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Revelation Chapter 14, Part 3

Revelation Chapter 14, Part 3

Revelation Chapter 14

Verses 9-12

Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. 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 ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.”

Then A THIRD ANGEL followed them…

“The third angel in the vision follows the prior two and like them, it is assumed, also flew through the midst of heaven, representing a message independent of orthodoxy.”

That is to say this proclamation or warning does not emit from the orthodox churches, it is not something you’re going to hear proclaimed from the podium by your minister, heavens no! That would be admitting to their true condition as proclaimed by the Lord. And what pray tells is that? Why it is just as the Lord so states,

“…because you are lukewarm (indifferent, lethargic, apathetic, drowsy, dull of hearing), neither cold (opposed to my counsel or instructions) nor hot (fervent of spirit for truth and zeal for service), I will vomit you out of my mouth (utterly disavow you).” Rev 3:16

And so it has happened, Great Babylon, the apostate church (composed of a mixture of Catholic and Protestant church systems) has fallen and has been cast off by the Lord.

Babylon was a golden cup in the Lord’s hand (but no more).” Jer. 51:7

And yet, she still professes to be the Lord’s mouth piece, still proclaims to be, rich, wealthy, and in need of nothing.

This message indicates the self-complacent attitude of the nominal Church completely unaware of its true condition.

“The third angel might be named THE PLAGUING ANGEL. Leave or else! This is his message. (Compare with the Lord’s injunction in Rev 18:4).”

Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “IF ANYONE WORSHIPS THE BEAST AND HIS IMAGE, AND RECEIVES HIS MARK ON HIS FOREHEAD OR ON HIS HAND, HE HIMSELF SHALL ALSO DRINK OF THE WINE OF THE WRATH OF GOD, WHICH IS POURED OUT FULL STRENGTH INTO THE CUP OF HIS INDIGNATION.

Verse 9 refers back to the characters of Chapter 13 (The Beast, the Image of the beast and etc.) to warn again regarding the cooperation or character likeness with churchianity — Protestant or non-protestant. Verse 10 shows the results DURING THIS HARVEST PERIOD: God’s wrath, no longer tempered as it was during the age, but now full-strength for the destruction of the apostate systems, will be shared by all who remain affiliated with those systems.”

“The third message is rather long, but in substance is a warning to those who “worship the beast and his image.” Although it was possible to worship the beast in past centuries, prior to the harvest time, as stated in the preceding chapter, when all the world except the followers of the Lamb (Rev. 13:8) worshipped the beast—and although it was also possible to worship the image of the beast prior to the harvest, since the formation of the image began in A.D. 1846Verses 9 to 11 refer to the beginning of the harvest (i.e., 1878) onward in relation to the fall of Babylon.

To state the matter another way, not as much guilt or culpability was involved prior to the declaration of rejection. Now, however, after Babylon fell from favor because she made the nations drunk with the wine of her fornication, the message is: “Beware! If you have the mark of either the beast or its image, you will receive special torment. If you do not respond to the message, then in proportion as you are enlightened with truth and disobey, you will receive the disapproval or indignation of God. This portion you will have to drink with others”—wormwood and gall, as it were. Matt 24:51 states that the rejected class will have their “portion with the hypocrites.”

The rejected ones are a class of hypocrites who are informed but do not obey. As a result, they will share with all the hypocrites the “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Those who lend support to the beast or its image or have the characteristics thereof (Verse 9) will have to imbibe or partake of the “wine” or judgments of God’s wrath (Verse 10). However, one should not think that “ignorance is bliss,” for those who prefer to be “willingly ignorant” will also be held accountable (2 Pet. 3:5–7).”

Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. HE SHALL BE TORMENTED WITH FIRE AND BRIMSTONE

The torment will be mental anguish. No one who is aware of error but chooses to ignore it can rest comfortably in hypocrisy. The fire (righteous destruction) which will consume the old errors and their attendant systems will also eat away at any spirit-begotten Christian still in the midst of it all. The brimstone (Sulphur poisoning) will get what the fire misses.”

Verse 10 states that such “shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.” The torment experience of the harvest period will not come and go right away; it starts with vexation of conscience, trials, and tribulations—especially to those more conscientiously motivated, for the message is particularly addressed to professedly Christian men and women. These are more keenly aware of and more sensitive to the iniquities of the systems and thus are more apt to be vexed.

Since 1878 those who are called of God and receive enlightenment yet remain in Babylon because of the fear of man, the reluctance to lose certain honors or prestige, etc., will have to account for their continued presence there. Verses 9 to 11 imply their awareness of their failure to properly respond; they may not discuss the matter with others, but they have mental conflict with their own conscience because they choose to remain in the system.

Pray that this is not you that once you have been made aware of the Lord’s command to separate yourself from the nominal systems you do so promptly without hesitation, not looking back as was the case with Lot’s wife, and we all know what happened to her. Leaving the nominal system is a very hard thing for many to do; in many cases it requires the severance of some very tender ties, friends, family etc., this however is a choice you must decide for yourself, it is an individual matter. You yourself must determine which is more important to you your love for the Lord and his will in you or your love for your church organization and the honor and praise of men.

The message is simply: “From 1878 on, be alert! In this hour of decision (of judgement) the Lord wants a separation. The harvest period is a time of separation. Come out of Babylon, for she has fallen. If you remain in her, you will become guilty in proportion to your understanding. If you hear the Lord’s voice and do not respond, then do not expect to be specially favored when her trouble comes. You will share Babylon’s troubles, torment, and brimstone; you will have the same experience that Babylon (the system, the church nominal) will have.”

What will be the nature of the torment with fire and brimstone?Firesymbolizes severe trial (Compare 1 Pet. 1:7) and “brimstone,” which is sulfur, adds to the intensity of the fire, signifying either complete purification or complete extermination as God sees fit.

Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone IN THE PRESENCE OF THE HOLY ANGELS AND IN THE PRESENCE OF THE LAMB.

The torment takes place “in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.” Matt 25:31, 32 helps to identify the “holy angels” as being to a large extent, if not wholly, the risen saints. The expression “in the presence of the Lamb” seems to be related to the Second Presence of the Lord.

Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. 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 ASCENDS FOREVER AND EVER; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.  

Verse 11 shows that there is no let up. The smoke (the evidence of the burning) is everywhere; there is no hiding that the apostasy is suffering.

And this will continue AGE-ABIDING (“forever”) — i. e., until the age is over. Those with the Lamb HAVE REST (Matt. 11:28); those who do not come out do not have it PERPETUALLY (day nor night.) — the situation only gets worse.

The “torment” with some will pertain not only to the present life but also to the shame that will extend into the Kingdom Age—and even beyond the Millennium into the everlasting future. Whenever those of this class happen to think back, they will experience a twinge of shame because of their past actions (or inaction). From that standpoint thesmokeor remembrance of their shame or torment will be an everlasting lesson to themselves and, more particularly, to others in the ages to come. Those who, in the present human experience, receive the mark of the beast or his image will figuratively “have no rest day or night” in the Kingdom Age; only after a period of purgation will the torment cease—but not the “smoke (the remembrance).”

Smoke rises from the place where burning took place. Accordingly, not only will the individual wrongdoers themselves experience shame, but others who reflect back upon certain events, times, and circumstances will think upon those who did the wrong. Thus others will view these wrong deeds and the retribution from the standpoint of example and judgment. The smoke will “ascend” in the sense that, where necessary, the sinful deeds will be publicly exposed or revealed to both wrongdoer and onlooker. When the Kingdom is established, humiliation will be felt by various popes, emperors, and certain individuals upon their coming forth from the grave and hearing the terms that must be met in order to abide by the laws of Messiah and to receive life. They will experience shame for their past misrepresentation of God and Christ in the earth and for their fraudulent claims not based on Scripture. The Lord will speak of such, “I never knew you” (Matt. 7:21–23); yet many of these posed as his chief representatives upon earth.

Today there is no literal smoke in the Valley of Gehenna in Israel as there was many centuries ago when the burning was continuous, but anyone acquainted with the history of Jerusalem would know of its past association as the Valley of Hinnom, where garbage was burned and the corpses of criminals considered unworthy of burial were thrown (Nothing live was ever thrown in there). Even though there is no literal fire or smoke now—even though that consumption took place thousands of years ago—the historical memory of that place lingers on. Likewise in a spiritual or figurative sense, the smoke or lesson of the past will linger on.

In summation, three angels went through the midst of heaven. Each was a distinct message, but all three pointed out the date 1878 (The beginning of the Harvest and the fall of Babylon). The important point is that a date is furnished without actually naming the date.

Verse 11 also mentions the “mark of his name.” This means the CHARACTER represented by the name of the beast. What his name is apparently symbolized by a number (Rev 13:18 which must be CALCULATED. The total will be 666. One of the primary titles of the Papacy, and one which formerly was on the gate of Vatican City, is VACARIVS FILII DEI (Vicar of the Son of God). The name means, one in Place of the Son of God. In Roman numerals, the name does equal 666. The significance, then, of the MARK OF HIS NAME seems to be the character which usurps authority from Jesus and uses it to rule over others.”

Verse 12

Here is the patience (the waiting) of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.”

Verse 12 is very important. It summarizes everything since Verse 6. It is saying that all of this torment will take SO LONG as to try the patience of the saints. And since this has all been going on since 1878 (Verse 8, the time of the fall of Babylon), and still goes on, it has, indeed, been an ongoing test of our faith as time passes. This verse is so very important because it ASSURES us that this whole harvest period WILL take an extremely long time. It says, KEEP FAITH; don’t give up; though it tarry, wait for it.

