place, and erected in its stead,
on its own authority, another institution, designed to serve
another purpose. TOP
606 -- This change of the fourth commandment must therefore
be the change to which the prophecy points, and the Sunday
sabbath must be the mark of the beast! Some who have long
been taught to regard this institution with reverence will
perhaps start back with little less than feelings of horror
at this conclusion. We have not space, nor is this, perhaps,
the place, to enter into an extended argument on the Sabbath
question, and an exposition of the origin and nature of
the observance of the first day of the week. Let us submit
this one proposition: If the seventh day
is still the Sabbath enjoined in the fourth commandment;
if the observance of the first day of the week has no foundation
whatever in the Scriptures; if this observance has been
brought in as a Christian institution, and designedly put
in place of the Sabbath of the decalogue by that power which
is symbolized by the beast, and placed there as a badge
and token of its power to legislate for the church, - is
it not inevitably the mark of the beast? The answer must
be in the affirmative. But these hypotheses are all certainties.
will be said again, Then all Sunday-keepers have the mark
of the beast; then all the good of past ages who kept this
day had the mark of the beast; then Luther, Whitefield,
the Wesleys, and all who have done a good and noble work
of reformation, had the mark of the beast; then all the
blessings that have been poured upon the reformed churches
have been poured upon those who had the mark of the beast;
and all Christians of the present day who are keeping Sunday
as the Sabbath, have the mark of the beast. We answer, Not
so! And we are sorry to say that some professedly religious
teachers, though many times corrected, persist in misrepresenting
us on this point. We have never so held; we have never so
taught. Our premises lead to no such conclusions. Give ear:
The mark and worship of the beast are
enforced by the two-horned beast. The receiving of the mark
of the beast is a specific act which the two-horned beast
is to cause to be done. The third message of Revelation
14 is a warning mercifully sent out in advance to prepare
the people for the coming
-- See "History of the Sabbath," and other
works on the subject. To these we can only refer the reader,
607 -- danger. There can therefore be no worship of
the beast, nor reception of his mark such as the prophecy
contemplates, till it is enforced by the two-horned
beast. We have seen that intention was essential to the
change which the papacy has made in the law of God, to constitute
it the mark of that power; so intention is necessary
in the adoption of that change to make it, on the part of
any individual, the reception of that mark. In other words,
a person must adopt the change knowing it to be the work
of the beast, and receive it on the authority of that power,
in opposition to the requirement of God.
how is it with those mentioned above, who have kept Sunday
in the past, and the majority of those who are keeping it
to-day? Do they keep it as an institution of the papacy?
- No. Have they decided between this and the Sabbath of
our Lord, understanding the claims of each? - No. On what
ground have they kept it, and on what do they still keep
it? - They suppose they are keeping a commandment of God.
Have such the mark of the beast? - By no means. Their course
is attributable to an error unwittingly received from the
Church of Rome, not to an act of worship rendered to it.
But how is it to be in the future? The church which is to
be prepared for the second coming of Christ must be entirely
free from papal errors and corruptions. A reform must hence
be made on the Sabbath question. The third angel proclaims
the commandments of God, leading men to the true in the
place of the counterfeit. The dragon is stirred, and so
controls the wicked governments of the earth that all the
authority of human power shall be exerted to enforce the
claims of the man of sin. Then the issue is fairly before
the people. They are required to keep, on the one hand,
the true Sabbath; on the other, a counterfeit. For refusing
to keep the true, the message threatens the unmingled wrath
of God; for refusing the false, earthly governments threaten
them with persecution and death. With this issue before
the people, what does he do who yields to the human requirement?
- He virtually says to God, I know your claims, but I will
not heed them. I know that the power I am required to worship
is antichristian, but I yield to it to save my life. I renounce
your allegiance, and
608 -- bow to the usurper. The beast is henceforth the
object of my adoration; under his banner, in opposition
to your authority, I henceforth array myself; to him, in
defiance of your claims, I henceforth yield the obedience
of my heart and life. TOP
is the spirit which will actuate the hearts of the beast-worshipers,
- a spirit which insults the God of the universe to his
face, and is prevented only by lack of power from overthrowing
his government and annihilating his throne. Is it any wonder
that Jehovah denounces against so Heaven-daring a course
the most terrible threatening that his Word contains?
The Closing Work.
have now seen what would properly constitute an image to
the beast, such as the two-horned beast is to erect, and
also the probability that such an image will soon be perfected
in this country; and we have also learned what constitutes
the mark of the beast, which is to be enforced upon all
the people. An ecclesiastical organization composed of a
greater or less number of the different sects of our land,
with some degree of coalition also between these bodies
and Roman Catholicism, together with the promulgation and
enforcement of a general Sunday-sabbath law, would fulfil
what the prophecy sets forth in reference to the image and
the mark of the beast; and these movements, or their exact
equivalent, the prophecy calls for. The line of argument
leading to these conclusions is so direct and well-defined
that there is no avoiding them. They are a clear and logical
sequence from the premises given us.
the application of Rev. 13:11-17 to the United States was
first made, as early as the year 1850, these positions respecting
a union of the churches and a grand Sunday movement were
taken. But at that time no sign appeared above or beneath,
at home or abroad, - no token was seen, no indication existed,
that such an issue would ever be made. But there was the
prophecy, and that must stand. The United States government
had given abundant evidence, by its location, the time of
its rise, the manner of its rise, and its apparent character,
that it was the power symbolized by the two-horned beast.
There could be no mistake in the conclusion that it was
the very nation intended by that symbol. This being so,
609 -- must take the course and perform the acts foretold.
But here were predictions which could be fulfilled by nothing
less than the above-named movement respecting church and
state, and the enforcement of the papal Sabbath as a mark
of the beast.
take the position at that time that this government was
to pursue such a policy and engage in such a work, without
any apparent probability in its favor, was no small act
of faith. On the other hand, to deny or ignore it, while
admitting the application of the symbol to this government,
would not be in accordance with either Scripture or logic.
The only course for the humble, confiding student of prophecy
to pursue in such cases is to take the light as it is given,
and believe the prophecy in all its parts. So the stand
was boldly taken; and open proclamation has been made from
that day to this, that such a work would be seen in the
United States. With every review of the argument, new features
of strength have been discovered in the application; and
amid a storm of scornful incredulity we have watched the
progress of events, and awaited the hour of fulfilment.
Spiritualism has astonished the world with its terrible
progress, and shown itself to be the wonder-working element
which was to exist in connection with this power. This has
mightily strengthened the force of the application. And
now, within a few years past, what have we further seen?
- No less than the commencement of that very movement respecting
the formation of the image, and the enactment of Sunday
laws, which we have so long expected, and which is to complete
the prophecy and close the scene.
has already been made to the movement to secure a union
of the churches for the purpose of adding strength and influence
to ecclesiastical movements in certain directions. And now
a class of men is suddenly springing up all over the land
whose souls are absorbed with the cognate idea of Sunday
reform, and who have dedicated themselves, heads, hands,
and pockets, to the carrying forward of this kindred movement.
Organizations called Sabbath Committees have been formed
in various places, and have labored zealously, by means
of books, tracts, speeches, and sermons, to create a strong
610 -- in behalf of Sunday. Making slow progress through
moral suasion, they seek a shorter path to the accomplishment
of their purposes through political power. And why not?
Christianity has become popular, and her professed adherents
are numerous. Why not avail themselves of the power of the
ballot to secure their ends? Rev. J. S. Smart (Methodist),
in a published sermon on the Political Duties of Christian
Men and Ministers, expresses a leading sentiment on this
question, when he says: -
claim that we have, and ought to have, just as much concern
in the government of this country as any other men.... We
are the mass of the people. Virtue in this country is not
weak; her ranks are strong in numbers, and invincible from
the righteousness of her cause, - invincible if united.
Let not her ranks be broken by party names." TOP
accordance with the logical development of these feelings,
an association has been formed, now called "The National
Reform Association," which has for its object the securing
of legal enactments for religious institutions, by means
of such an amendment to the national Constitution as shall
"place all Christian laws, institutions, and usages
of the government on an undeniable legal basis in the fundamental
law of the land." Here is the germ of religious revolution,
the entering wedge of church and state.
movement originated at Xenia, Ohio, in February, 1863, in
a convention composed of eleven different religious denominations,
who assembled for prayer and conference.
be sure the leaders in this movement disclaim vehemently
any such purpose as a union of church and state; but a sentence
now and then escapes them which reveals more than they intended.
Thus, at a convention of this association in Pittsburg,
Pa., Dr. Stevenson, one of these leaders, said: -
the immense largesses it receives from corrupt politicians,
the Roman Catholic Church is, practically, the established
church of the city of New York. These favors are granted
under the guise of a seeming friendliness to religion. We
propose to put the substance for the shadow, - to drive
out the counterfeit by the more complete substitution of
611 -- There are several guess-roads through which we
may look for the intent of this language; but inasmuch as
they all arrive at one conclusion, this conclusion is neither
ambiguous nor doubtful; it is simply that the Protestant
Church shall become really established, as the Roman
Catholic now is practically. This is confirmed by the very
next sentence, which reads:
we propose is nothing of a sectarian character. It will
give no branch of American Christians any advantage over
Blanchard undertakes to give a definition of what they mean
by a "union of church and state," as follows:
union of church and state is the selection by the nation
of one church, the endowment of such a church, the appointment
of its officers, and the oversight of its doctrines. For
such a union, none of us plead. To such a union we are all
of us opposed."
reader is requested to mark this well. Here is given a definition
of a union of church and state such as no one expects or
fears; such, in fact, as is not possible in the existing
state of the churches, and then a special plea is set up
that they are opposed to a union of church and state! To
such an impossible combination as they describe, they may
safely write themselves opposed; but to a union of church
and state in the popular sense of the phrase, - a union,
not of one church, but of all the churches recognized as
orthodox, or evangelical, - a union not giving the state
power to elect church officers nor to take the oversight
of church doctrines, but giving the churches the privilege
of enforcing, by civil laws, institutions and usages of
religion, according to the faith of the churches, or to
the construction put upon those institutions and usages
by the churches, - to such a union, we say, they are not
opposed. They are essentially and practically, despite their
professions, open advocates of a union of church and state.
are not alone in this view of the subject. Mr. G. A. Townsend
(New World and Old, p. 212) says: -
and state has several times crept into American politics,
as in the contentions over the Bible in the public schools,
the anti-Catholic party of 1844, etc. Our people
612 -- have been wise enough heretofore to respect the
clergy in all religious questions, and to entertain a wholesome
jealousy of them in politics. The latest politico-religious
movement [italics ours] is to insert the name of the
Deity in the Constitution." TOP
Christian Union, January, 1871, said: -
the proposed amendment is anything more than a bit of sentimental
cant, it is to have a legal effect. It is to alter
the status of the nonchristian citizen before the law. It
is to affect the legal oaths and instruments, the matrimonial
contracts, the sumptuary laws, etc., etc., of the country.
This would be an outrage on natural right."
Janesville (Wis.) Gazette, at the close
of an article on the proposed amendment, speaks thus of
the effect of the movement, should it succeed: -
independent of the question as to what extent we are a Christian
nation, it may well be doubted whether, if the gentlemen
who are agitating this question should succeed, they would
not do society a very great injury. Such measures are but
the initiatory steps which ultimately lead to restrictions
of religious freedom, and to commit the government to
measures which are as foreign to its powers and purposes
as would be its action if it should undertake to determine
a disputed question of theology."
Weekly Alta Californian, of San Francisco, March
12, I870, said: -
parties who have been recently holding a convention for
the somewhat novel purpose of procuring an amendment to
the Constitution of the United States recognizing the Deity,
do not fairly state the case when they assert that it is
the right of a Christian people to govern themselves in
a Christian manner. If we are not governing ourselves in
a Christian manner, how shall the doings of our government
be designated? The fact is, that the movement is one to
bring about in this country that union of church and state
which all other nations are trying to dissolve."
Champlain Journal, speaking of incorporating
613 -- principle into the Constitution, and its effect
upon the Jews, said: -
slight, it is the entering wedge of church and state. If
we may cut off ever so few persons from the right of citizenship
on account of difference of religious belief, then with
equal justice and propriety may a majority at any time dictate
the adoption of still further articles of belief, until
our Constitution is but a text-book of a sect, beneath whose
tyrannical sway all liberty of religious opinion will
be crushed." TOP
it may be asked how the Sunday question is to be affected
by the proposed Constitutional Amendment. Answer:
The object, or, to say the least, one object of this amendment,
is to put the Sunday institution on a legal basis, and compel
its observance by the arm of the law. At the national convention
held in Philadelphia, Jan. 18, 19, 1871, the following resolution
was among the first offered by the business committee: -
"Resolved, That, in view of the controlling power
of the Constitution in shaping state as well as national
policy, it is of immediate importance to public morals and
to social order, to secure such an amendment as will indicate
that this is a Christian nation, and place all Christian
laws, institutions, and usages in our government on an undeniable
legal basis in the fundamental law of the nation, specially
those which secure a proper oath, and which protect society
against blasphemy, Sabbath-breaking, and polygamy."
By Sabbath-breaking is meant nothing else but Sunday-breaking.
In a convention of the friends of Sunday, assembled Nov.
29, 1870, in New Concord, Ohio, one of the speakers is reported
to have said: "The question
[of Sunday observance] is closely connected with the National
Reform Movement; for until the government comes to know
God and honor his law, we need not expect to restrain Sabbath-breaking
corporations." Here, again, the idea of the legal enforcement
of Sunday observance stands foremost; and the same principle
would apply equally to individuals.
more: the Philadelphia Press
of Dec. 5, 1870, Stated that some Congressmen arrived in
Washington by Sunday
614 -- trains, December 4, on which the Christian
Statesman commented as follows (we give italics
as we find them): -
Not one of those men who thus violated
the Sabbath is fit to hold any official position in a Christian
The sin of these Congressmen is a national sin, because
the nation hath not said to them in the Constitution, the
supreme rule for our public servants, ' We charge you to
serve us in accordance with the higher law of God.' These
Sabbath-breaking railroads, moreover, are corporations created
by the state, and amenable to it. The state is responsible
to God for the conduct of these creatures which it calls
into being. It is bound, therefore, to restrain them from
this as from other crimes, and any violation of the Sabbath
by any corporation should work immediate forfeiture of its
charter. And the Constitution of the United States, with
which all state legislation is required to be in harmony,
should be of such a character as to prevent any state from
tolerating such infractions of fundamental moral law.
Give us in the national Constitution the simple acknowledgment
of the law of God as the supreme law of nations, and all
the results indicated in this note will ultimately be secured.
Let no one say that the movement does not contemplate sufficiently
these National Reformers desire and design to secure in
their campaign, is expressed by one of the secretaries of
said association, J. M. Foster, in the Christian Statesman,
October, 1S92. He says: -
one danger lies in this: The church does not speak as a
church. The American Sabbath Union has done a good work.
The denominations have spoken. But the Christian organized
church has not officially gone to Washington and spoken.
The work there has been largely turned over to associations.
But the voice of God, authoritative, official, is through
his church. Should there not be joint action of the denominations
in this? They should, it would appear, appoint a joint committee
to speak for God; and properly and courageously done, there
can follow but the very same results. ... Much is lost by
the church failing officially to speak at the
615 -- right time, and in the right place. No association
is clothed with this authority. They are individual and
social; but the church is divine. She can, and ought
to, utter the voice of God in the halls of Congress, as
an organized church." TOP
italics are as we find them; but other declarations in the
foregoing extract are equally deserving of emphasis. It
may well be questioned whether any more arrogant and pompous
words were uttered previous to the setting up of the papacy
itself. What they complain that they lack, they of course
intend to have. And look at the picture: The
church (that is the different denominations, confederating
on dogmas held in common, and represented by a "joint
committee," - a central authority) is divine, and woe
unto all dissenters from the authority of a divine church!
So said Rome in its palmiest days of dungeons, stakes, and
blood; so she would say to-day had she the power; and so
apostatized Protestantism will say when it gets the power!
And this "joint committee" is to "speak for
God," "utter the voice of God"
(a second vicegerent of the Most High, now claimed as a
monopoly by the pope), and authoritatively and officially
lay upon Congress the commands of God, for it to
perform! Such are the dark schemes for which these men are
now working. Alas, that the realization of them should now
stand as an attainable prospect before their eyes! Did ever
Rome ask for more? And when these would-be spokesmen for
God secure their object, will it not be, we still ask, Rome
over again in a Protestant garb - a very image of the beast
recent years the influence of the National Reform party
has been rapidly on the increase. It has now become international
in its scope, and at frequent intervals, holds world conventions,
at which plans are laid to set up the National Reform ideal
of government in all other countries where it does not already
exist. To this end much is hoped for from the influence
of Christian missionaries, many of whom have seemingly been
captivated with the idea of converting heathen governments
to Christianity, and see greater results to come from that
than from the slow process of converting heathen individuals.
At a world convention held in Philadelphia, in November,
616 -- 1910, the following pronouncement was made on
this point: -
conference expresses its appreciation of the fact that so
many missionaries are alive to the importance of the kingship
of Christ over the nations, and we urge upon all missionaries
in all lands, the inculcation of these principles, and that
they testify in their respective nations for the royal prerogative
of Jesus in national life."
those who participated in the program at this convention,
were F. E. Clark, president of the World's Christian Endeavor
Union, Bishop Neely of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the
Rev. Dr. McCauley, district secretary of the Federal Council
of Churches, Attorney John A. Paterson, of Toronto, representing
the Canadian government, the Rev. David J. Burrell, president
of the Alliance of Reformed Churches, besides missionaries
from India and China, and from Roman and Greek Catholic
countries. This affords striking evidence of the extent
to which National Reform ideas have permeated the religious
Another most significant and alarming step toward the accomplishment
of these evil designs, is the position taken by the great
"Christian Endeavor" movement, which has arisen
to a membership of millions within a few years, and is a
common channel through which all denominations can work.
The political functions of this great body are centered
in a "Christian Citizenship League," which boasts
that it will have branches in every state, county, city,
village, and hamlet in the United States, and see to it
that only Christian men are put into office. What remarkable
"conversions" will then take place! How politicians
will become "Christians," and the "millennium"
hasten on! At the great Christian Endeavor convention, held
in Boston, Mass., July 10-15, 1895, W. H. McMillan, as given
in the published Proceedings, p. 19, said: -
is a power that is going to wrest the control of affairs
from the hands of political demagogues, and place it in
the hands of Him who is King over all, and rules the world
in righteousness. Our political leaders have been counting
617 -- saloon vote, the illiterate vote, and the stay-at-home
vote, and all other elements that have hitherto entered
into their canvassings of probabilities; but they have not
yet learned to count the Christian Endeavor vote. I want
to serve notice on them now that the time is drawing near
when they will discover that a political revolution has
occurred, and they will be found coming home from Washington
and our state capitals without a job." TOP
sentiments were cheered to the echo in the convention; and
it is not difficult to foresee the effect they will have;
for they were intended for that class of men among whom
they "will do the most good;" that is, the body
of average politicians, who, when threatened with a boycott,
become the most abject sycophants on the face of the earth.
this, however, would be of no avail, if those who are really
patriots at heart would awake to this danger before they
find themselves committed to movements, the effects of which
they did not foresee, and if the two houses of Congress
would stand true to the Constitution which they are sworn
to maintain; for this movement means nothing less than a
subversion of that noble instrument.
alas! Congress has already turned its back on its sacred
trust to fawn upon the church influence so rapidly rising.
When the managers of the World's Fair of 1893, in Chicago,
asked Congress for an appropriation in their behalf, churchmen
brought their influence to bear upon the national legislators,
and induced them to make it a condition of the gift that
the gates of the Fair be closed on Sunday. In carrying this
point a most remarkable scene occurred. A senator called
for a Bible, and caused the clerk to read the fourth commandment
of the decalogue; whereupon grave statesmen argued, and
at length by vote decided, that the day enjoined by that
commandment as the Sabbath, is Sunday!
was legislating upon a religious question, which the Constitution
expressly forbids. (See Amendment I.) It broke down the
barriers against the union of church and state, and opened
the flood-gates for all the evils that invariably accompany
such a union. The religious-amendment clergy hailed the
618 -- event as a great triumph, and openly boasted
that they had Congress in their hands, and could compel
it to do their bidding.
the practical working of these changes will be is already
made apparent. On the statute-books of most of the states
of the American Union, are found Sunday laws; and as the
agitation in behalf of the seventh day increases, religious
zealots are not slow to use these laws to put the machinery
of persecution in operation. Observers of the seventh day
manifest no defiance of these laws in laboring on Sunday,
as the higher law of God gives them an unalienable right
to do; and they studiously refrain from disturbing others,
or in any way infringing upon their rights, by boisterous
or offensive labor. Yet it is construed to be "disturbance,"
if they are even seen anywhere at work, or even if
it is known that they are at work anywhere, though unseen
or unheard. If no other way appears for detection,
they are searched out by ministers or church-members, or
the police acting under their direction. Then follow arrest,
conviction, and penalty by fine, imprisonment, or the chain-gang.
Up to Jan. 1, 1896, over one hundred arrests of this kind
had been made, some of them under circumstances of great
oppression and cruelty, fines and costs had been imposed
to the amount of $2,269, and prisoners had served an aggregate
of nearly fifteen hundred days in jail and chain-gangs.
public sentiment would not endorse such proceedings, and
the leaders in the movement, noting this fact, decided to
call a halt until such time as they would have public opinion
molded in their favor. Hence there have been fewer cases
of persecution for non-observance of Sunday in recent years;
but meanwhile a vigorous campaign has been carried on by
the National Reform party, the "International Reform
Bureau" or lobby at Washington, D. C., the "Lord's
Day Alliance," the "Sunday League of America,"
the "New England Sabbath Protective League," and
other religious bodies, having in view the creation of Sunday-law
sentiment among the people, and in the state legislatures,
and especially in the national legislature at Washington.
Within recent years, the contest between the
619 -- friends and foes of American liberty, has been
concentrated upon an effort to commit Congress to religious
legislation by the enactment of a Sunday law for the District
of Columbia. Bills for this purpose have been repeatedly
introduced, and one introduced by Senator Johnston, of Alabama,
in 1908, has been urged upon Congress continually up to
this date (1911), being promptly reintroduced at the first
opportunity after each failure of enactment; and the intention
seems to be to keep pressing it upon Congress until that
body yields to the demand, and the decisive step is taken
which will give to the cause of religious legislation the
endorsement of the national government. That will greatly
strengthen the Sunday movement throughout the nation, and
the work of securing and enforcing Sunday legislation in
the state governments will be much more easily accomplished.
At this point it may be profitable to take a glance at the
progress of the Sunday-law movement in this country during
the recent past. The following are some of the more prominent
of the events which mark its advancement.
1890. - Breckenridge Sunday bill for the District of Columbia
introduced in Congress. (January 6.)
1892. - Congress orders the gates of the Chicago
World's Fair closed on Sunday, and decides that Sunday is
the Sabbath of the decalogue. (July 19.)
1900. - Congress makes the appropriation
of $5,000,000 for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition at St.
Louis, conditional upon Sunday closing of the gates "during
the whole duration of the fair." (March 1.)
1904. - A Sunday bill for the District of Columbia
passed the House of Representatives. (April 6.)
1906. - Congress makes the appropriation of
$250,000 for the Jamestown Exposition, conditional upon
Sunday closing. (June 29.)
1906. - Wadsworth District Sunday bill passes
House of Representatives. (June 11.)
1908. - Samuel Gompers officially announces
that the American Federation of Labor not only is in favor
of Sunday rest, but that it has "done as much, if not
more, than any other
620 -- organized body of men and women, to enforce the
observance of the Sunday rest-day." (September 14.)
1907-8. - Ten bills for Sunday observance introduced
during the first session of the sixtieth Congress. (December
5 to May 1.)
1908. - Johnston District Sunday bill, passed
by the Senate. (May 15.)
1909. - Johnston District Sunday bill reintroduced
in the Senate. (March 22.)
1910. - Johnston District Sunday bill reintroduced
in Senate. (January 17.)
District Sunday bill passes Senate. (January 27.)
District Sunday bill introduced in the House. (January 28.)
1911. - Johnston District Sunday bill introduced
in special session of Congress. (April 6.)
reported by the Senate District Committee. (May 22.)
Mann bill, "For the Observance of Sunday in Post-Offices,"
introduced in House of Representatives. (May 16.)
All this is exclusive of Sunday legislation in the states
of the union, and in other countries. During the year 1910
there was such legislation or agitation over the same, in
California, Connecticut, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky,
Maine, Massachusetts, North Dakota, New Jersey, New York,
Ohio, Pennsylvania, and the countries of Canada, England,
Italy, Portugal, Russia, Spain, and Switzerland.
of the state governments have in their constitutions, or
in their adopted "Bill of Rights," provisions
guaranteeing the fullest religious liberty; and the inconsistency
of legislating on religious questions, under these circumstances,
is at once seen; while the treachery of oppressing people
for opinion's sake, in such states, is keenly felt. Every
conceivable invention is therefore resorted to, to make
it appear that it is not religious persecution at all, but
only the question of obedience to civil law. One of these
inventions is that Sunday is only a civil institution, and
its enforcement only a police regulation, a civil requirement
necessary for the public good. But this is
621 -- impossible; for every one knows that Sunday in
its origin, history, and very nature, is a religious institution.
No claims in its behalf would ever have been heard of, but
for its religious basis. Hence any enactment to enforce
it by pains and penalties is religious legislation and religious
if there is a law for it, should not that law be obeyed
until repealed? Every law that does not trench upon the
domain of conscience, if it becomes unacceptable to the
people, should nevertheless be obeyed till it can be changed
or repealed. But Sunday laws interfere with the conscience
of the observer of another day, and for that reason cannot
"bear upon all alike." And no true Christian can
make his obedience to God depend upon the permission of
his fellow men. It may be said again, In a country like
the United States, do not majorities rule? and must not
their decisions be obeyed? And the answer again is, Yes,
in everything but questions of conscience, but never there.
"Render ... unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's,
and unto God the things that are God's." Men may legislate
to guard the mutual rights of all members of society, but
no further; and in this they will never infringe upon the
rights of any one's conscience; for a "good" conscience
(I Peter 3:21) will never invade the rights of others, like
the polygamy of the Mormons, or the human sacrifices of
founders of the American republic never intended that any
trouble should arise, through the laws of the land, over
any question of conscience; but they permitted the evil
principle of religious laws to remain in their political
structure, a principle sure to spring to life at the first
opportunity. In the further development of religious truth,
it is now found that these laws forbid men to render obedience
to what the Bible requires of them, and thus conflict with
their unalienable rights. Such laws, therefore, the Christian
cannot regard, and the government, to be true to its professed
principles, should wipe them off the statute-books wherever
found. But this the religio-political clergy will not permit;
and the nation is doomed; for it will thus put itself in
line with the religious despotisms of the past; and the
cry will go up from God's suffering children,
622 -- "It is time for thee, Lord, to work: for
they have made void thy law." Ps. 119:126.
according to the prophecy, the "image" can be
looked for only in the United States, the worship of the
beast will prevail in other countries also; for all the
world is to wonder after the beast.
one may now say, As you expect this movement to carry, you
must look for a period of religious persecution in the United
States; nay, more, you must take the position that all the
saints of God are to be put to death; for the image is to
cause that all who will not worship it shall be killed.
period of persecution has been for about fifty years expected
and predicted. It has now begun, and is thus demonstrating
the correctness of the application of the prophecy as set
forth in this work; but it does not by any means follow
that all, and we do not think that even many, will be put
to death, though a decree to that effect will be promulgated;
for, as the prophet elsewhere declares, God does not abandon
his people to defeat in this dire conflict, but grants them
a complete victory over the beast, his image, his mark,
and the number of his name. Rev. 15:2. We further read respecting
this earthly power, that he causeth all to receive a mark
in their right hand or in their foreheads; yet chapter 20:4
speaks of the people of God as those who do not receive
the mark, nor worship the image. If, then, he could "cause"
all to receive the mark, and yet all not actually receive
it, in like manner his causing all to be put to death who
will not worship the image does not necessarily signify
that their lives are actually to be taken.
how can this be? Answer: It evidently comes
under that rule of interpretation in accordance with which
verbs of action sometimes signify merely the will and endeavor
to do the action in question, and not the actual performance
of the thing specified. The late George Bush, Professor
of Hebrew and Oriental Literature in New York City University,
makes this matter plain. In his notes on Ex. 7:11 he says:
is a canon of interpretation of frequent use in the exposition
of the sacred writings that verbs of action sometimes
623 -- signify merely the will and endeavor
to do the action in question. Thus in Eze. 24:13: 'I have
purified thee, and thou wast not purged;' i.e.,
I have endeavored, used means, been at pains, to purify
thee. John 5:44: 'How can ye believe which receive
honor one of another?' i. e., endeavor to receive.
Rom. 2:4: 'The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance;'
i. e., endeavors, or tends, to lead thee. Amos 9:3:
'Though they be hid from my sight in the bottom of
the sea;' i. e., though they aim to be hid. I Cor.
10:33: 'I please all men;' i. e., endeavor
to please. Gal. 5:4: 'Whosoever of you are justified
by the law;' i. e., seek or endeavor to be justified.
Ps. 69:4: 'They that destroy me are mighty;' i.
e., that endeavor to destroy me; English, 'That would
destroy me.' Acts 7:26: 'And set them at one
again;' i. e., wished and endeavored; English, 'Would
have set them.'" TOP
in the passage before us. He causes all to receive a mark,
and all who will not worship the image to be killed; that
is, he wills, purposes, and endeavors to do this. He makes
such an enactment; passes such a law, but is not able to
execute it; for God interposes in behalf of his people;
and then those who have kept the word of Christ's patience
are kept from falling in this hour of temptation, according
to Rev. 3:10; then those who have made God their refuge
are kept from all evil, and no plague comes nigh their dwelling,
according to Ps. 91:9, 10; then all who are found written
in the book are delivered, according to Dan. 12:1; and,
being victors over the beast and his image, they are redeemed
from among men, and raise a song of triumph before the throne
of God, according to Rev. 14:2-4.
objector may further say, You are altogether too credulous
in supposing that the masses of our people, many of whom
are either indifferent or wholly opposed to the claims of
religion, can be so far brought to favor the religious observance
of Sunday that a general law can be promulgated in its behalf.
We answer, The prophecy must be fulfilled, and if the prophecy
requires such a revolution, it will be accomplished.
receive the mark of the beast in the forehead is, we understand,
to give the assent of the mind and judgment to his
624 -- authority in the adoption of that institution
which constitutes the mark. By parity of reasoning, to receive
it in the hand would be to signify allegiance by some outward
18. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding
count the number of the beast; for it is the number of a
man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.
Number of His Name.
- The number of the beast, says the prophecy,
"is the number of a man;" and if it is to be derived
from a name or title, the natural conclusion would be that
it must be the name or title of some particular man. The
most plausible expression we have seen suggested as containing
the number of the beast, is the title which the pope takes
to himself, and allows others to apply to him. That title
is this: Vicarius FiIii Dei, "Vicegerent of
the Son of God." Taking the letters out of this title
which the Latins used as numerals, and giving them their
numerical value, we have just 666. Thus we have V, 5; I,
1; C, 100 (a and r not used as numerals);
I, 1; U (formerly the same as V), 5 (s and f
not used as numerals); I, 1; L, 50; I, 1; I, 1; D, 500 (e
not used as a numeral); I, 1. Adding these numbers together,
we have just 666.
title, there is reason to believe, was formerly inscribed
upon the pope's crown. The following testimony on this point
is given by the late Elder D. E. Scoles, of Washburn, Mo.: -
have met two men who declare that they have seen this specific
crown; and their testimony is so perfectly in agreement
that I am convinced that what they saw is true. The first
man was M. De Latti, a Sabbath-keeper who had previously
been a Catholic priest, and had spent four years in Rome.
He visited me when I was pastor in St. Paul, Minn., several
years ago. I showed him my tract, 'The Seal of God and the
Mark of the Beast.' He at once told me that the inscription
was not correctly placed in my illustration. He stated that
he had often seen it in the museum at the Vatican, and
625 -- gave a detailed and accurate description of the
whole crown. When my tract was published, I was ignorant
of the arrangement of the words of the Latin inscription,
hence, in the illustration of the crown, placed them in
one line. Brother De Latti at once pointed out the mistake,
and said the first word of the sentence was on the first
crown of the triple arrangement, the second word on the
second part of the crown, while the word Dei was
on the lower division of the triple crown. He also explained
that the first two words were in dark-colored jewels, while
the Dei was composed entirely of diamonds. TOP
a tent-meeting which I held in Webb City, Mo., I presented
the subject, 'The Seal of God and the Mark of the Beast.'
I used charts to illustrate it, one being a reproduction
of the crown as Brother De Latti had described it. A Presbyterian
minister was present, Rev. B. Hoffman, and when I described
the crown, he spoke out publicly and made a statement to
the congregation, saying that while in Rome studying for
the priesthood, he had seen this very crown, and noted its
inscription, and that the word Dei was composed of
one hundred diamonds. I met him and learned his name, and
visited him at his home, and was convinced from his description
that this was the identical crown that Brother De Latti
had seen, but which has been denied by many. I then asked
him for a written statement, and he gave me the following:
Whom It May Concern: This is to certify
that I was born in Bavaria in 1828, was educated in Munich,
and was reared a Roman Catholic. In 1844 and 1845 I was
a student for the priesthood in the Jesuit College in Rome.
During the Easter service of 1845, Pope Gregory XVI wore
a triple crown upon which was the inscription, in jewels,
Vicarius Filii Dei. We were told that there were
one hundred diamonds in the word Dei; the other words
were of some other kind of precious stones of a darker color.
There was one word upon each crown, and not all on the same
line. I was present at the service, and saw the crown distinctly,
and noted it carefully.
1850 I was converted to God and to Protestantism. Two years
later I entered the Evangelical Church ministry, but later
in life I united with the Presbyterian Church, of
626 -- which I am now a retired pastor, having been
in the ministry for fifty years.
have made the above statement at the request of Elder D.
E. Scoles, as he states that some deny that the pope ever
wore this tiara. But I know that he did, for I saw it upon
yours in Christian service,
"' B. HOFFMAN,
"' Webb City, Mo., Oct. 29, 1906.'"
following extract is from a work entitled The Reformation,
bearing the date of 1832: -
A.,' said Miss Emmons, 'I saw a very curious fact the other
day; I have dwelt upon it much, and will mention it. A person,
lately, was witnessing a ceremony of the Romish Church.
As the pope passed him in procession, splendidly dressed
in his pontifical robes, the gentleman's eye rested on these
full, blazing letters in front of his miter: "VICARIUS
FILII DEI," the Vicar of the Son of God. His thoughts,
with the rapidity of lightning, reverted to Rev. 13:18.'
'Will you turn to it?' said Mrs. A. Alice opened the New
Testament and read: 'Let him that hath understanding count
the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man;
and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.' She paused,
and Miss Emmons said, 'He took out his pencil, and marking
the numerical letters of the inscription on his tablet,
it stood 666.'"
note: More on this is in Facts
of Faith, pp. 218-233, available on this site from index
we have indeed the number of a man, even the "man of
sin;" and it is a little singular, perhaps providential,
that he should select a title which shows the blasphemous
character of the beast, and then cause it to be inscribed
upon his miter, as if to brand himself with the number 666.
The foregoing extract doubtless refers to a particular pope
on a particular occasion. Other popes might not wear the
title emblazoned on the miter, as there stated. But this
does not affect the application at all; for the popes all
assume to be the "Vicar of Christ" (see Standard
Dictionary under "vicar"), and the Latin words
given above are the words which express that
627 -- title,
in the form "vicar of the Son of God;" and their
numerical value is 666.
closes chapter 13, leaving the people of God with the powers
of earth in deadly array against them, and the decrees of
death and banishment from society upon them for their adherence
to the truth. Spiritualism will be, at the time specified,
performing its most imposing wonders, deceiving all the
world except the elect. Matt. 24:24; 2 Thess. 2:8-12. This
will be the "hour of temptation," or trial, which
is to come, as the closing test, upon all the world, to
try them that dwell upon the earth, as mentioned in Rev.
3:10. What is the issue of this conflict? This important
inquiry is not left unanswered. The first five verses of
the following chapter, which should have been numbered as
a part of this, complete the chain of this prophecy, and
reveal the glorious triumph of the champions of the truth.
628 -- VERSE 1. And
I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the Mount Sion, and with
him a hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's
name written in their foreheads. 2.
And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters,
and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice
of harpers harping with their harps: 3. And
they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before
the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn
that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which
were redeemed from the earth. 4. These
are they which were not defiled with women; for they are
virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever
he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the
first-fruits unto God and to the Lamb. 5.
And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without
fault before the throne of God.
is a pleasing feature of the prophetic word that the people
of God are never brought into positions of trial and difficulty,
and there abandoned. Taking them down into scenes of danger,
the voice of prophecy does not there cease, leaving them
to guess their fate, in doubt, perhaps despair, as to the
final result; but it takes them through to the end, and
shows the issue in every conflict. The first five verses
of Revelation 14 are an instance of this. The 13th chapter
closed with the people of God, a small and apparently weak
and defenseless company, in deadly conflict with the mightiest
powers of earth which the dragon is able to muster to his
service. A decree is passed, backed up by the supreme power
of the land, that they shall worship the image and receive
the mark, under pain of death if they refuse to comply.
