Online Bible and Study Tools
Translate || Vine / Schaff || Alts/Vars/Criticism/Aramaic

 
 


End Times Chart


Introduction and Key

BOOKS:  BIBLICAL STUDIES (1500BC-AD70) / EARLY CHRISTIAN PRETERISM (AD50-1000) / FREE ONLINE BOOKS (AD1000-2008)



Church-State Relations and the Book of Revelation
An Introduction to The Parousia: A Careful Look at the New Testament Doctrine of the Lord's Second Coming
by James Stuart Russell (1878) // Written by
Todd Dennis, Curator
 



 

FREE ONLINE BOOKS

   
 


 

Free Online Books

Free Online Books



Apocalyptic | Apocryphal | Archeology | Lectures | Biographies | Dead Sea Scrolls | First Century History | Foreign | Jewish Sources | Josephus

Click For Site Updates Page

Free Online Books Page

Historical Preterism Main

Modern Preterism Main

Hyper Preterism Main

Preterist Idealism Main

Critical Article Archive Main

Church History's Preteristic Presupposition

Study Archive Main

Dispensationalist dEmEnTiA  Main

Josephus' Wars of the Jews Main

Online Study Bible Main

 1-1000

070: Clement: First Epistle of Clement

075: Baruch: Apocalypse Of Baruch

075: Barnabus: Epistle of Barnabus

090: Esdras 2 / 4 Ezra

100: Odes of Solomon

150: Justin: Dialogue with Trypho

150: Melito: Homily of the Pascha

175: Irenaeus: Against Heresies

175: Clement of Alexandria: Stromata

198: Tertullian: Answer to the Jews

230: Origen: The Principles | Commentary on Matthew | Commentary on John | Against Celsus

248: Cyprian: Against the Jews

260: Victorinus: Commentary on the Apocalypse "Alcasar, a Spanish Jesuit, taking a hint from Victorinus, seems to have been the first (AD 1614) to have suggested that the Apocalyptic prophecies did not extend further than to the overthrow of Paganism by Constantine."

310: Peter of Alexandria

310: Eusebius: Divine Manifestation of our Lord

312: Eusebius: Proof of the Gospel

319: Athanasius: On the Incarnation

320: Eusebius: History of the Martyrs

325: Eusebius: Ecclesiastical History

345: Aphrahat: Demonstrations

367: Athanasius: The Festal Letters

370: Hegesippus: The Ruin of Jerusalem

386: Chrysostom: Matthew and Mark

387: Chrysostom: Against the Jews

408: Jerome: Commentary on Daniel

417: Augustine: On Pelagius

426: Augustine: The City of God

428: Augustine: Harmony

420: Cassian: Conferences

600: Veronica Legend

800: Aquinas: Eternity of the World

 


1000-2006

FUTURIST
HISTORICAL
MODERN

1265: Aquinas: Catena Aurea

1543: Luther: On the Jews

1555: Calvin: Harmony on Evangelists

1556: Jewel: Scripture

1586: Douay-Rheims Bible

1598: Jerusalem's Misery ; The dolefull destruction of faire Ierusalem by Tytus, the Sonne of Vaspasian

1603: Nero : A New Tragedy

1613: Carey: The Fair Queen of Jewry

1614: Alcasar: Vestigatio arcani sensus in Apocalypsi

1654: Ussher: The Annals of the World

1658: Lightfoot: Commentary from Hebraica

1677: Crowne - The Destruction of Jerusalem

1764: Lardner: Fulfilment of our Saviour's Predictions

1776: Edwards: History of Redemption

1785: Churton: Prophecies Respecting the Destruction of Jerusalem

1801: Porteus: Our Lord's Prophecies

1802: Nisbett: The Coming of the Messiah

1805: Jortin: Remarks on Ecclesiastical History

1810: Clarke: Commentary On the Whole Bible

1816: Wilkins: Destruction of Jerusalem Related to Prophecies

1824: Galt: The Bachelor's Wife

1840: Smith: The Destruction of Jerusalem

1841: Currier: The Second Coming of Christ

1842: Bastow : A (Preterist) Bible Dictionary

1842: Stuart: Interpretation of Prophecy

1843: Lee: Dissertations on Eusebius

1845: Stuart: Commentary on Apocalypse

1849: Lee: Inquiry into Prophecy

1851: Lee: Visions of Daniel and St. John

1853: Newcombe: Observations on our Lord's Conduct as Divine Instructor

1854: Chamberlain: Restoration of Israel

1854: Fairbairn: The Typology of Scripture

1859: "Lee of Boston": Eschatology

1861: Maurice: Lectures on the Apocalypse

1863: Thomas Lewin : The Siege of Jerusalem

1865: Desprez: Daniel (Renounced Full Preterism)

1870: Fall of Jerusalem and the Roman Conquest

1871: Dale: Jewish Temple and Christian Church (PDF)

1879: Warren: The Parousia

1882: Farrar: The Early Days of Christianity

1883: Milton S. Terry: Biblical Hermeneutics

1888: Henty: For The Temple

1891: Farrar: Scenes in the days of Nero

1896: Lee : A Scholar of a Past Generation

1902: Church: Story of the Last Days of Jerusalem

1917: Morris: Christ's Second Coming Fulfilled

1985: Lee: Jerusalem; Rome; Revelation (PDF)

1987: Chilton: The Days of Vengeance

2001: Fowler: Jesus - The Better Everything

2006: M. Gwyn Morgan - AD69 - The Year of Four Emperors

Print and Use For Personal Bookmark or Placement in Bookstores


 

 

John's Revelation Unveiled

 Dr. Francis Nigel Lee

1999

 

 "For the wrath had come upon them, to the uttermost, at the end of the 63-70 A.D. Seven Years' 'Great Tribulation.'  This was by far quite the greatest time of trouble or tribulation the World had ever seen, or ever would see.  Not only in Judea, but also internationally."

Buy from:
www.barnesandnoble.com; www.buy.com; www.amazon.com; www.prophecybookshelf.com

 

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

 

CLICK HERE FOR PDF FILE OF ENTIRE BOOK | BIBLIOGRAPHY


The documents on this website may be downloaded and used for non-profit personal use. One copy may be printed out for your own use using your own printing equipment. They may not be submitted to any third party printing service, either an on-line on-demand print service, or other print service. The rights to all commercial print editions are reserved by the author.

 

John's Revelation Unveiled

by

Dr. Francis Nigel Lee

Th.D., Ph.D., D.Min., S.T.D., D.R.E., D.Ed., D.Hum., D.Jur., D.C.L., D.Litt., D.Phil.

 

Professor of Systematic Theology

and

Caldwell-Morrow Lecturer in Church History

 

 

Queensland Presbyterian Theological College

Brisbane, Australia

 

A.D. 2000

Other Publications by Dr. Lee

 

My Conversion: Jesus Grabbed Me!, IDRS, Kortenhoef, Netherlands., 1960, 8pp.

The Conversion of an Atheist, DRC Pubs., Cape Town, RSA, 1961, 5pp.

The Sabbath in the Bible, L.D.O.S., London, 1966, 20pp.

Culture: Its Origen, Development, and Goal, SCP, Cape May, N.J., 27pp.

Nationality and the Bible, SCP, Cape May, N.J., 21pp.

Communism Versus Christianity, LCICCC, Philadelphia, 1969, 20pp.

The Biblical Theory of Christian Education, SCP, Cape May, N.J., 20pp.

Communism Versus Creation, Craig Press, Nutley, N.J., 1969, 260pp.

Calvin on the Sciences, Sovereign Grace Union, England, 1969, 50pp

Race and Nation, Wever, Stellenbosch, RSA, 1969, 35pp.

Materialism, Idealism, and Calvinism, SAVBCW, Potchefstroom, RSA, 1970, 8pp.

Philosophy in 20th Century America, SAVBCW, Potchefstroom, RSA, 1970, 27pp.

The Lord's Day, DRC Commission on Public Morals, Pretoria, RSA, 1970. 20pp.

Christian Introduction: History of Philosophy, P&R, Philadelphia, 1970, 261pp.

The Basic Ideas of Communism, Anticom, Pretoria, RSA, 1971, 26pp.

The Salvation of Early-Dying Infants, DRCTJ, Stellenbosch, RSA, 1971, 15pp.

Missions the Heart of Church's Calling, DRCTJ, Stellenbosch, RSA, 1971, 15pp.

The Covenantal Sabbath, Lord's Day Observance Society, London, 1971, 343pp.

You Baptize Incorrectly!, DRC Pubs., Pretoria, RSA, 1971, 15pp.

How to Confess Christ, ICCC, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1971, 16pp.

The Westminster Confession and Modern Society, SRF, Edinburgh, 1972, 20pp.

Communist Eschatology, Craig Press, Nutley, N.J., 1973, 1201pp.

The Origin and Destiny of Man, Craig Press, Nutley, N.J., 1973, 125pp.

Sunday the Sabbath, DRC Pubs., Pretoria, RSA, 1975, 53pp.

Ten Commandments Today!, Lord's Day Observance Society, London, 1976, 15pp.

The Central Significance of Culture, P&R, Philadelphia, 1976, 164pp.

The Christian Manifesto 1984, Christian Liberty Press, Chicago, 1976, 18pp.

What About Baptism?, SRF, Edinburgh, 1976, 17pp.

About Sunday, Lord's Day Observance Society, London, 1978, 78pp.

The Office of Deacon, PCA Commissioners' Handbook, 1978, 27pp.

The Ministry of the Word, PCA Commissioners' Handbook, 1978, 55pp.

Christocracy: Divine Savior's Law, Jesus Lives, Tallahassee, 1979, 25pp.

Toward a Biblical Theology, Jesus Lives, Tallahassee, 1979, 12pp.

Effective Evangelism, Jesus Lives, Tallahassee, 1979, 12pp.

Are the Mosaic Laws for Today?, Jesus Lives, Tallahassee, 1979, 52pp.

Creation and Commission, Jesus Lives, Tallahassee, 1979, 40pp.

Mt. Sinai and the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Lives, Tallahassee, 1979, 23pp.

Communism, Korean Journal of Reformed Theology, Seoul, 1980, 25pp.

Abraham Kuyper: Rebirth of Knowledge, Jesus Lives, Bristol, Tn., 1980, 12pp.

John Calvin: True Presbyterian, Jesus Lives, Brisbane, Australia, 1981, 22pp.

Communism: Christian Evaluation, Jesus Lives, Brisbane Australia, 1981, 74pp.

Have You Neglected Your Baby?, Jesus Lives, Brisbane, Australia, 1981, 13pp.

Will Christ or Satan Win World?, Jesus Lives, Brisbane Australia, 1981, 32pp.

Pentecostalism: Outpouring or Heresy?, Commonwealth Pub., Dallas, 1986, 79pp.

Calvin on Creation, P.U.C.H.E., Potchefstroom, RSA, 1986, 53pp.

Revealed to Babies!, Commonwealth Publishers, Dallas, 1986, 20pp..

Biblical Private Property vs. Socialism, Ex Nihilo T.J., Brisbane, 1988, 7pp.

Sprinkling Is Scriptural!, The Presbyterian, England, 1990, 44pp.

Biblical Principles for Church Architecture, The Presbyterian, 1991, 44pp.

The Christian Afrikaners, 1652-1980., G.D.L., Cape Town, 1991, 215pp.

Revive Your Work! (ed.), Presbyterian Church of Qld., Australia 1991, 104pp.

Neglecting Your Baby? The Presbyterian, Bristol, England, 1991 rep., 16pp.

Culture, Korean Society for Reformed Faith and Action, Seoul, 1992, 208pp.

Antichrist in Scripture, Focus Christian Ministries, Sussex, 1992, 58pp.

Calvin on the Weekly Sabbath, British Reformed Journal, England 1993, 17pp.

Toward a Biblical Philosophy, Persuasive Press, Cambridge, Ma., 1993, 60pp.

The Fascinating History of Early Britain. BRJ, England, July 1994, 11pp.

The Anabaptists and Their Stepchildren, Blue Banner, Dallas, 1994, 62pp.

My Father's Slayer Saved! Wilston Presbyterian Church, Australia, 1994, 10pp.

Patrick and His Writings, Counsel of Chalcedon, Atlanta, July-Aug. 1996, 12pp.

Brothers Because of Bloodshed, Counsel of Chalcedon, Atlanta, July 1997, 20pp.

 

John's Revelation Unveiled

Ligstryders

 74904 Lynnwoodrif 0040 South Africa

 

Copyright December 1999

 

 

"John's Revelation Unveiled" is the final section of a far larger work by Dr. F.N. Lee, entitled "Onward, Christian Soldiers! - Toward a Victorious Eschatology" (See Preface). It will be published at a later stage. Where references are made in "John's Revelation Unveiled" to the earlier parts of "Onward, Christian Soldiers!" these have been replaced with a "U ".

Due to the size of the Bibliography, it was not included. Anyone interested should contact the publishers.

 

Table of Contents

Biographical Particulars *

Commendation by Professor Dr. Loraine Boettner *

Explanation of Commendation *

Preface *

Dec. 1 Christ has made us Kings unto God, to reign on the Earth

Revelation 1 *

Dec. 2 Overcomers are given Power over Nations

Revelation 2 *

Dec. 3 Christ converts Judaists and thus expands the Christian Church

Revelation 3:1-13 *

Dec. 4 Those that Overcome, will sit with Christ upon His Throne

Revelation 3:14-22 *

Dec. 5 All Things were created by the Lord for His Pleasure

Revelation 4 *

Dec. 6 The Elect of Every Nation are to reign with Christ on Earth

Revelation 5 *

Dec. 7 The Crowned Christ goes forth Conquering and to Conquer!

Revelation 6 *

Dec. 8 All the Elect of the Tribes of Israel sealed and spared

Revelation 7:1-8 *

Dec. 9 A Great Multitude of Nations before the Throne of Jesus

Revelation 7:9-17 *

Dec. 10 Even amid God's Judgments Two-Thirds of all Creation spared!

Revelation 8 *

Dec. 11 None of God's Children hurt; and only a Third of Mankind killed!

Revelation 9 *

Dec. 12 Mighty Christ unites Heaven and Earth and Sea

Revelation 10 *

 

 

Dec. 13 God's Two loyal Witnesses prophesy on a Wide Scale for many Days

Revelation 11:1-13 *

Dec. 14 The Kingdom of the World becomes that of God's Christ

Revelation 11:14-19 *

Dec. 15 The Glorious Church reigns since Eden and subdues even the Moon

Revelation 12:1-2 *

Dec. 16 Satan drags only One-Third of the Angels into Perdition

Revelation 12:3-4 *

Dec. 17 Christ now rules All Nations, reigning over Them from on High

Revelation 12:4-5 *

Dec. 18 Christ ejects Satan from Above, and Christians too overcome Satan

Revelation 12:6-11 *

Dec. 19 Furious Satan fails to harm and cannot even reach the True Church

Revelation 12:14-17 *

Dec. 20 The Beast is wounded to Death and the Church acquires the Victory

Revelation 13 *

Dec. 21 Preaching the Everlasting Gospel causes Romish Babylon to fall

Revelation 14:1-12 *

Dec. 22 Blessed are the Dead in Christ and their Works follow Them!

Revelation 14:13-20 *

Dec. 23 The Victory over the Beast: all Nations come and worship God!

Revelation 15 & 16 *

Dec. 24 The Lamb and His overcome the Beast, his Servants, and the Whore

Revelation 17 *

Dec. 25 Babylon falls, losing All her Culture; but the Saints inherit All

Revelation 18 *

Dec. 26 A Heavenly Multitude of much People hallelujahs the Lord!

Revelation 19:1-10 *

Dec. 27 Christ and His Armies conquer, destroying their Earthly Enemies

Revelation 19:11-21 *

Dec.28 The Saints reign on their Thrones with Christ a Thousand Years

Revelation 20:1-6 *

Dec. 29 Satan unbound only to be dragged off to Final Judgment

Revelation 20:7-15 *

Dec. 30 Overcomers inherit All Things in the City of New Jerusalem

Revelation 21 *

Dec. 31 God's Servants reign for Ever So onward, Christian Soldiers!

Revelation 22 *

 

 

Biographical Particulars

Francis Nigel Lee was born in 1934 in the Westmorland County of Cumbria (in Great Britain). He is the great-grandson of a fiery preacher whose family disintegrated when he backslid. Though Lee's father was an Atheist, he married a Roman Catholic who raised her son in that faith.

At the onset of the Second World War, Lee's father was appointed by the Royal Navy as Chief Radar Officer (South Atlantic). So the family then moved to South Africa. There, Lee became a Calvinist; had the great joy of leading both of his parents to Christ; and became a Minister of God's Word and Sacraments in the Dutch Reformed Church of Natal.

Emigrating to the U.S.A., Lee attended the very first General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America; transferred his ministerial credentials to that denomination; and pastored Congregations in Mississippi and Florida. He was also: Professor of Philosophy at Shelton College in New Jersey; Visiting Lecturer at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Ms.; Staley Distinguished Visiting Lecturer at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis; Research Scholar-in-Residence at the Christian Studies Center in Memphis; and Academic Dean of Graham Bible College in Bristol, Tennessee. He was then the only person in the World serving on the Executives of both the British Lord's Day Observance Society and the Lord's Day Alliance of the United States.

Preacher, Theologian, Lawyer, Educationist, Historian, Philosopher and Author, Lee has produced more than 330 publications (including many books) and also a multitude of long unpublished manuscripts. Apart from an honorary LL.D., he has twenty-one earned degrees including eleven earned doctorates for dissertations* in Education, Law, Literature, Philosophy and Theology.

Lee rises early; reads God's Word in ten languages; then walks a couple of miles before breakfast. He has been round the World seven times; has visited one hundred and ten countries (several repeatedly); and also every Continent (except Antarctica). He is in demand as a Promoter of Doctoral Students in Australia, England, Germany, South Africa and the United States. He has lectured and/or preached in all of those countries, as well as in Brazil, Scotland, Korea, Japan, Namibia, New Zealand, and Zambia.

A diehard predestinarian, Lee now lives in Australia where he is the Professor of Systematic Theology and Caldwell-Morrow Lecturer in Church History at the Queensland Presbyterian Theological College. He retires in 2000.

His wife Nellie is in fulltime Christian Service as a godly Homemaker. Their elder daughter Johanna has completed her M.A.; and teaches English, German and Modern History in Brisbane at the Parkridge High School. Their younger daughter Annamarie (B.A. & Dip. Lib. Sc.), whom Dr. Lee baptized as a baby in 1970, was until 1998 Secretary/Librarian at the Queensland Presbyterian Theological College, Brisbane, Australia and has now completed her Dip. Ed. studies to become a Primary School Teacher.

 

Commendation by Professor Dr. Loraine Boettner

"Dear Dr. Lee,

Some time ago, I received your treatise [Onward, Christian Soldiers!]. I have read this with much interest and approval, and have nothing to offer but commendation. It is splendid for the purpose intended Scripturally sound and interestingly written....

I like very much the optimistic view that Christianity is to triumph throughout the World. Yes indeed, righteousness is to conquer the Earth! That view is much needed today. And you bring out so clearly that this is the view presented in the Scriptures....

I want to commend you for a splendid devotional work. And I like this especially since it is written so clearly and strongly from the optimistic viewpoint which I think brings out the true meaning of that element in the Psalms. I had never realized how definitely and consistently optimistic the Psalms were. You have brought out many new thoughts that I have missed.... I hope that this work will be widely used.... I think that it will do much to help make known the predicted latter-day glory of the Church....

I think that you have given a good explanation of that very difficult passage, Rev. 20:7-10. That is a section of Scripture that has been puzzling to me, as on the surface it seems to indicate a future final apostasy of the Church; and yet that seemed so contrary to what I believed would actually take place no apostasy but rather a smooth transfer or merger into the heavenly Kingdom....

Dr. Warfield did not believe that there would be a final apostasy. You have given a good explanation that there is no actual apostasy, no real danger ever faces the saints, and that the Devil and his followers are merely exposed before the righteous shortly before their final expulsion into hell. Thank you for it.

Evidently the book will be a very thorough and comprehensive treatment of the subject.... I do welcome the fact that you are preparing such a book.

Sincerely,

Loraine Boettner, Rock Port, Missouri 66482, May 20th 1978."

Explanation of Commendation

 

My Onward Christian Soldiers! was all too slowly being written and mailed piece by piece to the great Prof. Dr. Loraine Boettner famous author of the World-renowned works Immortality, Roman Catholicism, Studies in Theology, The Millennium, and The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination. To spur me on, he wrote to me about my Onward Christian Soldiers! seven times. That he did on October 26th, 1973; November 13th, 1973; January 9th, 1974; April 24th, 1974; September 9th, 1975; February 26th, 1977; and May 20th, 1978.

On February 26th, 1977, he wrote: "If excerpts from any of my letters will serve as even a partial Introduction to your book, I much prefer that you use them rather than for me to try to write anything else. With Best Wishes, Sincerely, Loraine Boettner."

I moved from the U.S.A. to Australia at the end of 1980, in order to teach Systematic Theology at the Queensland Presbyterian Theological College in Brisbane. On September 7th 1984, Dr. Boettner wrote to me: "I remember with real appreciation your visit here at my home about nine years ago. And now I suppose you are still in Australia, about half-way around the World from here! I am writing primarily to say that in the recent [revised 1984] edition of The Millennium, I have added a chapter, 'The Millennium of Revelation Twenty.'

"This presents a new interpretation of chapter 19:11-21 which carries over into the 20th chapter and, I believe, gives a truly logical basis for the postmillennial position. I have never been fully satisfied with the view there is to be a fearful apostasy just before the end of the Church Age, in which the saints would be all but annihilated just before Christ returns.... I believe that this [my new] interpretation solves that problem; that it firmly establishes the postmillennial system. I am sending you a copy of this book....

"I shall be glad to have your reaction to this...interpretation. I highly respect your position as a Reformed Theologian and a Postmillennialist, and I shall await with interest your evaluation. Loraine Boettner."

Since writing that last letter to me, Dr. Boettner has gone on to Heaven to be with Jesus. All my subsequent teaching tasks have till now prevented my completion and revision of the manuscript to my satisfaction. But now this has been achieved, out of gratitude to Dr. Boettner I can think of no better way of honouring him than to follow his suggestion of using excerpts from some of his various letters to me in the above Commendation.

 

Rev. Prof. Dr. Francis Nigel Lee, Brisbane, Australia, 1999,for 2000ff.

 

Preface

The following pages are excerpted from the latter part of the thoroughly-revised and greatly-expanded edition of my forthcoming work Onward, Christian Soldiers! Is is subtitled: Toward a Victorious Eschatology.

That work goes through the whole Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. This explains in my present excerpt therefrom the subsequent page numbers, footnote numbers, and format. For what follows are but the last 31 studies of passages from Holy Scripture for 366 "daily readings" and Bible meditations one for each day of the entire year (including provision for a leap year).

Currently, I lack the time painstakingly to re-format all of this in what now follows. Yet I am very desirous to get this excerpt into the hands of my students and certain friends, before 2000 with its 'Y2K' scenario. So, as an interim measure, I am now simply presenting it here 'as is.'

I much respect many elements in Preterism. Yet I believe the consistent eschatological teaching of the infallible Word of God is Classic Historicalism. Certainly that is the position of the mainline Christian Church reflected in: the Patristic Fathers; the Mediaeval Scholastics; all of the many Protestant Reformers; the 1561 Belgic Confession (arts. 28 & 29); the Preamble to the 1619 Canons of Dordt; the 1645 Westminster Directory for the Publick Worship of God (in the middle of its Publick Prayer before the Sermon); and the unadulterated Westminster Confession of Faith 23:4o & 25:6o to all of which documents I myself am a Strict Subscriptionist. See my essay The Non-Preteristic Historicalism of John Calvin and the Calvinistic Standards (1993).

Truly, A.D. 2000 is very far from the end of World History! May we then redouble our efforts and labour for the Master from the dawn till setting sun or rather, till the sunrise of Christ's postmillennial Millennium! See: the 1563 Heidelberg Catechism (cf. QQ. & AA. 80 & 123); the Westminster Larger Catechism Q. & A. 191c-h; and my own A.D. 2000 essay Always Victorious! The Earliest Church Not Pre- but Postmillennial.

For, as Isaac Watts declares in his poem drawn from Psalm 72:

"Jesus shall reign where'er the sun,

doth its successive journeys run

His Kingdom stretch from shore to shore,

till moons shall wax and wane no more."

Also Sir Arthur Sullivan exulted in his own rousing marching song for the Church Militant here on Earth:

"At the sign of triumph, Satan's legions flee.

On then, Christian soldiers, on to victory!"

Let Hell's foundations then indeed quiver! Onward, Christian Soldiers, to victory!

Rev. Prof. Dr. Francis Nigel Lee, Regente Jesu, 2000 Anno Domini.

 

Christ has made us Kings unto God, to reign on the Earth

Revelation 1 December 1

 

 

"Jesus Christ...is the faithful Witness and the First-begotten from the dead, and the Prince of the kings of the Earth. To Him Who loved us and washed us from our sins in His Own blood and has made us kings and priests to God and His Father to Him be glory and dominion, for ever and ever! Amen."

 

 

Probably very soon after writing his three Epistles, the Apostle John inscripturated also the last book of the Bible. While himself in exile on the island of Patmos, he wrote the Book of Revelation to encourage persecuted Christians. For tribulation was even then being experienced in the Christian Congregations of Western Asia Minor, on what is now the Western Coast of modern Turkey. It was soon to spread throughout the Roman Empire.

