His Church in Wichita Falls, Texas
Daniel & Revelation: Compiled by Apostle William L. Sharon Comments
The Bowls Of Divine Wrath Of The Revelation
THE REVELATION OF JESUS EMANUEL, THE CHRIST, TO THE APOSTLE JOHN
Contents---Revelation Chapters15, 16. The Bowls of Divine Wrath.
Study # 1---Introduction to the seven last plagues. Revelation 15: 1-8...........page 1.
A Preparatory Scene............................................page 1.
God’s People Remembered........................................page 2.
Study # 2---Revelation 16: 1-21. Seven Last Plagues Devastate the Earth..........page 3.
Time of the Plagues............................................page 4.
The First Plague...............................................page 4.
The Second Plague..............................................page 5.
The Third Plague...............................................page 5.
The Fourth Plague..............................................page 6.
The Sixth Plague...............................................page 7.
The Three Unclean Spirits......................................page 8.
The Thief......................................................page 8.
They Gathered Them.............................................page 9.
The Seventh Plague............................................page 10.
Thunders, and Lightning.......................................page 10.
A Great Hail..................................................page 10.
The Comfort of the Saints.....................................page 11.
Study # 3---Revelation 17. A World Union of Church and State....................page 12.
A Cause of Great Wonder.......................................page 13.
Roman in Three Phases.........................................page 13.
Seventh Head..................................................page 14.
The Ten Horns.................................................page 14.
Destiny of the Harlot.........................................page 15.
Study # 4---Revelation 18. The Doom, The destruction, of Babylon................page 16.
A Total Spiritual Fall........................................page 16.
Time of This Fall.............................................page 17.
Ecclesiastical Liberalism.....................................page 18.
The Results of Apostasy.......................................page 19.
“Come Out of Her, My People.”.................................page 20.
Study # 5---Revelation 18: 9-24. A Fitting Retribution..........................page 23.
Babylon’s Merchandise.........................................page 23.
Gluttony Rebuked..............................................page 23.
The Emotions of the Wicked....................................page 24.
The Emotions of the Righteous.................................page 24.
Study # 6---Revelation 19. King of Kings and Lord of Lords.....................page 26.
Forever and ever..............................................page 26.
A Song of Triumph.............................................page 27.
The Marriage Supper...........................................page 28.
John’s Fellow Servant.........................................page 28.
The Christ’s Second Coming....................................page 29.
Study # 7---Revelation 20. The World’s millennial night.........................page 31.
Satan the Scapegoat..........................................page 31.
In the Antitypical...........................................page 32.
The Bottomless Pit...........................................page 33.
Exaltation of the Saints.....................................page 34.
Two Resurrections............................................page 35.
Wicked Raised to Life........................................page 35.
Perdition of Ungodly Angels and Mankind......................page 36.
The Subjects of Torment......................................page 37.
The Lake of Fire.............................................page 37.
A Throne of Judgment.........................................page 38.
Fire out of Heaven...........................................page 38.
Books of Record..............................................page 38.
Execution of the Sentence....................................page 38.
The Book of Life.............................................page 39.
Study # 1---Revelation 15: 1-8. The Bowls of Divine Wrath.
This chapter introduces the seven last plagues, a manifestation of Heaven’s wrath, unmingled with mercy, in full measure upon the last generations, of the wicked. At this time the work of mercy is forever past. It is to be noted that the plagues of Egypt, given on behalf of physical Israel, were local, and are the type. The seven last plague, given on behalf of spiritual Israel, are world wide, and are the antitype.
“And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous. Seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God. And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: And them that had gotten the victory over the beast, his image, his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, ‘Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are Your ways, You King of saints. Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You only are holy: For all nations shall come and worship before You; for Your judgments are made manifest.’ And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened: And seven angels came out of the temple, having their breasts wrapped with golden girdles. And one of the four living creatures gave unto the seven angels seven bowls full of the wrath of God, who lives forever and ever. And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from His power; and no one, no being, was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.” (Revelation 15: 1-8.)
A Preparatory Scene.---Thus reads the fifteenth chapter. By it we are carried back to a new series of events. The whole chapter is but an introduction to the most terrible judgments of the Almighty ever to be visited upon this earth---the seven last plagues. What we behold here is a solemn preparation for the outpouring of these unmixed bowls. Verse 5 shows that these plagues fall after the close of the ministration in the heavenly sanctuary, for the temple is opened before they are poured out. They are given to seven angels clothed in linen, pure and white, a fit emblem of the purity of God’s righteousness and justice in the infliction of these judgments. They receive these vials from one of the four living creatures. These living creatures were shown in comments on Revelation 4 to be a class of The Christ’s assistants in His sanctuary work. How appropriate then that they should be the ones to deliver, to the ministers of vengeance, the vials of the wrath to be poured upon those who have slighted The Christ’s mercy, abused His long-suffering, heaped rude language upon His name, and crucified Him afresh, in the persecution of His followers!! While the seven angels are performing their fearful mission, the temple is filled with the glory of God, and no one, man, or being can enter there. This shows that the work of mercy is closed, since there is no ministration in the sanctuary during the infliction of the plagues. Hence they are manifestations of the wrath of God, given without any mixture of mercy, upon the wicked, during the Great Time of Trouble of
Daniel 12: 1-3.
God’s People Remembered.---In this scene the people of God are not forgotten. The
prophet is permitted, in verses 2-4, to see, beyond the wrath of God poured upon the wicked, the saints as victors upon the sea that has the appearance of glass mingled with fire. They sing the song of Moses and the Lamb as they stand upon that sparkling expanse of glory. The sea of glass upon which these victors stand, is the same as that brought to view in Revelation 4: 6, that is before the throne in heaven. As we have no evidence that it has yet changed its location, and the saints are seen upon it, we have here indubitable proof, in connection with Revelation 14:1-5, that the saints are taken to heaven to receive a part of their reward. Thus, as if the bright sun should burst through the midnight cloud, some scene is presented, or some promise given, to the humble followers of the Lamb, in every hour of temptation and trials, to assure and reassure them of God’s love and care for them, and of the certainty of their final reward. “Say you to the righteous,” wrote Isaiah of old, “that it shall be well with him;” but, “Woe unto the wicked! It shall be ill with him.” (Isaiah 3: 10, 11.)
The song the victors sing, the song of Moses and the Lamb, is given here in epitome: “Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are Your ways, You King of saints.” It is a song of infinite grandeur. How comprehensive in terms! How sublime in its theme! It appeals to the works of God that are a manifestation of His glory. With immortal vision the saints will be able to comprehend them as they cannot in the present state, even though astronomy reveals enough to fill all hearts with admiration. From our little world we pass out to our sun ninety-three million miles away; on to its nearest neighboring sun, twenty-five million million miles away; on to the great double polestar, from which it takes light four hundred years to reach our world; on past systems. Groups, constellations, till we reach the great star Rigel, in Orion, shining with the power of fifteen thousand suns like ours! What then must be the grand center around which these myriads of shining orbs revolve! Well may the song be sung, “Great and marvelous are Your works.” But the song covers another field also, the field of God’s providence and grace: “Just and true are Your ways, You King of saints.” All the dealings of God, with all His creatures, in the eyes of the redeemed; and the sight of all worlds, will be forever vindicated. After all our blindness, perplexities, and trials, we shall be able to exclaim at last in the exuberance of satisfied joy, “Just and true are Your ways, You King of saints,’
Top of Page 2.
Study # 2---Revelation 16: 1-21. Seven Plagues Devastate the Earth.
“And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, ‘Go your ways, and pour out the seven bowls, of the wrath of God, upon the earth.’ And the first went, and poured out his bowl upon the earth; and there fell a noxious and grievous sore upon the men that had the mark of the beast, and upon them that worshiped his likeness.” (Revelation 16: 1, 2.)
This chapter is a description of the seven bowls of the unmingled wrath of God, and the effects that follow as they pour the bowls upon the earth. Our first inquiries are, ‘What is the true position on these points? Are they symbolical, and mostly fulfilled in the past? Or are they literal, and all future?’
Time of the Plagues.---The description of the first plague clearly reveals at once the time when it shall fall upon the earth, for it is poured out upon those who have the mark of the beast, and who worship his likness---the very work against which the third angel warns us. This is conclusive proof that these judgments are not poured out until after the third angel closes his work, and that the class who hear his warning, and reject it, are the ones to receive the first drops from the overflowing bowls of God’s indignation. If these plagues are in the past, as some say, the likeness of the beast, the Roman Catholic Church, and his worship are in the past. If these are past, the Two-Horned beast, the United States of America, that makes a likeness, and all his work, are in the past. If these are past, then the third angel’s message, that warns us in reference to this work, is in the past; and if this is ages in the past, then the first and second messages that precede it were also ages in the past. Then the prophetic periods, on which the messages are based, especially the 2300 days/years, ended ages ago. If this is so, the seventy weeks of Daniel 9 are thrown wholly into the Jewish period, and the great proof of the Messiahship of The Christ is destroyed.
But it has been shown in remarks on Revelation 7, 13, 14, that the first and second messages have been given; the first since A.D. 1798; A.S. (After Sin.) 5767; the second since October 22, A.D. 1844; A.S. 5813; the third message is to be given in our time, April 8, A.D. 2024; A.S. 5993. All work, for the salvation of mankind, will close March 22, A.D 2031; A.S. 6000; that the Two-Horned beast, the United States of America, and Apostate Christianity, a third part of Babylon, have come upon the stage of action, and are preparing to do the work assigned them; and that, the formation of the likeness of the papal beast, and the enforcement of the worship there of, are just in the future; at the closing of the three angels work. Unless all these positions can be overthrown, the seven last plagues must also be assigned wholly to the future.
But there are other reasons for locating them in the future and not in the past.
Under the fifth plague, men blaspheme God because their sores, the same sores, of course, caused by the outpouring of the first plague. This shows that these plagues all fall upon one and the same generation of men, some being, no doubt, swept off by each one, yet some surviving through the terrible scenes of them all.
These plagues are the wine of God’s wrath, without mixture, threatened by the third angel. (Revelation 14: 10; 15: 1.) Such language cannot be applied to any judgments visited upon the earth while The Christ pleads with humanity, our fallen race. Therefore, we must locate them in the future, when probation shall have closed.
Another, and more definite testimony on the beginning and duration of these plagues are found in these words: “The temple was filled smoke from the glory of God, and from His power; and no one, man, or beast was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.” (Revelation 15: 8.) The temple here introduced is evidently that which is mentioned in Revelation 11: 19: “The temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in His temple the ark of the heavenly sanctuary. When the seven angels with the seven golden bowls receive their commission, the temple is filled with smoke from the glory of God, and no being can enter into the temple, or sanctuary, until the angels have fulfilled their work. There will therefore be no ministration in the sanctuary during this time. Consequently, these bowls are not poured out, until the close of the ministration, in the tabernacle above, March 22, A.D. 2031, A.S. 6000, and follow closely that event. The Christ is then no longer a mediator. Mercy, which has long stayed the hand of vengeance, pleads no more. The servants of God are all sealed. What could then be expected but that the storm of vengeance should fall, and earth be swept with the besom of destruction?
Since the time of these judgments place them in the near future, treasured up against the day of wrath, we proceed to inquire into their nature, and the result when the solemn and fearful mandate goes forth from the temple, to the seven angels, saying, “Go your ways, and pour out the bowls of the wrath of God upon the earth.” Here we are called to look into the “armory” of the Lord, and behold the “weapons of His indignation.” (Jeremiah 50: 25.) Here are brought forth the treasures of hail, which have been reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war. (Job 38: 22, 23.)