What can the people of God do in such a conflict and in
such an extremity? What
629 -- will become of them? Glance forward with the
apostle to the very next scene in the program, and what
do we behold? - The very same company standing on Mount
Zion with the Lamb, - a victorious company, harping on symphonic
harps their triumph in the court of heaven. Thus are we
assured that when the time of our conflict with the powers
of darkness comes, deliverance is not only certain, but
will immediately be given.
the 144,000 here seen on Mount Zion are the saints who were
just before brought to view as objects of the wrath of the
beast and his image, there are the very best of reasons
They are identical with those sealed in Revelation 7, who
have already been shown to be the righteous who are alive
at the second coming of Christ.
They are the overcomers in the sixth or Philadelphian
state of the church. (See Rev. 3:11, 12.)
They are "redeemed from among men" (verse
4), an expression which can be applicable only to those
who are translated from among the living. Paul labored,
if by any means he might attain to a resurrection out from
among the dead. Phil. 3:11. This is the hope of those who
sleep in Jesus, - a resurrection from the dead. A redemption
from among men, from among the living, must mean a different
thing, and can mean only one thing, and that is translation.
Hence the 144,000 are the living saints, who will be translated
at the second coming of Christ. (See on verse 13, note.)
what Mount Zion does John see this company standing? - The
Mount Zion above; for the voice of harpers, which no doubt
is uttered by these very ones, is heard from heaven; the
same Zion from which the Lord utters his voice when he speaks
to his people in close connection with the coming of the
Son of man. Joel 3:16; Heb. 12:26-28; Rev. 16:17. A just
consideration of the fact that there is a Mount Zion in
heaven, and a Jerusalem above, would be a powerful antidote
for the hallucination of the doctrine known as "The
Age to Come."
few more particulars only respecting the 144,000 in
630 -- addition to those given in chapter 7, will claim
notice in these brief remarks.
They have the name of the Lamb's Father in their foreheads.
In chapter 7, they are said to have the seal of God in their
foreheads. An important key to an understanding of the seal
of God is thus furnished us; for we at once perceive that
the Father regards his name as his seal. That commandment
of the law which contains God's name is therefore the seal
of the law. The Sabbath commandment is the only one which
has this; that is, that contains the descriptive title which
distinguishes the true God from all false gods. Wherever
this was placed, there the Father's name was said to be
(Deut. 12:5, 14, 18, 21; 14:23; 16:2, 6; etc.); and whoever
keeps this commandment has, consequently, the seal of the
They sing a new song which no other company is able
to learn. In chapter 15:3, it is called the song of Moses
and the song of the Lamb. The song of Moses, as may be seen
by reference to Exodus 15, was the song of his experience
and deliverance. Therefore the song of the 144,000 is the
song of their deliverance. No others can join in it; for
no other company will have had an experience like theirs.
They were not defiled with women. A woman is in Scripture
the symbol of a church, a virtuous woman representing a
pure church, a corrupt woman an apostate church. It is,
then, a characteristic of this company that at the time
of their deliverance they are not defiled with, or have
no connection with, the fallen churches of the land. Yet
we are not to understand that they never had any connection
with these churches; for it is only at a certain time that
people become defiled by them. In chapter 18:4, we find
a call issued to the people of God while they are in Babylon,
to come out, lest they become partakers of her sins.
Heeding that call, and leaving her connection, they escape
the defilement of her sins. So of the 144,000; though some
of them may have once had a connection with corrupt churches,
they sever that connection when it would become sin to retain
They follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. We understand
that this is spoken of them in their redeemed state.
631 -- They are the special companions of their glorified
Lord in the kingdom. Chapter 7:17, speaking of the same
company and at the same time, says, "For the Lamb which
is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall
lead them unto living fountains of waters."
They are "first-fruits" unto God and the Lamb.
This term appears to be applied to different ones to denote
especial conditions. Christ is the first-fruits as the antitype
of the wave-sheaf. The first receivers of the gospel are
called by James (chapter 1:18) a kind of first-fruits. So
the 144,000, ripening up for the heavenly garner here on
earth during the troublous scenes of the last days, being
translated to heaven without seeing death, and occupying
a pre-eminent position, are, in this sense, as would seem
very consistent, called first-fruits unto God and the Lamb.
With this description of the 144,000 triumphant, the line
of prophecy commencing with chapter 12 comes to a close.
6. And I saw another angel fly in the midst of
heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them
that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred,
and tongue, and people, 7. Saying
with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for
the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made
heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.
8. And there followed
another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that
great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine
of the wrath of her fornication. 9.
And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice,
If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive
his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, 10.
The same shall drink of the wine of the
wrath of God, 'which is poured out without mixture into
the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with
fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and
in the presence of the Lamb: 11. And
the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever:
and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast
and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
12. Here is the patience
of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments
of God, and the faith of Jesus. TOP
First Message. - Another
scene and another chain of prophetic events is introduced
in these verses. We know that this is so, because the preceding
verses of this chapter describe a company of the redeemed
in the immortal state - a scene which constitutes a part
of the prophetic chain commencing
(The Everlasting Gospel)
633 -- with the first verse of chapter 12, and with
which that chain of events closes; for no prophecy goes
beyond the immortal state; and whenever we are brought in
a line of prophecy to the end of the world, we know that
that line there ends, and that what is introduced subsequently
belongs to a new series of events. The Revelation in particular
is composed of these independent prophetic chains, as has
already been set forth, of which fact, previous to this
instance, we have had a number of examples.
messages described in these verses are known as "the
three angel's messages of Revelation 14." We are justified
in applying to them the ordinals, first second, and third,
by the prophecy itself; for the last one is distinctly called
"the third angel," from which it follows
that the one preceding was the second angel; and
the one before that, the first angel.
angels are evidently symbolic; for the work assigned them
is that of preaching the everlasting gospel to the people.
But the preaching of the gospel has not been intrusted to
literal angels; it has been committed unto men, who are
responsible for this sacred trust placed in their hands.
Each of these three angels, therefore, symbolizes a body
of religious teachers, who are commissioned to make known
to their fellow men the special truths which constitute
the burden of these messages respectively.
we are to consider further that angels, literally, are intensely
interested in the work of grace among men, being sent forth
to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation. And
as there is order in all the movements and appointments
of the heavenly world, it may not be fanciful to suppose
that a literal angel has charge and oversight of the work
of each message. Heb. 1:14; Rev. 1:1; 22:16.
these symbols we see the sharp contrast the Bible draws
between earthly and heavenly things. Wherever earthly governments
are to be represented, - even the best of them, - the most
appropriate symbol that can be found is a cruel and ravenous
wild beast; but when the work of God is to be set forth,
an angel, clad in beauty and girt with power, is taken to
634 -- The importance of the
work set forth in the verses last quoted will be apparent
to any one who will attentively study them. Whenever these
messages are due, and are proclaimed, they must, from the
very nature of the case, constitute the great theme of interest
for that generation. We do not mean that the great mass
of mankind then living will give them attention; for in
every age of the world, the present truth for that time
has been generally overlooked; but they will constitute
the theme to which the people would pay most earnest regard
if they were awake to that which concerns their highest
interests. When God commissions his ministers to announce
to the world that the hour of his judgment is come, that
Babylon has fallen, and that whoever worships the beast
and his image must drink of his wrath poured out unmingled
into the cup of his indignation, - a threatening more terrible
than any other which can be found in the Scriptures of truth,
- no man, except at the peril of his soul, can treat these
warnings as nonessential, passing them by with neglect and
disregard. Hence the necessity for the most earnest endeavor
in every age, and especially in the present age, when so
many evidences betoken the soon-coming of earth's final
crisis, to understand the work of the Lord, lest we loose
the benefit of the present truth. TOP
angel of Rev. 14:6 is called "another angel,"
from the fact that John had previously seen an angel flying
through heaven in a similar manner, as described in chapter
8:13, proclaiming that the last three of the series of seven
trumpets were woe trumpets. This was near the close of the
sixth century. (See under chapter 8:12.)
first point to be determined is the chronology of this message.
When may the proclamation, "The hour of his judgment
is come," be consistently expected? The bare possibility
that it may be in our own day renders it very becoming in
us to examine this question with serious attention; but
the great probability, nay, more, the positive proof that
this is so, which will appear in the development of this
argument, should set every pulse bounding, and every heart
beating high with a sense of the thrilling importance of
635 -- Three positions only are possible on this question
of the chronology of this prophecy, and as might be expected,
all of them are taken by different expositors. These positions
are (1) That this message
has been given in the past; as, first, in the days of the
apostles; or secondly, in the days of the Reformers;
(2) that it is to be given in a future
age; or (3) that it
belongs to the present generation.
inquire, first, respecting the past. The very nature of
the message forbids the idea that it could have been given
in the apostles' days. They did not proclaim that the hour
of God's judgment had come. If they had, it would not have
been true, and their message would have been stamped with
the infamy of falsehood. They did have something to say,
however, respecting the judgment; but they pointed to an
indefinite future for its accomplishment. In Matt. 10:15;
11:21-24, a quotation from Christ's own words, the judgment
of Sodom and Gomorrah, Tyre, Sidon, Chorazin, and Capernaum,
was located indefinitely in the future from that day. Paul
declared to the superstitious Athenians that God had appointed
a day in which he would judge the world. Acts 17:31. He
reasoned before Felix "of righteousness, temperance,
and judgment to come." Acts 24:25. To the Romans he
wrote, directing their minds forward to a day when God should
judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ. Rom. 2:16. He
pointed the Corinthians forward to a time when we must all
appear before the judgment seat of Christ. 2 Cor. 5:10.
James wrote to the brethren scattered abroad that they were,
at some time in the future, to be judged by the law of liberty.
James 2:12. And both Peter and Jude speak of the first rebel
angels as reserved unto the judgment of the great day, still
in the future at that time (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6), to which
the ungodly in this world are also reserved. 2 Peter 2:9.
How different is all this from ringing out upon the world
the startling declaration that "the hour of his judgment
is come!" - a sound which must be heard whenever
the solemn message before us is fulfilled.
the days of the apostles nothing has taken place which any
one, so far as we are aware, could construe into a suggestion
636 -- of the fulfilment of the message, till
we come to the Reformation of the sixteenth century. Here
some seem disposed to make quite a determined stand, claiming
that Luther and his colaborers gave the first message, and
that the two following messages have been given since his
day. This is a question to be to be decided by historical
fact rather than by argument; and hence we inquire for the
evidence that the Reformers made any such proclamation.
Their teaching has been very fully recorded, and their writings
preserved. When and where did they arouse the world with
the proclamation that the hour of God's judgment had come?
We find no record that such was the burden of their preaching
at all. On the contrary, it is recorded of Luther that he
placed the judgment some three hundred years in the future
from his day. Such records ought to be decisive, so far
as the Reformers are concerned. TOP
foregoing considerations being sufficient to forbid utterly
the application of the message to the past, we now turn
to that view which locates it in a future age. By "future
age" is meant a period subsequent to the second advent;
and the reason urged for locating the message in that age
is the fact that John saw the angel flying through heaven,
immediately after having seen the Lamb standing on Mount
Zion with the 144,000, which is a future event. If the book
of Revelation were one consecutive prophecy, there would
be force in this reasoning; but as it consists of a series
of independent lines of prophecy, and as it has already
been shown that one such chain ends with verse 5 of this
chapter, and a new one begins with verse 6, the foregoing
view cannot be urged. To show that the message cannot have
its fulfilment in a future age, it will be sufficient to
1. The apostolic commission extended
only to the "harvest," which is the end of the
world. If, therefore, this angel with the "everlasting
gospel" comes after that event, he preaches another
gospel, and subjects himself to the anathema of Paul in
The second message cannot, of course, be given before the
first; but the second message announces the fall of Babylon,
and a voice is heard from heaven after that, saying,
637 -- "Come out of her, my people." How absurd
to locate this after the second advent of Christ, seeing
that all God's people, both living and dead, are at that
time caught up to meet the Lord in the air, to be thenceforth
forever with him. They cannot be called out of Babylon after
this. Christ does not take them to Babylon, but to the Father's
house, where there
are many mansions. John 14: 2, 3.
A glance at the third angel's message, which must be fulfilled
in a future age if the first one is, will still further
show the absurdity of this view. This message warns against
the worship of the beast, which refers, beyond question,
to the papal beast. But the papal beast is destroyed and
given to the burning flame when Christ comes. Dan. 7:11;
2 Thess. 2:8. He goes into the lake of fire at that time,
to disturb the saints of the Most High no more. Rev. 19:20.
Why will people involve themselves in the absurdity of locating
a message against the worship of the beast at a time when
the beast has ceased to exist, and his worship is impossible?
verse 13 of Revelation 14, a blessing is pronounced upon
the dead which die in the Lord "from henceforth;"
that is, from the time the third message begins to be given.
This is a complete demonstration of the fact that the message
must be given prior to the first resurrection; for after
that event all who have a part therein (and this includes
all, both living and dead, who are not assigned to the second
death) become as the angels of God, and can die no more.
We therefore dismiss this view concerning the future age
as unscriptural, absurd, and impossible.
are now prepared to examine the third view, that the message
belongs to the present generation. The argument on the two
preceding points has done much to establish the present
proposition; for if the message has not been given in the
past, and cannot be given in the future after Christ comes,
where else can we locate it but in the present generation,
if we are in the last days, as we suppose? Indeed, the very
nature of the message itself confines it to the last generation
of men. It proclaims the hour of God's judgment come. But
the judgment pertains to the closing up of the work of salvation
638 -- for the world; and the proclamation announcing
its approach can therefore be made only as we come near
the end. It is further shown that the message belongs to
the present time when it is proved that this angel is identical
with the angel of Revelation 10, who utters his message
in this generation. That the first angel of Revelation 14
and the angel of Revelation 10 are identical, see argument
on the latter chapter. TOP
the strongest and most conclusive evidence that the message
belongs to the present time will consist in finding some
movement in this generation through which its fulfilment
has been, or is going forward. On this point we refer to
a movement of which it would now be hard to find any one
who is wholly ignorant. It is the great advent movement
of the last century. As early as 1831, Wm. Miller, of Low
Hampton, N.Y., by an earnest and consistent study of the
prophecies, was led to the conclusion that the gospel dispensation
was near its close. He placed the termination, which he
thought would occur at the end of the prophetic periods,
about the year 1843. This date was afterward extended to
the autumn of 1844. (See diagram and argument under Dan.
9:24-27. [Webmaster note: on p
214 -- Picture (Diagram of the 70 Weeks and 2300 Days)]
We call his investigations a consistent study of the prophecies,
because he adopted that rule of interpretation which will
be found lying at the base of every religious reformation,
and of every advance movement in prophetic knowledge; namely,
to take all the language of the Scriptures, just as we would
that of any other book, to be literal, unless the context
or the laws of language require it to be understood figuratively;
and to let scripture interpret scripture. True, on a vital
point he made a mistake, as will be explained hereafter;
but in principle, and in a great number of particulars,
he was correct. He was on the right road, and made an immense
advance over every theological system of his day. When he
began to promulgate his views, they met with general favor,
and were followed by great religious awakenings in different
parts of the land. Soon a multitude of colaborers gathered
around his standard, among whom may be mentioned such men
as F. G. Brown, Chas. Fitch, Josiah Litch, J. V. Himes,
639 -- and others, who were then eminent for piety,
and men of influence in the religious world. The period
marked by the years 1840-1844 was one of intense activity
and great progress in this work. A message was proclaimed
to the world which bore every characteristic of a fulfilment
of the proclamation of Rev. 14:6, 7. The preaching was emphatically
such as might be called the everlasting (age-lasting) gospel.
It pertained to the closing up of this age, and the incoming
of the everlasting age (aiwn)
of the King of righteousness. It was that gospel of the
kingdom which Christ declared should be preached in all
the world for a witness unto all nations, and then the end
should come. Matt. 24:14. The fulfilment of either of these
scriptures involves the preaching of the nearness of the
end. The gospel could not be preached to all nations as
a sign of the end, unless it was understood to be
such, and the proximity of the end was at least one of its
leading themes. The Advent Herald of Dec.
14, 1850, well expressed the truth on this point in the
following language: -
an indication of the approach of the end, there was, however,
to be seen another angel flying through the midst of heaven,
having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell
on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue,
and people. Rev. 14:6. The burden of this angel was to be
the same gospel which had been before proclaimed;
but connected with it was the additional motive of the proximity
of the kingdom - 'saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and
give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come:
and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea,
and the fountains of waters.' Verse 7. No mere preaching
of the gospel, without announcing its proximity,
could fulfil this message."
persons who were engaged in this movement supposed it to
be a fulfilment of prophecy, and claimed that they were
giving the message of Rev. 14: 6, 7.
this movement also began the fulfilment of the parable of
the ten virgins, recorded in Matthew 25, which our Lord
uttered to illustrate and enforce the doctrine of his second
coming and the end of the world, which he had just set forth
640 -- in Matthew 24. Those who became interested in
this movement went forth to meet the Bridegroom; that is,
aroused to expect the coming of Christ, and to look and
wait for his return from heaven. The Bridegroom tarried.
The first point of expectation, the close of the year 1843,
which according to Jewish reckoning ended in the spring
of 1844, passed by, and the Lord did not come. While he
tarried, they all slumbered and slept. Surprised by the
unexpected doubt and uncertainty into which they were thrown,
the interest of the people began to wane, and their efforts
to flag. At midnight there was a cry made, "Behold,
the Bridegroom cometh! go ye out to meet him." Midway
between the spring of 1844, where it was at first supposed
that the 2300 days would terminate, and that point in the
autumn of 1844 to which it was afterward ascertained that
they really extended, just such a cry as this was suddenly
raised. Involuntarily, this very phraseology was adopted:
"Behold, the Bridegroom cometh." The cause of
this sudden arousing was the discovery that the great prophetic
period of 2300 days (years) of Dan. 8:14 did not end in
the spring of 1844, but would extend to the autumn of that
year, and consequently that the time at which they supposed
they were warranted to look for the appearing of the Lord
had not passed by, but was indeed at the door. At the same
time, the relation between the type and the antitype relating
to the cleansing of the sanctuary was partially seen. The
prophecy declared that at the end of the 2300 days the sanctuary
should be cleansed; and as in the type the sanctuary was
cleansed on the tenth day of the seventh month of the Jewish
year, that point in the autumn of 1844 was accordingly fixed
upon for the termination of the 2300 years. It fell on the
22d of October. Between the mid-summer of 1844, when the
light on these subjects was first seen, and the day and
month above named when the 2300 years terminated, perhaps
no movement ever exhibited greater activity than this respecting
the soon coming of Christ, and in no cause was ever more
accomplished in so short a space of time. A religious wave
swept over this country, and the nation was stirred as no
people have been stirred since the opening of the great
641 -- Reformation of the sixteenth century. This was
called the "seventh-month movement," and was more
particularly confined to the United States and Canada. TOP
the general movement respecting the second advent of Christ,
and the proclamation that "the hour of his judgment
is come," was not confined to this hemisphere. It was
worldwide. It fulfilled in this respect the proclamation
of the angel "to every nation and kindred and tongue
and people." In Advent Tracts, Vol. II, p. 135,
Mourant Brock, an English writer, is quoted as saying: -
is not merely in Great Britain that the expectation of the
near return of the Redeemer is entertained, and the voice
of warning raised, but also in America, India, and on the
continent of Europe. In America, about three hundred ministers
of the word are thus preaching ' this gospel of the kingdom;'
while in this country [Great Britain], about seven hundred
of the Church of England are raising the same cry."
Joseph Wolff traveled in Arabia Felix, through the region
inhabited by the descendants of Hobab, Moses' father-in-law.
In his mission to Bokhara, he speaks as follows of a book
which he saw in Yemen: -
Arabs of this place have a book called 'Seera,' which treats
of the second coming of Christ, and his reign in glory!
In Yemen I spent six days with the Rechabites. 'They drink
no wine, plant no vineyards, sow no seed, live in tents,
and remember the words of Jonadab, the son of Rechab.' With
them were the children of Israel of the tribe of Dan, who
reside near Terim in Hatramawt, who expect, in common
with the children of Rechab, the speedy arrival of the Messiah
in the clouds of heaven."
Voice of the Church, by D. T. Taylor, pp. 342-344,
speaks as follows concerning the wide diffusion of the advent
Wurtemberg, there is a Christian colony numbering hundreds,
who look for the speedy advent of Christ; also another of
like belief on the shores of the Caspian; the Molokaners,
a large body of Dissenters from the Russian Greek Church,
residing on the shores of the Baltic - a very pious
642 -- people, of whom it is said, 'Taking the Bible
alone for their creed, the norm of their faith is
simply the Holy Scriptures' - are characterized by the 'expectation
of Christ's immediate and visible reign upon earth.' In
Russia, the doctrine of Christ's coming and reign is preached
to some extent, and received by many of the lower class.
It has been extensively agitated in Germany, particularly
in the south part among the Moravians. In Norway, charts
and books on the advent have been circulated extensively,
and the doctrine has been received by many. Among the Tartars
in Tartary, there prevails an expectation of Christ's advent
about this time. English and American publications on this
doctrine have been sent to Holland, Germany, India, Ireland,
Constantinople, Rome, and to nearly every missionary station
on the globe. At the Turk's Islands, it has been received
to some extent among the Wesleyans.
Fox, a Scottish missionary to the Teloogoo people, was a
believer in Christ's soon coming. James McGregor Bertram,
a Scottish missionary of the Baptist order at St. Helena,
has sounded the cry extensively on that island, making many
converts and premillennialists; he has also preached it
at South Africa at the missionary stations there. David
N. Lord informs us that a large proportion of the missionaries
who have gone from Great Britain to make known the gospel
to the heathen, and who are now laboring in Asia and Africa
are millenarians; and Joseph Wolff, D. D., according to
his journals, between the years 1821 and 1845, proclaimed
the Lord's speedy advent in Palestine, Egypt, on the shores
of the Red Sea, Mesopotamia, the Crimea, Persia, Georgia,
throughout the Ottoman empire, in Greece, Arabia, Toorkistan,
Bokhara, Afghanistan, Cashmere, Hindustan, Thibet, Holland,
Scotland, and Ireland, at Constantinople, Jerusalem, St.
Helena, also on shipboard in the Mediterranean, and at New
York City to all denominations. He declares he has preached
among Jews, Turks, Mohammedans, Parsees, Hindus, Chaldeans,
Yeseedes, Syrians, Sabeans, to pashas, sheiks, shahs, the
kings of Organtsh and Bokhara, the queen of Greece, etc.;
and of his extraordinary labors the Investigator
says, 'No individual has, perhaps, given greater publicity
to the doctrine of the second
643 -- coming of the Lord Jesus Christ than has this
well-known missionary to the world. Wherever he goes, he
proclaims the approaching advent of the Messiah in glory.'"
J. N. Andrews, in his work on The Three Messages of Revelation
14:6-12, pp. 32-35, speaks as follows concerning the
message under consideration: -
can deny that this world-wide warning of impending judgment
has been given. The nature of the evidence adduced in its
support now claims our attention, as furnishing the most
conclusive testimony that it was a message from Heaven.
the great outlines of the world's prophetic history were
shown to be complete in the present generation. The great
prophetic chain of Daniel 2, also those of chapters 7, 8,
11, and 12, were shown to be just accomplished. The same
was true of our Lord's prophetic description of the gospel
dispensation. Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21. The prophetic
periods of Daniel 7, 8, 9, 12; Revelation 11, 12, 13, were
shown to harmonize with, and unitedly to sustain, this great
proclamation. The signs in the heavens and upon the earth
and sea, in the church and among the nations, with one voice
bore witness to the warning which God addressed to the human
family. Joel 2:30, 31; Matt. 24:29-31; Mark 13:24-26; Luke
21:25-36; 2 Timothy 3; 2 Peter 3; Rev. 6:12, 13. And besides
the mighty array of evidence on which this warning is based,
the great outpouring of the Holy Spirit in connection with
this proclamation set the seal of Heaven to its truth.
warning of John the Baptist, which was to prepare the way
for the first advent of our Lord, was of short duration,
and limited in its extent. For each prophetic testimony
which sustained the work of John, we have several which
support the proclamation of Christ's near advent. John had
not the aid of the press to disseminate his proclamation,
nor the facility of Nahum's chariots; he was a humble man,
dressed in camel's hair, and he performed no miracles. If
the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against
themselves in not being baptized of John, how great must
be the guilt of those
644 -- who reject the warning sent by God to prepare
the way of the second advent!
those were disappointed who expected the Lord in 1843 and
1844. This fact is with many a sufficient reason for rejecting
all the testimony in this case. We acknowledge the disappointment,
but cannot acknowledge that this furnishes a just reason
for denying the hand of God in this work. The Jewish church
was disappointed when, at the close of the work of John
the Baptist, Jesus presented himself as the promised Messiah.
And the trusting disciples were most sadly disappointed
when he whom they expected to deliver Israel was by wicked
hands taken and slain. And after his resurrection, when
they expected him to restore again the kingdom to Israel,
they could not but be disappointed when they understood
that he was going away to his Father, and that they were
to be left for a long season to tribulation and anguish.
But disappointment does not prove that God has no hand in
the guidance of his people. It should lead them to correct
their errors, but it should not lead them to cast away their
confidence in God. It was because the children of Israel
were disappointed in the wilderness that they so often denied
divine guidance. They are set forth as an admonition to
us, that we should not fall after the same example of unbelief.
it must be apparent to every student of the Scriptures that
the angel who proclaims the hour of God's judgment does
not give the latest message of mercy. Revelation 14 presents
two other and later proclamations before the close of human
probation. This fact alone is sufficient to prove that the
coming of the Lord does not take place until the second
and third proclamations have been added to the first. The
same thing may also be seen in the fact that after the angel
of chapter 10 has sworn that time shall be no longer, another
work of prophesying before many people and nations is announced.
Hence we understand that the first angel preaches the hour
of God's judgment come; that is, he preaches the termination
of the prophetic periods; and that this is the time which
he swears shall be no longer.
judgment does of necessity commence before the advent
645 -- of Christ; for he comes to execute the judgment
(Jude 14, 15; Rev. 22;12; 2 Tim. 4:1); and at the sound
of the last trumpet be confers immortality upon every one
of the righteous, and passes by all the wicked. The investigative
judgment does therefore precede the execution of the same
by the Saviour. It is the province of the Father to preside
in this investigative work, as set forth in Daniel 7. At
this tribunal, the Son closes up his work as high priest,
and is crowned king. Thence he comes to earth to execute
the decisions of his Father. It is this work of judgment
by the Father which the first angel introduces. TOP
great period of 2300 days, which was the most important
period in marking the definite time in that proclamation,
extends to the cleansing of the sanctuary. That the cleansing
of the sanctuary is not the cleansing of any part of the
earth, but that it is the last work of our great High Priest
in the heavenly tabernacle before his advent to the earth,
has been clearly shown. [See on Dan. 8:14.] And we understand
that it is while the work of cleansing the sanctuary is
taking place, that the latest message of mercy is proclaimed.
Thus it will be seen that the prophetic periods, and the
proclamation which is based upon them, do not extend to
the coming of the Lord."
the mistake made by Adventists in 1844 was not in
the time, has been shown by the argument on the seventy
weeks and twenty-three hundred days in Daniel 9; that it
was in the nature of the event to occur at
the end of those days, has been shown in the argument on
the sanctuary in Daniel 8. Supposing that the earth was
the sanctuary, and that its cleansing was to be accomplished
by fire at the revelation of the Lord from heaven, they
naturally looked for the appearing of Christ at the end
of the days. And through their misapprehension on this point,
they met with a crushing disappointment, though everything
which the prophecy declared, and everything which they were
warranted to expect, took place with absolute accuracy at
that time. There the cleansing of the sanctuary began; but
this did not bring Christ to this earth, for the earth is
not the sanctuary; and its cleansing does not involve the
646 -- of the earth, for it is accomplished with the
blood of a sacrificial offering, not with fire. Here was
the bitterness of the little book to the church. Rev. 10:10.
Here was the coming of one like the Son of man, not to this
earth, but to the Ancient of days. Dan. 7:13, 14. Here was
the coming of the Bridegroom to the marriage, as set forth
in the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25. We have
spoken of the midnight cry of that parable in the summer
of 1844. The foolish virgins then said to the wise, "Give
us of your oil; for our lamps are gone [margin, going] out."
The wise answered, "Go and buy for yourselves."
And while they went to buy, the Bridegroom
came. This is not the coming of Christ to this earth; for
it is a coming which precedes the marriage; but the marriage,
that is, the reception of the kingdom (see on chapter 21),
must precede his coming to this earth to receive to himself
his people, who are to be the guests at the marriage supper.
Luke 19:12; Rev. 19:7-9. This coming, in the parable, must
therefore be the same as the coming to the Ancient of days
spoken of in Dan. 7:13, 14.
And they that were ready went in with him to the marriage,
and the door was shut. After the Bridegroom comes to the
marriage, there is an examination of guests, to see who
are ready to participate in the ceremony, according to the
parable of Matt. 22 :1-13. As the last thing before the
marriage, the King comes in to see the guests, to ascertain
if all are properly arrayed in the wedding garment; and
whoever, after due examination, is found with the garment
on, and is accepted by the King, never after loses that
garment, but is sure of immortality. But this question of
fitness for the kingdom can be determined only by the investigative
judgment of the sanctuary. This closing work in the sanctuary,
therefore, which is the cleansing of the sanctuary, and
the atonement, is nothing else than the examination of the
guests to see who have on the wedding garment; and consequently
until this work is finished, it is not determined who are
"ready" to go in to the marriage. "They that
were ready went in with him to the marriage."
By this short expression we are carried from the time when
the Bridegroom comes to the marriage,
647 -- entirely through the period of the cleansing
of the sanctuary, or the examination of the guests; and
when this is concluded, probation will end, and the door
will be shut. TOP
connection of the parable with the message under examination
is now apparent. It brings to view a period of making ready
the guests for the marriage of the Lamb, which is the work
of judgment to which the message brings us when it declares,
"The hour of his judgment is come." This message
was to be proclaimed with a loud voice. It went forth with
the power thus indicated between the years 1840-44, more
especially in the seventh-month movement of the latter year,
bringing us to the end of the 2300 days, when the work of
judgment commenced as Christ began the work of cleansing
as has been already shown, this did not bring the close
of probation, but only the period of the investigative judgment.
In this judgment we are now living; and during this time
other messages are proclaimed, as the prophecy further declares.
Second Message. - This message,
following the first, is announced (verse 8) in these few
words: "And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon
is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made
all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication."
The chronology of this message is determined, to a great
extent, by that of the first message. This cannot precede
that; but that, as has been shown, is confined to the last
days; yet this must be given before the end, for no move
of this kind is possible after that event. It is therefore
a part of that religious movement which takes place in the
last days with especial reference to the coming of Christ.
inquiries therefore naturally follow: What is
meant by the term Babylon? what is its fall? and
how is it fulfilled? As to the etymology of the word, we
learn something from the marginal readings of Gen. 10:10
and 11:9. The beginning of Nimrod's kingdom was Babel, or
Babylon; and the place was so called because God there confounded
the language of the builders of the tower; and the word
means confusion. The word is here used figuratively
to designate the great symbolic
(The Three Messages of Revelation 14)
649 -- city of the book of Revelation, probably with
special reference to the signification of the term, and
the circumstances from which
it originated. It applies to something on which, as specifying
its chief characteristic, may be written the word "confusion."
are but three possible objects to which the word can be
applied; and these are (1)
the apostate religious world in general,
(2) the papal church in particular, and
(3) the city of Rome. In examining these
terms, we shall first show what Babylon is not.
1. Babylon is not confined to the
Romish Church. That this church is a very prominent component
part of great Babylon, is not denied. The descriptions of
chapter 17 seem to apply very particularly to that church.
But the name which she bears on her forehead, "Mystery,
Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations
of the Earth," reveals other family connections.
If this church is the mother, who are the daughters? The
fact that these daughters are spoken of, shows that there
are other religious bodies besides the Romish Church which
come under this designation. Again, there is to be a call
made in connection with this message, "Come out of
her, my people" (Rev. 18:1-4); and as this message
is located in the present generation, it follows, if no
other church but the Romish is included in Babylon, that
the people of God, as a body, are now found in the communion
of that church, and are to be called out. But this conclusion,
no Protestant at least will be willing to adopt. TOP
2. Babylon is not the city of Rome.
The argument relied upon to show that the city of Rome is
the Babylon of the Apocalypse runs thus: "The
angel told John that the woman which he had seen was the
great city which reigned over the kings of the earth, and
that the seven heads of the beast are seven mountains upon
which the woman sitteth." And then, taking the city
and the mountains to be literal, and finding Rome built
upon just seven hills, the application is made at once to
principle upon which this interpretation rests is the assumption
that the explanation of a symbol must always be
650 -- literal. It falls to the ground the moment it
can be shown that symbols are sometimes explained by substituting
for them other symbols, and then explaining the latter.
This can easily be done. In Rev. 11:3, the symbol of the
two witnesses is introduced. The next verse reads: "These
are the two olive trees and the two candlesticks standing
before the God of the earth." In this case the first
symbol is said to be the same as another symbol which is
elsewhere clearly explained. So in the case before us. "The
seven heads are seven mountains," and "The woman
is that great city;" and it will not be difficult to
show that the mountains and the city are both used symbolically.
The reader's attention is asked to the following points:
We are informed in chapter 13 that one of the seven heads
was wounded to death. This head therefore cannot be a literal
mountain; for it would be folly to speak of wounding a mountain
Each of the seven heads has a crown
upon it. But who ever saw a literal mountain with a crown
The seven heads are evidently successive in order of time;
for we read, "Five are fallen, and one is, and the
other is not yet come." Revelation 17. But the seven
hills on which Rome is built are not successive, and it
would be absurd to apply such language to them.
According to Dan. 7:6, compared with Dan. 8:8, 22, heads
denote governments; and according to Dan. 2:35, 44; Jer.
51:25, mountains denote kingdoms. According to these facts,
the version of Rev. 17:9, 10 given by Professor Whiting,
which is a literal translation of the text, removes all
obscurity: "The seven heads are seven mountains
on which the woman sitteth, and they are seven kings."
It will thus be seen that the angel represents the heads
as mountains, and then explains the mountains to be seven
successive kings, or forms of government. The meaning is
transferred from one symbol to another, and then an explanation
is given of the second symbol.
the foregoing argument, it follows that the "woman"
cannot represent a literal city; for the mountains upon
which the woman sitteth being symbolic, a literal city cannot
651 -- upon symbolic mountains. Again, Rome was the
seat of the dragon of chapter 12, and this was transferred
to the beast (Rev. 13:2), thus becoming the seat of the
beast; but it would be a singular mixture of figures to
take the seat, which is sat upon by the beast, and make
that a woman sitting upon the beast.
Were the city of Rome the Babylon of the Apocalypse, what
nonsense should we have in chapter 18:1-4; for in this case
the fall of Babylon would be the overthrow and destruction
of the city, in fact, its utter consumption by fire, according
to verse 8. But mark what takes place after the fall. Babylon
becomes a habitation of devils, the hold of every foul spirit,
and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. How can this
happen to a city after that city is destroyed, even being
utterly burned with fire? But worse still, after all this
a voice is heard, saying, "Come out of her, my people."
Are God's people in Rome? - Not to any great extent, even
in her best estate. But how many can we suppose to be there,
to be called out, after the city is burned with fire? It
is not necessary to say more to show that Babylon cannot
be the city of Rome. TOP
Babylon signifies the universal worldly church. Having seen
that it cannot be any one of the only other three possible
objects to which it could be applied, it must mean this.
But we are not left to this a priori kind of reasoning
on this subject. Babylon is called a woman. A woman, used
as a symbol, signifies a church. The woman of chapter 12
was interpreted to mean a church. The woman of chapter 17
should undoubtedly be interpreted as signifying also a church.
The character of the woman determines the character of the
church represented, a chaste woman standing for a pure church,
a vile woman for an impure or apostate church. The woman
Babylon is herself a harlot, and the mother of daughters
like herself. This circumstance, as well as the name itself,
shows that Babylon is not limited to any single ecclesiastical
body, but must be composed of many. It must take in all
of a like nature, and represent the entire corrupt or apostate
church of the earth. This will perhaps explain the language
of Rev. 18:24,
652 -- which represents that when God makes requisition
upon great Babylon for the blood of his martyrs, in her
will be found "the blood of prophets, and of saints,
and of all" that have been slain upon the earth. The
Greek Church is the established church of Russia and Greece;
the Lutheran Church is the established church of Prussia,
Holland, Sweden, Norway, and a part of the smaller German
states; England has Episcopacy for her state religion, and
other countries have their established religions, and zealously
oppose dissenters. Babylon has made all nations drunken
with the wine of her fornication, that is, her false doctrines;
it can therefore symbolize nothing less
than the universal worldly church.
great city, Babylon, is spoken of as composed of three divisions.