The date 1878 likewise marks the end of the sixth Church epoch (the Philadelphian stage) and the beginning of the seventh or Laodicean period. The three angels of Verses 6 through 11 are simply announcements of facts and warnings addressed to the last stage of church history: (a)Fear God,” (b)Babylon is fallen,” and (c)If any man worship the beast and his image…”

Verse 12 is a commendation of the faithfulness of the true saints of the last members of the Philadelphia era, which terminated at the end of A.D. 1877, and it harmonizes with the remarks addressed to that Church: “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth” (Rev. 3:10).

Excerpts for this study were taken from Brother Frank Shallieu’s “The Keys of Revelation”, and the “New Albany Notes on Revelation”.

Revelation Chapter 14, Part 2

Revelation Chapter 14, Part 2

Revelation Chapter 14

Verses 6-7

Then I saw an angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people— saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.”

Then I saw an ANGEL

In Scripture there are four primary usages for the word “angel”:

1) It can denote a special, prominent dispensational messenger or individual used of the Lord (See Rev. 1:20; 2:1, 8, 12; etc., regarding the seven messengers to the Church).

2)Angel” can refer to Jesus (Rev. 10:1, 2; 20:1).

3) The word “angel” can portray the forces of nature, such as an earthquake, wind, fire, etc. In such highly figurative or poetic language, the forces of nature are pictured as being God’s servants, showing they are at His disposal to be used in whatever way He might choose (Psa. 104:4).

4) And in the Book of Revelation an “angel” can be a message. Such a message can be in the inanimate form of reading material, published thoughts, or proclamations issued to enlighten, encourage, and instruct, as well as reprove, those to whom the message is addressed.

Then I saw an angel FLYING IN THE MIDST OF HEAVEN

In Verses 6 and 7 an “angel” is seen to fly “in the midst of heaven.” This expression indicates something outside of, different from or issuing forth between heaven and earth—hence an independent voice or message not identified with established religious orthodoxy (not emanating or being proclaimed by the professed church, the church nominal as they are totally unaware). The harvest message at this end of the age has already gone forth throughout Christendom with the proclamation “Fear God . . . and worship him.”

Note:And I saw [omit ‘another’] an angel.” The Greek word signifying “another” is not found in the main body of the Sinaitic text; it appears as a marginal gloss by a later copyist. There is no angel before this one, thus it is clear that “another” makes no sense.

Then I saw an angel flying in the midst of heaven, HAVING THE EVERLASTING GOSPEL TO PREACH TO THOSE WHO DWELL ON THE EARTH—TO EVERY NATION, TRIBE, TONGUE, AND PEOPLE

“This first angel is the angel which opens the harvest. He is FLYING — flying is the active tool of searching (in this case searching for wheat.) His flight is in mid-heaven — directly in the midst of the Christian religious world, not favoring one end over the other. He has the EVERLASTING GOSPEL — an implication that VARIATIONS of the gospel had been popular at various times during the age; but THIS Gospel is the totality of the story (the one true gospel) — the one which accounts for and covers the good news of ALL AGES.

Note that this message is for the REAPING OF ALL OF THE FIELD (and for the additional work of binding the tares) because it is preached to both groups: Those who dwell on the earth (nominal Christianity) and every nation, tribe, tongue, and people (the group from which the True Church & Great Multitude comes.) in other words from one end of heaven to the other (Matt. 24:31).”

Then I saw an angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people— SAYING WITH A LOUD VOICE, “FEAR GOD AND GIVE GLORY TO HIM

“His voice is LOUD. History has demonstrated this. The harvest message was broadcast far and near with clarity and distribution unparalleled by any former reformation. His message, although it contains MUCH MORE, is based on that most basic of doctrines; WORSHIP GODdon’t worship the CREATED, but the CREATOR. No other approach will allow us to find or comprehend THE TRUTH. Don’t worship the religious world (heaven); don’t worship the society (earth); don’t worship the liberty seeking masses (sea); don’t worship the accepted sources of truth (springs of water, churchianity, the denominations themselves). These items (or systems) may be symbols of the parts of this present world which the Lord ordained for a while until the time for His kingdom. But people have worshipped the items, not the ONE who ordained them. These items, though, may not be symbols. The statement may simply be: Worship Him Who made it all, but cease from the worship of the things made.”

Then I saw an angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people— saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, FOR THE HOUR OF HIS JUDGMENT HAS COME; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.”

“It is specified that the REASON for re-adjusting the focus of worship is that THE HOUR OF HIS JUDGMENT HAS COME. It is now the harvest period, and all who worship the created over the Creator will fail this judgment. It is interesting to note that it is the HOUR of judgment rather than the DAY. It is, of course, the beginning of the 1000-year DAY of judgment; but the FOCUS here is not on the whole age, but only on its beginning, the harvest; this first hour of judgment deals with the weighing and destruction of all pagan religion including false Christianity before individual judgment begins for the world.”

The hour of his *judgment (or judging—Rotherham’s Version) is come” is a reference to the judgment of the house of God, both the true and the nominal. The emphasis is on the judgment of the spiritual class. The judgment of the true Church will be favorable, while that of Babylon will be unfavorable (1 Pet. 4:17–19). While the True Bible Chronology indicates that six thousand years transpired from the fall of Father Adam in Eden to A.D. 1874, Bible prophecy and time parallels indicate that the hour of judgment or the inspection period referred to in Verse 7 began with A.D. 1878. This same date, 1878, also marked the time that God caused His trueeverlasting” (age-lasting) gospel to spread throughout the world.”

Verse 8

And another angel followed, saying, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”

And ANOTHER ANGEL FOLLOWED

“This angel is said to FOLLOW the first one. But the Greek [“for followed”], means “accompanied” — to be in the same way with, or to be as a disciple. It is NOT that this angel comes later; it is that his message accompanies the message of the first angel. If the first angel might be named THE HARVESTING ANGEL, this second angel might be named THE JUDGING ANGEL.

And another angel followed, saying, “BABYLON IS FALLEN, IS FALLEN, THAT GREAT CITY

There are many subtleties in this verse. It introduces BABYLON — a term hitherto unfound in Revelation. But the verse includes enough information to identify this symbol clearly. Babylon, of course, was born a city and a kingdom; therefore, this Babylon should also be a capital and an independent power. It is said to be “the great.” While original Babylon was a great empire, this Babylon would apparently have greater influence. It is termed “SHE.” This is very revealing. A woman is either a church or a covenant. No covenant fits this description! From the verse it is clear she is no virgin; therefore, she is not the true Church, but the apostate. How wonderfully the Lord can introduce a symbol out of the blue and yet, with it, give all the information necessary for its interpretation!

And another angel followed, saying, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because SHE HAS MADE ALL NATIONS DRINK OF THE WINE OF THE WRATH OF HER FORNICATION.”

This Babylon has influence well beyond its own borders: she made all the nations drink. Her primary sin is said to be fornication — the amalgamation of church and state. While Babylon’s sins can be expanded far beyond this, it is clear that the Lord is especially displeased with her unfaithfulness to Jesus as her head. Instead of waiting for His return and the establishing of His kingdom with her as His bride, she insisted on establishing her own temporal power. This doctrine (wine of wrath), with which the nations were made “drunk” (incapable of sound judgment; unstable), has been responsible for much of the chaos in Europe over the last 2,000 years.”

Brother Frank Shallieu’s thoughts on the matter,

“Based on the Sinaitic text and contextual evidence, only one fall of Babylon is mentioned. The text should read: “And there followed another [angel], a second, saying, is fallen Babylon the Great…” Like the first angel or message (Verse 6), the second (Verse 8) is also a pronouncement. The message does not signify an immediate destruction of churchianity. Rather, it refers to the spewing out of the nominal Church from the Lord’s mouth…to mystic Babylon’s rejection from divine favor (Rev. 3:16).

During the week of his crucifixion at the First Advent, Jesus pronounced a rejection of nominal fleshly Israel: “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate” (Matt. 23:38). These words were uttered nearly four decades prior to the actual destruction in A.D. 70. Here in Verse 8 a similar surety prediction of ultimate destruction is made: of the nominal spiritual house.

Few realize the already fallen-from-grace condition of Babylon now; none will fail to recognize it’s sudden and utter collapse in the near future.

Why this rejection by the Lord? The answer given is: “Because she made all nations drink of the [mixed] wine [false doctrines intermingled with some truth]…of her fornication [her illicit relationship with the world, imparting her own spirit as well as partaking of the world’s spirit].” Through the Prophet Jeremiah (51:7—Newberry Bible), the Lord states the matter in a similar vein: “[Babylon] made all the earth drunken…of her wine [from the cradle to the grave]; Therefore the nations are mad [stupefied, sharing in her abominations and impurities—Rev. 17:4].”

The great mass of professing Christians having been raised (or taught) from the cradle (from the very beginnings of their beliefs as young Christians in Sunday schools and etc.) the teachings and doctrines of Babylon, the church nominal have become so accustom to these teachings, this mixture of false doctrines with a bit of truth, the truth simply being added in order to make the false doctrines more palatable that they have become (drunk) on these doctrines so much so that they (that is the majority of them) in all honestly believe them to be true.

We will continue with this study with our next post.

Excerpts for this study were taken from Brother Frank Shallieu’s “The Keys of Revelation”, and the “New Albany Notes on Revelation”.


*judgment

The word translated “judgment” is the Greek krisis, which does not mean final judgment but signifies a trial, a crucial time period.

