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The Voice from Heaven, Part 2

The Voice from Heaven, Part 2

THE VOICE OF PRESENT TRUTH

It becomes an important question then: Have ALL God’s people heard this Voice? We answer that we do not think all have yet heard; hence there must be many true Christians still in Babylon, partakers of her sins, but confused because of ignorance, because of lack of knowledge. The question might be asked: Shall we go forth making this call a special message? We answer: This is not our thought. Our thought is that where this is made a special message the result is usually different from what is intended: it makes many angry.

They say: By what authority do you call us Babylon, and by what authority do you tell us to “come out”?

Our thought is that it is the Lord who calls His people out of Babylon, not we; it is the Lord who gives the ear to hear and the eye to see, not we, the call is to be recognized especially as a Voice from Heaven.

What is this Voice from Heaven?

Apparently, the Voice is Present Truth–a presentation of the doctrines of the Scriptures, with their times and seasons–a showing that while there has been confusion and error all the way down throughout the Age, we are now in the Harvest time, when Truth is clearer than ever before. This Voice of Truth tells us whether or not we should support a system that is full of error and confusion or flee.

In what way are we to give God’s Message to come out of Babylon? We should show them the Light, the Truth, show forth the praises of him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvelous light (1 Pet 2:9); we should place before them the opportunity for investigation, and encourage them to prove these things for themselves. As they come to see the Truth and the bondage in which they have been, they will be glad to stand free in Christ by breaking off these shackles. This will be the Voice, then, that will show all the Lord’s people who are in the right attitude of heart that they should stand free, that they should come out of Sectarianism, that they should not misrepresent the Lord by claiming that they are of Babylon when they are not, but that they take their stand for God.

LOYALTY TO TRUTH THE TEST

This stand will mean the holding forth of the Divine Plan of the Ages, the Truth. If, after one has seen the real character of Babylon and has gotten his bearings in a general way, he then remains, it can be only by compromising the Truth. By being worldly wise he might remain and continue for a time to have popularity, to receive the honor of men. But if after seeing the Truth, after understanding the Truth, one were to continue in Babylon, he would of course be a greater sinner than one who had not been so enlightened. It is not our thought that we should avoid doing our duty in the proclamation of the Truth, but that we should avoid arousing unnecessary antagonism; for people in error are in no condition to have the errors they cling to lightly spoken of. They must be in the right condition before one can even whisper to them, “Come out of her.”

If, when you have heard and believe the Truth, you remain in Babylon, you will be a partaker of her sins, and more guilty than the average one among them (Rev 18:4). When you are able to hear this Voice yourself–this Voice, which will show you the right and the wrong, the Truth and the error–no doubt you will have the fortitude to “come out.”

BABYLON’S ATTITUDE TOWARD THE TRUTH

But those who hear the Voice of Present Truth, and who obey the call to come out of Babylon, are usually subjected to persecution. In our Lord’s Day, when the believers were from among the Jews, some were put out of the synagogues. We remember a particular instance during our Lord’s ministry. A man who was born blind was asked how he had his sight restored; and when he confessed Jesus, the rulers put him out of the synagogue. (John 9:22, 34.) That same spirit, that same condition, seemed to follow with the Apostles.

All through the Dark Ages those who were faithful to the Light were kept out of the churches. The church creeds and practices were conscience-barriers to keep Light-bearers out; those faithful to the Truth were excommunicated or put to death as heretics. This condition continued to some extent even after the time of the Reformation. Servetus, a brother Christian, whose horrible death by burning at the stake was caused by Calvin, is a case in point. Jesus said,

They shall put you out of the synagogues; yea, the time cometh that whosoever kills you will think that he does God service.”

The execution of Servetus was an instance of the literal fulfillment of our Lord’s words. Those who have ruled the synagogues have not always been bad people, but mistaken people. Thus it was with Saul of Tarsus, when he haled Christians to prison and approved the death of St. Stephen. And so with the churches of our day when any become enlightened and let their light shine. The same thing is true that has always been true; namely, “The darkness hates the light.” They say: If you stay with us you shall not present these matters, keep your views and opinions to yourself. So those who are loyal to God are in this way forced out of the synagogues (out of the nominal systems); indeed, the loyal ones are now called to “come out.”

YOUR BRETHREN THAT HATED YOU

But our day has a peculiarity that other days have not had. The Divine Plan is now so beautiful that we can see that others are in darkness, and this impelling Voice of the Truth is the Voice of God, the Voice of conscience, the Voice of enlightenment, calling us out of Babylon, which is misrepresenting God, His character, His Plan and His Word. We do not know but that they may go to the extreme in our day–to kill socially, to kill ecclesiastically, perhaps to kill physically. Nearly all the persecutions that have come to God’s people have come from professed Christians, fellow-believers.

Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for My Name’s sake, said, let the Lord be glorified; but He shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.”–Isa 66:5

We are glad that these shall one day, not far off, we believe, see their mistake. Instead of feeling like bringing vengeance upon our enemies, we should feel quite sympathy–not with them, but for them. We should realize that it is with them very much as it was with the Jews in our Lord’s Day: those Jews and their rulers knew not what they did, or they would have been ashamed. And they will be ashamed when they come forth and realize what they did–just as Saul of Tarsus was ashamed when he realized what he had done, and so with these blinded ones of today:

Some shall come forth to shame and lasting contempt.” This contempt will last until there has been a proper repentance for their share in the persecutions of the Lord and His faithful ones.

It is because we believe that there are children of God attempting to live on the husks and skimmed milk of human tradition–brethren in Christ starving for the pure food offered in the Word of God–that we are trying to reach and help them. Otherwise we would abandon all special efforts at propaganda; for we know that as soon as the Messianic Kingdom shall have been set up, conditions will be favorable to all to come to an accurate knowledge of the Truth as it is contained in the Bible.

The days that are almost upon us will surely bringweeping and gnashing of teethto many of the Lord’s professed people; for whoever stands for error will be in opposition to God. They are about to go into a great Time of Trouble, and it will be their own fault.

 

The Voice from Heaven, Part 1

The Voice from Heaven, Part 1

THE VOICE FROM HEAVEN

“…He calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out. And when he puts forth his own sheep, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.” (John 10:3-5)

“Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” (Rev 18:4)

The context of the Scripture above as found in Revelation shows that our text refers to Babylon–not the literal city of Babylon, but to the symbolic city, described in the Book of Revelation. The term Babylon seems to signify a concentration of the various errors in the apostate church systems, personified in Revelation as mother and daughters.

Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots,” is the name given by the Lord to the original System, thus intimating that the whole brood (both Mother and daughters) is illegitimate in every sense of the word. She neglected the Heavenly Bridegroom, and mingled in her “cup” a stupefying potion that has intoxicated the world; even the Lord’s saints were bewildered. (Rev 17:1-6)

After the Apostles “fell asleep,” the people of God gradually drifted into error of doctrine and practice, which culminated in the Dark Ages. A great System then developed (The Anti-Christ), and led the great majority into confusion and darkness. We need not suppose that in all these centuries everyone connected with this false System was hypocritical. As the people of Natural Israel were led captive into literal Babylon, so the people of Spiritual Israel, among who were some of the Lord’s true saints, were led captive into Mystic Babylon (The Church Nominal). Some of these would have liked to have gotten free, yet did not know what to do.

When we finally come down to the time of the Reformation, we see that instead of getting entirely free from Babylon and her errors (Papacy, Catholicism, the “Mother” system), the various new systems then formed (i.e. the “daughters”, Protestantism) partook to a considerable extent of the same spirit of the Mother System from which they had separated. The same spirit of persecution that was manifested in the “Mother” has also been manifested more or less in the “daughters”.

This enslaving power extended from medieval times to the Reformation; so that, looking out upon the so-called Christian world today (Christendom), we see that there could not be a better word used to picture existing conditions than the word confusion (i.e. babble, Babylon).

Yet there are even now many of the Lord’s true people to be found in this Babylonian System. But THE TIME OF SEPARATION IS HERE: those yet remaining in Babylon MUST HASTEN! The fact that some of God’s children have been in Babylon all throughout the Age shows us why God has had any respect at all for Babylon; His saints have been more or less enslaved (fenced) in there for centuries. This is the only reason why God has dealt with Babylon in any sense or degree, not for the sake of the “tares” but for the “wheat”.

BABYLON CAST INTO THE SEA

Our text with its context is a prophecy that in the end of the present Age a time would come when God would wholly reject Babylon. In the picture given us in Revelation of this time, the Lord’s rejection of the apostate systems is declared in the words, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen! She has been spewed out of His mouth, and the Almighty now calls upon His true people to “come out of her.” The faithful ones are delivering themselves out of Babylon during this Harvest time; the separating work (of the wheat and the tares) is almost completed. Soon, as pictured in Scripture, the “sea” of anarchy (The Great Time of Trouble) will swallow up these false systems. Babylon is to be “cast as a great millstone into the sea.” (Psa 46:2; Jer 51:62-64; Rev 18:21.) It is our belief that these prophecies are to be fulfilled in the very near future.