 

Caesar Nero ruled the Roman Empire from A.D. 54 to 68. It seems quite likely that at least some of the immediate tribulations of Christians referred to in the Book of Revelation, were those suffered as a result of the persecution which broke out after Nero falsely accused the Christians of instigating the burning of Rome in the July of 64 A.D.U #5639

 

In that case, Revelation would have been written probably just a year or so later during the year immediately before 66-67. That would have been just three-and-one-half years or "time [and] two times and half-a-time"(?) before the A.D. 70 Pagan-Roman destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. Thus very many Theologians such as Lightfoot, Westcott, Hort, Leon Morris, Vanderwaal, Francis Nigel Lee, Chilton and Gentry.

 

On the other hand, others think (with Eusebius and Enoch Pond) that the immediate tribulations referred to in the last book of the Bible were those suffered during Caesar Domitian's later persecution of Christians. In that case, Revelation would have been written around A.D. 95f.

 

Either way, however, it is quite clear that the whole book was written by the Apostle John during the latter half of the first century A.D. It was written about things which even then would "shortly" start coming to pass things that were then "at hand."

 

John does not say or mean (preteristically) that all those things would soon finish coming to pass. Nor does he say or mean (futuristically) that almost none of those things would even start to occur until after an alleged and still-future 'rapture.' He says and means (historicalistically) that first some and then all those things would "shortly" start coming to pass.

 

John was then on the small island of Patmos during either a first or a second exile (viz. respectively in the sixties or in the nineties of the first century A.D.). It was then that he wrote about things which he had "seen" (viz. Jesus Christ and His Church or "Candlestick" Congregations) and about things which "are" (viz. the things which were occurring right then, which he rightly called: "now").

 

Nevertheless, John wrote also about things which would start occurring only after that. Such were Christ's explanations to the aged John of the many mysteries or then-still-hidden events which only others would later see "come to pass" viz. "the things which shall be hereafter"; the things that would start occurring only later (though as indeed then quite "shortly").

 

At that time, John was exiled on the isle of Patmos during the persecution of several Congregations of Christ's Church in Western Asia Minor. Possibly, that persecution had already or would also soon spread throughout the entire Pagan-Roman Empire. John wrote the Book of Revelation chiefly concerning "things which must shortly come to pass." And at least some of those "things" were already at least to start being fulfilled by the time John died before the end of the first century A.D.

 

First. The Apostle was apparently writing his book to a Presbytery. Just as John had apparently written to a regional Presbytery and to her many daughter Congregations in his Second Epistle so too here in the Book of Revelation. For here, he was writing to the regional Presbytery of Western Asia Minor and to her daughter Congregations (of Ephesus and Smyrna and Pergamos and Thyatira and Sardis and Philadelphia and Laodicea).

 

These Congregations had been or were just beginning to be persecuted (together with the Apostle John himself). The fact that John wrote to the Presbytery of Western Asia Minor has, we believe, many general implications as to which is the truly Biblical system of Church Government. And this also has many implications as to the ability of the Christian Church when thus properly organized to withstand persecution.

 

Second. The events revealed by Jesus Christ and recorded in writing by the Apostle John in the Book of Revelation during the latter part of the first century A.D., relate to "things which must shortly come to pass.... For the time is at hand."

 

This surely indicates that the predictions about the future as recorded in the Book of Revelation unlike the predictions recorded by Daniel in his own day would "shortly come to pass" (or soon start coming to pass). Such were the things which would occur "hereafter" the things that would start to happen (also in Heaven but especially here on Earth) soon after they were written. For even then already "the time" was "at hand."

 

Yet it must also be remarked that "the time" referred to in this text, is the entire time from John's own day right down to the day of the Final Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ to judge the living and the dead and to consummate the New Heavens on the New Earth. For the Book of Revelation (21:1 to 22:20f) ends with the not-yet-fulfilled statement "Surely, I come quickly!" to which the Church prayerfully resonds: "Even so, come, Lord Jesus!"

 

So the entire Book of Revelation has a plasticity as regards its application. Though basically linear in its view of time, perhaps it also has a cyclical repeatability as regards the time(s) of the fulfilment of such of its prophecies as pertain to at least some of its future events. Yet the events mentioned in this Book of Revelation (just like those predicted in the Book of Daniel to which it constantly refers) have, by now (in our own twenty-first century), for the most part long since been fulfilled (or started to be fulfilled) at least in the primary sense.

 

For the Book of Revelation was, after all, primarily addressed to the first-century Congregations and servants of Christ well-known to John himself. At least some of the then-future events therein described, were by and large intelligible to those first-century Christians. In fact, the events predicted there were for the most part probably more intelligible to those first-century Christians then than they are to us today. So, as the Calvinistic Geneva Bible rightly comments, the Book of Revelation "expounds the Old[er] Prophets, and shows what shall come to pass in the New[er] Testament."

 

This does not in any way make the Book of Revelation useless to us today! For, as "servants" of Jesus Christ like John, we too are included among the ultimate and more remote addressees of that book. The therein-described and by-now already-fulfilled (or already partly-fulfilled) predictions, are always rich in relevant instruction and sometimes capable of even further and ever-deepening fulfilments.

 

Yet the Book of Revelation (like the Book of Daniel in which its predictions are grounded) is primarily to be interpreted 'as now already fulfilled' historicalistically. Interpreted 'as now already fulfilled' because some its predictions did indeed begin to be fulfilled shortly after it was written and in fact even during John's own lifetime. Yet interpreted historicalistically in particular because yet other of its predictions would begin to be fulfilled only after the death of John, and indeed only during the course of subsequent Church History.

 

There are certainly a few predictions in the Book of Revelation which have not yet even started to be fulfilled. However, it is only in a very secondary sense that this last book of the Bible should ever be interpreted as 'not-yet-fulfilled' and especially futuristically.

 

Non-futuristic interpretation, whether partly-preteristic or whether instead wholly-historicalistic, is (we submit) clearly implied in the words of Christ to John in the very first chapter of the Book of Revelation: "Write the things which you have seen both the things which are [now], and the things which shall be hereafter [or after this time of your writing it down]!"

 

Third. Christ's "Revelation" to the Apostle John came from the Triune God and to His triunely-baptized people. "Grace and peace be to you, from Him Who is, and Who was, and Who will keep on being; and from the seven Spirits before His throne; and from Jesus Christ Who...has made us kings and priests to God and His Father."

 

Here we see that God always was, is now, and always shall be. Too, we receive God's grace precisely from the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and the one-and-only 'sevenfold' Spirit (Who has a 'perfect-seven' omnipotence).

 

May we too never forget that as baptized believers we too are in living contact with the Triune God Himself! For He will ever sustain us as His baptismally-branded sheep.

 

Fourth. The Book of Revelation came to John specifically from the One Who is the central Person within the Trinity. It came from God the Son from the triumphantly-risen Saviour. It came "from Jesus Christ Who is the faithful Witness and the First-begotten from the dead." For Christ it was Who told John: "I am He Who was dead, but Who keeps on living. And look, I am alive for evermore! Amen. And I have the keys of Hell and of Death."

 

So too even today. Christ still has the power over Death, and even over Hell itself. What, then, have we who are Christians to fear? Indeed absolutely nothing!

 

Fifth. Jesus Christ the Lord of the Book of Revelation is not merely the risen Saviour but much more importantly He is also the ascended and ever-reigning King. For the Son of man ascended into Heaven and sat down at the right hand of God the Father in order to mount the throne of the Universe.

 

He did this as man in His capacity as human viceroy of the cosmos. And He will keep on ruling in this way, until the very end of His mediatorial reign. Indeed, also after that, He shall continue His reign in His other capacity as the divine Second Person of the Trinity.

 

Consequently, ever since His ascension and heavenly session, Christ has been "the Prince of the kings of the Earth." As such, He stands ready to execute repeated judgments over the nations during the course of human history, as well as ultimately in the Final Judgment at the very end of history.

 

For in the vision which He gave to John about Himself, "His head and His hair were white as wool as white as snow. And His eyes were like a flame of fire. And His feet were like fine brass as if they were burning in a furnace. And His voice was like the sound of many waters. And He had seven stars in His right hand. And a sharp two-edged sword went forth from His mouth. And His countenance was like the sun which keeps on shining in its strength."

 

Thus, Christ reigns! He reigns now! Hence the Devil is already in principle a defeated foe.

 

Sixth. Consequently, our now-reigning Saviour "the Prince of the kings of the Earth" rules not only in Heaven but also on Earth, right here and now. And He keeps on executing that rule over this World in an ever-expansive manner also through the agency of His Christian children.

 

For He "has made us kings and priests to God and His Father." Indeed, we too are already under-kings or viceroys in the King-dom of God here and now on this present Earth under the leadership of our principal Prince our Saviour Jesus Christ, the Lord of lords and King of kings. For He "has made us kings!"

 

Moreover, as heirs of that Kingdom, we are in principle already free from the evils of the "kingdoms" of this World as Christ Himself implied. Accordingly, all temporary persecutions suffered by Christians at the hands of both Jew and Gentile can serve only to make them "more than conquerors" through Jesus Christ the Lord. For He is the Prince of His Kingdom; and every Member of His Church is a Christ-ian "king" under Him.

 

Seventh. The inspired John strengthened the suffering saints in their temporal and temporary persecutions. He did this, by assuring them of the repeated invisible comings culminating in the visible Final Coming of the Lord Jesus in triumphal judgments against His enemies, and in covenantal defence of His suffering people.

 

Previously, Christ had come to His people at Calvary and at His resurrection. Furthermore, even as He had at the beginning of the Book of Revelation only just then come in triumphal defence of John himself on the island of Patmos so too would He soon come also to strengthen the first-century A.D. Congregations in Western Asia Minor.

 

He would particularly come and comfort them in the hour of those believers' deaths. Yet if they, the first-century A.D. Congregations, would not repent of their backslidings that same Jesus would come even to chasten and to correct them. Indeed, He certainly came invisibly yet powerfully to destroy the wicked Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

 

But Christ would come also to strengthen His Post-Apostolic Church. He would come again and again in judgment, progressively to destroy the Pagan Roman Empire. He would come to reign in the later post-Constantinian and semi-christianized Holy Roman Empire.

 

He would come in the power of His Word and His Spirit at the Protestant Reformation, progressively to destroy the Papacy. Indeed, He would come in judgment also against the Papacy even at the French Revolution etc.

 

Christ comes in the judgments of wars and famines and earthquakes against the wicked rebels of our own generation. He comes in Christian revivals, during our own and subsequent times. And He will ultimately come again visibly; with the clouds; in power and great glory; namely at a still-future and Final Judgment.

 

In all of these progressive comings of Christ, our Saviour would and shall progressively be glorified. For He ever goes forth conquering and to conquer all His enemies (either by converting them or by confounding them). "Look, He comes with clouds and every eye shall see Him, even also they who pierced Him! And all kindreds of the Earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen."

 

O Christian, let us too then congregate in our Presbyteries! Let us too be edified, prophetically from the past, in the present and for the future! Let us 'improve' our Triune Baptism (Westminster Larger Catechism (Q./A. 167)! Let us rise up again and again free from our sins and despite our tribulations in the power of our risen Saviour Jesus Christ our Lord!

 

Let us expand our reign here and now on this present Earth as Christ's under-kings! Let us subject ourselves to our everywhere-reigning Prince, Jesus the King of all the Earth in spite of all persecutions! And let us keep on doing this until Jesus has christianized this World of ours and all it contains, by His progressive series of conquests!

 

As He again and again comes in repeated judgments may every eye see Him! May the eyes also of the Jewish nation that pierced Him, ultimately recognize and worship Him! Indeed, may all the kindreds alias every family here on Earth progressively bewail Him in repentance as the very nations themselves are slowly but surely turned into His Disciples, even while He progressively converts them (or otherwise confounds them)!

 

 

 

 

 

So on, then, Christian soldiers! Onward, to victory!

Overcomers are given Power over Nations

Revelation 2 December 2

 

 

"That which you have already hold fast, till I come! And He who overcomes and keeps My works unto the end to him I will give power over the nations. And he shall rule [or shepherd] them with an iron rod. Like the vessels of a potter, they [those of the nations who do not repent] shall be broken into pieces as I received from My Father. And I will give to him [who overcomes] the morning star."

 

 

Christ had just revealed Himself to the exiled John, on the tiny isle of Patmos. Next, the risen and reigning Saviour instructed John to write to the persecuted Congregrations in the Presbytery of Western Asia Minor directly to the east of Patmos. The Apostle was to do so, both to encourage and to correct them before Christ Himself would "come" and deal with them during that period of history.

 

In and through those messages to the Congregations of Western Asia Minor during the first century A.D., Jesus encourages and corrects His Church Universal down through all subsequent ages too. For these messages refer also to the similar problems and needs of the Lord's Church in all times.

 

Yet the (seven) messages to the (seven) Congregations unlike most of the rest of the Book of Revelation are not to be construed as a future chronology of successive ages of the Christian Church. For all seven messages were addressed to specific Congregations of Christ's Church during the same apostolic age. Nevertheless, all seven messages are applicable also to the Church of the twenty-first century today though some of the messages are more relevant to certain modern Congregations than they are to others.

 

First. Christ told John to write to the "Angel" of His Congregation in Ephesus. That Angel or Preacher was to remind his flock that its Members were safely being preserved in the omnipotent hand of the divine Lord of the Church.

 

Said the Lord Jesus to the Apostle John: "Unto the Angel of the Church in Ephesus, write: 'These things says He Who keeps on holding the seven stars in His right hand; Who keeps on walking in the middle of the seven-pronged golden Candlestick.'" That "Angel" or "Star" that Messenger in Ephesus was thereby assured that also he himself was secure in the right hand of the Lord.

 

Perhaps that "Angel" of the Congregation in Ephesus was a guardian spirit a bodyless angelic being appointed by God to take care of His flock in that place. More probably that "Angel" or Messenger represents instead the Guardian Pastor or Preaching Elder appointed by Christ to be a shining "Star" to that Congregation. Or possibly that "Angel" represents both an angelic 'guardian spirit' as well as Christ's Preacher in Ephesus ultimately collaborating with one another (even if that was unbeknown to the Preacher).

 

At any rate it is a great comfort for Christians and Preachers to know that the Congregations of Christ are under the protection of the reigning Lord Jesus, and safely in His loving hand. Indeed, nobody shall ever be able to wrest His children away from His tender loving care.

 

Second. Christ praised the Christian dedication of His Congregation in Ephesus. "I know your works, and your labours, and your patience and how you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are 'Apostles' but are not and have found them to be liars. And you have borne; and have had patience; and have laboured for My Name's sake; and have not fainted."

 

The Members of the Congregation had worked and laboured in terms of the Dominion Charter. They had endured opposition, patiently. They had rooted out false-apostles and all antinomian or law-breaking Nicolaitans. Indeed, they had started out by loving both the Lord pre-eminently as well as one another corporately. May we too follow their example!

 

Third. Christ rebuked and encouraged the Ephesian Christians to acknowledge the subsequent cooling off of their love. For He wanted them to overcome all hindrances in, and oppositions to, their Christian lives.

 

Said Jesus to His Church in Ephesus: "I have something against you because you have left your first love.... Repent, and do the first works or else I will come to you quickly, and will remove your Candlestick.... He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit keeps on saying to the Churches: 'To him who overcomes, I will give to eat of the tree of life which is in the middle of the paradise of God.'"

 

May this be also our present resolution! Indeed, may we too receive the same ultimate reward!

 

Fourth. Christ encouraged the impoverished Congregation of Smyrna. He told her Members that they were actually rich and would soon receive crowns of life. They were, indeed, then being persecuted particularly by such Judaists as were then blaspheming them. Yet only some of the Christians in Smyrna were then being imprisoned by 'devilish' Pagan Rome (especially after Nero cohabited with the Judaist Poppaea). But even then, the Christians' souls were still free and their tribulation was but "ten days" short.

 

This tribulation of "ten days" might indeed last for ten years. Thus: Walter Brute; the Dordt Dutch Bible; Adam Clarke; and many others. But it would soon be over. Because it clearly implies as the Geneva Bible comments that "there shall be comfort and release."

 

Yes, even those who had been faithful unto death during that persecution, immediately entered the next life blissfully. For those who have received the second birth shall never be harmed by the Gehenna of the second death.

 

Fifth. Christ encouraged the Congregation of Pergamos. This Church included backslidden Members who had, like Balaam, compromised their testimony and fallen into Nicolaitan alias antinomian idolatry and fornication. If they did not soon repent, Christ would come quickly to punish those backsliders with severe temporal judgments.

 

But the rest of the Members of the Congregation in Pergamos had remained faithful even while surrounded by a sea of Satanic iniquity, and even when unflinchingly persecuted during the days of past tribulation. For those Members had overcome Satan. And "to him who overcomes," said Jesus, "I will give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone and on the stone a 'new name' written which no man knows except he who receives it."

 

May we too never flinch under persecution! And may we too receive the heavenly manna, even today! For, as the Geneva Bible comments, the 'white stone' was "given to them that had gotten any victory or prize in sign of honour." And "the new name also signifies renown and honour."

 

Sixth. Christ gave similar encouragement to His Church's Congregation in Thyatira. At first, He patiently gave the Congregation's immoral and wicked false-prophetess Jezebel a sufficient space of time to repent. But after the expiry of that time, He now announced that He would cast her and her few Satanic co-adulterers into "great tribulation." In fact, He would even kill her children if she would not be converted.

 

The rest of the Members in the Congregation at Thyatira, however the "many" who apparently constituted the vast majority of the Congregation's Members, would not be punished like the "few" (or "them") who had lapsed into immorality and idolatry. To the contrary. The rest of the Congregation whose last works were even better than their first, and whose love and service and faith and patience were highly commended by the Saviour would not be exposed to any further burdens or trials of patience.

 

For seventh. The good-living majority of the Congregation in Thyatira like their Lydia of old would overcome all opposition and keep on doing Christian works "unto the end." And they would ultimately that is, in later Church History be "given power over the nations" in Christ's progressively-christianizing World.

 

For "he [who overcomes] shall rule them [the nations] with an iron rod" by shepherding and feeding them with his shepherd's staff. "Like the vessels of a potter, they [those of the nations who do not repent] shall be broken into pieces as I received from My Father. And I will give to him [who overcomes] the morning star."

 

True as it is that this promise will fully be realized only after the Final Judgment on the New Earth yet to come it is also apparent that it will in large measure first be realized prior to that time. For it will first be realized in this present World here and now as Christianity extends its victorious advance across the globe, culminating in the christianization of all nations.

 

O Christian, let us too listen to what the Holy Spirit of God says to the Churches! Let us too work to subdue the Earth and to win all of its inhabitants to the glory of Christ!

 

Let us enrich our impoverished spirits! Let us also discipline our few backsliders!

 

Let us encourage, too, our industrious Christians! And let us advance on a broad front throughout the World until all nations bow down under the rod of the Good Shepherd Jesus Christ, and until the kingdoms of this World have in practice too become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ and He shall keep on reigning and keep on expanding that reign for ever and ever!

 

 

 

 

 

So on, then, Christian soldiers! Onward, to victory!

 

Christ converts Judaists and thus expands the Christian Church

Revelation 3:1-13 December 3

 

 

"I will come upon you like a thief.... Look, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan who say they are Jews yet are not but do lie look, I will make them to come and worship [God] in front of your feet, and acknowledge that I have loved you!"

 

 

In his mind's eye, John had already shifted his prophetic gaze up along the coast of Western Asia Minor from the South to the North. After so doing, he next addressed the Congregations of Ephesus and Smyrna and Pergamos.

 

Then, after moving his mind's eye further "in the Spirit" due east to Thyatira, the Apostle (as Jesus' agent and spokesman) next extended his range more and more inland in a south-easterly direction. For he next went on ("in the Spirit") to address the inland Congregations of Sardis and Philadelphia and Laodicea.

 

First. His prophetic gaze fell upon the Congregation in Sardis. That part of His Church had apparently "escaped" the persecutions which some of the other Congregations had suffered. Yet this was a mixed blessing.

 

For persecutions tend to deepen the faithfulness of Christ's Church. And some in the apparently 'unpersecuted' Congregation of Sardis, had become "dead." They, in particular, needed to be revived and perhaps even through persecution.

 

Yet Christ did not hastily reject His Church. Rather did He enjoin her to be watchful, and to strengthen those that remained as a 'remnant' which was ready to die.

 

Said Christ, "I have not found your works perfect before God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard.... Keep on holding fast and repent!" For soon, Christ Himself would come and visit that Congregation in temporal judgment.

 

May we too not reject our 'frozen' (though perhaps still 'chosen') brethren! But may we instead lovingly warn them of their impending judgment!

 

As the Geneva Bible here comments: "Be awake!" That means, to some: "Stay awake!" and to others: "Wake up!"

 

Second. Not merely was the Congregation at Sardis 'strengthenable.' It also had a solid believing core on the basis of which, true revival could indeed be promoted.

 

Said Jesus to that Congregation: "You do have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments. And they shall walk with Me, in white. For they are worthy. He who overcomes, the same shall be clothed in white raiment. And I will not blot out his name from the book of life. But I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels."

 

He Who says these things, speaks efficacious words. For "He possesses the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars."

 

Yes, Jesus Who says these things possesses the fullness of the sevenfold Holy Spirit. Indeed, He also possesses each of the seven star-like and luminous because Spirit-filled Angels or Messengers who lead His work in the Congregations of His Presbytery. Consequently, as pointed out by Martin Luther in his great hymn A mighty fortress is our God, even today because we do indeed have 'the right Man on our side,' namely 'Christ Jesus' 'He must win the battle!'

 

Third. It is, however, especially Christ's message to the Congregation in Philadelphia that is remarkable in the encouragement it offers. The Philadelphian Christians had, like those in Smyrna, apparently been persecuted by the Pagan Romans at the instigation of influential local Judaists. The Philadelphian Christians were, moreover even as John was then writing to them on the verge of again being intimidated in a new wave of persecution that was then about to sweep through the whole World of the Roman Empire.

 

Judaists had persecuted the Christians from even before the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. But periodic Roman persecutions of Christians initially incited once again by Judaists broke loose only in the time of Emperor Claudius (A.D. 41-54). Yet such persecutions first became really severe only during the time of Emperor Nero (A.D. 54-64f) and his Judaistic wife Poppaea.

 

Such Roman persecutions of Christians once again recurred, intermittently, from the reign of Domitian (A.D. 81-96) right down to that of Marcus Aurelius (161-180 A.D.). Yet John, at Christ's own dictation, assured the Philadelphian Christians that they would (by the grace of God) stand fast in their new hour of persecution even as they had done before. "Because you have kept the Word of My patience," said Jesus, "I also will keep you during the hour of testing which shall come upon all the World to test those who dwell upon the Earth."

 

Fourth. Even their worst persecutors would be converted as a result of the Philadelphian Christians' stalwart testimony. For even since Calvary, part of the then-apostate and then-broken-off Jewish nation had been trickling back into the true Christian Church (and still continues to so do).

 

Indeed, as a result of the mighty missionary outreach of the Church even among Judaists the latter too were also then and are even now more and more being converted and enabled to see that not the Judaists but the Christians (both Hebrew Christians and Gentile Christians) are the true Zion. For Jesus Christ the Deliverer comes out also to the Judaists, from the Christian Church alias His True Zion, in her sustained missionary work-of-mercy. By means of this Christ Himself turns and shall keep on turning ungodliness away from Jacob (alias ethnic Israel).

 

So, then, even the Jews shall come into the Christian Church and ultimately, like a flood! And in that way, "all Israel shall be saved." Then shall those Newer Testament enemies of the Christians Gospel themselves be converted to the true religion of Biblical Christianity.

 

The Older Testament itself is full of predictions of such an influx into the Newer Testament Christian Church. Here are but two.

 

"The sons also of those that afflict you, shall come to you bending. And all those who despised you, shall bow themselves down at the soles of your feet. And they shall call you 'The City of the Lord' 'The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.'" That is why Augustine rightly called the Christian Church: 'The City of God.'

 

Once again: "Kings shall be your nursing-fathers, and their queens [shall become] your nursing-mothers. They [too, with you,] shall bow down...with their face toward the ground and lick up the dust at your feet."

 

As Jesus Himself put it, in His Book of Revelation: "Look, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan who say they are Jews yet are not but do lie look, I will make them to come and worship [God] in front of your feet." Indeed, I will get them there to "acknowledge that I have loved you!"

 

This means, as the Geneva Bible comments, that the Triune God will humble the Judaists before the Christians. It suggests God here says to His Church anent the Judaists: "I will cause them, in your sight, to humble themselves and to give due honour to God and to His Son Christ."

 

Meantime, fifth, the expansion of Christ's Kingdom here on Earth would continue despite all resistance, be it from Barbarian or from Jew or from Greek or from Roman. For Christ lives, and always will live, in His Church Militant and He has the key of David. Indeed, He, the risen Saviour wielding the keys even of Hell and Death Himself expands His Church and promotes her mission. For "He opens so that no man [can] shut; and He shuts, so that no man [can] open." He sets His Church before "an open door and no man can shut it."

 

Christ's Church herself indeed has little strength. But Christ's Own strength is revealed in His Church's weakness. She shall not deny His Name for she knows that the Name of Jehovah-Jesus is strong indeed. Thus His Church can do all things, through Christ Who strengthens her.

 

Sixth. The 'key of David' comments the Geneva Bible "signifies that Christ has all the power over the House of David, which is the Church." Consequently, "He may receive...whom He will." And the 'open door' set before the Church, adds the Geneva Bible, "is to advance the Kingdom of God."