“The first went, and poured out his bowl upon the earth; and there fell a noxious and grievous sore upon men that had the mark of the beast, and upon them that worshiped his likeness.” (Revelation 15: 2.) (See also Zechariah 14: 12.)
The First Plague, March 21, A.D. 2035-March 27, A.D. 2036; A.S. 6004-A.S. 6005.---There is no apparent reason why this should not be regarded as strictly literal. These plagues are almost identical with those that God inflicted upon the Egyptians as He was about to deliver His people from the yoke of bondage, the reality of which is seldom, if ever, called in question. God is now about to reward His people with their final deliverance and redemption, and His judgments will be manifested in a manner no less literal and terrible. What the sore here threatened is, we are not informed. Perhaps it may be similar to the parallel plague that fell upon Egypt. (Exodus 9: 8-11.)
“And the second angel poured out his bowl upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: And every living soul/body died in the sea.” (Revelation 16: 3.”
The Second Plague, May 13, A.D. 2035-March 27, A.D. 2036; A.S. 6004-A.S. 6005.---A more infectious and deadly substance can scarcely be conceived of than the blood of a dead man; and the thought that the great bodies of water on the earth, that are doubtless meant by the term sea, will be changed to such a state under this plague, presents a fearful picture. We have here the remarkable fact that the term living soul is applied to irrational animals, the fish and living creatures of the sea. This is, we believe, the only instance of such an application in the Authorized Version. In the original languages, however, it occurs frequently, showing that the term as applied to man in the beginning (Genesis 2:7) cannot be taken as furnishing any evidence that he is endowed with an immaterial and immortal essence called the soul.
“And the third angel poured his bowl upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood. And I heard the angel of the waters say, ‘You are righteous, O Lord, which is, was and shall be, because You have judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and You have given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.’ And I heard another out of the altar say, “Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments.’ (Revelation 16: 4-7.)
The Third Plague, July 05, A.D. 2035-March 27, A.D. 2036; A.S. 6004-A.S. 6005.---Such is the description of the terrible retribution for the “blood of saints” shed by violent hands, visited upon those who have done, or wish to do, such deeds. Though the horrors of that hour when the fountains and rivers of water shall be like blood, cannot now be realized, the justice of God will stand vindicated, and His judgments approved. Even the angels are heard exclaiming, “You are righteous, O Lord, . . . because You have judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets. . . . Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments.”
It may be asked how the last generation of the wicked can be said to have shed the blood of saints and prophets during the Great Time of Trouble, March 22, A.D. 2031-March 27, A.D. 2036; A.S. 6000-A.S. 6005.
God says: “Behold, the day of the Lord comes, and your property shall be divided in the midst of you. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem (My people) to battle; and the city (My people) shall be taken, the houses robbed, the women ravished; and half of the city (people) shall go forth into captivity (die), and the remnant of the people shall not be cut off (live) from the city. Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when He fought in the days of battle.” (Zechariah 14: 1-3.) (March 21, A.D.2031-March 27, A.D. 2036; A.S. 6004-A.S. 2035.)
It appears that during the “Great Time of Trouble” of Daniel 12, 288,00 saints will have passed through the close of probation, many responding to the last call, “Come out of her My people.” And a 144,000 saints are killed, and their works do follow then. They also receive a very special Blessing from our Lord, and Savior. (March 22, A.D. 2031-March 27, A.D. 2036; A.S. 6004-A.S. 6005.
No generation ever formed a more determined purpose to devote the saints to indiscriminate slaughter than the present generation will, not far in the future. (See comments on Revelation 12: 17; 13: 15.) Today, in motive and purpose, they do shed the blood of the saints; Tomorrow, with civil authority, they will carry out their wicked intentions, and half the saints will be killed.
It would seem that none of humanity could long survive a continuance of a plague as terrible as this. It must, therefore, be limited in its duration, or scope, as was the similar one upon Egypt. (Exodus 7: 17-21, 25.)
“And the fourth angel poured out his bowl upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which has power over the plagues: And they repented not to give Him glory. (Revelation 16: 8, 9.)
The Fourth Plague, August 27, A.D. 2035-March 27, A.D.2036; A.S. 6004-A.S. 6005.---It is worthy of notice that every succeeding plague tends to augment the calamity of the previous ones and to heighten the anguish of the guilty suffers. We have now a noxious and grievous sore preying upon men, inflaming their blood, and pouring its feverish influence through their veins. In addition to this, they have only blood to allay their burning thirst. As if to crown all, power is given unto the sun, and it pours upon them a flood of fire, and they are scorched with great heat. Here, as the record runs, their woe first seeks utterance in fearful blasphemy.
“And the fifth angel poured out his bowl upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their evil.” (Revelation 16: 10, 11.)
The Fifth Plague, October 19, A.D. 2035-March 27, A.D. 2036; A.S. 6004-A.S. 6005.---An important fact is established by this testimony. The plagues do not at once destroy all their victims, for some who were at first smitten with sores, and are still living under the fifth bowl, are gnawing their tongues for pain. (The type of this bowl will be found in Exodus 10: 21-23.) The fifth plague is poured upon the seat of the beast, the Roman Catholic Church, the papacy. The seat of the beast is wherever the papal see is located, which has been thus far, and without doubt will continue to be, the city of Rome. “His kingdom” embraces all those who are ecclesiastical subjects of the pope, wherever they may be.
As those who place the plague in the past have the first five already wholly accomplished, we here pause a moment to inquire where in the past ages the judgments here threatened have been fulfilled. Can judgments so terrible be inflicted, and nobody known it? If not, where is the history of the fulfillment? When did a noxious and grievous sore fall upon a specific and extensive part of mankind? When did the sea become as the blood of a dead man, and every living soul/body die in it? When did the fountains and rivers become blood, and people have only blood to drink? When did the
sun so scorch men with fire as to extort from them curses, and blasphemy? When did the subjects of the beast gnaw their tongues for pain, and at the same time curse God on account of their sores? In these plagues, says Inspiration, is filled up the wrath of God, but if they can be fulfilled and no one know it, who shall henceforth consider His wrath so terrible a thing, or shrink from His judgments when they are threatened?
“And the sixth angel poured out his bowl upon the great river Euphrates; and the waters thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.” (Revelation 16: 12.)
The Sixth Plague, December 11, A.D. 2035-March 27, A.D. 2036; A.S. 6004-A.S.
6005.---What is the great River Euphrates, upon which this bowl is poured out? One view is that it is the literal River Euphrates in Asia. Another is that it is a symbol of the nations occupying the great valley, the territory through which that river flows. The latter opinion is preferable for many reasons.
It would be difficult to see what end would be gained by the drying up of the literal river, as that would not offer an obstruction at all serious to the progress of any advancing army. It should be noticed, that the drying up takes place to prepare the way of the heavenly King of kings, and Lord of lords, coming from the East, in heavenly clouds, with the entire heavenly hosts. (The antitype.) These are not regular military organizations, and not a promiscuous and unequipped crowd of men, women, and children, like the children of Israel at the Red Sea, or at the Jordan River. The Euphrates is only about 1,400 miles in length, about one third the size of the Mississippi. Without difficulty, Cyrus (The type.) (Isaiah 44: 28; 45: 1-7.) turned the whole river from its channel at his siege of Babylon. Notwithstanding, the numerous wars that have been carried on along its banks, and the mighty hosts that have crossed, and crossed again, its streams, has never yet had to be dried up, to let them pass.
It would be as necessary to dry up the River Tigris, as the Euphrates, for that is nearly as large as the latter. Its source is only fifteen miles from that of the Euphrates in the mountains of Armenia, and it runs nearly parallel with it and but a short distance from it throughout its whole course. Yet the prophecy says nothing of the Tigris.
The literal drying up of the rivers takes place under the fourth bowl, when power is given to the sun to scorch men with fire. Under this plague occur, beyond question, the scenes of drought and famine so graphically described by Joel, and as one result of these it is expressly stated that “the rivers of water are dried up.” (See Joel 1:14-20.) The Euphrates, as well as the Tigris, can hardly be an exception to this visitation of drought; hence not much would remain to be literally dried up under the sixth bowl.
These plagues, from the very nature of the case, must be manifestations of wrath and judgment upon men; but if the drying up of the literal Euphrates is all that is brought to view, this plague is not of such a nature, and turns out to be no serious affair, after all.
With these objections existing against considering the Euphrates a literal river, it must be understood figuratively as symbolizing the national powers, centralized in, and holding possession of the territory watered by that river, when it is dried up.
But it may be objected that while contending for the literality of the plagues, we nevertheless make one of them a symbol. We answer, No. A power is introduced, it is
true, under the sixth bowl, in its symbolic form, just as it is under the fifth, where we read of the seat of the beast, which is a well known symbol; or as we read again in the first plague of the mark of the beast, his image, and its worship, which are also symbols. All that is here insisted upon; is the literality of the judgments that result from each bowl, which are literal in this case as in all the others, though the organizations that suffer these judgments may be brought to view in their symbolic form.
The peoples of the nations of the Great Valley of the Euphrates river, Revelation 17: 12-18, the Muslim nations, are destroyed, December 07, A.D. 2035; A.S. 6004, and on, as they destroy the Babylonian Harlot, Apostate United States of America, Revelation 18; that the way of the heavenly King of kings, and Lord of lords; the entire heavenly host, might be prepared; and, they come from out of the east.
“And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the Dragon, out of the mouth of the Beast, and out of the mouth of the False Prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working signs, that go forth unto the kings of the earth, and the whole world, to gather them to “the Battle of that Great Day of God Almighty.” (Revelation 16: 13, 14.)
The Three Unclean Spirits, December A.D. 2035-March 27, A.D. 2036; A.S. 6004-A.S. 6005.---An event to be noticed under this plague is the issuing forth of the three unclean spirits to gather the nations to “the Battle of that Great Day of God Almighty.” The agency, now already abroad in the world, known as modern spiritualism, is in every way a fitting means to be employed in this work. But it may be asked how, a work that is already going on, can be designated by that expression, when the spirits are not introduced into the prophecy, until the pouring out of the sixth bowl, which is still future. We answer that, with this, As in many other movements, the agencies that Heaven designs to employ in the accomplishment of certain ends, go through process of preliminary preparation for the part that they are to act. Thus, before the spirits can have absolute authority over the race, as to gather them to battle against the King of kings and Lord of lords, the entire heavenly host, they must first win their way among the nations of the earth, and cause their teaching to be received as of divine authority, and their word as law. This work they are now doing, and when they shall have once gained full influence over the nations in question, what fitter instrument could be employed to gather them to so rash, so hopeless an enterprise?
To many it may seem incredible that the nations should be willing to engage in such an unequal warfare as to go up to battle against the Lord of hosts; but it is one province of these spirits of devils to deceive, for they go forth working miracles, and thereby deceive the kings of the earth, that they should believe a lie.
The source from which these three unclean spirits issue, denote that they come from the three great religious division of mankind, Paganism, Roman Catholicism, and Apostate Protestantism, and that they gather the civil authority of the nations to “the Battle of that Great Day of God Almighty.”
“Behold, I come as a thief. Happy is he that watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.” (Revelation 16: 15.)