Some may ask: How may we recognize God’s Voice calling His people to come out of the churches now? In what manner shall we hear His Voice?

We answer that God bids His people to separate themselves from all sin and sinful conditions. Our forefathers did not hear this Voice, did not see this condition of sin. The Voice had not then spoken. Even in the time of the Reformation these entanglements of error were not clearly discerned. But now, in this Harvest time, we can see very clearly that the teachings of the nominal churches have been grossly in error–have grossly misrepresented the Divine Purpose and the Divine Character. We now perceive that Babylon is full of error and corruption of doctrine, and filled with the spirit of the world.

Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, and is become a habitation of demons, and a hold of every unclean spirit, and a hold of every unclean and hateful bird.” (Rev 18:2)

KNOWLEDGE BRINGS RESPONSIBILITY

Furthermore, the times and seasons of God’s Plan are now made plain, to the discerning, (to the “wise”, not according to the wisdom of this world, but according to that wisdom which comes from above) 1 Thess 5:1; Dan 12:10; 1 Cor 2:7, 13. We are shown that we are now living in the time foretold when these systems of error are to be rejected by the Lord. Should we not leave these systems when we see all this? This is God’s Voice to “come out of her.” We hear this Voice now speaking; we see that this prophecy of Revelation is now being fulfilled.

If any remonstrate: But, Lord, we have many precious friends in Babylon, and we are loath to leave them. It will be a great loss to us to leave them all and take a stand against them. Must we come out? Our friends will think us crazy! The Lord replies: “Come out of her,” or “receive of her plagues.”

You are not sharers of her sins until the time you see this. You may have been born in Babylon, but the Lord is not holding you responsible for what you did not understand. But the more you understand, the more responsibility you have. If, when you see what the Truth is and what the error is, and yet you still chose to remain in Babylon and support her by your presence, influence, money, service or etc. you will be very culpable. If you fail to come out of her when you hear the Lord’s Voice, it will imply that you are not thoroughly loyal to Him.

You may be one of His children, but if you fail to obey the Lord through fear of earthly loss, fear of what your friends, family or fellow church members might think of you, it will prove that these things are more precious to you than His favor, and He will treat you as He treats the hypocrites: you will have a share in their experiences. If you are approving of the sins (errors, false teachings) of the spewed-out systems by upholding them and giving them your influence and support, you will surely be partakers of Babylon’s plagues. This is a fair warning. We understand that it is the duty of every Christian to break every tender tie, if necessary, and to be loyal to God, to stand free from the error and sins of Babylon. The time of her judgment has come.

We will continue with this in our next post.

“IT COMES”, Part 9

“IT COMES”, Part 9

 

The Seventh Plague Continued.

Now the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nation’s fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath.” Rev 16:19

AND THE GREAT CITY: — Babylon the Great with all of its supporting and component parts,

WAS SPLIT INTO THREE PARTS: The implication is that the three parts of the Rev 16:13 coalition falls apart, and as in most revolutions and/or anarchy, it will be “every man for himself” and every man’s hand against his neighbors (Ezek 38:21; Zech 14:12, 13).

AND THE CITIES OF THE NATIONS FELL: Although the Sinaitic MS makes this singular (city), it is likely that it should be plural. The “Great City” has already been mentioned. While it IS, in a sense, the “city of the nations,” there seems little reason to state its fall between its “split” and God’s wrath upon it. However, there IS reason to mention that the various capitals (“cities”) of the various nations fell. We see in the next verse that this loss of rule-ship (i.e., plunge into anarchy — Ezek 38:21-23) will result in the demise of small and great polities. It is Divine Justice that the “cities” (capitals – ruling entities) of the nations should fall. THESE have been the beasts, which have (with few exceptions) been the cause of mankind’s woes.

AND BABYLON THE GREAT (The Professing Church, the Church Nominal) WAS REMEMBERED BEFORE GOD: At this point she will wish she were forgotten by Him. In Rev 18:5 God “remembers” her in order to begin her judgment. In Rev 16:19 He remembers every grievance. All of these plagues are God’s wrath (Rev 15:1), but THIS plague is more:

TO GIVE HER THE CUP OF THE WINE OF HIS FIERCE WRATH: The Greek for “wrath” here is different from that in Rev 15:1. The good student will want to be aware that the harvest period has wrath and WRATH, trouble and TROUBLE, fire and FIRE, and a few other such contrasts, which allow us to see the PROGRESSION through this century with CLIMAX at its end. Cup can mean experience; wine can mean several things, including the RESULTS of doctrine. It is clear that Babylon will drink of something unpleasant. It is closely allied with the traditional cup of hemlock juice with which people were slain for their crimes. Babylon’s cup will not be enviable. It is full of the results of God’s extreme wrath.

Then every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.” Rev 16:20

AND EVERY ISLAND FLED AWAY: Islands represent republics. Fleeing away may, indeed, represent their demise; or it may be that it represents their running from the problems — a flight which will be futile.

AND THE MOUNTAINS (Kingdoms, Nations) WERE NOT FOUND: — as mountains. Having lost their ruler-ship, they no longer function as mountains. They have been “cast into the midst of the sea” — anarchy will have swallowed up their polities.

And great hail from heaven fell upon men, each hailstone about the weight of a talent. Men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since that plague was exceedingly great.” Rev 16:21

AND HUGE HAILSTONES: (Water in the scriptures represents truth) Hail is hardened water — destructive truths.

ABOUT THE WEIGHT OF A TALENT: This phrase is difficult to interpret. There is no question that a talent is heavy (75-100 pounds!). The destructive force is evident. Strong’s #5007 (Greek. Dictionary) says that the word means “a balance”. This may imply that these truths are JUST RETRIBUTION for the errors of the past. This is very fitting since with this plague God’s righteous wrath is complete. Strong’s #5006 (from which this word is translated) means “talent-like.” Therefore, “hard truths like justice” seems one fitting interpretation.

The Old Testament makes a few references to one talent. They may or may not prove eventually to be helpful. (See 2 Sam. 12:30; 1 Kings 20:39; Zech. 5:7 KJV for examples.)

One particular reference, however, (Exod 25:39 or 37:24) may provide the best interpretation to Rev 16:21’s talent. The golden candlestick and its tools were made from one talent of gold. Since the plagues represent the truths which each of the church messengers presented, and since the candlestick represents all seven churches, and since the seventh messenger (and, therefore, the seventh plague) had a compilation of all of the truths of the entire age, it is likely that this hail weighing one talent represents the aggregate of the light of the age being used as a judgment against Babylon’s professing “Christians” (the Church Nominal).

CAME DOWN FROM HEAVEN: –likely meaning as a result of Divine decree

UPON MEN: Since “men” is frequently a symbol for professing Christians, this is probably the equivalent of the burning of the tares — an event, which makes “men” renounce their false professions. Hence:

AND MEN BLASPHEMED GOD: They have little choice. They have lost their faith; their world has fallen apart all around them, and they as yet have no knowledge of good things coming.

BECAUSE OF THE PLAGUE OF THE HAIL: (Specifically the truth that they themselves were never of the True Church, that they had been following a lie perpetrated by the Adversary and his cohorts, the “blind guides” of Christendom) How much actual truth men will learn in the final cataclysm is conjectural. Anarchy is not a good classroom for details. They will have learned enough to destroy their faith in everything. The thought implies that MEANS will still be operational for the spread of information (hail). This plague may be, in large part, televised or possibly through such media as the Internet (If still operable).

BECAUSE IT’S PLAGUE WAS EXTREMELY SEVERE: The implication is that few lies will escape attention. The world will, indeed, be an emptied vessel…”

“And then will the Master rise up and even as he did on the stormy sea of Galilee, and say: “Peace! Be still!” And, although the troublesome waves of the turbulent masses of mankind are mountain high, there will come a great calm. Hence… the great time of trouble will be shortened, i.e. come to an end that all flesh should not perish from the face of the earth. (Matt 24:21, 22)

Excerpts taken from the New Albany Notes on Revelation

To find out just how bad things will get for those who must endure the great time of trouble and the rise of the Beast which is to “COME AGAIN” we jump to the Book of Habakkuk and to another study entitled “A Dark Night Approaches”.

“IT COMES” Part 8

“IT COMES” Part 8

Having we hope provided both the historical and the scriptural account of the rise of the Beast “THAT WAS” and “IS NOT” (i.e. the reasons for its subsequent disappearance), the next question naturally is, when will it “COME AGAIN”, when will it makes its appearance a second time?

According to what we have learned thus far 1/10th of “the great city”, BABYLON THE GREAT (Rev 17:5, 18; 18:21), likewise spiritually referred to as Sodom and Egypt,” (Rev 11:8) fell during a “great earthquakeRev 11:13 (the French Revolution). The other 9/10ths of this city would not meet its demise until the final trouble of the Laodicean period.