 

Whenever she stands firm and immovable for Him Christ comes quickly to revive and to expand His Church. Promises Jesus: "Look, I come quickly! Keep on holding fast to that which you have, so that nobody take your crown! Him who overcomes, I will make a pillar in the Temple of My God, and he shall not go away from it any more."

 

Christians shall overcome the World. For they are not imminently removed from it; but established as pillars of His Church Militant, in it. Consequently, the Members of the Temple of God alias the Church Militant are here and now already crowned as kings (in principle). And all who overcome the forces of the spirit of antichrist are made into strong pillars of that Church Militant inflexible and immovable.

 

Last. Christ will ultimately come visibly, at His Final Judgment to crown us in practice too. Then will He incorporate us into the Heavenly City on the New Earth for ever. Then His Name shall be most prominent 'indelibly' written upon our baptized foreheads.

 

"Look," says Jesus, "I come quickly! Keep on holding fast to that which you have, so that nobody take your crown! Him who overcomes, I will make a pillar in the Temple of My God, and he shall not go away from it any more. And I will write upon him the Name of My God, and the name of the City of My God which is 'New Jerusalem' (which comes down out of Heaven from My God). And I will write upon him My new Name."

 

As the Geneva Bible here comments, it is as if God the Spirit here says to God the Son as regards God the Father: "Let no man pluck them away whom You have won to God! For they are Your crown."

 

Indeed, as Hengstenberg comments: "To be a conqueror and to be a Christian, is the same thing." So therefore, "he who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit keeps on saying to the Churches!"

 

O Christian, let us too listen to what the Spirit keep on saying to the Churches! Let us not fearfully seek to 'escape' persecution! But let us rather 'strengthen' one another!

 

Let us stand firm, through all tribulation and attempt to convert even our persecutors! Let us march out, through uncloseable missionary doors uncloseable, because Christ has opened them! And let us experience His comings in revivals and expansions of His Church till His Kingdom is complete, when we ourselves will keep on standing within His Church or Temple: immovable for ever!

 

 

 

 

 

So on, then, Christian soldiers! Onward, to victory!

 

Those that Overcome, will sit with Christ upon His Throne

Revelation 3:14-22 December 4

 

 

"I rebuke and chasten as many as I love! Therefore, be zealous and repent! Look, I am standing at the door and knocking! If any man hears My voice and opens the door I will come in unto him, and I will feast with him; and he with Me."

 

 

Christ delivered His messages (via the Apostle John) to the first six of His Congregations in the Presbytery of Western Asia Minor. Then our reigning King next addressed Himself to the last Congregation in that Presbytery. This was the lukewarm congregation of Laodicea the sister Church of the Congregation in Colosse.

 

First. We need to see that Laodicea had previously heard all the counsel of God from the Apostle Paul. For she had been told, just like her Sister Church in Colosse, that Christ was the Creator and the Maintainer and the Reconciler of all things in Heaven and Earth.

 

She had also been informed that in Christ all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge had been stored up. She had heard that 'Christ in you, the Hope of glory' is the riches of the glory of the mystery (alias the manifestation of what had not been known) among the Gentiles who believe in Him.

 

And now, Laodicea was again being reminded (by John) that Christ was the "Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of God's creation," the One Who was and is the Abolute Originator. For Laodicea was prompted to remember that Christ is the One Who began creation the One Who is The Beginning alias The Beginner of creation. As the Geneva Bible comments, it is Christ "from Whom all creatures have their beginning."

 

Second. Sadly, the Church in Laodicea had cooled off toward Christ! So He, through John, reminded her how she had lost a very great deal of her true riches. And Christ, through John, exhorted her to recover them. For it is spiritual riches and not the material riches they were then indeed continuing to acquire that represent true wealth.

 

Said Jesus to Laodicea: "Because you say, 'I am rich and have increased with goods and don't need anything' but do not acknowledge that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked I counsel you to buy from Me gold tested in the fire, so that you may become rich; and white raiment, so that you may become clothed and so that the shame of your nakedness might not become apparent; and anoint yourself with eye salve, so that you may see!"

 

May we today learn from the Laodiceans' mistakes! May we not forget our True Riches the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!

 

Third. Christ promised to "rebuke and chasten" His Church simply because He loved her. Said He: "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I would that you were cold or hot! So then, because you are luke-warm, and neither cold nor hot I will spit you out of My mouth.... I rebuke and chasten as many as I love. Therefore, be zealous and repent!"

 

May we too understand that even today, lukewarm Churches can still be revived from their Laodicean indifference! And may we also ever regard Christ's chastenings as tokens of His love designed to restore us from our wayward backslidings; designed to restore us once again to enjoy His tender care!

 

"For the Lord chastens those whom He loves and He scourges every son whom He receives." As the Geneva Bible comments: "Nothing more displeases God, than indifference and coldness in religion.... Therefore He will spit out such as are not zealous and fervent."

 

Fourth. The quantitative magnitude of Christ's love, is hardly less than the qualitative. For it is not just a few that He chastises, but a great number. Indeed, He says: "I rebuke and chasten as many as I love."

 

Moreover, He adds: "If any man hears My voice, and opens the door I will come in unto him, and will feast with him." The invitation comes to men indiscriminately. All who get open the door, will be received by Jesus.

 

Fifth. It should not be imagined, however, that those who do so open do so of their 'own free will,' as it were. For the people here under discussion are not at all unregenerate Heathen. Rather are they somewhat-backslidden (and therefore previously-regenerated) Members of the Christian Church in Laodicea. They are people whose wills had previously been "free-d" freed by the Sovereign Lord Himself.

 

Moreover, even here in their later restoration from lapses into sin, Christ is again sovereign. He says: "Look, I am standing at the door and [I am] knocking! If any man hears My voice and opens the door I will come in unto him, and I will feast with him; and [only then] he with Me." Just as right after man's fall in the garden of Eden, so too here again it is not man that comes to God but God Who comes to man.

 

It is Christ Who stands at the door not the sinner. It is Christ Who knocks not the sinner. It is the voice of Christ and not that of the sinner which is heard.

 

It is not the sinner himself but it is Jesus Christ Who from the outside thrusts His hand through the small hole toward the edge of the middle of this old-fashioned door. Indeed, it is He Who then moves the hand of the sinner to lift up the latch on the inside of the door and thus to participate in Christ's own opening of the door. And it is Christ Who then first feasts with the sinner not vice-versa.

 

Sixth. Christ promises that those who overcome in His Name will indeed reign with Him for evermore. He says: "To him who overcomes, I will grant to sit with Me on My throne even as I too overcame, and have sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit keeps on saying to the Churches!"

 

Now that 'co-rule' of the Christians enthroned together with Christ on His royal seat, starts in this life here and now. And it continues, unloseably, right down also to the next life yes, for everlasting! For, as the Geneva Bible observes, to sit with Christ on His throne is to be installed" in what He Himself calls "My royal seat and to be partaker of My heavenly joys."

 

O Christian, let us too listen to what the Spirit keeps on saying to the Churches even today! May we too recognize Jesus as the Creator; as the Maintainer; as the Reconciler of all things in Heaven and Earth; and as the Beginner of the whole creation!

 

May we enrich ourselves in Him in Whom all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are stored up! May we ever turn closer to Him Who loves us and Who proves that love by constantly chastening us! May we realize that He loves many, and will feast with all who hearken to His persuasive voice! And may we thus rule and reign with Him, in all that we do both in this life and the next!

 

 

 

 

 

So on, then, Christian soldiers! Onward, to victory!

 

All Things were created by the Lord for His Pleasure

Revelation 4 December 5

 

 

"You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power. For You have created all things. And it is through Your will [or for Your good pleasure] that they are, and were created."

 

 

John recorded Christ's messages to the seven Congregations in the Presbytery of Western Asia Minor here on Earth. But next, the Apostle was given a vision of Heaven itself of Heaven above.

 

"After this" (or after those things), wrote John, "I looked. And see, a door in Heaven was opened! Then the first voice which I heard was as it were that of a trumpet which kept on talking to me. It said: 'Come up here and I will show you the things which must occur hereafter!'" This latter phrase "the things which must occur hereafter" means those things which were still to happen after the occurrence of the previous things Christ had just shown to John. For many new temporal rewards and even chastisements were still to come, from Heaven to men here on Earth, down through all the subsequent centuries, and before the Final Judgment.

 

The Lord had just shown His Apostle the condition of His Church in the Presbytery of Western Asia Minor here on Earth during the Apostle's own day. And now, the trumpet-voiced Son of man went on to show His same servant John a heavenly vision of the major events which would next start occurring by and large consecutively here on this present Earth, after His administration of temporal rewards or chastisements to the Congregations of His first-century Presbytery of Western Asia Minor.

 

Before describing that new series of rewards and chastisements which were as then yet to come right here on Earth Jesus first showed John His present throne in Heaven. For it was in Heaven that the book with the seven seals of then-future Church History would be opened up from which book its contents would then be brought to pass on Earth.

 

Here, the Geneva Bible makes a very valuable comment. It explains that first, "before" the Apostle would "make mention of the great afflictions of the Church, he sets forth the majesty of God." For by His "will, wisdom and providence all things are created and governed to teach us patience."

 

Now in this vision of Heaven, He Whom John saw sitting on the heavenly throne was and is the Triune God Himself. He was like a jasper and a rainbow and a sardius-stone to look upon. For He Who sat upon the throne, is the luminous Thrice-Holy Lord God Almighty alias the Father-Son-Spirit Who always was and Who is and Who shall keep on being.

 

From the midst of the throne, declared John, there proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices from the sevenfold-exalted and sevenfold-blessed God the Father. In the middle of the throne stood God the Son, alias the seven-horned Lamb or the sevenfold-anointed Lord Jesus Christ. And in front of the throne was God the Spirit, Who shone forth like seven lamps of fire as the sevenfold Spirit of God.

 

That Spirit Himself acts like the sevenfold eyes of Christ the Lamb. Those searching eyes are like flames of fire. Indeed, John had already written how they searched out the reins and the hearts of the Members of the seven Congregations in the seven-pronged Candlestick the Western Asia Minor Presbytery in the Church of the living God.

 

Now this glorious and sevenfold or perfect Triune Being, said John, is completely independent of all the many created existences within the Universe which He Himself created. Thus, His heavenly creatures sing to Him without ceasing ('seven days a week' as it were): "Holy, holy holy; Lord God Almighty; Who was, and Who is, and Who shall keep on being!"

 

Second, out of the throne proceeds a triune creative activity lightnings and thunderings and voices. Here we catch a glimpse of the re-splendent external work of the Triune Jehovah His work in creation, in providence, in communication, in salvation, in judgment, and in consummation. May we too then never forget the glory of the Lord with Whom we have to do!

 

As the Geneva Bible comments: "From the throne of the Father and the Son proceeds the Holy Ghost Who, all having but one throne, declare the unity of the Godhead. The Holy Ghost is like lightning to us who believe, and like a fearful thunder to the disobedient."

 

Third. "Before the throne, there was a sea of glass like crystal. And in the midst of the throne and round about the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind. The first living creature was like a lion; and the second living creature like a calf; and the third living creature had a face like that of a man; and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle....

 

"The four living creatures, each of them, had six wings around it. And they were full of eyes within. And they do not rest day and night. They keep on saying: 'Holy, holy, holy; Lord God Almighty; Who was, and Who is, and Who keeps on being!'"

 

Now as to their basic description and activities, these four "living creatures" or zooa each said to have six wings on the one hand seem to correspond to the sub-sevenfold (and hence sub-divine) six-winged seraphs in a vision previously shown to Isaiah. As such, the four living creatures in the Book of Revelation might well be Angels sent out by Jehovah to serve Him for the sake of the entire Universe.

 

If Angels these four living creatures in the Book of Revelation would perhaps minister also to the wild animals as well as to the tame animals of the land and of the air etc. Yet they minister too especially for the sake of man who alone is the crown of the cosmos.

 

On the other hand, however, these four "living creatures" are clearly distinguished from the Angels in the next chapter. That fact would rather seem to indicate that the four zooa are perhaps the sum total of all earthly living beings or creatures redeemed right here by the blood of the Lamb.

 

Be that as it may. Would that we too might serve the Lord with the same alacrity as do both the good Angels and the sub-human creatures! And would that we too might sing the "thrice-holy' Trishagion with the same dedication as do the four zooa!

 

As Hengstenberg points out, "the object" of the description of the four zooa round the throne of Jehovah "was to impart consolation in the presence of a seemingly omnipotent World" alias mundane order. Indeed, the object is also to "pledge the certainty of victory being gained over it" by Christ and His Church.

 

Fourth. The saved Church of Jesus Christ is, in fact, required to serve Jehovah and to sing to His praise with the same dedication as do both all unfallen angelic beings and all non-angelic sub-human creatures. For "round about the throne, were twenty-four seats. And upon the seats, I saw twenty-four Elders sitting, clothed in white raiment. And they had on their heads crowns of gold."

 

These Elders, just like the good Angels, surround the throne of Jehovah. But unlike those Angels, they are crowned and seated on thrones. This means that they rule and reign with Jehovah Himself albeit only subserviently as viceroys-under-God.

 

Now these twenty-four Elders in Heaven, like all other Elders here and now on Earth, represent the whole people of God. Thus they reflect twice the product of the divine number three multiplied by the creation number four. They also suggest the six-fold number of the wings of the zooa, multiplied by the four-fold number of those living creatures themselves.

 

But the twenty-four Elders symbolize especially the sum total of the Older Testament Church built upon the foundation of the twelve Patriarchs of Israel and the Newer Testament Church built upon the foundation of the twelve Apostles with Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Cornerstone of His entire Older-and-Newer-Testament Church-of-all-ages.

 

Fifth. The Elders, and all the Members of the Church-of-all-ages they represent because they themselves are both creatures and sinners do not have the intrinsic right to rule in their own right, themselves. They only have that God-given privilege graciously donated to them by virtue of their creation and redemption through the mercies of the sovereign Lord. For it is Christ alone Who has clothed them in white raiment. And it is He alone Who has invested them with their crowns of gold.

 

May we too never forget that we ourselves are but sinners saved by the grace of God! For everything we possess, has been given to us merely through the mercies of the Triune God in Whom we live and move and have our very existence.

 

Sixth. The heavenly Elders never forget this. They know that their whole lives both now in Heaven and for ever thereafter on the New Earth yet to come are to be dedicated to the Triune God alone: from Whom they have received all things; through Whom they are right now enjoying all things; and unto Whom they shall bring all of the joyous praise of their lives. For each and every time (seven "days" a week without ceasing) "when those living creatures give glory and honour and thanks to Him Who sat on the throne Who keeps on living for ever and ever the twenty-four Elders fall down before Him Who sat on the throne."

 

There they "worship Him Who keeps on living for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: 'You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power. For You have created all things. And it is through Your will [for Your pleasure] that they are and were created.'"

 

Thus the whole Church, represented by those twenty-four Elders, is to take pleasure in God's creation of all things and also in their own createdness. Indeed, as the Geneva Bible rightly comments: "We are hereby taught to give glory to God in all His works."

 

O Christian, may we here on Earth just like the inhabitants of Heaven above understand something of the indescribable splendour of God Himself! May we realize that He is totally sovereign over the entire Universe in creation, providence, communication, redemption, judgment, and consummation!

 

May we serve our Triune God with the same alacrity as do the unfallen angels. But unlike those Angels, may we rule with Him here and now on Earth; even more so in Heaven hereafter; and still more so after the Final Judgment on the New Earth yet to come!

 

Above all, may we realize with the heavenly Elders that our Lord is indeed worthy to receive all the glory and honour and power of our lives even now! For He has created all things for His Own pleasure. Indeed, our own greatest pleasure should be found in recognizing this and in casting down our own crowns and kingship over all the Universe, before His regal throne.

 

May we do this, and continue to do this until God, through the obedient agency of His earthly Church has reduced all His enemies as a footstool under His feet!

 

 

 

 

 

So on, then, Christian soldiers! Onward, to victory!

The Elect of Every Nation are to reign with Christ on Earth

Revelation 5 December 6

 

 

"The four living creatures and the twenty-four Elders fell down before the Lamb. Every one of them had harps and golden bowls full of perfumes, which are the prayers of saints. And they sang a new song, saying: 'You are worthy to take the book and to open its seals! For You were slain, and have redeemed us [or 'them' or 'the saints'] unto God by Your blood from every kindred [or family] and tongue and people and nation! And You have made them [or us] kings and priests to our God! And we [or they] shall reign on the Earth!"

 

 

Christ was showing John the expectant Church Triumphant, in Heaven above. Then the Lord Jesus next went on to show the Apostle the central role which He Himself had played and keeps on playing in the salvation of the entire elect Universe after His ascension and heavenly session. For He Himself even now promotes the further development of the whole cosmos not just there and now in Heaven, but also here and now on Earth.

 

First. John, in his heavenly vision, saw a scroll in the right hand of Jehovah. "Then I saw in the right hand of Him Who sat on the throne, a book written on the inside and on the outside sealed with seven seals."

 

As will later appear, that very bookroll or scroll is not only Christ's blood-bought title deed to His two-sided redeemed creation (both the heavenly "inside" and the earthly "outside"). But it is also the record of the major religious events of all future history of that "inside" and that "outside" of the Universe. For as the scroll is later unrolled, it also deals with the unfolding of the future development of the plan of redemption.

 

As such, it is Christ's 'title deed' to all cosmic development. For, as the Geneva Bible observes, this bookroll or scroll "signifies all the counsels and judgments of God which are known only to Christ."

 

Now the scroll was secured with seven seals. These seven seals not only authenticate the veracity but they especially symbolize the humanly-unknown contents of the scroll.

 

Nobody was able to pry open the seals of the scroll, or even to comprehend its sealed contents. Nobody except the seven-horned Lamb with the sevenfold sharp-sighted eyes (and those privileged ones to whom He might be pleased to disclose such matters).

 

For the contents of the sealed bookroll can be understood only by Christ and by those with whom He would share it. As the Geneva Bible rightly comments, the 'seven eyes' of the Lamb signify "the fullness of the Spirit Which Christ poured [out] upon all" upon all His elect.

 

Now John himself declared: "I saw a strong Angel proclaiming with a loud voice: 'Who is worthy to open the book and to loosen its seals?' And no man in Heaven, nor on Earth, neither under the Earth, was able to open the book neither to look into it. Then I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look into it."

 

Yet when the worthy Jesus opened the seals of the bookroll "thousands of thousands" praised God. Why? Because they saw that Jesus had redeemed them "from every kindred [or family] and tongue and people and nation."

 

Second. One of the heavenly Elders, however, pointed out to John that the Lord Jesus Christ had triumphed victoriously, to open the scroll. Wrote the Apostle: "Then one of the Elders says to me: 'Do not weep! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the book and to loosen its seven seals!'"

 

Now Christ's opening of the scroll depended upon His first being slaughtered for the sins of the World. Yet Christ's slaughter was fore-ordained even before the foundation of the Universe.

 

So the tense used in the phrase "He has prevailed" is 'past continuous.' Thus it refers not only to Calvary, which was already past history at the time John was writing the Book of Revelation. It refers also to the continuous-present certainty that Christ will keep on prevailing.

 

For all of this was fore-ordained ever since the beginning of the World and, in time, ever since the Protevangelium or 'First Gospel Promise' was given to fallen mankind in the garden of Eden. Thus Jehovah's guarantee stretches from all eternity past and unto all eternity future.

 

Third. One of the Elders in the heavenly vision accordingly gave John a 'playback.' And this reminded the Apostle of that already-past and already-completed redemption which the Lamb had effected when He "prevailed" (past tense) to open the book with the seven seals.

 

Wrote John: "Then I beheld. And look! In the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures and in the midst of the Elders, stood a Lamb as if He had been slain having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits [alias the seven-fold Holy Spirit] of God, sent forth into all the Earth. And He [the Lamb] came and took the book out of the right hand of Him Who sat upon the throne.

 

"Now when He had taken the book, the four living creatures [or zooa] and the twenty-four Elders fell down before the Lamb.... Then they sang a new song, saying: 'You are worthy to take the book, and to open its seals! For You were slain, and have redeemed us ['the saints'] unto God, by Your blood, from every kindred [or family] and tongue and people and nation!'"

 

This is why John himself, when he started to inscripturate the Book of Revelation, dedicated it "to Him Who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood and has made us kings and priests to God!" For it was precisely when Christ actually "took the book" or acquired title of the scroll, by shedding His precious blood that the legal price for the redemption of His Church was officially paid.

 

So, even at that time of His death and resurrection and ascension and heavenly session, the entire Universe then and there acknowledged the Son of man Jesus Christ's acquisition of the title deed of the cosmos. For this acknowledgment was then made by representations of both the Church Militant here on Earth as well as of the Church Expectant in Heaven.

 

The Calvinistic Geneva Bible of John Knox and Dr. Whittingham here makes an appropriate comment. It says: "Our Saviour Jesus has redeemed His Church by His bloodshedding, and gathered it from all nations."

 

Fourth. John next describes the acknowledgment of those saving events specifically by the Church Triumphant (alias the Church in Heaven). He describes how in his vision he saw and heard the heavenly saints acknowledging the death of the Lamb on Calvary, and His subsequent resurrection from the dead and His arrival in Heaven on the clouds at His subsequent ascension and heavenly session in fulfilment of Daniel's prediction.

 

John was now looking at the 'playback' of these saving events in his own God-given vision several decades after their occurrence. Thus John was then enabled to see how the Older Testament saints in Heaven had reacted, when our Saviour died and rose again and arrived in Heaven and sat down on the throne of the Universe as the Son of man.

 

John was enabled also to see how the Newer Testament saints in Heaven react to these matters together with the Older Testament saints with them there. For the Older and the Newer Testament saints in glory both constitute the one and only Church-in-Heaven of our Lord Jesus Christ, represented by the "twenty-four Elders" (or the twelve Patriarchs and the twelve Apostles).

 

Indeed, John saw how Christ the Lamb "came and took the book out of the right hand of Him Who sat upon the thone. And when He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four Elders fell down before the Lamb.... And they sang a new song, saying: 'You are worthy to take the book and to open its seals! For You were slain, and have redeemed us [or 'them'] unto God by Your blood!"

 

Evidently, the echo of the death and resurrection of Christ here on Earth then resounded throughout the cosmos and even into Heaven itself. And that echo was re-echoed back to Earth again at Christ's arrival in Heaven after His ascension. For the heavenly-enthroned Christ then poured out His Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday when the seven-fold Holy Ghost alias "the seven Spirits of God [were] sent forth into all the Earth" to inspire His earthly Church to start to go and gather Christ's elect from every nation.

 

Fifth. Calvary has given benefits and is still able to benefit both man and zooa (alias other 'living creatures'). It profits them both then (at Calvary) and now (after Calvary). It benefitted them both in Heaven and on Earth. For after Christ's ascension and arrival in Heaven, "He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him Who sat upon the throne."

 

Then, "the four living creatures and the twenty-four Elders fell down before the Lamb.... And they sang a new song, saying: 'You...have redeemed us'" namely the dead saints in Heaven. This can also equally appropriately be translated: 'You...have redeemed them'" namely the living saints still on Earth.

 

For "You...have redeemed us [or 'them'] unto God by Your blood from every kindred [or family] and tongue and people and nation" a worldwide redemption. "And You...have made us" in Heaven and "them" still on Earth to be "kings and priests to our God. Indeed, we" in Heaven as well as the believers who are still on Earth "shall reign on the Earth!"

 

Here it must be noted that the Lamb of God not only "redeemed" both the Older Testament and the Newer Testament saints. He not only bought them and thus also brought them back to God from the realm of Satan. In addition, the Lamb also "made" or appointed the Older Testament and Newer Testament saints as "kings and priests to our God."

 

Indeed, the Lamb appointed them to be kings and priests not only here and now on the Earth before they die(d). Too, He appointed them to be kings and priests also here and now in Heaven also after they die(d).

 

Indeed, He appointed them to be kings and priests even thereafter in the future, and on the New Earth subsequent to the still-future resurrection of the dead. Thus the Geneva Bible suggests John then perceived the souls of dead saints in Heaven to be declaring: "We shall reign on the Earth!"

 

Sixth. The earthly exercise of that "kingly" office of both the Older Testament as well as the Newer Testament saints started at their regeneration. That is to say, it commenced before their deaths while they were still right here on Earth.

 

For they first became kings prior to their deaths and translations into Heaven. They remain(ed) kings after their deaths when they went to Heaven where they ruled and still rule and shall continue to rule (as disembodied souls). And they shall continue to be kings in even greater intensity, with Heaven and upon the New Earth. For one day they shall rule perfectly (in both soul and body) in Heaven-on-Earth, after the Final Judgment.

 

Seventh. Both those of the redeemed who were then still on Earth, as well as those of the redeemed who were then already in Heaven would one day once again reign right here on Earth. Those then reigning in Heaven, would one day return and reign again on the (renewed alias) the New Earth. And those then reigning on Earth, would soon die and then reign in Heaven and one day return and reign again on the (new) Earth.

 

Meantime, however, those then on Earth would soon reign here on Earth (before they died) even more powerfully than they had already reigned here on Earth. And their earthly descendants would reign even more powerfully here on Earth than had their faithful ancestors. For the reign of Christians here on Earth always needs to expand and, by the grace of God, indeed does so.