But what is the force of the caution thrown out in verse 15? Probation has closed, and The Christ has left His work of mediation, before the plagues begin to fall. Is there danger of falling after that? We say No! for the wicked remain wicked, and the righteous remain righteous. The following text should be helpful in understanding this verse, for it is after the close of probation, and before our Lords second coming. (March 22, A.D. 2031-March 27, A.D. 2036; A.S. 6000-A.S. 6005.)
“So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all, as many as they found, both bad and good: And the wedding was provided with guests. And when the King came in to see the guests, He saw there a man, that did not have on, a wedding garment: And He said unto him, ‘Friend, how came you in here, not having on a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then said the King to the servants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into the outside;’ there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22: 10-14.)
It will be noticed that this warning is spoken in connection with the working of the spirits. The inference therefore is that it can be retroactive, applying from the time these spirits began to work, March, B.C.3969; Day 1, A.S. 0000, some six thousand years ago, and that, by a use of tenses sometimes occurring in the Greek language, the present tense is put for the past, as if it had read, “Blessed is he that has watched and kept his garments, as the shame and nakedness of all who have not done this, will at this time especially appear.”
“And they gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew, Har-Magedon.” (Revelation 16: 16.)
“He gathered them.” Who are the ones here spoken of as “gathered,” and what agency is to be used in gathering them? The word “them” refers to the kings of verse 14, it is certain that a no good agency, would be made use of, to gather them; and if the spirits are referred to by the word “he,” why is it in the singular number? According to an established law of Greek language, there is a every sound reason for translating verse 16, “They [the spirits] gather them [the kings] together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.” This interpretation is supported by other versions.
“They gathered them together into the place which is called in Hebrew Har-Magedon,” says the American Revised Version. “They did bring them together to the place that is called in Hebrew Armageddon,” reads Young’s Literal Translation of the Bible. Hence it is logical to conclude that the persons gathered are the minions of Satan, not the saints; that it is the work of the spirits, not The Christ; and that the place of assemblage is not in the New Jerusalem at the marriage supper of the Lamb.
The kings of the world are gathered against a spiritual Har-Magedon, Mount Megiddo, and Armageddon. Wherever, the citizens, the saints of the Kingdom are: Wherever the saints of Jerusalem are: Wherever the righteous are located in the world, is where the kings of the world will be assembling, and “the Battle of that Great Day of God Almighty,” is on.
“And the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, ‘It is done.’ And there were voices, thunders, and lightning; and there was a great earthquake; such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: And great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent (100 Lbs): And men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague was exceeding great.” (Revelation 16: 17-21.)
The Seventh Plague,---February 03, A.D. 2036-March 27, A.D. 2036; A.S. 6034-A.S. 6035.---Thus has Inspiration described the last plague that is to be inflicted in the present state of the earth upon those who are incorrigibly rebellious against God. Some of the plagues appear to be local in their application, but this one is poured out into the air. The atmosphere envelops the whole earth, and it follows that this plague will envelop equally the entire globe. It will be universal. The very air will be deadly.
The gathering of the nations has taken place under the sixth bowl, and the battle remains to be fought under the seventh. Here is brought to view the instrumentalities with which God will slay the wicked. At this time it may be said, “The Lord has opened His armory, and has brought forth the weapons of His indignation.” (Jeremiah 50; 25.)
The Scripture declares, “There were voices.” Above all will hear the voice of God. “The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, Har-Magedon, and utter His voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth shall shake; but the Lord will be the hope of His people, and the strength of the children of Israel,” (Joel 3: 16.) (See also Jeremiah 25: 30; Zechariah 14: 1-3; Hebrews 12: 26.) The voice of God will cause the great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth.
“Thunders, and lightning”---another allusion to the plagues of Egypt. (See Exodus 9: 23.) The great city is divided into three parts; that is, the three grand divisions of the false and apostate religions of the world (the great city), Paganism, Roman Catholicism, and Apostate Protestantism, are set apart, each to receive its appropriate doom. The cities of the nations fall down; universal desolation spreads over the earth; every island falls down, disappears, and the mountains fall down. Great Babylon, the wicked of the world: and thus great Babylon comes in remembrance before God.
“A great hail out of heaven, falling upon men,” is the last instrument used in the infliction of punishment upon the wicked---the bitter dregs of the seventh bowl. God has solemnly addressed the wicked, saying, “Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: And hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.” (Isaiah 28: 17; 30: 30.) The Lord asked Job if he has seen the treasures of the hail, which He has “reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war.” (Job 38: 22, 23.)
Every hailstone is said to be “about the weight of a talent.” According to various authorities, a talent, as a weight, can be about fifty-seven to about one hundred pounds avoirdupois. What could withstand the force of stones of such an enormous weight, falling from heaven? Mankind, at this time, will have no shelter. The cities have fallen
down in the mighty earthquake, the islands have fled away, fallen into the waters, and the mountains are not found, for they have fallen into the valleys. Again the wicked give vent to their woe in blasphemy, for the plague of hail is “exceeding great.” Imagine to yourself, however, the heavens suddenly frozen over, and as suddenly broken to a half a pound to a pound weight, and precipitated to the earth, and you are there.
Dear reader, can you imagine, who can depict, the consequences of that coming storm in which “every stone” will be from fifty to a hundred pounds in weight. As surely as God’s word is truth, He is thus soon to punish a guilty world. May it be ours, according to the promise, to have “sure dwellings” and “quite resting places” in that terrific hour. (Isaiah 32: 18, 19.)
The seven bowls of God’s wrath are poured out upon a corrupt generation. The wicked have drunk them to the dregs and sunk into the realm of death for a thousand years. Dear Reader, where do you wish to be found after this great work?
But what is the condition of the saints while the “overflowing scourge” is passing over? They are the special subjects of God’s protection, without whose notice not a sparrow falls to the ground. Many are the promises that come crowding in to afford them comfort, summarily contained in the beautiful and expressive language of the psalmist:
“I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress; my God; in Him will I trust. Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings shall you trust: His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flies by day; nor for the pestilence that walks in darkness; nor for the destruction that wastes at noonday. A thousand shall fall at your side, and ten thousand at you right hand; but it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because you have made the Lord, which is your refuge, even the Most High, your habitation; there shall no evil befall you, neither shall any plague come near your dwelling.” (Psalm 91: 2-10.)
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Study # 3---Revelation 17. A World Union of Church and State.
“And there came one of the seven angels, which had the seven bowls, and talked with me, saying unto me, ‘Come here; I will show unto you the judgment of the great harlot that sits upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed to false doctrines, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her false doctrines.’ So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: And I saw a woman sitting upon a scarlet beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was gilded in purple and scarlet colors, and decked with gold, precious stones, and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand, full of abominations and filthiness of her false doctrines: And upon her forehead was a name written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS, AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. (Revelation 17: 1-5.)
It is to be noted that Satan is the father of Paganism. Through her Satan has fathered a multitude of pagan religions. His most magnificent, and deceitful creation, papal Roman, Paganism, dressed in the garments of Christianity, rules the world as none of his creations have, or will. Apostate Christianity are the daughters of the Roman Catholic Church.
In Revelation 16: 19 we were informed that “great Babylon (Paganism, Roman Catholicism, and Apostate Christianity) came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath.” The prophet now takes up more particularly the subject of this great Babylon. In order to give a full presentation of it, the angel takes him back in time, to recount some of the facts of her history. It is generally believed, by Christianity, that this woman, this harlot, is a symbol of the Roman Catholic Church. Between Paganism, between papal Rome, apostate Christianity, and the kings of the earth, there has always been illicit connections to this day, and they will continue till the end of the world, as we know it. With the wine of her false doctrines, the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk.
Church and State.---This prophecy is more definite than others applicable to the Roman church in that it distinguishes between church and state. We here have the grear Babylon harlot, seated upon a scarlet beast, the civil powers of the world, by which she is upheld, and which she controls, and guides to her own ends, as a rider controls the animal upon which he is seated.
The vesture and decorations of this church, as brought to view in verse 4, are in striking harmony with the application made of this symbol. Purple and scarlet are the chief colors in the robes of pope and cardinals. Among the myriads of precious stones that adorn her services, according to eyewitnesses, silver is scarcely known, and gold itself is less noticeable than are costly gems. From the gold cup in her hand---symbol of purity of doctrine and profession, which should contain only that which is unadulterated and pure, or, only that which is in full accord with truth---there came forth only abominations, and the wine of her false doctrines, a fit symbol of her abominable doctrines, and still more, her abominable practices.
This woman is explicitly called great Babylon. Is the Roman Catholic Church, then, Babylon, to the exclusion of all other religious bodies?---No, she cannot be, from the fact that she is called the mother of harlots, as already noticed, which shows that there are other harlots, as already noticed, which shows that there are other independent religious organizations that constitute the apostate daughters, and are of the same “great” family.
“And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: And when I saw her, I wondered with great wonder. And the angel said unto me, ‘Why did you marvel? I will tell you the hidden truth of the woman, and of the beast that carries her, that has the seven heads and ten horns.’” (Revelation 17: 6, 7.)
A Cause of Wonder.---Why should John “wonder with great wonder,” as it reads in the original, when he saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints? Was persecution of the people of God any strange thing in his day? Had he not seen Rome launch its most fiery anathemas against the church, him being in banishment under its cruel power at the time he wrote? The secret of his wonder was this: All the persecution he had witnessed had been from pagan Rome, the open enemy of The Christ. It was not strange that pagans should persecute The Christ’s followers. But when he looked forward and saw a church, professedly Christian, persecuting the followers of the Lamb, and drunk with their blood, he could but wonder with amazement.
“‘The beast that you saw was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into doom: And they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. And here is the mind that has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sits. And are seven kings: Five are fallen, one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a short space. And the beast that was, is not, even he is the eight, and is of the seven, and goes into destruction.’” (Revelation 17: 8-11.)
Rome in Three Phases.---The beast of which the angel here speaks is the scarlet-colored beast. A wild beast, like the one thus introduced, is the symbol of an oppressive and persecuting power, when guided and directed by a religious entity. While the Roman power, as a nation, had a long, uninterrupted existence, it passed through three phases during which this symbol would not be applicable to it, and during which time the beast, in such prophecies as the present, might be said, not to be, or not to exist. Thus Rome, in its pagan form, was a persecuting power in its relation to the people of God, during which time, it constituted the beast that was. But when the empire was nominally converted to Christianity, there was a transition, from paganism to another phase of religion, falsely called Christian. During a brief period, while this transition was going on, it lost its ferocious and persecuting character, and then it could be said of the beast that it was not. A.D. 322-February, A.D. 538; A.S. 4291-A.S. 4507. As time passed, it developed into the papal Rome, the papacy, the Roman Catholic Church, and again assumed its bloodthirsty and oppressive character, February, A,D. 538-February, A.D. 1798; A.S. 4507-A.S. 5767.
The Seven Heads.---The seven heads are explained to be, first, seven mountains, and then, seven kings. The expression in verse 10, “and there are seven kings,” reads in the original, “and are seven kings.” This makes the sentence read: “The seven heads are seven mountains . . . and are seven kings,” thus identifying heads, mountains, and kings.
The angel says further, “five [kings] are fallen,” or passed away. Again he says, “one [king] is”---the sixth was then reigning. “The other is not yet come; and when he comes he must continue a short space.” Last of all, “the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven.”