It is during the Laodicean period of the Church that the Seven Last Plagues take place, the final trouble of course being the SEVENTH PLAGUE the last of the seven bowels of the wrath of God (Rev 16:1), specifically, ARMAGEDDON.

NOTE: Remember the Seven Last Plagues do not follow in the same sequence as did the Church’s, Seals, and Trumpets. In other words each of the first six periods of the church only experienced their perspective seals and the trumpets. It is only during the seventh or last period of the church, the Laodicean stage that the seven last plagues are poured out. The seven last plagues as you recall  are the just consequences of previous lessons unlearned, thus because the world didn’t listen to the trumpets, felled to heed the lessons, now the truths of the trumpets must be forced upon them by the plagues.”

In Rev 6:12 and 11:13 we read of “a great earthquake” which we have come to understand represented (the French Revolution) when 1/10th of “the great city” Babylon the Great fell, thus leaving 9/10ths of the city remaining. The Scriptures however imply that in due time what remains of this great city will likewise meet the same fate, viz.

Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “Thus with violence the great city Babylon shall be thrown down, and shall not be found anymore.” Rev 18:21

This finale demise of Great Babylon will occur during another great earthquake, the likes of which the world has never seen.

And the seventh (angel) poured out his bowl upon the air; and there came forth a great voice out of the temple, from the throne, saying, It is done: and there were lightning’s, and voices, and thunders; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since there were men upon the earth, so great an earthquake, so mighty. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nation’s fell: and Babylon the great was remembered in the sight of God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And great hail, [every stone] about the weight of a talent, cometh down out of heaven upon men: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof is exceeding great.” Rev 16:17-21

This will be the time of trouble which both the Prophet Daniel (Dan 12:1), and our Lord spoke of saying,

For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.” Matt 24:21, 22

The severity of these times as in comparisons with any which had occurred previously is expressively implied in both texts, viz. such an earthquake “as was not since there were men upon the earth”, such great tribulation (trouble)as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time.

Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, “It is done!Rev 16:17

AND THE SEVENTH ANGEL POURED OUT HIS BOWL ON THE AIR: The AIR, of course, is a symbol of spiritual control (Eph. 2:2). This plague will disrupt and foil the plans, which the demons instituted in the sixth plague. This plague (the Seventh) IS ARMAGEDDON – the destruction of the mountain (Zech. 4:7; Matt. 21:21) what it will fully consist of is yet to be seen.

AND A LOUD VOICE: — an important announcement of an important event.

CAME OUT OF THE TEMPLE: — out of God’s plan; out of the Most Holy condition

FROM THE THRONE: The temple has no throne. The mixed symbolism is apparently to show us how important this announcement is. It is LOUD; it is part of God’s plan (temple); it is from the Most Holy (Rev 15:5); and it is The Throne — THE Authority, God Himself. This all gives special weight to the next three words, the announcement itself:

IT IS DONE: There is only speculation as to what “IT” is. But all saints must feel instinctively what is meant. This is so close to Jesus’ own words on the cross when His sacrifice was completed (viz. “It is finished). This “it is done” is surely the glorification of the last members of the body. What else demands the LOUD VOICE from THE THRONE? Other things (Verses 18-21) are NOT DONE at this point. These three little words are among the most blessed in the Bible.

And there were noises and thundering’s and lightning’s; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth.” Rev 16:18

Remember what was said in our study of the Sixth Seal that although the four angels who were holding back the winds (strife, war, anarchy), were allowed (to a certain extent) to release the winds, they were nevertheless forbidden to allow the trouble to go beyond that which the Lord deemed would hinder in anyway the work of completing the church.

The things that occur from now on however CAN occur BECAUSE the Church is gone. There is nothing in the way now of the peaceable kingdom save the total disintegration of the old order.

AND THERE WERE FLASHES OF LIGHTNING: This is the first of the collection of symbols portraying the elements, which when combined, will be causing the mass confusion of Armageddon. Lightning is blinding flashes of light. Hence, maddening exposures of truths on many planes will be one of the irritants in the trouble.

AND SOUNDS (or VOICES): All kinds of excuses (denials) and explanations will be flying about — all to no avail.

AND PEALS OF THUNDER: Thunder represents controversy. This will be a time when controversy erupts into violence:

AND THERE WAS A GREAT EARTHQUAKE: Not just an earthquake, but a GREAT one — the end of the one begun in the French Revolution (Rev 11:13) and the same as the one of Ezek 38:19, 20 — another testimony that Babylon’s fall is inseparably linked to Israel’s deliverance.

SUCH AS THERE HAD NOT BEEN SINCE MAN CAME TO BE UPON THE EARTH: This is to let us know that “great” is an insufficient modifier for earthquake. It worked for the French Revolution (Rev 11:13), but the last 9/10ths of the city will be a revolution unprecedented.

SO GREAT AN EARTHQUAKE, SO MIGHTY: Yet more is said to make the impression! Those who think that transition to the peaceable kingdom will be gradual or smooth should take note!

We will continue with Verse 19 in our next post.

Excerpts taken from the New Albany Notes on Revelation

 

“IT COMES, Part 7

“IT COMES, Part 7

Having concluded our look at the Sixth seal and how it portrays conditions consistent to the rise of the Beast “THAT WAS” we now continued on with our investigation to see what THE SIXTH TRUMPET has to say on these matters.

Keep in mind the object of the trumpets is not the same as that of the seals. The seals showed us how historical events of the period affected the church, (viz. the French Revolution, the Enlightenment, the emergence of Protestantism and etc.) while the trumpets show us how present truth (that is those truths then due) affected surrounding society.

Then the sixth angel sounded: And I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God…” Rev 9:13

“The sixth angel was Martin Luther. “I” is John who represents the Church in the flesh. The voice is a message. (“Four” may or may not be spurious. The golden altar DID, of course, have four horns. Four, representing universality, would show the complete power of the altar.) Horns represent power. The golden altar represents the sacrificing of The Christ during the Gospel Age. Therefore, the message seems to be:

Luther delivered his message, and the Church heard (as a result) a message regarding the power of individual sacrificing with Christ.

This is EXACTLY what Luther’s JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH doctrine accomplished. Christians were no longer subject to the Roman Catholic priesthood and its fraudulent sacrifice of the Mass. They now stood before God as individually consecrated members of Christ’s body, sacrificing individually in Christ as part of the Great Sin-Offering. This message is closely tied to 3:7 where the door is now open and no one can shut it. The saints and history itself is, by this message, released or loosed from the Papacy. The saints were now, in Luther’s words, A Priesthood of Believers.”

“…Saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound (in) the great river Euphrates.” Rev 9:14

The four angels here are, no doubt, the same angels which we met in the sixth seal (Rev 7:1-3). It will be of value to review their symbolism. Whether or not four ACTUAL angels are involved behind the scenes is not very material. Four, as we recall, is a symbol of universality. The 7:1 four were standing at the four corners of the earth — all parts of the established order of things. They were instructed by Jesus (Rev 7:2, 3) NOT to let things go to the point of anarchy (four winds). These four angels are probably the PARTS OF SOCIETY WHICH WILL ULTIMATELY GO TOO FAR thus causing total breakdown.

They are probably the, (1) Social, (2) Political, (3) Financial, (4) and Religious elements of society.

“Here in Rev 9:14, Luther is told that his work would release these angels because they were, up until his time BOUND IN THE EUPHRATES. The Euphrates is symbolic of the support of the people given to Babylon. In Luther’s day, of course, ALL support of the people had been to the Roman Catholic Church — the only Babylon at the time. Because the Roman Catholic Church had complete control over the elements of society, social, judicial, as well as religious, those elements (the four angels) could not function outside of the approval of the Papacy. There could be no social changes, nor financial theories explored, no political freedoms, and no religious questioning. The four angels were, indeed, BOUND in the Euphrates. The people who supported Rome were fearful of giving support to anything not sanctioned by Rome.”

So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released to kill a third of mankind.” Rev 9:15 

The implications of this verse must be viewed carefully. These angels are prepared for a very specific time and work, but they are released to accomplish something additional. In other words, the PRIMARY prophetic work will be for the hour, day, month, and year, but, before that, they are released to “kill a third of men.” This two-fold function must be recognized in the interpretation.

Many suggestions have been made regarding the chronological implications of this verse. Each seems to be forced. We offer an alternative which is derived from within the symbolism of the sixth trumpet. First, it is imperative to note that the Greek text uses the definite article — ONLY before the word HOUR. Thus these angels were prepared for:

THE Hour,

A day,

A month,

And A year.

If we look during the period of the Philadelphia Church, what can we find that might be called THE hour? Nearly all Bible students would conclude that the TIME OF THE END — marked by the close of the French Revolution — is the singular most importantHOUR” in Philadelphia.