 

As those reigning here with Christ themselves learn to be meek or to obey the Law of God they more and more effect the whole cosmos for good. Indeed, "the meek...shall inherit the Earth." And the redeemed "shall reign upon the Earth." Likewise may also we and our descendants reign on Earth here and now!

 

Eighth. John saw how the new song of the expectant Church Triumphant in Heaven was reinforced by the voice of many unfallen and therefore unredeemed Angels. For there, the latter too sing together with the redeemed "living creatures" and the Elders. Yet, although the Angels cannot sing the other song of these redeemed the redeemed certainly sing the song of the Angels.

 

Exclaimed the Apostle: "Then I beheld and heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the living creatures and the Elders. And the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands [alias hundreds of millions], saying with a loud voice: 'Worthy is the Lamb Who was slain, to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and blessing!'"

 

May that be our song, too! May also we sing it even while we are yet here on this present Earth and before we die!

 

Finally. John wrote in conclusion: "Every creature which is in Heaven and on the Earth and under the Earth and such as are in the sea and all which are in them I heard saying: 'Blessing and honour and glory and power be to Him Who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb for ever and ever!' Then the four living creatures said: 'Amen!' And the twenty-four Elders fell down and worshipped Him Who keeps on living for ever and ever."

 

Remarks Calvin in his Institutes of the Christian Religion: "It is absolutely certain that both irrational and inanimate objects are comprehended" here. For "every part of the Universe, from the highest pinnacle of Heaven to the very centre of the Earth, each in its own way, proclaims the glory of the Creator."

 

Accordingly, because "every creature" in the Universe each in its own way praises the Lord every human being too should do so. And because all of the twenty-four Elders representing the people of God say 'Amen' all of God's people right now, also here on Earth, should say 'Amen' too.

 

O Christian, the Lamb is still unrolling His scroll! May we too see that the whole stability and development of the Universe and of the World's future history depends upon His title to it, and His right to unfold it!

 

May we see how Christ's Calvary work and heavenly session is the basis of our ruling with Him here and now on this present Earth! And may we see that it guarantees too that also our faithful descendants shall rule with Him on this present Earth even more than we do, here and now!

 

May we understand that Christ's title to and unrolling of World History secures also our ruling with Him even after our decease and our entry into Heaven and further, of our ruling with Him still more, on the New Earth yet to come! May we even now therefore praise Him with all our strength! Indeed, while Christ's sevenfold Spirit still goes forth throughout all the Earth may we call upon all people to yield to Him, and to serve Him!

 

 

 

 

 

Amen, even so, come Lord Jesus!

And, until then onward, Christian soldiers!

On, to victory!

The Crowned Christ goes forth Conquering and to Conquer!

Revelation 6 December 7

 

 

"And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals [or the first of the seven seals of the scroll]. And I heard as it were the noise of thunder one of the four living creatures saying: 'Come and see!' Then I saw. And look, a white horse! And He Who sat on him, had a bow. And a crown was given to Him. And He went forth conquering, and to conquer!"

 

 

The Son of man had shown John a vision of Heaven. In that vision, John saw how Christ Himself had prevailed and taken possession of the seven-sealed scroll and title-deed of World History. Christ did this after His resurrection, upon completion of His ascension at His heavenly session.

 

Next. John was shown how the now-enthroned Lamb subsequently opened the seven seals, one by one. This gives insight into the cumulative and progressive unrolling of the scroll of subsequent World History, here on Earth. As it unfolds such subsequent World History increasingly becomes expanding Church History.

 

This is the view of the Geneva Bible (of John Knox and Mrs. John Calvin's brother-in-law William Whittingham). That rightly comments: "The opening of the seal[s] is the declaration of God's will, and the executing of His judgments (that is, of His righteous actions in the course of human History). Thus too: Augustine, Andreas of Caesarea, Bede, Haymo, Anselm, Richard of St. Victor, Joachim of Floris, Arnold of Villanova, Pierre Jean d'Olivi, Wimbledon, Purvey, Savonarola, Pareus, Petri, Galloway, Hengstenberg, Hoeksema, Greijvenstein, the Afrikaans Bible with Explanatory Notes, and many others.

 

First. John foresaw significant events in World History ever since our Christ's resurrection and ascension and heavenly session. What he saw, bears the character of a progressive Christian conquest of this great planet Earth.

 

Wrote John: "I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard as it were the noise of thunder one of the four living creatures saying: 'Come and see!'" Here, one of the four living creatures was apparently summoning the white horse rather than summoning John. For the Apostle had already been summoned to Heaven in a vision, to see what Christ would show him there. Thus John wrote: "Then I saw. And look, a white horse!"

 

What then is this white horse? 'The Gospel!' answer Irenaeus, the Geneva Bible, the Dordt Dutch Bible, Matthew Henry, Hengstenberg, J.H. Lange, Lenski, Carroll, Greijvenstein, Hoeksema, and Rushdoony. The Calvinistic Geneva Bible comments: "The white horse signifies innocence, victory, and felicity which should come by the preaching of the Gospel."

 

Second. Who, however, is the rider of that horse? Here, John next wrote: "He Who sat on him, had a bow. And a crown was given to Him. And He went forth conquering, and to conquer!" This Rider is a warlike King and Conqueror, shooting forth 'His terrible swift Word' like arrows from His bow.

 

Says the Calvinist Dordt Dutch Bible: "The white horse with its conquering Rider, would portray Christ. Just as He had already begun through His Apostles, He would also subsequently subjugate pagan idolatry and other idle religions through other faithful Preachers.... Here the pure preaching of the Gospel is to be understood which Christ the King of kings, riding on the horse, spreads throughout the whole World by His powerful Spirit."

 

It is rather obvious that the Horseman on the white horse is our Lord Jesus Christ after His heavenly session, as He now sallies forth to conquer the World. This conquest began with His Spiritual descent into His Church here on Earth on Pentecost Sunday, and continues with His progressive subjugation of the World through His Spirit-filled Church ever since.

 

After all, this white horse and especially the Horseman Who rides it are clearly identified by John in a subsequent chapter of this same Book of Revelation. For there we read that the white horse is ridden by its Divine Horseman called "Faithful and True" and "the Word of God" and "King of kings and Lord of lords."

 

This is obviously none other than our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ alias the perfect Son of man. For the crown worn by the Horseman on the white horse, is the crown lost by the first Adam when he sinned in the garden of Eden. It was regained, and even further enhanced, by the Second Adam when He triumphed, from the garden of Gethsemane and the tree of life on Calvary, in His postmortal resurrection and His heavenly session.

 

Third. It is since His heavenly session as the reigning Son of man that the now-crowned Jesus goes forth conquering. And He does this in the power of His Spirit Whom He from Heaven sent forth upon His Church shortly after His heavenly session. For now, in the power of His sevenfold Spirit in all the Earth, Christ constantly activates His Spirit-filled earthly Church to go forth in His Name to conquer the World for Him.

 

As Christ's Spirit-filled Church conquers so does Christ Himself conquer. This is how He discharges His victorious arrows from His mighty bow. This is how He wields His sharp two-edged sword. For it is He Who thus empowers His Bible-wielding earthly Church to swing that sword and to shoot off those arrows.

 

It is the whole Bible, the Word of God, which is His sword. It is Bible-texts which are His darted arrows. That sword and those arrows are to be employed by Christ's Church Militant against His and her enemies. For thus Christ Himself goes forth into all the World conquering, and to conquer! It is He Who causes His Church to go forth with confidence in His own power conquering, and to conquer!

 

The great commentator Hengstenberg remarks on this verse: "The crown is given to the Rider, materially, so that He may bear it in His warlike and victorious march.... We must not interpret it as 'conquering, so that He conquered' [without even using the appointed agency of His Church]; but only as 'conquering, so that He might conquer'" namely conquer through the further warlike efforts precisely of His Spirit-filled Church.

 

This means: "Victory and nothing but victory! The expression 'so that He might conquer' is a substitute for the annexed infinite absolute in Hebrew which 'describes vividly unceasing progress' (Ewald).... It might also have stood as: 'conquering and conquering' or as: 'so that He conquered and conquered'" or 'so that He thus keeps on conquering. Compare the Hebrew infinitive absolute: 'certainly or thoroughly conquering.'

 

This means nothing less than that the Gospel is to attain victory over the World. Explains Hengstenberg: "The object of the victory can only be the World, as hostile to Christ.... Behind the punishment there is salvation, also for the World.... The Book [of Revelation] is primarily a book of consolation for the Church. This, in all its feebleness and tribulation, shall be revived by having the image of its heavenly King placed before its eyes, as He goes forth with invincible might to win a sure and glorious victory."

 

Fourth. Christ, however, conquers the World not only by opening the first seal and releasing the healing power of His Bible-wielding Church. For whenever His Voice and His Message by His Church go unheeded He also opens the second and the third and the fourth seals of His book of history. Even in those ways, He effects the subjugation of the Earth. That He accomplishes, also through the wounding power of His non-ecclesiastical agents (such as the red and black and pale horsemen who bring bloodshed, shortages and death).

 

Yet in all of the ravages inflicted by these hurtful non-ecclesiastical agencies, God is eminently merciful. For in general, He spares not only His faithful children still here on Earth. He also gives some restraint even to some of the unconverted. For He does not permit the red and black and pale horsemen always to waste the oil and the wine, nor even collectively to destroy more than one-quarter of the Earth and all its living creatures.

 

Writes John of the Lamb: "And when He had opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say 'Come and see!' So I looked. And there went forth another horse, which was red. And power was given to him who sat on it, to take peace from the Earth and so that they should kill one another. And a big sword was given to him.

 

"Now when He [the Lamb] had opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say 'Come and see!' So I looked. And behold, a black horse! And he who sat on it, had a pair of balances in his hand. Then I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures say: 'One measure of wheat [or]...three measures of barley for a penny [alias a day's wages] and see that you don't waste the oil and the wine!'" Barely enough to survive. Thus the fear of food-shortages and famine.

 

"And when He [the Lamb] had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say: 'Come and see!' Then I looked. And behold, a pale [or yellow-green] horse! And the name of the one who sat on him, was Death and the Grave followed with him. And power was given to them over the fourth part of the Earth to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the wild beasts of the Earth."

 

Now these things only chasten and correct but never break God's elect who here seem to be fully three-quarters of the human race. Yet these wars and shortages or famines and sicknesses and Death and the Grave [or Hell] and the place of the dead and the lake of fire do decimate and destroy unbelievers as "the fourth part of the Earth" from the A.D. 70 siege and destruction of Jerusalem, right down throughout history until the Final Judgment.

 

As the Geneva Bible comments, the red horse signifies "the cruel wars that ensue[d] when the Gospel was [or is] refused." Likewise the black horse of famine, and the yellow-green horse of death.

 

Fifth. Christ's general care of His earthly Church during the wars and shortages or famines and deaths, however, is not to be construed as if He never allows His children to suffer. After all, the entire human race must die including Christians. And a good few of God's Christians are even martyred for the cause of their holy faith.

 

And so, wrote John, "when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them who were slain for the Word of God and for the testimony which they held." This represents, in the words of the Geneva Bible, "the continual persecution of the Church."

 

Here again, as before, John was transported in a vision back from Earth to Heaven back from considering the wars and shortages and deaths here on Earth, to considering 'dead' Christians now in Heaven. There he saw the disembodied "souls" of the martyred saints under the altar in Heaven, 'safe in the arms of Jesus.'

 

Calvin declares in his Psychopannychia, that "the souls of the martyrs under the altar" are "the souls of the dead." Also the Calvinistic Geneva Bible notes: "They are in His safe custody in the Heavens."

 

There in Heaven, says John, "they cried out with a loud voice." There, "they keep on saying: 'How long, O holy and true Lord, do You not judge and avenge our blood upon them who dwell on the Earth?'"

 

Sixth. God repeatedly judges the wicked here and now in the various punishments He pours out throughout history. For He avenges the blood of His saints shed by the wicked (for Christ's sake). The Lord sends these punishments during history even though His Final Judgment against the wicked is reserved till His Second Coming in power and great glory.

 

Meantime white robes of justification were given to the disembodied souls of the Martyr Church in Heaven. In fact, such had been given to them already while they were still here on Earth even before they got to Heaven. "And it was said to them, that they should rest for just a little while yet until also their fellow-servants and their brethren who should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled."

 

Here, the Calvinistic Dordt Dutch Bible comments: "The Church of Christ would be oppressed by the Antichrist and his servants, who would shortly after that arise in the Church.... What succeeds that, is the rise in the East...of the Mohammadans." But the more subtle deceit, would be "especially...the Romish Antichrist in the West...[with]in the Church of Christ."

 

These killings continue from one place to another, down through the centuries. But when the last of God's elect has been called long after the very last Christian martyr has been slaughtered history shall be fulfilled at the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ in Final Judgment.

 

Seventh. So, after opening the sixth seal, History will develop toward its end as Christ comes (invisibly although) mightily and in repeated judgments. For such 'comings of the Lord' and 'earthquakes' occur against the 'stars of the sky' and the 'mountains and rocks' alias influential men.

 

Wrote John: "Then I beheld when He had opened the sixth seal. And look! There was a great earthquake. And the sun became black as a hairy sackcloth, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of the sky fell to the Earth, even like a fig-tree casts her untimely figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. And the sky departed like a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.

 

"Then the kings of the Earth and the great men and the rich men and the chief captains and the mighty men and every slave and every freeman hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks: 'Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him Who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come. And who shall be able to keep on standing?'"

 

As the Calvinistic Geneva Bible here comments, 'the great earthquake' signifies "the change of the true doctrine which is the greatest cause of motions and troubles that come to the World." Similarly, 'the sun that was as black as sackcloth' represents "the brightness of the Gospel" eclipsed by "the traditions of men." Too, 'the moon...like blood' signifies "the Church miserably defaced with idolatry and afflicted by tyrants."

 

Again, continues the Geneva Bible, 'the stars of the sky' represent Teachers or "Doctors and Preachers that depart from the truth." And the 'mountains' and the 'rocks' here signify "realms, kingdoms and persons that did seem to be as stable...as the mountains" until God shakes them up in judgment after judgment. "Such men of whatever estate they be, shall be desperate afterward and not able to sustain the weight of God's wrath but shall continually fear His judgment."

 

Such major judgments would occur at the A.D. 70 destruction of Jerusalem (cf. Luke 23:28-30) to which, in the first instance, John may very well (at least initially) have been referring in this passage (Revelation 6:12f). Thus Grotius, Hammond, Matthew Henry, Adam Clarke, and Moses Stuart.

 

However, such major judgments would occur also even between the A.D. 70 destruction of Jerusalem and the fall of the pagan Roman Empire in A.D. 313f. Thus the Calvinistic Dordt Dutch Bible comments: "Here are shown things which would occur after...the four empires prophesied by Daniel....

 

"From the scenes shown at the opening of these seals, some understand the alterations and difficulties which overtook the Roman Empire from that time until the times of Emperor Constantine." Thus Walafrid Strabo, Berengaud, Wimbledon, Purvey, Savonarola, Bruno, Bale, Hooper, Cranmer, Ribera, Alcazar, James the First, Brightman, Poole, Isaac Newton, Samuel Lee, Thomas Scott, and Albert Barnes.

 

Such major judgments would occur also at the time of the Roman Empire's first Christian Emperor Constantine. Thus Brightman, Mede, More, Jurieu, Cressener, Whiston, Daubuz, Lowman, Bishop Thomas Newton, John Brown of Haddington, and Bishop Elliott.

 

But there would be other times too at which such major judgments would occur. For example: at the later pagan attacks against the christianized Roman Empire, and especially at the fall of Rome in 476 (thus Fuller, Frere, Albert Barnes, & Hengstenberg); at the takeover of the Holy Roman Empire by the Papacy (thus the Dordt Dutch Bible & Campegius Vitringa); at the French Revolution (thus Faber, Cunninghame, Willis, Lord, Leslie, & William Anderson) and also at other events toward the end of history (thus Lange, Greijvenstein, and Prof. Herman Hoeksema).

 

To the above list of judgments, we ourselves would propose a few more. Such would include: the unleashing against a backslidden Western Church of the Islamic scourge, in the form of Mohammad's armies in 590-732; the chastisement of the idolatrous Eastern Churches by the Turks in 1050-1450; the sixteenth-century Protestant wounding of the Papacy; the seventeenth-century judgment on lukewarm churchianity by the Illuminati (and by the French Revolution as its chief by-product); the twentieth-century scourges of Communism, Humanism, Socialism, and apostate religious Ecumenism and the New Age Movement; the future downfall of the false World Systems of Romanism and Islam before the advancing armies of the living God; and the final visible coming of Christ on the clouds of Heaven in power and great glory to judge the living and the dead.

 

All of the above applies to God's coming in judgment especially against Jerusalem in A.D. 70 and also to His many subsequent comings in judgment, from time to time, throughout History (as indicated above). But in the ultimate sense, it applies especially to Christ's future visible coming in Final Judgment; of which all of the previous comings in judgment are but reminders.

 

Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion (III:9:6) give a fine description of that Day of Judgment. Says Calvin: "On that Day...the Lord will receive His faithful servants, wipe away all tears from their eyes, clothe them in a robe of glory and joy, feed them with the uneffable sweetness of His pleasures, [and] exalt them to share with Him in His greatness."

 

O Christian, may we too see and believe that our reigning Saviour rules this World! May we know that He, through the testimony of His Church, ever sallies forth from Heaven conquering, and to conquer our Earth!

 

May we see and warn people about His presence, even in the punishments of war and of shortages and of death! May we urge men to yield to Christ!

 

May we know that this World of ours shall continue until the last of God's elect has been called, and His last martyr has been slain! Indeed, with every God-sent temporal judgment in our World may we look forward, in God's good time, to the visible advent of our Saviour in power and great glory at the Final Judgment!

 

 

 

 

 

So on, then, Christian soldiers!

Let us too go forth conquering, and to conquer in the Name of Jesus!

Onward then, following after our conquering Saviour unto victory!

All the Elect of the Tribes of Israel sealed and spared

Revelation 7:1-8 December 8

 

 

"I saw four Angels standing on the four corners of the Earth.... Then I saw another Angel ascending from the East, having the seal of the living God. And He cried out with a loud voice to the four Angels to whom it was given to hurt the Earth and the Sea, saying: 'Do not hurt the Earth, neither the Sea, nor the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God upon their foreheads!' Then I heard the number of them which were sealed. And there were sealed a hundred and forty-four thousand from all the tribes of the children of Israel."

 

 

John had just seen the opening of the sixth seal. Then he was again transported in his vision from Heaven back to the Earth. And there he saw an Angel sealing the elect of God.

 

There is evidence elsewhere in the Book of Revelation and in other Books of the Bible, that the sealing of the elect actually commenced early in the times of the Older Testament and shall continue right down to the final Coming of Jesus Christ at the very end of World History. Yet the sealing described by John here in Revelation chapter seven, rather seems to be describing events which take place since Christ's resurrection between the time of the opening of the sixth and the time of the opening of the seventh or last seal of the Lamb's book of Church History. Both views are cogent.

 

Wrote John: "And after these things" that is, after the opening of six of the seven seals of the Lamb's book in Heaven "I saw four Angels standing on the four corners of the Earth, holding the four winds of the Earth, so that the wind should not blow on the Earth, nor on the Sea, nor on any tree. Then I saw another Angel ascending from the East, having the seal of the living God. And He cried out with a loud voice to the four Angels to whom it was given to hurt the Earth and the Sea, saying: 'Do not hurt the Earth, neither the Sea, nor the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God upon their foreheads!'"

 

First. It should be noted that the four Angels restraining the four winds from hurting the Earth and the Sea and the trees, was to be subservient to the more important task of sealing God's elect on their foreheads.

 

Here, the four Angels (or Messengers) as also regarding the "Angels" of the Congregations in chapters two and three probably means Christ's Messengers or Preachers. Too, "the four winds" controlled by those four Angels here seems to refer to the blessings and curses of God which His Preachers are to proclaim to their listeners. Such divine messages preached, are blessings if the listeners obey them; and curses if they disobey them.

 

For the four winds of the Earth, comments the Calvinistic Geneva Bible, represent the totality of the witness of the Holy Spirit. For "the Spirit [Pneuma] is compared to wind [pneuma].... Though there be one Spirit..., yet four [spirits or winds] are here named in respect of the diversity of the four quarters of the Earth where the Gospel is spread" by Spirit-filled "Preachers of the same through[out] the whole World."

 

Furthermore, "those that are sealed by the Spirit of God...make open profession of the same." They constitute "an infinite number which shall be saved both of the Jews and Gentiles through Christ."

 

Second. It should be observed that the sealing of God's servants was undertaken at the command of another "Angel...having the seal of the living God." This other "Angel" or Messenger is very probably the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. For this "Angel, ascending from the East" rising as the Sun of righteousness like the sun in the East, and later soon ascending from the Earth into Heaven is indeed the One with "the seal of the living God."

 

Such is indeed the one-and-only uncreated "[Arch-]Angel" or "Messenger of the Covenant" God the Son. In the first and last resorts, He is the One Who leads and seals even though He 'subcontracts' created 'Messengers' or Preachers to administer His seal to the sum-total of His earthly followers.

 

Third. This "sealing" is probably a reference to the important work of baptizing God's Newer Testament Covenant People with water from the sacramental "Sea" even as Jesus had declared that he who believes and is baptized, shall be saved. Moreover, also later, we read that even when many of the inhabitants of the Earth were tormented such torment was to be meted out to "only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads."

 

States H.B. Swete in his work The Apocalypse of St. John in the post-apostolic writings which followed it, 'the seal of the Lord' is either Baptism or the Chrism (alias Confirmation). Thus the Shepherd of Hermas and Clement of Alexandria.

 

The A.D. 100f Shepherd of Hermas (III:IX:16 & III:IX:22) says regarding "the seal of the Son of God" that "before a man bears the Name of the Son of God, he is dead. But when he receives the seal, he lays aside his deadness [cf. Romans 4:11 & 4:23-5 & 6:1-5].... The seal, then, is the water.... This seal was preached.... They who believed...are like infant children.... Infants are honourable before God, and are the first persons with Him."

 

Clement of Alexandria in section 42 of his A.D. 190f work Who is the Rich Man that shall be Saved? declares: "The Presbyter, having taken the youth..., finally baptized him. After this, he [mistakenlu] relaxed his stricter care and guardianship under the idea that the seal of the Lord he had set upon him, was a complete protection to him."

 

Also Professor Dr. Abraham Kuyper Sr. states on Rev. 7:4's "number of those who had been sealed" that "this idea of understanding the Sacraments as a seal is taken from Scripture itself. In Romans 4:11 we read the following of the patriarch Abraham: 'He received the sign of Circumcision as a seal of the righteousness of faith'.... In the Sacrament of Holy Baptism we are dealing with a sign that seals [Romans 4:23-25; 6:1-5; Colossians 2:11-13]....

 

"In Second Corinthians 1:21-22, we read that 'it is God Who has anointed us and confirmed us with you in Christ. He has also sealed us and given the earnest [or down-payment] of the Spirit in our hearts'....

 

"Ephesians 1:13 is similar: 'Christ...has sealed you with the Holy Spirit of promise.... What we read in Ephesians 4:30, has similar implications: 'Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by Whom you have been sealed unto the day of redemption'....

 

"These statements refer to, and are connected with, Holy Baptism.... When one thinks about this deeply, one then also realizes how it can be said in Revelation 7:2 that even God the King has such a seal." A. Kuyper Sr.: From the Decrees of Dordt, Wormser, Amsterdam, 1892, pp. II:440-4, 509f.

 

Kuyper elsewhere argues: "The effect of Baptism is the seal of the living God as the sign of incorporation into the Covenant of Grace.... Baptism seals incorporation...into the Church of Christ as it is visibly expressed here on Earth.... Baptism is and always remains the sealing of incorporation into the Covenant of Grace, and therewith into the Church Universal....

 

"The chief aspect of Baptism, is that it is the seal of the living God unto incorporation in the Covenant of Grace.... God indeed has just such a seal. Revelation 7:2.... This seal is stamped upon the elect...who receive knowledge of the truth and are baptized." Thus A. Kuyper Sr.: On the Sacraments (in Dictations on Dogmatics, IV, Kok, Kampen, 2nd ed., pp. 127f & 134f).

 

What a wonderful comfort to God's baptized people, then for them to know that no terror or pestilence or evil or plague shall as much as come near their dwellings! For God shall give His angels charge over them to keep them in all their ways.

 

Fourth. We have just been told about the sealing of the 'Israelites' the elect from "Israel" right here on Earth. Thereafter, we are told next about the ingathering of the fullness of the 'Gentiles' in Heaven.

 

Here, we are not told that no 'Gentiles' were sealed here on Earth before all the 'Israelites' had finished being sealed here on Earth. Still less are we here told that no 'Israelites' will be sealed here on Earth after all the 'Gentiles' have been sealed here on Earth. In fact, here it certainly seems that the 'Israelites' sealed on Earth are the very same group of people as are the 'Gentiles' gathered in Heaven.

 

For in the times of the Older Testament, the first believing Israelites were Gentiles! In the times of the Newer Testament, the first believing Gentiles were 'Israelites'! Indeed, in the times of both the Older Testament and the Newer Testament, God saves both 'Israelites' and 'Gentiles' by bringing them into 'Zion' (alias the true Christian Church).

 

Fifth. As regards the sealed 'Israelites' their "number" is here described as "a hundred and forty-four thousand from all the tribes of the children of Israel." Both this "number" and also these "tribes" themselves are to be construed ideally rather than 'literally' (sic).