From this account of the seven kings, we understand that when the one that had “not yet come” at the time of which John was writing, appears on the scene, he is called an seventh, and when he comes; he must continue a short space. The revived sixth head is really “of the seven,” in the sense that he absorbs and exercises the power of the seventh head. It is this one whose career we are interested in following. Of this one it is said that his destiny is to go “into perdition,” that is, to perish utterly. This repeats the affirmation made in verse 8 concerning “the beast,” on which the woman sat. We have shown that this beast symbolizes civil power, which, according to the narrative before us, also passes through seven phases representing also the leopard beast of Revelation 13, until an eighth appears and continues to the end; the sixth head revived. Since we have already shown that papal Rome grew out of, and succeeded pagan Rome, we must conclude that the eighth head, which was of the seven, revived sixth head, and ultimately exercised their power, represents the papacy, with all its mixture of so-called Christian doctrines with pagan superstitions and observances.
“And the ten horns which you saw are ten kings, that have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power, and strength, unto the beast. These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: For He is Lord of lords, and King of kings: And they that are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.” (Revelation 17: 12-14.)
The Ten Horns.---“These shall make war with the Lamb,” after probation closes, 22 March, A.D. 2031-27 March A.D. 2036; A.S. 6000-A.S. 6005. The ten horns always represent the nations of the world, be they few or many, and these horns represent the kingdoms of the earth, at the time of our Lord’s second coming. Here we are carried into the future, to the time of the great and final battle, for at this time the Lamb bears the title of King of kings, and Lord of lords: During the Great Time of Trouble: During the beast’s eighth head: During her time, by the nations of the world, giving themselves unanimously in their areas, for a time to the persecution of the saints of God, the people of the Lamb.
“And he said unto me, ‘The waters that you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues. And the ten horns that you saw upon the beast, these shall hate the harlot, and shall make her desolate, naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. For God has put in their hearts to fulfill His will, and to agree, and give their kingdoms, unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. And the woman that you saw is that great city, that reigns over the kings of the earth.’” (Revelation 17: 15-18.) 14.
Destiny of the Harlot.--- In verse 15 we have a plain definition of Scripture symbols of waters; they denote peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues. The angel told John, while calling his attention to this subject, that he would show him the judgment of the great harlot. In verse 16 that judgment is specified. This chapter is, if we are not mistaken, dealing with both the harlot mother, and her harlot daughter. The next chapter gives us some of the details of the encounter, and the results.
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Study # 4---Revelation 18. The Doom, The Destruction, of Babylon.
“And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power, and the earth was bright with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, ‘Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the power of her delicacies,” (Revelation 18: 1-3.)
Some movement of a mighty power is symbolized in these verses. (See comments on verse 4.) The consideration of a few facts will guide us unmistakably to the application. In Revelation 14 we had a message announcing the fall of Babylon. “Babylon” is a term that embraces not only Paganism and the Roman Catholic Church, but religious bodies that have withdrawn from that church, but bringing many of her errors, and traditions with them; Apostate Christianity.
A Total Spiritual Fall.---The fall of Babylon here spoken of cannot be literal destruction, for there are events to take place in Babylon after her fall which utterly forbid this idea. For instance, the people of God are there after her fall, and are called out in order that they may not receive of her plagues, that include her literal destruction. The fall is therefore a spiritual one, for the result of it is that Babylon becomes the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. These are terrible descriptions of apostasy, showing that, as a consequence of her fall, she piles up an accumulation of sins even to the heavens, and becomes subject to the judgments of God, which can be no longer delayed.
Since the fall here introduced is a spiritual one, it must apply to some branch of Babylon outside of the pagan and papal divisions; for from the beginning of their history, Paganism has been a false religion, and the Papal an apostate one. Further, as this fall is said to occur but a short period before Babylon’s final destruction, certainly this side of the rise, and predicted triumph, of the papal church, this testimony cannot apply to any religious organizations but such as have sprung from that church. These started out on reform. They ran well for a season, and had the approbation of God; but by bringing some of her erroneous doctrines with them, and fencing themselves about with creeds of their own, they have failed to keep pace with the advancing light of prophetic truths. This has left them, where they will finally develop a character as odious, in the sight of God, as that of the Roman Catholic Church, from which they withdrew.
Alexander Campbell, the founder of the Disciples of Christ Church, says: “A reformation of popery was attempted in Europe full three centuries ago. It ended in a Protestant hierarchy, and swarms of dissenters. Protestantism has been reformed into Presbyterianism, that into Congregationalism, and that into Baptistism, etc., etc. Methodism has attempted to reform all, but has reformed itself into forms of Wesleyism. . . . All of them retain in their bosom---in their ecclesiastical organizations, worship,
doctrines, and observances---the various relics of popery. They are at best a reformation of popery, and only reformations in part. The doctrines and traditions of men yet impair the power and progress of the gospel in their hands.”
Abundant testimony might be produced from persons in high standing in these various denominations, written, not for the purpose of being captious and finding fault, but from a vivid sense of the fearful condition to which these churches have fallen. The term Babylon, as applied to them, is not a term of reproach, but is simply expressive of the confusion and diversity of sentiment that exists among them. Babylon need not have fallen. She might have been healed, (Jeremiah 51: 9), by receiving the truth, but she would not, she rejected it.
In not accepting the truth of the second coming of The Christ, and in so doing, rejecting the first angel’s message, from A.D. 1798; A.S. (After Sin) 5767, the churches failed to walk in the advanced light shining on their pathway from the throne of God. As a result, confusion and dissension reign within their borders. Worldliness and pride has fast choked out every plant of heavenly growth.
But in this chapter we have the fall of Babylon mentioned again. In the previous reference it followed the sounding of the first angel’s message, and the divine declaration then was, “There followed another angel, saying, ‘Babylon is fallen, is fallen.’” Now, the later pronouncement from heaven is, “He cried mightily, with a strong voice, saying, ‘Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils.’” Here is a further step in the development of apostasy, and the next few studies will reveal the extent of this final phase of the fall of spiritual Babylon.
Time of This Fall.---At what time do these verses have their application? When may this movement be looked for? If the position here taken is correct, that these churches, Apostate Christianity, the third part of Great Babylon, experienced a spiritual falling by the rejection of the first angel’s message of Revelation 14, the announcement in the chapter now under consideration, could not have been gone forth previous to that time. It is, then, either simultaneous with the message of the fall of Babylon, in Revelation 14, or it is given at a later period than that. It cannot be at the same time with the first message, for it merely announces the falling of Babylon. While this message adds several particulars, which were, at that time, neither fulfilled nor in process of fulfillment. We are therefore to look, this side of A.D. 1798; A.S. 5767, when the previous message went forth; this side of A.D. 1844; A.S. 5813, for the announcement brought to view in this chapter. We therefore inquire, Has any such message been given from that time to the present? The answer is, Yes, for we are now hearing the three angels messages, which are the last to be given before the close of probation, March 22, A.D. 2031; A.S. 6000, and the second coming of the Son of man, March 27, A.D. 2036; A.S. 6005. The third angel’s message will be preached with the power of the Holy Spirit, as Sabbath Reform, added to the three angels messages, April 8, A.D. 2024-A.D 2031; A.S. 5993-A.S. 6000. During this time, there is a coalition between Apostate Christianity and the papal Rome. As a turning aside, from the word of God, has increased in the religious world, the three angels messages are augmented by the warning of Revelation 18: 1-4, which thus constitutes a feature of the three angels messages, that are now being proclaimed.
The Work of Spiritualism.---The last phase, of the work of the spirits brought to view
in verse 2, is in its last phase, by the work of Spiritualism. What are called in Revelation 16: 14, “spirits of devils, working miracles,” are secretly, but rapidly, working their way into Apostate Christianity. Their creeds have been formulated, under the influence of the wine (errors) of Babylon, one of which is, that the spirits of our dead families and friends, are conscious, intelligent, and active, all around us.
A significant feature, in the work of Spiritualism, is the religious garment it has assumed. Keeping in the background its grosser principles, which it has heretofore, carried so largely in the front, it now assumes to appear as respectably religious as any other denomination in the world. It talks of sin, repentance, the atonement, salvation through The Christ, in almost as orthodox a language, as do the saints of God. Under the guise of this profession, what is to hinder it from entrenching itself in every denomination in Christendom? We have shown that the basis of spiritualism, immortality of the soul, is a fundamental dogma, in the creeds of almost all denominations. What, then, can save Christendom from its seductive power and influence?
Herein is seen another sad result of rejecting the truths offered to the world by the message of Revelation 14. Had the churches received these messages, they would have been shielded against this delusion; for among the great truths, developed by the religious movement, during the time of the great awakening, is the important doctrine that the soul/body of man, any air breathing creature, is not, in this life, naturally immortal; that eternal life is the gift of God, Jesus, The Christ, and can be obtained only through Him; that the dead are unconscious; and that the rewards and punishments of this world lie beyond the close of probation, March 22, A.D. 2031; A.S. 6000.
The reward of the saints of God is the first resurrection; the being ‘caught up’ of all the saints, at the second coming of our Lord, with the entire heavenly hosts, March 27, A.D. 2036; A.S. 6005, and returning to the heavenly New Jerusalem, for a thousand years.
The last wicked of humanity die at the second coming, and lay, unconscious, in their graves, and upon the surface of the earth, for a thousand years, a judgment of “guilty” March 27, A.S. 2036-March, A.D. 3031; A.S. 6005-A.S. 7000. At the end of that time all the wicked will be resurrected, at the second resurrection, for a short period of time. And fire comes down from God, out of heaven, and destroys them, the “judgment of execution,” March, A.D. 3036; A.S. 7005. And sin and time are no more. Praise God.
These truths strike a deathblow to the first and vital claim of spiritualism. What foothold can this doctrine secure, in any mind fortified by such truth? The spirit comes; claims to be the disembodied soul/spirit, of a dead person. It is met with the fact that that is not the kind of soul, or spirit, which any air breathing creature is; that the “dead know not anything;” that this, its first pretension, is a lie, and that the credentials it offers, show it to belong to the synagogue of Satan. Thus it is at once rejected, and the evil it would do is effectually prevented. But the great masses of religionist stand opposed to the truth that would thus shield them, and they would not, will not, and thereby expose themselves to this last manifestation of satanic cunning.
Ecclesiastical Liberalism.---While spiritualism is thus working, startling changes are manifesting themselves in high places in some of the denominations. The infidelity of the present age, under the seductive names of “science,” “higher criticism,” “evolution,” and “modern liberalism,” has permeated most of the theological collages of the land, and
to a large extent have made serious incursions into the churches of Christianity.
Public attention is forcibly called, to this situation, by a writer, Mr. Harold Bolce, in the Cosmopolitan Magazine for May, A.D.1909; A.S. 5878. After making an investigation into the character of the teaching that was being imparted in some of the leading universities of this country, he reported the results in the Cosmopolitan, which drew forth this comment from the editor:
“What Mr. Bolce sets down here is of the most astounding character. Out of the curricula of American Colleges, a dynamic movement is up heaving ancient foundations, and promising a way for revolutionary thought and life. Those who are not in close touch with the great colleges of the country will be astonished to learn the creeds being fostered by the faculties of our great universities. In hundreds of classrooms it is being taught daily that the Decalogue is no more sacred than a syllabus; that the home as an institution is doomed; that there are no absolute evils; that immorality is simply an act in contravention of society’s accepted standards. . . . These are some of the revolutionary and sensational teachings submitted with academic warrant to the minds of hundreds of thousands of students in the United States.”