Because of this, Verse 15 seems to be saying, the release of the four angels from the power of the Euphrates is so that they will be contributors to the events of the French Revolution. That Revolution could not have happened except that social, financial, religious, and political philosophies and liberties had reached such a degree of development and expression that all fury broke loose because of them — the flood of ideas mentioned in Rev 12:15.

But they are also released for A day, A month, and A year. Which day, month, and year? The answer seems clear BOTH in the Revelation account of the sixth trumpet AND in Daniel’s prophecy of the event. It will be the 1260th day (Rev 11:3); it will be the 42nd month (Rev 11:2); and it will be (pardon the strange English) the 3 1/2 year (Rev 11:6; Dan 12:7 and Rev 10:6). Thus, from the sixth-trumpet account alone it is possible to account for THE hour, and one each (the last of each) of the days, months, and years (reaching to THE TIME OF THE END).

But before we reach that special “hour,” (The Time of the End), the release of these four angels progresses so that a third of men might be killed. Once Luther had begun the Reformation, there were three basic parts of the Christian world: (1) the civil powers, (2) the Roman Catholic Church, and (3) the new Protestantism. These angels didn’t kill Protestants! In actuality, they made Protestants. They didn’t kill the civil power. They didn’t kill the Roman Catholic Church either except that those who made up the New Protestantism used to be Roman Catholic members. Here is the third that were slain. They were KILLED AS ROMAN CATHOLICS; they were REBORN as Protestants. This division of Christianity would be one of the factors leading to the French Revolution — the time for which the four angels were especially prepared.”

Now the number of the army of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them.” Rev 9:16

Suddenly, out of nowhere, we have mentioned armies of horsemen numbering 200,000,000, the context just about demands that this verse be connected with the previous verse. These “armies” are, apparently, the third of mankind which have become Protestant. [Editor: We are using the word “Protestant,” in this monograph, not in the sense of a Church, but in its generic sense, that is, as opposed to Roman Catholicism] They are horsemen because they are being carried foreword by their new and exciting doctrines. This verse says that the John Class “heard the number of them.” This statement is true as witnessed by the chart in The Divine Plan of the Ages, page 16. This chart, published by the London Missionary Society, shows us that at the beginning of the Laodicean period, the world numbers approximately 116 million Protestants. Adding the number since the days of Luther, 200 million of them during the Philadelphia period is a reasonable estimate — still vastly outnumbered by Roman Catholics, but definitely a vast number.

And thus I saw the horses in the vision: those who sat on them had breastplates of fiery red, hyacinth blue, and sulfur yellow; and the heads of the horses were like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths came fire, smoke, and brimstone.” Rev 9:17

This, and the next two verses, is a description of the power of the Protestant movement during the entire Philadelphia period. John sees both horses and riders. The riders have DEFENSIVE armor — breastplates. This is to show the protection (Eph 6:16) which the Biblically-supported truths supplied for the reformed believers. The horses, on the other hand, have OFFENSIVE equipment: heads of lions and, later, tails like serpents with heads. The lion’s head and all that comes out of its mouth show the power at the head (beginning) of the reform movement. The message was so powerful that it DEVOURED its adversaries; hence, a third of mankind was killed (converted). As the movement progressed through time the power was not so great. As we near the end of the Philadelphia period, converts to Protestantism were sparse — but the power of the tails (the many Protestant denominations which had grown out of the movement) was strong enough yet to “do harm.”

The breastplates of the riders cause some difficulty. Most translators and commentators seem to think that three COLORS are meant by the description, NOT fire, jacinth, and sulphur. If this be so, the colors are the RED of fire, the BLUE of the jacinth (hyacinth), and the YELLOW of poisonous sulphur. Interestingly enough, sulphur is very combustible and burns at a very high degree of heart. The meaning is not easy of interpretation. These are, of course, the three primary colors from which all other colors are formed. This might well signify that the protection of the Protestants is from the complete color palate of truths from the Bible — a true and reasonable fact. The sources of these colors would add significance: the purifying power of fire (even as the red doctrine of the ransom is the doctrine by which all other doctrines are measured and considered pure or not); the faithfulness represented by blue which comes from a flower (hyacinth) or the stone named after it. If the gemstone is intended, perhaps the grace and promise of fruitage from faithfulness is meant. Perhaps the thought is that the power in the truths poisons [or burns away] any error when attempts are made to assault it. [Editor: Another thought is that when the proselyte comes in contact with these symbolic truths, “red, blue, and yellow,” the resultant combination is “white,” that is, he is given a “white” robe of righteousness.]

These horses are fierce and offensive in character as was the initial trend of Protestant reforms. From their mouths (i. e., from their message, their witnessing, etc.,) come fire, smoke, and brimstone (sulphur). The protestant doctrine WAS destructive of old Paganistic ideas and ways (fire); it was confusing to its enemies (smoke); and it set out to poison the false “waters” which Babylon had called truth to that point.

By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed—by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which came out of their mouths.” Rev 9:18

It was the OFFENSIVE onslaught that made converts (the fire, smoke, and brimstone); it was not the DEFENSIVE shield of the riders. This is a lesson to us all: We may be able to DEFEND the Truth — be able to use our shield (to fend off errors); but the way to reap wheat is not in the defense of Truth, but in the bold and forthright promulgation of it. However, we must always remember that we are only ministers of the Truth. Without the wonderful efforts of the Holy Spirit acting upon the hearts of those who might listen to us and causing them to turn from their unrighteous ways to the Truth and the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, there would be no Christianity.

For their power is in their mouth and in their tails; for their tails are like serpents, having heads; and with them they do harm.” Rev 9:19

Once again — the POWER of the doctrines is NOT in their riders! It is in their ability to SPEAK — their lions’ heads, and their serpent tails WITH HEADS. (See 9:17 for the contrast of tail and head.)

But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk. And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.” Rev 9:20, 21

The rest of mankind NOT killed by these plagues apparently refers to that segment of the Christian world which remained Roman Catholic. They did not change the way they did things just because the Protestant reformation had come.

The listing of the WORKS OF THEIR HANDS (Verse 20) and the IMMORALITIES (Verse 21) does not seem intended for us to analyze each of the terms in the lists. On the contrary, the point seems to be that there are TWO AREAS IN WHICH THEY DID NOT REPENT. The FIRST area is that of false worship. This is the FIRST COMMANDMENT. The second area is that of harm to others. This is the SECOND COMMANDMENT. In these two, according to Jesus, is the whole Law and the Prophets. It is almost to say that the spiritual point of the Reformation was to bring to the attention of all professing Christians their having strayed from these two basic precepts. The Protestant movement would stress these two items; the Roman Catholic Church would not. And so it has been ever since — setting the stage for the final reform: Laodicea.

In our next segment we will attempt to determine when the Beast that was, and is not is to “COME AGAIN”.


Excerpts taken from the New Albany Notes on Revelation

“IT COMES”, Part 6

“IT COMES”, Part 6

the-beast

THE SIXTH SEAL Continued

Reiterating what was last stated in our previous post, viz.

“The chapter division obscures the connection of Chapter 7 to what has come just before at the end of Chapter 6. It is VERY IMPORTANT to our understanding to see this connection. Rev 6:12-17 has just shown the terrible troubles of the French Revolution period. These troubles could have spread. But it was not yet time for the general Time of Trouble. Only 1/10th of the city was to fall during the sixth period of the church (Rev 11:13). 9/10ths must remain for the trouble of the Laodicean period. Therefore, Chapter 7 begins by saying: ENOUGH! STOP THE SPREAD! IT IS NOT TIME FOR THE WHIRLWIND. THE CHURCH MUST BE FINISHED FIRST. THEN THE WINDS CAN BE SET FREE.

This, in essence, is the entire message of Chapter 7. But the statement about finishing the church before the final trouble allows the sender of Revelation to tell how many will ultimately be sealed as part of the body of Christ and what will happen to those (the Great Multitude) who did not prove worthy of their calling. Obviously, the church is not completed during the sixth stage of the church — That’s the message of Verse 3 But, as is so often the case in the sixth church narrative, the Revelator Looks forward to events in the seventh stage of the church. He here looks forward to the completion of the church and the Great Multitude.”

After these things I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree.” Rev 7:1

Four angels: These angels are said to be holding back the winds. The implication is that the winds (strife) cannot occur until certain information is available to cause the strife. It was truths about liberty, etc., which stimulated the Revolution in France. It will apparently also be truths which cause the final cataclysm. Thus four angels may symbolize all available messages–the accumulated truths which culminate in the final period of the church. It is very much possible that these four angels are the same as those mentioned in Rev 9:14, 15. Until the advent of Protestantism, truths were restrained (bound) at the Euphrates — i.e., they were bound by the faithfulness of the people to the support of Babylon (The “waters” of the Euphrates represent peoples, nations, specifically those who support Babylon, See Rev 17:15).