 

Revelation Chapter 14, Part 1

Revelation Chapter 14, Part 1

 

This study is in response to the following comment we received from one of our readers,

You need to read Revelation 14 again. Many things wrong with your dissertation. Most obvious one is how Revelation 14 is clear that those who take the mark of the beast will definitely go to Hell for eternity.”

Let us take a closer look at Revelation Chapter 14 specifically the text which you believe supports your thought.

Verses 9-11

Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. 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 ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”

“First and most importantly it is important to remember that 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”.

Recall our Lord’s opening remarks to this book,

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants (the True Church) things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and SIGNIFIED IT by his angel (messenger) unto his servant John” (Rev 1:1)

Signified: Strong’s # 4591, marked, indicated (sign-ifiedtold in signs and symbols, which are the rule, the literal being the exception and used only when unavoidable).

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.

Only the context can help determine whether or not a literal or symbolic usage of a word or particular statement is intended. In this case the evidence provided in the context overwhelmingly supports a symbolic interpretation. If one were to attempt to interpret this text as literal as do the majority of those who believe in the theory of everlasting torment as the wages of sin it would involve several absurdities.

First it would imply that not only are the “fire, brimstone and smoke” to be taken as literal, but so too “the beast and his image”. Likewise the “mark” is literal and is to be literally placed upon the forehead or hand of the individual. More than this it implies that the “the wine of the wrath of God” is literal wine and is actually contained in a literal “cup”, how absurd.  And let us not forget that those poor souls foolish enough to have received this mark are likewise to be tormented not only in the presence of the holy angels, but likewise in the presence of a literal “lamb”.

Let us put aside such foolish thoughts, imaginings and such which have been fostered by the blind guides of Christendom. It should be self-evident to anyone in possession of “the spirit of a sound mind” that any interpretation of this text other than a symbolic interpretation is grossly in error and should be disregarded immediately. We are not at liberty to pick and choose which symbols we think are literal which symbolic simply because it supports our own particular beliefs.

Now before we examine the text in it’s entirely, symbolically as it was intended we should first like to lists a few of the key symbols found in our text. The ability to understand the true meanings of these symbols is necessary to a proper understanding of the text as a whole.

BEAST: a group of men (an institution or government) with unholy characteristics.

IMAGE: (a likeness or copy of someone or something) in this case federated Protestantism.

MARK: a distinction or indication of agreement / sympathy or cooperation.

HAND: works; cooperation; responsibility (with the hand or hands one renders service or performs works).

FOREHEAD: represents the sum total of one’s character (the forehead also represents ones intellectual consent to a particular set of teachings or doctrine).

FIRE: severe trials: destruction and/or judgment.

BRIMSTONE: deadly poison (added to the symbol of fire to show no way of escape).

SMOKE: remembrance, obscuration, or evidence.

TORMENTED: vexed to the point of great discomfort (could be physically or mentally).

To properly grasp the true intent of our text it will prove necessary to back track a bit, back to the true beginning of Chapter 14, which begins with Chapter 14 Verse 6.

Chapter 13 should end at the close of 14:5.

THE REASONS: Chapter 14 is a harvest chapterthe FIRST chapter which deals with the harvest exclusively, and the first chapter in *the second section of Revelation (Chapters 14-19) dealing only with the harvest period. How strange, then, to begin the harvest section of Revelation with the Church complete! Yet 14:1 has the Church complete with the Lord on Mt. Zion. It is true; of course, that the Church is completed during this period (during the harvest); but this period does not begin with the Church completed.

Keep in mind that that both the punctuation and the chapter divisions found in the bible are of recent times, the original text as it was written employed neither.

 “The chapter divisions commonly used today were developed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Stephen Langton. Langton put the modern chapter divisions into place around A.D. 1227. The Wycliffe English Bible of 1382 was the first Bible to use this chapter pattern. Since the Wycliffe Bible, nearly all Bible translations have followed Langton’s chapter divisions.”

“The Hebrew Old Testament was divided into verses by a Jewish rabbi by the name of Nathan in A.D. 1448. In 1555 Robert Estienne (a printer), also known as Stephanus, was the first to divide the New Testament into standard numbered verses. Stephanus essentially used Nathan’s verse divisions for the Old Testament. Since that time, beginning with the Geneva Bible, the chapter and verse divisions employed by Stephanus have been accepted into nearly all the Bible versions.” Nevertheless there is no authoritative basis for the divisions.

 As far as punctuation is concerned, there are many schools of thought, as far back as 250 B.C. to a school of thought that a group called the Masoretes added vowels and punctuation around or after 500 A.D. Neither the original Greek nor Hebrew had punctuation.”

Chapter 14 divides nicely into three main sections: Verses 6-12, Verses 13-14, and Verses 15-20. Jesus appears in the middle of these sections; three angels appear in the first section and three more in the final section.

In this particular study we are going to be concentrating on the first section as it deals specifically with our subject.

The three angels mentioned in Verses 6, 8 and 9 represent 3 PARTS OF THE HARVEST MESSAGE. Notice the increasing importance of their messages: The first PREACHES; the second CONDEMNS; the third WARNS.

The progression of thought is very much as is our individual, personal experience in finding the harvest truths.

FIRST we HEAR the message;

NEXT we SEE clearly the filthy (false or erroneous) doctrine of historicalChristianity”, and

FINALLY we realize clearly our responsibility in separation (separation from such systems and teachings), and the dangers involved if we remain a part of what God Himself has cast off.

Excerpts were taken from the “New Albany Notes on Revelation”.

We will continue with our study in our next post.


*the second section of Revelation

Revelation can be broken down into five sections. At the beginning (1:1-8) is a small section that serves as an introduction to the entire prophecy. At the end (22:6-21) is another small section that serves as an epilogue to the entire prophecy. Between these two small sections, are three larger sections, which we call sections 1 through 3, and which serve to detail in advance all of the history since the ending of the Jewish Age.

Section 1 (1:9-14:5) gives FIVE views of the entire Gospel Age (including the Harvest).

Section 2 (14:6-19:21) gives FIVE views focusing exclusively on the Harvest Period.

Section 3 (20:1-22:5) gives FIVE views of the Millennium (all having at least some connection to the Gospel Age Harvest).

His Number is 666, Part 3

His Number is 666, Part 3

The Golden Image

There is a direct comparison to be made between the golden image of the Book of Daniel and the image of the beast in the Apocalypse. (Rev 13:18)

600 (six hundred)

60 (threescore)

6 (six)

666

Image of Gold Daniel 3:1

Height 60 cubits

Breadth 6 cubits

In both instances the numbers are multiples of six. Both refer to statues that are set up. Both have to do with religious worship, and in each case the penalty for failure to do so is death. A studied comparison of the detailed activity of King Nebuchadnezzar, representative of the civil or dragon element, and the actions of the beast and its image, the clerical or religious element, assists in a better understanding of the prophetic role each will follow in the near future in putting to death the last members of the body of Christ. When the two accounts are combined, the Holy Spirit furnishes a prospectus of what to expect.

Daniel 3 shows that the civil element will act as executioner. In the type, when the three Hebrews were brought before the king, they were given an opportunity to recant. Their reply was, “We are not careful to answer thee in this matter” (Dan 3:16).

In other words, when the chips are down and this issue is brought to public attention in the future, religious scruples and conscience being at stake, then a definite and positive stand will have to be taken. Prudence will no longer be expedient.

After the negative response of the three Hebrews, the king of Babylon’s visage changed, for their refusal was an affront to his authority and a wound to his prestige— and that before a large audience. The bowing to the statue was to be a display of unity. Leaders from all the various provinces were to get together and simultaneously worship the image at a given moment; i.e., when the music, a national or religious an-them, was played.

The image in Daniel was described as golden to indicate a religious symbol. The statue was most likely that of Bel. As the god of the Babylonian Empire, “Bel” was incorporated into names such as Belshazzar (Isa 46:1; Jer 50:2; 51:44; Dan 1:7; 5:1). The image of gold was set up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon (Dan 3:1). Since Babylon is a symbol of Christendom, Dura indicates the scene of action. In the near future in Christendom, there will be a drawing together of the peoples to make a choice. King Nebuchadnezzar did not anticipate any dissent, for he thought the circumstances warranted his receiving unanimous support. Although he did obtain a real demonstration of power, he resented the handful who opposed his order. Desiring unanimous compliance, the king gave the three Hebrews another opportunity to indicate their support and loyalty. When they declined, they were thrown into the fiery furnace.

In the type the three Hebrews were delivered miraculously; not even the smell of smoke was on their clothing. Besides the men who cast them into the furnace, the only thing destroyed was the rope or cords, which bound them. With their survival the king was “astonished” (as stone, frozen with astonishment). In the antitype, however, the Lord’s people will be delivered according to the spirit, not the flesh. It is the cords of flesh that will be burned or destroyed. Whereas the Hebrew children were physically delivered in connection with standing by their convictions and honoring God, the feet members of the body of Christ will be delivered only as new creatures; their cords of flesh will be burned (die) and they will enter beyond the veil of human experience.

The statue erected by the king of Babylon represented two things: (a) the invisible purported national god himself and (b) a physical representation of his likeness.

So in the Apocalypse, in the final analysis, two entities will be thrust before the public eye: (a) the beast and (b) his image.

The Trinity

The number 666 is composed of three 6’s. The fact that it is one number, yet contains three integers, suggests the particular doctrine to be used as a ploy in the future, namely, the doctrine of the Trinity. The Trinity will serve as a TEST upon all to determine their compliance with orthodoxy; all opposers will be eliminated from society as cultists, nonconformists, and heretics.