So the great religions of the world may be arranged under
three heads. The first, oldest, and most wide-spread
is paganism, separately symbolized under the form of a dragon;
the second is the great Romish apostasy, symbolized
by the beast; and the third is the daughters, or descendants
from that church. Under this head comes the two-horned beast,
though that does not embrace it all. War, oppression, conformity
to the world, the worship of mammon, the creed-power, pursuit
of pleasure, and the maintenance of very many errors of
the old Romish Church, identify, with sad and faithful accuracy,
the great body of the Protestant churches as an important
constituent part of this great Babylon.
glance at some of the ways in which the Protestant church
has deported herself will still further show this. Rome,
having the power, destroyed vast multitudes of those whom
she adjudged heretics. The Protestant church has shown the
same spirit. Witness the burning of Michael Servetus by
the Protestants of Geneva with John Calvin at their head.
Witness the long-continued oppression of dissenters by the
Church of England. Witness the hanging of Quakers and whipping
of Baptists even by the Puritan fathers of New England,
themselves fugitives from like oppression by the Church
of England. But these, some may say, are things of the past.
Very true; yet they show that when persons governed by strong
religious prejudice have the power to coerce dissenters,
653 -- they cannot forbear to use it - a state of things
which we look for in this country under a further fulfilment
of the closing prophecy of chapter 13. TOP
also how far they have departed from the teachings of Christ
in other respects. Christ forbade his people to seek after
the treasures of this world. But the popular church, as
a body, exhibits greater eagerness for wealth than do worldlings
themselves. In how many churches does mammon bear rule!
Christ says, "Be not ye called Rabbi," that is,
master, or doctor; "for one is your Master, even Christ."
To do this is to partake of the same spirit which has led
aspiring men to assume to be the head of the church, the
successor of St. Peter, the vicegerent of Christ, and a
god upon earth. Yet how many in the Protestant church, in
imitation of the Romish, adopt the title of "Reverend,"
which in our version of the Scriptures is applied to God
alone: "Holy and reverend is his name." But not
content with this, some become "Very Reverend,"
and "Right Reverend," and "Doctors of Divinity."
The New Testament speaks in the most decided terms against
adornments and extravagance in dress; yet where shall we
look for a display of the latest fashions, the most costly
attire, the most gaudy adornments, the richest diamonds,
and the most dazzling jewelry, except in a fashionable assembly
in a Protestant church on a pleasant Sunday? Such is now
the state of the religious world, that many, in pursuit
of their vocation as lawyers, doctors, politicians, merchant
kings, etc., seek through the avenue of church connection
success in business, honor in society, high offices in the
nation, and lucrative positions everywhere. And much more
of this will be seen, when, as already explained, church
and state shall be united in America, and a religious profession
shall become a qualification for political office. To adopt
the form of godliness from such motives must be most abominable
in the sight of God; yet these very classes are welcomed
by the churches, because it will make them still more popular.
Babylon is represented as trafficking in the souls of men.
A custom common in the Church of England would seem to come
under this head. There, vacant livings are sometimes set
654 -- up for sale, and the highest bidder, regardless
of his moral qualifications or religious standing, becomes
the possessor of the revenue belonging to the position,
and the pastor of the people of that parish. To come to
the United States, look at all the arts and devices resorted
to to draw the multitude, not to convert and save them,
but to gain their patronage and influence. The most disastrous
result of all this is that the minister must preach smooth
things, and tickle fashionable ears with pleasing fables.
was the will of Christ that his church should be one. He
prayed that his disciples might be one, as he and the Father
were one; for this would give power to his gospel, and cause
the world to believe in him. Instead of this, look at the
confusion that exists in the Protestant world, the many
sectional walls that divide it up into a network of societies,
and the many creeds, discordant as the languages of those
who were dispersed at the tower of Babel. God is not the
author of all these. It is just this state of things which
the word Babylon, as a descriptive term, appropriately
designates. It is evidently used for this very purpose,
and not at all as a term of reproach. Instead of being stirred
with feelings of resentment when this term is mentioned,
people should rather examine their position, to see if in
faith or practice they are guilty of any connection with
this great city of confusion, and if so, separate at once
true church is a chaste virgin. 2 Cor. 11:2. The church
that is joined with the world in friendship, is a harlot.
It is this unlawful connection with the kings of the earth
that constitutes her the great harlot of the Apocalypse.
Revelation 17. Thus the Jewish Church, at first espoused
to the Lord (Jeremiah, chapters 2, 3, and 31:32), became
a harlot. Ezekiel 16. This church, when thus apostatized
from God, was called Sodom (Isaiah 1), just as "the
great city" (Babylon) is so called in Revelation 11.
The unlawful union with the world of which Babylon is guilty,
is positive proof that it is not the civil power. That the
people of God are in her midst just before her overthrow
is proof that she is professedly a religious body. For these
reasons, is it not very evident that
655 -- the Babylon of the Apocalypse is the professed
church united with the world? TOP
fall of Babylon will next claim attention. Having now learned
what constitutes Babylon, it will not be difficult to decide
what is meant by the declaration that Babylon is fallen.
As Babylon is not a literal city, the fall cannot be a literal
overthrow. We have already seen what an absurdity this would
involve. And besides, between the fall and the destruction
of Babylon, the clearest distinction is maintained by the
prophecy itself. Babylon "falls" before it is
with violence "thrown down," as a millstone cast
into the sea, and "utterly burned with fire."
The fall is therefore a moral fall; for after the fall,
the voice is addressed to the people of God who are still
in her connection, "Come out of her, my people;"
and the reason is immediately given, - "that ye be
not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her
plagues." Babylon therefore still exists to sin, and
her plagues are still future, after the fall.
who make Babylon apply exclusively to the papacy, claim
that the fall of Babylon is the loss of civil power by the
papal church. But such a view would be inconsistent with
the prophecy in several particulars: -
Babylon falls because she makes all nations drink of
her wine, or instils among them her false doctrines. But
this by no means caused the loss of the pope's temporal
power; on the contrary, it was the very means by which he
so long maintained his supremacy.
Because of the fall of Babylon, she becomes the hold of
foul spirits and hateful birds; but such is not at all the
result to Rome of the loss of civil power.
The people of God are called out of Babylon on account
of her increasing sinfulness resulting from the fall; but
the loss of the temporal power of the papacy constitutes
no additional reason why the people of God should leave
reasons given why Babylon meets with this moral fall is
"because she made all nations drink of the wine of
the wrath [not anger, but intense passion] of her fornication."
There is but one thing to which this can refer, and that
is false doctrines.
656 -- She has corrupted the pure truths of God's word,
and made the nations drunken with pleasing fables. Among
the doctrines she teaches contrary to the word of God, may
be mentioned the following: -
The doctrine of a temporal millennium, or a thousand years
of peace and prosperity and righteousness all over the earth
before the second coming of Christ. This doctrine is especially
calculated to shut the ears of the people against the evidences
of the second advent near, and will probably lull as many
souls into a state of carnal security which will lead to
their final ruin as any heresy which has ever been devised
by the great enemy of truth.
Sprinkling instead of immersion, which is
the only Scriptural mode of baptism, and a fitting memorial
of the burial and resurrection of our Lord, for which purpose
it was designed. Having corrupted this ordinance, and destroyed
it as a memorial of the resurrection of Christ, the way
was prepared for the substitution of something else for
this purpose, which she attempted in.
The change of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, the
seventh day, into the festival of Sunday as the rest-day
of the Lord and a memorial of his resurrection, a memorial
which has never been commanded, and can by no possible means
appropriately commemorate that event. Fathered by heathenism
as "the wild solar holiday of all pagan times,"
Sunday was led to the font by the pope, and christened as
an institution of the gospel church. Thus an attempt was
made to destroy a memorial which the great God had set up
to commemorate his own magnificent creative work, and erect
another in its stead to commemorate the resurrection of
Christ, for which there was no occasion, as the Lord himself
had already provided a memorial for that purpose.
The doctrine of the natural immortality of the soul.
This also was derived from the pagan world. As distinguished
converts from heathenism entered the ranks of Christians,
they soon became "Fathers of the church," and
foster-fathers of this pernicious doctrine as a part of
divine truth. This error nullifies the two great Scripture
doctrines of the resurrection
657 -- and the general judgment, and furnishes a well-laid
track for the car of modern Spiritualism with its load of
pollution. From it have sprung such other evil doctrines
as the conscious state of the dead, saint-worship, Mariolatry,
purgatory, reward at death, prayers and baptisms for the
dead, eternal torment, and Universalism.
The doctrine that the saints, as unclothed,
immaterialized spirits, find their eternal inheritance in
far-away, indefinable regions, "beyond the bounds of
time and space." Thus multitudes have been turned away
from the Scriptural view that this present earth is to be
destroyed by fire at the day of judgment and perdition of
ungodly men, and that from its ashes the voice of Omnipotence
will evoke a new earth, which will be the future everlasting
kingdom of glory, and which the saints will possess as their
That the coming of Christ is a spiritual, not a literal
event, and was fulfilled at the destruction of Jerusalem,
or is fulfilled in conversion, in death, in Spiritualism,
etc. How many minds have by such teaching been forever closed
against the Scriptural view that the second coming of Christ
is a future, definite event, literal, personal, visible,
resulting in destruction to all his foes, and everlasting
life to all his people!
Trailing the standard of godliness into the very
dust. Men are made to believe that a form of godliness is
all-sufflcient, and that the words, "Lord, Lord,"
though repeated as an empty formula, will be a safe passport
to the kingdom of heaven. If any one doubts this statement,
let him listen to the next funeral discourse, or visit the
cemetery, and mark what the tombstones say. TOP
The world has gone almost stark mad in the pursuit of riches
and honor; but in these things the church takes the lead,
and thus openly sanctions what the Lord strictly forbade.
If the churches were united as they should be, what a stumbling-block
would be taken out of the way of sinners! And if it were
not for the false doctrines which she has instilled into
the minds of all men, how the plain truths of the Bible
would move the world! But people are held by these, as under
the stupefying influence of the most powerful intoxicant.
p 658 -- To come now more particularly to the application
of the prophecy concerning the fall of Babylon, let us see
how the religious world stood with reference to the possibility
of such a change, when the time came for the proclamation
of this message, in connection with the first message, about
the year 1844. Paganism was only apostasy and corruption
in the beginning, and is so still; and no moral fall is
possible there. Catholicism has been for centuries about
as low in the scale as it is possible for a church to sink.
No room for a moral fall in that church. Two great branches
of Babylon were, therefore, when the second message became
due, in so low a condition morally that a further declension
with them was scarcely possible. Not so, however, with the
Protestant branch of this great city. These churches, which
commenced the great work of reformation from papal corruption,
had done some noble work. They had run well for a season.
They reached a moral plane vastly higher than that of the
other divisions named. They were, in a word, in such a position
that with them a moral fall was possible. The conclusion
is therefore inevitable that the message announcing the
fall had reference almost wholly to the Protestant churches.
question may then be asked why this announcement was not
made sooner, if so large a portion of Babylon, the pagan
and papal divisions, had been so long fallen. And the answer
is at hand: Babylon, as a whole, could not be said to be
fallen so long as one division of it remained unfallen.
It could not be announced, therefore, till a change for
the worse came over the Protestant world, and the truth,
through which alone the path of progress lay, had been deliberately
discarded. But when this took place, and a moral fall was
experienced in this last division, then the announcement
concerning Babylon as a whole could be made, as it could
not have been made before, - "Babylon is fallen."
may be proper to inquire further how the reason assigned
for the fall of Babylon, namely, because she made all nations
drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, would
apply to the Protestant churches at the time in question.
And the answer is, It would apply most pertinently. The
659 -- Babylon lies in her confusion and false doctrines.
Because she industriously propagates these, clinging to
them when light and truth which would correct them is offered,
she falls. With the Protestant churches, the time had come
for an advance to higher religious ground. They could accept
the proffered light and truth, and reach the higher attainment,
or they could reject it, and lose their spirituality and
favor with God, or, in other words, experience a moral fall.
The truth which God saw fit to use as an instrument in this
work was the first message. The hour of God's judgment come,
and the approximate second advent of Christ was the doctrine
preached. After listening long enough to see the blessing
that attended the doctrine, and the good results that flowed
from it, the churches, as a whole, rejected it with scorn
and scoffing. They were thereby tested; for they then plainly
betrayed the fact that their hearts were with the world,
not with the Lord, and that they preferred to have it so.
But the message would have healed the evils then existing
in the religious world. The prophet exclaims, perhaps with
reference to this very time, "We would
have healed Babylon, but she is not healed:" Jer. 51:9.
Do you ask how we know this would have been the effect of
receiving the message? We answer, Because this was the effect
with all who did receive it. They came from different denominations,
and their denominational barriers were leveled to the ground;
conflicting creeds were shivered to atoms; the unscriptural
hope of a temporal millennium was abandoned; false views
of the second advent were corrected; pride and conformity
to the world were swept away; wrongs were made right; hearts
were united in the sweetest fellowship; and love and joy
reigned supreme. If the doctrine did this for the few who
did receive it, it would have done the same for all,
if all had received it. TOP
the message was rejected; and what was the result? The result
upon those who rejected it will be spoken of by and by;
and the result upon those who received it, demands mention
here. Everywhere throughout the land the cry was raised,
"Babylon is fallen," and, in anticipation of the
movement brought to view in Rev. 18:1-4, they added, "Come
out of her, my people;" and about fifty thousand severed
660 -- with the denominations where they were not allowed
to hold and proclaim their views in peace.
marked change then came over the churches in respect to
their spiritual condition. On the hypothesis that the proclamation
of the second coming of Christ was in the order of prophetic
fulfilment, and that the message was the "present truth"
for that time, the result could not have been different.
When a person refuses the light, he necessarily puts himself
in darkness; when he rejects truth, he inevitably forges
the shackles of error about his own limbs. Loss of spirituality
- a moral fall - must follow. This the churches experienced.
They chose to adhere to old errors, and still promulgate
their false doctrines among the people. The light of truth
must therefore leave them. Some of them felt and deplored
the change. A few testimonies from their own writers will
describe their condition at that time.
Christian Palladium of May 15, 1844, spoke in the
following mournful strain:
"In every direction we hear the dolorous sound, wafted
upon every breeze of heaven, chilling as the blast from
the icebergs of the north, settling like an incubus on the
breasts of the timid, and drinking up the energies of the
weak, that lukewarmness, division, anarchy, and desolation
are distressing the borders of Zion."
1844 the Religious Telescope used the following
language: "We have
never witnessed such a general declension of religion as
at the present. Truly, the church should awake, and search
into the cause of this affliction; for as an affliction
every one that loves Zion must view it. When we call to
mind how 'few and far between' cases of true conversion
are, and the almost unparalleled impenitence and hardness
of sinners, we almost involuntarily exclaim, 'Has God forgotten
to be gracious? or is the door of mercy closed?'"
that time, proclamations of fasts and seasons of prayer
for the return of the Holy Spirit were sent out in the religious
papers. Even the Philadelphia Sun of Nov. 11,
1844, had the following: "The undersigned
ministers and members of various denominations in Philadelphia
and vicinity, solemnly believing that the present signs
of the times - the spiritual
661 -- dearth of our churches generally and the
extreme evils in the world around us - seem to call loudly
on all Christians for a special season of prayer,
do therefore hereby agree, by divine permission, to unite
in a week of special prayer to Almighty God, for
the outpouring of his Holy Spirit on our city, our country,
and the world."
Professor Finney, editor of the Oberlin Evangelist,
in February, 1844, said: "We
have had the facts before our minds that, in general, the
Protestant churches of our country, as such, were either
apathetic or hostile to nearly all the moral reforms of
the age. There are partial exceptions, yet not enough to
render the fact otherwise than general. We have also another
corroborative fact, - the almost universal absence of revival
influence in the churches. The spiritual apathy is almost
all-pervading, and is fearfully deep; so the religious press
of the whole land testifies. Very extensively, church members
are becoming devotees of fashion, joining hands with the
ungodly in parties of pleasure, in dancing, in festivities,
etc. But we need not expand this painful subject. Suffice
it that the evidence thickens and rolls heavily upon us,
to show that the churches generally are becoming sadly
degenerate. They have gone very far from the Lord, and
he has withdrawn himself from them." TOP
it be said that our views of the moral fall and spiritual
dearth of the churches are shown to be incorrect by the
great revivals of 1858, the testimony of the leading Congregational
and Baptist papers of Boston relative to these revivals
would correct that impression.
Congregationalist, November, 1858, said:
"The revival piety of our churches is not such that
one can confidently infer, from its mere existence, its
legitimate, practical fruits. It ought, for example, to
be as certain, after such a shower of grace, that the treasuries
of our benevolent societies would be filled, as it is after
a plentiful rain that the streams will swell in their channels.
But the managers of our societies are bewailing the feebleness
of the sympathy and aid of the churches.
is another and sadder illustration of the same general truth.
The Watchman and Reflector recently stated that
662 -- there had never been among the Baptists so lamentable
a spread of church dissension as prevails at present; and
the sad fact is mentioned that this sin infects the very
churches which shared most largely in the late revival.
And the still more melancholy fact is added that these alienations
date back their origin, in most cases, to the very midst
of that scene of awakening. Even a glance at the weekly
journals of our own denomination will evince that the evil
is by no means confined to the Baptists. Our own columns
have, perhaps, never borne so humiliating a record of contentions
and ecclesiastical litigations as during the last few months."
The leading Methodist paper, the New York Christian Advocate,
of Aug. 30, 1883, contains an article headed "The Greatest
of Questions," from which we copy these statements:
Disguise it as you like, the church, in a general sense,
is spiritually in a rapid decline. While it grows in numbers
and money, it is becoming extremely feeble and limited in
its spirituality, both in the pulpit and the pew. It is
assuming the shape and character of the church at Laodicea.
There are thousands of ministers, local and conference,
and many thousands of the laity, who are as dead and worthless
as barren fig-trees. They contribute nothing of a temporal
or spiritual nature to the progress and triumphs of the
gospel throughout the earth. If all these dry bones in our
church and its congregations could be resurrected, and brought
into requisition by faithful, active service, what new and
glorious manifestations of divine power would break forth!"
New York Independent of Dec. 3, 1896, gave an article
from D. L. Moody, from which the following is an extract:
a recent issue of your paper I saw an article from a contributor
which stated that there were over three thousand churches
in the Congregational and Presbyterian bodies of this country
that did not report a single member added by profession
of faith last year. Can this be true? The thought has taken
such hold of me that I can't get it out of my mind. It
663 -- is enough almost to send a thrill of horror through
the soul of every Christian. TOP
this is the case with these two large denominations, what
must be the condition of the others also? Are we all going
to sit still and let this thing continue? Shall our religious
newspapers and our pulpits keep their mouths closed like
' dumb dogs that cannot bark' to warn people of approaching
danger? Should we not all lift lip our voice like a trumpet
about this matter? What must the Son of God think of such
a result of our labor as this? What must an unbelieving
world think about a Christianity that can't bring forth
any more fruit? And have we no care for the multitudes of
souls going down to perdition every year while we all sit
and look on? And this country of ours, where will it be
in the next ten years, if we don't awake out of sleep?"
second angel's message is addressed to those organizations
where the people of God are mainly to be found; for they
are specially addressed as being in Babylon, and at a certain
time are called out. The message applies to the present
generation; and now God's people are to be looked for, certainly,
in the Protestant organizations of Christendom. But as these
churches depart farther and farther from God, they at length
reach such a condition that true Christians can no longer
maintain a connection with them; and then they will be called
out. This we look for in the future, in fulfilment of Rev.
18:1-4. We believe it will come, when, in addition to their
corruptions, the churches begin to raise against the saints
the hand of oppression. (See further under the chapter last
Third Message. - Commencing
with verse 9, the third message reads as follows: "And
the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice,
If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive
his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall
drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out
without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he
shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence
of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: and
the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever
664 -- and ever: and they have no rest day nor night,
who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth
the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints:
here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the
faith of Jesus."
is a message of most fearful import. No severer threatening
of divine wrath can be found in all the Bible. The sin against
which it warns must be a terrible sin, and it must be one
so plainly defined that all who will may understand it,
and thus know how to avoid the judgments denounced against
It will be noticed that these messages are cumulative; that
is, one does not cease when another is introduced. Thus,
for a time the first message was the only one going forth.
The second message was introduced, but that did not put
an end to the first. From that time there were two messages.
The third followed them, not to supersede them, but only
to join with them, so that we now have three messages going
forth simultaneously, or, rather, a threefold message, embracing
the truths of all three, the last one, of course, being
the leading proclamation. Till the work is done, it will
never cease to be true that the hour of God's judgment has
come, nor that Babylon has fallen; and these facts still
continue to be proclaimed in connection with the truths
introduced by the third message.
will also be noticed a logical connection between the messages
themselves. Taking our stand just before the first message
was introduced, we see the Protestant religious world sadly
in need of reformation. Divisions and confusion reigned
among the churches. They were still clinging to many papal
errors and superstitions. The power of the gospel was impaired
in their hands. To correct these evils, the doctrine of
the second coming of Christ was introduced, and proclaimed
with power. They should have received it, and been quickened
by it into new life, as they would have been had they received
it. Instead of this, they rejected it, and suffered the
consequences spiritually. Then followed the second message,
announcing the result of that rejection, and declaring what
was not only a fact in itself, but a judicial judgment of
665 -- upon them for their recreancy in this respect;
namely, that God had departed from them, and they had met
with a moral fall. TOP
did not have the effect to arouse them, and lead them to
correct their errors, as it was sufficient to do, had they
been willing to be admonished and corrected. And now what
follows? - The way is open for a still further retrograde
movement, - for deeper apostasy and still greater evils.
The powers of darkness will press forward their work, and
if the churches still persist in this course of shunning
light and rejecting truth, they will soon find themselves
worshiping the beast and receiving his mark. This will be
the logical sequence of that course of action which commenced
with the rejection of the first massage. And now another
proclamation is sent forth, announcing in solemn tones that
if any man shall do this, he shall drink of the wine of
the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into
the cup of his indignation. That is to say, you rejected
the first message, and met with a moral fall; continue to
reject truth and disregard the warnings sent out, and you
will exhaust God's last means of grace, and by and by meet
with a literal destruction for which there will be no remedy.
This is as severe a threatening as God can make to be inflicted
in this life, and it is the last. A few will heed it, and
be saved; the multitude will pass on, and perish.
proclamation of the third message is the last special religious
movement to be made before the Lord appears; for immediately
following this, John beholds one like the Son of man coming
upon a great white cloud to reap the harvest of the earth.
This can represent nothing else than the second coming of
Christ. If, therefore, the coming of Christ is at the door,
the time has come for the proclamation of this message.
There are many who claim the name "Adventist,"
and who with voice and pen are earnestly teaching that we
are in the last days of time, and that the coming of Christ
is at the door; but when we remind them of this prophecy,
they are suddenly at sea, without anchor, chart, or compass.
They know not what to do with it. They can see as well as
we that if what they are teaching respecting the coming
of Christ is true, and
666 -- the Lord is at hand, somewhere - yes, all over
the land - should be heard the warning notes of this third
The arguments on the two preceding messages fix the chronology
of the third, and show that it belongs to the present time;
but, as in the case of the former, the best evidence in
behalf of the proposition that the message is now going
to the world, is to be able to point to events which demonstrate
the fulfilment. Having identified the first message as a
leading proclamation with the great Advent movement of 1840
- 44, and having seen the fulfilment of the second message
in connection with that movement in the latter year, let
us look at what has transpired since that time.
the time passed in 1844, the whole Adventist body was thrown
into more or less confusion. Many gave up the movement entirely;
more jumped to the conclusion that the argument on the time
was wrong, and immediately went to work to readjust the
prophetic periods, and set a new time for the Lord to come
- a work in which they have continued more or less to the
present time, fixing a new date as each one passed by, to
the scandal of the Advent movement, and the discredit, so
far as their limited influence extended, of all prophetical
study; a few, searching closely and candidly for the cause
of the mistake, were confirmed in their views of the providential
character of the Advent movement, and the correctness of
the argument on the time, but saw that a mistake had been
made on the subject of the sanctuary, by which the disappointment
could be explained. They learned that the sanctuary was
not this earth, as had been supposed; that the cleansing
was not to be by fire; and that the prophecy on this
point did not involve the coming of the Lord at all. They
found in the Scriptures very clear evidence that the sanctuary
referred to was the temple in heaven, which Paul calls "the
sanctuary," the "true tabernacle, which the Lord
pitched and not man;" and that its cleansing, according
to the type, would consist of the final ministration of
the priest in the second apartment, or most holy place.
They then saw that the time had come for the fulfilment
of Rev. 11:19: "And the temple of God was opened
667 -- in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the
ark of his testament." TOP
their attention thus called to the ark, they were naturally
led to an examination of the law contained in the ark. That
the ark contained the law was evident from the very name
applied to it. It was called "the ark of his testament;"
but it would not have been the ark of his "testament,"
and it could not have been so called, had it not contained
the law. Here, then, was the ark in heaven, the great antitype
of the ark, which, during the typical dispensation, existed
here on earth; and the law which this heavenly ark contained
must consequently be the great original of which the law
on the tables in the earthly ark was but a transcript, or
copy; and both must read precisely alike, word for word,
jot for jot, tittle for tittle. To suppose otherwise would
involve not only falsehood, but the greatest absurdity.
That law, then, is still the law of God's government, and
its fourth precept, now as in the beginning, demands the
observance of the seventh day of the week as the Sabbath.
No one who admits the argument on the sanctuary pretends
to dispute this point. Thus the Sabbath reform was brought
to view; and it was seen that whatever had been done in
opposition to this law, especially in the introduction of
a day of rest and worship which destroyed the Sabbath of
Jehovah, must be the work of the papal beast, that power
which was to oppose God, and try to exalt himself above
him. But this is the very work in reference to which the
third angel utters his warning; hence it began to be seen
that the period of the third message synchronizes with the
period of the cleansing of the sanctuary, which began with
the ending of the 2300 days in 1844, and that the proclamation
is based on the great truths developed by this subject.
the dawning light of the third message rose upon the church.
But they saw at once that the world would have a right to
demand of those who professed to be giving that message,
an explanation of all the symbols which it contains, - the
beast, the image, the worship, and the mark; hence these
points were made subjects of special study. The testimony
of the Scriptures was found to be clear and abundant; and
668 -- it did not take a great while to formulate from
the truths revealed, definite statements and propositions
in explanation of all these points.
argument showing what constitutes the beast, the image,
and the mark, has already been given in chapter 13; and
it has been shown that the two-horned beast, which erects
the image and enforces the mark, is our own country, now
in mid-career, and hastening forward to perform the very
work assigned it in the prophecy. It is this work, and these
agents, against which the third message utters its warning,
which is still further proof that this message is now in
order, and shows the most conclusive harmony in all these
prophecies. The arguments we need not here repeat; it will
be sufficient to recapitulate the points established.
"beast" is the Roman Catholic power.
The "mark of the beast" is that institution which
this power has set up as proof of its authority to legislate
for the church, and command the consciences of men under
sin. It consists in a change of the law of God, by which
the signature of royalty is taken from the law, - the seventh-day
Sabbath, the great memorial of Jehovah's creative work,
is torn from its place in the decalogue and a false and
counterfeit Sabbath, the first day of the week, is set up
in its stead.
The "image of the beast" is some ecclesiastical
combination, which will resemble the beast in being clothed
with power to enforce its decrees with the pains and penalties
of the civil law.
The two-horned beast by which the
image, after being made by the people, is given power to
speak and act, is the United States; and all but the final
steps toward the formation of the image are already seen.
The two-horned beast enforces the mark of the beast; that
is, he establishes by law the observance of the first day
of the week, or Sunday-sabbath. What is being done in this
direction has already been noticed. The movement is urged
on by individuals, by organized Sabbath committees, by politicians,
indirectly by the infidel element, by the National Reform
Association, by the American Sabbath (Sunday) Union,
669 -- by the W. C. T. U., and by the Christian Endeavorers,
with their Good Citizenship Leagues, etc. TOP
the, people are not to be left in the dark in this matter.
The third message utters a solemn protest against all this
evil. It exposes the work of the beast, shows the nature
of its opposition to the law of God, warns the people against
compliance with its demands, and points out to all the way
of truth. This naturally excites opposition; and the church
is led so much the more to seek the aid of human authority
in behalf of its dogmas as they are shown to lack the divine.
has this message accomplished, and what showing does it
make in the world to-day? In answer to this query, some
striking facts may be presented. The first publication in
its interests was issued in 1850. Today this message is
proclaimed by books, tracts, and periodicals in sixty-seven
different languages, and maintains twenty-eight publishing
houses scattered throughout both hemispheres, in which are
published one hundred and twenty-six periodicals, in twenty-eight
languages. The value of its literature sold during 1910
amounted to $1,560,000. Its evangelical work is carried
forward in forty-six countries, both civilized and savage.
a movement is at least a phenomenon to be explained. We
have found movements which fulfil most strikingly and accurately
the first and second messages. Here is another which now
challenges the attention of the world as a fulfilment of
the third. It claims to be a fulfilment, and asks
the world to examine the credentials on which it bases its
right to such a claim. Let us look at them.
"The third angel followed them." So
this movement follows the two previously mentioned. It takes
up and continues the promulgation of the truths they uttered,
and adds to them what the third message involves besides.
The third message is characterized as a warning
against the beast. So this movement holds prominent among
its themes an explanation of this symbol, telling the people
what it is, and exposing its blasphemous claims and works.
The third message warns all against worshiping the beast.
So this movement explains how this beast-power has
670 -- brought into Christendom certain institutions
which antagonize the requirements of the Most High, and
shows that if we yield to these, we worship this power.
"Know ye not," says Paul, "that to whom ye
yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to
whom ye obey?" Rom. 6:16.
The third message warns all against receiving
the mark of the beast. So this movement makes it the burden
of its work to show what the mark of the beast is, and to
warn against its reception. It is the more solicitous to
do this, because this antichristian power has worked so
cunningly that the majority are deceived into making unconscious
concessions to its authority. It is shown that the mark
of the beast is an institution which has been arrayed in
Christian garb, and insidiously introduced into the Christian
church in such a way as to nullify the authority of Jehovah
and enthrone that of the beast. Stripped of all disguises,
it is simply setting up a counterfeit sabbath of its own
on the first day of the week, in place of the Sabbath of
the Lord on the seventh day, - a usurpation which the great
God cannot tolerate, and from which the remnant church must
fully clear itself before it will be prepared for the coming
of Christ. Hence the urgent warning, Let no man worship
the beast or receive his mark.
5. The third message has something to
say against the worship of the image of the beast. So this
movement speaks of this subject also, telling what the image
will be, or at least explaining the prophecy of the two-horned
beast, which makes the image, showing that it is our own
government; that here the image is to be formed; that the
prophecy concerns this generation; and that it is evidently
on the very verge of fulfilment.
is no religious enterprise going forward in the land except
this by the Seventh-day Adventists, which claim to be a
fulfilment of the third angel's message, - no other which
holds forth, as its prominent themes, the very subjects
of which this message is composed. What shall we do with
these things? Is this the fulfilment? - It must so stand,
unless its claims can be disproved; unless it can be shown
that the first and second messages have not been heard;
that the positions taken in reference
671 -- to the beast, image, mark, and worship are not
correct; and that all the prophecies, and signs, and evidences
which show that the coming of Christ is near, and consequently
that this message is due, can be wholly set aside. But this
the intelligent Bible student will hardly undertake.
result of the proclamation, as declared in verse 12, still
further proves the correctness of the positions here taken.
It brings out a company of whom it can be said, "Here
are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith
of Jesus." In the very heart of Christendom this work
is done; and those who receive the message are rendered
peculiar by their practice in reference to the commandments
of God. What difference is there in practice, and what only
difference, among Christians, in this respect? - Just this;
some think that, the fourth commandment is kept by devoting
the first day of the week to rest and worship; others claim
that the seventh day is the one set apart to such duties,
and accordingly spend its hours in this manner, resuming
on the first day their ordinary labor. No plainer line of
demarkation could be drawn between two classes. The time
which one class regard as sacred, and devote to religious
uses, the other look upon as only secular, and devote to
ordinary labor. One class are devoutly resting, the other
zealously laboring. One class, pursuing their worldly vocations,
find the other class withdrawn from all such pursuits, and
the avenue of commercial intercourse abruptly closed. Thus
for two days in the week these two classes are kept apart
by difference of theory and practice in regard to the fourth
commandment. On no other commandment could there be so marked
a difference. TOP
The message brings its adherents to the seventh day; for
in this way only are they made peculiar, inasmuch as an
observance of the first day would not distinguish a person
from the masses who were already observing that day when
the message was introduced. And in this we find still further
evidence that Sunday-keeping is a mark of the beast; for
the message, presenting as its chief burden a warning against
receiving the mark of the beast, will of course bring its
adherents to discard that practice which constitutes the
mark, and to adopt the opposite.
672 -- It does lead them to discard the observance of
the first day of the week, and adopt that of the seventh
day. In view of this, it is at once seen that there is here
more than an inference that Sunday-keeping is the mark of
the beast against which it warns us, and the observance
of the seventh day, to which it leads us, is its opposite.
is in harmony with the argument on the seal of God as given
in chapter 7. It was there shown that sign, seal, mark,
and token are synonymous terms, and that God takes his Sabbath
to be his sign, mark, or seal, in reference to his people.
Thus God has a seal, or mark, which is his Sabbath. The
beast also has a seal, or mark, which is his Sabbath. One
is the seventh day; the other is just as far removed from
it as possible, even to the other extremity of the week,
namely, the first day. Christendom will at last be divided
into just two classes; to wit, those who are sealed with
the seal of the living God - that is, have his mark, or
keep his Sabbath - and those who are sealed with the seal
of the beast - that is, have his mark, or keep his Sabbath.
In reference to this issue, the third angel's message both
enlightens and warns us.
so much importance, according to this argument, attaches
to the seventh day, the reader may ask for some evidence
that a person cannot be said to keep the commandments of
God unless he does keep the seventh day. This would involve
a discussion of the whole Sabbath question, which it is
not the province of this work to give. Though it may be
proper to present here, as this much perhaps is called for
in this connection, the leading facts connected with the
Sabbath institution, - facts which are fully sustained in
the works referred to in the note below. 1
The Sabbath was instituted in the beginning,
at the conclusion of the first week of time. Gen. 2:1-3.
2. It was the seventh day
of that week, and was based on facts which are inseparably
connected with its very name and
-- As a standard work on the question, we refer the reader
to the "History of the Sabbath and First Day of
the Week," by Elder J. N. Andrews, for sale by
the Southern Publishing Association, Nashville, Tenn., in
which the question as related to the two days is thoroughly
discussed from both a Biblical and a historical standpoint.
But many less exhaustive works are issued at the Office
above named, accoriing to its catalogue, and at other offices
herein named, which are conclusive, so far as they carry
673 -- existence, - facts which never can become untrue,
and never can be changed. God's resting on the seventh day
made it his rest-day, or the Sabbath (rest) of the Lord;
and it can never cease to be his rest-day, as that fact
never can be changed. He sanctified, or set apart, the day
then and there, the record states; and that sanctification
can never cease, unless it is removed by an act on the part
of Jehovah as direct and explicit as that by which he placed
it upon the day in the beginning. No one claims that this
has ever been done, and he could not prove it if he did
The Sabbath has nothing in it of a typical,
shadowy, or ceremonial nature; for it was instituted before
man sinned, and hence belongs to a time when, in the very
nature of things, a type, or shadow, could not exist.
The laws and institutions which existed before man's fall
were primary in their nature; they grew out of the relation
between God and man, and man and man, and were such as would
always have remained if man never had sinned, and were not
affected by his sin. In other words, they were, in the very
nature of things, immutable and eternal. Ceremonial and
typical laws owed their origin to the fact that man had
sinned, as they never would have existed had this never
been a fact. These were from dispensation to dispensation
subject to change; and these, and these only, were abolished
at the cross. The Sabbath law was a primary law, and therefore
immutable and eternal.
The sanctification of the Sabbath in Eden
renders its existence certain from creation to Sinai. Here
it was placed in the very bosom of the decalogue as God
spoke it with an audible voice, and wrote it with his finger
on tables of stone, - circumstances which forever separate
it from ceremonial laws, and place it among the moral and
The Sabbath is not indefinite, any seventh day after six
of labor. The law from Sinai (Ex. 20:8-11) makes it as definite
as language can make it; the events that gave it birth (Gen.
2:1-3) confine it to the definite seventh day; and the 6,240
Sabbath miracles in the wilderness, three each week for
forty years; namely, (1) a double portion of manna
674 -- sixth day, (2) the preservation of the
sixth-day manna on the seventh day, and (3) none
on the seventh day (See Exodus 16), show that it is one
particular day, and not simply a proportion of time. To
claim otherwise would be like claiming that Washington's
birthday or Independence day was only a 365th part of a
year, and might be celebrated on any other day as well as
the day upon which it occurred.
The Sabbath is a part of that law which our Lord openly
declared that he came not to destroy. On the other hand,
he most solemnly affirmed that it should endure in every
jot and tittle while the earth should continue. Matt. 5:17-20.
It is a part of that law which Paul declares
is not made void, but established, by faith in Christ.
Rom. 3:31. The ceremonial or typical law, which pointed
to Christ and ceased at the cross, is made void,
or superseded, by faith in him. Eph. 2:15.
It is a part of that royal law, a law pertaining
to the King Jehovah, which James declares is a law of liberty,
and which shall judge us at the last day. God does not have
different standards of judgment for different ages of the
world. James 2:11, 12.