 

For even the twelve tribes of Israel are not specifically enumerated strictly right after this. There, the full tribe of Dan is omitted; the half-tribe of Manasseh is described as a full tribe; and the half-tribe of Ephraim is replaced by a 'new' tribe namely the 'full' tribe of Joseph (in addition to the half-tribe of Manasseh).

 

So too, the precise apportionment of "twelve thousand" sealed persons to each of the twelve 'newly'-constituted tribes of 'Israel' is hardly to be construed too arithmetically. For these numbers are in strange contrast to the great disparities regarding the respective quantities and godliness of each ethnic tribe of Israel as recorded in the Older Testament.

 

Sixth. It is of interest to note that even the order in which the several tribes of 'Israel' are presented in the Book of Revelation, is different from the various orders given of them in the Older Testament. Here in the administration of the Newer Testament, the tribe of Judah is now foremost in line.

 

The reason for Judah's elevation to the first in rank, is not far to seek. "Our Lord [Jesus Christ] sprang forth from Judah."

 

Indeed, since Calvary, Jesus Christ "the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David has prevailed to open the book [of Future History] and to loosen its seven seals." Accordingly, Judah is now magnified, and even the order and importance and numbers of the Christianly-sealed "children of Israel" have themselves been ameliorated.

 

Clearly, then, neither the specific "tribes" of 'Israel' nor the respective "number[s]" of their elect nor the various "order" in which they are elsewhere mentioned are here in view. The meaning here, is simply that the sum-total of God's elect or 'Israel' shall yet be brought into the Church of God under the Newer Testament.

 

For this 'Israel' (or 'Prince of the Triune God') consists of converted 'Israelites' as well as of converted 'Gentiles.' It embraces "Judah" or 'Praise [the Lord]!'; "Reuben" or 'Behold a Son!'; "Gad" or 'Great Troup!'; "Asher" or 'Blessed!'; "Nephthalim" or 'Overcomers!'; "Manasseh" or 'Forget [the Past]!'; "Simeon " or '[God] has heard!'; "Levi or 'Joined [to God]!'; "Issachar" or 'The Price has been Paid!'; "Zabulon" or 'Dwelling [with the Lord]!'; "Joseph" or '[The Lord keeps on] Adding!'; and "Benjamin" or 'The Son of My Right Hand!'

 

Seventh, it is obvious that great multitudes of 'Israelites' alias Christians from all nations will yet be saved. Indeed, this will occur long before the Final Coming of the Lord Jesus on the clouds of Heaven.

 

Thus twelve, being the number of the Triune Creator (Three) multiplied by the number of His creation (four), is here again multiplied by ten (the number of perfection) and yet again by ten squared. This yields the number of 'double perfect fullness' or "twelve thousand" servants per "Tribe" of all the "children of Israel."

 

Then again, this number of twelve thousand for each "tribe" is further multiplied by the ('Creator' times 'creation') number of twelve. This yields a sum-total for all the "tribes" of the "children of Israel" collectively. It amounts to "a hundred and forty-four thousand." This is the number of 'absolute perfection.' It will be reached when the last elect 'Israelite' shall be saved, and the last Christian martyr shall be killed. Thus will this number of 'absolute perfection' "be fulfilled."

 

Interestingly, most Bible Commentators here suggest that the number(s) and the name(s) and the order(s) of the "tribes" of 'Israel' are not strictly precise but ideal and symbolic. Thus Victorinus says this means Hebrew Christians. Primasius, Beatus, Bede, and Swete say it means all the elect.

 

The Calvinistic Geneva Bible says it means "an infinite number of both Jews and Gentiles who shall be saved through Christ." And the Dordt Dutch Bible says it means either the elect of the Older Testament's Hebrews, or the Hebrew and Gentile elect of the Newer Testament's Church Militant.

 

Matthew Poole and Albert Barnes and Herman Hoeksema say it means the Gentile Church Barnes further suggesting that the "Tribes" may well mean Christian "Denominations." Matthew Henry says it means the faithful remnant of ethnic Israel before 70 A.D. And Adam Clarke says it means all the Jews and all the Christians who are now in Heaven by grace and through faith.

 

The Hebrew-Christian Prof. Dr. Ewald says it means the whole Christian Church. Hengstenberg says it is to be taken in the "Israelitish-Christian sense, because Dan is omitted." Lenski and Hendriksen say it means the Church Militant. Finally Greijvenstein, Ladd, the Afrikaans Bible with Explanatory Notes, Mounce and Rushdoony all say it means the whole Church.

 

O Christian, even today when many Gentiles are still blind to the Gospel, and when blindness has in part come also upon the Jews thank God, that blindness is only in part! The true "Israel" is still being engrafted into the Covenant of Grace. Indeed, together with the fullness of the Gentiles even the fullness of the Jews shall yet be restored to mercy.

 

Let us then work for the salvation of "Israel" alias the Christian Church Universal even as we work for the salvation of the World!

 

 

 

 

 

So on, then, Christian soldiers!

On with missions to the Jews and to the Gentiles!

On with the sealing of "Israel" alias the Christian Church in Holy Baptism!

Onward, to victory!

A Great Multitude of Nations before the Throne of Jesus

Revelation 7:9-17 December 9

 

 

"After this, I beheld. And look! A great multitude which no man could number, from all nations and kindreds [or families] and people and tongues, stood in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were clothed with white robes, having palm-branches in their hands."

 

 

John had just seen the sealing of the fullness of "Israel" here on Earth. Then he was again transported in his vision back to Heaven.

 

For next, he wrote: "I beheld. And look! A great multitude which no man could number, from all nations and kindreds [or families] and people and tongues, stood in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were clothed with white robes, having palm-branches in their hands."

 

First. John here saw the Church Triumphant the Church in Heaven. Thus the Geneva Bible, the Dordt Dutch Bible, Poole, Matthew Henry, Lange, Hengstenberg, Barnes, Hoeksema, Swete, Hendriksen, Greijvenstein, Ladd, Lenski, the Afrikaans Bible with Explanatory Notes, and Mounce.

 

Here, the Church has triumphed for ever. For all of her Members are seen to be holding palm-branches or phoinikes before the throne of the Lamb "in token of victory and felicity" (thus the Geneva Bible).

 

Second. Here again, as also seen previously, it is not declared that these 'Gentiles' went to Heaven only after the 'Israelites' were sealed here on Earth. It is declared merely that John only saw the 'Gentiles' in Heaven after he saw the 'Israelites' being sealed on Earth.

 

"After this, I beheld" Revelation 7:9, cf. 7:1-4f. Indeed, as just previously implied, the 'Israelites' sealed on Earth ultimately prove to be the same group of people as the 'Gentiles' gathered in Heaven.

 

For at the very time John was writing these words, and as already clearly predicted by Paul, the stream of Jewish converts flowing into the Christian Church had been diminishing while the stream of Gentile converts was beginning to flow stronger and stronger. Indeed, down through the subsequent centuries of Church History both groups would continue to flow into the true Israel of God alias the Christian Church which is ultimately to consist of "the nations of them that are saved" (Revelation 21:24f).

 

Third. It should be noted that John here saw in Heaven "a great multitude which no man could number." Vast though the number of the 'Israelites' was which John previously saw being sealed on Earth that number was still numerable (at least symbolically). But the sum-total of the 'Gentiles' which John now saw in Heaven was beyond both his own and any other man's powers of computation.

 

This means that the Church of Jesus starts out here on Earth on only a small scale. However, the completed Church in Heaven will no longer be but a "little flock" or merely a "chosen few" after the completion of its earthly sealing.

 

So far, down through Church History here on Earth, the numbers of these Church Members have constantly increased. They will continue to do so. But when they die and all get to Heaven their ranks shall ultimately swell to that of a "great multitude which no man could number."

 

Indeed, there they will be even as innumerable as the countless billions of stars in the sky. For they cannot be counted, once gathered together in Heaven at the end of World History and immediately prior to their transfer back to the Re-New-ed Earth.

 

Fourth. This huge host of the redeemed in Heaven at the end of World History constitutes "a great multitude which no man could number, from all nations." For John saw not merely a handful of believers saved from out of the Jews; nor even a handful of believers saved from out of every nation on Earth. To the contrary. He saw a great and humanly-innumerable multitude of all nations. Thus Matthew Henry and Adam Clarke.

 

A multitude of nations as nations! This does not, of course, imply that all individuals among all nations shall be saved. For at least some individuals are reprobate, and will certainly be lost. In this sense, Christians are redeemed from out of every kindred and people and tongue and people and nation. On the other hand, however, God's Word also teaches that [ultimately] even the nations shall be saved their "fullness" and not their 'emptiness'; the majority and not just a minority of their citizens.

 

God promised Abraham that not just an elect minority of believers from every nation would be saved. For God told him: "In your seed" and Christ is that Seed "all the nations of the Earth shall be blessed!" Indeed, John's "great multitude...from all nations" is later described by that Apostle himself as "the nations [who] shall walk in the light" and who "shall bring the glory and honour of the nations" into the New Jerusalem.

 

This includes the "fullness" and the "honour" also of Israel and Egypt and China. Currently, the modern nation of Israel is enslaved to apostate Judaism; Egypt to antichristian Islam; and China to atheistic Communism. But ultimately, all nations will have become christianized. For, as a result of the success of Christian Missionary Work, they shall yet become baptized nations observing all things whatsoever Christ has ever commanded.

 

Fifth. This great multitude of Gentiles which John saw in Heaven, will be gathered not only from all nations. It will be assembled also from all "kindreds" from all families. This means, quite frankly, that every "kindred" or each family as such here on Earth as opposed, of course, to each Member of every family will ultimately be saved.

 

This is what God promised to Abraham the father of all believers. For He told him: "In you, all families of the Earth shall be blessed!"

 

We too are children of Abraham and heirs according to the promise. May also we therefore exercise faith and believe that God really means exactly what He says!

 

Sixth. The innumerable company of the saved in Heaven shall consist of every people and every tongue. Pentecost Sunday, when the Holy Ghost came down from the throne of God and the Lamb on high, was a preview of Heaven. Already at Pentecost, the mighty works of God were spoken about in every language under Heaven.

 

Yet now, in Heaven itself, John saw how those same mighty works of God will ultimately be praised in every language. For the "new song" to the glory of the Lamb shall be sung in Heaven by the elect of every "tongue and people and nation."

 

It shall be sung in English, by Americans and by the British, etc.; in Hindi, by Indians; in Chinese, by Chinamen; in Russian, by Russians; in Spanish, by Spaniards and South Americans. It shall be sung in German, by Germans and Austrians and Swiss and Liechtensteiners and Luxemburgians and in French, by Frenchmen, Belgians, Guianians, Haitians, Quebecois and West Africans. It shall be sung in Afrikaans by South Africans and Namibians, and in Portuguese by Angolans, Brazilians, Galicians, Mozambicans, and Timorese.

 

Even in less-widely-spoken languages such as Afghan, Auca, Bushman, Gaelic, Hawaiian, Icelandic, Irish, Manx, Maori, Navaho, Welsh, Xhosa and Zulu the Name of Jehovah shall be praised. For the Universe itself will then reverberate to the honour of the Lord as God then conducts the whole vocal orchestra of humanity itself. Mankind as the crown and glory of the cosmos will then encircle the heavenly throne of God and extol His Name, by singing the song of redemption and victory in every language and tongue of all nations and kindreds and people.

 

Seventh. This mass of saved humanity in Heaven will then be seen to have been saved even out of great tribulation. This is pre-eminently that of A.D. 66-70, although it also seems to include all subsequent tribulations suffered here on Earth before one's death.

 

Chilton and Gentry apply this great tribulation to the fall of Jerusalem from A.D. 66 onward. The Dordt Dutch Bible applies it to the tribulation of Protestants under the Antichrist (alias the Papacy). Matthew Poole applies it to "great sufferings and persecution." And Adam Clarke identifies it both with "the Diocletian persecution" of A.D. 293f, as well as with "persecutions of every kind."

 

Hoeksema refers the "great tribulation" to the whole of Church History; especially to Domitian's rule, and also to the end-time. Hendriksen sees it as "all the persecutions and trials of God's people." Ladd and Mounce have it cover all Church History, and especially an end-time tribulation. Lenski says: "Never is tribulation pressure entirely absent from the Church." The Afrikaans Bible with Explanatory Notes applies it to the whole of Church History. And Greijvenstein says it "covers all periods of persecution to be endured by believers on Earth, throughout the whole time of World History."

 

In Heaven, all shall serve God, day and night in His holy temple alias His heavenly sanctuary. Of this, to be entered into only through the blood of Jesus God Himself gave Moses a pattern for the construction of the earthly tabernacle and all of its equipment in the wilderness.

 

The above points to a heavenly life of perpetual religion, twenty-four 'hours' per 'day' and seven 'days' per 'week' without ceasing. O, that we too would realize right here on Earth (and even now) that life is religion and that true religion is life itself (and not just a part of life)!

 

Last. It should be noted, however, tht the saints will not stay in that 'merely-heavenly' condition for ever. No. After the Final Judgment, the time will come when Heaven itself and all of its inhabitants will come down onto the (then re)new(ed) Earth.

 

For even God's Temple of Heaven shall yet be brought down to Earth. And when God's saints get their bodies back, they will serve Him for ever in those bodies here on Earth (after its renewal).

 

Meantime, right now, "they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His Temple" in Heaven. But on the New Earth yet to come, "He Who sits on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more. Neither shall the sun [cast] light or any heat upon them. For the Lamb Who is in the midst of the throne, shall feed them and shall lead them to fountains of living water. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes."

 

Then, the Lamb will consummate everything. Indeed, "when He had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in Heaven." For the Cosmic Sabbath then arrives the saints' Everlasting Rest here on Earth; in Heaven-on-Earth.

 

That "silence" denotes the arrival of Eternal Rest (thus Victorinus, Bede and Anselm). It introduces the Jubilee (thus Pierre Jean d'Olivi). It refers to the Advent, the Second Coming of Christ (thus Cunninghame and Baylee).

 

O Christian, may we too work for the redemption of that great multitude which no man can number! For we too must endure some tribulation, and perhaps even great tribulation, while taking the Everlasting Gospel to all of the nations and thus doing the will of God here on Earth, even as it is now being done in Heaven.

 

Yet one day, the kingdoms of this World shall have become the Kingdom of our God and of His Christ. And then, He shall keep on reigning for ever and ever everywhere here on Earth, as well as elsewhere throughout His Universe. For then it shall be 'ever-morning' and 'never-evening' on God's Everlasting Cosmic Sabbath.

 

 

 

 

 

So on, then, Christian soldiers!

Onward as the Geneva Bible comments "in token of victory and felicity!"

Onward, to victory!

Even amid God's Judgments Two-Thirds of all Creation spared!

Revelation 8 December 10

 

 

"Then the first Angel sounded [a trumpet], and there followed hail and fire mixed with blood.... Then the second Angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea. Then the third part of the sea became blood; and the third part of the creatures which were in the sea and had life died, and the third part of the ships were destroyed."

 

 

Christ had just given to John a sweeping overview of the major future ecclesiastical events (both here on Earth below as well as in Heaven above). Christ gave that overview, after His opening of the sixth seal (of the Lamb's book of Church History) announcing the 70 A.D. fall of Jerusalem and many other subsequent events down till the end of time.

 

However, "when He had opened the seventh seal there was silence in Heaven for about the space of half an hour." This is apparently the silence of the Cosmic Sabbath at the end of Church History, after the attainment of the christianization of the whole World and the baptismal sealing of all its many nations.

 

After hearing that impressive silence, John received another vision of what would happen here on Earth between the time of his own day and the arrival of the Cosmic Sabbath at the end of World History. In that new vision, John saw seven Angels with seven trumpets heralding both earthly blessing to the Church, and temporal judgments against the unrepentant World. In that same vision, he also saw Another Angel superintending and assisting the saints to pray, and conveying their prayers even to the very throne of God.

 

Now the events recorded in this new series (of the seven Angels with the seven trumpets), do not occur only after the events recorded in the previous series of the seven seals as a whole. For the series of events heralded by each of the seven trumpets seriatim do not succeed but rather run parallel to the series of events unfolded at the breaking of each of the seven seals one by one. Yet the blessings and judgments trumpeted by the seven Angels do (by and large) indeed succeed one another.

 

First. The seven trumpets apparently announce some of the major events stretching from John's own day right down to the time of the finishing of the mystery of God alias the end of His Revelation. As such, those events involve God's partly-passed but also-partly-still-future plans for man.

 

For John "saw the seven Angels which stood in front of God.... To them, seven trumpets were given.... The seven Angels which had the seven trumpets, prepared themselves to sound [the trumpets]. The first Angel sounded.... Then the second Angel sounded.... Then the third Angel sounded.... Then the fourth Angel sounded.... Then the fifth Angel sounded.... Then the sixth Angel sounded.... Then, in the days of the sounding of the seventh Angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God would be finished."

 

Let us now attempt to establish when the events predicted by the sounding of each of the trumpets seriatim would begin to be fulfilled in the History of the Church and of the World. It is not stated that these trumpets are end-time instruments, to be blown only immediately prior to the final coming of the Lord Jesus Christ back to Earth. No. Rather do these trumpets just like the seals appear to cover the whole course (or at least a considerable part) of Church History after Christ's heavenly session. Indeed, they seem to have occurred or (in some cases) are yet to occur between His 'invisible' A.D. 70 coming with the Pagan-Roman armies to judge apostate Jerusalem, and His visible Final Coming to judge the whole World.

 

Second. The events heralded by the trumpets are not all yet-future as the Futurists wrongly allege. Neither were they all to finish occurring during John's own lifetime as Hyperpreterists allege. But many were to start and finish occurring only after John's lifetime, although at least the seventh trumpet has not yet even started to sound as the Historicalists rightly argue.

 

Also as regards this passage, most of the great commentators have been Historicalists. Thus: Bede, Strabo, the Calvinistic Geneva Bible, Brightman, the Calvinistic Dordt Dutch Bible, Mede, Gerhard, Sherwin, Jurieu, Fleming, Cotton Mather, Matthew Henry; Sir Isaac Newton, Jonathan Edwards, Bishop Thomas Newton, John Gill, Samuel Langdon, John Brown of Haddington, G.S. Faber, Thomas Scott, Adam Clarke, Alexander Keith, Louis Gaussen, Bishop E.B. Elliott, Albert Barnes, and J.P. Lange, etc.

 

The events announced by the trumpet-blasts appear to occur successively rather than concurrently (or simultaneously). There is even a progression in the intensity of the various events which occur following the sounding of each trumpet. Yet there is no evidence that the events following the sounding of a particular trumpet always cease before the next events begin to operate after the sounding of the following trumpet. For the events proclaimed by the seven trumpets though largely progressive and successive were to be enduring events (just like the seven days of creation itself).

 

Third. Before the seven trumpets (of these Angels) are described in detail, John was first shown how "another Angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer. Then much incense was given to Him, so that He should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar in front of the throne. And the smoke of the incense with the prayers of the saints, went up in front of God out of the hand of the Angel."

 

Clearly, this is an uncreated Angel namely our great Messenger, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. For no One else could offer the prayers of all the saints upon the altar to God as their great Mediator. He 'intercedes' with His Father on behalf of all of the prayers prayed for Jesus' sake by all of the saints that is, by all of those who have been sanctified without exception.

 

In fact, He conveys to His Father all of the prayers prayed throughout Church History: even while His judgments are being poured out upon the Earth. Indeed, He also controls the seven created Angels who trumpet out Christ's warnings to the unrepentant World through the messages of the Preacher-Angels of Christ's Own Church here on Earth.

 

Thus Christ holds both His bodyless spirit-angels as well as His embodied Preacher-Angels in His Own almighty hand. Indeed, He sends them forth into all the World to bring down His blessings upon the penitent and His judgments upon those prayerless earthlings who refuse to become His saints. For "the Angel took the censer, and filled it with fire from the altar, and cast it upon the Earth. Then there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake."

 

As the Calvinistic Geneva Bible comments, our "only remedy in our afflictions" is to appear before the face of God by means of Jesus Christ. He is the Angel, the Sacrifice, and the Priest Who presents our prayers...before the altar and divine majesty of God."

 

Indeed, also the great Lutheran Commentator Bengel here observes: "Frank-incense and prayer draw a great deal after it. It is acceptable. It will be heard. God then causes His righteous judgments to go forth as a terror to the World for the discomfiture of His enemies, and for the advancement of His Kingdom."

 

Fourth. We now return to the sounding of the trumpets, accompanied by the prayers of the saints which constantly kept and keep on being conveyed to the Father by and for the sake of His uncreated 'Other' Angel Jesus Christ. Wrote John: "Then I saw the seven Angels who stood in front of God. Then seven trumpets were given to them.... And the seven Angels who had the seven trumpets, prepared themselves to sound" to blow those trumpets!

 

What do the events announced by the successive blowing on these trumpets involve? Respectively and consecutively, they apparently refer to: the A.D. 70 fall of Jerusalem; the vicious attacks of heretics who plagued the early Post-Apostolic Church, and the later invasions of the Christian heartland by Goths, Vandals, Huns, and Heruli; and the ferocious attacks on Christianity first by Mohammad's Arabian Moslems and later by the Saracen Turks.

 

Those events would impact upon and be followed by also further events. Such include: the undermining of the Church herself by the awful idolatry of Eastern-Orthodoxy's Ritualism, as well as by the machinations of the Western Romish Papacy and also the ongoing re-form-ation of Christ's Kingdom by the rising tide of Biblical Protestantism, right down to the universal victory of Christianity toward the end of World History. Let us then take a closer look at these events, which follow(ed) after the blowing on each of the trumpets.

 

Fifth. John heard the first created-Angel sound his trumpet. "The first Angel sounded. Then there followed hail and fire mixed with blood, and they were cast upon the Earth. And the third part of the trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up."

 

This strongly reminds us of a combination of the ten plagues of Egypt. It seems to represent the combined destruction (here termed "blood"?) wrought by nature (here termed "hail"?) and persecution (here termed "fire"?) upon the vegetation (here termed "grass" and "trees").

 

Only one-third of all this was destroyed. Now the Book of Revelation elsewhere suggests that "Egypt" is the place of the apostate covenant people "where also our Lord was crucified" and inasmuch as elsewhere in Scripture "trees" frequently represent human leaders, and "grass" frequently represents their 'grass-roots' followers. So we here have a picture of what is probably the judgmental and bloody destruction of the leaders as well as the followers of the Christ-rejecting Judean Judaists by fire and by "hail" in A.D. 70 as well as a picture of judgment on apostate Church Members both then and thereafter.

 

Sixth. John next heard the second trumpet being blown. "Then the second Angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea. And the third part of the sea became blood. And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea and which had life died, and the third part of the ships were destroyed."

 

Now the first judgment had fallen upon the "land" (probably meaning the terrain of first-century Judaea) and its apostate contents (including its plants and its men). But the following or second judgment was to fall upon the sea and its inhabitants on its fish and on "those who go down to the sea in ships." Yet here again, only one-third of the inhabitants (of the sea) was destroyed.

 

The Geneva Bible comments here that the burning "mountain" cast into the sea, means that various or "divers sects of heretics were spread abroad in the World." Throughout Scripture, the word "mountain" is frequently used as an image of Israel.

 

Again, the word "sea" is frequently used throughout Scripture as an image of the power-wielders in the Gentile World. Previously, after the sounding of the first trumpet the burning up of the trees and the grass, probably refers to the destruction of Jerusalem (alias 'Egypt') by fire. And now, after the sounding of the second trumpet the object which was "as it were a great mountain burning with fire" was perhaps the scorched remnant of apostate Judaea, scattered especially after A.D. 70 (and also in subsequent centuries) throughout the "sea" of the Gentile World.

 

For the burning mountain of Judaism (thus Mauro) fills "the third part of the sea" of the Gentile World with blood and death and destruction. Then, it also filled the international communications media with anti-Christian propaganda (albeit only partially so). Too, the second trumpet probably also heralds "the invasion of the Roman Empire [including its apostate 'Christian' citizens] by foreign nations and by the barbarians" (thus Bengel).

 

Seventh. John then heard the third trumpet being blown. Wrote he: "The third Angel sounded. Then a great star fell out of the sky, burning like a lamp. And it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters. And the name of the star is called 'Wormwood.' And the third part of the waters became wormwood. And many men died from the waters, because they had been made bitter."

 

This time, destruction fell upon one-third of the fresh waters which thirsty men need to drink. The great star which fell from the sky burning like a lamp, is probably Lucifer himself or one or more or all of his agents (such as apostate clergy etc.).

 

Lucifer was the greatest star or created Angel. Yet, instead of upholding (luci-ferre) the Son of God as The Lamp of the Universe Lucifer himself futilely tried to illuminate men like The Lamp and Light of the World!

 

In himself trying to be The Lamp and Light of the World Lucifer fell. Indeed, he continued to fall even further, in various stages, ever since the creation of man. And his fall was steep especially since Christ's resurrection and ascension and the resultant (at least nominal) christianization of the Roman Empire previously dominated by Satan himself.

 

So the great star falling from the sky, and burning like a lamp, is probably Lucifer himself or one or more of his agents. The "rivers" and "fountains of waters" into which he fell, are probably the well-springs of Christianity.

 

Accordingly, this event of the star falling after the sounding of the third trumpet probably indicates Satan's pollution of the Christian message by poisoning the well-waters of the life-giving Gospel. As such, it would then refer to the terrible spread of Satanic heresies even on the fringes of the Christian Church herself throughout the Roman Empire.