The message of the sixth trumpet released the search for truth as nothing had since Jesus’ first advent. Chapter 9 continues to show the powerful effects of these doctrines (horses). Chapter 7, however, shows that even though the angels of Rev 9:14, 15 are released, THEY ARE ALLOWED TO GO ONLY SO FAR. Verses 2 and 3 show that Jesus Himself FORBIDS the truths to go beyond what would hinder His work of completing the church. Here is a specific fulfillment of Psa 76:10.

Four corners of earth: The angels stand at the four corners of earth — in all segments of society where all the social, financial, political, and religious messages which will ultimately conflict are located. These elements of society actively fought the influence of the French Revolution in order to keep a semblance of peace and order throughout Europe. Once truths are released they have dual effects. The post-revolutionary Europe attempted, and succeeded, in putting reigns on the horses. Thus the four angels (which in a sense caused the trouble) ALSO served to hold back its spread.

Four winds of earth: It is important to distinguish between the winds of earth and the winds of heaven (as in Dan 7:2). The various wars and strife’s (conflicts) symbolized by winds have various causes. Some are based on ecclesiastical questions (arguments), some on social. Some are caused by the interactions of men, some by the interference of fallen spirits. Thus some are characterized by winds of heaven (ecclesiastical or demonical), and some by winds of earth (social or political.)

In Rev 7:1, the strife is social- political (earth). It is, however, important to note that what occurs in society frequently has the planning or backing of the spirit powers behind it. Thus, in Dan 7, the winds of heaven (the fallen spirits) strive on the sea (restless humanity) to form the four empires which will dominate Daniel’s people until the 20th Century. As each of those four apparently had a fallen angel as its head (see Dan 10:20), it is also likely that the final cataclysm also will have demons behind its features. Thus we have texts like 2 Thess. 2:9, 10, Matt. 24:24, and Rev. 16:14. Then, as Rev 16:17 shows, the LAST plague will be poured out on these powers of the air which should bring the release of the four winds of our Rev 7 prophecy. Hosea 8:7 shows that while a wind might blow, it is the WHIRLWIND that brings new destruction: (Compare Dan 2:35). Thus the winds blowing, but not the four winds — the final blast with ALL of the directions and forces of accumulated truths coming together causes the anarchy with which this age will end. GOD FINALLY SPEAKS out of the WHIRLWINDJob 38:1.

On earth, sea, & tree: The winds are held back so that the earth (society), the sea (the masses of humanity), and the trees (significant leadership) will not experience the kind of total disruption that would make the completion of the church impossible — hence Verses 2 and 3.

Then I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God. And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying, “Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” Rev 7:2-3

The angel here is almost certainly Jesus (Compare Matt 4:2). He has the seal — the tool needed to complete the work of sealing. No doubt this seal is the working of the Holy Spirit. He cries to the four angels a message guaranteeing what they were already doing. They were, in Verse 1, holding back the forces of anarchy. But Jesus adds the LOUD VOICE of His authority to control history saying Go this far and no further. Let NOTHING stop the primary work of this age — the completion of My Bride. Until the church is sealed in its forehead (the character-likeness of Jesus and the Father — see Rev 14:1) — not necessarily beyond the veil –nothing else takes priority. 1/10th of the city has fallen, but the other 9/10ths is not permitted to do so until the final members of the Bride are sealed.”

Verses 4-17 covers the elect number of individuals tried, proven and found faithful who will constitute the Church, the Bride of Christ as well as the Great Company or multitude (an innumerable class) who failed to make their calling and election sure. As this segment does not specifically pertain to our subject we will not delve into these verses here, but rather will proceed onward to our next subject, the Sixth Trumpet in our next post.


Excerpts taken from the New Albany Notes on Revelation

“IT COMES”, Part 5

“IT COMES”, Part 5

the-beast

Having now we hope gain an idea somewhat of the arrangement of the seven stages of the church and their subsequent seals and trumpets we are now prepared to examine in more detail the Scriptural account of the rise of the Beast “THAT WAS” its subsequent disappearance, (its “IS NOT” condition), and its rise once again before going into destruction.

It is the sixth church, seal and trumpet which we are specifically concerned with as it was during this stage of the church near its end that the French Revolution took place which brought rise to the Beast “THAT WAS”, however it is important to understand that many events which had their beginnings in this stage of the church don’t reach their fruition or completion until the seventh stage, therefore in some instances we will need to look at both.

The Sixth stage of the church was of course the Philadelphian stage it was here that the prophetic 1260 days of Daniel met their end, ushering in the Time of the End. (From the time the Abomination of Desolation was set up in 539 A.D. to Napoleon’s Egyptian Campaign in 1799 A.D. 1260 years elapsed.) The Time of the End is of course a period of time not simply a specific day; it has a beginning as well as an ending. It began at the end of the 1260 days (years) of Daniel 1799 A.D. and last all the way through the Laodicean stage, the last stage of the church reaching to the end of the Age (the Gospel Age).

During the sixth stage the Lord warns, “Behold I am coming quickly!” (Rev 3:11) I will be arriving shortly, be prepared. And in the seventh stage, “Behold I stand at the door and knock…” (Rev 3:20), that is to say, ‘Behold I have arrived, I am present, howbeit unseen to all save those who possess spiritual insight, those who are awake and who have been looking for my return. Not vainly looking toward the sky mind you, but rather to the more sure word of prophecy in which you would do well to take heed as a light that shines in a dark place (2 Pet 1:19), thus examining those prophecies which reveal BOTH the time and the manner of my parousia (presence)’.

Here too during the sixth stage mentioned is made of the Hour of Temptation (the Great Time of Trouble) which is coming upon the whole world to test those who dwell upon the earth. This Great Time of Trouble will reach its fulfillment near the end of the seventh stage of the church, specifically in our day.

THE SIXTH SEAL OPENED

I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake (the French Revolution); and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood.Rev 6:12

“It may seem strange that this seal begins by describing events which occur late in the Philadelphia period, near its end. One reason may be that the French Revolution and the Time of the End are the focal point of the Sixth stage of the church. Perhaps, however, more important is that the seals appear all to focus on events late in their period. It is as if the Lord allows the period to unfold on events in their period (UN-sealed) until after much of the period is history. This seems only natural. We rarely understand an experience while we are going through it. Our understanding and appreciation generally comes later.”

It was during this time that “the sun became black as sackcloth…” The Sun a symbol of the Gospel light was challenged by Voltaire and the Enlightenment. The denominations at that time had too little Truth to give the needed answers to the challengers. Thus the prophetic symbolic Sun was unable to enlighten the masses and in sackcloth, mourning. During the Philadelphia period which had begun with such doctrinal excitement, the eventual challenges of the Enlightenment, Higher Criticism, Evolution, Marxism, etc., destroyed the faith of many. And so too “the moon became like blood,” the moon a reflection of the Gospel light, representative of the Jewish Law, and the Old Testament types were viewed by the Enlightenment as barbaric and bloody.”

And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind.” Rev 6:13

“The stars which fell could well have represented those in the ecclesiastical realm whom the people had previously looked upon, but who now during the revolution fell from esteem, the religious leaders and etc. Another view of this is that the “stars” which fell represented the Apostles (Rev 12:1) the teachings of the Apostles were reduced to a code of morals and ethics used for social and political applications only. Their spiritual applications were ignored; thus they fell to earth(ly) uses.

In several instances in the scriptures the Lord uses the “fig tree” to prefigure or type of Israel; here too the fig tree represents Israel. There was something happening during this time that would affect the Jewish people in an important way, what was it?

“Napoleon while in the Holy Land after his Egyptian Campaign in 1799 wanted to proclaim the region as a new homeland for the Jews. The idea was a good one which God intended to accomplish. But the timing was off — untimely, unripe, God had prophesied by the Jewish Double prophecies that 1878 would be the time for the re-establishment of Israel.’ Napoleon’s defeat by Lord Nelson put an end to his designs for conquering the Middle-East and establishing an empire, and thus, the Jewish hope was aborted – cast off by a great wind.”

The “stars of heaven” falling AS or like a fig tree might imply that, Just as the idea for a Jewish homeland was premature, so is the darkening of Sun, Moon, and Stars and the accompanying troubles. This (the French. Revolution) is only the preliminary 1/10th of what will fall the other 9/10ths must wait till another time, i.e. in the next or last stage of the church.

Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place.” Rev 6:14

The sky receded (departed, split)” Translators seem to disagree on the meaning of the word. Strong’s seems to define it is a splitting rather than a departure. NAS translates it split. The latter seems preferable when we look at history, but either can be explained. (Again, it is important to note that a similar event is forecast for the Laodicean period by Isa 34. That will be more major in scope as it will involve the other 9/10ths of the city. This event in Chapter 6 only involves 1/10th of the city, France.)

Prior to the revolution, France had but ONE heaven — The Roman Catholic one. Then it had NONE because religion was outlawed early in the revolution. But when religion was again legislated, it allowed, encouraged, and protected Protestantism along with Roman Catholicism. Thus the heavens (the ecclesiastical heavens) were SPLIT into two factions who, by law were required to respect and tolerate each other – a scroll rolling together.”