It is the "Lord's day" of Rev. 1:10. (See argument
on that verse.)
It appears as the institution in reference to which a great
reform is predicted in the last days. Isa. 56:1, 2 compared
with 1 Peter 1:5. Under this head would also come the message
And in the new creation, the Sabbath, true
to its origin and nature, again appears, and will thenceforward
shed its blessings upon God's people through all eternity.
Isa. 66:22, 23.
is a brief synopsis of some of the arguments to show that
the Sabbath law has been in no wise relaxed, and the institution
in no way changed; and that a person cannot be said to keep
the commandments of God unless he keeps it. To have to do
with such an institution is a high honor. To pay heed to
its claims will prove an infinite blessing. TOP
675 -- The Punishment of Beast-worshippers. -
These shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the
presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. When is this
torment inflicted? Chapter 19:20 shows that at the second
coming of Christ there is a manifestation of fiery judgments
which may be called a lake of fire and brimstone, into which
the beast and false prophet are cast alive. This
can refer only to the destruction visited upon them at the
commencement, not at the end, of the thousand years. Again,
there is a remarkable passage in Isaiah to which we are
obliged to refer in explanation of the phraseology of the
threatening of the third angel, and which unquestionably
describes scenes to take place here at the second advent,
and in the desolate state of the earth during the thousand
years following. That the language in the Revelation was
borrowed from this prophecy can hardly fail to be seen.
After describing the Lord's anger upon the nations, the
great slaughter of their armies, the departing of the heavens
as a scroll, etc., the prophet says: "For
it is the day of the Lord's vengeance, and the year of recompenses
for the controversy of Zion. And the streams thereof shall
be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone,
and the land thereof shall become burning pitch. It shall
not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go
up forever; from generation to generation it shall lie waste;
none shall pass through it forever and ever." Isa.
34:8-10. And since it is expressly revealed that there is
to be a lake of fire in which all sinners perish at the
end of the thousand years, we can only conclude that the
destruction of the living wicked at the commencement of
this period, and the final doom of all the ungodly at its
close, are very similar.
of the Punishment. - The expression "forever and
ever" cannot here denote eternity. This is evident
from the fact that this punishment is inflicted on this
earth, where time is measured by day and night. This is
further shown from the passage in Isaiah already referred
to, if that is, as above suggested, the language from which
this is borrowed, and applies to the same time. That language
is spoken of the land of Idumea; but whether it be taken
to mean literally the land of Edom, south and east of Judea,
or to represent, as it
676 -- doubtless does, this whole earth at the time
when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven in flaming
fire, and the year of recompenses for the controversy of
Zion comes, in either case the scene must eventually terminate;
for this earth is finally to be made new, cleansed of every
stain of sin, every vestige of suffering and decay, and
to become the habitation of righteousness and joy throughout
eternal ages. The word aiwn here
translated forever, Schrevelius, in his Greek Lexicon,
defines thus: "An
age; a long period of time; indefinite duration; time, whether
longer or shorter."
period of the third message is a time of patience with the
people of God. Paul and James both give us instruction on
this point. Heb. 10:36; James 5:7, 8. Meanwhile this waiting
company are keeping the commandments of God - the ten commandments,
and the faith of Jesus - all the teachings of Christ and
his apostles as contained in the New Testament. The true
Sabbath, as given in the decalogue, is thus brought out
in vivid contrast with the counterfeit sabbath, the mark
of the beast, which finally distinguishes those who reject
the third message, as already set forth.
13. And I heard a voice from heaven saying
unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord
from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest
from their labors; and their works do follow them. 14.
And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud
one sat like unto the Son of man having on his head a golden
crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. 15.
And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a
loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle,
and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the
harvest of the earth is ripe. 16.
And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the
earth; and the earth was reaped. TOP
Solemn Crisis. - Events grow
solemn as we near the end. It is this fact which gives to
the third angel's message, now going forth, its unusual
degree of solemnity and importance. It is the last warning
to go forth prior to the coming of the Son of man, here
represented as seated upon a white cloud, a crown upon his
head, and a sickle in his hand, to
677 -- reap the harvest of the earth. We are fast passing
over a line of prophecy which culminates in the revelation
of the Lord Jesus from heaven in flaming fire, to take vengeance
on his foes, and to reward his saints. Not only so, but
we have come so near its accomplishment that the very next
link in the chain is this crowning and momentous event.
And time never rolls back. As the river does not flinch
and fly as it approaches the precipice, but bears all floating
bodies over with resistless power; and as the seasons never
reverse their course, but summer follows in the path of
the budding fig-tree, and winter treads close upon the falling
leaf; so we are borne onward and onward, whether we will
or not, whether prepared or not, to the unavoidable and
irreversible crisis. Ah! how little dream the proud professor
and the careless sinner of the doom that is impending! And
how hard for even those who know and profess the truth to
realize it as it is!
Blessing Promised. - John
is commanded by a voice from heaven to write, "Blessed
are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth;"
and the response of the Spirit is, "Yea, that they
may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them."
"From henceforth" must signify from some
particular point of time. What point? - Evidently from the
commencement of the message in connection with which this
is spoken. But why are those who die after this point of
time blessed? There must be some special reason for pronouncing
this benediction upon them. Is it not because they escape
the time of fearful peril which the saints are to encounter
as they close their pilgrimage? And while they are thus
blessed in common with all the righteous dead, they have
an advantage over them in being, doubtless, that company
spoken of in Dan. 12:2, who are raised to everlasting life
at the standing up of Michael. Thus, escaping the perils
through which the rest of the 144,000 pass, they rise, and
share with them in their final triumph here, and occupy
with them their pre-eminent place in the kingdom. 1
In this way, we understand, their
-- Those who die after having become identified with
the third angel's message, are evidently numbered as a part
of the 144,000; for this message is the same as the sealing
message of Revelation 7, and by that message only 144,000
were sealed. But there are many who have had their entire
religious experience under this message, but have fallen
in death. They die in the Lord, and hence are counted as
sealed; for they will be saved. But the message results
in the sealing of only 144,000; therefore these must
be included in that number. Being raised in the special
resurrection (Dan. 12:2; Rev. 1:7) which occurs when the
voice of God is uttered from the temple, at the beginning
of the seventh and last plague (Rev. 16:17; Joel 3:16; Heb.
12:26), they pass through the period of that plague, and
hence may be said to come "out of great tribulation"
(Rev. 7:14), and being raised from the grave only to mortal
life, they take their stand with believers who have not
died, and with them receive immortality at the last trump
(1 Cor. 15:52), being then, with the others, changed in
a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. Thus, though they
have passed through the grave, it can be said of them at
last, that they are "redeemed from among men"
(Rev. 14:4), that is, from among the living; for the coming
of Christ finds them among the living, waiting for the change
to immortality, like those who have not died, and as if
they themselves had never died.
678 -- works follow them: these works are held in remembrance,
to be rewarded at the judgment; and the persons receive
the same recompense that they would have had, had they lived
and faithfully endured all the perils of the time of trouble.
will be noticed that in this line of prophecy, three angels
precede the Son of man on the white cloud, and three are
introduced after that symbol. The opinion has already been
expressed that literal angels are engaged in the scenes
here described. The first three have charge of the three
special messages, and may also symbolize a body of religious
teachers. The message of the fourth angel is evidently to
be uttered after the Son of man, having finished his priestly
work, takes his seat upon the white cloud, but before he
appears in the clouds of heaven. As the language is addressed
to Him who is seated upon the white cloud, having in his
hand a sharp sickle ready to reap, it must denote a message
of prayer on the part of the church, after their work for
the world is done and probation has ceased, and nothing
remains but for the Lord to appear and take his people to
himself. It is doubtless the day-and-night cry spoken of
by our Lord in Luke 18:7, 8 in connection with the coming
of the Son of man. And this prayer will be answered; the
elect will be avenged; for does not the parable read, "And
shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night
unto him?" He that is seated upon the cloud will thrust
in his sickle, and the saints, under the figure of the wheat
of the earth, will be gathered into the heavenly garner.
The Wheat Garnered. - "And he that sat on the
cloud," says the prophecy, "thrust in his sickle
on the earth; and the earth was reaped." By this language
we are carried down past the second advent, with its accompanying
scenes of destruction
679 -- to the wicked and salvation to the righteous.
Beyond these scenes we must therefore look for the application
of the following verses: -
VERSE 17. And another angel came out of the
temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.
18. And another angel came out from the
altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud
cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in
thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of
the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. 19.
And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered
the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress
of the wrath of God. 20. And the
winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out
of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space
of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.
The Winepress of God's Wrath. -- The last two angels
have to do with the wicked, - the wicked, most fitly represented
by the bloated and purple clusters of the vine of the earth.
May it not be that the closing doom of that class at the
end of the thousand years is here presented, the prophecy
thus making a final disposition of both the righteous and
the wicked; the righteous clothed with immortality, and
safely established in the kingdom, the wicked perishing
around the city at the time of its ultimate location upon
This can hardly be applied at the time of the second advent;
for events are here given in chronological order; and the
destruction of the wicked would be contemporaneous with
the gathering of the righteous. Again, the living wicked
at Christ's coming drink of the "cup"of his indignation;
but this passage brings to view the time when they perish
in the "winepress" of his wrath, which is said
to be trodden "without the city," answering completely
to the description of Rev. 20:9; and this latter expression
would more naturally denote their complete and final destruction.
angel comes out of the temple, where the records are kept
and the punishment is determined. The other angel has power
over fire. This may have some connection with the fact that
fire is the element by which the wicked are at last to be
destroyed, although, to carry out the figure, the wicked,
having been likened to the clusters of' the vine of the
earth, are said to be cast into the great winepress, which
is trodden without
680 -- the city. And blood comes out of the winepress,
even to the horses' bridles. We know that the wicked are
doomed to be swallowed up at last in a flood of all-devouring
flame descending from God out of heaven; but what preceding
slaughter may take place among the doomed host, we know
not. It is not improbable that this language will be literally
fulfilled. As the first four angels of this series denoted
a marked movement on the part of the people of God, the
last two may denote the same; for the saints are to have
some part to act in meting out and executing the final punishment
of the wicked. I Cor. 6:2; Ps. 149:9.
Saints Triumphant. - Thus closes this chain of prophecy
- closes as others close, with the complete triumph of God
and Christ over all their foes, and with the glorious salvation
that awaits the faithful followers of the Prince of life,
forever secured. TOP
Seven Last Plagues
CHAPTER -- XV --
This chapter introduces the seven last plagues, a manifestation
of Heaven's unmingled wrath, and the fulness of its measure,
for the last generation of the wicked. The work of mercy
is then forever past.
1. And I saw another sign in heaven, great
and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues;
for in them is filled up the wrath of God. 2.
And I saw as it were a sea of glass
mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory
over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and
over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass,
having the harps of God. 3. And
they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the
song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works,
Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King
of saints. 4. Who shall not fear
thee, 0 Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy:
for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for
thy judgments are made manifest. 5. And
after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle
of the testimony in heaven was opened: 6.
And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the
seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having
their breasts girded with golden girdles. 7.
And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven
golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth forever
and ever. 8. And the temple was
filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power;
and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven
plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.
Preparatory Scene. - Thus reads the fifteenth chapter
entire. By it we are carried back to a new series of events.
The whole chapter is but an introduction to the most terrific
judgments of the Almighty that ever have been, or are to
be, visited upon this earth in its present state; namely,
the seven last plagues. The most that we here behold is
a solemn preparation
for the outpouring of these unmixed vials. Verse 5 shows
that these plagues fall after the close of the ministration
in the sanctuary; for the temple is opened before they are
poured out. They are given in charge to seven angels, and
these angels are clothed in linen pure and white, a fit
emblem of the purity of God's righteousness and justice
in the infliction of these judgments. They receive these
vials from one of the four beasts, or living creatures.
These living beings were proved (see on chapter 4) to be
a class of Christ's assistants in his sanctuary work. How
appropriate, then, that they should be the ones to deliver
to the ministers of vengeance the vials of the wrath to
be poured upon those who have slighted Christ's mercy, abused
his long-suffering, heaped contumely upon his name, and
crucified him afresh in the treatment of his followers!
While the seven angels are performing their fearful mission,
the temple is filled with the glory of God, and no man -
oudieV (oudeis), no one,
no being, referring to Christ and his heavenly assistants
- can enter therein. This shows that the work of mercy is
closed, as there is no ministration in the sanctuary during
the infliction of the plagues; hence they are manifestations
of the wrath of God without any mixture of mercy.
God's People Remembered. - In this scene the people
of God are not forgotten. The prophet is permitted to anticipate
a little in verses 2-4, and behold them as victors upon
the sea of glass as it were mingled with fire, or sparkling
and refulgent with the glory of God, singing the song of
Moses and the Lamb. The sea of glass, upon which these victors
stand, is the same as that brought to view in chapter 4:6,
which was before the throne in heaven. And as we have no
evidence that it has yet changed its location, and the saints
are seen upon it, we have here indubitable proof, in connection
with chapter 14:1-5, that the saints are taken to heaven
to receive a portion of their reward. Thus, like the bright
sun bursting through the mid-night cloud, some scene is
presented, or some promise given, to the humble followers
of the Lamb, in every hour of temptation, as if to assure
and reassure them of God's love and care for them, and of
the certainty of their final reward. Verily
683 -- the words of the prophet are among the true sayings
of God: "Say ye to the righteous, that it
shall be well with him;" but "Woe unto the wicked!
it shall be ill with him." Isa. 3:10, 11.
song the victors sing, the song of Moses and the Lamb, given
here in epitome in these words: "Great
and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and
true are thy ways, thou King of saints,"
is a song of infinite grandeur. How comprehensive in its
terms! how sublime in its theme! It appeals to the works
of God which are a manifestation of his glory. With immortal
vision the saints will be able to comprehend them as they
cannot here; and yet astronomy reveals enough to fill all
hearts with admiration. From our little world we pass out
to our sun ninety-three million miles away; on to its nearest
neighboring sun, nineteen thousand million miles away; on
to the great double pole-star, from which it takes light,
in its electric flight of one hundred and ninety-two thousand
miles a second, forty years to reach our world; on past
systems, groups, constellations, till we reach the great
star Aleyone, in the Pleiades, shining with the power of
twelve thousand suns like ours! What, then, must be the
grand center around which these myriads of shining orbs
revolve! Well may the song be raised, "Great and marvelous
are thy works." But the song covers another field also
- the field of God's providence and grace: "Just
and true are thy ways, Thou King of saints." All the
dealings of God with all his creatures in the eyes of the
redeemed, and the sight of all worlds, will be forever vindicated.
After all our blindness, all our perplexities, all our trials,
we shall be able to exclaim at last in the exuberance of
satisfied joy,"Just and true are thy ways, thou King
of saints." TOP
Plagues Poured Out
This chapter gives a description of the seven vials of the
unmingled wrath of God, and the effects that follow as they
are poured upon the earth. Concerning the character and
chronology of these plagues, there is a difference of opinion
among Bible readers. Our first inquiry therefore is, What
is the true position on these points? Are they symbolical,
and mostly fulfilled in the past, as some contend? or are
they literal, and all future, as others no less confidently
affirm? A brief examination of the testimony will, we think,
conclusively settle these questions.
1. And I heard a great voice out of the
temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour
out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth. 2.
And the first went, and poured out his vial
upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore
upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them
which worshiped his image.
The Chronology of the Plagues. - The description
of this plague clearly reveals at once their chronology;
for it is poured out upon those who have the mark of the
beast, and who worship his image, - the identical work against
which the third angel warns us. This is conclusive proof
that these judgments are not poured out till after this
angel closes his work, and that the very class who hear
his warning, and reject it, are the ones to receive the
first drops from the overflowing vials of God's indignation.
Now, if these plagues are in the past,
the image of the beast and his worship are in the past.
685 -- these are past, the two-horned beast, which makes
this image and his work, are in the past. If these are past,
then the third angel's message, which warns us in reference
to this work, is in the past;and if this is past, - that
is, ages in the past, where this view locates the commencement
of the plagues, - then the first and second messages, which
precede that, were also ages in the past. Then the prophetic
periods, on which the messages are based, especially the
2300 days, ended ages ago. And if this is so, the seventy
weeks of Daniel 9 are thrown wholly into the Jewish dispensation,
and the great proof of the Messiahship of Christ is destroyed.
But it has been shown on chapters 7, 13, and 14, that the
first and second messages have been given in our own day;
that the third is now in process of accomplishment; that
the two-horned beast has come upon the stage of action,
and is preparing to do the work assigned him; and that the
formation of the image and the enforcement of the worship
are just in the future. And unless all these positions can
be overthrown, the seven last plagues must also be assigned
wholly to the future.
there are other reasons for locating them in the future
and not in the past.
Under the fifth plague, men blaspheme God because of their
sores, the same sores, of course, caused by the outpouring
of the first plague. This shows that these plagues all fall
upon one and the same generation of men, some being,
no doubt, swept off by each one, yet some surviving through
the terrible scenes of them all; a fact utterly subversive
of the position that they commenced far in the past, and
occupy centuries each in their fulfilment, for how, then,
could those who experience the first plague be alive under
These plagues are the wine of God's wrath without mixture,
threatened by the third angel. Chapter 14:10; 15:1. Such
language cannot be applied to any judgments visited upon
the earth while Christ pleads between his Father and our
fallen race; hence we must locate them in the future, when
probation shall have closed.
Another and more definite testimony as to the commencement
and duration of these plagues is found in chapter 15:8:
686 -- "And the temple was filled with smoke from
the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able
to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the
seven angels were fulfilled." The temple here introduced
is evidently that which is mentioned in chapter 11:19, where
it says, "The temple of God was opened in heaven, and
there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament."
In other words, we have before us the heavenly sanctuary.
The testimony is, then, that when the seven angels with
the seven golden vials receive their commission, the temple
is filled with smoke from the glory of God, and no being
can enter into the temple, or sanctuary, till they have
fulfilled their work; there will therefore be no ministration
in the sanctuary during this time. Consequently, these vials
are not poured out till the close of the ministration in
the tabernacle above, but immediately follow that event;
for Christ is then no longer a mediator; mercy, which has
long stayed the hand of vengeance, pleads no more; the servants
of God are all sealed. What could then be expected but that
the "storm of vengeance should fall," and earth
be swept with the besom of destruction? TOP
now shown the chronology of these judgments, that they are
before us in the very near future, treasured up against
the day of wrath, we proceed to inquire into their nature,
and what will result when the solemn and fearful mandate
shall go forth from the temple to the seven angels, saying,
"Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath
of God upon the earth." Here we are called to look
into the "armory" of the Lord, and behold the
"weapons of his indignation." Jer. 50:25. Here
are brought forth the treasures of hail, which have been
reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of
battle and war. Job 38:22, 23.
first plague. - "And the first went, and poured
out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and
grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast,
and upon them which worshiped his image."
is no apparent reason why this should not be regarded as
strictly literal. These plagues are almost identical with
those which God inflicted upon the Egyptians as he was
(The Seven Angels Pouring Out the Seven Last Plagues)
688 -- about to deliver his people from the yoke of
bondage, the literality of which is seldom, if ever, called
in question. God is now about to crown
his people with their final deliverance and
and his judgments will be manifested in a manner no less
literal and terrible. What the sore here threatened is,
we are not informed. Perhaps it may be similar to the parallel
plague which fell upon Egypt. Ex. 9:8-11.
3. And the second angel poured out his vial upon the
sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man; and every
living soul died in the sea.
Second Plague. - A more infectious and deadly substance
can scarcely be conceived of than the blood of a dead man;
and the thought that the great bodies of water on the earth,
which are doubtless meant by the term sea, will be
changed to such a state under this plague, presents a fearful
picture. We have here the remarkable fact that the term
living soul is applied to irrational animals, the
fish and living creatures of the sea. This is, we believe,
the only instance of such an application in the English
Version; in the original, however, it occurs frequently;
showing that the term as applied to man in the beginning
(Gen. 2:7) cannot be taken as furnishing any evidence that
he is endowed with an immaterial and immortal essence, called
4. And the third angel poured out his vial upon the
rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood. 5. And
I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous,
0 Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou
hast judged thus. 6. For they have
shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given
them blood to drink; for they are worthy. 7. And
I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God
Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.
Third Plague. - Such is the description of the terrible
retribution for the "blood of saints" shed by
violent hands, which will be given to those who have done,
or wish to do, such deeds. And though the horrors of that
hour when the fountains and rivers of water shall be like
blood , cannot now be realized, the justice of God will
stand vindicated, and his judgments approved. Even the angels
are heard exclaiming,
689 -- Thou art righteous, 0 Lord, because thou hast
judged thus; for they have shed the blood of saints and
prophets. Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous
are thy judgments. TOP
It may be asked how the last generation of the wicked can
be said to have shed the blood of saints and prophets, since
the last generation of saints are not to be slain. A reference
to Matt. 23:34, 35; 1 John 3:15, will explain. These scriptures
show that guilt attaches to motive no less than to action;
and no generation ever formed a more determined purpose
to devote the saints to indiscriminate slaughter than the
present generation will, not far in the future. (See chapter
12:17; 13:15.) In motive and purpose, they do shed the blood
of saints and prophets, and are every whit as guilty as
if they were able to carry out their wicked intentions.
would seem that none of the human family could long survive
a continuance of a plague so terrible as this. It must therefore
be limited in its duration, as was the similar one on Egypt.
Ex. 7:17-21, 25.
8. And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon
the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with
fire. 9. And men were scorched
with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath
power over these plagues; and they repented not to give
Fourth Plague. - It is worthy of notice that every succeeding
plague tends to augment the calamity of the previous ones
and to heighten the anguish of the guilty sufferers. We
have now a noisome and grievous sore preying upon men inflaming
their blood, and pouring its feverish influence through
their veins. In addition to this, they have only blood to
allay their burning thirst; and, as if to crown all, power
is given unto the sun, and he pours upon them a flood of
liquid fire, and they are scorched with great heat. Here,
as the record runs, their woe first seeks utterance in fearful
10. And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon
the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness;
and they gnawed their tongues for pain. 11. And
blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and
their sores, and repented not of their deeds.
690 -- The
Fifth Plague. - An
important fact is established by this testimony; namely,
that the plagues do not at once destroy all their victims;
for some who were at first smitten with sores, we find still
living under the fifth vial, and gnawing their tongues for
pain. An illustration of this vial will be found in Ex.
10:21-23. It is poured upon the seat of the beast, the papacy.
The seat of the beast is wherever the papal See is located,
which has been thus far, and without doubt will continue
to be, the city of Rome. "His kingdom" probably
embraces all those who are subjects of the pope in an ecclesiastical
point of view, wherever they may be.
those who place the plagues in the past have the first five
already wholly accomplished, we here pause a moment to inquire
where, in past ages, the judgments here threatened have
been fulfilled. Can judgments so terrible be inflicted,
and nobody know it? If not, where is the history of the
fulfilment? When did a noisome and grievous sore fall upon
a specified and extensive portion of mankind? When did the
sea become as the blood of a dead man, and every living
soul die in it? When did the fountains and rivers become
blood, and people have blood to drink? When did the sun
so scorch men with fire as to extort from them curses and
blasphemy? And when did the subjects of the beast gnaw their
tongues for pain, and at the same time blaspheme God on
account of their sores? Interpreters who thus put such scenes
in the past, where a shadow of fulfilment cannot be shown,
openly invite the scoffs and ridicule of the skeptically
minded against God's holy book, and furnish them with potent
weapons for their deplorable work. In these plagues, says
Inspiration, is filled up the wrath of God; but if
they can be fulfilled and nobody know it, who shall henceforth
consider his wrath so terrible a thing, or shrink from his
judgments when they are threatened? TOP
12. And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon
the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried
up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.
13. And I saw three unclean spirits
like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out
of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false
prophet. 14. For they are the spirits
of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings
of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to
691 -- the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
15. Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed
is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk
naked, and they see his shame. 16.
And he gathered them together into a place called in the
Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
Sixth Plague. - What is the great River Euphrates, upon
which this vial is poured out? - One view is that it is
the literal River Euphrates in Asia; another is that it
is a symbol of the nation occupying the territory through
which that river flows. The latter opinion is preferable
for the following reasons: -
1. It would be difficult to see what
end would be gained by the drying up of the literal river,
as that would not offer an obstruction at all serious to
the progress of an advancing army; and it should be noticed
that the drying up takes place to prepare the way of the
kings of the East; that is, regular military organizations,
and not a promiscuous and unequipped crowd of men, women,
and children, like the children of Israel at the Red Sea
or at the Jordan. The Euphrates is only about 1,400 miles
in length, or about one third the size of the Mississippi.
Cyrus, without difficulty, turned the whole river from its
channel at his siege of Babylon; and notwithstanding the
numerous wars that have been carried on along its banks,
and the mighty hosts that have crossed and recrossed its
streams, it never yet had to be dried up to let them pass.
It would be as necessary to dry up the River Tigris as the
Euphrates; for that is nearly as large as the latter. Its
source is only fifteen miles from that of the Euphrates,
in the mountains of Armenia, and it runs nearly parallel
with it, and but a short distance from it throughout its
whole course; yet the prophecy says nothing of the Tigris.
The literal drying up of the rivers takes place
under the fourth vial, when power is given to the sun to
scorch men with fire. Under this plague occur, beyond question,
the scenes of drought and famine so graphically described
by Joel, chapter 1:14-20; and as one result of these, it
is expressly stated that "the rivers of waters are
dried up." The Euphrates can hardly be an exception
to this visitation of drought; hence
692 -- not much would remain to be literally dried up
under the sixth vial. TOP
plagues, from the very nature of the case, must be manifestations
of wrath and judgments upon men; but if the drying up of
the literal Euphrates is all that is brought to view, this
plague is not of such a nature, and turns out to be no serious
affair, after all.
objections existing against considering it a literal river,
it must be understood figuratively as symbolizing the power
holding possession of the territory watered by that river,
which is the Ottoman, or Turkish, empire.
the time of the writing of this book, the Ottoman Empire
seemed to be the obvious power to point to, however, today
we must take time and place into consideration to apply
this prophecy. In previous prophecies we are talking historical
facts, whereas this prophecy is talking about things
that are still unfolding in time.
It is so used in other places in the Scriptures.
(See Isa. 8:7; Rev. 9:14.) In this latter text, all must
concede that the Euphrates symbolizes the Turkish power;
and being the first and only other occurrence of the word
in the Revelation, it may well be considered as governing
its use in this book.
The drying up of the river in this sense would be the
consumption of the Turkish empire, accompanied with more
or less destruction of its subjects. Thus we should have
literal judgments upon men as the result of this plague,
as in the case of all the others.
it may be objected to this, that while contending for the
literality of the plagues, we nevertheless make one of them
a symbol. We answer, No. A power is introduced, it is true,
under the sixth vial, in its symbolic form, just as it is
under the fifth, where we read of the seat of the beast,
which is a well-known symbol; or as we read again in the
first plague of the mark of the beast, his image, and its
worship, which are also symbols. All that is here insisted
upon, is the literality of the judgments that result
from each vial, which are literal in this case as in all
the others, though the organizations which suffer these
judgments may be brought to view in their symbolic form.
It may be asked how the way of the kings of
the East will be prepared by the drying up, or consumption,
of the Ottoman power? The answer is obvious. For what is
the way of these kings to be prepared? Answer:
To come up to
693 -- the battle of the great day of God Almighty.
Where is the battle to be fought? - Near Jerusalem. (Joel
and Zephaniah.) But Jerusalem is in the hands of the Turks;
they hold possession of the land of Palestine and the sacred
sepulchers. This is the bone of contention; on these the
nations have fixed their covetous and jealous eyes. But
though Turkey now possesses them, and others want them,
it is nevertheless thought necessary to the tranquillity
of Europe that Turkey should be maintained in her position,
in order to preserve what is called the "balance of
power." For this the Christian nations of Europe have
co-operated to sustain the integrity of the sultan's throne,
because they cannot agree as to the division of the spoils,
when Turkey falls. By their sufferance alone that government
now exists, and when they shall withdraw their support,
and leave it to itself, as they will do under the sixth
plague, that symbolic river will be wholly dried up; Turkey
will be no more, and the way will be all open for the nations
to make their last grand rally to the Holy Land. The kings
of the East, the nationalities, powers, and kingdoms lying
east of Palestine, will act a conspicuous part in the matter;
for Joel says in reference to this scene, "Let the
heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat."
The millions of Mohammedans of Persia, Afghanistan, Toorkistan,
and India will rush to the field of conquest in behalf of
their religion. (See more about Turkey in Dan. 11:40-45.)
who place five of the plagues in the past, and contend that
we are now living under the sixth, urge, as one of their
strongest arguments, the fact that the Turkish empire is
now wasting away, and this takes place under the sixth vial.
It is hardly necessary to reply, The event that takes
place under the sixth vial is the entire and utter
consumption of that power, not its preliminary
state of decay, which is all that now appears. It is necessary
that the empire should for a time grow weak and powerless,
in order to its utter dissolution when the plague shall
come. This preliminary condition is now seen, and the full
end cannot be far in the future.
event to be noticed under this plague is the issuing forth
of the three unclean spirits to gather the nations to the
694 -- great battle. The agency now already abroad in
the world known as modern Spiritualism, is in every way
a fitting means to be employed in this work. But it may
be asked how a work which is already going on can be designated
by that expression, when the spirits are not introduced
into the prophecy until the pouring out of the sixth plague,
which is still future. We answer that in this, as in many
other movements, the agencies which Heaven designs to employ
in the accomplishment of certain ends, go through a process
of preliminary training for the part which they are to act.
Thus, before the spirits can have such absolute authority
over the race as to gather them to battle against the King
of kings and Lord of lords, they must first win their way
among the nations of the earth, and cause their teaching
to be received as of divine authority and their word as
law. This work they are now doing; and when they
shall have once gained full influence over the nations in
question, what fitter instrument could be employed to gather
them to so rash and hopeless an enterprise?
many it may seem incredible that the nations should be willing
to engage in such an unequal warfare as to go up to battle
against the lord of hosts; but it is one province of these
spirits of devils to deceive, for they go forth working
miracles, and thereby deceive the kings of the earth, that
they should believe a lie. TOP
sources from which these spirits issue, denote that they
will work among three great religious divisions of mankind,
represented by the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet,
or Paganism, Catholicism, and apostate Protestantism.
what is the force of the caution thrown out in verse 15?
Probation must have closed, and Christ have left his mediatorial
position, before the plagues begin to fall. And is there
danger of falling after that? It will be noticed that this
warning is spoken in connection with the working of the
spirits. The inference therefore is, that it is retroactive,
applying from the time these spirits begin to work to the
close of probation; that by an interchange of tenses common
to the Greek language, the present tense is put for the
past; as if it had read, Blessed is he that hath watched
and kept his garments, as the
695 -- shame and nakedness of all who have not done
this will at this time especially appear.
he gathered them." Who are the ones here spoken of
as "gathered," and what agency is to be used in
gathering them? If the word them refers to the kings
of verse 14 it is certain that no good agency would be made
use of to gather them; and if the spirits are referred to
by the word he, why is it in the singular number?
The peculiarity of this construction has led some to read
the passage thus: "And he [Christ] gathered
them [the saints] into a place called in the Hebrew tongue
Armageddon [the illustrious city, or New Jerusalem]."
But this position is untenable. The following criticism,
which appeared not long since in a religious magazine, seems
to shed the true light upon this passage. The writer says: -
seems to me that verse 16 is a continuation of verse 14,
and that the antecedent of autouV
[them] is 'the kings' mentioned in verse 14. For this latter
verse says, 'Which go forth unto the kings of the earth
and of the whole world, to gather them,' etc., and
in verse 16 it says, 'And he gathered them.'
Now in the Greek, 'a neuter plural regularly takes a verb
in the singular.' (See Sophocles's Greek Grammar,
sec. 151, l.) Might not, therefore, the subject of the verb
sunhgagen [gathered] (verse
16) be ta pneumata [the spirits]
of verse 14, and thus the 'gathering' mentioned in the two
verses be one and the same?
if this is to be a gathering of 'the kings of the earth
and of the whole world,' will it not be for the purpose
mentioned in the text; namely, 'to gather them to the battle
of that great day of God Almighty' ?"
accordance with this criticism, several translations use
the plural instead of the singular pronoun.
Wakefield, in his translation of the New Testament, renders
this verse thus: "And the spirits
gathered the kings together at a place called in Hebrew
Syriac Testament reads: "And they
collected them together in a place called in Hebrew Armageddon."
translation renders it: "And they
assembled them in the place called in Hebrew Armageddon."
696 -- Mr. Wesley's version of the New Testament reads:
"And they gathered them together
to the place which is called in the Hebrew Armageddon."
translation gives it: "And they
gathered them into a place called in Hebrew Armageddon."
Stuart, of Andover College, a distinguished critic, though
not a translator of the Scriptures, renders it:
"And THEY gathered them together," etc. De Wette,
a German translator of the Bible, gives it the same turn
as Stuart and the others. TOP
Albert Barnes, whose notes on the New Testament have been
so extensively used, refers to the same grammatical law
as suggested by the criticism above quoted, and says, "The
authority of De Wette and Professor Stuart is sufficient
to show that the construction which they adopt is authorized
by the Greek, as indeed no one can doubt, and perhaps this
construction accords better with the context than any other
construction proposed." Thus it will be seen that there
are weighty reasons for reading the text, "They
gathered them together," etc., instead of "he
gathered." And by these authorities it is shown that
the persons gathered are the minions of Satan, not saints;
that it is the work of the spirits, not of Christ; and that
the place of assemblage is not in the New Jerusalem at the
marriage supper of the Lamb, but at Armageddon (or Mount
Megiddo), "at the battle of that great day of God Almighty."
hills of Megiddo, overlooking the plain of Esdraelon, was
the place where Barak and Deborah destroyed Sisera's army,
and where Josiah was routed by the Egyptian king Pharaoh-Necho.
17. And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the
air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven,
from the throne, saying, It is done. 18.
And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and
there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men
were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.
19. And the great city was divided
into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and
great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto
her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.
20. And every island fled
away, and the mountains were not found. 21.
And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven,
(The Great Earthquake)
698 -- every stone about the weight of a talent:
and men blasphemed God because of the plague of hail; for
the plague thereof was exceeding great.
Seventh Plague. - Thus has Inspiration described the
last judgment which is to be inflicted in the present condition
of things upon those who are incorrigibly rebellious against
God. Some of the plagues are local in their application;
but this one is poured out into the air. The air envelops
the whole earth; it follows that this plague will envelop
equally the habitable globe. It will be universal. The very
air will be deadly.
gathering of the nations having taken place under the sixth
vial, the battle remains to be fought under the seventh;
and here are brought to view the instrumentalities with
which God will slay the wicked. At this time it may be said,
"The Lord hath opened his armory, and hath brought
forth the weapons of his indignation."
were voices." Above all will be heard the
vice of God. "The Lord also shall roar out of Zion,
and utter his voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and
the earth shall shake; but the Lord will be the hope of
his people, and the strength of the children of Israel."
Joel 3:16. (See also Jer. 25:30; Heb. 12:26.) This will
cause the great earthquake, such as was not since men were
upon the earth.
thunders and lightnings" - another allusion to
the judgments of Egypt. (See Ex. 9:23.) The great city is
divided into three parts; that is, the three grand divisions
of the false and apostate religions of the world (the great
city), Paganism, Catholicism, and relapsed Protestantism,
seem to be set apart each to receive its appropriate doom.
The cities of the nations fall; universal desolation spreads
over the earth; every island flees away, and the mountains
are not found; and great Babylon comes in remembrance before
God. Read her judgments, as more fully described in chapter
there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven." This
is the last instrumentality used in the infliction of punishment
upon the wicked, - the bitter dregs of the seventh vial.
God has solemnly addressed the wicked, saying, "Judgment
699 -- also will I lay to the line, and righteousness
to the plummet; and the hail shall sweep away the refuge
of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding-place."
Isa. 28:17. (See also Isa. 30:30.) And he asks Job if he
has seen the treasures of the hail, which he has "reserved
against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and
war." Job 38:22, 23.
stone about the weight of a talent." A talent, according
to various authorities, as a weight, is about fifty-seven
pounds avoirdupois. What could withstand the force of stones
of such an enormous weight falling from heaven? But mankind,
at this time, will have no shelter. The cities have fallen
in a mighty earthquake, the islands have fled away, and
the mountains are not found. Again the wicked give vent
to their woe in blasphemy; for the plague of the hail is
faint idea of the terrible effect of such a scene as is
here predicted, may be inferred from the following sketch
of a hailstorm on the Bosporus, by our countryman, the late
Commodore Porter, in his Letters from Constantinople
and its Environs, Vol. I, p. 44. He says: -
had got perhaps a mile and a half on our way, when a cloud
rising in the west gave indications of approaching rain.
In a few minutes we discovered something falling from the
heavens with a heavy splash, and with a whitish appearance.
I could not conceive what it was, but observing some gulls
near, I supposed it to be them darting for fish, but soon
after discovered that they were large balls of ice falling.
Immediately we heard a sound like rumbling thunder, or ten
thousand carriages rolling furiously over the pavement.