Note: There are many different systems of beliefs taught throughout Christendom which do not support the doctrine of the Trinity, some of which adamantly deny it, however a denial of the Trinity does not imply that the system of belief or organization is not still considered a part of Christendom. Within the bounds of Christendom (i.e. amongst those professing Christ) there are many groups, which are not accepted as being a part of organized Christianity, Orthodoxy, this however does not imply that they are not still considered a part of the great false kingdom, the Antichrist.

It should be noted that the number six, in itself, is not sinful, for the Holy City of God (Revelation 21) is replete with the multiple of six. Moreover, the basic measuring reed of the future Temple of God to be built in Jerusalem is spoken of as six cubits in length (Ezek 40:5). What makes the number 666 so detestable is that it is the counterfeit sacred number whereby the Papacy will assume again the prerogatives of Deity in the present life.

The pagan Trinitarian doctrine, as shown so profusely by Alexander Hislop’s “The Two Babylon’s”, existed many centuries prior to the introduction of Christianity into the world. This unholy and unscriptural doctrine found its way into nominal churchianity about the time of Constantine. It not only existed in Babylon but also was expressed in the complicated theology of Hinduism and Brahmanism.

Nearly a hundred years before Christ, Kalidasa, one of the most renowned poets of India, com-posed the following hymn in honor of the Trinity:

In those three Persons

The one God was shown,

Each first in place,

Each last—not one alone;

Of Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma,

Each may be first, second, third,

Among the blessed three.

(The Keys of Revelation, Pages 365, 366)

“…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.” (Rev 20:4)

If the scriptures state that only the faithful, the elect will not bear the mark, ask yourself, how important is it to you to know or understand (i.e. be able to identify) who or what the ANTICHRIST is, so as to be sure that you are not bearing his mark or the number of his name?

Unfortunately many professed Christians bare his MARK even now, and are totally unaware of it.

If you are waiting for your minister or your church to give you this information, you are going to be sadly disappointed. The scriptures state, “Here is wisdom, let him who has understanding (spiritual insight) calculate the number of the beast (the Antichrist), for it is the number of man: His number is 666.” (Rev 13:18)

Lastly and most importantly do not be deceived into believing the vain imaginings of those who lack understanding (spiritual understanding) who spout all matter of nonsense, claiming that the mark of the beast is or will be some kind of bar-code which is to be imprinted upon the flesh or a capsule of some kind inserted into the flesh, these are but the foolish ramblings of  nominal professors, the worldly or “tare class”, who lack spiritual insight. Likewise don’t fall for the idea that it is only the world, the non-believer who is to receive this mark, this has NOTHING to do with the non-believer. This applies only to the professed followers of Christ, whether they be true or nominal. As stated the majority of those baring this mark today reside within the church nominal and are totally oblivious of it.

Ah! Yes one very last an important point, let none be deceived into believing that those who bare the mark of the beast or the number of his name are eternally lost. Possessing the mark of the beast does not in any way deny one the opportunity of salvation that has already been secured to ALL through the ransom sacrifice of Christ. However baring the mark does preclude one from reigning with Christ as a member of the very elect and body of Christ.

 

His Number is 666, Part 2

His Number is 666, Part 2

By Thy Words Thou Shall Be Condemned” (Matt 12:37)

The Council of Trent, as is well known, declared the Latin Vulgate to be the only authentic version of Scripture, and doctors at the council preferred it to the Hebrew and Greek text itself—though the prophets and the apostles wrote in the latter. For over a thousand years the Roman Church Latinized everything, and to a large ex-tent still does use the Latin: in the Mass, prayers, hymns, litanies, canons, decretals, bulls, titles, inscriptions, and councils.

The “number of his [the beast’s] name” (Verse 17) is “the number of a man,” the “man of sin” (2 Thess 2:3). In other words, the first beast is the Man of Sin, the Papacy. Since according to the prophecy this mystical number is the number of a man, the suggestion is that the number is to be derived from the name or title of some particular symbolic man.

The most plausible explanation, noted by others, is a certain Latin title the pope has taken to himself and allowed others to apply to him. The title is “Vicarius Filii Dei,” that is, “Vicar of the Son of God.” Vicar, meaning “instead of” or “substitute,” describes the pope acting as the representative on earth of God or Christ. Jesus’ death on the Cross-is sometimes spoken of as a vicarious sacrifice, meaning a substitutionary sacrifice, namely, a man’s life for a man’s life. The letters of this title, which the Latin’s used as numerals, add up as follows:

V        = 5

I          = 1

C        = 100

A        = 0

R        = 0

I          = 1

V        = 5

S        = 0

 

F         = 0

I          = 1

L         = 50

I          = 1

I          = 1

 

D        = 500

E        = 0

I          = 1

Total = 666,

Note: In Latin the “U” of Vicarius becomes a “V,” and the double U [W] is actually a double “V.”

The following testimony that this title was formerly inscribed on the papal crown was given by the late Elder D.E. Scoles, of Washburn, Mo,

“I 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 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.

During 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:

“To 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. In 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 which I am now a retired pastor, having been in the ministry for fifty years. I 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 his head. Sincerely yours in Christian service, (Signed) ‘“B. Hoffman. Webb City, Mo., Oct. 29, 1906.”

The following extract is from a work entitled “The Reformation”, bearing the date of 1832:

“Mrs. 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 Revelation 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.”

“Here 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 title, in the form ‘vicar of the Son of God;’ and their numerical value is 666.”

“The tiara, in ecclesiastical usage, is the triple crown of the pope. It is a beehive-shaped, somewhat bulging, approximately 15-inch-high headpiece preferentially made of either silver or gold cloth encircled by three coronets, with a mound and cross of gold on top and two loose pendants or streamers hanging from the back. “Tiaras of Renaissance popes were especially ornate and precious, but tiaras of some popes contained no precious stones.”

“From the 14th century the popes have worn the triple crown. The three tiers of the tiara, richly ornamented with precious stones, indicated the power of the pope over heaven by his canonizing [saints], over purgatory by his granting of indulgences, and over the earth by his pronouncing anathemas.

For these reasons the Latinized version of the mysterious cabalistic (Kabbala) number 666 is most favored as the one intended in Holy Writ. But others feel that since the Apocalypse was originally written in Greek, the mystery should be resolved in that language. Accordingly, the following alternate title, based upon uncial Aeolian Greek (Latin is of that origin), and bearing some credibility, is given for the Italian Church, that is, the Roman Church.

I        = 10

T       = 300

A       = 1

L       = 30

I        = 10

K      = 20

A      = 1

 

E      = 5

K      = 20

K      = 20

L      = 30

H     = 8

S     = 200

I       = 10

A     = 1

Total = 666,

This view was sponsored by one named Pareus, who tried the substitution of every other conceivable national Church instead of Italika—Greek, Nestorian, Eutychian, Jacobite, Abyssinian, Armenian, English, Lutheran, Swedish, etc.—but no other Church answered. (The Keys of Revelation, Pages 361- 364)

To be continued.

His Number is 666, Part 1

His Number is 666, Part 1

“Some believe that every word and letter of Scriptures was divinely directed. This has led to a method of reading Scripture called “Gematria.” This is a method of adding the numeric value of each Hebrew or Greek letter in a text to determine a clue to some extended meaning of the text. Here we must be very careful not to use some value to insert a private interpretation or to fanaticize with the many mystical interpretations of the Cabalistic branch of Judaism. Any teaching must have a firm basis in the written word.

Yet there are some texts that invite our pursuit to a level deeper than the surface. And some uses of numbers do not relate to time at all. One of these is Revelation 13:18.

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, 666.”

This follows the prophetic symbols of the seven-headed beast, a two-horned beast and an image of the beast. Finally this “image of the beast” receives power to mark both small and great in the hands or forehead and to control certain commerce.

We understand the beast to represent Papacy, the Man of Sin, a most beastly church-state government. The other images are extensions of the ideology of the first beast, and even of the dragon, pagan Rome, who fostered the whole system.

In this verse we are asked to “count” the number of the beast. The word “count” means to calculate compute or sum. It is remarkable that the Romans did not use all the letters of their alphabet for numbers, as did the Hebrews and Greeks. They used only six letters, D, C, L, X, V, and I. (M appears to have evolved from the original use of two adjacent D‘s to represent their sum of 1000.) It is even more remarkable, and perhaps significant, that the sum of these amounts to 666, and that each pair sum to the three component parts of the 666 prophetic number. Also the sum of the highest unit in each pair is 6.

D =  500

    +          =600

C =  100

L =     50

     +        =60

X =   10

V =     5

      +      =6

I =      1

               =    666

666 is the characteristic feature of the Roman numeral system, and perhaps is a reason this number was chosen to mark the whole Roman politico-religious system in this prophecy.

We think the meaning of the words “wisdom” and “understanding” in Revelation 13:18 do not refer to a cleverness to understand the formula of the number, but to the spiritual perception and wisdom in identifying the Man of Sin system and keeping separate in spirit from it. These are identified in Revelation 20:4 as those who “had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, nor in their hands” Let us be free from the spirit of antitypical Babylon.” (Beauties of the Truth,Two Secret Numbers, November 1994 Page 11)

Of all the professing church, only those who are able to truly identify the Man of Sin (and who have separated themselves both from it and its associates) are found to be without this mark, all others regardless of whether they understand (or believe) it or not have been marked.