Every mountain and island was moved out of its place

“Mountains are kingdoms; islands are more democratic nations. Note, they are NOT removed, just moved. The French Revolution spread concern all over Europe. Napoleon’s advances frightened the monarchies of Europe which feared the spread of French Republicanism and the breakdown of society (the rise of the Beast “THAT WAS), which France had experienced. All kinds of measures were subsequently taken to prevent such a spread of revolution. Perhaps the most visible result was the so-called Holy Alliance of 1846. Nothing would ever be the same again in Europe.”

And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!  For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?Rev 6:15-17

“Not only were nations moved by the experiences, but individuals from all segments of society were also — kings to slaves! It was not only the aristocracy which suffered in France, but the common people also. Thus Verse 15 shows them all doing things to insure a better future. Some fled France to other “mountains.” Some “hid” themselves in protective strongholds. The French Revolution began a rush to insulate with nationalism, fraternities, alliances, institutions, societies, treaties, trusts, guilds, etc. During this period of the Revolution END OF THE WORLD prophesying and theorizing became popular. It gained support from the Scriptures when the Adventist movement grew. The Reign of Terror terrorized well beyond France. Historians confirm that fears of Armageddon gripped many. Even unbelievers began to think that some sort of retribution was being meted out, Thus, in Verses 16 and 17, when many seek hiding places in kingdoms and institutions they claim fear of the “day of wrath.” This shows us their frame of mind. It does not tell us that this is the time for the Great Time of Trouble. It is, however, a 1/10th picture of what is yet to come.”

“The chapter division obscures the connection of Chapter 7 to what has come just before at the end of Chapter 6.

It is VERY IMPORTANT to our understanding to see this connection. Rev 6:12-17 has just shown the terrible troubles of the French Revolution period. These troubles could have spread. But it was not yet time for the general Time of Trouble. Only 1/10th of the city was to fall during the sixth period of the church (Rev 11:13). 9/10ths must remain for the trouble of the Laodicean period. Therefore, Chapter 7 begins by saying: ENOUGH! STOP THE SPREAD! IT IS NOT TIME FOR THE WHIRLWIND (THE GREAT STORM). THE CHURCH MUST BE FINISHED FIRST. THEN THE WINDS CAN BE SET FREE.

Thus the Beast “THAT WAS” was contained, corralled and went into the bottomless pit or abyss (the state of powerlessness), the “IS NOT” condition. Now keep in mind the people make up the body of the Beast, therefore the Beast still “IS“, it still exist, just not in the sense in which it existed during the French Revolution, that element or character of the Beast (the unrestrained anarchist masses, the destroying element) was held in check by the Lord until the completion of the Church after which time it “IS TO COME AGAIN” come back into power.

This, in essence, is the entire message of Chapter 7. But the statement about finishing the church before the final trouble allows the sender of Revelation to tell how many will ultimately be sealed as part of the body of Christ and what will happen to those (the Great Multitude) who did not prove worthy of their calling. Obviously, the church is not completed during the sixth stage of the church — That’s the message of Verse 3  but, as is so often the case in the sixth church narrative, the Revelator Looks forward to events in the seventh stage of the church. He here looks forward to the completion of the church and the Great Multitude.”

In our next post we will continue to examine how the scriptures interpret the Beast “THAT WAS”, “IS NOT”, and “IS TO COME AGAIN”.


Excerpts taken from the New Albany Notes on Revelation.

“IT COMES”, Part 4

“IT COMES”, Part 4

 

the-beast

In our previous post we mentioned how the French Revolution brought to life the Beast “THAT WAS” and what some of the specific causes and results were. We likewise mentioned how the revolution was brought to an end when the military under Napoleon Bonaparte came to power, and as such the Beast “THAT WAS” went into the abyss (the state of powerlessness and nonexistence, i.e. the “IS NOT” condition).

Of course this is how the world viewed things, that is as taken from the worldly perspective, but as Christians we are more interested in how these events unfolded according to the Divine Testimony.

Now in order for us to properly understand these matters it will first prove necessary to explain a little bit about how to interpret the Book of Revelation. (We will not here go into every detail but simply elaborate on those methods pertinent to our study here.) The primary reason why many misunderstand and misinterpret this book is a failure to understand how it works, specifically how it is arranged. Remember that this book along with most of the other prophetic writings found in the Scriptures were purposely designed so as to hide their true meaning until the “due time” for their revealing, and then only to a certain class of watchful ones, awake at the proper time and in possession of spiritual insight, thus in essence it remained a “sealed book”, until then. But now that we have reached “the time of the end” as mentioned by the prophet Daniel (Dan 12:8), the seal is broken, and to such the books (the Holy Scriptures) are now opened.

The book of Revelation is a prophecy, and not a literal epistle. It abounds in symbols or signs, and these are the rule, and the literal—when unavoidable–is the exception. The signs and symbols are evidently designed to barricade its mysteries from all except a certain class, the saints, and from them also until the time was due for the secrets to be revealed.”

“The greatest source of error in understanding the symbols of Revelation is a too literal interpretation. It is read as though it were a statement of facts instead of a statement of symbols.”

The book of Revelation is a book of pen-pictures of events and of periods of earth’s history—from Christ’s first advent onward–usually in groups of seven succeeding stages (i.e. seven churches, seven seals, seven trumpets, seven bowls and etc.); several of these groups running more or less synchronous, or parallel in time, with each other. Seven throughout the scriptures denotes “completion” or “perfection” thus the fulfillment of each of these “pen-pictures” is shown in the seventh stage of each of these events.

“Notice that the Churches, Seals, and Trumpets (each of which takes us through the Gospel Age in seven successive steps) have their own introductions. This is likewise true of the Seven Last Plagues of Chapter 16. (Chapter 15 serves as their introduction.) No other part of Revelation has this kind of introduction (save the introduction to the whole book itself in 1:1-8). Only the four series of seven parts each have this peculiarity (Churches, Seals, Trumpets, and Plagues). Why is this?

It is likely that the Lord wanted to unify each series so that we understand that the parts of these series do not stand alone. In each case, one part affects the next, and it is the totality of each series which gives us the story of the Gospel Age or the Gospel Age Harvest. The introductions give us vital lessons applicable to all parts of the series.

Also when we study the three introductions to the Churches, Seals, Trumpets, we find the evidence we need to show us that one series does not follow another series historically. Rather the first church, first seal, and first trumpet are all simultaneous (and so on through the series). This might well escape our attention without a study of the introductions. It is important for each individual to be convinced in his own mind regarding the histories and lessons of these Churches, Seals, and Trumpets.

This would be a good time to mark your Bibles so that each of the Churches, Seals, and Trumpets are clearly visible to your eye as you look through Revelation. Personally I have far too many notes scribbled all over my pages to be able to see some little number written by each of these items so instead what I did was to purchase some of those little stick-on dots which were just big enough to write the numbers on and then to make them more visible I color coded them. For example the first Church, Seal, and Trumpet are all orange with the next series green and so on and so forth. Now I am able to easy reference each series when studying them.

Since these three views of the Gospel Age (Churches, Seals, and Trumpets) all seem similar in that each view is divided into seven parts it is only natural to ask, what is the objective of each series? Why go through the seven periods of the age three times?

1) Churches: The messages to the “angels” of the seven churches are for the purpose of explaining prevailing weaknesses and conditions during each stage of the church. Thus the brethren of each period can be instructed as to what is to be overcome and what is necessary in order to accomplish the overcoming.

2) Seals: The descriptions found as each seal is opened are for the purpose of showing how the historical events of the period will have affected the church.

3) Trumpets: The object of the trumpet sequence is just the opposite of the seals. The trumpet descriptions show how the seasonal religious truths (present truth, at that time of course) are to affect surrounding society.”

“However in the case of the plagues, they are not contemporary, that is, unlike the churches, seals and trumpets which date from the same time period, the plagues follow after, that is, they are the just consequences of previous lessons unlearned, thus because the world didn’t listen to the trumpets, felled to heed the lessons, now the truths of the trumpets must be forced upon them by the plagues.”

In other words although the first church, first seal, and first trumpet are all contemporaneous one with another the first plague does not necessarily follow this sequence. Let me attempt to explain. Each stage of the church received a specific message of praise and or condemnation from the Lord and likewise what was required of them at that time, the seal connected to that stage of the church described how the church at that period was affected by historic events then transpiring, the trumpet showed how the truths then being espoused by the church at that time affected society. Did they respond favorably or unfavorably, did they listen? Obviously not, and so the Lord sends the plagues upon them to force them to heed.

However these plagues do not follow the same pattern as the before mentioned items, one in connection with the other instead they are ALL held in check until all seven stages of the church have received their specific message, seal and trumpet. Each stage of the church received these messages, seals and trumpets separately; nevertheless they are applicable to the church as a whole. Unfortunately it is the last stage of the church, the Laodicean stage that will bear the brunt of the plagues as they are poured out one following another.