The whole Bosporus was in a foam, as though heaven's artillery
had been charged upon us and our frail machine. Our fate
seemed inevitable; our umbrellas were raised to protect
us, but the lumps of ice stripped them into ribbons. We
fortunately had a bullock's hide in the boat, under which
we crawled, and saved ourselves from further injury. One
man of the three oarsman had his hand literally smashed;
another was much injured in the shoulder; Mr. H. received
a blow in the leg;
700 -- my right hand was somewhat disabled, and all
were more or less injured.
was the most awful and terrific scene I ever witnessed,
and God forbid that I should ever be exposed to another!
Balls of ice as large as my two fists fell into the boat,
and some of them fell with such violence as certainly to
have broken an arm or leg had they struck us in those parts.
One of them struck the blade of an oar, and split it. The
scene lasted perhaps five minutes; but it was five minutes
of the most awful feelings I ever experienced. When it passed
over, we found the surrounding hills covered with masses
of ice, I cannot call it hail, the trees stripped of their
leaves and limbs, and everything looking desolate. The scene
was awful beyond all description.
have witnessed repeated earthquakes; the lightning has played,
as it were, about my head; the wind has roared, and the
waves at one moment have thrown me to the sky, and the next
have sunk me into a deep abyss. I have been in action, and
have seen death and destruction around me in every shape
of horror; but I never before had the feeling of awe which
seized me on this occasion, and still haunts, and I fear
forever will haunt me. My porter, the boldest of my family,
who had ventured an instant from the door, had been knocked
down by a hailstone, and had they not dragged him in by
the heels, would have been battered to death. Two boatmen
were killed in the upper part of the village, and I have
heard of broken bones in abundance. Imagine to yourself
the heavens suddenly frozen over, and as suddenly broken
to pieces in irregular masses of from half a pound to a
pound weight, and precipitated to the earth."
if such were the desolating effects of a hail-storm of ice,
which discharged stones the size of a man's fist, weighing
at most a pound or so, who can depict the consequences of
that coming storm in which "EVERY STONE" shall
be of the weight of a talent? As surely as God's word is
truth, he is thus soon to punish a guilty world. May it
be ours, according to the promise, to have "sure dwellings"
and "quiet resting places" in that terrific hour.
Isa. 32:18, 19.
"And there came a great voice out of the temple of
heaven, and from the throne, saying, It is done!"
Thus all is finished. The cup of human guilt has been
filled up. The last soul has availed itself of the plan
of salvation. The books are closed. The number of the saved
is completed. The final period is placed to this world's
history. The vials of God's wrath are poured out upon a
corrupt generation. The wicked have drunk them to the dregs,
and sunk into the realm of death for a thousand years. Reader,
where do you wish to be found after that great decision?
what is the condition of the saints while the "overflowing
scourge" is passing over? They are the special subjects
of God's protection, without whose notice not a sparrow
falls to the ground. Many are the promises which come crowding
in to afford them comfort, summarily contained in the beautiful
and expressive language of the 91st psalm, which alone we
have space to quote.
I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress;
my God, in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee
from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings
shalt thou trust; his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for
the arrow that flieth by day; nor for the pestilence that
walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth
at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand
at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only
with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of
the wicked. Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my
refuge, even the Most High, thy habitation, there shall
no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh
thy dwelling." Ps. 91:2-10. TOP
- The Mother
702 -- VERSE 1.
And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven
vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come thither;
I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that
sitteth upon many
waters: 2. With whom the kings
of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants
of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.
3. So he carried me away in the
spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a
scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having
seven heads and ten horns. 4. And
the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked
with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden
cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her
fornication: 5. And upon
her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT,
THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS, AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
verse 19 of the preceding chapter, we were informed that
"great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give
unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath."
The prophet now takes up more particularly the subject of
this great Babylon; and in order to give a full presentation
of it, goes back and gives us some of the facts of her past
history. That this apostate woman, as presented in this
chapter, is a symbol of the Roman Catholic Church, is generally
believed by Protestants. Between this church and the kings
of the earth there has been illicit connection, and with
the wine of her fornication, or her false doctrines, the
inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk.
and State. - This prophecy is more definite than others
applicable to the Roman power, in that it distinguishes
between church and state. We here have the woman, the
703 -- church,
seated upon a scarlet-colored beast, the civil power, by
which she is upheld, and which she controls and guides to
her own ends, as a rider controls the animal upon which
he is seated.
vesture and decorations of this woman, as brought to view
in verse 4, are in striking harmony with the application
made of this symbol; for purple and scarlet are the chief
colors in the robes of popes and cardinals; and among the
myriads of precious stones which adorn her service, according
to an eye-witness, silver is scarcely known, and gold itself
looks but poorly. And from the golden cup in her hand, -
symbol of purity of doctrine and profession, which should
have contained only that which is unadulterated and pure,
or, explaining the figure, only that which is in full accordance
with truth, - there came forth only abominations, and wine
of her fornication, fit symbol of her abominable doctrines
and still more abominable practices.
woman is explicitly called Babylon. Is Rome, then, Babylon,
to the exclusion of all other religious bodies? - No, from
the fact that she is called the mother of harlots,
as already noticed, which shows that there are other independent
religious organizations that constitute the apostate daughters,
and belong to the same great family.
6. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood
of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus:
and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration. 7.
And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel?
I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast
that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.
of Wonder. - Why should John wonder with great astonishment
when he saw the woman drunken with the blood of saints?
Was persecution of the people of God any strange thing in
his day? Had he not seen Rome launch its most fiery anathemas
against the church, himself being in banishment under its
cruel power at the time he wrote? Why, then, should he be
astonished, as he looked forward, and saw Rome still persecuting
the saints? The secret of his wonder was just this: all
the persecution he had witnessed had been
704 -- from pagan Rome, the open enemy of Christ. It
was not strange that pagans should persecute Christ's followers;
but when he looked forward, and saw a church professedly
Christian persecuting the followers of the Lamb,
and drunken with their blood, he could but wonder with great
8. The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall
ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition:
and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names
were not written in the book of life from the foundation
of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is
not, and yet is. 9. And here is
the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains,
on which the woman sitteth. 10.
And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is,
and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must
continue a short space. 11. And
the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and
is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.
in Three Phases. - The beast of which
the angel here speaks is evidently the scarlet beast. A
wild beast, like the one thus introduced, is the symbol
of an oppressive and persecuting power; and while the Roman
power as a nation had a long, uninterrupted existence, it
passed through certain phases during which this symbol would
be applicable to it, and during which time, consequently,
the beast, in such prophecies as the present, might be said
not to be, or not to exist. Thus Rome in its pagan form
was a persecuting power in its relation to the people of
God, during which time it constituted the beast that was;
but the empire was nominally converted to Christianity;
there was a transition from paganism to another phase of
religion falsely called Christian; and during a brief period,
while this transition was going on, it lost its ferocious
and persecuting character, and then it could be said of
the beast that it was not. Time passed on, and it degenerated
into popery, and again assumed its bloodthirsty and oppressive
character, and then it constituted the beast that "yet
is," or in John's day was to be.
Seven Heads. - The seven heads are explained
to be, first, seven mountains, and then seven kings, or
forms of government; for the expression in verse 10, "And
there are seven kings," should read, and these
are seven kings. "Five are fallen," says the angel,
or passed away; "one is;" the sixth
705 -- was then reigning; another was to come, and continue
for a short space; and when the beast reappeared in its
bloody and persecuting character, it was to be under the
eighth form of government, which was to continue till the
beast went into perdition. The seven forms of government
that have existed in the Roman empire are usually enumerated
as follows: (1) kingly;
(2) consular; (3) decemvirate; (4)
dictatorial; (5) triumvirate; (6) imperial;
and (7) papal. Kings, consuls, decemvirs,
dictators and triumvirs had passed away in John's day. He
was living under the imperial form. Two more were to arise
after his time. One was only to continue a short space,
and hence is not usually reckoned among the heads; while
the last, which is usually denominated the seventh, is in
reality the eighth. The head which was to succeed the imperial,
and continue a short space, could not be the papal;
for that has continued longer than all the rest put together.
We understand, therefore, that the papal head is the eighth,
and that a head of short continuance intervened between
the imperial and papal. In fulfilment of this, we read that
after the imperial form had been abolished, there was a
ruler who for about the space of sixty years governed Rome
under the title of the "Exarch of Ravenna." Thus
we have the connecting link between the imperial and papal
heads. The third phase of the beast that was, and is not,
and yet is, is the Roman power under the rule of the papacy;
and in this form it ascends out of the bottomless pit, or
bases its power on pretensions which have no foundation
but a mixture of Christian errors and pagan superstitions.
12. And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings,
which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power
as kings one hour with the beast. 13.
These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength
unto the beast. 14. These shall make
war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for
he is Lord of lords, and King of kings; and they that are
with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
Ten Horns. - On this subject, see remarks on Dan. 7:7,
where they are shown to represent the ten kingdoms that
arose out of the Roman empire. They receive power one hour
(Gr. wra, hora, an indefinite
space of time) with the
706 -- beast; that is, they reign a length of time contemporaneously
with the beast, during which time they give to it their
power and strength.
Croly, in his work on the Apocalypse, offers this comment
on verse 12: "The prediction defines the
epoch of the papacy by the formation of the ten kingdoms
of the Western empire. 'They shall receive power one
hour with the beast.' The translation should be, 'in
the same era.' (mian wran). The
ten kingdoms shall be contemporaneous, in contradistinction
to the 'seven heads,' which were successive."
language must refer to the past, when the kingdoms of Europe
were unanimous in giving their support to the papacy. It
cannot apply to the future; for after the commencement of
the time of the end, they were to take away its dominion
to consume and to destroy it unto the end (Dan. 7:26); and
the treatment which these kingdoms are finally to bestow
upon the papacy, is expressed in verse 16, where it is said
that they shall hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked,
eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. A part of this work
the nations of Europe have been doing for years. The completion
of it, burning her with fire, will be accomplished when
Rev. 18:8 is fulfilled.
make war with the Lamb. Verse 14. Here we are carried into
the future, to the time of the great and final battle; for
at this time the Lamb has assumed the title of King of kings
and Lord of lords, a title which he does not assume till
his second coming. Chapter 19:11-16.
15. And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest,
where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and
nations, and tongues. 16. And the
ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall
hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and
shall eat her flesh and burn her with fire. 17.
For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and
to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the
words of God shall be fulfilled. 18. And
the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth
over the kings of the earth.
Important Symbol Defined. - In verse 15 we have a plain
definition of the Scripture symbol of waters; they denote
peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues. The angel told
707 -- John, while calling his attention to this subject,
that he would show him the judgment of this great harlot.
In verse 16 that judgment is specified. This chapter has,
naturally, more especial reference to the old mother, or
Catholic Babylon. The next chapter, if we mistake not, deals
with the character and destiny of another great branch of
Babylon, the harlot daughters.
( The Message of Revelation 18:1) TOP
-- XVIII -- Babylon - The Daughters
709 -- VERSE 1. And after these things
I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great
power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.
2. And he cried mightily with a strong
voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and
is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every
foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.
3. For all nations have drunk of the
wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the
earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants
of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her
movement of mighty power is symbolized in these verses.
(See under verse 4.) The consideration of a few facts will
guide us unmistakably to the application. In chapter 14
we had a message announcing the fall of Babylon. Babylon
is a term which embraces not only the Roman Catholic Church,
but religious bodies which have sprung from her, bringing
many of her errors and traditions along with them.
A Moral Fall. - The fall of Babylon here spoken of
can not be literal destruction; for there are events to
take place in Babylon after her fall which utterly forbid
this idea: as, for instance, the people of God are there
after her fall, and are called out in order that they may
not receive of her plagues; and in these plagues is embraced
her literal destruction. The fall is therefore a moral one;
for the result of it is that Babylon becomes the habitation
of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage
of every unwclean and hateful bird. These are terrible descriptions
of apostasy, showing that, as a
710 -- consequence of her fall, she piles up an accumulation
of sins even to the heavens, and becomes subject to the
judgments of God, which can no longer be delayed.
since the fall here introduced is a moral one, it must apply
to some branch of Babylon besides, or outside of, the pagan
or papal divisions; for from the beginning of their history,
paganism has been a false religion, and the papacy an apostate
one. And further, as this fall is said to occur but a short
period before Babylon's final destruction, certainly this
side of the rise and predicted triumph of the papal church,
this testimony cannot apply to any religious organizations
but such as have sprung from that church. These started
out on reform. They ran well for a season, and had the approbation
of God; but fencing themselves about with creeds, they have
failed to keep pace with the advancing light of prophetic
truth, and hence have been left in a position where they
will finally develop a character as evil and odious in the
sight of God as that of the church from which they first
withdrew as dissenters, or reformers. As the point before
us is to many a very sensitive one, we will let members
of these various denominations here speak for themselves.
Campbell says: "The
worshiping establishments now in operation throughout Christendom,
incased and cemented by their respective voluminous confessions
of faith, and their ecclesiastical constitutions, are not
churches of Jesus Christ, but the legitimate daughters of
that mother of harlots, the Church of Rome." TOP
he says: "A reformation
of popery was attempted in Europe full three centuries ago.
It ended in a Protestant hierarchy, and swarms of dissenters.
Protestantism has been reformed into Presbyterianism, that
into Congregationalism, and that into Baptistism, etc.,
etc. Methodism has attempted to reform all, but has reformed
itself into many forms of Wesleyanism. All of them retain
in their bosom - in their ecclesiastical organizations,
worship, doctrines, and observances - various relics of
popery. They are at best a reformation of popery, and only
reformations in part. The doctrines and
711 -- traditions of men yet impair the power and progress
of the gospel in their hands." - On Baptism,
report of the Michigan Yearly Conference, published in the
True Wesleyan of Nov. 15, 1851, says:
"The world, commercial, political, and ecclesiastical,
are alike, and are together going in the broad way that
leads to death. Politics, commerce, and nominal religion,
all connive at sin, reciprocally aid each other, and unite
to crush the poor. Falsehood is unblushingly uttered in
the forum and in the pulpit; and sins that would shock
the moral sensibilities of the heathen go unrebuked in all
the great denominations of our land. These churches
are like the Jewish church when the Saviour exclaimed, 'Woe
unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites.'" Is
their condition any better now than it was then?
of similar testimony might be produced from persons in high
standing in these various denominations, written, not for
the purpose of being captious and finding fault, but from
a vivid sense of the fearful condition to which these churches
have fallen. The term Babylon, as applied to them, is not
a term of reproach, but is simply expressive of the confusion
and diversity of sentiment that exists among them. Babylon
need not have fallen, but might have been healed (Jer. 51:9)
by the reception of the truth; but she rejected it, and
confusion and dissensions still reign within her borders,
and worldliness and pride are fast choking out every plant
of heavenly growth.
Chronology of This Movement. - At what time do these
verses have their application? When may this movement be
looked for? If the position here taken is correct, that
these churches, this branch of Babylon, experienced a moral
fall by the rejection of the first message of chapter 14,
the announcement in the chapter under consideration could
not have gone forth previous to that time. It is, then,
either synchronous with the message of the fall of Babylon,
in chapter 14, or it is given at a later period than that.
But it cannot be synonymous with that; for that merely announces
the fall of Babylon, while this adds several particulars
which at that time
712 -- were neither fulfilled nor in process of fulfilment.
As we are therefore to look this side of 1844, where the
previous message went forth, for the announcement brought
to view in this chapter, we inquire, Has any such message
been given from that time to the present? The answer must
still be in the negative; hence this message is yet future.
But we are now having the third angel's message, which is
the last to be given before the coming of the Son of man.
We are therefore held to the conclusion that the first two
verses of this chapter constitute a feature of the third
message which is to appear when this message shall be proclaimed
with power, and the whole earth be
lightened with its glory.
The work brought to view in verse 2 is in process of accomplishment,
and will soon be completed, by the work of Spiritualism.
What are called in Rev. 16:14 "spirits of devils, working
miracles," are secretly but rapidly working their way
into the religious denominations above referred to; for
their creeds have been formulated under the influence of
the wine (errors) of Babylon, one of which is that the spirits
of our dead friends, conscious, intelligent, and active,
are all about us; and this renders such denominations unable
to resist the approach of evil spirits who come to them
under the names and impersonations of their dead friends.
significant feature in the work of Spiritualism, just now,
is the religious garb it is assuming. Keeping in the background
its grosser principles, which it has heretofore carried
so largely in the front, it now assumes to appear as respectably
religious in some quarters as any other denomination in
the land. It talks of sin, repentance, the atonement, salvation
through Christ, etc., almost as orthodoxly as the most approved
standards. Under the guise of this profession, what is to
hinder it from intrenching itself in almost every denomination
in Christendom? The basis of Spiritualism is a fundamental
dogma in the creeds of almost all the churches. Its secret
principles are, alas! too commonly cherished, and its dark
practices too commonly followed, to put them at variance
on that ground, so long as they seek a common concealment.
713 -- What,
then, can save Christendom from its seductive influence?
is seen another sad result of rejecting the truths offered
to the world by the messages of chapter 14. Had the churches
received these messages, they would have been shielded against
this delusion; for among the great truths developed by the
religious movement there brought to view, is the important
doctrine that the soul of man is not naturally immortal;
that eternal life is a gift suspended on conditions, and
to be acquired through Christ alone; that the dead are unconscious;
and that the rewards and punishments of the future world
lie beyond the resurrection and the day of judgment. This
strikes a death-blow to the first and vital claim of Spiritualism.
can that doctrine secure in any mind fortified by this truth?
The spirit comes, and claims to be the disembodied soul,
or spirit, of a dead man. It is met with the fact that that
is not the kind of soul, or spirit, which man possesses;
that the "dead know not anything;" that this,
its first pretension, is a lie, and that the credentials
it offers, show it to belong to the synagogue of Satan.
Thus it is at once rejected, and the evil it would do is
effectually prevented. But the great mass of religionists
stand opposed to the truth which would thus shield them,
and thereby expose themselves to this last manifestation
of Satanic cunning.
while Spiritualism is thus working, startling changes are
manifesting themselves in high places in some of the denominations.
The infidelity of the present age, under the seductive names
of "science," "the higher criticism,"
"evolution," etc., is making not a few notable
attention was forcibly called to this situation by a writer,
Mr. Harold Bolce, in The Cosmopolitan Magazine for
May, 1909. Having made an investigation into the character
of the teaching that was being imparted in some of the leading
universities of this country, he reported the results in
The Cosmopolitan, which drew forth this comment from
Mr. Bolce sets down here is of the most astounding character.
Out of the curricula of American colleges, a dynamic
714 -- movement is upheaving ancient foundations, and
promising a way for revolutionary thought and life. Those
who are not in close touch with the great colleges of the
country will be astonished to learn the creeds being fostered
by the faculties of our great universities. In hundreds
of class-rooms it is being taught daily that the decalogue
is no more sacred than a syllabus; that the home as an institution
is doomed; that there are no absolute evils; that immorality
is simply an act in contravention of society's accepted
standards.... These are some of the revolutionary and sensational
teachings submitted with academic warrant to the minds of
hundreds of thousands of students in the United States."
At about the same time The Independent, N. Y., an
exponent of the higher criticism, referred to conditions
in the Baptist and Presbyterian churches, with the announcement
that "the heretics
have won the day in Chicago and New York."
This was shown by the action of their ministers' meetings
in those cities, in refusing to exclude from the ministry,
teachers of the most open heresies.
"It has been a bad week for the old guard," said
"and these occurrences give evidences of a mighty change
of view on questions of theology within the past twenty
years, or even ten." TOP
the same journal said: -
mighty breadth of tolerance which these Baptist and Presbyterian
bodies thus allow, is hardly less than revolutionary. It
began with the scientific and historical study of the Bible.
When we found that the world was more than six thousand
years old; that there was no universal flood four thousand
years ago; that Adam was not made directly from dust, and
Eve from his rib; and that the tower of Babel was not the
occasion of the diversification of languages, we had gone
too far to stop. The process of criticism had to go on from
Genesis to Revelation, with no fear of the curse at the
end of the last chapter. It could not stop with Moses and
Isaiah; it had to include Matthew and John and Paul. Every
one of them had to be sifted. They had already ceased to
be taken as unquestioned final authorities, for plenary
inspiration had followed verbal
inspiration just as soon as the first chapter of Genesis
had ceased to be taken as true history. The miracles of
Jesus had to be tested as well as those of Elijah. The date
and purpose of the gospel of John had to be investigated
historically, as well as that of the prophecy of Isaiah;
and the conclusion of historical criticism had to be accepted
with no regard to the old theologies. We have just reached
this condition; and there is repeated evidence that it marks
an epoch, a revolution in theologic thought. This is what
we learn from Chicago and New York from two such militant
denominations as the Baptist and the Presbyterian."
the standpoint of such a lamentable outlook, and under the
leadership of such men, how long before Babylon will become
full of spirits that are foul, and birds that are hateful
and unclean? What progress has already been made in this
direction! How would the godly fathers and mothers of the
generation that lived just before the first message was
given, could they rise from their graves, and comprehend
the present condition of the religious world, hearing its
teaching and beholding its practices, stand aghast at the
fearful contrast between their time and ours, and deplore
the sad degeneracy! And Heaven is not to let all this pass
in silence; for a mighty proclamation is to be made, calling
the attention of all the world to the fearful counts in
the indictment against these unfaithful religious bodies,
that the justice of the judgments that follow may plainly
3 shows the wide extent of the influence of Babylon, and
the evil that has resulted and will result from her course,
and hence the justness of her punishment. The merchants
of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance
of her delicacies. Who take the lead in all the extravagances
of the age? Who load their tables with the richest and choicest
viands? Who are foremost in extravagance in dress, and all
costly attire? Who are the very personification of pride
and arrogance? - Are they not church-members? Where shall
we look for the very highest exhibition of the luxury, vain
show, and pride of life, resulting from the vanity and sin
716 -- race? - Is it not to a modern church assembly
on a pleasant Sunday?
is a redeeming feature in this picture. Degenerate as Babylon
has become as a body, there are exceptions to the general
rule; for God has still a people there, and she must be
entitled to some regard on their account until they are
called from her communion. Nor will it be necessary to wait
long for this call. Soon Babylon will become so thoroughly
leavened with the influence of these evil agents that her
condition will be fully manifest to all the honest in heart,
and the way be all prepared for the work which the apostle
4. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come
out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins,
and that ye receive not of her plagues. 5. For
her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered
her iniquities. 6. Reward her even
as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according
to her works; in the cup which she hath filled, fill to
her double. 7. How much she hath
glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment
and sorrow give her; for she saith in her heart, I sit a
queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.
8. Therefore shall her plagues come in one
day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly
burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth
voice coming from heaven denotes that it will be a message
of power attended with heavenly glory. How marked becomes
the interposition of Heaven, and how the agents for the
accomplishment of God's work multiply, as the great crisis
approaches! This voice from heaven is called "another"
voice, showing that a new agency is here introduced. We
now have five celestial messengers expressly mentioned as
engaged in this last religious reformation. These are the
first, second, and third angels of chapter 14; fourth, the
angel of verse one of this chapter; and fifth, the agency
indicated by the "voice" of verse 4 now before
us. Three of these are already in operation. The second
angel has joined the first, and the third has joined them.
The first and second have not ceased. All three now have
the field. The angel of verse 1 is entering upon his mission,
as the conditions which call for his work are supplied;
and the divine call from heaven must take place in connection
with his work.
717 -- Proof
has already been offered to show that the message of verses
1 and 2 of this chapter is to be given in connection with
the now current third message, and will mark a new era in
this work. An idea of its extent and power may be gathered
from the description of the angel there given. The first
message is said to go with a "loud voice;" the
same is also said of the third message; but this angel,
instead of simply flying "in the midst of heaven,"
like the others, is said to "come down from
heaven." He comes, as it were, nearer to the earth,
with a message more pointed and direct; and he has "great
power," and the earth is "lightened with his glory."
No such description of a message from heaven to man is elsewhere
to be found in all the Bible. This is the last; and as is
meet, it comes with surpassing glory and unwonted power.
It is an awful hour when a world's destiny is to be decided,
- a most solemn crisis when an entire contemporaneous generation
of the human family is to pass the bounds of probation,
as the last note of mercy is sounded in their ears. In such
a time, the world must not be left without warning. So amply
must the great fact be heralded, that none can plead a reasonable
ignorance of the impending doom. Every excuse must be taken
away. The justice and long-suffering and forbearance of
God in delaying threatened vengeance till all have had an
opportunity to receive a knowledge of his will, and space
to repent, must be vindicated. An angel is sent forth, panoplied
with Heaven's power. The light that encircles the throne
enshrouds him. He comes to the earth. None but the spiritually
dead - yea, "twice dead, and plucked up by the roots"
- would fail to realize his presence. Light flashes everywhere.
The dark places are lighted up. And while his presence dispels
the shadows, his voice in thunder tones utters a warning.
He cries "mightily." He speaks in no feeble tones,
and with no uncertain sound. It is no parlor announcement,
but a cry, a mighty cry, a cry with a strong
voice. The fatal defects in the profession of a worldly
church are again pointed out. Their errors are once more,
and for the last time, exposed. The inadequacy of the present
standard of godliness to meet the final crisis is emphasized
beyond all mistaking. The inevitable
718 -- connection between their cherished errors and
irretrievable and everlasting destruction is heralded till
the earth resounds with the cry. Meanwhile, great Babylon's
sins mount up to the heavens, and the remembrance of her
iniquities comes up before God. The storm of vengeance gathers.
The great tidal wave of supernal wrath rolls onward. The
feathery foam plays along its crest, indicating that but
an instant remains ere it will burst upon the great city
of confusion, and proud Babylon will go down as a millstone
sinks in the depths of the sea. Suddenly another voice rings
out from heaven, "Come out of her, my people!"
The humble, sincere, devoted children of God, of whom there
are some still left, and who sigh and cry over the abominations
done in the land, heed the voice, wash their hands of her
sins, separate from her communion, escape, and are saved,
while Babylon becomes the victim of the just judgments of
God. There are stirring times before the church. Let us
be ready for the crisis.
fact that God's people are called out so as not to be partakers
of her sins, shows that it is not till a certain time that
people become guilty by being connected with Babylon; and
this explains how it can be said of the 144,000 (Rev. 14:4),
many of whom are the very ones here called out, that they
were not defiled with women.
6 and 7 are a prophetic declaration that she will be rewarded
or punished according to her works. Bear in mind that this
testimony applies to that portion of Babylon which is subject
to a moral fall. As already pointed out, it must apply especially
to the "daughters," the denominations who persist
in clinging to the personal traits of the "mother,"
and keeping up the family resemblance. These, as pointed
out on a previous page, are to attempt a sweeping persecution
against the truth and the people of God. By these the "image
of the beast" is to be formed. These are to have what
will be to them a new experience, - the use of the civil
arm to enforce their dogmas. And it is doubtless this first
intoxication of power that leads this branch of Babylon
to cherish in her heart the boast, "I sit a queen,
and am no widow;" that is, I am no longer chra,
"one bereaved," or destitute of power,
719 -- have been; but now I rule like a queen; I shall
see no sorrow; God is in the Constitution; the church is
enthroned, and shall henceforth bear sway. The expression,
"Reward her even as she rewarded you," seems to
show that the time for this message to be given, and for
the saints to be called out, will be when she begins to
raise against them the arm of oppression. As she fills up
the cup of persecution to the saints, so the angel of the
Lord will persecute her (Ps. 35:6); and judgments from on
high will bring upon her, in a twofold degree, the evil
which she thought to bring upon the humble servants of the
day in which her plagues come, mentioned in verse 8, must
be a prophetic day, or at least cannot be a literal day;
for it would be impossible for famine to come in that length
of time. The plagues of Babylon are without doubt the seven
last plagues, which have already been examined; and the
plain inference from the language of this verse, in connection
with Isa. 34:8, is that a year will be occupied in that
9. And the kings of the earth, who have committed
fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail
her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of
her burning, 10. Standing afar
off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas that
great city BabyIon, that mighty city! for in one hour is
thy judgment come. 11. And the
merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for
no man buyeth their merchandise any more.
720 -- A Fitting Retribution. - The infliction
of the very first plague must result in a complete suspension
of traffic in those articles of luxury for which Babylon
is noted. And when the merchants of these things, who are
to a great extent citizens of this symbolic city, and who
have been made rich by their traffic in these things, suddenly
find themselves and their neighbors smitten with putrefying
sores, their traffic suspended, and vast stores of merchandise
on hand, but none to buy them, they lift up their voices
in lamentation for the fate of this great city; for if there
is anything which will draw from the men of this generation
a sincere cry of distress, it is that which touches
their treasures. And there is a fitness in this retribution.
They who but a short time before had issued a decree that
the saints of God should neither buy nor sell, now find
themselves put under the same restriction by a far more
question may arise how persons involved in the same calamity
can stand afar off and lament, etc.; but it must
be remembered that this desolation is brought to view under
a figure, and the figure is that of a city visited with
destruction. Should calamity come upon a literal city, it
would be natural for its inhabitants to flee from that city
if they had opportunity, and standing afar off, lament its
fall; and just in proportion to their terror and amazement
at the evil impending, would be the distance at which they
would stand from their devoted city. Now the figure the
apostle uses would not be complete without a feature of
this kind; and so he uses it, not to imply that people would
literally flee from the symbolic city, which would be impossible,
but to denote their terror and amazement at
the descending judgments.
12. The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious
stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk,
and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels
of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood,
and of brass, and iron, and marble, 13. And
cinnamon, and odors, and ointments, and frankincense, and
wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and
sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of
Merchandise. - In these verses we have an enumeration
of great Babylon's merchandise, which includes everything
721 -- pertaining to luxurious living, pomp, and worldly
display. All kinds of mercantile traffic are brought to
view. The declaration concerning "slaves and souls
of men" may pertain more particularly to the spiritual
domain, and have reference to slavery of conscience by the
creeds of these bodies, which in some cases is more oppressive
than physical bondage.
14. And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed
from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are
departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at
Rebuked. - The fruits here mentioned are, according
to the original, "autumnal fruits;" and in this
we find a prophecy that the "delicacies of the season,"
upon which the luxurious gormand so sets his pampered appetite,
will be suddenly cut off. This, of course, is the work of
the famine, which is the result of the fourth vial. Chapter
16:8. And we may be even now having a premonition of this
destruction in the phylloxera of the vineyards, the "scales"
and moths, and other recent enemies to vegetation.
this connection we can hardly forbear glancing at the general
aspect of the times in respect to the remarkable physical
phenomena everywhere manifesting themselves as they seem
so plainly to indicate that all the courses of nature are
disturbed, and that the earth itself is waxing old in anticipation
of the time when it shall vanish away. Within a few years
past, how many unnatural visitations of earthquake and fire,
storm and flood, have wrought ruin in different localities,
and awakened forebodings of fear in the hearts of men in
general. Witness the Chicago fire, the Baltimore fire, the
Toronto fire, and the destruction by earthquake and fire
of San Francisco, Valparaiso, and Kingston; the floods of
the Ohio, the Mississippi, and other Western rivers; the
devastating floods of Europe; the famines of China and Russia
and the plague in India; the cyclones and tidal waves, sweeping
away the proudest works of man, and hurling thousands of
human beings into untimely graves.
VERSE 15. The merchants of these things,
which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for fear
of her torment, weeping and wailing, 16. And
saying, Alas, alas that great city, that was clothed
(Babylon Falls, Like a Millstone Thrown Into the Sea. Rev.
723 -- in
fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold,
and precious stones, and pearls! 17.
For in one hour so great riches is
come to naught. And every shipmaster, and all the
company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea,
stood afar off, 18. And cried when
they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is
like unto this great city! 19.
And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and
wailing, saying, Alas, alas that great city, wherein were
made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her
costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.
Emotions of the Wicked. - The reader can readily
imagine the cause of this universal voice of mourning, lamentation,
and woe. Imagine the plague of sores preying upon men, the
rivers turned to blood, the sea like the blood of a dead
man, the sun scorching men with fire, their traffic gone,
and their silver and gold unable to deliver them, and we
need not wonder at their exclamations of distress, nor that
shipmasters and sailors join in the general wail. Very different
is the emotion the saints are called upon to exercise, as
the following testimony shows.
20. Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy
apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.
21. And a mighty angel took up a
stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea,
saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon
be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all. 22.
And the voice of harpers, and musicians,
and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at
all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be,
shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone
shall be heard no more at all in thee; 23.
And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in
thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall
be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were
the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all
nations deceived. 24. And in her
was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all
that were slain upon the earth.
of the Righteous. - The apostles and prophets are here
called upon to rejoice over great Babylon in her destruction,
as it is in close connection with this destruction that
they will all be delivered from the power of death and the
grave by the first resurrection.
a great millstone, Babylon sinks to rise no more. The various
arts and crafts that have been employed in her midst, and
have ministered to her desires, shall be practiced no more.
The pompous music that has been employed in her
724 -- imposing but formal and lifeless service, dies
away forever. The scenes of festivity and gladness, when
the bridegroom and the bride have been led before her altars,
shall be witnessed no more.
sorceries constitute her leading crime; and sorcery is a
practice which is involved in the Spiritualism of to-day.
"And in her was found the blood " of "all
that were slain upon the earth." From this it is evident
that ever since the introduction of a false religion into
the world, Babylon has existed. In her has been found, all
along, opposition to the work of God, and persecution of
his people. In reference to the guilt of the last generation,
see on chapter 16:6. TOP
-- XIX --
Triumph of the Saints
725 -- VERSE 1. And after these
things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying,
Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honor, and power, unto
the Lord our God: 2. For true and
righteous are his judgments; for he hath judged the great
whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication,
and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.
3. And again they said, Alleluia.
And her smoke rose up forever and ever.
Continuing the subject of chapter 18, the apostle here introduces
the song of triumph which the redeemed saints strike up
on victor harps, when they behold the complete destruction
of that great system of opposition to God and his true worship
comprehended in great Babylon. This destruction takes place,
and this song is sung, in connection with the second coming
of Christ at the commencement of the thousand years.
Forever and Ever.- There
can but one query arise on this scripture, and that is how
it can be said that her smoke rose up forever and ever.
Does not this language imply eternity of suffering? Let
it be remembered that this is borrowed language; and to
gain a correct understanding of it, we must go back to its
first introduction, and consider its import as there used.
In Isaiah 34 will be found the language from which, in all
probability, such expressions as these are borrowed. Under
the figure of Idumea, a certain destruction is brought to
view; and it is said of that land that its streams should
726 -- turned into pitch, its dust into brimstone, that
it should become burning pitch, and not be quenched night
nor day, but that its smoke should go up forever. Now this
language is spoken, as all must concede, of one of two things;
either of the particular country called Idumea, or of the
whole earth under that name. In either case it is evident
that the language must be limited. Probably the whole earth
is meant, from the fact that the chapter opens with an address
to the earth and all that is therein, the world and all
that come forth of it; and the indignation of the Lord is
declared to be upon all nations. Now, whether this refers
to the depopulation and desolation of the earth at the second
advent, or to the purifying fires that shall purge it of
the effects of the curse at the end of the thousand years,
the language must still be limited; for after all this,
a renovated earth is to come forth, to be the abode of the
nations of the saved throughout eternity. Three times this
expression of smoke going up forever is used in the Bible:
once here in Isaiah 34, of the land of Idumea as a figure
of the earth; in Revelation 14 (which see), of the worshipers
of the beast and his image; and again in the chapter we
are now considering, referring to the destruction of great
Babylon; and all of them apply to the very same time, and
describe the same scenes; namely, the destruction visited
upon this earth, the worshipers of the beast, and all the
pomp of great Babylon, at the second advent of our Lord
4. And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts
fell down and worshiped God that sat on the throne, saying,
Amen; Alleluia. 5. And a voice
came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his
servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.
6. And I heard as it were the voice of
a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and
as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for
the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. 7. Let
us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage
of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
8. And to her was granted that
she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for
the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
Song of Triumph. - The Lord God omnipotent, the Father,
reigneth, is the language of this song. He reigns at the
present time, and has ever reigned, in reality, though sentence
against an evil work has not been executed speedily; but
now he reigns by the open manifestation of his power in
the subjugation of all his foes. TOP
... for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath
made herself ready." Who is the "bride, the Lamb's
wife," and what is the marriage? A vast field for thought
is here opened, and material furnished for a more lengthy
exposition than falls within the design of this work. The
Lamb's wife is the New Jerusalem which is above. This will
be noticed more fully on chapter 21. The marriage of the
Lamb is his reception of this city. When he receives this
city, he receives it as the glory and metropolis of his
kingdom; hence with it he receives his kingdom, and the
throne of his father David. This may well be the event designated
by the marriage of the Lamb. That the marriage relation
is often taken to illustrate the union between Christ and
his people, is granted; but the marriage of the Lamb here
spoken of is a definite event to take place at a definite
time; and if the declaration that Christ is the head of
the church as the husband is the head of the wife (Eph.
5:23), proves that the church is now the Lamb's wife, then
the marriage of the Lamb took place long ago; but that cannot
be, according to this scripture, which locates it in the
future. Paul told his Corinthian converts that he had espoused
them to one husband, even Christ. This is true of all converts.