Revelation 13:18Here is wisdom (Here is a feature that contains much divine wisdom and foreknowledge) Let him that hath understanding count (compute,’ Diaglott. -divine the significance of) the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man (a number that identifies it with a man). As the ‘one new man,’ Christ, Head and body (Eph 2:15) cannot be the one here referred to, that organization being perfect and complete from the divine standpoint, the reference must be to the other symbolic man brought to our attention in the Scriptures-the ‘ man of sin’; the Antichrist; and his number is Six hundred, three score and six.” The literal rendering of the Greek is 6oo, 6o, 6.

The Weymouth translation, however, suggests a little different thought: “Here is scope for ingenuity: Let people of shrewd intelligence calculate the number of the wild beast: for it indicates the number of a certain man and his number is 666.”.

“Jesus, who gave this revelation to us (Rev 1:1), well knew that this symbol could not be properly understood until about the present time, for the reason that the Image of the Beast was only made in 1846. Jesus also knew, of course, that English would be the language used by probably four- fifths of his earnest truth-seeking children, in the “time of the end.” He likewise knew that not many wise, not many great, not many learned in all languages (specifically Greek and Hebrew) would be of the chosen “little flock”. Moreover, it was his custom to adapt his teachings to the “common people,” and of this sort his Jewels have been from, the twelve disciples and since.

Therefore it would appear that the number 666, should be open to the comprehension of us all–we being the ones told to count—as much so as were the other symbolic numbers of (Daniel and Revelation) Let us try, then, to apply these figures in English.

First, then, the number is that of the [first] BEAST. Let us see whether it will apply to some of its names, that system which Paul calls the Man of Sin” is the,

Roman Catholic Power

Count the Letters in the Name or Title, R-1, O-2, M-3, A-4, N-5, C-6, A-1, T-2, H-3, O-4, L-5, I -6, C-1, P-2, O-3, W-4, E-5, R-6 = 666

 He is in Revelation likewise called a BEAST (once again count the letters in the name or title)

Roman Catholic “Beast = 666

The system is also called the “woman” (Rev 17:18)

Roman Catholic “women = 666

She calls herself the

Holy Catholic Church” = 666

In reality she is (Rev 17:5)

The Mother of Harlots” = 666

Thus we see that the number fits the BEAST well.

The second BEAST was anxious likewise to have exactly the same NAME, and in fact it claimed to have pre-eminent right to the name-

Holy Catholic Church” = 666

Other names, by which it is known, are-

English State Church” = 666

The Episcopal Church” = 666

Episcopalian Church” = 666

The Church of England” = 666

This application of the number, will doubtless appear to some too simple to be accepted, but thus God ever deals with us–hiding truth under the vail of its own simplicity, so that it may appear to the Greek (worldly wise) foolishness, but unto them which believe (not to those who believe without evidence, but who believe on the strongest kind of evidence –the harmony of His Word) the power of God, and the wisdom of God.  (1 Cor 1:23)

The Image causes all who claim relationship, or whom it recognizes, as having a right to buy or sell– teach–to have as a creed, that which shall mark them as having either “the name” of the BEAST, or the “number” of his name–666. Many take the name and in their creeds recite, “I believe in the Holy Catholic Church= 666.

Among those who thus openly mark themselves in their forehead (by their creeds) are Episcopalians, Methodists, Presbyterians and others. But others give a seeming support (mark in their hand) to the general principal by organizing under various sectarian names. After these are blended in the IMAGE, (and no one would be admitted to membership in the Evangelical Alliance, unless he be a member of some such sect), they all are collectively known as the “Protestant Churches,” = 666.

If we ourselves for instance were to organize, though we protest more than all others against the errors of Rome, and also against the errors of the Image and second BEAST, yet we would not be reckoned one of the “Protestant churches,” because we would not be recognized as upholding the common or orthodox doctrines–They would not count our organization a church. (R323)

Continued with next post

 

Revelation Chapter 13, Part 5

Revelation Chapter 13, Part 5

CHAPTER 14:1-5 CONTINUES THE NARRATIVE

It is clear that the chapter division is in the wrong place. The first five verses of Chapter 14 show those with the PROPER mark on their foreheads — the overcomers. It completes the story of Chapter 13. If this were not so, Chapter 14, about the harvest, would have the Church complete at the beginning of the harvest!

VERSE 1Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father’s name written on their foreheads.”

AND I LOOKED: Here, again, John uses his reliable focus changer. Since Rev 13:11 we have been concentrating on the history and effects of the 2-horned beast and its interaction with the fortunes of the 10-horned beast. Now we look at the class who refused to receive the mark.

AND BEHOLD: This “Behold” is all important as a lesson to the saints. The way of faithfulness — separate from beasts, image, and their markings — is clearly laid out along with the glorious results.

THE LAMB: the one to whom we were introduced in Chapter 4, and the one who (in Rev 13:8) is not interested (for now) in “those who dwell on the earth.”

STANDING ON MOUNT ZION: Standing is a position of action. Zion is the spiritual seat of the Kingdom (Psa. 50:2; Psa. 128:5; Isa. 2:3.) The kingdom is, in this picture, ready to begin in its fullest sense. (See Obad. 21.)

AND WITH HIM: in glory; the harvest is ended.

ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY-FOUR THOUSAND: The literal number of the body of Christ.

HAVING HIS NAME AND THE NAME OF HIS FATHER: The KJV, unfortunately, leaves out “his name (i.e. the Lord’s name).” Note that these saints don’t have a “mark;” they have NAMES. It is notable that it is NOT Father, Son, and Holy Spirit! (i.e. a Trinity as some would imagine). It is also possible that the saints have BOTH of these names because (as represented in Chapters 4 and 5, 12:1, etc.,) they have had their characters developed NOT just by the New Testament writings alone, but also by the Old Testament writings which center upon the Father more than the Son.

WRITTEN ON THEIR FOREHEADS: To summarize this as “intellectual appreciation” falls far short of the intent of this passage. First of all, these saints have the NAMES (characters) of Father and Son written on them. This is not intellectual (although it INCLUDES what their minds know.) The forehead symbolizes the total being — the soul. It is out front where all can see it. And what is seen imprinted on these saints is the character they have emulated. Note also that while the beasts were not particular whether marks were in hand or forehead, God IS particular. A mark on the hand is insignificant, insufficient, even inconsequential. (Recall once again what the mark upon the right hand represents; it represents one’s support or cooperation. Apparently one’s support or cooperation is not enough), The NEEDED mark is a NAME (a completed character.) And THAT mark can be only on one place: the total being, the soul, theforeheadof the individual.

VERSE 2And I heard a voice from heaven, like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder. And I heard the sound of harpists playing their harps.”

AND I HEARD: Once again John re-focuses our attention:

A VOICE FROM HEAVEN: Beginning here and progressing through Verse 3, there are many difficulties of interpretation. For instance:

(1) How many voices are there? The Greek seems to show only one in Verse 2 — the one which is LIKE three things: water, thunder, and harpists. Unfortunately, Verse 3 says, “they” sang. Is it the harpists? Are “they” (harpists) collectively the ONE VOICE of Verse 2? (Of course, voice can legitimately be translated SOUND; therefore, John may have heard a SOUND from heaven.)

(2) Harps were earlier (Rev 5:8) connected with the 24 Elders. This is NOT the case here since (Rev 14:3) THESE harpists play BEFORE the Elders.

(3) Only the 144,000 can LEARN this song. Who, then, is teaching them? Clearly, it cannot be anyone who has “learned” it. The two possibilities seem to be:

(a) Either the voice IS that of the 144,000 who have learned the song and who are singing it,

(b) The voice is God’s who is teaching it to the 144,000 who learn it. This second option does NOT seem possible since God would not sing itbefore the throne.”

The conclusion, then, seems inescapable that the voice IS the collective voice of the 144,000. The following interpretation is based on this reasoning.

AND I HEARD A VOICE FROM HEAVEN: When John says, “And I heard,” he is re-focusing our attention to something. That something is apparently the 144,000 just mentioned in Verse 1 who are on Zion with the Lamb. The point here is to show WHO it is who has overcome the beast and image influences. FROM HEAVEN seems to refer literally to the spirit realm since this is here where the glorified saints are (Verse 1.)

The VOICE is now likened to three things which apparently represent three periods in the experience of the Church. This is difficult of interpretation. Waters, thunder, and harps are hardly symbols which belong together! It is for this reason that we feel the three symbols reflect THREE DIFFERENT TIMES in the Church’s experience.

When the church reaches MOUNT ZION, but before the peaceable kingdom comes, it can look back to its ORIGINS (the sea class, hence waters); it can look at its then- current RESPONSIBILITIES (the noisy – hence thunderous – destructive of the old order); and it can look forward to its KINGDOM WORK (the happy harmony of a new world — hence the harps.) thus:

WATERS: Where the Church came from — from many peoples (waters). Compare Rev 5:9.

THUNDER: What the Church does upon glorification at the harvest’s end — participating in the thunderous whirlwind with which the age ends. See Rev. 2:26, 27 with Jeremiah 25:30, 31 with a combination of Psalm 77:18 and Job 38:1.

HARPISTS: What the Church will do once the trouble is over — harmonize God for the people.

See Isaiah 14:7 and Psalm 30:5 (margin = singing.)

VERSE 3They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth.”

AND THEY SANG A NEW SONG: Just as the prophecies (5, 8, and 9) could sing a “new song” when, at the first advent, the Lamb had fulfilled an important portion of their predictions, so now; the saints can sing a new song when ALL of the Second Advent prophecies have reached their climax. But this song is different in one special way. It is PERSONAL. It is the result of having endured and overcome. It is something which no one else CAN know except those who went through the training.