 

This took place in particular during the first five centuries in Pseudo-Christian movements like judaizing Ebionism, paganizing Gnosticism, dematerializing Docetism, compromising Syncretism, dispensationalizing Marcionism, pseudo-glossolalic Montanism, mysticistic Mithraism, dualistic Manichaeanism, philosophistic Alexandrianism, and modalistic Sabellianism. It further occurred also in 'Jehovah-Witness'-like Arianism, assumptionistic Nestorianism, consubstantiationizing Eutychianism, ultra-arminianizing Pelagianism, and in Proto-Romanistic Semi-Pelagianism etc.

 

As the Geneva Bible comments, the 'bitter waters' here "signify false and corrupt doctrine." For all of those heresies, like poisoned wells, certainly killed many men spiritually.

 

Yet they polluted only a minority (or "a third") of the spiritual waters. This left the other two-thirds of the waters unpolluted for the enjoyment of the true Christian Church.

 

Eighth. John at this point next heard the fourth trumpet being blown. "Then the fourth Angel sounded. And the third part of the sun was smitten; and the third part of the moon; and the third part of the stars so that the third part of them was darkened. And the day did not shine, for a third part of it and the night likewise."

 

Here, the heavenly bodies (sun and moon and stars) were smitten though only the third of them. This probably refers to the eclipse of influential leaders in the civilized World at that time. For such astronomical symbols are frequently used to refer to ecclesiastical and political leaders.

 

As such, the prediction probably refers especially to the corruption of the but-recently-christianized Roman Empire with the "darkening" of its political and ecclesiastical leadership. Here one thinks of Julian the Apostate and particularly of the attacks of the Goths, the Huns and the Vandals; the fall of Rome to such Pagans; the later demise of Justinian; and the advent of the 'Dark Ages' at the beginnings of the rise of the Papacy.

 

Again, however, this "darkening" was only in part. For true Christianity, like Moses' burning bush, could not and cannot be consumed. Once illuminated by Christ the Light at the time of His incarnation the increasing irradiation of the World by the now-ignited bonfire of Christianity could not and cannot be extinguished.

 

Ninth. Even though Satan has tried to dowse both Christ the Light and also His Church's illuminating of men and women, such as during the 'Dark Ages' Christianity still continued to irradiate its surroundings. And though it then sometimes burned low indeed it would ultimately blaze up again as never before.

 

Indeed, the Protestant Reformation rekindled the fire of the Christian Church. And the ongoing establishment and expansion of Congregations in our own day, and tomorrow shall yet ignite the whole World like a bright torch, to the glory of God.

 

O Christian, may we too like Christ's seven Angels and even as Christ's seven Preacher-Angels in His Congregations not only pray to Him! May we also testify and give light to the World!

 

May we offer salvation in Christ to all who will repent and proclaim God's judgments to all who resist Him! And may we confidentially expect only one-third of those confronted, to reject His salvation and two-thirds to receive it!

 

Even as history unfolds from judgment to judgment, inexorably leading to the last and Great Assize it is always tempered with a double portion of God's mercy. For His saving purposes shall ultimately be fulfilled.

 

Finally, at the sound of the seventh trumpet the kingdom of this whole World shall become that of our Lord and of His Christ. And He shall then and thereafter keep on reigning, for ever and ever.

 

 

 

 

 

So on, then, Christian soldiers! Onward, to victory!

None of God's Children hurt; and only a Third of Mankind killed!

Revelation 9 December 11

 

 

"I saw a star fall from the sky.... And he opened the bottomless pit. And there arose a smoke out of the pit.... And out of the smoke locusts came upon the Earth.... And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the Earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of God upon their foreheads.... Then the four Angels were unleashed who were prepared for an hour and a day and a month and a year, to slay the third part of men."

 

 

The first trumpet heralded the weakening of Judaism by the Fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. The second, third and fourth announced grave challenges to Christianity by heresies and invasions. The Church lapsed into idolatry. So, as long-term correctives, next came the simultaneous start of the two most terrible scourges of the True Church Islam, and the Papacy.

 

In his magnificent book A History of the Work of Redemption, Princeton's President Rev. Prof. Dr. Jonathan Edwards explains: "The two great works of the devil which he...wrought against the Kingdom of Christ are...his Anti-christian [Papal or Romish] and Mahometan [Moslem or Islamic] kingdoms which have been, and still are, two kingdoms of great extent and strength. Both together swallow...up the Ancient Roman Empire; the kingdom of Antichrist swallowing up the Westerm Empire, and Satan's Mahometan kingdom the Eastern Empire.... In the Book of Revelation [chapters 16 to 20]...it is in the destruction of these that the glorious victory of Christ at the introduction of 'the glorious times of the Church' will mainly consist....

 

"1260 'days' or years...are so often in Scripture mentioned as the time of the continuance of Antichrist's reign.... The rise of Antichrist was gradual.... The Bishop of Rome...claimed the power of Universal Bishop over the whole Christian Church through[out] the World.... He...was confirmed in it by the civil power of the Emperor, in the year 606 [A.D.]....

 

"Mahomet was born in the year of Christ 570 in Arabia. When he was about forty years of age [and thus around 610 A.D.], he began to give forth that he was 'the great prophet' of God, and began to teach his new invented religion.... He published his Al Coran, which he pretended he received from the Angel Gabriel.... His party gradually grew, until they overran a great part of the World.

 

"First the Saracens...of the country of Arabia where Mahomet lived, about the year 700 began dreadfully to waste the Roman Empire.... These are supposed to be meant by the 'locusts' that we read of in the ninth chapter of Revelation. And then, after this, the Turks, who...were followers of Mahomet, conquered all the Eastern Empire. They began...to invade Europe 1300, and took Constantinople and so became masters of all the Eastern Empire in the year 1453.... These are supposed to be prophesied of by the 'horsemen' in the ninth chapter of Revelation."

 

Now after John had heard the fourth trumpet sound, he beheld and heard an angel-like eagle flying through the midst of the sky. It said with a loud cry: "Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the Earth by reason of the other sounds of the trumpet of the three Angels which are yet to trumpeteer!"

 

Severe as the first four judgments were the remaining three judgments would be much more severe. Thus, they are each described in considerably greater detail than are the first four judgments. For the latter three judgments would fill the World with a threefold woe! And these woes comments the Geneva Bible represent "horrible threatenings against the infidels and rebellious persons."

 

First. The initial woe would start after the blowing of the fifth trumpet. That seems to herald the 'Dark Ages' commencing around 600 A.D.

 

"The fifth Angel sounded," wrote John. "I saw a star fall from the sky upon the Earth. And to him was given the key of the bottomless pit."

 

According to all expositors, the prototypical or original 'fallen star' was and is Satan. According to some, however, the particular 'fallen star' mentioned here, was Mohammad (570-632 A.D.). After his religious fall, he led his vast armies of unitarianized Arabs and also set an example to the later Islamic Turks in subsequent centuries not only against idolatry, but also against all forms of Trinitarian Christianity.

 

Second. Around 620 A.D., Mohammad apostasized from his own weak grasp or rather inadequate understanding of some of the heavenly revelations contained in the Holy Bible. Then, under the misdirection of that great "fallen star" called Satan and conceivably also at the promptings of demons Mohammad perhaps even spiritistically or mediumistically "opened up" the bottomless pit, and made smoke to rise up out of it.

 

For "he opened the bottomless pit. And there arose a smoke out of the pit, like the smoke of a great furnace. And the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit."

 

This smoke, comments the 1560 Calvinistic Geneva Bible of John Knox and Mrs. John Calvin's brother-in-law William Whittingham, represents "abundance of heresies and errors, which cover Christ and His Gospel with darkness." This is a very good description of the views of Mohammad. For his theology was indeed an "abundance of heresies and errors." His views while claiming to be 'Biblical' actually "cover Christ and His Gospel with darkness."

 

The Calvinistic Dordt Dutch Bible of 1637 remarks: "Some understand this star to be Mohammad and his followers. They around 620 scraped together his ungodly doctrine which was brought forth from the bottomless pit from [perversions of] Judaism, Paganism and Christianity."

 

The well-known Scottish Presbyterian James Durham in his 1657 Complete Commentary upon the Book of Revelation observes: "This Mahomet lived a little before...the year 650." That was "a little after [Pope] Boniface the Third has assumed the title of Universal Bishop.

 

"He [Mahomet or Mohammad] was...a subtile fellow and no Christian, about the year 630. With the help of one Sergius a Nestorian monk, and Joannes Antiochenus an Arian, and some Jews he had begun to coin his blasphemous Al-Coran. Therein he endeavoureth a mixture of Paganism, Judaism and Christianity (but of the grossest kind viz. Arianism and Nestorianism)....

 

"He called himself 'the great Prophet' and blasphemously applied some Scriptures to that purpose. He allegeth: that his writings...were given him from Heaven and are without error and therefore joineth the Old Testament, the Gospe,l and the Alcoran together; that the refuters of the Alcoran are to be persecuted with the sword.... He asserteth one only true God, and denieth the Trinity of Persons.... He is against all idols and images, and allegeth himself to be specially commissionated against idol-worship. And it may be that God...purposed him indeed to scourge that sin," and thus "to make him the more instrumental in pursuing that sin partly more to convince and shame Christians addicted to it." So Islam rightly condemns the Church's idol-atry!

 

Yet in his own commentary on the Book of Revelation, Philip Mauro notes the evil character of Islam. He comments that, like Christianity, "Mohammadanism has a superman, and a book. It is a Satanic imitation of Christianity. It has spread over a great part of the christianized World.... Its founder was, without doubt, devil-inspired. Mohammed, the fallen star, opened the pit and let loose the darkening power of Satan; and he flooded the eastern part of the christianized Earth, and considerable portions of the western also, with doctrines which can justly be termed hellish in their nature and effects."

 

Third. In the wake of the false-prophecies of Mohammad himself, came the fearful spread of the apostate religion of Mohammadan-ism alias Islam. Prophesied John: "Out of the smoke, locusts came upon the Earth. And to them was given power like the scorpions of the Earth have power.... The shapes of the locusts were like horses prepared to battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns of gold.... They had tails like scorpions, and there were stings in their tails." Indeed, that power, comments the Geneva Bible, represents "false and deceitful doctrine which is pleasant to the flesh."

 

Clearly, these 'locust-scorpion' objects are no mere insects! For ordinary locusts have no king and wear no crown, whereas these extraordinary "locusts" had a leader. For "they have a king over them, who is the [fallen] Angel of the bottomless pit whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue has his name Apollyon" (alias 'Destroyer').

 

Again, this "king" strongly suggests not only Mohammad the alleged messenger or rasool of Allah (alias the unipersonal Deity of Islam). But to many Christian Theologians, it also suggests that the real influence behind Mohammad and Islam is Satan himself. Satan tried to be like God; and he pretends to be that Deity called Allah. Yet he remains only the Destroyer.

 

Strikingly, Allah is sometimes described by Moslems themselves as "the One Who brings damage" or "the One Who leads astray" or "the Bringer-down" or "the Tyrant." As such, this Moslem concept of Allah is really that of a great idol opposing the true Triune God (as Calvin too so aptly remarked).

 

Explained Calvin: "The Turks in the present day...proclaim...with full throat that the Creator of Heaven and Earth is their God yet by their rejection [of the Deity and Saviourhood] of Christ," they "substitute an idol in His place." That is to say, Allah is an idol substituted by Moslems in the place of the one and only true and Triune God.

 

Now very many Theologians indeed have considered the apostate religious movement started by the "fallen star" (at Revelation 8:1-14f) to be the beginning of the ongoing movement known as Islam. Some further see the same movement described at Revelation 16:12f as that of "the false-prophet."

 

This is the considered opinion of Pseudo-Methodius (675 A.D.), Beatus (790), Jephet ibn Ali Halevi (950), and Joachim of Floris (1191). It is the considered opinion also of: Luther (1522); Melanchthon (1543); Bullinger (1577); Foxe (1584); Napier (1593); Downham (1603); Brightman (1614); Pareus (1618); Davenport (1633); Mede (1637), John Cotton (1639), Parker (1646), Goodwin (1654), Durham (1657), Increase Mather (1669), Vitringa (1705), Matthew Henry (1712), Jonathan Edwards (1739), John Gill (1758), G.S. Faber (1806), Bickersteth (1836), Louis Gaussen (1837), Bishop Elliott (1845), Albert Barnes (1851), Apostolos Makrakis (1881), and Philip Mauro (1908).

 

Locusts often come up from the Arabian deserts. Mohammad unleashed his Arab "locusts" to scourge the Mediterranean World and to darken a large area of nominally-Christian civilization. For Mohammad's "locusts" similar to those in Joel's vision "were like horses prepared to battle."

 

Those horse-like "locusts" went forth unto conquest; in regal attire; with savage appearance; and armed to the teeth. "On their heads were as it were crowns of gold, but their faces were as the faces of men. And they had hair like women's hair, and their teeth were like lions' teeth. And they had breastplates like iron breastplates. And the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots of many horses running unto battle."

 

For, as from A.D. 622, Mohammad's Arabian armies of Moslem horsemen swept not only northward and eastward but also westward across Christian North Africa and then on into Western Europe. Thus they terrorized the previously-'christianized' Armenia, Cyprus, Crete, Syria, Persia, Kazakstan, Babylonia, Arabia, Palestine, Egypt, Libya, Numidia, Mauretania, Sicily, Spain, Portugal, Sardinia, Corsica, and France until the great Charles Martel the 'Hammer' finally stopped them in A.D. 732 at the Battle of Tours in Northern France.

 

Sir William Muir points out in his book The Caliphate: "Like swarms from a beehive or like locusts darkening the air, the one Arabian tribe after the other emerged and rolled to the North, and then spread out in great hordes to the East and the West." Thus the Arab Moslems then almost totally wiped out the Christian Church all the way from Northern India to Northwest Africa.

 

Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire says of Mohammad's successors: "They reigned by right of conquest over the nations of the East to whom the name of liberty was unknown and who were accustomed to applaud in their tyrants the acts of violence and severity that were performed at their own expense. Under the last of the Ommidades, the Arabian Empire extended two hundred days' journey from East to West from the confines of Tartary and India, to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean."

 

Barnes comments: "With surprising unanimity, commentators have agreed in regarding this as referring to the empire of the Saracens, or to the rise and progress of the religion and the empire set up by Mohammed.... Mohammedan tradition speaks of locusts having dropped into the hands of Mohammed.... Nothing would better represent...the Saracenic hordes that came out of Arabia and that spread over the East, over Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Spain, and that threatened to spread over Europe."

 

Fourth. The nature of the mission of these "locusts" should clearly be understood. They did not as insect locusts do go forth to destroy crops or vegetation. Instead "it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the Earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of God upon their foreheads."

 

Nor did they go forth specifically to kill men, but rather hurt-fully or forcibly to convert them to a false religion and thus to torment their souls. Thus: "to them it was given that they should not kill them but that they [their victims] should be tormented, five months. "Now their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings a man.... And they had tails like scorpions." Just like locusts, scorpions too are creatures of the Arabian desert. "And there were stings in their tails. And their power was to hurt men, five months."

 

This "five months," when construed strictly, is the average duration of a plague of locusts in the insect world. However, construed prophetically (according to the day-year principle of interpretation), it would imply five (thirty-day)U #1877 months of day-years alias about one hundred and fifty years or about a century and a half of sustained tormenting of their victims.

 

That very period, interestingly, corresponds exactly to that of Islam's pressures against Christian civilization from the rise of Mohammad (beginning at his first battle when only twenty years old in 590 A.D.) to the final arrest of those pressures by Charles the Hammer (in 732 A.D.). Thus, in general, the comments of: Brightman, Mede, Thomas Parker, Jurieu, Matthew Henry, Sir Isaac Newton, Gill, Backus, John Brown of Haddington, Winthrop, Faber, Thomas Scott, Fuller, Adam Clarke, Gaussen, Bickersteth, and Albert Barnes.

 

Fifth. "In those days [of the 'five months' or one hundred and fifty 'day-years'] men shall seek death, but shall not find it. They shall desire to die, but death shall flee away from them."

 

Even the Moslems themselves desired to die (and thus hoped to be transported into their falsely-imagined ideal place of a lascivious paradise). But, like zombies or the 'living dead' before they died, they were first obliged to wage their jihad or 'holy war' for their own destructive king, Abaddon-Appolyon-Allah.

 

Onward surged the Moslems. They were all fired up by the battle-cry of their caliphs: 'Before you is paradise; behind you are death and hell!' The Calvinistic Dordt Dutch Bible of 1637 insists that Mohammad's "ungodly doctrine...was propagated throughout a large part of the World by his Arabs and Saracens, who looked like armed locusts."

 

Sixth, however, even throughout the rise and expansion of Islam during the first century and a half of its existence it had no power in itself, but only God-given power. For Islam could inflict its spiritual torments only on unbaptized Non-Christians (such as Pagans, Jews, and Apostates). It could hurt "only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads" and true faith in their hearts.

 

For as Jesus Christ Himself had promised: "He who keeps on believing and is baptized, shall be saved; but he who does not keep on believing, shall be condemned." Accordingly, those who truly believed in Jesus and who bore His seal of Baptism on their foreheads were spared all "hurt" at the hands of the Moslems. For even such true Christians as were then martyred, did not seek death yet found it (and thereby entered into everlasting life).

 

On the other hand, those Non-Christians whom the Moslems could and did hurt desired death, but could not find it. For as Non-Christians, those latter spiritual zombies were among the 'living dead' just like all baptized unbelievers and unbaptized unbelievers even today. "And in those days, men shall seek death but shall not find it. And they shall desire to die but death shall flee away from them."

 

Seventh. The scourge of Mohammad's Islam, though then arrested in its advance into Christian Western Europe in A.D. 732 and though subsequently expelled from Spain and the islands of the Mediterranean still continued to spread to other areas elsewhere. "One woe is past. But behold two more woes come after that!"

 

Having already reached Central Asia between A.D. 700 and 730, Islam next infiltrated even Western China in A.D. 755 and subsequently overwhelmed Afghanistan and the lands adjacent to it. Then, from around A.D. 1000, the Central Asian Turks (of Turkmenistan) not only spread Islam northward into Central Western Siberia and Southern Russia and the Ukraine. They spread it also southward throughout Northern India and thence eastward through Malaysia to the Philippines and to Indonesia.

 

Then, the Turks started moving especially westward across the River Euphrates, through the Holy Land, and into Asia Minor (alias the Asian part of the modern 'Turkey'). That latter expansion wiped out the nominal remnants of the seven Churches to which these very warnings in the Book of Revelation were originally addressed.

 

So despite almost two centuries of resisting the Christian 'Crusades' in Palestine against them from 1096 to 1291 the Turks had pushed on further toward the West. During that time, all the nominally-'Christian' armies were ultimately unsuccessful in trying to dislodge the Saracens from Palestine.

 

Thus "the sixth Angel sounded. And I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is in front of God, saying to the sixth Angel which had the trumpet: 'Loosen the four Angels which are bound to the great River Euphrates!' Then the four Angels were unleashed who were prepared for an hour and a day and a month and a year, to slay the third part of men."

 

Now this expression that the four Angels "were prepared for an hour and a day and a month and a year, to slay the third part of men" on the year-day principle, apparently refers to the length of prophetic time for the completion of this entire enterprise. It amounts to 391 natural years plus a further 15 natural days.

 

As Faber pointed out (in 1806): "The accurate accomplishment of this numerical prophecy, is singularly remarkable. The Turks, under Ortogrul, gained their first victory over the Greek Empire in the year 1281 by the conquest of Cutahi. In the year 1357, they crossed over into Europe.

 

"In the year 1453, they took Constantinople. And the remaining Provinces of the [Eastern Roman] Empire soon followed the fate of the capital. In the year 1669, they made themselves masters of Crete. And in the year 1672, they wrested Camenice, their last conquest, from the Poles. If now we compute 391 years from the year 1281 they will exactly bring us down to the year 1672."

 

The above view was widespread, both before and after Faber. Generally, it is that too of: Downham, Brightman, Mede, Parker, Durham, Goodwin, Increase Mather, Sherwin, Jurieu, Fleming, Cotton Mather, Daubuz, Sir Isaac Newton, Jonathan Edwards, Bishop Thomas Newton, John Gill, John Brown of Haddington, Winthrop, Thomas Scott, Fuller, James Angell Brown, Alexander Keith, Bickersteth, Louis Gaussen, Bishop Elliott, Albert Barnes, and J.P. Lange.

 

Thus the Scottish Presbyterian James Durham wrote in 1657: "We conceive this...to show that such would be instrumental in this plague as was neither within the Church nor the Roman Empire, but such as would have their residence beside this river Euphrates [Revelation 9:14 cf. 16:12f] as the Turks are observed to have had, before their dominion spread.... They are said to be loosed from that place...to destroy the waste part of the Christian World which accordingly came to pass very speedily, when the Turks having prevailed over the Saracens did with them combine in one dominion under the Ottomanean family, which was about 1000 years [A.D.] and some more from which time their power grew, till a great part of Europe was overrun by them....

 

"The Turks...have led the greatest armies, especially of horsemen, unto Europe.... A great part of Europe, being destroyed and overrun by the Turks, are sufficient evidences of the truth of this.... The Turks also...are not more terrible in their armies to the bodies of men than the pestiferous delusion of Mahomet is of itself hurtful and destructive to souls."

 

Continued the Apostle John: "Now the number of the army of the horsemen, were two hundred thousand thousand. So I heard the number of them. And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them who sat on them, having breast-plates of fire and of jacinth and brimstone. And the heads of the horses were like the heads of lions. And from their mouths fire and smoke and brimstone went forth.

 

"By these three plagues, the third part of mankind was killed by the fire and by the smoke and by the brimstone which went forth from their mouths. For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails. For their tails were like serpents, and had heads with which they keep on causing pain."

 

It needs to be asked at this point whether "the fire" and "the smoke" and "the brimstone" which "went forth" from the "mouths" of these terrible attackers is a prediction of the Turks shooting shells propelled by gunpowder out of the mouths of their cannons. As Byron notes in his book The Byzantine Achievement: "The Fall of Constantinople...was the first event of historic importance engineered with the most important weapon of modern warfare: gunpowder.... If it was not for gunpowder, the siege of [Constantinople in] 1453 would have failed."

 

Nevertheless, not one of God's elect lost his salvation at the hands of the Turks nor indeed could do so. And very few of God's elect were killed by them. On the other hand, great numbers of unsaved and purely-nominal 'Church Members' were exterminated.

 

Eighth. It should be noted, however, that it was God in Christ Himself Who unleashed this Turkish scourge from the Euphrates against the West because of the Church's idolatry. For the Voice from the four horns of the golden altar, comments Knox's Geneva Bible, is "the Voice of Christ sitting at the right hand of the Father.... The four Angels which are bound in the great River Euphrates" mean "the enemies of the East Country who would afflict the Church of God as did the Arabians, Saracens, Turks, and Tartars."

 

Comments Mede: "The second woe coming up, summons the Turks against the Roman World...with many horsemen from the Euphrates where they had long been resisted." And Barnes: "The reference...to the Turkish power....[was] extending from the time of the[ir] first appearance...in the neighbourhood of the Euphrates, to the[ir] final conquest of Constantinople in 1453."

 

Now similar as the Turks were to the previous plague of Arabian "locusts" in fact, essentially a Moslem extension of that earlier Moslem scourge there were also certain differences. For the Islamic Turks did not merely hurt men without killing them (as did the Islamic Arabians). But they actually slew fully one-third or "the third part of men" in the eastern part of what was indeed at least a nominally-Christian Eastern-Orthodox Civilization.

 

Yet even here, there is no question of these Islamic Turks completely destroying genuine Christians! The most that Islam then destroyed, were many purely nominal and lifeless 'Members' of the deformed Eastern 'Church' itself tainted with the idolatrous principles of Babylon-on-the-Euphrates.

 

It is true that the Turks (reinforced by Mohammedan Mongols from A.D. 1250 onward) conquered Constantinople in A.D. 1453 and then overran parts of Russia and the Ukraine and Romania and Hungary and Austria, and the whole of the Crimea and Bulgaria and Yugoslavia and Albania and Greece. And it is also true that Islam, with its slave-traders, continued to march southward first through West Africa and then through East Africa and thereafter into Southern Africa. Nevertheless, the power of Islam peaked around A.D. 1560 just four years before the death of Calvin.

 

For its new advance into Central Europe from the East, was checked by the rise of Protestantism and the resulting Counter-Reformation (and even Semi-Reformation even of the Romish Church. In A.D. 1683, the Turks were defeated decisively at the Battle of Vienna. Subsequently, Islam slowly began to recede even in the Moslem parts of Eastern Europe and elsewhere until after the weakening of the West during the Second World War.

 

Sadly, since the Second World War, there are again signs of a revival and extension of Islam. Even before the twentieth century, many commentators on Revelation 16:15-17f & 19:20 (q.v.) predicted such a revival of Islam to be followed also by its downfall and the conversion of many Moslems to Christ.

 

That is why the 1643f Westminster Assembly's Directory for the Publick Worship of God urges Congregations to "pray for the propagation of the Gospel and Kingdom of Christ to all nations; for the conversion of the Jews, the fulness of the Gentiles, the fall of Antichrist, and the hastening of the Second Coming of our Lord; [and] for the deliverance of the distressed churches abroad from the tyranny of the antichristian faction and from the cruel oppressions and blasphemies of the Turk" etc.