Today, a century later, the results of ecclesiastical liberalism is all too apparent in the works, doctrines, and characters of Apostate Christianity. She has a form of Godliness, but lacks the power of the Holy Spirit, for she does not “do” the Commandments of God, or “believe” His Word. (2nd Timothy 3; 5.)
Because of the apostate condition of Christianity, she is weak, uncertain as to her purpose, lifeless, characterized by a “deadly” respectability, and lacking a sense of mission; she lacks the power of the Holy Spirit. The average congregation is primarily concerned with raising enough money to pay the pastor, and keep the property in good repair. There is little, if any, deep seated conviction any longer that ‘we have a story to tell to the nations.’ The “Gospel of Salvation,” and evangelism, as respects the whole world, has been diluted into a satisfactory, and responsible ethic, and the “church” is a society of good people, who want the blessings of religion, to attend them during their moments of exaltation or grief, but are quite content to absent themselves, from the church and its divine mission, so long as they can clothe themselves in the aura of respectability, which is attached to church membership. Is this too caustic an indictment of Apostate Christianity?
The Results of Apostasy.---Apostate Christianity, a third of Great Babylon, under the leadership of ungodly men, who, wearing the robe of Christianity, are fast filling her pulpits, and she will become, she is now full of spirits that are foul, and birds that are hateful and unclean, as she forms a coalition with the Roman Catholic Church, April 8, A.D. 2024; A.S. 5993. How few stand aghast at the fearful contrast between the Church of ancient times, and the apostate Christianity of today? How many deplore the sad degeneracy? But heaven is not to let this pass in silence. A mighty proclamation was sent forth some two hundred years ago, has been proclaimed to the generations since that time, and to the close of probation, March 22, A.D. 2024; A.S. 6000. The proclamation, calls the attention of the world, to the fearful counts in the indictment against Apostate Christianity, so that the justice of the judgments may plainly appear. Her destiny is set, and we wait the consummation.
Verse 3 shows the wide extent of the influence of Great Babylon, and the evil that
continues to result from her course of action; hence the justness of her punishment. The religious and secular merchants of the earth are made rich through the power of her strength. Who take the lead in all the extravagances of the age? Who loads their tables with the richest and choicest viands? Who are foremost in extravagance in dress and all costly attire? Who are the personification of pride and arrogance? Are not church members in the very forefront of those who seek after material and prideful things of life?
But there is a redeeming feature in this picture. Degenerate as Babylon has become as a body, there are exceptions to the general rule: for God has still has a people there, and she must be entitled to some regard on their account until all who will answer are called from her communion. Nor will it be necessary to wait long for this consummation. Soon Babylon will become so thoroughly leavened with the influence of these evil agents that her condition will be fully manifest to all the honest in heart, and they will be prepared for the work that the apostle now introduces.
“And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, ‘Come out of her, My people, that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. Reward her, even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double, according to her works: In the cup that she has filled, fill to her double. How much she has glorified herself, and lived as she liked, so much torment and sorrow give her: For she says in her heart, I sit a Queen, and am no longer destitute of power, as I have been, and shall see no sorrow.’” (Revelation 18: 4-7.)
The voice coming from heaven denotes that it is a message of power attended with heavenly glory. How marked becomes the interposition of heaven, and how the agents for the accomplishment of God’s work multiply, as the great crisis approaches!! This voice from heaven is called “another” voice, showing that a new agency is here introduced. We now have five celestial messengers expressly mentioned as engaged in this last religious reformation. These are the first, second, and third angels of Revelation 14; a fourth, the angel of verse one of this chapter; and fifth, the agency indicated by the “voice” of verse 4, now before us. Two of these are already in operation. The third, fourth, and fifth, will join them in April 08, A.D. 2024; A.S. 5993. The first and second have not ceased, and when all five join, they will preach a five fold message, a strong Ten Commandment message, a strong Sabbath reformation message, till the close of probation, March 22, A.D. 2031; A.S. 6000. The angel of verse 1 here enters upon his mission, as conditions call for his work. The divine call for the Saints of heaven, to come out of Babylon, takes place in connection with his work.
“Come Out of Her, My People.”---Proof has already been offered to show that the third angels message of chapter 14, and the message of verse 1 and 2, of this chapter, will be given in connection with, the now current, two fold message, April 08, A.D. 2024; A.S. 5993. An idea of its extent and power may be gathered from the description of the angel there given. The first angel’s message is said to go with a “loud voice.” The same is also said of the second, and third messages, but this, the fourth angel, instead of simply flying “in the midst of heaven” like the others, is said to “come down from heaven.” He comes with a message more pointed and direct. He has “great power,” and the earth is
“brightened with his glory.” No such description, of a messenger from heaven, sent to humanity, is elsewhere to be found in all the Scripture. This is the last, and as is meet, it comes with surpassing glory and unwonted (rare/unusual) power. It is an awful hour when a world’s destiny is to be decided---a most solemn crisis when an entire contemporaneous generation of the human family is to pass the bounds of probation, as the last note of mercy is sounded.
In such a time, the world must not be left without warning. So amply must the great facts be heralded that none can plead a reasonable ignorance of the impending doom. Every excuse must be taken away. The justice and longsuffering and forbearance of God in delaying threatened vengeance until all have had an opportunity to receive a knowledge of His will, a tine to repent, must be vindicated. This angel is sent forth panoplied, sent forth with a full suit of heavenly armor, heavenly power. The light that encircles the heavenly throne enshrouds him. He comes to the earth. None but the spiritually dead--, “twice dead, and plucked up by the roots”---would fail to realize his presence. Light flashes everywhere. The dark places are lighted up. While his presence dispels the shadows, his voice in thunderous tones uttering a warning. He cries “mightily.” It is no parlor announcement, but a cry, a mighty cry, a cry with a strong voice.
The fatal defects in the profession of a worldly church are again pointed out. Their errors are once again, and for the last time, exposed. The inadequacy of the present standard of godliness to meet the final crisis is emphasized beyond all mistaking. The inevitable connection between their cherished errors and everlasting and irretrievable destruction is heralded until the earth resounds with the cry. Meanwhile, great Babylon’s sins mount up to the heavens, and the remembrance of her iniquities come up before God. The storm of vengeance gathers. Soon it will burst upon the great city of confusion, and proud Babylon will go down as a millstone sinks into the depths of the sea.
Suddenly another voice ring out from heaven, “Come out of her, My people!!” The humble, sincere, devoted children of God, of whom there are some still left, and who sigh and cry over the abominations done in the land, heed the voice, wash their hands of her sins, separate from her communion, escape, and are saved, while Babylon becomes the victim of the just judgments of God. These are stirring times for the church. Let us be ready for the crisis.
The fact that God’s people are called out so as not to be partakers of her sins, shows that it is not until a certain time that people become guilty by being connected with Babylon. Close of probation, March 27, A.D. 2031; A.S. 6000.
Verses 6 and 7 are a prophetic declaration that she will be rewarded, punished, according to her works. Bear in mind that this testimony applies to that part of Babylon that is subject to a spiritual fall. It applies to the “daughters,” the apostate denominations of Christianity, who persist in clinging to the personal traits of the “mother,” the Roman Catholic Church, and Paganism, continue keeping up the family resemblance. Mother and daughters will merge near the end of probation, and form a likeness of Catholicism, because of the Sabbath Reform being preached mightily, in the United States of America, and the whole world. April 08, A.D. 2024-March 22, A.D. 2031; A.S. 5993-A.S. 6000. These will attempt a sweeping persecution against the truth, and the people of God. The
daughters have a new experience---the use of the civil arm to enforce their dogmas.
It is doubtless this first intoxication of power that leads apostate Christianity to cherish in her heart the boast, “I sit a Queen, and am no longer destitute of power, as I had been and shall see no sorrow.” With blasphemy she boasts, “God is in the Constitution, the church is enthroned, and will henceforth bear sway.” The expression, “Reward her even as she rewarded you,” shows that the time for this message to reach its climax, and for the saints to be called out, will be when she has a likeness of her mother, and with her mother, have civil authority to enforce their dogma, and they begin to raise, against the saints, the arm of oppression. As she fills up the cup of persecution to the saints, so the angel of the Lord will persecute her. (Psalm 35: 6.) Judgments from on high will bring upon her in a twofold degree (“double unto her double”), the evil that she thought to bring upon the humble servants of the Lord.
“Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: For mighty is the Lord God who judges her.” (Revelation 18: 8.)
The “one day” in which Babylon’s plagues come, as mentioned in verse 8, is not the seven last plagues poured upon the whole world, of which she is a part, and receives her part, but a literal day, in the which, the nations of the great Euphrates valley, and the United States of America, exchange nuclear devices. The exchange totally destroys the infrastructures of both, the antitype. December, A.D. 2035; A.S. 6004. Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, W.W. II, the type. See comments on Revelation 17: 12-18.
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Study # 5---Revelation 18: 9-24. A Fitting Retribution.
“And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication, and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, standing afar off for fear of her torment, saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour is your judgment come.’ And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buys their merchandise any more.” (Revelation 18: 9-11.)
It is noted that the world has gone through five of the seven last plagues at this time. The nuclear attacks, between Islam, and Apostate America, is the sixth plague.
The infliction of this nuclear attack, upon Apostate United States of America, results in a complete collapse of her infrastructure, and suspension of all traffic in those articles of luxury, for which Babylon is noted. When the merchants of these things, who are, to a great extent, citizens of the “great symbolic city”, and who have been made rich by their traffic in these things, suddenly find themselves, and their neighbors, with their traffic suspended, and vast stores of merchandise on hand, but none to buy them, they lift up their voices in lamentation for the fate of this great city. If there is anything that will draw from the men of this generation a sincere cry of distress, it is that which touches their treasures. There is fitness in this retribution. They who, but a short time before, had issued a decree that the saints of God should neither buy nor sell, now find themselves under the same restrictions, in a far more effectual way. And the merchants of the world do stand afar off.
“The goods of gold, silver, precious stones, pearls, fine linen, purple, scarlet, all scented wood, all manner of silver vessels, all manner of precious wood vessels, of brass, iron, marble, cinnamon, odors, ointments, frankincense, wine, oil, fine flour, wheat, beasts, sheep, horses, chariots, slaves, and souls of men.” (Revelation 18: 12, 13.)
Babylon’s Merchandise.---In these verses we have an enumeration of great Babylon’s merchandise, which includes everything pertaining to luxurious living, pomp, and worldly living. All kinds of mercantile traffic are brought to view. The declaration concerning “slaves and souls of men” pertain more particularly to the spiritual domain, and have reference to slavery of conscience by creeds of their bodies, which in some cases is more oppressive than physical bondage.
“And the good things that your body/soul desired after are departed from you, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from you, and you shall find them no more at all.” (Revelation 18: 14.)
Gluttony Rebuked.---The fruits, the good things, here mentioned are, according to the original, “autumnal fruits.” In this we find a prophecy that the “delicacies of the season,”
upon which the gourmand so sets his pampered tastes, will be suddenly cut off. This, of course, is the famine, which is the work of the fourth bowl. (Revelation 16: 8.)
“The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, and saying ‘Alas that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, purple, scarlet, decked with gold, precious stones, and pearls! For in one hour so great riches is come to naught.’ And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, and cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, ‘What city is like unto this great city!” And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying. ‘Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! For in one hour is she made a ruin.’” (Revelation 18: 15-19.)