BEFORE THE THRONE: This is NOT the position of the saints in most prophecy. But here it is the appropriate place to sing. It is to Him who is on the throne that they owe all thanks and reverence for having been taught this song which no one else can sing. The saints place themselves forever willingly at God’s service (before the throne) even as Jesus Himself wore the girdle of servitude willingly even after His glorification (Rev 1:13).

BEFORE THE FOUR LIVING ONES: — Oh! How we can sing forever about the essence of God’s universally perfect balanced character.

AND THE ELDERS: The saints can, without reservation, sing praise to the help they had from the prophecies — the very foundation of their standing (Rev 12:1). Is this not the purpose Paul had in mind when he wrote Hebrews 11 and 12:1 — perhaps the whole book of Hebrews? The tendency of far too many in modern Christianity to dismiss the Old Testament writings is a testimony that they could not fit into this picture.

AND NO ONE COULD LEARN THE SONG EXCEPT THE 144,000: This song is THEIR testimony. It is unlike anything any other human being has experienced. It cannot be sung until the other side because “How can we sing the Lord’s song, His heavenly anthem in a foreign land?Psa. 137:1-4.

WHO HAD BEEN PURCHASED FROM THE EARTH: This phrase unites the first “new song” at the beginning of the age (Rev 5:9) with the second “new song” at the end of the age. The first song is sung as the prophecies acknowledge the beginning of the Church. The second song is sung as the completed Church acknowledges the end of the prophecies.

VERSE 4These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being first-fruits to God and to the Lamb.”

THESE ARE THE ONES: We now have a clear description of the history and character of the ones who are singing, the ones who have been purchased from the earth. They:

HAVE NOT BEEN DEFILED WITH WOMEN: They have not let association with thechurchesof Christendom soil their robes.

FOR THEY HAVE KEPT THEMSELVES CHASTE: The implication is clear: thewomen” (the church nominal) has NOT kept itself chaste. They (it) have committed spiritual fornication by compromising themselves with the governments of this world and /or with the spirit of worldliness. (This may even suggest that the image — while not a church-state union — is a church-state cooperation, agreement, or compromise).

WHO FOLLOW THE LAMB WHEREVER HE GOES: They have never lost sight of whom their head is; nor have they ever been reticent to follow His leadings, however strange the place may be that they are led.

THESE HAVE BEEN PURCHASED FROM AMONG MEN: Here is another clear reference to the sin-offering participation of the saints. We know Jesus purchased the entire human race, yea! All creation. But this “purchased possession” (the entire creation) must wait until this group of saints — recipients of the ransom merit EARLY — might have something to sacrifice jointly with their head. Men WERE purchased; but the saints are PURCHASED FROM AMONG MEN. The implications to the doctrine of the sin offering are inescapable!

AS FIRST FRUITS TO GOD AND TO THE LAMB: Another demonstration of the saints as part of the sin-offering process. The first-fruits are an OFFERING, NOT a part of the general crop.

VERSE 5And in their mouth was found no deceit, for they are without fault before the throne of God.”

NO LIE WAS FOUND IN THEIR MOUTHS: — Their COLLECTIVE mouth which represents their collective message. They and they alone, were God’s mouthpiece during the Gospel age for the distribution of the TRUTH. No lie was in their message because they conscientiously sought God’s message and not to put forth their own ideas.

THEY ARE BLAMELESS: See Heb 9:14. God has justified them. Who then will then lay anything to their charge? Rom 8:33.

Excerpts taken from the New Albany Notes on Revelation

Revelation Chapter 13, Part 4

Revelation Chapter 13, Part 4

Revelation Chapter 13 continued.

VERSE 16He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads…

AND HE CAUSES ALL: Uniformity is Satan’s trademark.

THE SMALL AND THE GREAT: The amount of influence one has in the world is not an exemption.

THE RICH AND THE POOR: The amount of one’s wealth or knowledge is also not an exemption.

THE FREE MEN AND THE SLAVES: The amount of intellectual independence one has is also not an exemption.

TO BE GIVEN A MARK: an evidence of allegiance.

ON THEIR RIGHT HAND: Their cooperation. (With whatever capacity you work and or render service to the beast or its image you give evidence of your support or cooperation).

OR ON THEIR FOREHEAD: The mental and/ or character assent. (Your faith, your belief in the teachings and precepts of the beast or its image represents your mental assent).

VERSE 17…and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”

AND THAT NO ONE SHOULD BE ABLE TO BUY OF TO SELL: in the spiritual marketplace of ideas. This HAS happened. Those who have the truth have been systematically excluded from the spiritual marketplace of orthodoxy and confederated Protestantism.

Can it get worse? Possibly; even probably. But it need not do so to fulfill this verse.

EXCEPT THE ONE WHO HAS THE MARK: A mark is a characteristic. The characteristic is probably willingness to help (to render service in some capacity), or at least not to oppose, the accepted religious way of doing things. (Compare Rev 13:5).

THE NAME OF THE BEAST: — possibly the TITLE of the beast (I. e., membership in it.) Or, since name means character, it possibly means that you are not only willing to cooperate, but you are inherently LIKE the beast. We also use the word NAME to represent authority — as when we ask in Jesus’ NAME.

OR THE NUMBER OF HIS NAME: This phrase raises a question which the next verse helps to answer. Number means VALUE. When people say, “I’ve got your number,” it means they know what you are LIKE. They know your VALUES. The number of a name means the VALUE OF HIS CHARACTER. Perhaps this means that, if you have value to this system, you are safe. They will USE you as long as you remain of value to them. Throughout history, the 10-horned beast has operated on the philosophy that the end justifies the means. This is their value system.

VERSE 18Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.”

HERE IS WISDOM: What a marvelous way to catch our attention! Everyone would like to be wise. But the meaning is NOT that. It means, as does Daniel 12:10, that those who are blessed with God’s favor will understand, and no one else.

LET HIM WHO HAS UNDERSTANDING: No one will be able tocalculate the numberexcept those who understand the place of the Roman system in history.

CALCULATE THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST: Several items in this phrase need attention. First, thenumbermust becalculated.” It does not just plainly appear. Secondly, it is related to the 10-horned beast — the one to whom the image was made (Verse 14). Thirdly, number symbolizes VALUE. Whatever must be calculated apparently has something to do with the beast’s “value.”

This doesn’t mean monetary value, but rather the “value (number) of his name.” (Verse 17) His name STANDS FOR SOMETHING. It represents his values. History shows us that the values of the apostasy can be summed up as usurped power and authority. Verse 5 summarizes this idea. Thus, when we learn that Papacy’s claim is to be the one who rules in place of the Son of God, and that Papacy, therefore, appropriated the blasphemous title VICARIVS FILII DEI, we HAVE the name which identifies his values (number).

THE NUMBER IS THAT OF A MAN: Paul identified the “man” — the office — to which this refers as the “Man of Sin” and the “Son of Destruction.” (2 Thess. 2:3, 4) It is the Papacy.

HIS NUMBER IS 666: The sum of the Roman numerals in VICARIVS FILII DEI is 666.

MANY titles or descriptions (in several languages) of the Roman system calculate to this figure — a fact which corroborates the conclusion. VICARIVS FILII DEI, however, (VICAR OF THE SON OF GOD, or VICARIOUS SON OF GOD) seems the best explanation of the reasons stated above.

Brother Loomis points out that the three languages used on Jesus’ cross (Latin, Hebrew and Greek all have words representing this number. The Hebrew word ROMIITHRoman):

R = 200

O = 6

M = 40

I = 10

I = 10

TH = 400

666

(The Hebrew alphabet, of course, must be used!)

The Greek work LATEINOS (Latin Man); again, using the Greek alphabet:

L = 30

A = 1

T = 300

E = 5

I = 10

N = 50

O = 70

S =200

666

There are apparently a number of other solutions — all pointing to the Roman system. It is difficult to escape the conclusion that coincidence is ruled out. (We’ll take a more through look at this in another study following the completion of this one.)

Continued with next post.

 

Revelation Chapter 13, Part 3

Revelation Chapter 13, Part 3

THE TWO-HORNED BEAST

Once we have seen the history of the ten-horned beast, we are introduced to a second player in this drama. One reason the ten-horned beast recovered from its Reformation wound is that this new player demonstrates that there is yet left some real church- state power — even separate from the original beast. It, in essence, revitalizes the concept of Divine Right and church-state unity– just at the moment when the Reformation might have killed the concept.

VERSE 11Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon.”

AND I SAW: Again we have one of the Revelator’s obvious divisions of his story.

ANOTHER BEAST: Something akin to the first beast, thus called “another” one. This one is also a church-state empire.

COMING UP OUT OF THE EARTH: This beast, unlike the first one, is not born out of chaos in the empire (it does not arise from the “sea”, representative of restless humanity), but, to the contrary, evolves rather smoothly out of existing society (the “earth) — actually a break-off from the existing Holy Roman Empire.

AND HE HAD TWO HORNS: two supporting powers. This makes identification quite simple since such a beast is only to be found in one place. Even though the Church of England and Ireland was officially so known only for about 70 years during the 19th century, its two-power characteristic is sufficient to identify it. It FUNCTIONED as the church of these two countries for over 300 years. It is important to remember also that this beast IS NOT the Church of England and Ireland, but rather the church-state system of these two countries combined.

LIKE A LAMB: Apparently this description is given as a CONTRAST to the Leopard Beast of Rev 13:1, 2, this would, then, imply a temperate nature to this beast — not at all like the Holy Roman Empire.