 

It might certainly have been hoped that the Fall of Constantinople to the Moslem Turks in A.D. 1453 would have brought the nominally-christianized yet still-unreformed Europe to her senses. If only the Eastern-Orthodox, but especially the then-unharmed but nevertheless then-threatened Papal West, had then repented!

 

Yet "the rest of the men who were not killed by those [Islamic] plagues, still did not repent of the works of their hands so that they should cease worshipping demons and idols (of gold and silver and brass and stone and wood) which can neither see nor hear nor walk. Neither did they repent of their murders nor of their sorceries nor of their fornication nor of their thefts."

 

For even the Christian Church in Western Europe had become deformed by the tyranny of the Romish Papacy as described by John in his subsequent chapters. The nominal Church (both Eastern and Western) had become infested with the worship of (fallen) Angels and icons and with violence and witchcraft and lasciviousness and simonies. Also the Eastern-Orthodox Church even when under the tyranny of Islam did not repent of those sins.

 

The deformed Church still needed to be reformed! There would still have to be a progressive destruction not only of Eastern-Orthodox icons but even more so of the idolatrous Papal Tyranny by a Protestant Reformation!

 

That Protestant Reformation of the deformed Western Church, to liberate it from its Papal-Babylonish captivity commenced in 1517, between the Fall of Constantinople to the Turks in 1453 and the defeat of the Turks at Vienna in 1683. That Protestant Reformation was firmly established by the middle of the sixteenth century as the Turkish power was reaching its zenith.

 

Indeed, the Protestant Reformation was and is predestinated to reform the Church and to destroy the works of the false-prophet Mohammed and of all other false-prophets even down through all the subsequent centuries. For the Protestant Reformation in spite of all setbacks will continue to advance and to triumph during the remaining time of Earth's History.

 

That will keep on occurring, through the faithful preaching and application of the Word of God. It will continue until "the kingdom of the World has become that of our Lord and of His Christ; and [also thereafter,] He shall keep on reigning for ever and ever!"

 

O Christian, may we believers thank the Lord for our God-given faith in Christ and also praise the Lord that we have been baptized with the faith-affirming seal of the living God upon our foreheads! May we persuade also others to believe in the Lord and to receive His seal, believingly!

 

May we stand firm against Islam and all other false-prophecies (such as Romanism, Communism, Socialism and Humanism)! May we work for the Papalized Church's full liberation from its Babylonian captivity! May we call upon all men to repent!

 

May we ourselves clearly understand that history is on our side! Because history is controlled not by Satan, but by our Saviour. And His Kingdom is yet destined to cleanse and to absorb all of the kingdoms of this World. For His blessed reign shall continue to expand for ever and ever.

 

 

 

 

 

So on, then, Christian soldiers! Onward, to victory!

Mighty Christ unites Heaven and Earth and Sea

Revelation 10 December 12

 

 

"Then I saw another mighty Angel come down from Heaven, clothed with a cloud. And a rainbow was upon His head. And His face was like the sun and His feet like pillars of fire.... Then the voice which I heard from Heaven spoke to me again and said, 'Go and take the Biblion which has been opened, in the hand of the Angel!'.... And He said to me, 'You must prophesy again before many peoples and nations and tongues and kings!'"

 

 

At the end of his remarks on Revelation chapter nine and at the beginning of his remarks on Revelation chapter ten, Albert Barnes rightly comments: "The judgments which were brought upon the World by the Turkish invasions...wrought no repentance or reformation [of the Church].... The language here is strictly applicable to these things. 'Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts'....

 

"In the previous apocalyptic revelations...the history had been brought down...to the capture of Constantinople by the Turks..., A.D. 1453.... The sketches of history pertaining to the Roman Empire in the Book of Revelation [9:20f], have been made with surprising accuracy.... The same state of things continued subsequent to the plagues brought on by those invasions, which had existed before.... The same sins of superstition, idolatry, sorcery, murder, fornication and theft prevailed afterwards that had prevailed before...in the Romish Church.... The next event in the order of time, was the Reformation.... In the exposition of the chapter...the symbols are such as accord well with the great leading events of the Protestant Reformation."

 

Constantinople fell to the Islamic Turks in 1453. The new discovery of printing from movable type in Europe, took place in the following year. Thus the stage was set for the re-emergence of the religion of the Bible.

 

For the appearance of the Gutenberg Latin Bible of 1454, soon led to the publication of the Soncino Hebrew Old Testament in 1488. That in turn was followed by the publication of Erasmus's Greek New Testament in 1516 just one year before the resulting commencement of the Protestant Reformation under the able leadership of that great Bible Student, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther.

 

After his vision of the terrible onslaught against Eastern Orthodoxy's Christian Civilization by the Turks, John saw a "mighty Angel." This was apparently Christ Himself, seen as 'descending' spiritually from Heaven.

 

Wrote John: "Then I saw another mighty Angel come down from Heaven clothed with a cloud. And a rainbow was upon His head. And His face was like the sun and His feet like pillars of fire."

 

As the 1560 Calvinistic Geneva Bible rightly comments this 'mighty Angel' "was Jesus Christ. He came to comfort His Church against the furious assaults of Satan and Antichrist" especially via Islam and the Papacy.

 

After centuries of ecclesiastical stagnation during which the Bible had almost been forgotten, immediately subsequent to the invention of movable-type printing the Bible was once again made accessible at least in the ancient languages (Latin, Hebrew and Greek). But then, it still needed to be translated and preached in the various living languages of the common people.

 

The time and the means to do so, had now arrived. For the full reason for Christ's incarnation and the outpouring of His Spirit after His ascension and heavenly session namely His Church's execution of His programme for the Christian conquest of the World could now be re-explained. This is what Christ now came to tell His Apostle John and, via John, to tell all of His Servants and especially all of His Ministers of the Word.

 

Now this programme of World Christianization was to be executed through the publication of Christ's Book the Bible among men. So according to the Geneva Bible, Albert Barnes, Mauro, Lenski, and B.H. Carroll John now recorded how he saw that Christ Himself had an open Bible in His hand, and how a heavenly voice told His Church to "go and take the...Book [or Biblion or Bibla-ridion] which had been opened, in the hand of the Angel" Christ.

 

Comments the Calvinistic Dordt Dutch Bible: "Some take this to mean the Book of the Gospel, which, at the time Antichrist was at its highest was like a closed book to the Church. But from the time onward that the Turks broke loose against Christianity, as seen in the previous chapter, it was once again more and more opened up, and more plainly presented to the Church by several exceptional men of God" (such as Luther and Calvin etc.).

 

John (like any other Minister of the Word) was required to take the Bible and to preach it to all who would listen. So John "took the Biblion out of the Angel's hand, and ate it up" thus thoroughly absorbing it into his very existence. Then the mighty Angel Jesus Christ said to John: "You must prophesy again before many peoples and Nations and tongues and Kings!"

 

Right after the 1453 invention of movable-type printing, Christ made His Book available to His Church as never before. The reading and preaching of that Bible then produced the Protestant Reformation. Thus Philip Mauro and B.H. Carroll. And the reading and preaching of that same Book will still produce and maintain an ongoing Reformation in our own day too.

 

Next, Christ Himself sovereignly opened and explained the Bible to His Apostle John even as He still sovereignly opens and explains the Bible to us today, and just as He had also sovereignly opened the seven seals of His bookroll. For "He had in His hand an opened Bibla-ridion. And He set His right foot upon the Sea, and His left foot on the Earth" and "lifted up His hand to Heaven."

 

Unto Him, the Son of man, all power in Heaven and on Earth has now been given even from His resurrection onward. As the Second Adam, He has begun to subdue the Cosmos. Consequently, even as man, He now controls the Earth and the Sea and the Sky and everything in them subduing them all, and having dominion over all of their contents, solely to the glory of God.

 

So He commissions and enjoins all His Bible-receiving Ministers of the Word: "Keep on going therefore, and make all Nations into disciples; baptizing them into the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you! And look! I am with you always even unto the end of the World. Amen."

 

In other words, Jesus in essence here says to all His Ministers of the Word: 'You must keep on going into the whole World! As My Preacher-Angels, you must keep on baptizing all Nations upon their foreheads with the seal of the living Triune God! You must then keep on instructing them so that they may overcome the whole World and stand firm against all of the woes and plagues which will come upon the children of dis-obedience!'

 

Whenever God's Word, the Holy Bible, is believingly preached by Christ's Ministers of the Word the Lord Himself speaks through them. So Christ "cried out with a loud voice, as when a lion roars. And when He had cried out, seven thunders uttered their voices."

 

Now when Christ the Lion of Judah here read and preached from His own blessed Book it sounded like a perfect or sevenfold series of thunderclaps in a mighty storm. Similarly, when Christ's Ministers of the Word read and preach from His Scriptures today in the power of His sevenfold Spirit, they too should thunder forth the Word of God against all iniquity. For as the Geneva Bible rightly comments: "The whole graces of God's Spirit [here] bend themselves against Antichrist."

 

Fifth. These seven thunders seem to be connected to the seven seals and especially to the seven trumpets. As such, these thunderous messages seem to be warnings of lightning-like destruction to the impenitent while also promising good illumination and the repeated refreshments of reviving rains and thundershowers to the penitent. This occurs right down throughout Church History from Christ's ascension, to His Second Coming in Final Judgment.

 

As John declared: "When the seven thunders had uttered their voices..., the Angel which I saw standing upon the Sea and upon the Earth lifted up His hand to Heaven. Then He [that Angel] "swore by Him Who keeps on living for ever and ever, Who created Heaven and the things in it and the Earth and the things in it and the Sea and the things in it that there would no longer be a time" of delay. But in the days of the voice of the seventh Angel [yet to come], when he shall begin to sound [his trumpet], the mystery of God would be finished as He had declared to His Servants the Prophets."

 

Now this "mystery" which is to be finished after the time of the blowing of the seventh trumpet is not the end of World History. Rather will it mark the earlier end of "the domination of Antichrist" (thus the Calvinistic Geneva Bible of John Knox and Mrs. John Calvin's brother-in-law Dr. William Whittingham). Too: Brown of Haddington; Bishop Thomas Newton; and D'Oyly & Mant.

 

Matthew Henry and Jenks's Comprehensive Bible and Albert Barnes refer it to the downfall of Papal Rome. Indeed, Matthew Poole and Thomas Scott and B.H. Carroll refer it further to the subsequent dawn of a 'World Jubilee' of great earthly blessings.

 

Sixth. John was told himself to preach from the opened Book or Biblion from which Christ Himself was then apparently reading so thunderously. The Apostle was first himself to assimilate that Biblion into his own very existence. Then he was to go and declare all of its warnings and its promises to others even as modern Preachers are to do, also today.

 

For the preaching of God's Word reveals the sovereignty of the Lord and of His Christ. It is to declare His absolute control over the Earth and the Sea and the Sky and all that is in them even while God shakes the World in one judgment after the other.

 

For the kingdom of this World even now already belongs to God namely in principle because Christ created and redeemed it. Therefore it is progressively to become His in practice too.

 

Seventh. The time of the commencement of this new preaching of God's Word the time between the sounding of the sixth trumpet and the sounding of the seventh trumpet is very significant. Just previously, the sixth trumpet had announced the unleashing of the Islamic Turks from about 1000 A.D. onward whose power reached its zenith and then began to wane during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

 

Albert Barnes comments that all this took place at the very point in time the invention of movable-type printing had promoted the publication of the Bible. That produced the Reformation of the Islamitically-threatened and papally-deformed Church.

 

Also Mauro explains: "The question will naturally arise as to the time indicated by the loud voice of the mighty Angel and the seven thunders.... What marked this event outwardly, was the Protestant Reformation. That great event took place at the time the waning of the Turkish power began....

 

"There began at that time (sixteenth century), the era of the prophesying anew concerning peoples and Nations and tongues and many Kings. For certainly it was a new era of: the preaching of the Word of God; the separation of the true from the untrue in the House of God; and the final testimony of God by His two witnesses (the 'Law' and the 'Prophets' of Revelation eleven)....

 

"At that time also, there was a great and wonderful revival of learning. The invention of printing by means of movable type...gave us the printing press...[and] coincided with the translation of the Holy Scriptures out of the original languages, Hebrew and Greek, into the vernacular English and German with results that have been incalculably great.

 

"From that day to the present, the diffusion of the knowledge of the Bible has continued.... The printing press...is working toward the accomplishment of the purposes of God.... Most certainly, therefore, the era of the Reformation was one of the greatest of the entire dispensation [of History], and hence well deserving of a place in this prophecy" of John.

 

Great linguists in the Biblical languages, fled to Western Europe after Constantinople fell to the Turks in 1453. The Gutenberg Latin Bible appeared in 1455, followed by many other editions first in Greek and Hebrew and then (during the sixteenth century) in the common languages of Europe.

 

The Protestant Reformation was the predictable result. For as people read and heard the Bible preached to them as the Word of God in their own mother-tongues, the errors of Romanism became more and more apparent.

 

Thus the power of the Papacy was checked, and then began to decline. Indeed, with the widespread circulation and study of the now 'opened' Biblion or the small and easily-transportable Bible printed in the common tongues of Western Europe, the resulting Protestant Reformation spread like wildfire.

 

It started just two weeks after Luther nailed the Ninety-five Theses on the door of Wittenberg Cathedral in 1517. And this Protestant Reformation shall yet continue, even today until the Church of Jesus Christ is purged from the "mystery" of its Babylonish-Romish impurities, and until the kingdom of this World has become that of our Lord and of His Christ.

 

Last. Christ instructed John to "eat" and then to preach His Book. This involves the instruction also of His other Servants (or Ministers of the Word of God) to preach the canonical book(s) to all men everywhere who are willing to listen to it.

 

Said the Mighty Angel to John: "'Go and take the Biblion...and eat it up!' ... Then He said to me: 'You must prophesy again before many peoples and Nations and tongues and Kings!'"

 

As Hengstenberg challengingly comments: "We too must eat and even swallow it; not some choice portion of it, but the whole; not only that which is agreeable to ourselves, like those who separate the Gospel from the Law." And this whole counsel of God must be preached not just to each Nation as a whole but also even to the Kings alias the Political Leaders of every Nation.

 

It is therefore not just to a few little groups of enthusiasts here and there, but rather especially to many peoples and Nations that God's Word is to be proclaimed in many tongues and languages. Matthew 28:19. And it is not just to the dregs of society, but indeed particularly also to kings and Political Leaders that the Word of God is to be preached.

 

Thus Luther preached it to the Holy Roman Emperor Charles the Fifth and Calvin proclaimed it to Francis King of France. For it is in this way that the de-formed Church is to become re-formed. This is how Christ's rule is to be expanded. For it is in this manner that His Kingdom is to come with power here on Earth, as it is in Heaven.

 

The comments of the Geneva Bible on this tenth chapter of the Book of Revelation, are very instructive. The 'Book' is "the Gospel of Christ which Antichrist cannot hide." Christ the Angel's crying out 'with a loud voice' through His Preachers, "declares that despite Antichrist the Gospel would be preached through all the World so that the enemies shall be astonished."

 

Just as 'the Voice...from Heaven' spoke to John, so too does Christ the Word enjoin "true Preachers to discover [or expose] the Pope and Antichrist." And Christ's injunction for John to 'prophesy again among the...Nations...and to many Kings' was "not only meaning [to prophesy] in his [John's] lifetime but that this Book [also] after his death should be as a preaching unto all Nations."

 

O Christian, may we too ever believe that Christ exerts all sovereignty over the Earth and the Sea and the Sky and everything in them even here and now! May we, like John, love Christ's Book the Bible! Like John, and like Luther and Calvin after John, may we too assimilate the contents of Holy Scripture until it verily becomes bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh!

 

May we too as did they then fearless proclaim its contents to many Nations, and even to their Kings or Political Leaders! May we warn them to turn from their sins or otherwise to receive the thunderous judgments of God, and perish! And may we keep on doing all of this without ceasing till the kingdom of this World has become that of our God and of His Christ!

 

 

 

 

 

So on, then, Christian soldiers! Onward, to victory!

God's Two loyal Witnesses prophesy on a Wide Scale for many Days

Revelation 11:1-13 December 13

 

 

"I will give power to My two witnesses, and they shall prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days.... Then they ascended into Heaven with a cloud. Then their enemies beheld them. And the same hour, there was a great earthquake. And the tenth part of the city fell, and seven thousand men were slain in the earthquake. But the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of Heaven."

 

 

Christ had just armed John with the 'Canon' of the Biblion alias the Word of God (thus Lenski). In this way, John had been given a 'Canonical' Reed or Measuring-rod with which to measure the exact dimensions of the True Church here on Earth (which had been so pestered with heresies from within and assaults from without ever since the sounding of the third trumpet).

 

Already the Church had been weakened by the emerging Papacy. Now, after the subsequent scourges of the Moslem Arabs and the Islamic Turks, she was further afflicted with the horrible corruptions of Mediaeval Romanism. Thus it was that she now fell into desperate need of Reformation.

 

This Reformation would be brought about through the instrumentality of Christ's Biblion our 66-book Bible. This was and is the only 'Canon' or Measuring-rod in all matters of faith and conduct in the Zion of the Holy Christian Church.

 

Right after the discovery of movable-type printing in fifteenth-century Europe, the Bible quickly began to be published in its original tongues and also in the languages of the peoples of the West. Consequently, the very widespread circulation of Holy Scripture at the beginning of the sixteenth century was soon destined to produce the blessed Protestant Reformation of the then-deformed Church. For as the Calvinistic Geneva Bible rightly comments, the phrase '[measure or] mete the Temple of God!' signifies and "declares that Christ Jesus will build His Church; and not have it destroyed!"

 

Rightly does Albert Barnes comment: "The command to 'measure the Temple of God'...was a direction to take an estimate of what constituted the True Church the very work which it was necessary to do in the Reformation! For this was the first point which was to be settled, whether the Papacy was the True Church, or was the Antichrist....

 

"The Refomers made up their minds that the Papacy was [certainly] not the True Church.... The Papacy had exalted the Lord's Supper into a real sacrifice.... The altar in the Romish communion had...displaced the pulpit.... It claimed to be the True Church.... But it had the essential characteristics of Heathenism.... Can anyone doubt the truth of this representation as applicable to the Papacy?"

 

Jesus Christ the Angel of the Covenant commanded John to determine the true scope of the real Church here on Earth (as opposed to its merely visible aspect). Nominal Mediaeval Christendom would indeed be corrupted by Romish papal sins and Eastern-'Orthodox' icons from within even as it would be harried by the assaults of Islam from without. So John was now predictively to evaluate nominal Mediaeval Christianity against the Standard alias the Canonical Measuring-rod of the Word of God.

 

The Apostle John thus records about the Bible which he saw in his vision: "I took the Bibla-ridion out of the hand of the Angel, and ate it up.... Then He [the mighty Angel] said to me: 'You must prophesy again before many peoples and Nations and tongues and Kings!'

 

"Then there was given me a Reed, like a Measuring-rod. Then the Angel stood and said: 'Rise, and measure the 'Temple of God' [or the 'True Church'], and the 'Altar' [alias the 'True Clergy'], and those who worship there [alias the 'True Laity']! But leave out and do not measure the 'Court' [alias the 'Courtyard'] which is outside the Temple!" Do not measure that 'Nominal Christendom' which was outside of the True Church of Christ during the Middle Ages! "For it has been given to the Pagans. And they shall tread under foot the 'Holy City' [or the 'True Church'] forty-two months."

 

Now this 'forty-two months' of downtreading has nothing at all to do with any persecution of the Ancient Jews (thus many Preterists). Also, it has nothing to do with any possible future desecration of any building in the modern land of Israel (thus many Futurists). Quite to the contrary, this forty-two months seems to refer to the mediaeval period of the Papacy's 'Babylonian captivity' of the True Church Universal meaning the 'Holy City' under the enduring "Semi-Pagan" power of the Romish yoke (thus most Historicalists).

 

Here, the comment of the Calvinistic Geneva Bible of John Knox and Mrs. John Calvin's brother-in-law William Whittingham is extremely significant. It points out that the 'Temple' and the 'Holy City' signify the true "Church of God." And it identifies the 'Court[yard]' with the Mediaeval Visible Church of the Romanists. It states that such "adversaries of Christ boast that they are in the Temple; and that none are of the Temple, but they!"

 

The Calvinistic Dordt Dutch Bible is even more specific. It comments that this 'Holy City' is "the Visible Church, which was here being depicted by Jerusalem." That 'Holy City' was now occupied and trampled down by the idolators who glory in the title of 'The Temple of God' and 'The Holy Church' but who suppress the True Church. Consequently, by the 'Outer Court[yard]' is meant those who have the most fame and respect in the kingdom of Antichrist or among their clergy."

 

Consequently, the 'forty-two months' during which the Holy City is trodden under foot, corresponds to the three-and-a-half "years" the one "time" plus the two "times" plus "the dividing" of a time. This yields one half of the perfect number seven the time during which the stout and arrogant Roman horn would wield power in its papal persecution of true Christians (according to the predictions of Daniel).

 

As stated in Revelation eleven, this 'forty-two months' amounts to exactly one thousand two hundred and sixty days. These '1260 days' seem to be day-years, and hence 1260 years or just over twelve-and-a-half centuries according to the 'day-year' principle of predictive interpretation. Thus the Classic Historicalists Joachim of Floris, Eberhard of Salzburg, Wycliffe, Osiander, John Bale, Flaccius Illyricus, Funck, Conradus, Nigrinus, the Dordt Dutch Bible, Napier, Brightman, Pareus, Mede, John Cotton, Gerhardt, Alsted, Jurieu, Matthew Henry, Bishop Thomas Newton, Albert Barnes, Apostolos Makrakis and many others.

 

This Classic Historicalist position was strongly advocated also by the greatest of all of the Protestant Reformers, John Calvin himself. He remarks that "the Spirit exhorts believers to prepare themselves for the exercise of patience...through an uninterrupted period of many ages.... For it is customary with men in adversity to compute time not by years or months but by days a single day being, in their estimation, equal to a year....

 

"At the present time in the Papacy and throughout the whole World, impiety prevails so extensively that there is scarcely a single corner in which the majority agree in true obedience to God.... I do not hesitate to suppose the Angel to promise the arrival of a period when God should collect many disciples to Himself, although at the beginning they should be very few and insignificant.... Yet God should gather to Himself a great multitude.... The sons of God shall soon become increased.... The Lord will at length cause many to embrace it to their own salvation....

 

"Men must wait for 'the time, [two] times, and half-a-time'.... I have stated my objection to the opinion of those who think one year and two and a half [years], to be here intended.... Its meaning is very simple. 'Time' means a long period; 'times,' a longer period.... The 'half-a-time' is added for the comfort of the pious, to prevent their sinking under the delay.... The sum of the whole is this many years must elapse before God fulfils what His Prophet had declared.

 

"I admit the allusion to years.... The words are not to be understood literally, but metaphorically.... How sad is the dispersion of the Church in these days! God indeed defends it.... Yet the end would be prosperous.... The Angel, then, purposely puts 'days' for years, implying...that time may seem immeasurably prolonged.... Yet it must be endured... After God has sufficiently proved the patience of His People...and has humbled His Church and purged it...the end shall arrive." See Westminster Larger Catechism 191.

 

Even more strongly, the Calvinistic Dordt Dutch Bible comments that "the 'days' mean whole years, as in [Numbers 14:34 and] Ezekiel 4:5f and Daniel 9:24. Some compute the beginning of those years from the year 606, when the Bishop of Rome for the first time took over the title of Bishop of the whole Christian Church (which is peculiar only to Christ)."

 

The Preterists, however, take the 1260 'day-years' to mean regular days. Hence, they suppress its major prediction of the papal apostasy and apply it instead exclusively to the three-and-a-half years during which the Pagan Romans besieged Judaistic Jerusalem between A.D. 66.5 and 70.

 

Yet, while the latter may well be the first root of this particular prediction it is hardly the mature outgrowth. In context, only the Classic Historicalist or Protestant view of these verses against the centuries-long papal desecration of the True Christian Church does proper justice to it.

 

Now this period of 1260 years of papal persecution of the Church, began inconspicuously in the early centuries. Then the 'downtreading' increased from the seventh and peaked in the thirteenth century as the Papacy gradually rose to prominence. Yet that period began to end from the fourteenth through the twenty-first centuries as the Papacy gradually dwindled and yet keeps on dwindling whenever bravely challenged by the powerful preaching of the Word of God.

 

Nevertheless, even throughout the time of maximum papal persecution Christ would still have His faithful 'Proto-Protestant' or 'Pre-Reformational' and 'Continuing-Christian' Preacher-Witnesses. For, as the Lord Himself declared to John: "I will give power to My two witnesses, and they shall prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days."

 

These "two witnesses" have been given various identities. Sometimes they have been associated with Enoch and Elijah; with the Law and the Prophets; or with the Old and the New Testaments. Perhaps most commentators, however, associate these "two witnesses" with the testimony of Christian Ministers before and at and after the Protestant Reformation or alternatively with the witness of the Church of all ages.

 

The Calvinistic Dordt Dutch Bible here truly comments that by these witnesses "are to be understood several excellent Preachers whom God raised up at different times here and there in His Church during this time of the kingdom of the Antichrist.... Such were Waldo and Peter Bruys in France; Wyclif and Purvey in England; John Huss and Jerome of Prague in Bohemia.... God was pleased to raise up Luther and Melanchthon in Germany; Zwingli and Oecolampadius in Switzerland; Farel and Calvin in France; and more others in their place who finished off their testimony with more power, and caused to fall a large part of that 'Babylon' whose total fall and destruction shall be predicted hereafter."