But while this figure is used to denote the relation that
they then assumed to Christ, was it a fact that the marriage
of the Lamb took place in Corinth in Paul's day, and that
it has been going on for the past eighteen hundred years?
Further remarks on this point are deferred to a consideration
of chapter 21.
if the city is the bride, it may be asked how it can be
said that she made herself ready. Answer: By
the figure of personification, which attributes life and
action to inanimate objects. (See a notable example in Psalm
114.) Again, the query may arise on verse 8 how a city can
be arrayed in the righteousness of the saints; but if we
consider that a city without inhabitants would be but a
dreary and cheerless place, we
728 -- see at once how this is. Reference is had to
the countless number of its glorified inhabitants in their
shining apparel. The raiment was granted to her.
What is granted to her? Isaiah 54 and Gal. 4:21-31 will
explain. To the new-covenant city are granted many more
children than to the old; these are her glory and rejoicing.
The goodly apparel of this city, so to speak, consists of
the hosts of the redeemed and immortal ones who walk its
9. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are
they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.
And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.
10. And I fell at his feet to worship
him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellow
servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of
Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit
Marriage Supper. - Many are the allusions to this marriage
supper in the New Testament. It is referred to in the parable
of the marriage of the king's son (Matt. 22 :1-14), again
in Luke 14:16-24. It is the time when we shall eat bread
in the kingdom of God, when we are recompensed at the resurrection
of the just. Luke 14:12-15. It is the time when we shall
drink of the fruit of the vine new with our Redeemer in
his heavenly kingdom. Matt. 26:29; Mark 14:25; Luke 22:18.
It is the time when we shall sit at his table in the kingdom
(Luke 22:30), and he will gird himself, and come forth and
serve us. Luke 12:37. Blessed indeed are they who have the
privilege of partaking of this glorious feast.
John's Fellow Servant. - A word on verse 10, in reference
to those who think they find here an argument for consciousness
in death. The mistake which such persons make on this scripture
is in supposing that the angel declares to John that he
is one of the old prophets come back to communicate with
him. The person employed in giving the Revelation to John
is called an angel, and angels are not the departed spirits
of the dead. Whoever takes the position that they are, is
to all intents a Spiritualist; for this is the very foundation-stone
of their theory. But the angel says no such thing. He simply
says that he is the fellow servant of John, as he had been
the fellow servant of his brethren the prophets. The term
729 -- servant implies that thy were all on a
common footing as servants of the great God; hence he was
not a proper object for John to worship. (See on chapter
1:1, "His Angel.") TOP
VERSE 11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a
white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful
and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
12. His eyes were as a flame
of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a
name written, that no man knew but he himself.
13. And he was clothed with a vesture
dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
14. And the armies which were in heaven
followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white
and clean. 15. And out of
his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite
the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron:
and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath
of Almighty God. 16. And
he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written,
King of kings and Lord of lords. 17.
And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried
with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the
midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto
the supper of the great God; 18.
That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of
captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of
horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all
men, both free and bond, both small and great. 19.
And l saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and
their armies, gathered together to make war against him
that sat on the horse, and against his army. 20.
And tho beast was taken, and with him the false prophet
that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived
them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that
worshiped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake
of fire burning with brimstone. 21. And
the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon
the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all
the fowls were filled with their flesh.
Christ's Second Coming. - With verse 11 a new scene
is introduced. We are here carried back to the second coming
of Christ, this time under the symbol of a warrior riding
forth to battle. Why is he represented thus? - Because he
is going forth to war, - to meet "the kings of the
earth and their armies," and this would be the only
proper character in which to represent him on such a mission.
His vesture is dipped in blood. (See a description of the
same scene in Isa. 63 1-4.) The armies of heaven, the angels
of God, follow him. Verse 15 shows how he rules the nations
with a rod of iron when they are given him for an inheritance,
as recorded in the second psalm, which popular theology
interprets to mean the conversion of the world. But would
not such expressions as "treadeth
730 -- the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of
Almighty God," be a very singular description of a
work of grace upon the hearts of the heathen for their conversion?
The great and final display of the "winepress of God's
wrath," and also of "the lake of fire," occurs
at the end of the thousand years, as described in chapter
20; and to that it would seem that the full and formal description
of Rev. 14:18-20 must apply. But the destruction of the
living wicked at the second coming of Christ, at the beginning
of the thousand years, furnishes a scene on a smaller scale,
similar, in both these respects, to what takes place at
the close of that period. Hence in the verses before us
we have this mention of both the winepress of wrath and
the lake of fire.
has at this time closed his mediatorial work, and laid off
his priestly robes for kingly attire; for he has on his
vesture and on his thigh a name written, King of kings and
Lord of lords. This is in harmony with the character in
which he here appears; for it was the custom of warriors
anciently to have some kind of title inscribed upon their
vesture. Verse 17. What is to be understood by the angel
standing in the sun? In chapter 16:17 we read of the seventh
vial being poured out into the air, from which it was inferred
that as the air envelops the whole earth, that plague would
be universal. May not the same principle of interpretation
apply here, and show that the angel standing in the sun,
and issuing his call from thence to the fowls of heaven
to come to the supper of the great God, denotes that this
proclamation will go wherever the sun's rays fall upon this
earth? And the fowls will be obedient to the call, and fill
themselves with the flesh of horses, kings, captains, and
mighty men. Thus, while the saints are partaking of the
marriage supper of the Lamb, the wicked in their own persons
furnish a great supper for the fowls of the heavens.
beast and false prophet are taken. The false prophet is
the one that works miracles before the beast. This proves
him to be identical with the two-horned beast of chapter
13, to whom the same work, for the very same purpose, is
there attributed. The fact that these are cast alive
into the lake of fire, shows that these powers will not
pass away and be succeeded
731 -- by others, but be living powers at the second
advent of Christ.
papacy has long been in the field, and has come to the closing
scenes in its career. And its overthrow is emphatically
predicted in other prophecies than the one now before us,
notably in Dan. 7:11, in which the prophet says that he
beheld till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed
and given to the burning flame. And this followed close
upon the utterance of great words which the horn spake,
which words were doubtless heard in the decree of papal
infallibility in the great ecumenical council of 1870. This
power must therefore be very near the close of its existence.
But it does not perish till Christ appears, for it then
goes alive into the lake of fire.
other power associated with it, the two-horned beast, we
see fast approaching the very climax of the work it has
to do before it also goes alive into the lake of fire. And
how thrilling is the thought that we see before us two great
prophetic agencies which are, by all the evidences, near
the close of their history, which yet are not to cease till
the Lord shall appear in all his glory.
appears from verse 21 that there is a remnant not numbered
with the beast or false prophet. These are slain by the
sword of Him that sits upon the horse, which sword proceeds
out of his mouth. This sword is doubtless what is spoken
of elsewhere as "the spirit of his mouth" and
"the breath of his lips," with which the Lord
shall slay the wicked at his appearing and kingdom. Isa.
11:4; 2 Thess. 2:8.
First and Second Resurrections
732 -- VERSE 1.
I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of
the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
2. And he laid hold on the dragon, that
old serpent, which is the devil, and Satan, and bound him
a thousand years, 3. And cast him
into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal
upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more till
the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he
must be loosed a little season.
The event with which this chapter opens seems to follow,
in chronological order, the events of the preceding chapter.
The inquiries that here arise are, Who is the angel that
comes down from heaven? what are the key and chain which
he has in his hand? what is the bottomless pit? and what
is meant by binding Satan a thousand years?
The Angel. - Is
this angel Christ, as some suppose? Evidently not. A bright
ray of light is thrown from the old typical service directly
upon this passage. Thus, Christ is the great High Priest
of this dispensation. On the day of atonement, anciently,
two goats were taken by the priest, upon which lots were
cast, one for the Lord, and the other for the scapegoat.
The one upon which the Lord's lot fell, was then slain,
and his blood carried into the sanctuary to make an
733 -- atonement for the children of Israel, after
which the sins of the people were confessed upon the head
of the other, or scapegoat, and he was sent away by the
hand of a fit man into the wilderness, or a place not inhabited.
Now, as Christ is the priest of this dispensation, so by
arguments, a few of which we here introduce, Satan is shown
to be the antitypical scapegoat.
The Hebrew word for scapegoat, as given in the margin of
Lev. 16:8, is Azazel. On this verse, Jenks, in his
Comprehensive Commentary, remarks: "Scapegoat.
(See diff. opin. in Bochart.) Spencer, after the oldest
opinion of the Hebrews and Christians, thinks Azazel
is the name of the devil; and so Rosenmuller, whom see.
The Syriac has Azzail, the angel (strong one) who
devil is here evidently pointed out. Thus we have the definition
of the Scripture term in two ancient languages, with the
oldest opinion of the Christians, in favor of the view that
the scapegoat is a type of Satan.
Charles Beecher, in Redeemer and Redeemed, pp. 67,
68, says: "What goes
to confirm this is that the most ancient paraphrases and
translations treat Azazel as a proper name. The Chaldee
paraphrase and the targums of Onkelos and Jonathan would
certainly have translated it if it was not a proper name,
but they do not. The Septuagint, or oldest Greek version,
renders it by apopompaioV (apopompaios),
a word applied by the Greeks to a malign deity sometimes
appeased by sacrifices. Another confirmation is found in
the book of Enoch, where the name Azalzel, evidently a corruption
of Azazel, is given to one of the fallen angels, thus plainly
showing what was the prevalent understanding of the Jews
at that day.
another evidence is found in the Arabic, where Azazel is
employed as the name of the evil spirit. In addition to
these, we have the evidence of the Jewish work Zohar, and
of the Cabalistic and Rabbinical writers. They tell us that
the following proverb was current among the Jews:
'On the day of atonement, a gift to Sammael.' Hence Moses
Gerundinensis feels called to say that it is not a sacrifice,
but only done because commanded by God. TOP
734 -- "Another step in the evidence is when we
find this same opinion passing from the Jewish to the early
Christian church. Origen was the most learned of the Fathers,
and on such a point as this, the meaning of a Hebrew word,
his testimony is reliable. Origen says, 'He who is called
in the Septuagint apopompaioV, and in the Hebrew Azazel,
is no other than the devil.'
view, then, of the difficulties attending any other meaning,
and the accumulated evidence in favor of this, Hengstenberg
affirms with great confidence that Azazel cannot be anything
else than another name for Satan."
In the common acceptation of the word, the term scapegoat
is applied to any one who has become obnoxious to the claims
of justice; and while it is revolting to all our conceptions
of the character and glory of Christ to apply this term
to him, it must strike every one as a very appropriate designation
of the devil, who is styled in Scripture the accuser, adversary,
angel of the bottomless pit, Beelzebub, Belial, dragon,
enemy, evil spirit, father of lies, murderer, prince of
devils, serpent, tempter, etc., etc.
The third reason for this position is the very striking
manner in which it harmonizes with the events to transpire
in connection with the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary,
as far as revealed to us in the Scriptures of truth.
behold in the type, (a) the sin of the transgressor
transferred to the victim; (b) we see that
sin borne by the ministration of the priest and the blood
of the offering into the sanctuary; (c) on
the tenth day of the seventh month we see the priest, with
the blood of the sin-offering for the people, remove all
their sins from the sanctuary, and lay them upon the head
of the scapegoat; and (d) the goat
bears them away into a land not inhabited. Lev. 1:1-4; 4:3-6;
16:5-10, 15, 16, 20-22.
to these events in the type, we behold in the antitype,
(a) the great offering for the world
made on Calvary; (b) the sins of all those
who avail themselves of the merits of Christ's shed blood
by faith in him, borne, by the ministration of Christ while
pleading his own blood, into the new-covenant
735 -- sanctuary; (c) after Christ,
the minister of the true tabernacle (Heb. 8:2), has finished
his ministration, he will remove the sins of his people
from the sanctuary, and lay them upon the head of their
author, the antitypical scapegoat, the devil; and
(d) the devil will be sent away with them
into a land not inhabited.
we believe to be the very event described in the verses
under notice. The sanctuary service is, at the time here
specified, closed. Christ lays upon the head of the devil
the sins which have been transferred to the sanctuary, and
which are imputed to the saints no more, and the devil is
sent away, not by the hand of the High Priest, but
by the hand of another person, according to the type, into
a place here called the bottomless pit. Hence this angel
is not Christ. For a full exposition of this subject, see
the work Looking Unto Jesus; or Christ In Type
The Key and Chain.
- It cannot be supposed that the key and chain
are literal; they are rather used merely as symbols of the
power and authority with which this angel is clothed upon
The Bottomless Pit. -
The original word signifies an abyss, bottomless,
deep, profound. Its use seems to be such as to show that
the word denotes any place of darkness, desolation, and
death. Thus in Rev. 9:1, 2, it is applied to the barren
wastes of the Arabian desert, and in Rom. 10:7, to the grave;
but the passage which specially throws light upon the meaning
of the word here is Gen. 1:2, where we read that "darkness
was upon the face of the deep." The word there rendered
deep is the same word that is here rendered bottomless
pit; so that passage might have been translated, "Darkness
was upon the face of the abyss, or bottomless pit."
But we all know what is meant by the word deep as
there used; it is applied to this earth in its chaotic state.
Precisely this it must mean in this third verse of Revelation
20. At this time, let it be borne in mind, the earth is
a vast charnel-house of desolation and death. The voice
of God has shaken it to its foundations; the islands and
mountains have been moved out of their places; the great
earthquake has leveled to the earth the mightiest
736 -- works of man; the seven last plagues have left
their all-desolating footprints over the earth; the burning
glory attending the coming of the Son of man has borne its
part in accomplishing the general desolation; the wicked
have been given to the slaughter, and their putrefying flesh
and bleaching bones lie unburied, ungathered, and unlamented
from one end of the earth to the other end thereof. Thus
is the earth made empty and waste, and turned upside down.
Isa. 24:1. Thus is it brought back again, partially at least,
to its original state of confusion and chaos. (See Jer.
4:19-26, especially verse 23.) And what better term could
be used to describe the earth thus rolling on in its course
of darkness and desolation for a thousand years than that
of the abyss, or bottomless pit? Here Satan will be confined
during this time, amid the ruins which indirectly his own
hands have wrought, unable to flee from his habitation of
woe, or to repair in the least degree its hideous ruin.
The Binding of Satan.
We well know that Satan, in order to work, must have
subjects upon whom to work. Without these, he can do nothing.
But during the thousand years of his confinement to this
earth, all the saints are in heaven, beyond the power of
his temptations; and all the wicked are in their graves,
beyond his power to deceive. His sphere of action is circumscribed,
he being at this time confined to this earth; and thus is
he bound, being condemned throughout this period to a state
of hopeless inactivity. This, to a mind that has been so
busy as his has been for the past six thousand years in
deceiving the world, must be a punishment of the most intense
to this exposition, the "binding" of Satan means
simply the placing beyond his reach of the subjects upon
whom he works, and his being "loosed" means their
being brought again, by a resurrection, to a position where
he can again exercise his power upon them. Over this exposition
some assume to grow merry, telling us that we have mistaken
the parties, and have the wicked bound, not the devil. Yet
how often do we hear, in the daily transactions of life,
such expressions as these: My way was completely
hedged up; my hands were
737 -- completely tied, etc. But do we understand, when
persons use such expressions, that some insurmountable obstacle
was literally thrown across the path they were traveling,
or that their hands were literally confined with ropes or
cords? - No; but simply that a combination of circumstances
rendered it impossible for them to act. Just so here; and
why will not people grant to the Bible the same liberty
of speech that they give, without question and without ridicule,
to their fellow men in the common intercourse of life? But
more than this, there is here a great limitation of Satan's
power, which may well be called a "binding." He
no longer has the power of traversing space, and visiting
other worlds; but like man he is confined to this earth,
which he nevermore leaves. The place of the ruin he has
wrought now becomes his gloomy prison-house, till he is
led out to execution, at the end of the thousand years.
4. And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them,
and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of
them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for
the word of God, and which had not worshiped the beast,
neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their
foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned
with Christ a thousand years. 5.
But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand
years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
6. Blessed and holy is he that hath part
in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath
no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ,
and shall reign with him a thousand years.
Exaltation of the Saints. - From the devil in his gloomy
confinement, John now directs our attention to the saints
in victory and glory, - the saints reigning with Christ
- their employment being to assign to the wicked dead the
punishment due their evil deeds. From that general assembly
John then selects two classes as worthy of especial attention:
first, the martyrs, those who had been beheaded for the
witness of Jesus; and secondly, those who had not worshiped
the beast and his image. This class, the ones who refuse
the mark of the beast and his image, are of course the ones
who hear and obey the third message of Revelation 14; but
these are not the ones who are beheaded for the witnes of
Jesus, as some who
738 -- claim that the last generation of saints are
all to be slain, would have us believe. The word rendered
which, in the expression, "and which had not
worshiped the beast," etc., shows that there is another
class introduced. The word is the compound relative, ostiV
(hostis), not merely the simple relative oV,
and is defined by Liddell and Scott, "Whosoever; whichsoever;
any one who; anything which;" and by Robinson,
"One who; some one who; whosoever; whatsoever."
As one class, John saw the martyrs, and as another, he saw
those who had not worshiped the beast and his image.
is true that ostiV is sometimes
used as a simple relative, as in 2 Cor. 3:14; Eph. 1:23,
but never in such constructions as this, preceded by the
any one should say that if we render the passage "and
whosoever had not worshiped the beast," we thereby
include millions of heathen and sinners who have not worshiped
the beast, and promise them a reign with Christ of a thousand
years, we would call attention to the fact that the preceding
chapter states that the wicked had all been slain, and the
seal of death had been set upon them for a thousand years;
and John is viewing only the righteous company who have
part in the first resurrection.
avoid the doctrine of two resurrections, some claim that
the passage, "But the rest of the dead lived not again
until the thousand years were finished," is an interpolation,
not found in the original, and hence not genuine. Even if
this were so, it would not disprove the main proposition
that the righteous dead are raised by themselves, in a "first
resurrection," and that there is a second resurrection
a thousand years later, in which all the wicked are brought
from their graves. But the criticism is not true. All scholarship
is against it. The Revised Version retains the passage.
Resurrections. - "The rest of the dead lived not
again until the thousand years were finished." Whatever
may be said to the contrary, no language could more plainly
prove two resurrections; the first, a resurrection of the
righteous at the commencement of the thousand years; and
the second, that of the wicked at the end of that period.
On such as have part in
739 -- the first resurrection, the second death will
have no power. They can pass unharmed through the elements
which destroy the wicked like chaff. They will be able to
dwell with devouring fire and everlasting burnings (Isa.
33:14, 15); they will be able to go forth and look upon
the carcasses of the men who have transgressed against the
Lord, as the quenchless fire and undying worm are preying
upon them. Isa. 66:24. The difference between the righteous
and the wicked in this respect is seen again in the fact
that while God is to the latter a consuming fire, he is
to his people both a sun and a shield.
Wicked Raised to Life.. - The wicked who are raised
at the end of the thousand years as really live again as
they have once lived on the earth. To deny this is to do
violence to this scripture. In what physical condition they
will be raised, we are not informed. It is usual to say
on this point that what we have lost unconditionally in
Adam, is restored unconditionally in Christ. With respect
to physical condition, this should not perhaps be taken
in an unlimited sense; for we have lost greatly in stature
and vital force, which need not be restored to the wicked.
If they are brought back to the average mental and physical
condition which they enjoyed during life, or the period
of their probation, that would certainly be sufficient to
enable them to receive at last understandingly the reward
due them for all their deeds.
7. And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall
be loosed out of his prison, 8. And
shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four
quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together
to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
9. And they went up on the breadth of the
earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the
beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven,
and devoured them. 10. And the
devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire
and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are,
and shall be tormented day and night forever and ever.
Perdition of Ungodly Men. - At the end of the one thousand
years, the holy city, the New Jerusalem, in which the saints
have dwelt in heaven during that period, comes down, and
is located upon the earth, and becomes the camp of the saints,
around which the resurrected wicked come up, numberless
740 -- as the sand of the sea. The devil deceives them,
and thus brings them up to this battle. They are induced
to commence an impious warfare upon the holy city, in prospect
of some advantage to be gained by fighting against the saints.
Satan doubtless persuades them that they can overcome the
saints, dispossess them of their city, and still hold possession
of the earth. But fire comes down from God out of heaven,
and devours them. The word here rendered devoured,
Professor Stuart admits is "intensive," and signifies
"to eat up, devour, so that it denotes utter excision."
(Hudson's Christ our Life, p. 146.) This is the time
of the perdition of ungodly men, - the time when the elements
shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also, and when the
works that are in the earth shall be burned up. 2 Peter
3:7, 10. In the light of these scriptures, we can see how
the wicked are to receive their recompense in the earth
(Prov. 11:31); we can see also that this recompense is not
eternal life in misery, but an "utter excision,"
entire and complete destruction. TOP
Wicked Never Tred the New Earth. - Two views deserve
a passing notice at this point. The first is that the earth
is renewed at the second coming of Christ, and is the habitation
of the saints during the thousand years; the other is that
when Christ appears the second time, he sets up his kingdom
in Palestine, and performs, in connection with his saints,
a work of conquest over the nations left on the earth during
the thousand years, and subdues them to himself.
among many objections to the first view is that it makes
the wicked, in their resurrection, come up, with the devil
at their head, and tread with their unhallowed feet upon
the purified and holy earth, and the saints, who have held
possession for a thousand years, are obliged to yield the
ground, and flee into the city. But we cannot believe that
the saints' inheritance will ever be thus marred, or that
the fair plains of the earth made new will ever be soiled
with the polluting tread of the resuscitated wicked; for
besides outraging all ideas of propriety, there is no scripture
from which even an inference can be drawn to support it.
as to the second view, one among many of its absurdities
741 -- is that notwithstanding Christ and his saints
have conquered the earth during the thousand years, at the
end of this period the wicked get the upper hand of them,
they lose their territory, the work of a thousand years
is undone, and they are compelled to beat an ignominious
retreat into the city for shelter, leaving the earth to
the undisputed sway of their foes. Those who wish, may rack
their brains in trying to harmonize the inconsistencies
and absurdities of such theories, or may endeavor to draw
consolation from the dubious prospect. For ourselves, we
prefer better employment and a brighter hope.
Thousand Years In Heaven. - In contrast with these theories,
there is a beautiful harmony in the view herein presented;
namely, that the saints are with Christ in heaven during
the thousand years while the earth lies desolate; that the
saints and the city come down, and the wicked dead are raised
and come up against it; that the latter there receive their
judgment; and that from the purifying fires which destroy
them come forth the new heavens and the new earth, to be
the abode of the righteous throughout endless ages.
Subjects of Torment. - From verse 10, some have argued
that the devil alone was to be tormented day and night;
but the testimony of this verse is more extensive than that.
The verb "shall be tormented" is in the plural,
and agrees with the beast and false prophet; whereas it
would be in the singular number if it referred to the devil
alone. It will be noticed that in the expression, "where
the beast and the false prophet are," are is
a supplied word. It would be more proper to supply the words
were cast, answering to what was spoken of the devil
just before. The sentence would then read, "The devil
was cast into the lake of fire, where the beast and false
prophet were cast." The beast and false prophet
were cast in there, and destroyed, at the commencement of
the thousand years. Rev. 19:20. The individuals of whom
those organizations were then composed, now come up in the
second resurrection, and a similar and final destruction
is visited upon them, under the names Gog and Magog. TOP
Lake of Fire. - Some reader may be inclined to ask for
a definition of the lake of fire. As a comprehensive definition,
742 -- may it not be called a symbol of the agencies
which God employs to close up his controversy with the living
wicked at the beginning of the thousand years, and with
all the hosts of the ungodly at the end of that period?
Literal fire will of course be largely employed in this
work. We can better describe its effects than the thing
itself. At the second coming of Christ, it is the flaming
fire in which the Lord Jesus is revealed; it is the spirit
of his mouth and brightness of his coming, by which the
man of sin is to be consumed; it is the fire in which great
Babylon shall be utterly burned. Rev. 18:8. At the end of
the thousand years, it is the day that shall burn as an
oven (Mal. 4:1); it is the fervent heat that shall melt
the elements and the earth, and burn up the works that are
therein; it is the fire of Tophet "prepared for the
king" (the devil and his angels, Matt. 25:41), the
pile whereof is deep and large, and which "the breath
of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle."
Isa. 30:33. It is the fire that comes down from God out
of heaven. (On the expression, "tormented day and night
forever and ever," see on chapter 14:11.)
VERSE 11. And I saw a great white throne, and
him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven
fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12.
And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and
the books were opened; and another book was opened, which
is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those
things which were written in the books, according to their
works. 13. And the sea gave up
the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered
up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every
man according to their works. 14. And
death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is
the second death. 15. And whosoever
was not found written in the book of life was cast into
the lake of fire.
With verse 11, John introduces another scene to take place
in connection with the final doom of the ungodly. It is
the great white throne of judgment, before which they are
assenibled to receive their awful sentence of condemnation
and death. Before this throne the heavens and the earth
flee away, so that no place is found for them. A moment's
reflection on the changes which must then take place in
the earth will bring out the great force of this language.
The scene is that of Peter's
(The Investigative Judgment)
744 -- burning day, which is the "perdition of
ungodly men," and in which even the "elements"
melt with fervent heat. 2 Peter 3:7-13. The city is then
located upon the earth, the foundations of course extending
under its whole area, so that it will not be affected by
any changes that may take place, or any conditions which
may exist, in the earth beneath it. Fire comes down from
God out of heaven.
First, the works that are in the world are burned
up; and by the poisonous gases evolved, and the flames,
the wicked are destroyed; this is the fire of Gehenna, which
contains all the elements necessary to consume utterly every
mortal being that comes under its power (Mark 9:43-48);
and then will be fulfilled Isa. 66:24: "And they [the
righteous] shall go forth, and look upon the carcasses of
the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm
shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and
they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh."
the heat is raised till all the material of which, this
globe is composed, is fused like the ores in a smelter's
furnace, and the whole earth becomes a fluid, fiery, molten
mass. Upon this the city floats, as the ark of Noah floated
upon the waters of the flood. Then will be fulfilled Isa.
33:14: "Who among us shall dwell with the devouring
fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?"
The answer, in the following verses, shows it to be the
righteous, and this must be the time when it will be fulfilled.
Thirdly, there is one stage more to be reached. It
is well known that with a sufficient degree of heat, any
substance on this earth can be reduced to the condition
of gas, and thus become invisible. So will it be then with
this whole earth. The heat being raised to a sufficient
degree of intensity, would not the whole earth be converted
into gas, and become invisible, and thus appear most literally
to flee away, so that no place is found for it? The city
would then seem to be, as virtually it would be, suspended
the elements are not destroyed. They are only, by that process,
purged from the last and minutest taint of sin, and every
token of the curse. The almighty fiat again goes
745 -- forth, "Behold, I make all things new. ...
It is done" (Rev. 21:5, 6), and the particles combine
again to compose a new world; and there, beneath the wondering
and admiring gaze of all the redeemed and the angelic host,
the work of creation is gone through with again. At the
first creation, tho morning stars sang together, and all
the sons of God shouted for joy. Job 38:7. At this new creation,
that song and shout will be augmented by the glad voices
of the redeemed. So will this earth, wrenched for a time,
by sin, from its intended orbit of joy and peace, be brought
back, renewed, into harmony with a loyal universe, to be
the everlasting home of the saved.
The Books of Record. - Men are judged out of the
things written in the books, from which we learn the solemn
fact that a record of all our deeds is kept on high. A faithful
and unerring record is made by the angelic secretaries.
The wicked cannot conceal from them any of their deeds of
darkness. They cannot bribe them to pass over in their record
any of their unlawful acts. They must meet them all again,
and be judged accordingly.
The Execution of the Sentence. - The wicked are to
be punished according to their works. The Scriptures declare
that they shall be rewarded according to their deeds. There
are, then, to be degrees in the punishment of the wicked;
and it may be asked how this can be harmonized with the
view that death is the punishment for sin, and comes upon
all alike. Let us ask believers in eternal misery how they
will maintain degrees in their system. They tell
us the intensity of the pain endured will be in each case
proportioned to the guilt of the sufferer. But how can this
be? Are not the flames of hell equally severe in all parts?
and will they not equally affect all the immaterial
souls cast therein? But God can interpose, it is answered,
to produce the effect desired. Very well, then, we reply,
cannot he also interpose, if necessary, and graduate the
pain which will attend the infliction of death upon the
sinner as the climax of his penalty? So, then, our view
is equal with the common one in this respect, while it possesses
great advantages over it in another; for while that has
to find its degrees
746 -- of punishment in intensity of pain alone, the
duration in all cases being the same, this may not only
have degrees in pain, but in duration also; inasmuch as
some may perish in a short space of time, and the weary
sufferings of others be long drawn out. But yet we apprehend
that the bodily suffering will be but an unnoticed trifle
compared with the mental agony, that keen anguish which
will rack their souls as they get a view of their incomparable
loss, each according to his capacity of appreciation. The
youth who had but little more than reached the years of
accountability, being less able to comprehend his situation
and his loss, will of course feel it less; to him of older
years, more capacity, and consequently a deeper experience
in sin, the burden of his fate will be proportionately greater;
while the man of giant intellect and almost boundless comprehension,
- who hence possessed greater influence for evil, and so
was the more guilty for devoting his powers to the service
of that evil, - being able to understand his situation fully,
comprehend his fate, and realize his loss, will feel it
most keenly of all. Into his soul the iron will indeed
enter most intolerably deep. And thus, by an established
law of mind, the sufferings of each may be most accurately
adjusted to the magnitude of his guilt.
the degree of suffering which each one is to endure is taken
into the account as a part of the punishment of his crimes,
is evident from Rom. 2:6-10. Paul, here speaking
of the future "judgment of God," says: -
will render to every man according to his deeds: to them
who by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory
and honor and immortality [he will render], eternal life;
but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the
truth, but obey unrighteousness [he will render], indignation
and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul
of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the
The Book of Life. - Why, it may be asked, is the
book of life brought forth on this occasion, when all who
have part in the second resurrection, beyond which this
scene is located, are already forejudged to the second death?
At least one apparent reason is, that it may be seen that
none of the names of all
747 -- the multitude who die the second death are in
the book of life, and why they are not there; and if the
names have ever been there, why they were not retained;
that all the intelligences of the universe may see that
God acts with strict justice and impartiality.
death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is
the second death." This is the final epitaph of all
the forces that have risen up, from first to last, to oppose
the will and work of the Lord Almighty. Satan originated
and led out in this nefarious work. A portion of heaven's
angels joined him in his false position and murderous work;
and for him and them the everlasting fire was prepared.
Matt. 25:41. Men become involved therein only because they
join him in his rebellion. But here the controversy closes.
The fire is to them everlasting because it allows of no
escape. The second death is their punishment, and it is
"everlasting punishment " (Matt. 25:46) because
they never find release from its dread embrace. "The
wages of sin is death."
"And whosoever was not found written in the book of
life was cast into the lake of fire." Reader, is your
name written in the book of life? Are you striving to avert
in your own case the fearful doom that awaits the ungodly?
Rest not till you have reason to believe that your name
is registered in the list of those who are to share at last
in the blessings of eternal life. TOP
-- XXI -- The
748 -- The burden of this chapter, commencing with verse
2, is the New Jerusalem; but before that is introduced,
John tells us how the present heaven and earth and sea are
to be disposed of, as follows:
1. And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for
the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and
there was no more sea.
Heaven and New Earth. - By the first heaven and first
earth, John unquestionably means the present heaven and
earth, "the heavens and the earth which are now."
2 Peter 3:7. Some have supposed that when the Bible speaks
of the third heaven, in which are paradise and the tree
of life (2 Cor. 12:2; Rev. 2:7), it refers to the heaven
which is yet future, and does not prove that there is a
paradise and tree of life literally in existence in heaven
at the present time. They base their view on the fact that
Peter speaks of three heavens and earths, - (1)
those before the flood, (2) the ones
which now are, and (3) the ones which
are to come. But that theory is completely overturned by
the first verse of Revelation 21; for John here reckons
but two heavens and earths. The ones which now are he calls
the first, so that the future new heavens would,
according to this count, be the second, and not the
third, as Peter reckons. Hence it is certain that Peter
did not design
749 -- to establish a numerical order, in accordance
with which we should speak of one as the first, another
as the second, and the last as the third. The object of
his reasoning was simply to show that as a literal heaven
and earth succeeded to the destruction of the earth by the
flood, so a literal heaven and earth would result from the
renovation of the present system by fire. There is no proof,
therefore, that the Bible, when it speaks of the third heaven,
refers simply to the third state of the present heavens
and earth, for then all the Bible writers would uniformly
have so reckoned it. Thus the arguments of those who would
endeavor to disprove the idea of a literal paradise and
tree of life in existence at the present time, fall to the
ground. The Bible certainly recognizes three heavens in
the present constitution of things; namely, the first, or
atmospheric heaven, which the fowls of the air inhabit;
the second, the planetary heaven, the region of the sun,
moon, and stars; and the third, high above the others, where
paradise and the tree of life are found (Rev. 2:7); where
God has his residence and his throne (Rev. 22:1, 2); to
which Paul was caught up in heavenly vision (2 Cor. 12:2);
to which Christ ascended when he left the earth (Rev. 12:5);
where he now, as priest-king, sits upon the throne with
his Father (Zech. 6:13) ; and where the glorious city stands,
awaiting the saints when they enter into life. Rev. 21:2.
Blessed be God that from that bright land intelligence has
been brought to this far-off world of ours! and thanks be
to his holy name that a way has been opened from the dark
places of earth, which leads like a straight and shining
path of light up to those blest abodes!
Sea No More. - Because John says, "And there was
no more sea," the question is sometimes asked, "Is
there, then, to be no sea in the new earth?" It does
not certainly follow from this text that there will be none;
for John is speaking only of the present heaven and earth
and sea. It might be translated thus: "For the first
heaven and the first earth were passed away, and the sea
[ouk estin eti] was no more;"
that is, the old sea no longer appeared, any more than the
750 -- heaven and old earth; and yet there may be a
new sea as there is a new earth.
Clarke says on this passage: "The
sea no more appeared than did the first heaven
and earth. All was made new; and probably
the new sea occupied a different position, and was differently
distributed, from that of the old sea." TOP
river of life, of which we read in the following chapter,
proceeding from the throne of God, and flowing through the
broad street of the city, must find some place into which
to discharge its waters; and what can that be but the new-earth
sea? That there will be a sea, or seas, in the new earth,
may be inferred from the prophecy which speaks of Christ's
future reign as follows: "And his dominion
shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to
the ends of the earth." Zech. 9:10. But that three
quarters of the globe will then, as now, be abandoned to
a waste of waters, cannot be expected. The new world will
have everything which will contribute to its, utility and
2. And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming
down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned
for her husband. 3. And I
heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle
of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they
shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them,
and be their God. 4. And God shall
wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be
no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall
there be any more pain: for the former things are passed
Father's House. - In connection with the view which
John has of the holy city coming down from God out of heaven,
a voice is heard, saying, "The tabernacle of God is
with men, and he will dwell with them." The conclusion
naturally follows that the tabernacle here mentioned is
the city. This same city is called in John 14 the Father's
house in which are many mansions. If an objection should
arise in any mind that this is too permanent a place to
be called a tabernacle, we reply that the word "tabernacle"
sometimes has the signification of a permanent dwelling-place.
The great God takes up his abode on this earth; but we do
not suppose that God is confined to this, or any other one
of the worlds of his creation.
751 -- He here has a throne, and the earth enjoys so
much of his presence that it may be said that he dwells
among men. And why should this be thought a strange thing?
God's only begotten Son is here as ruler of his special
kingdom; the holy city, which is called the Father's house,
and which it is natural to suppose will be the most beautiful
and glorious object in the universe, will be here; and the
heavenly hosts take an interest in this world probably above
what they feel in any other; yea, reasoning from one of
the Saviour's parables, there will be more joy in heaven
over one world redeemed than over ninety and nine which
have needed no redemption.
Cause For Tears. - And God shall wipe away all tears
from their eyes. He does not literally wipe away tears from
the eyes of his people; for there will be no tears in that
kingdom to be thus wiped away; but he wipes away tears by
removing all causes of tears.
5. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I
make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these
words are true and faithful. 6. And
he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning
and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the
fountain of the water of life freely.
New Creation. - He that sits upon the throne is the
same being that is mentioned in verses 11, 12 of the preceding
chapter. He says, "I make all things new;"
not, I make all new things. The earth is not destroyed,
annihilated, and a new one created, but all things are made
over new. Let us rejoice that these words are true and faithful.
And when this is accomplished, all will be ready for the
utterance of that sublime sentence, "It is done."
The dark shadow of sin has then forever passed off from
the universe. The wicked, root and branch (Mal. 4:1), are
wiped out of the land of the living, and the universal anthem
of praise and thanksgiving (Rev. 5:13) goes up from a redeemed
world and a clean universe to a covenant-keeping God.
7. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and
I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 8. But
the fearful, and unbelieving and the abominable, and murderers,
and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all
liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with
fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
(The Angel Showing John the Holy City) TOP
753 -- The
Great Inheritance. - The
overcomers are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the
promise. Gal. 3:29. The promise embraces the world (Rom.