Now how does this all relate to our study of the Beast “THAT WAS”, how do the scriptures interpret its rise its disappearance, and its subsequent reappearance or accent out of the bottomless pit?

We’ll take a look at this in our next post.


Excerpts taken from the New Albany Notes on Revelation

“IT COMES” Part 3

“IT COMES” Part 3

the-beast

In order for us to clearly understand the nature of the Beast which is shortly “TO COME”  (Rev 17:8) we need first to take a closer look at the Beast “THAT WAS” to determine just what were some of the leading causes and or circumstances which brought it to life (during the French Revolution) in the first place . If we can determine this we might then look to see if any of these similar circumstances are taking place today.

Several of the primary causes were 1) Political conflict between the classes, 2) economic hardships; 3) governments disregard for the will of the people, and of course 4) The Enlightenment.

“Since the Middle Ages, France had been divided into a three-class system. The nobility made up the first class, the clergy the second and the peasantry the third. There was no room for social climbing: Kings gave birth to kings, paupers gave birth to paupers. For centuries, the Old Regime held all the power in France. The nobility and clergy represented only 3 percent of the French population, but their minds conceived of the policies that governed the entire country. This system was rigid and uncompromising, but no one paused to consider — or dared to say — that it was unfair.

By the 18th century, the Enlightenment was dawning. Philosophers like Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau advocated for equality and reason. They asked why people put their faith in political and religious leaders who disregarded their needs. In salons, the wealthy members of Parisian society debated these issues. Their eyes were on the American colonies, where the Americans had gone to war to claim their rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness… While the French nobles pondered the unfairness of the universe, peasants went hungry in the streets of Paris and in the outlying provinces.”

Today we have similar circumstances, conflict between three classes, the rich (or the 1% as many like to call them), the middle or working class, and the poor (or what some refer to as the entitlement class. Note however that not all the poor although equally qualified receive any kind of government assistance, most are too proud to accept help, charity.) So too the opportunity to climb beyond ones social or economic status is somewhat limited. Here too those in positions of power (government), money and influence, the minority dictate the laws and policies which govern the rest of us, the majority. Many of which laws and policies they exempt themselves from. Here too the people question why? Why are the privileged not bound by the same laws as the rest of us? Why do our elected officials cater to their own needs and disregard the people? And so while the politicians today argue over what to do we likewise have the poor and the hungry, the homeless.

Other causes: 5) Excessive Government debt, 6) Wars waged in foreign lands which lead to further debt likewise dividing the people.

“When Louis XV died in 1774, the crown went to Louis Auguste…His young wife, Marie Antoinette, only compounded his troubles. When she wasn’t reproducing, Marie Antoinette was spending. Her reputation as Madame Deficit was well-deserved: She amused herself by ordering hundreds of gowns, trying out elaborate hairstyles and hosting lavish parties at her private retreat, Petit Trianon, on Versailles’ expansive grounds. Marie Antoinette had a yearly wardrobe allowance of $3.6 million, but she easily surpassed that by ordering dresses trimmed with silver and gold and dripping with precious jewels — even diamonds.

Emasculated by this negative publicity and still smarting from criticisms at court, Louis exacted military vengeance. He pledged 2,000 million livres to the American Revolutionary War; for that massive sum, he could’ve fed and sheltered 7 million of his own people for a year. This mistake wouldn’t be his last, however. And the French would see to it that he was duly punished.”

Other leading causes: 7) Freedom of the Press, 8) Hate mongers and revolutionary agitators abound, 9) The Fires of Revolution and are stoked, 10) Disregard for the laws of the land.

“In early May of 1789, a lawyer named Maximillian Robespierre went to Versailles to serve as a deputy at the Estates General (A legislative body made up of deputies or representatives from each of the three estates). He was a true representative of the people; from the beginning, he incited unrest among the staid deputies when he proclaimed that all estates should pay taxes. Robespierre’s perspective was guided by Enlightenment logic, and it quickly gathered popularity as well as derisive ire.

Nearly two months of heated debate fueled the long-dormant Estates General, and the members of the third estate even won over some members of the clergy and nobility to their cause. But discussion was silenced on June 20, 1789, when members of the first and second estates bolted the doors of the Estates General shut. Undaunted, deputies found an unoccupied indoor tennis court and reconvened there. They identified themselves as the National Assembly and passionately swore to write a constitution for the people of France, in what became known as the Tennis Court Oath.

During the early days of the National Assembly, there was a shred of hope that Louis might endorse this constitution. But when 30,000 of the king’s troops were positioned around Paris, the people realized that reform wouldn’t be won through politicos’ promises and hopeful treatises. They responded by creating a homespun militia. The people broke into armories and swept the stores clean of firearms.

Then, Louis made the fateful decision to dismiss Necker from his position as minister of finance. The people viewed this as a direct retaliation to their cause. There was no mobilization of troops, no grand pronouncement of attack. On July 14, sheer chaos broke out in the streets of Paris, and the people headed for the Bastille.

After the fall of Bastille…Louis could scarcely believe the news, but the National Assembly took it in stride. It was a victory for the people, and bloodshed was natural in revolution, wasn’t it? But this was an important turning point for France. There was no longer any possibility for reform — the movement had organically become a revolution.”

The National Assembly quickly drafted the Declaration of the Rights of Man, in which Louis was essentially written out of authority. All men were declared equal; the class system a distant memory of France’s feudal past. Ever a man of the people, Maximilien Robespierre authorized freedom of the press so that information could quickly be disseminated to the streets of Paris.

Freedom of the press paved the way for irresponsible journalism, however. Jean Paul Marat and Jacques Rene Hebert, respective authors of L’Ami du people and Le Pere Duchesne, were reckless propagandists. In many ways, their newspapers kept stride with the mounting tension, but they also stoked the fires of revolution. What Robespierre did for the Estates General and the National Assembly, Marat and Hebert did for the people of France. Their words excited the third estate, confirming in their minds that the revolution was a natural and just movement. But with increasingly vulgar language and paranoid indictments, the newspapers were less credible sources of information than they were death warrants for the clergy and nobility.

As the events of the French Revolution slowly unfolded, the rest of the world had been watching guardedly from a distance. Britain and other European nations were delighted to watch the superpower implode, but they’d later be horrified at the escalating bloodiness of the revolution. Americans were a degree more sympathetic; France had largely funded their revolution. One difference between the nations was that the United States had emerged as a republic (a government in which the power lies in the people’s hands and popular vote decides the leaders), and France was still a constitutional monarchy (a limited monarchy in which the king or queen is limited in legislative powers).”

“The wave of revolutionary fervor and widespread hysteria quickly swept the countryside. Revolting against years of exploitation, peasants looted and burned the homes of tax collectors, landlords and the seigniorial elite. Known as the Great Fear (“la Grande peur”), the agrarian insurrection hastened the growing exodus of nobles from the country and inspired the National Constituent Assembly to abolish feudalism on August 4, 1789, signing what the historian Georges Lefebvre later called the “death certificate of the old order.”

With the advent of the information age, the internet and social networking, news coverage on various issues, controversies, troubles, and climatic events reach the ears of the people worldwide almost instantly; instantly stirring emotions both pro and con. Such information calls many to action, not always productive, but off times destructive.

Here too we have very little need to point out the comparisons between the contributions of the press today and that of the past in inciting civil discord and hatred amongst the people, the evidence is so overwhelming that only a blind man could not see this. The selfish desire of the individual journalist (?) as well as the news organization itself to sell a story whether true or not is the prime mover behind this. It should be noted that not all those who stir the pot, have come from the press alone many such individuals hold religious and governmental positions as well.

“When the government’s monopoly of power is effectively challenged by groups who no longer recognize its legitimate authority, no longer grant it loyalty, and no longer obey its commands (its laws), a revolutionary spirit evolves.”

The fires for revolution (change) and the disregard for the laws of the land are likewise prevalent today; in fact it is this refusal to recognize legitimate authority structures (governments, laws, law enforcement and etc.) that is contributing rapidly to the disintegration of the social order.

The role of the people and violence: This contrast between theory and practice, between good intentions and acts of savage violence, which was the salient feature of the French Revolution, becomes less startling when we remember that the Revolution, though sponsored by the most civilized classes of the nation, was carried out by its least educated and most unruly elements.”