The Emotions of the Wicked.---The reader can readily imagine the cause of this universal voice of mourning, lamentation, and woe. Imagine the plagues of sores preying upon men, the oceans like the blood of a dead man, the rivers turned to blood, the sun scorching men with fire, the traders’ traffic gone, and their silver and gold unable to deliver them, and we need not wonder their exclamations of distress, nor that shipmasters and sailors join in the general wail. Very different is the emotion of the saints, as the following testimony shows:
“Rejoice over her, you heaven, and you holy apostles and preachers; for God has avenged you on her. And the mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, ‘Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all. And the voice of harpers, musicians, pipers, and trumpets shall be heard no more at all in you; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in you; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in you; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in you: For your merchants were the great men of the earth; for by your sorceries were all nations deceived. And in her was found the blood of prophets, saints, and all that were slain upon the earth.” (Revelation 18: 20-24.)
The Emotions of the Righteous.---The apostles and prophets are here called upon to rejoice over great Babylon in her destruction, as it is in close connection with this destruction that they will be delivered from the power of death and the grave by the first resurrection.
Like a great millstone dropped into the sea, Babylon sinks to rise no more. The various arts and crafts that have been employed in her midst, and have ministered to her desires, shall be practiced no more. The pompous music that has been heard in her imposing, but formal, and lifeless, services, dies away forever. The scenes of festivity and gladness, when the bridegroom and the bride have been led before her altars, shall be witnessed no more.
Her sorceries constitute her leading crime, and her sorceries are the practices that are involved in her spiritualism of today. “In her was found the blood” of “all that were slain
upon the earth.” From this it is evident that ever since the introduction of a false religion into the world, B.C. 2968; Day 1, A.S. 0000, Babylon has existed. In her has been found, all along, opposition to the work of God, and persecution of His people. In reference to the guilt of the last generation, see comments on Revelation 16: 6.
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Study # 6---Revelation 19. KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
“And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, ‘Hallelujah; Salvation, glory, honor, and power, unto the Lord our God: For true and righteous are His judgments; for He has judged the great harlot, that did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and had avenged the blood of His servants at her hand.’ And again they said, ‘Hallelujah.’ And her smoke rose up forever and ever.” (Revelation 19: 1-3.)
Continuing the subject of Revelation 18, the apostle here introduces the song of the triumph that the redeemed saints strike up on their harps when they behold the complete destruction of the system of great Babylon, which is in opposition to God and His true worship. This destruction takes place and this song is sung in connection with the second coming of The Christ at the beginning of the thousand years, March 27, A.D. 2036; Nissan 1, A.S. (After Sin) 6005.
Forever and Ever.--- There can but one query arise on this scripture: How can it be said that her smoke rose up forever and ever? Does not this language imply eternity of suffering? Let it be remembered that this expression is taken from the Old Testament, and to gain a correct understanding of it, we must go back to its first introduction, and consider its import as there used. In Isaiah 34 will be found the language from which, in all probability, such expressions as these are drawn. Under the figure of Idumea, a certain destruction is brought to view. It is said of that land that its streams should be turned into pitch, its dust into brimstone, that it should become burning pitch, and not be quenched night nor day, but that its smoke should go up forever. This language is spoken, as all must concede, of one of two things, either of the particular country called Idumea, or of the whole earth under that name. In either case it is evident that this phrase, “forever and ever,” must be limited in its application. Probably the whole earth is meant, from the fact that the chapter opens with an address to the earth “and all that is therein; the world, and all that come forth from it;” and “the indignation of the Lord” is declared to be upon all nations.
This refers to the depopulation and desolation of the earth at the great time of trouble, and the second coming, at the beginning of the thousand years, and the expression is limited; for after the thousand years, Satan, sin, and the wicked are destroyed; then a renovated earth comes forth, from the hand of God, to be the abode of the nations of the redeemed throughout eternity. Three time in the Scriptures smoke is spoken of as going up forever: Once here in Isaiah 34, of the land of Idumea as a figure of the earth; in Revelation 14 (which see), of the worshipers of the beast and his image; and again in the chapter we are now considering, in regard to the destruction of great Babylon. All these apply to the same time, and describe the same scenes, namely, the destruction visited upon this earth, the worshipers of the beast, and all the pomp of great Babylon, at the second coming of our Lord and Savior.
“And the twenty-four elders, and the four living creatures, fell down and worshiped
God that sat on the throne, saying, ‘A-men; Hallelujah.’ And a voice came out of the throne saying, ‘Praise our God, all you His servants, and you that fear Him, both small and great.’ And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thundering, saying, ‘Hallelujah: For the Lord God all-powerful reigns. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him: For the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife has made herself ready.’ And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: For the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” (Revelation 19: 4-8.)
A Song of Triumph.---“The Lord God all-powerful reigns,” is the language of this song. He reigns at the present time, and has ever reigned in reality, though sentence against an evil work has not been executed speedily. Now He reigns by the open manifestation of His power in the subjugation of all His foes.
“Rejoice, . . . for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife has made herself ready.” Who is “the bride, the Lamb’s wife,” and what is the marriage? The Lamb’s wife is the New Jerusalem which is above. This will be noticed more fully in Revelation 21. The marriage of the Lamb is His reception of this city. When He receives this city, He receives it as the glory and metropolis of His kingdom; hence with it He receives His kingdom, and the throne of His father David. This may well be the event designated by the marriage of the Lamb.
That the marriage relation is often taken to illustrate the union between The Christ and His people, is granted, but the marriage of the Lamb here spoken of is a definite event to take place at a definite time. If the declaration that The Christ is the head of the church as the husband is the head of the wife (Ephesians 5: 23), proves that the church is now the Lamb’s wife, then the marriage of the Lamb took place long ago. But that cannot be, according to this scripture, which locates it in the future. Paul told his Corinthian converts that he had espoused them to one husband, even The Christ. This is true of all converts. But while this figure is used to denote the relation that they then assumed to The Christ, was it a fact that the marriage of the Lamb took place in Corinth in Paul’s day, and that it has been going on for the past two thousand years? Further remarks on this point are deferred to a consideration of Revelation 21.
But if the city is the bride, it may be asked how it can be said that she has made herself ready. We answer, By the figure of personification, which attributes life and action to inanimate objects. (See a notable example in Psalm 114.) Again, the query may arise on verse 8 how a city can be arrayed in the righteousness of the saints, but if we consider that a city without inhabitants would be but a dreary and cheerless place, we see at once how this is. Reference is had to the countless number of its glorified inhabitants in their shining apparel. The raiment was granted to her. What is granted to her? Isaiah 54 and Galatians 4: 21-31 will explain. To the new-covenant city are granted many more children than to the old. These are her glory and rejoicing. The goodly apparel of this city, so to speak, consists of the hosts of the redeemed and immortal ones who walk its golden streets.
“And he said unto me, ‘Write, Blessed are they that are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.’ And he said unto me, ‘These are the true sayings of God.’ And I fell at his
feet to worship him. And he said unto me, ‘See you do it not: I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: Worship God: For the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy.’”
The Marriage Supper.---Many are the allusions to this marriage supper in the New Testament. It is referred to in the parable of the marriage of the king’s son (Matthew 22: 1-14), and again in Luke 14: 16-24. It is the time when we shall eat bread in the kingdom of God when we are recompensed at the resurrection of the just. (Luke 14: 12-15.) It is the time when we shall drink of the fruit of the vine with our Redeemer in His heavenly kingdom. (Matthew 26: 29; Mark 14: 25; Luke 22: 18.) It is the time when we shall sit at His table in the kingdom (Luke 22: 30), and He will gird Himself, and come forth and serve us (Luke 12: 37). Blessed indeed are they who have the privilege of partaking of this glorious feast.
John’s Fellow Servant.---A word on verse 10, in reference to those who think they find here an argument for consciousness in death. The mistake that such persons make on this scripture is in supposing that the angel declares to John that he is one of the old prophets come back to communicate with him. The person employed in giving the Revelation to John is called an angel, and angels are not the departed spirits of the dead. Whoever takes the position that they are, is to all intents a spiritualist, for this is the very foundation stone of their theory. But the angel says no such thing. He simply says that he is the fellow servant of John, as he had been the fellow servant of his brethren the prophets. The term “fellow servant” implies that they were all on a common footing as servants of the great God; hence he was not a proper object for John to worship. Calling the prophets “your brethren,” signifies that they all belong to the same class in the service of God. (See comment on Revelation 1: 1, “His Angel.”)
“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He does judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written, that no man knew, except He Himself. And He was clothed with a garment dipped in blood: And His name is called The Word of God. And the armies that were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of His mouth goes forth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: And He shall rule them with a rod of iron: And he treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe, and on His thigh a name written, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, ‘Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; that you may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.’ And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him that sat on the horse, and against His army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshiped his likeness. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of Him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of
His mouth: And all the birds were filled with their flesh.” (Revelation 19: 11-21.)
The Christ’s Second Coming.---With verse 11 a new scene is introduced. We are here carried back to the second coming of The Christ, this time under the symbol of a warrior riding forth to battle. Why is He represented thus?---Because He is going forth to war, to meet “the kings of the earth and their armies,” and this would be the only proper character in which to represent Him on such a mission. His garment is dipped in blood. (See a description of the same scene in Isaiah 63: 1-4.) The armies of heaven, the angels, follow Him. Verse 15 shows how He rules the nations with a rod of iron when they are given Him for an inheritance, as recorded in the second Psalm, (which popular theology interprets to mean the conversion of the whole world.)
But would not such an expression as “treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God,” be a very singular description of a work of grace upon the hearts of the heathen for their conversion? The great and final display of the “winepress of God’s wrath,” and also of “the lake of fire,” occurs at the end of the thousand years, as described in Revelation 20; and to that it would seem that the full and formal description of Revelation 14: 18-20 must apply. But the destruction of the living wicked at the second coming of The Christ, at the beginning of the thousand years, furnishes a scene on a smaller scale, similar in both these respects to what takes place at the close of that period. Hence in the verses before us we have this mention of both the winepress of wrath, and the lake of fire.
The Christ has at this time (March 22, A.D. 2031; A.S. 6000.) closed His mediatorial work, and laid off His priestly robes for kingly attire; for He has on His garment, and on His thigh a name written, King of Kings and Lord of Lords. This is in harmony with the character in which He here appears, for it was the custom of warriors anciently to have some kind of title upon their garments. (Verse 16.)
What is to be understood by the angel standing in the sun? In Revelation 16: 17 we read of the seventh bowl being poured out into the air, from which it was inferred that as the air envelops the whole earth, that plague would be universal. May not the same principle of interpretation apply here, and show that the angel standing in the sun, and issuing his call from there to the birds of heaven to come to the supper of the great God, denotes that this proclamation will go wherever the sun’s rays fall upon the earth? The birds will be obedient to the call, and fill themselves with the flesh of horses, kings, captains, and men. Thus, while the saints are partaking of the marriage supper of the Lamb, the wicked, in their own persons, furnish a great supper for the birds of the heavens.
The beast, papal Rome, and the false prophet, apostate Christianity, are taken. The false prophet is the one that works miracles before the beast and is identical with the two-horned beast, the United States of America, of Revelation 13, to whom the same work, for the same purpose, is there attributed. The fact that these are cast alive into the lake of fire, shows that these powers will not pass away and be succeeded by others, but will be living powers at the second coming of The Christ, March 27, A.D. 2036; A.S. 6005.