AND HE SPOKE AS A DRAGON: In the English Empire, the King is titular head of the church. Therefore, this beast has been (and, no doubt, WILL BE in any future involvements) more noticed for its political than its theological pronouncements. Brethren might well pay special note to this phrase. It seems clearly to say that England’s secular involvements would have more to do with prophetic fulfillment than its religious dogma.

VERSE 12And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, who’s deadly wound was healed.”

AND HE EXERCISES ALL AUTHORITY OF THE FIRST BEAST: Recall that the first beast had three kinds of authority. Apparently all of these authorities would apply to the two-horned beast except the 1260-year license. This phrase tells us the tyranny which this new beast was capable of. Virtually everything the Roman beast claimed, the English beast claimed. Only the mouths differed. One had the Pope, the other the King or Queen.

IN THIS PRESENCE: i. e., AT THE SAME TIME. The two beasts were doing the same things except that each did it in his own sphere of influence.

AND HE MAKES THE EARTH AND THOSE WHO DWELL IN IT: Society and those with a stake in it. Society is impersonal, but it had to conform. Those who dwell in it are individuals who are the mainstays of society, that is, people with something to lose if society doesn’t “worship” the beast. This need for CONFORMITY to preserve the status quo is what prompted persecution of dissenters. The English refugees to America during this period were attempting to escape this societal conformity and its requirements.

TO WORSHIP THE FIRST BEAST: By example. England and its church-state arrangements, being virtually no different from the Holy Roman Empire, made criticism of the Roman Beast impossible. The establishment of the English church-state actually HELPED the Holy Roman Empire recover from its grievous wound inflicted by the Reformation. How can you criticize your twin? By its doctrine and structural example, the two-horned beast promoted worship of its European counterpart.

WHOSE FATAL WOULD WAS HEALED: The wound was caused by the Reformation. The healing was AIDED by Henry VIII’s establishment of the English Church. The history of the two-beasts and their successes is inseparable. While they were enemies, they were also comrades. It is well stated of Henry: “…he beheaded ‘traitors’ who recognized Papal headship, and burned ‘heretics’ who denied Papal doctrines.” The only REAL enmity between the two beasts was between their two mouths (King and Pope).

VERSE 13He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men.”

AND HE PERFORMS GREAT SIGNS:

At this point in the narrative, the various brethren who interpret this prophecy divide in their opinions. Some explain Verses 13-17 as part — symbolic of powers exercised by the English beast similar to those having been exercised by the Roman beast. Others do this but EXTEND the application into the future. Yet others feel that these verses are almost certainly yet to be fulfilled. The arguments are sound on all three accounts. We must await the Lord’s interpretation. Because Brother Russell’s viewpoint was the second of these three options, and because his views seem most reasonable to the fact and the context, we will parallel his thoughts in these verses.

The GREAT SIGNS seem to refer to the exercise of power by the English church-state to insure compliance to its doctrine and practices.

SO THAT HE EVEN MAKES FIRE COME DOWN OUT OF HEAVEN: Fire represents judgments (and/or their destructive results.) Heaven is the ecclesiastical world. The judgments of the English system against heretics were severe:

TO THE EARTH IN THE PRESENCE OF MEN: The fire which ecclesiastically judged society was a tool of the church to frighten men into compliance. Punishments were public so that none could escape the warning lessons — hence the phrase IN THE PRESENCE OF MEN (Compare Verse 12 where the same phrase shows how the English church flaunted its authority in front of the Roman beast.) MEN, in Rev 13:13 may be a reference to true Christians. This practice of the English beast to intimidate dissenters was one of the causes of many leaving England for America.

VERSE 14And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived.”

AND HE DECEIVES THOSE WHO DWELL ON THE EARTH: The deception was that he actually had spiritual authority. Note, however, that the only ones really deceived are “those who dwell on the earth” — non-spirit-begotten ones whose primary interests are their temporal affairs.

BECAUSE OF THE SIGNS: The best way to deceive is to tell a big-enough lie. The “signs,” the manifestations of spiritual power, exercised by this new beast gave a message:

TELLING THOSE WHO DWELL ON THE EARTH: Showing them by example

TO MAKE AN IMAGE TO THE BEAST WHO HAD THE WOUND: It is important to remember here that those who get the idea (by example) to make an image are “those who dwell on the earth.” Protestantism in general was a Reformation movement in which, probably, all (or nearly all) of the true saints were involved. It was NOT the idea of the saints to make an image. It was the idea ofthose who dwell on the earth— those who needed another and newer vehicle to expand their worldly roots.

The image, note, is not to the beast who inspired it, but to the 10-horned beast. This is telling. Why would the 2-horned beast say to make an image to the 10-horned beast? The fact is, the 2-horned beast was, in its own way, an image of the other beast, by being so (that is, by example), it told the power people (“those who dwell on the earth”) that they TOO could make ANOTHER image if they find it profitable to do so (And so they have, as there are now hundreds of “images”, i.e. church organizations in existence). In other words, by example, the 2-horned beast was saying: “If I can do it, why can’t others?” The Roman Catholic politico-socio economic world had, in a sense, lost the world of Protestantism for their profit-making ventures. How could they regain this market? They could work toward amalgamating Protestantism into one large, cooperative block – a new sort of beast, but not so strong as, only an image of, a reflection of, the first beast WHO HAD THE WOUND OF THE SWORD (by Protestantism’s Reformation) but who HAS COME TO LIFE in a semi-rejuvenated, new-headed, Holy Roman Empire.

VERSE 15He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.”

THERE WAS GIVEN TO HIM: Note this phrase carefully. We encountered it several times in the description of the Leopard Beast. This phrase was consistently followed by a history of what happened once something was “givento the beast. The same now happens here.

TO GIVE BREATH TO THE IMAGE OF THE BEAST: The image is the Protestant church federation (The various church organizations composing Protestantism, viz. Lutherans, Methodist, Baptist, Adventist, etc., etc.). The English beast has been instrumental in all efforts in this direction. This is clearly shown in history. The British-Empire was an immensely important factor in unifying the post-French-Revolution world — most particularly the non-Roman Catholic world. Remember, this beast speaksas a dragon— its civil influences are as important as its ecclesiastical ones. It does not seem far-fetched to claim that the influences of the British Empire were an important factor in contributing to the movement toward the federation of Protestant denominations. England’s maritime economic pursuits unified the Protestant world in the 19th century.

At this point it is wise to note Brother Russell’s hesitancy at predicting now much more MIGHT happen in the future. He clearly leaves open the door to the thought that this MAY HAVE BEEN mostly fulfilled by the Church of England’s cooperation in Protestant federation. IF more is to come, we will see it; IF more is not to come in this regard, we should not make our unfulfilled expectations embitter us.

It is of great value to note the similarity of this image to that found in Daniel 3:1. The beast itself (13:18) is denoted by the number 666. Daniel’s image, almost certainly related to the Rev. 13 image, is 60 cubits by 6 cubits. We are given only TWO DIMENSIONS. This seems to be saying that the Image of the Beast is only two-dimensional — it has no depth. (Perhaps this is saying that it is never a real church-state union.) It is a hollow imitation of its great model. It becomes alive and functioning and, as the continuation of this verse shows, it exercises sufficient influence to be a problem.

THAT THE IMAGE MIGHT EVEN SPEAK: It gains enough power to become another mouth. It gains the ability through pronouncements to change attitudes to alter behaviors, to influence politics (Note that its mouth is never defined –never clearly delineated as are the mouths of the two great beasts.)

AND CAUSES AS MANY AS DO NOT WORSHIP THE IMAGE OF THE BEAST TO BE KILLED: Killing here, as elsewhere, seems to be actual or functional excommunication. The message is, “If you don’t go along with our federated standards, we don’t recognize you as Christians.” Generally any church outside the realm of orthodoxy is considered either a false church or a cult.

Continued with next post.

Excerpts taken from the New Albany Notes on Revelation

Revelation Chapter 13, Part 2

Revelation Chapter 13, Part 2

Revelation Chapter 13, continued

VERSE 3And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast.”

For the TIME of this verse, see the explanation at the opening of the Chapter 13 discussion.

AND ONE OF HIS HEADS: We have just seen in Verse 2 that the beast had been given great authority. We now see the historical result of this: ONE of his seven heads — one of his overall ruling AUTHORITIES — has that authority challenged significantly. If our speculation be correct, it is the THIRD head which is here meant.

AS IF IT HAD BEEN SLAIN:

NOTE VERY CAREFULLY: There is a change of pronouns in this context. When the beast is the subject, the pronouns are HIS or HIM; when the head is the subject, the pronoun is IT. This is important in interpretation.

13:3 continued

AS IF IT HAD BEEN SLAIN: * IF the head were slain and IF there were no other head to take its place that would have been the end of the beast. IN ACTUALITY, the HEAD was slain in a sense, and not in another. This sounds like double-talk! But, the nature of the fulfillment of this prophecy is very subtle. The beast, or course, is the church-state cooperation between the “little horn” and the civil power. While the “little horn” has retained its identity over the centuries, the HEADS have changed. The first SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT (head) was that of the Roman emperor (Justinian) as civil head with the “little horn” as chief religious ruler. The second SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT (head) was a clear division between east and west Rome. The empire over which Justinian had ruled yet existed in Constantinople. But the west was now rather independent and was under a new western emperor, Charlemagne. Charlemagne was actually TRICKED by the Pope into letting the Pope put the crown on the emperor’s head. But Charlemagne allowed it and, subsequently, felt a bit embarrassed by the whole thing as it caused a rift with the eastern empire. Nevertheless, the SYMBOLISM of the act, and the virtual new arrangement in the west, constituted a new HEAD. Later, in 962 a third SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT (head) came into being under Otto the Great. This head gave the new arrangement the title of HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE, the first word of which magnifies the place of the “little horn.” East and West Rome were now officially and actually two separate and distinct empires.