4:13); and the saints will go forth upon the new earth,
not as servants or aliens, but as lawful heirs to the heavenly
estate and proprietors of the soil.
Fear That Hath Torment. - But the fearful and unbelieving
have their part in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone.
The word "fearful" has been a trouble to some
conscientious ones, who have had fears more or less in all
their Christian experience. It may be well, therefore, to
inquire what kind of fear is here meant. It is not fear
of our own weakness, or of the power of the tempter; it
is not fear of sinning, or of falling out by the way, or
of coming short at last. Such fear will be very apt to drive
us to the Lord. But it is a fear connected with unbelief;
a fear of the ridicule and opposition of the world; a fear
to trust God, and venture out upon his promises; a fear
that he will not fulfil what he has declared, and that consequently
we shall be left to shame and loss for believing on him.
Cherishing such fear, one can be only half-hearted in his
service. This is most dishonoring to God. This is the fear
which we are commanded not to have. Isa. 51:7. This is the
fear which brings into condemnation here, and will finally
bring all who are controlled by it into the lake of fire,
which is the second death.
9. And there came unto me one of the seven angels which
had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and
talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will show thee the
bride, the Lamb's wife. 10. And
he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain,
and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending
out of heaven from God, 11. Having
the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most
precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; 12.
And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and
at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which
are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:
13. On the east three gates; on
the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on
the west three gates. 14. And the
wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the
names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
Bride, The Lamb's Wife. - This testimony is positive
that the New Jerusalem is the bride, the Lamb's wife. The
754 -- angel told John distinctly that he would show
him the bride, the Lamb's wife; and we may be sure that
he did not practice upon him a piece of deception, but fulfilled
his promise to the very letter; but all that he did show
him was the New Jerusalem. It would be unnecessary to offer
a word of proof that this city is not the church, were it
not that popular theology has so mystified the Scriptures
as to give it this application. This city, then, cannot
be the church, because it would be absurd to talk of the
church as lying foursquare, and having a north side, a south
side, an east side, and a west side. It would be absurd
to speak of the church as having a wall great and high,
and having twelve gates, three on each side toward the four
points of the compass. Indeed, the whole description of
the city which is given in this chapter would be more or
less an absurdity if applied to the church.
Paul, to the Galatians, speaks of the same city and says
that it is the mother of us all, referring to the
church. The church, then, is not the city itself, but the
children of the city. And verse 24 of the chapter under
comment, speaks of the nations of the saved, who walk in
the light of this city. These nations who are the saved,
and on earth constitute the church, are distinct from the
city, in the light of which they walk. It follows that the
city is a literal city, built of all the precious materials
how can it then be the bride, the Lamb's wife? Answer: Inspiration
has seen fit to speak of it under this figure, and with
every believer in the Bible, that should be sufficient.
The figure is first introduced in Isaiah 54. The new-covenant
city is there brought to view. It is represented as being
desolate while the old covenant was in force, and the Jews
and old Jerusalem were the special objects of God's care;
but it is said to her that "the children of the desolate"
shall be many more than "the children of the married
wife." It is further said to her, "Thy Maker is
thy husband;" and the closing promise of the Lord to
this city contains a very similar description to the one
which we have here in Revelation; namely, "I will lay
thy stones with fair colors, and lay thy foundations with
sapphires; and I will make thy windows of agates, and thy
755 -- gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant
stones. And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord."
It is this very promise to which Paul refers, and upon which
he comments in his epistle to the Galatians, when he says,
"But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the
mother of us all" (Gal. 4:26); for he quotes, in the
next verse, this very prophecy from the book of Isaiah to
sustain this declaration. Here, then, Paul makes an inspired
application of Isaiah's prophecy which cannot be mistaken;
and in this he shows that under the figure of a "woman,"
a "wife" whose "children" were to be
multiplied, the Lord by the prophet speaks of the New Jerusalem,
the city above, as contrasted with the earthly Jerusalem
in the land of Palestine; and of this city the Lord calls
himself the "husband." In addition to this, we
have the positive testimony of the twenty-first chapter
of Revelation to the same facts. TOP
this view, all is harmony. Christ is called the Father of
his people (Isa. 9:6); the Jerusalem above is called our
mother, and we are called the children; and, carrying out
the figure of a marriage, Christ is represented as the Bridegroom,
the city as the bride, and we, the church, as the guests.
There is no confusion of parties here. But the popular view,
which makes the city the church, and the church the bride,
exhibits the inexcusable confusion of making the church
at the same time both mother and children, both bride and
view that the marriage of the Lamb is the inauguration of
Christ as King upon the throne of David, and that the parables
of Matt. 22:1-14; 25:1-13; Luke 12:35-37; 19:12, 13, etc.,
apply to that event, is further confirmed by a well-known
ancient custom. It is said that when a person took his position
as ruler over the people, and was invested with that power,
it was called a marriage, and the usually accompanying feast
was called a marriage supper. Dr. Clarke, in his
note on Matt. 22:2, thus speaks of it: -
marriage for his son.] A marriage feast, so the
word gamouV properly means. Or
a feast of inauguration, when his son was put in possession
of the government, and thus he and his new subjects became
married together. Many eminent
756 -- critics so understand this parable as indicating
the Father's induction of his Son into his Messianic kingdom.
(See 1 Kings 1:5-9, 19, 25, etc., where such a feast is
Christian City. - The names of the twelve apostles in
the foundations of the city, show it to be a Christian and
not a Jewish city; while the names of the twelve tribes
on the gates, show that all the saved, from this dispensation
as well as from the former, are reckoned as belonging to
some one of the twelve tribes; for all must enter the city
through some one of these twelve gates. It is this fact
which explains those instances in which Christians are called
Israel, and are addressed as the twelve tribes, as in Rom.
2:28, 29; 9:6-8; Gal. 3:29; Eph. 2:12, 13; James 1:1; Rev.
15. And he that talked with me had a golden reed to
measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof.
16. And the city lieth foursquare,
and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured
the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length
and the breadth and the height of it are equal. 17.
And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred
and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a
man, that is, of the angel. 18.
And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the
city was pure gold, like unto clear glass.
City's Dimensions. - According to this testimony the
city is laid out in a perfect square, measuring equally
on all sides. The measure of the city, John declares, was
twelve thousand furlongs. Twelve thousand furlongs, eight
furlongs to the mile, equal fifteen hundred English miles.
It may be understood that this measure is the measure of
the whole circumference of the city and not merely of one
side. This appears, from Kitto, to have been the ancient
method of measuring cities. The whole circumference was
taken, and that was said to be the measure of the city.
According to this rule, the New Jerusalem will be three
hundred and seventy-five miles on each side. The length,
breadth, and height of it are equal. From this language,
the question has arisen whether the city was as high as
it was long and broad. The word rendered equal is
isoV (isos); and from
the definitions given by Liddell and Scott, we learn that
it may be used to convey the idea of proportion: the height
was proportionate to the length and
757 -- breadth. And this idea is strengthened by the
fact that the wall was only a hundred and forty-four cubits
high. Taking the cubit at about twenty-two inches, the length
which is most commonly assigned to the ancient cubit, it
would give only two hundred and sixty-four feet as the height
of the wall. Now, if the city is just as high as it is long
and broad, that is, three hundred and seventy-five miles,
this wall of less than three hundred feet would be, in comparison,
a most insignificant affair. Probably, therefore, the height
of the buildings of the city is to be judged of by the height
of the wall, which is distinctly given. TOP
following criticisms on verse 16, the verse which gives
the dimensions of the heavenly city, are undoubtedly correct:
has been inferred from the above text that the New Jerusalem
city is to be as high as it is long, and that its length
will be twelve thousand furlongs, or fifteen hundred
miles. It seems to us entirely unnecessary to place
such a construction upon the language. The word equal
does not always mean the same as to dimensions or position;
it is frequently used in the sense of proportion. If we
were to say that the length and the breadth and the height
of the city were in proportion, we should not violate the
language." This view is taken by Jas. Du Pui,
A. M., in his Exposition of the Apocalypse. The following
from Thomas Wicks, author of Lectures on the Apocalypse,
presents the same idea:
"The language, however, will bear another meaning,
which is far more natural. It is not that the length and
breadth and height were severally equal to each other,
but equal with themselves; that is, the length was
everywhere the same, and the breadth everywhere the same,
and the height the same. It was perfect and symmetrical
in all its proportions. This is confirmed by the fact distinctly
stated, that the wall was one hundred and forty-four cubits
high, or two hundred and sixteen feet, a proper height for
a wall; while it is said that 'the length is as large as
the breadth."' This writer
allows but eighteen inches to the cubit.
Greek word isos, which is translated equal,
will, according to Pickering, bear the meaning of proportion.
Greenfield, in defining one of its cognate words (isotes),
gives to it the
758 -- sense of "equal proportion," and refers
to 2 Cor. 8:13, 14 as an example where this definition is
would appear, therefore, that the height of the city was
proportionate to its length and breadth, and not that it
was as high as it was long. The text certainly admits of
this interpretation; and this frees the language from all
ambiguity, and the city from all disproportion, and shows
perfect harmony in the general description.
building of the wall was of jasper. Jasper is a precious
stone usually described as of "a beautiful bright green
color, sometimes clouded with white or spotted with yellow."
This we understand to be the material of the main body of
the wall built upon the twelve foundations hereafter described.
And let it be remembered that this jasper wall was "clear
as crystal" (verse 11), revealing all the glories within.
19. And the foundations of the wall of the city were
garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first
foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third,
a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; 20.
The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite;
the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus;
the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.
Literal City. - If we consider this description exclusively
metaphorical, as is done by the great mass of those who
profess to be Bible teachers, and spiritualize away this
city into aerial nothingness, how unmeaning, yea, even bordering
upon folly, do these minute descriptions appear; but if
we take it, as it is evidently designed to be understood,
in its natural and obvious signification, and look upon
the city as the Revelator evidently designed we should look
upon it, as a literal and tangible abode, our glorious inheritance,
the beauties of which we are to look upon with our own eyes,
how is the glory of the scene enhanced!
is in this light - though it is not for mortal man, of himself,
to conceive of the grandeur of those things which God has
prepared for those that love him - that men may delight
to contemplate the glories of their future abode. We love
to dwell upon those descriptions which convey to our minds,
as well as language can do it, an idea of the loveliness
(The New Jerusalem Foundations)
759 -- which shall characterize our eternal home. And
as we become absorbed in the contemplation of an inheritance
tangible and sure, courage springs up anew, hope revives,
faith plumes her wings; and with feelings of thanksgiving
to God that he has placed it within our power to gain an
entrance to the mansions of the redeemed, we resolve anew,
despite the world and all its obstacles, that we will be
among the sharers in the proffered joy. Let us, then, look
at the precious foundation stones of that great city, through
whose gates of pearl God's people may hope soon to enter.
Glorious Foundation. - "The word adorned"-
(garnished), says Stuart,
"may raise a doubt here whether the writer means to
say that into the various courses of the foundation ornamental
precious stones were only here and there inserted; but taking
the whole description together, I do not apprehend this
to have been his meaning.
as we have seen above, is usually a stone of green, transparent
color, with red veins; but there are many varieties.
is a beautiful, azure, or sky-blue, color, almost as transparent
and glittering as a diamond.
seems to be a species of agate, or more properly the onyx.
The onyx of the ancients was probably of a bluish white,
emerald was of a vivid green, and next to the ruby in hardness.
is a mixture of chalcedony and carnelian, which last is
of a flesh-color.
is probably the carnelian. Sometimes, however, the red is
as its name imports, is of a yellow or gold color, and is
pellucid. From this was probably taken the conception of
the pellucid gold which constitutes the material of the
is of a sea-green color.
topaz of the present day seems to be reckoned as yellow;
but that of the ancients appears to have been pale green.
Plin., 38, 8, Bellermann. Urim et Thummim. p. 37.
760 -- "Chrysoprasus, of a pale yellow and greenish
color, like a scallion; sometimes it is classed at the present
day under topaz.
[jacinth], of a deep red or violet color.
a gem of great hardness and brilliancy, of a violet color,
and usually found in India.
looking over these various classes, we find the first four
to be of a green or bluish cast; the fifth and sixth, of
a red or scarlet; the seventh, yellow; the eighth, ninth,
and tenth, of different shades of the lighter green; the
eleventh and twelfth of a scarlet or splendid red. There
is a classification, therefore, in this arrangement; a mixture
not dissimilar to the arrangement in the rainbow, with the
exception that it is more complex."
21. -- And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every
several gate was of one pearl; and the street of the city
was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.
Gates of Pearl. - Whether we understand that these gates
were of solid pearl, or whether composed of pearls thickly
set in a framework of some other precious material, does
not materially affect the testimony. If it should be objected
that it would be contrary to the nature of things to have
a pearl large enough for a gate, we reply that God is able
to produce it; the objection simply limits the power of
God. But in either case the gates would outwardly have the
appearance of pearl, and in ordinary language would be described
as gates of pearl.
Streets of Burnished Gold. - In this verse, as also
in verse 18, the city is spoken of as built of gold, pure,
like unto clear glass, or, as it were, transparent glass.
It is not necessary to conclude from this language that
the gold is of itself transparent. Take that, for instance,
which composes the street. If it were really transparent,
it would simply permit us to look through and behold whatever
was beneath the city, - the substratum upon which it rested,
- a view which cannot be anticipated as specially pleasing.
But let us suppose the golden pavement of the street to
be so highly polished as to possess perfect powers of reflection,
like the truest mirror, and
761 -- we can see at once that the effect would be grand
and striking in the extreme. Think for a moment what the
appearance of a street so paved would be. The gorgeous palaces
on either side would be reflected beneath, and the boundless
expanse of the heavens above would also appear below; so
that to the person walking those golden streets it would
appear that both himself and the city were suspended between
the infinite heights above and the unfathomable depths below,
while the mansions on either side of the street, having
equal powers of reflection, would marvelously multiply both
palaces and people, and conspire to render the whole scene
novel, pleasing, beautiful, and grand beyond conception.
22. And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty
and the Lamb are the temple of it.
Living Temple. - With the temple is connected the idea
of sacrifices and a mediatorial work; but when the city
is located upon the earth, there will be no such work to
be performed. Sacrifices and offerings, and all mediatorial
work based thereon, will be forever past; hence there will
be no need of the outward symbol of such work. But the temple
in old Jerusalem, besides being a place for sacrificial
worship, was the beauty and glory of the place; and as if
to anticipate the question that might arise as to what would
constitute the ornament and glory of the new city if there
was to be no temple therein, the prophet answers, "The
Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it."
It appears that there is now a temple in the city. Chapter
16:17. What becomes of that temple when the city comes down,
revelation does not inform us. Possibly it is removed from
the city, or it may be put to such a different use as to
cease to be the temple of God.
23. And the city had no need of the sun, neither
of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten
it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. 24. And
the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light
of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and
honor into it. 25. And the gates
of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall he
no night there. 26. And they shall
bring the glory and honor of the nations into it. 27.
And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth,
neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie:
but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.
762 -- No Night There. - It is in the city
alone, probably, that there is no night. There will of course
be days and nights in the new earth, but they will be days
and nights of surpassing glory. The prophet, speaking of
this time, says, "Moreover, the light of the moon shall
be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall
be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that
the Lord bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth
the stroke of their wound." Isa. 30:26. But if the
light of the moon in that state is as the light of the sun,
how can there be said to be night there? Answer: The
light of the sun shall be sevenfold, so that although the
night is as our day, the day will be sevenfold brighter,
making the contrast between day and night there as marked,
perhaps, as at the present time; but both will be surpassingly
24 speaks of nations and kings. The nations are the nations
of the saved; and we are all kings, in a certain sense,
in the new-earth state. We possess a "kingdom,"
and are to "reign" forever and ever.
it appears from some of our Saviour's parables, as in Matt.
25:21, 23, that some will occupy in a special sense the
position of rulers, and may thus be spoken of as kings of
the earth in connection with the nations of the saved. These
bring their glory and honor into the city, when on the Sabbaths
and new moons they there come up to worship before God.
do you want a part in the unspeakable and eternal glories
of this heavenly city? See to it, then, that your name is
written in the Lamb's book of life; for those only whose
names are on that heavenly "roll of honor" can
enter there. TOP
Tree and the River of Life
-- VERSE 1. And he showed me a pure
river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out
of the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2. In
the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the
river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner
of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves
of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
angel continues to show John the wonderful things of the
city of God. In the midst of the street of the city was
the tree of life.
Broad Street. - Although the word street is here
used in the singular number, with the definite article
the before it, it is not supposed that there is but
one street in the city; for there are twelve gates, and
there must of course be a street leading to each gate. But
the street here spoken of is the street by way of
distinction; it is the main street, or, as the original
word signifies, the broad way, the great avenue.
River of Life. - The tree of life is in the midst of
this street; but the tree of life is on either side of the
river of life; hence the river of life is also in the midst
of the street of the city. This river proceeds from the
throne of God. The picture thus presented before the mind
is this: The glorious throne of God at the head of this
broad way, or avenue; out of that throne the river of life,
flowing lengthwise through the center of the street; and
the tree of life growing on either side, forming a high
and magnificent arch over that majestic stream, and spreading
its life-bearing branches far away on either hand. How broad
this broad street is, we have no
764 -- means
of determining; but it will be at once perceived that a
city three hundred and seventy-five miles from side to side
in either direction, would be able to devote quite an ample
space to its great avenue.
very natural conception of the arrangement of the streets
of the city would be that shown in the accompanying diagram;
namely, the throne in the center, and a grand avenue in
which is the river of life and the tree of life extending
out in four directions to the wall of the city on all of
its four sides. This would give all corresponding parts
of the city equal access to the grand avenue. It would also
furnish opportunity for one magnificent gate in the center
of each side of the city, opening upon the grand avenue.
The length of each of these four branches of the avenue
(depending of course on how much space is allotted to the
throne) would be at least some one hundred and eighty miles.
It may be said that this is carrying speculation a degree
too far. Perhaps it is. But it is assumed that those who
hope soon to enter into that city, will not be averse to
a little innocent speculation in that direction.
Tree of Life. - But how
can the tree of life be but one tree, and still
be on either side of the river? 1.
It is evident that there is but one tree of life. From Genesis
to Revelation it is spoken of as but one - the tree
of life. 2. To
be at once on both sides of the river, it must have more
than one trunk, in which case it must be united at the top
or in its upper branches, in order to form but one tree.
(Banyan Tree, Illustrating the Tree of Life) TOP
766 -- caught away in the Spirit, and presented with
a minute view of this wonderful object, says that it was
on either side of the river. Another who has been privileged
to behold in vision the marvelous glories of the heavenly
land, has borne similar testimony: "We
all marched in, and felt that we had a perfect right in
the city. Here we saw the tree of life and the throne of
God. Out of the throne came a pure river of water, and on
either side of the river was the tree of life. At first
I thought I saw two trees. I looked again, and saw that
they were united at the top in one tree. So it was the tree
of life on either side of the river of life; its branches
bowed to the place where we stood; and the fruit was glorious,
which looked like gold mixed with silver." Experience
and Views, pp. 12, 13.
should such a tree be looked upon as unnatural or impossible,
since we have an illustration of it here upon earth? The
banyan tree of India is of precisely the same nature in
this respect. Of this tree the Encyclopedia Americana
thus speaks: "The
ficus Indica (Indian fig, or banyan tree) has been
celebrated from antiquity from its letting its branches
drop and take root in the earth, which in their turn become
trunks, and give out other branches, a single tree thus
forming a little forest."
In just this way the tree of life could extend and support
tree of life bears twelve kinds of fruit, and yields its
fruit every month. This fact throws light upon the declaration
in Isa. 66:23, that all flesh shall come up "from one
new moon to another " to worship before the Lord of
hosts. The words new moon should be rendered month.
The Hebrew has (hhodesh),
the second definition of which Gesenius gives as "a
month." The Septuagint has mhn
ek mhnoV (men ek menos) "from month to
month." The redeemed come up to the holy city from
month to month to partake of the fruit of the tree of life.
Its leaves are for the healing of the nations; literally,
the service of the nations. This cannot be understood
as implying that any will enter the city in a diseased or
deformed condition to need healing; for then the conclusion
would follow that there will always be persons there in
that condition, as we have no reason to understand that
767 -- service of the leaves, whatever it is, will not
be perpetual, like the use of the fruit; but the idea of
disease and deformity in the immortal state is contrary
to the express declarations of other scriptures.
3. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne
of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants
shall serve him.
language proves that the great God, the Father, is referred
to, as well as the Son. The marks of the curse, the deadly
miasma, and the ghastly scenes of desolation and decay,
will no more be seen on the earth. Every breeze will be
balmy and life-giving, every scene beauty, and every sound
4. And they shall see his face; and his name
shall be in their foreheads.
word his, in the sentence, "And they shall see
his face," refers to the Father; for he is the one
whose name is in their foreheads; and that it is the Father,
we learn from chapter 14:1. This will be a fulfilment of
the promise in Matt. 5:8, "Blessed are the pure in
heart; for they shall see God."
5. And there shall be no night there; and they
need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God
giveth them light: and they shall reign forever and ever.
6. And he said unto me, These sayings
are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets
sent his angel to show unto his servants the things which
must shortly be done. 7.
Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings
of the prophecy of this book.
again, we have the declaration that there shall be no night
in the city; for the Lord God will be the light of the place.
Verse 7 proves that Christ is the speaker, a fact which
it is of especial importance to bear in mind in connection
with verse 14. To keep the sayings of the prophecy of this
book is to obey the duties brought to view in connection
with the prophecy, as, for instance, in chapter 14:9-12.TOP
8. And I John saw these things, and heard them.
And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before
the feet of the angel which showed me these things.
9. Then saith he unto me, See thou
do it not: for I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren
the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this
768 -- book: worship God.
10. And he saith unto me, Seal
not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time
is at hand. 11. He
that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is
filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous,
let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him
be holy still. 12. And,
behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give
every man according as his work shall
remarks on verse 9, see on chapter 19:10.) In verse 10 John
is told not to seal the sayings of the prophecy of this
book. The popular theology of our day says that the book
is sealed. One of two things follows from this:
either John disobeyed his instructions, or the theology
above referred to is fulfilling Isa. 29:10-14. Verse 11
proves that probation closes, and the cases of all are unalterably
fixed, before the coming of Christ; for in the very next
verse Christ says, "Behold, I come quickly." What
dangerous and insane presumption, then, to claim, as age-to-come
believers do, that there will be probation even after that
event! Christ's reward is with him, to give every man as
his work shall be, which is another conclusive proof that
there can be no probation after that event; for all the
living wicked, those "who know not God," the heathen,
and those "who obey not the gospel of the Lord Jesus
Christ," the sinners of Christian lands (2 Thess. 1:8),
will be visited with swift destruction from Him who then
comes in flaming fire to take vengeance on his foes.
declaration of verse 11 marks the close of probation, which
is the close of Christ's work as mediator. But we are taught
by the subject of the sanctuary that this work closes with
the examination of the cases of the living in the investigative
judgment. When this is accomplished, the irrevocable fiat
can be pronounced. But when the cases of the living are
reached in the work of judgment, we apprehend that what
remains to be done will be so speedily accomplished that
all these cases may almost be said to be decided simultaneously.
We have therefore no occasion to speculate as to the order
of work among the living; that is, whose cases will be decided
first, and whose last, nor whether or not it will be known
that any are decided before all is finished.
769 -- VERSE 13. I am Alpha and Omega,
the beginning and the end, the first and the last. 14.
Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may
have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through
the gates into the city.
here applies to himself the appellation of Alpha and Omega.
As applied to him, the expression must be taken in a more
limited sense than when applied to the Father, as in chapter
1:8. Christ is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the
end, of the great plan of salvation. Verse 14, as before
noticed, is the language of Christ. The commandments of
which he speaks are his Father's. Reference can be had only
to the ten commandments as delivered on Mount Sinai, He
pronounces a blessing upon those who keep them. Thus in
the closing chapter of the word of God, and near the very
close of the last testimony which the faithful and true
Witness there left for his people, he solemnly pronounces
a blessing upon those who keep the commandments of God.
Let those who believe in the abolition of the law, candidly
consider the decisive bearing of this important fact. TOP
of the reading, "Blessed are they that do his commandments,"
some translations, including the Revised Version, have,
"Blessed are they that wash their robes." On this
point Alford's Testament for English Readers has
this note: "The
difference in the readings is curious, being in the original
that between poiountes tas entolas autou, and plunontes
tas stolas auton, either of which might easily be mistaken
for the other."
In view of this statement, it is not surprising, perhaps,
that this difference of reading is found. But there seems
to be good evidence that the first is the original, from
which the latter is a variation by the error of transcribers.
Thus the Syriac New Testament, one of the very earliest
translations from the original Greek, reads according to
the common English version. And Cyprian, whose writings
antedate any extant Greek manuscript (Ante-Nicene Library,
Vol. XIII, p. 122), quotes the text as reading, "Blessed
are they that do his commandments."
We may therefore safely consider this as the genuine reading.
770 -- VERSE 15. For without are dogs, and
sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters,
and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.
is the Bible symbol of a shameless and impudent man. Who
would wish to be left in the company of those whose lot
is outside of the city of God? yet how many will stand condemned
as idolaters, how many as those who make lies, and how many
more as those who love them, and love to circulate them
after they are made!
16. I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you
these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring
of David, and the bright and morning star.
testifies these things in the churches, showing that the
whole book of Revelation is given to the seven churches,
which is another incidental proof that the seven churches
are representatives of the church through the entire gospel
dispensation. Christ is the offspring of David, in that
he appeared on earth in the line of David's descendants.
He is the root of David, inasmuch as he is the great prototype
of David, and the maker and upholder of all things.
17. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let
him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst
come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life
are all invited to come. The Lord's love for mankind would
not be satisfied in merely preparing the blessings of eternal
life, opening the way to them, and announcing that all might
come who would; but he sends out an earnest invitation to
come. He sets it forth as a favor done to himself if persons
will come and partake of the infinite blessings provided
by his infinite love. His invitation, how gracious! how
full! how free! None of those who are finally lost will
ever have occasion to complain that the provisions made
for their salvation were not sufficiently ample. They can
never reasonably object that the light given to show them
the way of life was not sufficiently clear. They can never
excuse themselves on the ground that the invitations and
entreaties that Mercy has given them to turn and live, were
not sufficiently full and free. From the very beginning,
there has been a power exerted as strong
771 -- as could be exerted and still leave man his own
free agent, - a power to draw him heavenward, and raise
him from the abyss into which he has fallen. Come! has been
the entreaty of the Spirit from the lips of God himself,
from the lips of his prophets, from the lips of his apostles,
and from the lips of his Son, even while, in his infinite
compassion and humility, he was paying the debt of our transgression.
last message of mercy as it is now going forth, is another
and final utterance of divine long-suffering and compassion.
Come, is the invitation it gives. Come, for all things are
ready. And the last sound that will fall from Mercy's lips
on the ear of the sinner ere the thunders of vengeance burst
upon him, will be the heavenly invitation, Come. So great
is the loving-kindness of a merciful God to rebellions man.
Yet they will not come. Acting independently and deliberately,
they refuse to come. So when they shall see Abraham, Isaac,
and Jacob in the kingdom of God, and themselves thrust out,
they will have no one to accuse, no one to blame, but their
own selves. They will be brought to feel this in all its
bitterness; for the time will come when Pollok's thrilling
description of the condemnation of the lost will be true
to the letter: -
evermore the thunders murmuring spoke
From out the darkness, uttering loud these words,
Which every guilty conscience echoed back:
'Ye knew your duty, but ye did it not.'
Dread words! that barred excuse, and threw the weight
Of every man's perdition on himself
Directly home -
'Ye knew your duty, but ye did it not."'
bride also says, Come. But the bride is the city, and how
does that say, Come? If we could be strengthened to behold
the living glories of that city and live, and should be
permitted to gaze upon its dazzling beauty, and be assured
that we had a perfect right to enter therein, and bathe
in that ocean of bliss and blessedness, and revel in its
glory forever and ever, would it not then say to us, Come,
with a persuasion which no power could resist? Who of us,
in view of this, could turn away, and say, I have no desire
for an inheritance there?
("Visions of Beauty are There,
Fields of Living Green")
773 -- But though we cannot now look upon that city,
the unfailing word of God has promised it, and that is sufficient
to inspire us with implicit and living faith; and through
the channel of that faith it says to us, Come. Come, if
you would inherit mansions where sickness, sorrow, pain,
and death can never enter; if you would have a right to
the tree of life, and pluck its immortal fruit, and eat
and live; if you would drink of the water of the river of
life, that flows from the throne of God, clear as crystal.
Come, if you would obtain through those glittering gates
of pearl an abundant entrance into the eternal city; if
you would walk its streets of transparent gold; if you would
behold its glowing foundation stones; if you would see the
King in his beauty on his azure throne. Come, if you would
sing the jubilee song of millions, and share their joy.
Come, if you would join the anthems of the redeemed with
their melodious harps, and know that your exile is forever
over, and this is your eternal home. Come, if you would
receive a palm of victory, and know that you are forever
free. Come, if you would exchange the furrows of your care-worn
brow for a jeweled crown. Come, if you would see the salvation
of the ransomed myriads, the glorified throng which no man
can number. Come, if you would drink from the pure fountain
of celestial bliss, if you would shine as the stars forever
in the firmament of glory, if you would share in the unutterable
rapture that fills the triumphant hosts as they behold before
them unending ages of glory ever brightening and joys ever
bride does say, Come. Who of us can resist the invitation?
The word of truth is pledged to us that if we keep the commandments
of God and the faith of Jesus, we shall have right
to the tree of life, we shall enter in through the
gates into the city. And we shall feel that we are at home
in our Father's house, the very mansions prepared for us,
and realize the full truth of the cheering words, "Blessed
are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the
Lamb." Rev. 19:9. TOP
him that heareth say, Come." We have heard of the glory,
of the beauty, of the blessings, of that goodly land, and
we say, Come. We have heard of the river with its verdant
banks, of the tree with its healing leaves, of the ambrosial
774 -- bowers that bloom in the Paradise of God, and
we say, Come. Whosoever will, let him come, and take of
the water of life freely.
18. For I testify unto every man that heareth the words
of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto
these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are
written in this book: 19. And if
any man shall take away from the words of the book of this
prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of
life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which
are written in this book.
is it to add to, or take from, the book of this prophecy?
Let it be borne in mind that it is the book of this prophecy,
or the Revelation, which is the subject of remark; hence
the words concerning adding to or taking from have exclusive
reference to this book. Nothing can be called an addition
to this book except something added to it with the intention
of having it considered as a genuine part of the book of
Revelation. To take from the book would be to suppress some
portion of it. As the book of Revelation could not be called
an addition to the book of Daniel, so if God should see
fit to make further revelations to us by his Spirit, it
would be no addition to the book of Revelation, unless it
should claim to be a part of that book.
20. He which testifieth these things saith, Surely
I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. 21.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
word of God is given to instruct us in reference to the
plan of salvation. The second coming of Christ is to be
the climax and completion of that great scheme. It is most
appropriate, therefore, that the book should close with
the solemn announcement,"Surely I come quickly."
Be it ours to join with fervent hearts in the response of
the apostle, "Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus."
closes the volume of inspiration, - closes with that which
constitutes the best of all promises, and the substance
of the Christian's hope - the return of Christ. Then shall
the elect be gathered, and bid a long farewell to all the
ills of this mortal life. How rich in all that is precious
to the Christian
775 -- is this promise! Wandering an exile in this evil
world, separated from the few of like precious faith, he
longs for the companionship of the righteous, the communion
of saints. Here he shall obtain it; for all the good shall
be gathered, not from one land only, but from all lands;
not from one age only, but from all ages, - the great harvest
of all the good, coming up in long and glorious procession,
while angels shout the harvest home, and the timbrels of
heaven sound forth in joyous concert; and a song before
unheard, unknown, in the universe, the song of the redeemed,
shall add its marvelous notes of rapture and melody to the
universal jubilee. So shall the saints be gathered, to be
joyful in each other's presence forever and ever, -
the glory of God, like a molten sea,
Bathes the immortal company."
gathering has nothing in it but that which is desirable.
The saints can but sigh and pray for it. Like Job, they
cry out for the presence of God. Like David, they cannot
be satisfied till they awake in his likeness. In this mortal
condition we groan, being burdened, not for that we would
be unclothed, but clothed upon. We can but be "upon
tiptoe" for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of
the body. Our eyes are open for its visions, our ears are
waiting to catch the sounds of the heavenly music, and our
hearts are beating in anticipation of its infinite joy.
Our appetites are growing sharp for the marriage supper.
We cry out for the living God, and long to come into his
presence. Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly. No news more welcome
than the announcement that the command has gone forth from
the Lord to his angels, Gather together unto me my elect
from the four winds of heaven.
place, of gathering has nothing but attraction. Jesus, the
fairest among ten thousand, is there. The throne of God
and the Lamb, in the glory of which the sun disappears as
the stars vanish in the light of day, is there. The city
of jasper and gold, whose builder and maker is God, is there.
The river of life, sparkling with the glory of God and flowing
from his throne in infinite purity and peace, is there.
The tree of
776 -- life, with its healing leaves and life-giving
fruit, is there. Abraham,
Isaac, and Jacob, Noah, Job, and Daniel, prophets, apostles,
and martyrs, the perfection of heavenly society, will be
there. Visions of beauty are there; fields of living green,
flowers that never fade, streams that never dry, products
in variety that never ends, fruits that never decay, crowns
that never dim, harps that know no discord, and all else
of which a taste purified from sin and raised to the plane
of immortality, can form any conception or think desirable,
will be there.
must be there. We must bask in the forgiving smiles of God,
to whom we have become reconciled, and sin no more; we must
have access to that exhaustless fount of vitality, the fruit
of the tree of life, and never die; we must repose under
the shadow of its leaves, which are for the service of the
nations, and never again grow weary; we must drink from
the life-giving fountain, and thirst nevermore; we must
bathe in its silvery spray, and be refreshed; we must walk
on its golden sands, and feel that we are no longer exiles;
we must exchange the cross for the crown, and feel that
the days of our humiliation are ended; we must lay down
the staff and take the palm branch, and feel that the journey
is done; we must put off the rent garments of our warfare
for the white robes of triumph, and feel that the conflict
is ended and the victory gained; we must exchange the toil-worn,
dusty girdle of our pilgrimage for the glorious vesture
of immortality, and feel that sin and the curse can never
more pollute us. O day of rest and triumph, and every good,
delay not thy dawning! Let the angels at once be sent to
gather the elect. Let the promise be fulfilled which bears
in its train these matchless glories. EVEN S0, COME LORD
-- RESEMBLANCE BETWEEN OUR TIMES AND THE FRENCH REVOLUTION.
In the books both of Daniel and the Revelation distinct
reference is made to that abnormal national experience known
as "The French Revolution." (See Dan. 11:36-39;
Rev. 11:7-10.) The time when the principles of irreligion
and infidelity were given full opportunity to bud and blossom
and bear fruit, that all the world might judge of their
nature; when men were left to show to what deeds of darkness
the carnal heart would lead, unrestrained by any principles
of righteousness and truth, was most appropriately noted
in prophecy. And the descriptions given of the character
of the last days by the same pen of inspiration, are such
as to show that the masses will then fall, to a large extent,
if not wholly, under the same principles of evil. While
such is the representation of prophecy, it is a serious
question in many minds whether the preliminary stages of
this condition of things are not already appearing before
our eyes, and if we may not now be on the threshold of one
of those eras wherein "history repeats itself "
in its worst forms.
who entertain the sentiments concerning the nature of our
times set forth in some portions of this work, are often
charged with being pessimists, alarmists, and looking too
much on the dark side of the picture. To the charge of being
alarmists in the bad sense of that term, we do not plead
guilty. While there may be such a thing as imagining evils
which do not exist, and anticipating trouble which never
comes, there is, on the other hand, such a thing as crying,
"Peace, peace," when there is no peace, and shutting
our eyes to real danger till it is too late to guard against
it, and we find ourselves involved in irretrievable calamity
and loss. The wisest of men has said, "A prudent man
foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass
on, and are punished." Prov. 22:3. Noah was not an
alarmist when he warned the world of the approaching catastrophe
of the flood; nor Lot, when he warned the Sodomites that
an all-devastating storm of fire was hanging over their
doomed city; nor our Lord, when he foretold the utter destruction
of Jerusalem, and gave his people directions how to escape
it. Let us not be diverted from the real situation by the
cry of "alarmist," nor think that there can be
no danger because all do not see it; for St. Paul has warned
778 -- us that "when they shall say, Peace and
safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them."
1 Thess. 5:3.
we need offer no apology for ourselves in this particular;
for the strongest utterances we put on record are simply
those we find in the secular press of the day. Even so cautious
a paper as the Chicago Evening Journal,
in its issue of Aug. 26, 1874, under the heading "The
Reign of Crime," drew the following picture
of the times, which no one can say have been growing better
since that time: -
Mr. Beecher used to be rather soft on the doctrine of '
total depravity,' we suspect he may have got more light
on this point by this time. But Brooklyn does not by any
means monopolize the illustrative evidence of it. Crimes
of all sorts and sizes seem just now to be 'breaking out,'
like the measles, all over the body social. The newspapers,
if they give the news at all, have to be darkened with the
wretched records of misdoings. We confess that the dailies
at the present time are not so cheerful reading as might
be. Suicides, murder, and the whole catalogue of offenses
against God and man, are startlingly prevalent. Is it symptomatic
of some great social disease, the seeds of which have long
been growing, but long hidden? Is there some malign moral
miasma in the air, some taint in the blood, some great,
though subtle, popular error that has been silently conceiving
sin, and is at last bringing forth iniquity? Or is it only
a kind of spiritual contagion, or epidemic, like the epizootic,
for instance, among animals, that has somehow got started,
and is sweeping across the continent?
questions are full of significance, even if not easily answered.