The papacy has long been in the field, and has come to the closing scenes in its career. Its overthrow is emphatically predicted in other prophecies than the one now before us, notably in Daniel 7: 11, in which the prophet says that he beheld until the beast was slain,
and his body destroyed and given to the burning flame. This power is very near the close
of its existence, but does not perish until The Christ appears, for it then goes alive into the lake of fire.
The other power associated with it, the two-horned beast, we see fast approaching the climax of the work it has to do before it also goes alive into the lake of fire. How impressive is the thought that we see before us two great prophetic agencies that are, by all the evidences, near the close of their history, which are not yet to cease until the Lord shall appear in all His glory.
It appears from verse 21 that there is a remnant, a third part not numbered with the beast, or the false prophet. These, paganism, are slain by the sword of Him that sits upon the white horse, which sword proceeds out of His mouth. This sword is doubtless what is spoken of elsewhere as “the Spirit of His mouth” and “the Breath of His lips,” with which the Lord shall slay the wicked at His appearing, and kingdom. (2nd Thessalonians 2: 8; Isaiah 11: 4.)
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Study # 7---Revelation 20. THE WORLD’S MILLENNIAL NIGHT
“And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit, and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and chained him, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: And after that he must be released a little while.” (Revelation 20: 1-3.)
The event with which this chapter opens follows the events of the preceding chapter in chronological order. The inquiries that here arise are, Who is the angel that comes down from heaven? What are the key and the chain that he has in his hand? What is the bottomless pit? What is meant by, the binding of Satan, for a thousand years?
Is this angel The Christ as some suppose? Evidently not. A bright ray of light is thrown from the old typical service directly upon this passage.
Satan is the Scapegoat.---The Christ is the great High Priest of the gospel age. On the ancient Day of Atonement, two goats were taken by the priest, and lots were cast upon them, one for the Lord, and the other for the scapegoat. The goat upon which the Lord’s lot fell, was then slain, and his blood carried into the sanctuary to make an atonement for the children of Israel. After this the sins of the people were confessed upon the head of the other, the scapegoat, and he was sent away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness, a place not inhabited. As The Christ is the priest of the gospel age, a few arguments will show Satan to be the antitypical scapegoat.
The Hebrew word for scapegoat, as given in the margin of Leviticus 16: 8, is “Azazel.” On this verse, William Jenks remarks: “Scapegoat. See diff. opin. in Bochart. Spencer, after the oldest opinions of the Hebrews and Christians, thinks Azazel is the name of the devil; and so Rosenm., whom see. The Syr. has Azzail, the ‘angel (strong one) who revolted.’” The devil is here evidently pointed out. Thus we have the definition of the Scripture term in two ancient languages, with the oldest opinion of the Christians, in favor of the view that the scapegoat is a type of Satan.
Charles Beecher says: “What goes to confirm this is that the most ancient paraphrases and translations treat Azazel as a proper name. The Chaldee paraphrase and the targums of Onkelos and Jonathan would certainly have translated it if it was not a proper name, but they do not. The Septuagint, or oldest Greek version, renders it by apopompaios, a word applied by the Greeks to a malign deity sometimes appeased by sacrifices. Another conformation is found in the book of Enoch, where the name Azalzel, evidently a corruption of Azazel, is given to one of the fallen angels, thus plainly showing what was the prevalent understanding of the Children of Israel at that day and time. Still another evidence is found in the Arabic, where Azazel is employed as the name of the evil spirit.”
Here is the Jewish interpretation:
“Far from involving the recognition of Azazel as a deity, the sending of the goat was,
as stated by Nahmanides, a symbolic expression of the idea that the people’s sins and their evil consequences were to be sent back to the spirit of desolation and ruin, the source of all impurity.”
In a striking manner these views harmonize with the events taking place in connection with the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary, as revealed to us in the Scriptures of truth.
In the type we see the sin of the transgressor transferred to the victim, the lamb, daily. We see that sin borne by the ministration of the priest, and the blood of the offering, into the sanctuary, daily. On the tenth day of the seventh month we see the High Priest, with the blood of the Lord’s goat, the sin offering for the people, remove all their sins from the sanctuary, and lay them upon the head of the scapegoat, Azazel’s goat, yearly. And we see the goat bear them away into a land not inhabited, yearly. (Leviticus 1: 1-4; 4: 3-6; 16: 5-10, 15, 16, 20-22.)
Answering to these events in the type, we behold in the antitype, the great offering for the world made on Calvary, March 28, A.D. 31; Nissan 14, A.S. (After Sin) 4000. The sins of all, who avail themselves of the merits of The Christ’s shed blood, by faith in Him, were borne by the ministration of The Christ, into the new-covenant sanctuary, the heavenly.
In the antitypical, The Christ, our Great High Priest, removed, or put away the sins of the saints, once for all, and for eternity, from the heavenly, and placed them upon the head of Satan, the antitypical scapegoat. This occurred October 22, A.D. 1844; Tishri 10, A.S. 5813, the act of a moment, and the heavenly Sanctuary was made clean, free from the sins of the saints. At that time, Satan, Azazel, who, in the judgment of execution, March, A.D. 3036; Nissan 1, A.S. 7005, bears the final penalty for the sins of the saints, has already been forever banished to this earth, never more to return to the heavenly.
After the heavenly Sanctuary was made clean, the court of Heaven was again open to receive the penitent. Those who wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb of God will be accepted until the close of the heavenly Day of Atonement, March 22, A.D. 2031; Nissan 1, A.S. 6000.
While the heavenly Day of Atonement is going forward, while the sins of penitent believers are being confessed, their Atonement is The Christ of Calvary, March 28, A.D. 31; Nissan 14, A.S. 4000, their sins are removed retroactive to October 22, A.D. 1844; Tishri 10, A.S. 5813.
When the heavenly Day of Atonement shall have ended, then, and not until then, probation will close, the door of mercy shall forever be shut. At that time, March 22, A.D. 2031; Nissan 1, A.S. 6000, the followers of the Lamb will be ready for His appearing. Then the church, the Church of The First Born, which our Lord, at His coming will receive to Himself, will be a glorious church.
“So that He may present the church to Himself gloriously, having no spot or wrinkle, or any such things, but holy and blameless.” (Ephesians 5: 27.)
After The Christ, the minister of the true tabernacle, (Hebrews 8: 2), has closed the Day of Atonement, March 22, A.D. 6000; Nissan 1, A.S. 6005, there is a Time of Trouble; then the second coming of our Lord and Savior, March 27, A.D. 2036; Nissan 1, A.S. 6005.
At the time here specified, the Sanctuary was cleansed. The Christ laid upon the head of Satan, the sins that have been transferred to the heavenly Sanctuary, and which are imputed to the saints no more. Satan is sent away, cast out of heaven, not by the hand of the High Priest, but by the hand of another person, according to the type, into a place here called the bottomless pit, the earth.
The Key and the Chain.---It cannot be supposed that the key and chain are literal; they are rather used merely as symbols of the power and authority with which this angel is clothed on this occasion for the accomplishment of his mission. Could it be a chain of circumstances beyond Satan’s control?
The Bottomless Pit.---The original word signifies an abyss, bottomless, deep, and profound. Its use seems to be such as to show that the word denotes any place of darkness, desolation, and death. Thus in Revelation 9: 1, 2, it is applied to the barren wastes of the Arabian desert, and in Romans 10: 7, to the grave. But the use that specially throws light upon the meaning of the word here is found in Genesis 1: 2, where we read that, “darkness was upon the face of the deep.” The word there rendered “deep” is the same word that is here rendered “bottomless pit.” And the text might have been translated, “Darkness was upon the face of the abyss, or bottomless pit.” We all know that the word “deep” as here used is applied to the earth in its chaotic state. This is precisely what is meant in this third verse of Revelation 20. Let it be borne in mind that at the time the angel does this work, the earth is a vast charnel house of desolation and death. There have been global war, seven plagues leaving their all-desolating trail over the land, and now, the voice of God has shaken it to its foundations; the islands and mountains have been moved out of their places; the great earthquake has leveled to ground the mightiest works of man; the burning glory attending the coming of the Son of man has borne its part in accomplishing the general desolation; the wicked have been given to the slaughter, and their putrefying flesh, and bleaching bones lie un-gathered, unburied, and unlamented from one end of the earth to the other.
Thus is the earth made empty and waste, and turned upside down. (Isaiah 24: 1.) Thus is it brought back again, partly at least, to its original state of confusion and chaos. (see Jeremiah 4: 19-26, especially verse 23.) What better term could be used to describe the earth thus rolling on in its course of darkness and desolation for a thousand years than that of abyss, or bottomless pit? Here Satan will be confined during this time, amid the ruins that indirectly his own hands have wrought, unable to flee from his habitation of woe, or to repair in the least degree its hideous ruin.
The Binding of Satan.---We well know that Satan, in order to work, must have subjects upon whom to work. Without these, he can do nothing. But during the thousand years of his confinement to this earth, all the saints are in heaven, beyond the power of his temptations, and all the wicked are in their graves, beyond his power to deceive. His sphere of action is circumscribed, and thus is he bound, being condemned throughout this period to a state of hopeless inactivity. To a mind that has been as busy as his has been for the past six thousand years in deceiving the inhabitants of the world from generation to generation, this must be a punishment of the most intense severity.
According to this exposition, the “binding” of Satan simply means placing beyond his reach the subjects upon whom he works. His being “loosed” simply means their being
brought again by a resurrection to a position where he can again exercise his power upon them. On this exposition some say that we have mistaken the personnel, and have the wicked bound, instead of the devil. Yet how often do we hear, in the daily transactions of life, such expressions as these: My way was completely hedged up. My hands were completely tied. But when persons use such expressions, do we imagine that some insurmountable obstacle was literally thrown across the path they were traveling, or that their hands were literally confined with rope or cords?---No; we understand that a combination of circumstances rendered it impossible for them to act. Even so here. Why will not people grant to the Bible the same liberty of speech that they give without question to their fellow men?
More than this, there is here a great limitation of Satan’s power, which may well be called a “binding.” He no longer has the power of traversing space, and visiting other worlds, but like man, he is confined to this depopulated, and trashed earth, which he nevermore leaves. The place of the ruin he has wrought now becomes his gloomy prison house until he is led to his execution at the end of the thousand years.
“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was give unto them: And I saw the souls/bodies of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the Word of God, and which had not bowed down to the beast, neither to his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with The Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: On such the second death has no power, but they shall be priest of God and of The Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.” (Revelation 20: 4-6.)
Exaltation of the Saints.---From the devil in his gloomy confinement, John now directs our attention to the saints in victory and glory, the saints reigning with The Christ. Their employment is that of an appellate court, reviewing the records of those not there, for we will be surprised at who is there and who is not. From that general assembly John selects two classes as worthy of special attention: The martyrs who had been beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and those who had not worshiped the beast and his image. The latter class, those who refuse the mark of the beast and his image, are of course the ones who hear and obey the third Angel’s message of Revelation 14. But these are not the ones who are beheaded for the witness of Jesus, as some claim. The last generations of saints, those from A.D. 1967-March 22, A.D. 2031 are not all to be slain, as some would have us to believe. The word rendered “which.” in the expression, “which had not worshiped the beast,” shows that there is another class introduced. The word is the compound relative, hostis, “whoever,” not merely the simple relative hos “who,” and is defined by Liddell and Scott, “Whosoever, wichsoever, any one who, anything which.” As one class, John saw the martyrs, and as another he saw those who had not worshiped the beast and his image.