And so it is written,

“But the day of the Lord (the great day of trouble) will come as a thief (suddenly, unexpectedly), in which the heavens (the ecclesiastical heavens, the powers that be, both the seen and the unseen) will pass away with a great noise (hissing, turmoil, confusion), and the elements (society in general) will melt with fervent heat (dissolve into confusion, trouble and anarchy); both the earth (the present social order) and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat (into violence, anarchy and bloodshed)?” 2 Pet 3:10-12

The foregoing were some of the primary causes which brought rise to the Beast; however the results or outcome was even more manifold, the revolution instigated,

  1.  The Great Terror (an initiative designed to purge France of all counter-revolutionaries, which in turn resulted in their slaughter.)
  2.  The establishment of the revolutionary tribunal designed to try citizens who were suspected of counter-revolutionary activity.
  3.  The execution of all political prisoners.
  4.  The institution of a police state.
  5.  The establishment of the Committee of Public Safety (Robespierre [i.e. the government] decided who lived and who died.)
  6.  The suspension of Constitutional rights.
  7.  The censorship of the press.
  8.  The eradication of Christianity.
  9.  The establishment of a new calendar in which all religious references to religion were stricken.
  10.  A new ten day week intended to make French citizens forget about Sunday, the proverbial day of worship and rest.
  11.  A New Government Religion instituted, The Cult of the Supreme Being, the god of reason and logic.
  12.  Military Rule.

“One of the most fascinating and haunting aspects of the French Revolution is that no one was spared from its gory violence. There was no effort to shield women and children’s eyes from the heads that lolled at the base of the guillotine. Dainty aristocrats became hardened from years languishing in dank prisons. A man who’d been your political ally and friend on Tuesday could very well turn you in for counter-revolutionary plotting on Wednesday. In Paris, the steady thud of the guillotine’s blade meeting flesh and bone became white noise to city inhabitants.”

The French Revolution was brought to an end by the Napoleonic military coup, the ending of which brought about the restoration of “order” and domestic peace through an authoritarian regime.

Of course the true cause for the end of this revolution was because the time was not yet due. We will take a look at that next time.


Extracts were taken from,

How the French Revolution Worked” by Alfred Woody

History 151 “The French Revolution: Causes, Outcomes, Conflicting Interpretations”, Schwartz

 

“IT COMES” Part 2

“IT COMES” Part 2

the-beast

Revelation Chapter 17:8-11

Verse 8

The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.”

THE BEAST: — that is its body, the people

THAT YOU SAW: — in Verses 3-5. We “saw” it historically during the “wilderness period” of 539-1799.

WAS: — that is to say this particular aberration of the beast only occurred once thus far, during the French Revolution, at that time the body of the beast (the people) rose up against its leaders (head, horns, harlot.)

AND IS NOT: It (the body of the beast) “was not” during the days when this angel (the Seventh) was alive in the flesh explaining Babylon’s fall to the saints.

Remember what we had learned from our previous post, this beast IS (Verse 10) and IS NOT (Verse 8) AT THE SAME TIME! (That is to say some characteristic, some form or aberration or peculiarity) of the beast USED TO EXIST (during the French Revolution), but it does not (now) CURRENTLY exist – EVEN THOUGH THE BEAST AS A WHOLE DOES CURRENTLY EXIST.

However IT

IS ABOUT TO COME UP: — to show itself again: another uprising or revolution of the people against their rulers as was in the French Revolution when 1/10th of the city fell is about to take place, however the 9/10ths of the future will be much more severe than was the first 1/10th. “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.” (Matt 24:21)

OUT OF THE ABYSS: — out of a condition in which power is not exercised.

AND GO TO DESTRUCTION (Anarchy): — This will be history’s final revolution. The “great earthquake” of Rev 16:18

AN IMPORTANT NOTE: Were not the contents of this verse precisely what the Laodicean Messenger taught? It was distinctly his point that the French Revolution was a prototype of the final trouble which would destroy Babylon. He said in the plainest of terms: The Trouble began in France. It now is abated. But it will come back and do the final work. IT WAS, IS NOT, AND WILL BE again. These difficult words have been a clear part of the harvest message for over a century.

AND THOSE WHO DWELL ON THE EARTH: — those with a vested interest in the current order of things (this is not in reference to the masses of mankind, the sea-class, but rather to a specific element which has, as stated a vested interest in things as they are, in maintaining the present order.)

WILL WONDER: What a wonderful contrast to Verses 6 and 7, the tables are now turned! Now the saints are not the ones who will wonder; but rather the astonishment, the wonder will be on the part of the establishment, the world and the worldly church, the church nominal.

WHO’S NAME HAS NOT BEEN WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF LIFE FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD: Only the spirit-begotten will comprehend what is happening (i.e. the “Little Flock” and the “Great Company”). This phrase clearly excludes “those who dwell on earth” from spirit-begettal.

WHEN THEY SEE THE BEAST: — the partial beast; the uprising of the people (the body of the beast). This will not be a pleasant experience for those trying to sustain the old order — although they will cooperate with this partial beast hoping to preserve their interests (Even now this cooperation, more to the point concession to the will of the beast is transpiring, if you are able to perceive it.)

THAT HE WAS: People KNOW about the French Revolution, but they try to suppress its meaning from their minds. It is just fine with them in their memories to consign this “beast” to history — to the “WAS” condition.

AND IS NOT: — as the angel explains the matter, the beast is yet in his “NOT” condition.

AND WILL COME: The Greek is “and is present.” The thought is that “those who dwell on earth” will wonder when the beast is again present — in their midst.

Verse 9

Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits.”

HERE IS THE MIND WHICH HAS WISDOM: The angel now invites the saints to reason.

He does NOT explain to us the meaning of the following verses. He merely LISTS SYMBOLIC EQUIVALENTS. This was very much the thrust of Brother Russell’s work in regard to Revelation. He constantly reasoned with us on the symbols but stated clearly that “someone else” would have to write the “seventh volume” (the explanation of Revelation.) He thus indicated to us that we have the tools. We must apply them.

THE SEVEN HEADS: The successive forms of umbrella government over the beast historically

ARE SEVEN MOUNTAINS: All seven forms were empires (kingdoms) this is the first of TWO EQUIVALENTS.

Heads = Mountains. (Later, Mountains = Kings or Heads = Kings is added to the equation.) These 3 words are very important. They are the FIRST lesson in correct interpretation. If we have tried to NAME the heads and we have come up with a conclusion in which not all are kingdoms or empires, this phrase is telling us we are wrong. Thus, if we have guessed that Papacy is a head, we are wrong because Papacy is not a Mountain. Rome, of course, is known as the city on seven hills. All seven of these empires are remnants of Rome.

ON WHICH THE WOMAN SITS: This is no passing phrase of minor import. It is placed here to further the understanding of the previous phrase. Not only must we identify each head as an empire (mountain), but whichever empires we choose, the Roman Catholic Church must have “ridden” (sat upon) them. The harlot DID sit upon (control the direction of to some extent) all of these heads. She will NOT do so on the coming “eighth” arrangement. It, therefore, cannot be called a head upon which she sits. So, a CHANGE IN SYMBOL IS REQUIRED; and the VERY NEXT phrase makes that change. It gives us our second EQUIVALENT to the heads:

Verse 10

There are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must continue a short time.”

AND THEY ARE SEVEN KINGS: The switch is accomplished. The heads are now called kings so that an EIGHTH can arise without being thought of as a new head. Kings here, of course, are not individuals, but kingdoms — although in most cases a strong individual (Justinian, Charlemagne, Otto the Great, etc.,) can be equated with the founding of these empires.

FIVE HAVE FALLEN: (All of these reckonings are from the standpoint of the days of the seventh angel. A correct interpretation of this chapter is impossible without realizing and accepting his part in this narrative.) The fifth head, mountain, or king was the Napoleonic Empire. It was now gone.

ONE IS: The Victor Emanuel Dynasty was functioning — the sixth head, mountain, or king.

THE OTHER HAS NOT YET COME: — the Nazi-Fascist Empire.

AND WHEN HE COMES: — after the angel’s “change” (After the Laodicean Messenger died and passed beyond the Vail in 1916)

HE (the seventh head or king, the Nazi-Fascist Empire) MUST REMAIN A LITTLE WHILE: — late 1920’s to 1945.

Verse 11

The beast that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven, and is going to perdition.”

AND THE BEAST WHICH WAS AND IS NOT: — that peculiar aberration in the beast’s history: the uprising of the body of the beast to form the French Republic and thus destroy 1/10th of the city.

IS HIMSELF ALSO AN EIGHTH: — NOT an eighth head, but an eighth KING. This (partial) beast WILL RULE (therefore as a king), but not as a head — not with the harlot riding it as she is said to have done on all the former heads. There ARE NOT eight heads on the beast — ONLY SEVEN!

AND IS OF THE SEVEN: — is to be found in the history of the seven “legitimate” heads, but IS NOT ONE of the seven heads. The wording would then be “and is one of the seven.” This is not the case.

The angel is trying very hard to make clear that this eighth “thing” is not a reappearance of one of the old heads. Had that been the thought, he would merely have said, “one of the seven will come back to rule again.” The (that is to us) awkward wording is the angel’s specific attempt to lead us away from that wrong conclusion.

AND HE GOES TO DESTRUCTION: This eighth king (the reigning body of the beast — another French Revolution-type government) does not have a good prognosis! His rule will be a disaster. He will be destroyed. There will NEVER AGAIN (after this) be an uprising of the people. Hallelujah!!!!!

(N.A.N.O.R. Pages 136-138)

Continued with next post.