The philosophy of epidemical influences in society is better
understood than it was a generation ago; but we suspect
the subject is far from being cleared up yet. We need more
light, both as to the incipient causes and the concomitant
conditions which allow such alarming potency to causes that
seemed to be latent, until, all at once, they break forth,
as if thousands had suddenly taken to the habit of carrying
loose powder and matches in the same pocket. 'As a man thinketh
in his heart, so is he.' Is it, then, that somehow communities
get to thinking of the same ill things, and the bad thought
becomes a tempting suggestion, and forthwith begins to work
in the heart like a spark of an old-fashioned tinder-box?
If so, one scarcely dares to think of the frightful consequences
that may come of this Brooklyn scandal-sowing throughout
the land." TOP
this extract speaks of our own land, there is testimony
to show that an equally alarming state of things prevails
in Europe. As a representative statement upon this point,
we quote from the distinguished and devoted J. H.
Merle daubing, author of the History of the Reformation,
who, just previous to his death, prepared a paper for the
Evangelical Alliance, which was read at a meeting of that
association. All thoughtful persons will consider his words
most solemn, and his statements as startling as they are
the meeting for which you are assembled is an important
one, the period at which it is held is equally so, not only
on account of the great things which God is accomplishing
in the world, but also by
779 -- reason of the great evils which the spirit of
darkness is spreading throughout Christendom. The despotic
and arrogant pretensions of Rome have reached in our days
their highest pitch, and we are consequently more than ever
called upon to contend against that power which dares to
usurp the divine attributes. But that is not all. While
superstition has increased, unbelief has done so still more.
Until now, the eighteenth century - the age of Voltaire
- was regarded as the epoch of most decided infidelity;
but how far does the present time surpass it in this respect!
Voltaire himself protested against the philosophy which
he called atheistic, and said, 'God is necessarily the Great,
the Only, the Eternal Artificer of all nature' (Dialogues,
xxv). But the pretended philosophers of our day leave such
ideas far behind, and regard them as antiquated superstitions.
Materialism and atheism have, in many minds, taken the place
of the true God. Science, which was Christian in the brightest
intellects of former days, in those to whom we owe the greatest
discoveries, has become atheistic among men who now talk
the loudest. They imagine that by means of general laws
which govern the physical world, they can do without Him
from whom these laws proceeded. Some remains of animals
found in ancient strata of our globe, make them reject the
creation of which the Bible inaugurates the account in these
solemn words: 'In the beginning God created the heaven and
literary men continually put forward in their writings what
is called Positivism, rejecting everything that goes beyond
the limit of the senses, and disdaining all that is supernatural.
These evils, which had formerly only reached the upper ranks
of society, have now spread to the working classes, and
some among them may be heard to say, 'When man is dead,
all is dead.' But there is a still sadder feature of our
times. Unbelief has reached even the ministry of the word.
Pastors belonging to Protestant churches in France, Switzerland,
Germany, and other continental countries, not only reject
the fundamental doctrines of the faith, but also deny the
resurrection of Jesus Christ, and see in him nothing more
than a man, who, according to many of them, was even subject
to errors and faults. A synod of the Reformed Church in
Holland has lately decreed that when a minister baptizes,
he need not do it in the name of the Father, of the Son,
and of the Holy Ghost. A journal, when relating this fact,
adds, 'Will they then baptize in the God abyss?' At an important
assembly held lately in German Switzerland, at which were
present many men of position both in the church and the
state, the basis of the new religion was laid down. 'No
doctrines,' was the watchword on that occasion. 'No new
doctrines, whatever they may be, in place of the old; liberty
alone,' which means liberty to overthrow everything. And
too truly some of those ministers believe neither in a personal
God nor in the immortality of the soul. For a portion of
the European population there is no other gospel than that
of Spinoza, and often much less even than that."
Such words from such a source should cause the most thoughtless
to pause and consider. Mark the expressions: The
spirit of darkness
780 -- spreading through
Christendom, superstition and unbelief increasing, the present
age far surpassing that of Voltaire in infidelity, atheism
taking the place of God, science becoming atheistic, eminent
literary men teaching Positivism; the masses becoming pervaded
with these ideas, and even Protestant ministers denying
the fundamental facts of the gospel, - these are the prominent
features of the times. TOP
J. Cairus, D. D., of Berwick, England, draws the following
picture of the present generation: "The
advance, so rapid and wonderful, of science and art, and
the progress of education and the diffusion of literature;
the self-assertion, by long-oppressed nationalities, of
their rights and liberties; the approximation to a commercial
and political unity of the human race, - all tend to foster
the idea of man's inherent capacity, and to set afloat wild
and chimerical schemes and hopes of moral regeneration,
irrespective of Christianity. The dream of independent morality
finds countenance. Theories of spiritual development, more
exaggerated and fictitious by far than these of physical
development, are accepted. The march of intelligence, or
the revolutionary impulse, is to make all things new. Meanwhile,
the sad and humbling aspects of the nineteenth century -
its hideous vices and crimes, its luxury, selfishness, and
greed set over against pauperism, debasement, and discontent;
its wars and international feuds, with ever-increasing conscriptions
and standing armies - are overlooked."
Hon. Geo. H. Stuart, of Philadelphia, thus spoke before
the Alliance: "The
field is the world. It has in it 1,300,000,000 immortal
souls, destined to meet us at the judgment bar of God. Of
these 1,300,000,000, there are some 800,000,000 bowing down
to stocks and stones, the workmanship of their own hands.
Besides these 800,000,000 heathen, there are 110,000,000
Mohammedans and 240,000,000 of other false systems of religion,
leaving only 100,000,000 nominal Protestants. It is not
for us to say how many of these 100,000,000 are true disciples
of our risen and exalted Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."
indeed is the view here presented; and is it not every year
growing worse? Students of prophecy are sometimes looked
upon as fanatics, because they believe that the second advent
of Christ is soon to take place, when all the wicked will
be destroyed and the righteous saved. But we ask the candid
reader whether the man, who, in the face of all the facts
above stated, believes in the speedy conversion of the whole
world and the near approach of the millennium, may not more
justly be regarded as a fanatic. While a few thousand pagans
in heathen lands are receiving the gospel, millions in Christian
lands are turning away from it, and embracing false religions
and atheism; and among these we find the educated, the scientific,
the so-called higher classes taking the lead. But this need
not surprise us; for Jesus himself said respecting the last
days, "Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall
he find faith on the earth?" Luke 18:8.
this general description, let us come to particulars. Every
student of history understands that like causes produce
like effects, and that indications which foretokened the
occurrence of certain
781 -- events in one age, will generally reappear when
similar events are about to transpire in any other age.
As in the natural world there must be the gathering of clouds
and the accumulation of electricity before the storm, so
in the moral and political world there must be the dissemination
of principles, the formulation of ideas, and the rousing
of passions, before the revolution. Causes which in the
past have led to anarchy, rapine, license, and a general
disintegration of society, will, if permitted to operate,
produce again the same results. The French Revolution of
1789-1800 stands fixed in history as the "Reign of
Terror." Each succeeding faction which gained power
during that awful era shed in torrents the blood of its
enemies, until over 2,000,000 lives were sacrificed. All
social order was destroyed. The marriage covenant was abrogated,
and lust stalked abroad everywhere, licensed and unrestrained.
Christ was declared an impostor, and his religion a fraud.
The existence of God was denied, and the reading of his
word forbidden. All this was the work of infidelity. Behold,
therefore, in that terrible Revolution, the miniature of
the world without the restraining influence of God's revelation.
And is there danger that this frightful condition of things
may be reproduced in our own day? Facts constrain us to
answer in the affirmative; for the same causes are operating
everywhere to-day which a hundred years ago were at work
in France. The same names and principles may
be heard and seen all about us. Let us first notice some
of the more prominent elements which produced the French
- Says Samuel Smucker in his Memorable
Scenes in French History, p. 116: "We
find in the records of that period, materials and events
which prove that then it was that the impostures of modern
spiritual rappers and mediums were first practiced, in precisely
the same way and for the same results as they are at the
present day. ... Count Cagliostro enabled Cardinal Rohan
to sup with the deceased D'Alembert, with the king of Prussia,
and with Voltaire, all dead some years before. He convinced
His Eminence that the worker of these wonders had himself
been present with Christ at the marriage in Cana of Galilee.
... In the triumphs of Cagliostro, of Misner, and of St.
Germain, which at this period were at their greatest height,
we behold another instance of the uprooting of the firm
and stable foundations of society in an excessive desire
for novelties, and a restless itching after things new,
mysterious, and wonderful."
As a system of pretended communication with the dead, Spiritualism,
is as old, at least, as the Mosaic dispensation, for it
was strictly forbidden in his day; and it has at favorable
epochs manifested itself among men; but its wonder-working
phase is peculiar to modern times, and first manifested
itself in this country, according to the prophecy of Revelation
13. Its principles and spirit found congenial soil in France
in the Revolution. But if what then appeared contributed
in any manner to produce the state of society which then
existed, what must be its tendency today?
782 -- 2. Infidelity.
- Mr. Anderson, in The Annals of the
English Bible, p. 494, says:
"Never let it he forgotten that before the Revolution
of 1792, the promoters of infidelity in France are stated
to have raised among themselves, and spent, a sum equal
to £900,000 in one year, - nay, again and again, -
in purchasing, printing, and dispersing books to corrupt
the minds of the people and prepare them for desperate measures."
Dick, in his work on The Improvement of Society,
p. 154, says: "The
way for such a revolution was prepared by the writings of
Voltaire, Mirabeau, Diderot, Helvetius, D'Alembert, Condorcet,
Rousseau, and others of the same stamp, in which they endeavored
to disseminate principles subversive both of natural and
revealed religion. Revelation was not only impugned, but
entirely set aside. The Deity was banished from the universe,
and an imaginary phantom, under the name of the Goddess
of Reason, substituted in his place. The carved work of
all religious belief and moral practice was boldly cut down
by Carnot and Robespierre and their atheistical associates.
Nature was investigated by pretended philosophers, only
with the view to darken the mind, and prevent mankind from
considering anything as real but what the hand could grasp
or the corporeal eye perceive."
infidelity of today, in many respects, according to the
quotation from D'Aubigne, leaves that of France at the time
of the Revolution far behind.
- Webster makes this word synonymous with
"communism," which he defines as follows: "The
reorganizing of society, or the doctrine that it should
be reorganized, by regulating property, industry, and the
sources of livelihood, and also the domestic relations and
social morals of mankind; socialism, especially the doctrine
of a community of property, or the negation of individual
rights in property." TOP
principles were carried into practice in France, and as
the result the Revolution blossomed into all its horrid
reality. The relations of the different classes of society
were completely changed. The monarchy was overthrown, and
an infidel republic established on its ruins. The king and
queen were beheaded.
Vol. IV, p. 151, says:
"The confiscation of two thirds of the landed property
in the kingdom, which arose from the decrees of the convention
against the emigrants, clergy, and persons convicted at
the revolutionary tribunals, ... placed funds worth above
£700,000,000 sterling at the disposal of the government."
of nobility were abolished. It was a conflict between the
rich and the poor, between capital and labor. The motto
of the Revolution was, "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity"
- blessed words, but, with the strangest inconsistency,
wholly outraged and misapplied. The same principles are
treated in the same way today, and are shouted as the watchword
among the discontented masses and the labor organizations
the world over. The principles of socialism, or communism,
were probably never so widely diffused as at the present
783 -- 4.
Love. - When the existence
of the true God was denied, as it was during the French
Revolution, and in his place men set up a lewd woman as
the Goddess of Reason, and the object of their highest adoration,
it was a natural consequence that the sacredness of the
marriage relation should be wholly discarded. Marriage was
therefore declared a civil contract, binding only during
the pleasure of the contracting parties. Divorce became
general, and the corruption of manners reached a height
never before known in France. One half of the whole number
of births in Paris were illegitimate. See Thiers's French
Revolution, Vol. II, p. 380. Free-lovism is an integral
part of the spiritualistic movement of our day, not so openly
advocated as formerly, but none the less cherished and practiced
as a part of the boasted "freedom" to which the
human race is attaining.
The Commune. - This
word is derived from a small territorial district in France
governed by an officer called a mayor. It has come to have
a much more extensive application at the present time; but
the origin of the word is not so important as the principles
which it is taken to represent. Of these we have already
had a definition from Webster, and seen a practical illustration
in the French Revolution. Thiers's French Revolution,
Vol. III, p. 106, gives the whole number of persons guillotined
during the reign of terror as 1,022,351, besides massacres
of other kinds in other places, in some of which the population
of whole towns perished. Dr. Dick, in his Improvement
of Society, p. 154, says:
"Such was the rapidity with which the work of destruction
was carried on, that within the short space of ten years
not less than three million human beings ... are supposed
to have perished in that country alone, chiefly through
the influence of immoral principles, and the seductions
of a false philosophy."
connection with this, as showing the tendency of the times,
may be mentioned the "International," an association
which, not long since, was prominent and created a good
deal of apprehension. The object of its members was to overthrow
those whom they esteemed their enemies, namely, kings and
capitalists. Its platform was, briefly, the abolition of
all class rule and privileges; political and social equality
of both sexes; nationalization of land and instruments of
production; reduction of hours of labor; education to be
controlled by the state, and to be obligatory, gratuitous,
and secular; religion to be ignored, a direct system of
taxation based upon property, not upon industry; the abolition
of all standing armies; and associative production instead
of capitalist production. TOP
will be seen at once that to put these principles into practice
would be completely to change the present political and
social relations of society. The different branches of this
revolutionary body may now go by different names, as Nihilists
in Russia, Communists in Germany, Anarchists and Monarchists
in France, Fenians and Land-Leaguers in Ireland, the different
secret labor organizations in this country, and Socialists
everywhere. The principles involved are similar in all their
divisions; the end sought, the same; and in the natural
order of things, a great crisis in respect to these movements
784 -- The impress of the Satanic hand is clearly seen
in that the state of society sought for is exactly the opposite
of that established by God in the garden of Eden. There
God was supreme; Christ, by whom God made all things, was
recognized and honored; God's law was
the governing rule; a spirit of true worship, prompted by
love, controlled man's mind; the marriage relation was sacred;
and the Sabbath was honored as God's great memorial. In
the French Revolution, God was dethroned, Christ crucified
afresh, Christianity denounced, and all restraint broken
off from the carnal heart, worship discarded, the rest-day
abolished, the marriage relation annulled, and society rent
into mournful fragments. Let Communism prevail, and such
is the state of society we shall have again.
fruit of this agitation is appearing more and more in the
strained relations between labor and capital, all the time
growing greater, the multiplication of "orders"
among the working men, and the combination of capital for
self-protection, the great strikes and mobs of 1893-95,
necessitating even armed intervention on the part of the
government. Suspicion and mistrust everywhere prevail; and
"What are we coming to?" is the question that
trembles on many a lip. Truly, as our Lord said it would
be just before his coming, "men's hearts" are
"failing them for fear, and for looking after those
things which are coming on the earth." Luke 21:26.
"SEVEN TIMES" OF LEVITICUS 26.
every scheme of the "Plan of the Ages," "Age-to-come,"
etc., makes use of a supposed prophetic period called the
"Seven Times;" and the attempt is made to figure
out a remarkable fulfilment by events in Jewish and Gentile
history. All such speculators might as well spare their
pains; for there is no such prophetic period in the Bible.
The term is taken from Leviticus 26, where the Lord denounces
judgments against the Jews, if they shall forsake him. After
mentioning a long list of calamities down to verse 17, the
Lord says: "And if ye will not yet for all
this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times
more for your sins." Verse 18. Verses 19 and 20 enumerate
the additional judgments, then it is added in verse 21:
"And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken
unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you
according to your sins." More judgments are enumerated,
and then in verses 23 and 24 the threatening is repeated:
"And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things,
but will walk contrary unto me; then will I also walk contrary
unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins."
In verse 28 it is repeated again.
Thus the expression occurs four times, and each succeeding
mention brings to view severer punishments, because the
preceding ones were not heeded. Now, if "seven times"
denotes a prophetic period
785 -- (2520 years), then we would have four of them,
amounting in all to 10,080 years, which would be rather
a long time to keep a nation under chastisement. TOP
But we need borrow no trouble on this score; for the expression
"seven times" does not denote a period of duration,
but is simply an adverb expressing degree, and setting forth
the severity of the judgments to be brought upon Israel.
it denoted a period of time, a noun and its adjective would
be used, as in Dan. 4:16: "Let seven times pass over
him." Here we have the noun (times) and adjective (seven);
iddan); but in the passages quoted above from Leviticus
26, the words "seven times" are simply the adverb
which means sevenfold." The Septuagint makes the same
distinction, using in Dan. 4:16, etc., epta
kairoi but in Leviticus simply the adverb, eptakiV.
expression in Dan. 4:16 is not prophetic, for it is used
in plain, literal narration. (See verse 25.)
-- THE TEN DIVISIONS OF ROME.
ten kingdoms which arose out of the old Roman empire, are
symbolized by the ten ten horns on the fourth beast of Daniel
7. All agree on this point; but there has not been entire
unanimity among expositors as to the names of the kingdoms
which constituted these divisions. Some name the Huns as
one of these divisions, others put the Alemanni in place
of the Huns. That the reader may see the general trend of
what has been written on this subject, the following facts
are presented: -
the historian of Florence, writing simply as a historian,
names the Huns as one of the nations principally concerned
in the breaking up of the Roman empire. Among those who
have written on this point with reference to the prophecy,
may be mentioned, Berengaud, in the ninth century; Mede,
1586-1638; Bossuet, 1627-1704; Lloyd, 1627-1717; Sir Isaac
Newton, 1642-1727; Bishop Newton, 1704-1782; Hales, -1821;
these nine authorities, eight take the position that the
Huns were one of the ten kingdoms; of these eight, two,
Bossuet and Bishop Newton, followed by Dr. Clarke, have
both the Huns and the Alemanni; only one, Mede, omits the
Huns and takes the Alemanni. Thus eight favor the view that
the Huns were represented by one of the horns; two, while
not rejecting the Huns, consider the Alemanni one of the
horns; one rejects the Huns and takes the Alemanni Scott
and Barnes, in their commentaries, and Oswald, in his Kingdom
That Shall Not Be Moved, name the Huns.
786 -- 4. BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES
-- Prominent Martyrs
de Wycliffe, -
born about 1324, styled the "Morning Star of the Reformation,"
was an English divine, whose piety and talents procured
for him one of the highest ecclesiastical positions of honor.
Having openly preached against the corruptions of the Roman
Church, he was displaced, the pope issuing several bulls
against him for heresy. Accordingly, he was examined by
an assembly, but made so able a defense that it ended without
determination. Continuing to denounce the papal corruptions,
ordinances, and power, he was again summoned before a synod,
but was released by order of the king's mother. It is remarkable
that although he continued his vehement attacks upon vital
points of Romish doctrine, he escaped the fate of others
similarly accused; but over forty years after his death,
which occurred in 1384, his bones were exhumed, burned,
and cast into the River Swift, which bore them through the
Severn to the sea, his very dust thus becoming emblematic
of his doctrine, now diffused the world over. His most important
work was the first English version of the Bible.
John Huss, - the celebrated reformer, was a native
of Bohemia, born in 1370, and educated at the university
at Prague, where he received the degree of master of arts,
and became rector of the University and confessor to the
Queen. Obtaining some of the writings of Wycliffe, he saw
the errors and corruption of the Romish Church, which he
freely exposed, though persecuted by several popes. By his
teaching, a reformation began in the University, to check
which the archbishop issued two decrees; but the new doctrine
spreading still more, he was finally brought before a council,
thrown into prison, and after some months' confinement,
sentenced to be burned. Though urged at the stake to recant,
he firmly refused, and until stifled with smoke, continued
to pray and sing with a clear voice. He was burned in 1415,
and his ashes, and even the soil on which they lay, were
carefully removed, and thrown into the Rhine.
of Prague, - who derived his surname from the town where
he was born somewhere between 1360 and 1370, completed his
studies at the university of the same name, after which
he traveled over the greater part of Europe. At Paris he
received the degree of master of arts, and at Oxford he
became acquainted with the writings of Wycliffe, translating
many of them into his own language. On his return to Prague,
he openly professed Wycliffe's doctrines, and assisted Huss
in the work of the Reformation. Upon the arrest of the latter,
he also expressed his willingness to appear before the council
in defense of his faith, and desired a safe-conduct of the
emperor. This was not granted, but on his way home he was
seized, carried to Constance, and after the martyrdom of
Huss, threatened with like torments. In a moment of weakness,
he abjured the faith;
787 -- but on being released, bemoaned his sin, and
publicly renounced his recantation, for which he was consigned
to the flames, 1416. TOP
Tyndale, - an eminent English divine, was born about
1484. He received an ample education at Cambridge and Oxford,
and took holy orders. Embracing the doctrines of the Reformation,
he excited so much enmity among Romanists by his zeal and
ability in expounding them, that he was compelled to seek
refuge in Germany. Believing that the Scriptures should
be read by the masses in the vernacular, he produced a complete
version of the New Testament in English, which, though ordered
to be suppressed, was in such demand that six editions were
published. This version was also the model and basis of
that of King James, and is but little more obsolete. He
also translated the Pentateuch. For these and other reformatory
writings, he was arrested at Antwerp at the instigation
of the English government, and after eighteen months' imprisonment,
was burned, first being strangled by the hangman, 1536.
Cranmer, - the first Protestant archbishop of Canterbury,
was born in 1489. Although saintly in his profession as
a divine, he was somewhat politic as a statesman, and thus
was well suited to unite the religious and worldly enemies
of popery. He was also a servile adherent of Henry VIII.
After the death of the latter, he joined the upholders of
Lady Jane Grey, who was also a Protestant, and was accordingly
sent to the Tower on the accession of Mary; and being accused
of heresy by the papal party, was burned at Oxford, 1556.
As a reformer, he introduced the Bible into the churches,
and so used his influence as a regent of Edward VI that
the Reformation greatly prospered during the young monarch's
reign. Shortly before his martyrdom, he signed a recantation
contrary to his convictions, in hope of life; but at the
stake he was more courageous, first thrusting into the flames
the hand which signed the document, exclaiming many times,
"O my unworthy right hand!"
Latimer, - born about 1490, one of the chief promoters
of the Reformation in England, was educated at Cambridge,
receiving the degree of master of arts. At the beginning
of the Reformation, he was a zealous papist; but after conversing
with the martyr Bilney, he renounced the Catholic faith,
and labored earnestly in preaching the gospel. Henry VIII,
being pleased with his discourses, made him bishop of Worcester;
but being opposed to some of the king's measures, Latimer
finally resigned. After the death of his patron, Cromwell,
the latter's enemies sought him out, and he was sent to
the Tower. He was released by Edward VI, but refused to
be restored to his diocese, and remained with Cranmer, assisting
in the Reformation. When Mary came to the throne, he was
again sent to the Tower, thence with Cranmer and Ridley
to dispute with popish bishops at Oxford. Here he argued
with unusual clearness and simplicity, but was condemned
and burned at the same stake with Ridley, 1555.
788 -- John Bradford, - was born in the first part
of the reign of Henry VIII. He early evinced a taste for
learning, and began the study of law; but finding theology
more congenial, removed to Cambridge University, where his
ability and piety won for him, in less than a year, the
degree of master of arts. Soon after, he was made chaplain
to Edward VI, and became one of the most popular preachers
of Protestantism in the kingdom. But after the accession
of that rigid Catholic, Mary, he was arrested on the charge
of heresy, and confined in the Tower a year and a half,
during which time he aided with his pen the cause for which
he suffered. When finally brought to trial, he defended
his principles to the last, withstanding all attemps to
effect his conversion to Romanism. He was condemned, and
committed to the flames in 1555. He died, rejoicing thus
to be able to suffer for the truth.
Ridley, - a learned English bishop and martyr, educated
at Pembroke College, Cambridge, was born about 1500. His
great abilities and piety recommended him to the notice
of Archbishop Cranmer, through whom he was made chaplain
to the king. In the reign of Edward VI, he was nominated
to the see of Rochester, and finally to the bishopric of
London. By his influence with the young king, the priories
and revenues devoted to the maintenance of corrupt friars
and monks were used for charitable purposes. On the decease
of Edward, he embraced the cause of Lady Jane Grey, and
in a sermon warned the people of the evil that would befall
Protestantism if Mary should come to the throne. For this,
and for his zeal in aiding the Reformation, he was seized
by Queen Mary, sent to Oxford to dispute with some of the
popish bishops, and on his refusing to recant, was burned
with Latimer, 1555. TOP
Hooper, - was born about 1495, and was educated at Oxford.
After taking his degree of bachelor of arts, he joined the
Cistercian monks, but his attention being directed to the
writings of Zwingli, after a diligent study of the Scriptures,
he became a zealous advocate of the Reformation. Knowing
the danger to which his opinions exposed him, he went to
France. On his return to England, he found that plots were
again being laid against his life, and escaped to Ireland,
thence to France, and finally to Germany, where he remained
some years. Again returning to England, he applied himself
to instruct the masses, laboring so successfully that the
king, Edward VI, requested him to remain in London to further
the Reformation, and created him bishop of Worcester. On
the accession of Mary, however, he was immediately arrested,
sent to the Fleet prison, and, after eighteen months' confinement,
was tried for heresy, and condemned to the flames in 1555.
He endured the agonies of the stake with great fortitude,
though they were unusually protracted on account of the
use of green wood.
Rogers, - the first of the many who were martyred during
Queen Mary's reign, was born about 1500. He was educated
at Cambridge, receiving holy orders, and was afterward chaplain
789 -- the English factory at Antwerp, where he became
acquainted with Tyndale and Coverdale, and by their aid
published a complete English version of the Bible. Removing
to Wittenberg, he became pastor of a Dutch congregation;
but when Edward VI came to the throne, he was invited home,
and made prebendary and divinity reader of St. Paul's. On
the Sunday after Queen Mary's accession, in a sermon at
St. Paul's, he exhorted the people to adhere to the doctrines
taught in King Edward's days, and to resist all Catholic
forms and dogmas. For this he was summoned before the council,
but vindicated himself so well that he was dismissed. This
not pleasing Mary, he was again summoned, and ordered to
remain a prisoner in his own house; but he was soon after
seized, and sent to Newgate. He was then tried and condemned,
and refusing to recant, was burned, 1555.
Luther, - the greatest of reformers, was born in Saxony,
in 1483. When a poor boy, a benevolent lady took him in
charge to educate. At first he studied law, but a narrow
escape from death so affected him with the uncertainty of
life that he retired to a monastery. Here he came in possession
of a Bible, and was struck with the difference between the
teachings of the gospel and the practices of the Romish
Church. Being sent on an errand to Rome, the impression
was deepened, and when the pope issued his famous bull granting
the sale of indulgences, Luther, who was then professor
of divinity in the University of Wittenberg, was prepared
to oppose it, which he did so ably that multitudes, including
many nobles, upheld him. He was ordered to appear at Rome,
but refused. The pope issued a condemnation, which Luther
burned. At the Diet of Worms he refused to retract, and
soon spread his views throughout the kingdom by his writings.
He also translated the Bible into German. A decree being
passed that the mass should be universally observed, a protest
was issued by the reformed party, from which they received
the name of Protestants. The confession of Augsburg, the
standard of their faith, was then drawn up. He still kept
on writing and laboring until he died, worn out by excessive
toil, in 1546.
Melancthon, - the famous reformer and friend of Luther,
was born in the grand duchy of Baden in 1497. At the age
of seventeen he graduated as master of arts from the university
of Heidelberg, and soon after obtained the Greek professorship
at Wittenberg. Here he formed a friendship with Luther,
whose opinions he accepted, and defended in his lectures
and writings. His prudence aided the promulgation of Protestant
doctrines greatly, as it guarded them from the abuses of
intemperate zeal. His greatest work was the drawing up of
the Augsburg Confession, although he was a fluent
790 -- writer, and was the author of the first system
of Protestant theology, which passed through more than fifty
editions, and was used as a text-book in the universities.
His learning and moderation became famous throughout all
Europe, and the kings of England and France invited him
to their kingdoms; but he preferred to remain at Wittenberg,
where he died in 1560.
Ulric Zwingli, - whose name in the annals of Protestant
reformers ranks second only to that of Luther, was born
in 1484. As he early evinced a taste for study, he was sent
first to Bale and Berne, and finally to the university at
Vienna, to receive an education. On his return he was pastor
of a large parish near his birthplace, and afterward preacher
to the cathedral church at Zurich. Here he made a special
study of the Scriptures committing to memory the whole of
the New and a part of the Old Testament. His theological
researches led him to see the corruptions of the Romish
Church, and he commenced declaiming against them, especially
against papal indulgences, until he effected the same separation
for Switzerland from the Catholic dominion, that Luther
did for Saxony. These religious dissensions brought on a
civil war in Switzerland, and Zwingli, who accompanied his
army as chaplain, was slain on the field of battle, 1531.
John Calvin, - an eminent reformer, and founder of
the religious sect known as the Calvinists, was born in
1509. He was early destined for the church, being presented
with a benefice when only twelve years old. He was educated
at Paris for the ministry; but becoming dissatisfied with
the tenets of the Romish Church, he turned his attention
to the law. He soon received the seeds of the reformed doctrine,
and so strongly defended them that he was obliged to leave
France. He retired to Bale, Switzerland, where he composed
his famous Institutes of Christianity, which was
translated into several languages. He then settled at Geneva
as minister and professor of divinity, but was compelled
to leave for refusing to obey some papal forms. Going to
Strasburg, he raised up a French church, where he officiated.
By the divines of this town he was sent as deputy to the
Diet of Worms. He returned to Geneva after repeated solicitation,
and was actively engaged as speaker and writer in the interests
of' the Reformation, until his death in 1564.
Knox, - the celebrated Scotch reformer, was born in
1505 and was educated at St. Andrew's University. He received
a Priest's orders, but renounced popery after reading the
writings of St. Augustine and Jerome. He was accused of
heresy, and his public confession of faith condemned; but
he began to preach it openly from the pulpit, and the reformed
doctrines spread rapidly. St. Andrew's being taken by a
French fleet, he was carried to Rouen, and condemned to
the galleys, where he remained nineteen months. After his
liberation, he went to England, and was made chaplain to
Edward V1, having refused a bishopric. On Mary's accession,
he went to Frankfort and preached to the English exiles.
Thence he went to
791 -- Geneva, where he was much esteemed by Calvin,
to whose doctrines he was much attached. He returned to
Scotland, where he died in 1572, after rendering the Reformation
triumphant in his native land.
Bunyan, - the most popular religious writer in the
English language, was born in 1628. He was a tinker by trade,
and therefore received but a meager education. His mind
was little drawn toward religious matters until his enlistment
as a soldier, during which one of his comrades, who had
taken his post, was killed. This he looked upon as a direct
interposition of Providence, and after his return home,
became deeply concerned about his spiritual welfare. He
soon joined the Baptist Church, and from an exhorter, became
a successful preacher among them. At this time all dissenters
from the Church of England were punished, and Bunyan was
thrown into jail, where he remained twelve years. Here he
wrote the world-renowned Pilgrim's Progress, which
has since been translated into every tongue of Christendom.
He was also the author of other religious writings, such
as the Holy War. At the close of the persecution
he was released. He soon resumed his former labors, and
was popularly known as Bishop Bunyan. His death, in 1688,
resulted from exposure.
Wesley, - the founder of Methodism, was born in 1703,
and was educated at Oxford, becoming an eminent tutor in
Lincoln college. With his brother and a few others, he formed
a society for mutual edification in theological exercises,
and they rigidly occupied themselves in religious duties,
in fasting and prayer, and visiting prisons and relieving
the suffering. At the solicitation of General Oglethorpe,
Wesley accompanied him to Georgia with a view of converting
the Indians. He finally returned to England to engage in
missionary labors, but his design was not to withdraw from
the established Church of England, but to create a revival
among the neglected classes by preaching salvation through
simple faith in Christ. However, the churches being shut
against him, he held open-air services, obtaining so many
converts that organization became necessary, and spacious
churches were built. Until his death in 1791, he was indefatigable
in his self-imposed work, which he carried through England,
Scotland, and Ireland, traveling nearly 300,000 miles, and
preaching over 40,000 sermons, besides being a voluminous
Whitefield, - an English clergyman, born in 1714, was
educated at Oxford, where he received the degree of B. A.,
and where he became acquainted with Charles Wesley, and
was an enthusiastic member of the club which gave rise to
Methodism. He was soon ordained, and commenced his remarkable
missionary career. Upon the urgent invitation of John Wesley,
who was in Georgia, he embarked for America, but soon returned
to solicit funds for a proposed orphan asylum. He made five
subsequent visits to America, preaching in all the large
cities, also in those of England, Scotland, and Ireland,
and made a journey to Holland. He met with great opposition
from the clergy, and being shut out of the churches, was
792 -- first to introduce open-air services. Having
differed from the Wesleys in some belief, they finally separated,
which gave rise to the two classes, Calvinistic and Wesleyan
Methodists. He still continued his laborious efforts, sometimes
speaking three and four times a day for weeks, until his
death, in 1770, at Newburyport, Mass., while preparing for
a seventh missionary tour in America.
Fletcher, - was born in Switzerland, in 1729. He was
of noble birth, and was educated at the university of Geneva.
Not conforming conscientiously to all the Calvinistic doctrines,
he forsook the clerical profession, and entered military
service. Peace being proclaimed, he went to England as a
tutor. He joined the Methodist society, and received orders
from the Church of England. Though presented with a good
living, he declined, saying "that it afforded too much
money for too little work." The poor and suffering
were his charge, and in a region of mines and mountains,
midst opposition and persecution, he labored with charity
and devotion. He visited France, Switzerland, and Italy,
and on his return was president of a theological school,
but his advocacy of Wesleyanism sundered the connection.
He afterward devoted his life to parishional duties, making
long missionary journeys with Wesley and Whitefield, and
to the preparation in writing of their peculiar doctrines.
His death occurred in 1785.
William Miller, - the greatest reformer of modern
times, born in Massachusetts in 1782, was of poor but honorable
parentage. Having a thirst for knowledge, he acquired considerable
education by his own exertions. He served in the war of
1812, and was promoted to the rank of captain. Until 1816
he favored infidelity; but a careful study of the Bible
for the purpose of refuting Christianity convinced him of
his error, and opened to the world the then almost unexplored
fields of prophecy. After much solicitation, he began his
life work, - the promulgation of the prophetic interpretations,
especially in regard to the second advent, thus inseparably
connecting himself with the great religious movement of
1844. The message soon became so wide-spread that invitations
came from all the principal cities of the United States,
as many as possible of which he answered; and a revival
such as had never been known sprang up in every denomination,
extending even to Europe. Though disappointed in the time
of the second advent, by a misapplication of prophecy, the
majority of his views proved themselves to be correct, and
introduced a new era in the never-ending work of reformation.
He devoted himself to the work which he had begun, both
lecturing and writing, until his peaceful death in 1849.
793 - 800
AND AUTHORITIES REFERRED TO OR QUOTED IN THIS WORK.
268, 276, 307, 445
of Seven Trumpets of Revelation 8, 9
history of Rowley, Mass
170, 174, 175, 225, 2:19, 248, 264, 271, 278
155, 237, 358, 425, 432, 441, 481, 484, 696
146, 150, 151, 284, 481, 482, 487, 509, 510
Hon. J. A..
227, 22A 232
and its Cleansing
370, 418, 421
echoes of the
Voice of God
of the Waldenses
Guide to Knowledge
Wonders of the
of the Times
Rev. J. S
E. F., D. D.
Key to Revelation
a Subject of Prophecy
of Edward Lee
357, 375, 407
92, 107, 135. 154, 103, 280, 307, 309, 370, 384, 439,
W., B. A.
of Thirty Controversies
368, 161, 286. 287, 564, 706
H., D. D.
McMillan, W. H.
416, 418, 420, 422, 696
Mrs. E. G.
Prof., New Testament
148, 153, 434, 436
changed the Sabbath?
166, 168, 252, 256, 200, 268, 273, 318, 373
153, 222. 490, 510
IN OTHER BOOKS OF THE BIBLE SUPPORTING THE EXPOSITION
OF DANIEL AND REVELATION SET FORTH IN THIS WORK
29; 9:6-8; 11:17-24
24, 44, 45
9, 20; 28:3
9; 26:30; 27:8
32, 37; 26:35; 27:20
629, 678, 698
1:1-4; 4;3-6; 16:5, 10, 15, 16, 20-22
20, 21, 30, 33
532, 742, 751
11, 21; 14:23, 24; 16:6
404, 427, 753, 756
14, 18, 21; 14:23; 16:2, 6
1:5-9, 19, 25