It is true that hostis, is used sometimes as a simple relative, as in 2 Corinthians 3: 14; Ephesians 1: 23, but never in such constructions as this, where it is preceded by the conjunction kai, “and.”
Lest anyone should say that if we render the passage “and whosoever had not worshiped the beast,” we thereby include millions of heathen and sinners who have never worshiped the beast, and promise them a reign of a thousand years with The Christ, we would call attention to the fact that the preceding chapter states that the wicked had all been slain, and the seal of death had been set upon them for a thousand years. John is here viewing only the righteous company having part in the first resurrection.
To avoid the doctrine of two resurrections, some claim that the passage, “The rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished,” is an interpolation, not found in the original, and hence not genuine. Even if this were so, it would not disprove the main proposition that the righteous dead are raised by themselves in a “first resurrection,” and that there is a second resurrection a thousand years later, in which all the wicked are brought from their graves.
But the criticism is not true, for all scholarship is against it. The English Revised Version makes no reference to this text as being “not found” in ancient manuscripts. The American Revised Version does not give the slightest hint that a part of the text is omitted. Rotherham’s translation, though noting elsewhere “doubtful” renderings, says nothing about this text being spurious. It is found in Tischendorf’s eight editions of the Greek New Testament, and in the Greek text of Westcott and Hort. The sentence occurs also in all the Greek New Testaments issued by the world-renowned critics, Griesbach, Wordsworth, Lachmann, Tregelles, and Alford. Three or four Greek manuscripts do not have this sentence; sixteen hundred and ninety-seven of them do contain it if they have Revelation at all.
Two Resurrections.---“The rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.” Whatever may be said to the contrary, no language could more plainly prove two resurrections. The first is the resurrection of the righteous at the beginning of the thousand years. The second is that of the wicked at the end of the millennium. On such as have part in the first resurrection, the second death will have no power. They pass unharmed, through the fiery elements which destroy the wicked like chaff, in the Ark of their salvation, the New Jerusalem. They dwell with devouring fire and everlasting burning. (Isaiah 33: 14, 15.) They are able to go forth and look upon the carcasses of the men who have transgressed against the Lord, as the quenchless fire and undying worm are preying upon them. (Isaiah 66> 24.) The difference between the righteous and the wicked in this respect is seen in the fact that while God is to the latter a consuming fire, He is to His people both a sun and a shield.
Wicked Raised to Life.---The wicked, who are raised at the end of the thousand years, actually live again as they had once lived on the earth. To deny this is to do violence to this scripture. In what physical condition they will be raised, we are not informed. It is usual to say on this point that what we have lost unconditionally in Adam, is restored unconditionally in The Christ. With respect to physical condition, this should not perhaps be taken in an unlimited sense, for the race has lost greatly in stature and vital force, which need not be restored to the wicked. If they are brought back to the average mental and physical condition that they possessed during life or the period of their probation, that would certainly be sufficient to enable them to receive understandingly the last judgment due them for all their deeds done while living here upon this earth.
“And when the thousand years are past, Satan shall be released out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations that are in the four quarters of the earth, “Gog and Magog,” to gather them together to battle: The number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and surrounded the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: And fire came down from God, out of heaven, and devoured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” (Revelation 20: 7-10.)
Perdition of Ungodly Angels and Men.---At the end of the one thousand years, the holy city, New Jerusalem, in which the saints have dwelt in heaven during that period, comes down, from heaven, and is located on the earth. It then becomes the camp of the saints, around which the risen wicked gather, numberless as the sand of the sea. They are induced to undertake an impious warfare upon the Holy City, in prospect of some advantage to be gained by fighting against the saints. Satan doubtless persuades them that they can overcome the saints, dispossess them of their city, and still hold possession of the earth. But fire comes down from God out of heaven, and devours them. The word here rendered “devoured,” Moses Stuart admits is “intensive,” and signifies “to eat up, devour, so that it denotes utter excision.”
This is the time of the perdition of ungodly men,---the time when “the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also,” and when the works that are in the earth shall be burned up. (2nd Peter 3: 7, 10.) In the light of these scriptures, we can see how the wicked are to receive their recompense in the earth. (Proverbs 11: 31.) We can see also that this recompense is not eternal life in misery, but an “utter excision,” entire and complete destruction, for all eternity.
The Wicked Never Tread the New Earth.---Two views deserve a passing notice at this point.
1. That the earth is renewed at the second coming of The Christ, and is the habitation of the saints during the thousand years.
2. That when The Christ appears the second time, He sets up His kingdom in Palestine, and performs, in connection with His saints, a work of conquest over the nations left on earth during the thousand years, and subdues them to Himself.
One among many objections to the first view is that it makes the wicked come up in their resurrection, and with the devil at their head, tread with their unhallowed feet upon the purified and holy earth, while the saints, who have held possession for a thousand years, are obliged to yield the ground, and flee into the city. We cannot believe that the saints’ inheritance will ever be thus marred, or that the fair plains of the earth made new will ever be soiled with the polluting tread of the resurrected wicked. Besides outraging all ideas of propriety, there is no scripture from which even a inference can be drawn to support this position.
As to the second view, one among many of its absurdities is that although The Christ, and His saints have conquered the earth during the thousand years, at the end of this period the wicked get the upper hand, they lose their territory, the work of a thousand years is undone, and they are compelled to beat an ignominious retreat into the city for shelter, leaving the earth to the undisputed sway of their foes.
A Thousand Years in Heaven.---In contrast with these theories, there is harmony in the view herein presented. The saints are with The Christ in heaven during the thousand years, while the earth lies desolate. The saints, and the city come down, come down, and the wicked, who are all dead, are raised and come against it, surrounding it. There the wicked receive their eternal judgment. From the ashes, of the purifying fires that destroy them, come forth the new heavens and the new earth, to be the abode of the righteous throughout endless eternity.
The Subjects of Torment.---From verse 10, some have argued that the devil alone was to be tormented day and night, but the testimony of this verse includes more than that. The verb phrase “shall be tormented” is in the plural, and makes affirmation concerning the beast and the false prophet, whereas it would be in the singular number if it referred to the devil “paganism” alone. It will be noticed in the expression, “where the beast and the false prophet are,” that “are” is a supplied were. It would be more proper to supply the words “were cast,” coordinating with what was spoken of the devil just before. A more exact translation, too, supplies the word “also” after “where.” The sentence would then read, “The devil was cast into the lake of fire, where also the beast and the false prophet were cast.” The beast and false prophet were cast into a lake of fire and destroyed, at the beginning of the thousand years, March 22, A.D.2031-March 27, A.D.2036; A.S. 6000-A.S 6005. (Revelation 19: 20.) The individuals of whom their organizations were then composed, now come up in the second resurrection, and a similar, and final destruction is visited upon them under the names Gog and Magog, March, A.D. 3031-March A.D. 3036; A.S. 7000-A.S. 7005.
The Lake of Fire.---Some readers may be inclined to ask for a definition of the lake of fire. As a comprehensive definition, may it not be called a symbol of the agencies that God employs to close up His controversy with the living wicked at the beginning of the thousand years, and with all the hosts of the ungodly at the end of that period? Literal fire will of course be largely employed in this work. We can better describe its effects than the thing itself. At the second coming of The Christ, it is the flaming fire in which the Lord Jesus is revealed, the spirit of His mouth, and the brightness of His coming by which the man of sin is to be consumed, the fire in which great Babylon shall be utterly burned. (Revelation 18: 8.) At the end of the thousand years, it is the day that shall burn as an oven (Malachi 4: 1I; it is the fervent heat that shall melt the elements and the earth, and burn up the works that are in it; it is the fire of Tophet prepared for the king (the devil and his angels, Matthew 25: 41), the pile whereof is deep and large, and with “the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, does kindle” (Isaiah 30: 33). In short, it is the fire that comes down from God out of heaven. (On the expression, “torment day and night forever and ever,” see comments on Revelation 14: 11.)
“And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heavens fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: And another book was opened, which is the book of life: And the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead that were in it; and the grave delivered up the dead that were in them: And they were judged every
man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of the living was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20: 11-15.)
A Throne of Judgment.---With verse 11, John introduces another scene in connection with the final doom of the ungodly. This is an appellate court in the which, the innocent review and judge the correctness of the verdict, of the alleged guilty. It is the great white throne judgment, before which they are assembled to receive their awful sentence of condemnation and eternal death. Before this throne the heavens and earth flee away, so that no place is found for them. A moment’s reflection on the changes that must then take place in the earth will bring out the great forces of this language. The scene is that of Peter’s burning day, which is the “perdition of ungodly men,” and in which even the “elements” melt with fervent heat. (2nd Peter 3: 7-13.)
Fire comes down from God out of heaven. The works that are in the world are burned up, and the wicked are destroyed. This is the fire of Gehenna, which contains all the elements necessary to consume utterly every mortal being, ungodly creature, and object that comes under its power. (Mark 9: 43-48.) Then will be fulfilled Isaiah 66: 24: “They [the righteous] shall go forth, and look upon the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against Me: For their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.”
Then also will be fulfilled Isaiah 33: 14: “Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?” The answers in the following verses show it to be the righteous. This is the time to which Isaiah’s questions and answers apply.
In all this conflagration the elements are not
destroyed. They are only melted and purged from the taint of sin and every
token of the curse. The almighty fiat then goes forth, “Behold I make all
things new. . . . It is done.” Revelation 21: 5, 6. At the first creation,
“the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.
Job 38: 7. At this new creation, that song and shout will be augmented by the glad voices of the redeemed. So will this earth, wrenched for a time, by sin, from its intended orbit of joy and peace, be brought back renewed, into harmony with a loyal universe, to be the everlasting home of the redeemed.
The Books of Record.---Men are judged out of the things written in the books, from which we learn the solemn fact that a record of all our deeds is kept on high. A faithful, and unerring record, is made by the angelic secretaries. The wicked cannot conceal, from them, any of their deeds of darkness. They cannot bribe them to pass over, in the record, their unlawful acts. They must meet them again, and be judged accordingly.
Execution of the Sentence.---The wicked are to be punished according to their works. The Scriptures declare that they shall be rewarded according to their deeds. That the degree of suffering, which each one is to endure, is taken into the account as part of the punishment for his sins, is evident: “That servant, which knew his lord’s will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required.” (Luke 12: 47, 48.)
The Book of Life.---Why, it may be asked, is the Book of Life brought forth on this occasion, when all who have part in the second resurrection, beyond which this scene is located, are already forejudge to the second death? At least one apparent reason is, that all may see that none of the names of the multitude, that die the second death, are in the book of life, and why they are not there; and if the names have ever been there, why they were not retained; thus giving closure to the saints. Thus all the intelligences of the universe may see that God acts with impartially, justice, and patience.
It is stated also that “death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” Here is the final epitaph of all the forces from first to last that have risen up to oppose the will and work of the Lord. Satan originated, and led out in this nefarious position and murderous work, and for him and them, the everlasting fire was prepared. (Matthew 25: 41.) Men became involved only because they joined him in his rebellion. But here the controversy closes. The fire is to them everlasting because it allows of no escape, and of no cessation until they are consumed. The second death is their, once for eternity, punishment, and it is “everlasting punishment” (Matthew 25: 46) because they never find release from its dread embrace. “The wages of sin is death,” not punishing forever. (Romans 6: 23.)
To sum up the argument, “Whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Reader, is your name written in the book of life? Are you striving to avert in your own case the fearful doom that awaits the ungodly? Rest not until you have reason to believe that your name is among those who are to share at last in eternal life.
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