It is this THIRD HEAD, the HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE, which wasslainby the Reformation. Historians confidently claim that the harm done to the Holy Roman Empire by the Reformation was so great as to constitute “. . . the virtual dissolution of the empire.”

*AS IF IT HAD BEEN SLAIN: The peculiar nature of this expression demands attention. The head was, indeed, slain. But to history the slaying seemed to be TEMPORARY in that the Holy Roman Empire made a comeback. When it DID come back, it REALLY had a new head, but because it did not change its NAME, it appears to the casual eye to be the same old creature unchanged. But it WAS changed — in nearly all ways except by name.

It might be of interest to note that the emperor at the time of Luther was Charles V. It was he who presided at the famous Diet of Worms which proclaimed Luther a heretic. But the German princes protected Luther, absorbed his religion, and, thus, wiped out the very seal of Charles V’s empire.

HIS FATAL WOUND WAS HEALED:

NOTE: It was NOT the head (not “its” wound) that was healed. It was HIS (the beast’s wound that was healed). The Holy Roman Empire DID NOT DISSOLVE! It reconstituted itself and CAME BACK UNDER THE SAME NAME, but under a DIFFERENT HEAD. The period between Charles V and the Peace of Westphalia was a period of reorganization for the Holy Roman Empire. When it RECOVERED from its Reformation wound, it WAS A DIFFERENT BEAST with the same name. Thus, since the Peace of Westphalia, the Holy Roman Empire had a NEW HEAD or system of government — the FOURTH head and beast. This arrangement continued until Napoleon came along, destroyed the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, and created a NEW HEAD, the FIFTH.

AND THE WHOLE EARTH WAS AMAZED AFTER THE BEAST: The Reformation challenge to the Roman church-state empire was SO great that it WAS no less than amazing that the Holy Roman Empire withstood its onslaught and retained as much prestige as it did. The beast WAS hurt, but it recovered. It NEEDED little support which is why we will later see in Verse 12 that the advent of the two-horned beast was a blessing for the beast; the formation of a like beast in England helped the Europeans acknowledge the ten-horned beast of a viable sort of entity.

VERSE 4So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?

AND THEY WORSHIPED THE DRAGON: It must be remembered that the allegiance of peoples to their governments is as strong as their allegiance to the churches affiliated with those governments. The Holy Roman Empire thus continued with the adoration of its subjects, and a Roman Catholic part of Europe was insured.

BECAUSE HE GAVE HIS AUTHORITY TO THE BEAST: The co-dependency of church and state is inescapable. If the empire says “The Papacy is our spiritual head; it gives us God’s right to rule,” the people say — Amen to government and Pope forming one grand beast!

THEY WORSHIPED THE BEAST: NOT the church, remember, but the church-dominated arrangement. We must await Chapter 17 before we can clearly separate the woman from the beast.

WHO IS LIKE THE BEAST?: Catholic Holy Roman Empire was great and extensive. Even after Protestantism had taken its toll on former parts of the Empire, the question was still valid — “Is there any empire like THIS one?

WHO IS ABLE TO WAGE WAR WITH HIM?: Who can successfully oppose the Papal -Roman Empire? The question was getting a little hollow after the Reformation, but the answer was still “NO ONE YET!” Napoleon would give it a try later; in a sense, however, he would not destroy it — merely alter it once more, give it a new head. He WOULD destroy the Holy Roman Empire, but he would NOT destroy the beast — the church-state system.

VERSE 5And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months.”

AND THERE WAS GIVEN TO HIM: This phrase begins another look at this beast, one which clicks back in time. (See comments on construction of this chapter at the beginning of the notes on Chapter 13.)

A MOUTH SPEAKING ARROGANT WORDS AND BLASPHEMIES: This is a clear reference to Dan. 7:8, 11, and 25. A brief history of this “mouth” is found in Volumes II and III. Papacy was the mouth. (Papacy, remember, is NOT  a head, but a horn with prominent eyes and mouth.) Papacy was the bark of the beast; the civil powers were the bite.

AND AUTHORITY TO DO FOR FORTY-TWO MONTHS: Papacy “did” things most indirectly — through the state. But this authority to “do” through the state went practically unchallenged unto 1799 when the forty-two months expired.

VERSE 6Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven.”

AND HE OPENED HIS MOUTH IN BLASPHEME: It was Papacy’s practice to destroy by condemnation – evil speaking (blaspheme).

AGAINST GOD, TO BLASPHEME HIS NAME: This is the first of THREE targets of his blaspheme. The doctrines of Papacy totally misrepresent the character (name) of God, thus making sure few could truly know God.

AND HIS TABERNACLE: This is the second target of his blaspheme. The tabernacle and temple represent God’s plans and purposes — the tabernacle more particularly the plan of redemption. The mass and other abominations totally destroy the concepts of God’s plan.

THOSE WHO DWELL IN HEAVEN: This is the third target of the blasphemes. It might be considered by some that the saints (those who dwell in) ARE the tabernacle. This is true to a degree. But the parallel text in Daniel 7:25 mentions the same three targets of Papacy: the Most High, the Saints, and the Plan (“times and law”). The saints dwell in the holy of the tabernacle, a sanctuary of spiritual light, food, and prayer.

VERSE 7It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.”

AND IT WAS GIVEN TO HIM TO MAKE WAR WITH THE SAINTS AND TO OVERCOME THEM: It is most likely that this sentence is spurious. This “given” was already covered in Verses 5 and 6. It seems redundant to repeat it here. It is easy of explanation if it is legitimate, but it is likely not.

AND THE AUTHORITY WAS GIVEN TO HIM: Once again we have another section introduced by the beast’s being given something. In this case the focus is on people:

Note the THREE authorities given to the beast by this time

  1. The GREAT AUTHORITY of ruler-ship (Verse 2).
  2. The TIMED authority to wear out the saints (Verse 5).
  3. The authority over the masses of people.

OVER EVERY TRIBE AND PEOPLE AND TONGUE AND NATION: This four-part name represents the “sea” class of humanity — the restless masses (Compare Rev 17:15.) The thought is that this beast had control over everyone in its domain — even people who might not have much interest in its leadership.

VERSE 8All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”

AND ALL WHO DWELL ON THE EARTH: This class represents those with an interest in the status quo – people with rooted interests in the present order of things. This verse is here to show a CONTRAST. Even though the beast has authority over all (Verse 7), ONLY those who like the socio-political arrangement because their own selfish interests are tied to it (those who dwell on the earth):

WORSHIP HIM: No one else EXCEPT thedwell-on-the-earthclass could possibly worship this monster. Note what might SEEM a contradiction. In Rev 13:3, 4 it states that the whole earth worshiped the dragon and beast. This however is not contradictory as EARTH represents established society, the equivalent here of “those who dwell on the earth.” The group in 13:7 is thesea,” class, not the earth class.

(HE) WHOSE NAME HAS NOT BEEN WRITTEN FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD IN THE BOOK OF LIFE OF THE LAMB WHO HAS BEEN SLAIN: This long description, amplifying “those who dwell on the earth,” must be significant because of the amount of space it takes! First, it clearly identifies this class as being non-spirit-begotten. Secondly, and more importantly, it encourages the spirit-begotten ones who must live through the experience.

It does so by reminding them that (1) the place of the TRUE Church has been established long before the false came along and will, therefore, not be neglected or hurt by this beast, and that (2) the lamb, which they follow, experienced death which they might also experience. But, (3) death is of no significance if your name is recorded in the BOOK of LIFE.

VERSE 9If anyone has an ear, let him hear.”

IF ANYONE HAS AN EAR, LET HIM HEAR: This refrain carries us back to the messages to the seven churches (Chapters 2 & 3). It is always coupled there with (and here, no doubt, is meant to bring to mind) the words: TO HIM WHO OVERCOMETH. Most of the Church has had to overcome the beast. The rewards will be stipulated to all who refer back to Chapters 2 & 3.

VERSE 10He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.”

This verse is a summary lesson following all of the foregoing descriptions of the beast. It is a lesson in overcoming implied in Verse 9. Its lesson is clarified by a comparison with Jer 15:1, 2.

IF ANYONE IS FOR CAPTIVITY, TO CAPTIVITY HE GOES; IF ANYONE KILLS WITH THE SWORD, WITH THE SWORD HE MUST BE KILLED: The lesson here is one of reaping what has been sown. It is the Lord’s rule: those who favored slavery for others will be enslaved by their own devices; those who use violence or deception will be victims of the same.

HERE IS THE PERSEVERANCE AND THE FAITH OF THE SAINTS: This phrase occurs again in Rev 14:12 following the description of the decades of Babylon’s decline and fall during the harvest. The Message in both passages is clear: the saints MUST ENDURE the wait while all about them SEEMS to take so long. Both passages (Rev 13:9 and 14:8-11) describe either the promise or the fact of Babylon’s punishments. The faith and perseverance of the saints DEPEND on their belief that this retribution WILL come. This is part of the reason for the long description in Rev 13:8. Faith in the glorious results is a mainstay.

Continued with next post.

Excerpts taken from the New Albany Notes on Revelation