 

Encouragingly, Christ told John that the harried Church would be revived mightily at the end of its 1260 day-year ordeal. This 'revival' can now be seen to have started to take place at the end of the True Church's 'Babylonian Captivity' for many centuries.

 

For in the Protestant Reformation and thereafter, the Church is more and more being gripped by the Word of God. Indeed, wherever Protestantism thrives the Church is increasingly delivered from the power of the Papacy.

 

John indeed saw that the 'Outer Court[yard]' of the Church would be desecrated first by the Roman and then by the Romish "Gentiles." That is to say, the Mediaeval Church would be desecrated by the Romish Papists (and also by repeated attacks from Moslems). Yet the Apostle was also given to understand that the Gentile 'Court[yard]' would be outside the true 'Temple of God' alias the regenerate Church.

 

So the Apostle John was to "leave out" [or even 'cast out'] the Gentile 'Court[yard].' He was not to measure it" together with the 'Temple of God' as if it formed part of the True Church. For it was only a "sham church" or a "false church."

 

As Rev. Prof. Dr. Martin Luther pointed out: "The shameful Mohammed with his companions the Saracens...inflicted a great plague on the Church.... Along with this" comes "the 'holy' Papacy with its great 'spiritual' show the masses. They [viz. both the Moslems and the Papists] lay hold upon the Temple...and start a sham church or outward 'holy place.'"

 

This is exactly how also John Calvin regarded Romanism. Yet the great Genius of Geneva did not regard Roman Catholicism as a Non-Christian religion (like Judaism or Islam). Nor did he regard Romanism as a legitimate branch of the True Church (such as Lutheranism or Presbyterianism). Instead, Calvin regarded Romanism as a 'false church' ecclesia falsa as God's Temple's 'Outer Court[yard]' polluted by the 'Gentiles' alias the Romish Papists.

 

This is why John measured only "the Temple of God and the altar and those who worship there." He did not measure the 'Outer Court[yard]' desecrated by the Roman and/or Romish Gentiles (and also by the Moslem Gentiles).

 

Yet the final fulfilment of the prediction was sure. For ultimately the thus-measured and the thus-purged true Christian Church shall grow, till it is plenteously populated and the 'Holy City' of 'Jerusalem' shall be inhabited like towns without walls because of the multitude of men and cattle in it.

 

O, that we also today would realize that the 'casting out' of desecrating persons from the bosom of our Lord's Church ultimately strengthens her! It does not weaken her (even numerically). For the cleansing of the sanctuary of the Christian Church will always result in her revival!

 

Christ next revealed to John that the two true witnesses would faithfully and effectively testify about the Saviour's Lordship throughout the period of the Babylonian captivity of the 'Holy City.' They would continue to proclaim God's Word right there in spite of the defilement of the Temple's 'Outer Court[yard]' by the Roman-Romish Gentiles.

 

It is difficult to reconcile the above from the Preterist point of view. For Christ Himself predicted that all Hebrew Christians would have left Jerusalem by 66.5 A.D. before the beginning of its besiegement and later destruction at the hands of the Romans. From the Historicalist point of view, however, the two witnesses who stay within the 'Jerusalem' of the Late-Mediaeval Church would very suitably represent Pre-Reformers like Wycliffe and Huss etc.

 

Thus the 'Outer Court[yard]' would be "given to the Gentiles.... The 'Holy City' [and 'Zion' of Christ's Church], they shall tread under foot forty-two months. But I will give power to my two witnesses; and they shall prophesy, clothed in sackcloth, a thousand two hundred and sixty days."

 

Here we should think not merely of specific Pre-Protestant witnesses such as the Waldensians and Savanarola etc. Nor should we think exclusively of specific witnesses among the early Protestants, such as Luther and Calvin and the early Lutherans and the early Calvinists. But here we should rather think of all the papally-unaccredited "sackcloth" Preachers like Enoch (even before the Great Flood) and like Gottschalk (from the earliest rise of the Papacy in the past, right down to its uttermost fall in the yet-future).

 

For all such God-sent Preachers received, or shall yet receive, God-given "power" to 'prophesy' that is, to declare the Word of God to all who will listen. In the power of the Holy Spirit, they are the flames kept burning with God's supply of olive oil which illuminate the Earth and emit the fiery judgment-preachings of God in the midst of a sin-darkened people. Post tenebras, lux 'after the darkness' of Romanism, comes 'the light' of the Reformation!

 

Preaching the Law and the Prophecies, these two 'Protestant' witnesses "pro-test" or "witness for" the truth. They declare the Law, like Moses; and the Prophecies, like Elijah. They promise salvation to all those who heed and they promise destruction to all those who disobey their God-given messages.

 

As the Geneva Bible comments: "By the 'two witnesses' he means all the Preachers that would build up God's Church alluding to Zerubbabel and Jehoshua. They were appointed chiefly for this thing and also to the saying 'In the mouth of two witnesses, every word stands!'"

 

May we too, then, faithfully continue this twofold witness of promoting the message of the Law and the Prophets! May we do so even today!

 

Now the Non-Christian religions (represented by Judaism and Islam) and the false ecclesiastical establishment (represented by the Romish Papacy and the icon-honouring Eastern-"Orthodox" communions) are never able to silence the testimony of Christ's true 'Protestant' emissaries for the Word of God. For, although desiring to expunge that testimony Judaism and Islam and the Papists and the Eastern-"Orthodox" (as instruments in the 'left' hand of God) can ultimately only promote it (yet unwillingly and unwittingly).

 

Meantime, we are told about "the Beast that ascends from the bottomless pit." This probably represents the power of various anti-christian politico-religious establishments (including Islam), but also and especially the Romish Papacy. Thus the Geneva Bible comments as too do many other authorities that 'the Beast' who comes out of the 'bottomless pit' is "the Pope, who has his power from hell and who comes thence." So too Albert Barnes.

 

It is also true that this "Beast shall make war against" Christ's true emissaries, and "shall overcome them and kill them." Yet the bodies of Christ's true witnesses do not remain in the Romish Babylon or on the street of "the great city which spiritually is called 'Sodom-and-Egypt' where also our Lord was crucified."

 

What, then, is this 'Sodom-and-Egypt'? It is not actually either the city of Sodom nor the land of Egypt nor both together. For our Lord was crucified neither in the actual Sodom nor in the actual Egypt, but in the actual Jerusalem. Nor does the inspired John say Christ was crucified in the actual Sodom nor in the actual Egypt. To the contrary. The inspired John clearly says that the place where our Lord was crucified is not actually but rather "spiritually" indeed "called 'Sodom-and-Egypt.'"

 

Now the righteous Lot did not remain in Sodom. Nor did either Moses or God's Ancient People remain in Egypt. Nor during the first century did the true Hebrew Christians remain in the 'Sodom-and-Egypt' of the judaized Jerusalem "where also our Lord was crucified." Nor did Gentile Christians later remain in the islamized 'Egypt' of the Dark Ages. And neither would God's true witnesses remain in the "Sodom" and "Egypt" and "Babylon" and Pseudo-Jerusalem of Papal Rome "where also the Lord was crucified" and keeps on being crucified afresh by Romish priests every time they celebrate their so-called 'mass' several times a day.

 

God's true People, then, do not remain in the papal Sodom-and-Egypt. For there one finds especially its 'mass'-ive ongoing crucifixion and de facto re-crucifixion of the Saviour.

 

The great Calvinistic Geneva Bible of Rev. John Knox and Mrs. John Calvin's brother-in-law Rev. Dr. William Whittingham, here makes some extremely luminous comments. It says that the great city which spiritually is called 'Sodom-and-Egypt' means "the whole jurisdiction of the Pope. This is compared to Sodom, for their abominable sin and to Egypt, because the true liberty to serve God is taken away from the faithful. And Christ was condemned by Pilate, who represented the Roman power which would be[come] enemy to the godly."

 

Also the Calvinistic Dordt Dutch Bible here comments that "by this, the city of Rome is to be understood. That is sufficiently enough declared by the Angel himself in Revelation 17:9-18. It is 'spiritually'...called 'Sodom' on account of the immorality which is settled there; 'Egypt' on account of its suppression of God's People; and 'where also our Lord was crucified' because just as Christ Himself was crucified by the Roman Stadtholder, He is also yet today similarly being crucified in His Members by the Romish hierarchy."

 

So God's children and His true witnesses do not remain within the Romish Babylon and the Papacy's Sodom-and-Egypt. At the end of the 1260 years Barnes asserts at the Lateran Council in 1513 the True Church "dies" temporarily. But three-and-a-half "days" or day-years later, during 1517, the True Church is resurrected from the dead at the start of the Reformation.

 

Accordingly, at the dawn of the Protestant Reformation, the True People of God's previous 1260 "years"-long testimony lives again in 1517. It is revived or resurrected, and powerfully strengthened, by "the Spirit of life from God" only three-and-a-half day-years after their 1514 "death." Then, after 1517, it even continues right down throughout all subsequent Church History. For the blood of the martyrs is indeed the seed of the Church.

 

For John then further explains that "after three-and-a-half days, the Spirit of life from God entered into them. And they stood upon their feet. And great fear fell upon those who saw them."

 

Hence, after fully 1260 years of testimony for Christ, there arrives just a few "days" of silence from 1514 until 1517. But this would soon be followed by an age-long and indestructible testimony for the truth of the most holy Word of God.

 

Explained Jesus to John: "My two witnesses...ascended into Heaven with a cloud. Then their enemies beheld them. And the same hour there was a great earthquake. And the tenth part of the city fell, and seven thousand men were slain.... But the rest [alias the nine-tenths of the city left over after the slaying of seven thousand of its inhabitants] were terrified and gave glory to the God of Heaven."

 

Now this Protestant "revival" of true witnessing for God's Word some time after the apparent "death" of such witnessing for a mere three-and-a-half "days" or years (following the end of the 1260 "days" or years), has four important results. First, it rejuvenates a "dead" Protestantism with the bold prophetic Spirit of the living God and infuses great fear into its opponents. Second, it exalts Protestantism to a position of 'heavenly' rulership over the Earth in the presence of its enemies. Third, it is accompanied by an earthquake-judgment from God which slays only "seven thousand men" and destroys barely one-tenth of the great city of the 'Holy Roman Empire' (sic) or "the power of Antichrist" (thus the Geneva Bible). And fourth, it then seems to convert the remaining nine-tenths to Protestantism.

 

On this rejuvenation of a "dead" Protestantism the Dordt Dutch Bible comments that the slain "two witnesses" were to be followed by "the greater power and glorifying of those witnesses by those who replace them. The latter in turn are followed by yet others who are strengthened also by the power of the civil government in [Lutheran] Germany, [Huguenot] France, [Puritan] England, [Presbyterian] Scotland, [Calvinistic] Switzerland, the [Reformed] Netherlands, and other parts of the World notwithstanding all the force of the Antichrist. This has...been accomplished and is still being perfected."

 

The "great earthquake" is associated by some, with the 1300 A.D. great earthquake in Rome. Indeed, from 1309-76, Romanism's Popes (or 'Anti-popes') were all French and then operated not from Rome in Italy but from Avignon in France. That was certainly 'earth-shattering.'

 

Yet because it is said to occur "at the same time" as the 'ascension' of the two faithful 'witnesses' many Theologians have identified it with the later and much greater "earthquake" of the Anti-Romish Protestant Reformation of 1517f. And truly, the Protestant Reformers indeed did shake up Romanism and its Papacy as never before.

 

Yet others have seen a further fulfilment of the "great earthquake" in the very different and Anti-Christian French Revolution of 1789. Indeed, France was one of the ten Horns or Kingdoms of the Neo-Roman Empire. The 1789 French Revolution not only atheized France and polluted many other lands, but it also soon led even to the imprisonment of the Pope in his own Vatican.

 

There is no doubt that all three of those events very much shook up both Romanism and its Papacy. For such was especially the progressive impact of the 1300 earthquake in Rome; the 1517f Protestant Reformation; and the 1789 French Revolution.

 

A century before the French Revolution, already Jacques Phillipot wrote in his 1687 Clarifications of St. John's Revelation: "As the King of France did his utmost to enhance the glory of Popery it will be the King[dom] of France who shall mostly contribute to her ruin.... The city here mentioned is Babylon that is the Papal Empire, the Church of Rome, the Empire of the Antichrist....

 

"France is one of the ten horns of the Beast, one of the ten Kingdoms which would be formed according to Daniel out of the debris of the Roman Empire.... According to St. John, she would rise at the same time with the Beast.... The French monarchy, like all the neighbouring states, was established upon the ruins of the Roman Empire and grew at the same time as the Bishop of Rome.... France is a place and a part of the City; that is, of the Papal Empire."

 

Contemporarily with Phillipot, also Pierre Jurieu asked in his 1687 Accomplishment of the Scripture Prophecies (II ch. 13): "What is this 'tenth' part of this City which shall fall? In my opinion, we cannot doubt that it is France. This Kingdom is the most considerable part or piece of the ten Horns or states which once made up the great Babylonian City [of Rome]....

 

"Who must begin this last revolt? ... France shall.... It cannot be any country but France which a long time ago has begun to shake off the yoke of Rome.... The tenth part of the City which must fall is France."

 

Still 41 years before the French Revolution, also Bishop Thomas Newton in his celebrated Dissertations on the Prophecies (III:380) insisted during 1748: "Rome, therefore will finally be destroyed by some of the princes.... As the Kings of France have contributed greatly to her advancement it is not...improbable that some time or other they may also be the principal authors of her destruction. France has already shown some tendency towards a reformation and therefore may appear more likely to effect such a revolution."

 

After the French Revolution, many Theologians recognized it as one of the chief fulfilments of Revelation 11:13. Such included also: Joseph Priestley, Timothy Dwight, Samuel Hopkins, G.S. Faber, Thomas Scott, Andrew Fuller, Adam Clarke, Edward Bickersteth, and Albert Barnes.

 

In his 1806 Dissertation on the Prophecies (II:40f) Faber wrote: "In the year 1789, the 'earthquake' commenced, and in it fell a tenth part...of the great Roman city.... The French Revolution alone can be intended in this prediction.... Titles of nobility in general would be abolished or slain by the earthquake of the French Revolution.... Archbishops and Bishops...the same."

 

Also the Presbyterian Rev. Dr. Albert Barnes of Philadelphia commented on Revelation 11:13f and 16:2f: "No events have ever taken place in history that would better be compared with the shock of an earthquake, than those which occurred when the long-established governments of Europe and especially the domination of the Papacy so long consolidated and confirmed, were shaken by the Reformation.... We should expect to find such a series of calamities, gradually weakening and finally terminating the papal power in the World.... The French Revolution...in the overthrow of the papal power...has more plausibility than any other explanation proposed....

 

"France in the time of Charlemagne was the Kingdom to which the Papacy owed its civil organization and its strength.... This Kingdom would be referred to, in the series of judgments that were to accomplish the overthrow of the papal dominion....

 

"The state [or condition] of Europe has been determined by the condition of France. 'A revolution in France,' said Napoleon, 'is sooner or later followed by a revolution in Europe'....

 

"The scenes which occurred in the times of the French Revolution...well represent the moral corruption, the pollution, the infidelity, the atheism, the general dissolution of society.... That was a universal breaking out of loathsome internal disease...extending over the countries where the Beast and his image were principally worshipped.

 

"The symbol would properly denote that tremendous outbreak of social and moral evil, of democratic fury, atheism and vice, which was specially seen to characterize the French Revolution.... The ultimate source was in the long and deep-seated corruption and irreligion of the Nation, the outward Jacobin clubs, and seditious and atheistic publications the result, the dissolution of all society...and all religion....

 

"From France as a centre, it spread like a plague throught its affiliated societies to the other countries of 'Papal Christendom'.... All the infidelity and atheism of the French Nation before so strongly papal went...far in weakening the power of the Papacy.... The horrid outbreaks in the French Revolution were the first in the series of providential events that will result in the entire overthrow of that Antichristian Power."

 

From an atheistic point of view, Marx wrote an appreciative tract On the French Revolution. Also Lenin (in his Can Jacobinism Frighten the Working Class?) declared that the "Jacobinism" of the French Revolution is "one of the highest peaks in the emancipation struggle of an oppressed class.

 

"The Jacobins gave France the best models of a democratic revolution." Modern Communism or 'Jacobinism' in Europe and in Asia during the twentieth century was to be "the rule of the revolutionary class...for advancing Socialism" alias "all the great, ineradicable, unforgettable things provided by the Jacobins in the eighteenth century." Thus Lenin.

 

For the bloody French Revolution of 1789 quite unlike the reformatory American Declaration of Independence of 1776 was thoroughly atheistic. It tried to abolish God and the Christian Sunday. It is provably the forerunner of both nineteenth-century "Democratic Socialism" and the twentieth-century Communist Revolution of 1917 in Russia and all of its succeeding communist revolutions in Eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America, and Red China.

 

However, all these things ultimately result in the apparent conversion to Christ of nine-tenths alias all of the rest of the great city of civilized Western Europe. Thus the Geneva Bible, the Dordt Dutch Bible, Matthew Poole, Albert Barnes, and Rev. Prof. Dr. E.W. Hengstenberg.

 

The Geneva Bible here comments that when they shall understand by God's Word the glory of His [Name] and the punishment of His enemies they shall fall [away] from the Pope, and glorify God." Also the Dordt Dutch Bible here comments that "a large part of the Romish and Anti-Christian hier-archy falls away from the Antichrist"; and many Romish priests become Protestants.

 

On Revelation 11:2 and 11:13, Hengstenberg comments: "The Temple is preserved, and only the Court is given up.... The non-desolation of the Temple includes in itself the non-desolation of the City" alias the Commonwealth of Western Civilization. "That this is to be thought of as not destroyed, is evident besides from verse 13 according to which only the tenth part of the City falls.... The rest give God the glory, and are consequently preserved."

 

Matthew Henry and Albert Barnes argue that this implies "conversion." B.H. Carroll applies this to the blessed arrival of the Protestant Reformation and all of its glorious results. May God be pleased to encourage us too, similarly also in our own day and age!

 

At this point, it may well be asked whether John himself understood the full significance of the Book of Revelation in general and especially of all of these justmentioned predictions in particular. Very probably he did not.

 

Before John, Daniel too did not understand all of his own recorded predictions and John drew heavily on Daniel. Hence, it is doubtful whether John understood all of the meaning of the Book of Revelation of Jesus Christ (even though that Apostle himself received and recorded it).

 

Christ in His vision to John on Patmos told that Apostle to measure the Temple and the altar and its worshippers with a reed. Here, John may indeed have thought about the first-century A.D. Jewish temple in Jerusalem.

 

Too, when Jesus told John that the Gentiles would trample down the holy city for forty-two months (alias three-and-a-half years) John probably connected that with the three-and-a-half years' siege of Jerusalem at the hands of the pagan Romans. For he certainly knew that this siege was about to take place (if as we believe he was writing just beforehand) or that the latter had taken place (if he was writing even several decades after that event).

 

Similarly, Christ told John that the Beast would make war against the two faithful witnesses and kill them. Here, John probably understood this to mean the Pagan Roman Beast's destruction by fire of the writings and proclaimers of the Law and the Prophets in the great Sodom-and-Gomorrah city of Jerusalem where the Lord Jesus had Himself been crucified during that very same generation.

 

Again, Christ told John that those same witnesses would rise from the dead after three-and-a-half days and ascend into Heaven while the city fell and the remnant repented. Here, John doubtless understood this to mean that after the 70 A.D. destruction of Jerusalem by the pagan Romans the Law and the Prophets would (like Jesus) rise from the dead and live again in the ongoing testimony of the Christian Church as the God-fearing New Testament Israel and the ever-expanding remnant of the true People of God everywhere.

 

Yet, at the deeper level, Christ's Book of Revelation obviously goes far beyond John's own understanding of his own vision anent the predictions regarding the temple. Indeed, it is our own conviction that most of these predictions like those God gave to Daniel in that Prophet's own earlier day were centrally to be fulfilled only many centuries after John's own time (namely from the times of the rise of Islam and the Papacy right down to the period of the Protestant Reformation and way beyond).

 

This is what we have outlined above in the preceding paragraphs. And this is what we shall elaborate in greater detail in the following pages of the rest of this present work.

 

O Christian, may we too (as truly Pro-testant witnesses for the Word of God) not only prophesy to many Nations and peoples and Kings for our Saviour, and against the false-prophecies of Islam and the Papacy! But may we also assuredly know that true Protestantism, however low its influence may have sunk in our own day, is indestructible and certain yet again to revive!

 

For in God's good time it will once again, as it were rise, from the dead in the power of the Holy Spirit. It will not only stand on its own two feet (of the Law and the Prophets). But it will even go forward to gain the ascendancy. Under God, it will yet rule the World till all God's enemies are either destroyed or converted, and until all men everywhere give glory to the God of Heaven.

 

 

 

 

 

So on, then, Christian soldiers! Onward, to victory!

The Kingdom of the World becomes that of God's Christ

Revelation 11:14-19 December 14

 

 

"And the seventh Angel sounded [his trumpet]. Then there were great voices in Heaven, saying: 'The kingdom of the World has become that of our Lord and of His Christ; and He shall keep on reigning for ever and ever!'"

 

 

Christ had just predicted: the birth of Romanism; the rise of Islam; the tyranny of the Vatican; the genesis of the Protestant Reformation; and the gradual destruction of the Papacy. Next, John was told that "the second woe is past. But behold, the third woe comes quickly."

 

This seems to mean that after the first woe or the destruction wrought by Mohammad and his Moslem Arabs, and the second woe or the frightful waxing and the later merciful waning of the power of the Islamic Turks the third woe would come "quickly." This does not mean, preteristically, that it would come during John's own lifetime. It means, historicalistically, that when it finally came (only many centuries later), it would come hastily.

 

Now the zenith of papal power occurred soon after the zenith of Turkish power. So this third woe, we submit, was and is the persecution inflicted by the Papacy and her allies during the time of her ascendancy before her decline and gradual though ongoing destruction.

 

First. Just as the initial woe marked the total result of the sounding of the fifth trumpet and the second woe apparently marked the total result of the sounding of the sixth trumpet, so too does the third woe apparently mark the total result of the sounding of the seventh trumpet. However, just as the opening of the seventh seal of the Lamb's book of history did not immediately bring in the Final Judgment but only anticipated its arrival so too does the sounding of the seventh trumpet not immediately bring in the Final Judgment, but only anticipates its certain occurrence.

 

Accordingly, we should not think that the final judgment is already at hand as soon as the seventh trumpet is blown. For that seventh trumpet is blown as a warning about the temporal judgments (and blessings) which are still to come, thereafter.

 

An even further time will elapse after that. And all of the above would occur before the end of the Earth's History, and the Final Judgment.

 

Mauro says: "At the sounding of the seventh trumpet, the silence is broken.... There is so to speak a mighty shout proceeding from 'great voices in Heaven' which announce the downfall of the rebel Kingdoms of this World."

 

Bengel says: "As soon as the seventh Angel sounds, the kingdom of this World becomes the Lord's and His Christ's forever. It is only in Heaven, however, that this takes place so immediately.... In Heaven alone is it celebrated with joy. For dreadful things are still to intervene on Earth."

 

Yet the "beginning" of the sounding of the seventh trumpet does indeed indicate the termination of the "mystery" alias the unexplained meaning of the seven "thunders." Now, their meaning is disclosed.

 

Thus begins the destruction of the scourge of the Islamic Turks. Thus too commences also the destruction of the "mystery" of "Babylon" alias the false and papal Romanistic politico-religious domination of this World. Indeed, such destruction is to be accomplished precisely through the means of the subsequently-described seven bowls or vials of the wrath of God.

 

Furthermore, the sounding of the seventh trumpet also announces the subsequent drawing nigh of the World's Golden Jubilee after the destruction of 'Babylon.' Thus Matthew Poole, Matthew Henry, Thomas Scott, William Cunninghame, and B.H. Carroll.

 

For it is precisely after the powerful Protestant preaching of Christ's Gospel throughout the World, "that there would no longer be a time" of delay. But in the days of the voice of the seventh Angel [yet to come], when he shall begin to sound [his trumpet], the mystery of God would be finished."

 

Indeed, as the Geneva Bible rightly comments: "Albeit Satan by the Pope, Turk, and other instruments troubles the World never so much yet Christ shall reign!" He reigns now. And He will keep on expanding that reign especially then, after the blowing of the seventh trumpet.

 

For then, great voices in Heaven keep on saying something very important. They say: 'The kingdom of the World has become that of our Lord and of His Christ; and He shall keep on reigning for ever and ever!"

 

Third. It was only after the blowing of the seventh trumpet, that John heard the above message of those great voices in Heaven.

 

As John himself wrote: "The seventh Angel sounded" or finished sounding the trumpet (esalpisen). Then "there were (kai egenonto) great voices in Heaven, saying: 'The kingdom of the World has become that of our Lord and of His Christ; and He shall keep on reigning (basileusei) for ever and ever!'"

 

This indicates that these "great voices in Heaven" were not commenting on the immediate results right at the beginning of the blowing of the seventh trumpet. To the contrary. They were rather commenting on the ultimate result at the ending of the blowing of that trumpet.

 

Fourth. It is very important to note that all these heavenly voices were not referring to the situation in Heaven. To the contrary. They were referring to the situation right here on Earth to an alteration of the kingdom or the sovereignty (basileia) of "the World" (or tou Kosmou). For John here heard "voices...saying: 'The kingdom of the World has become that of our Lord and of His Christ; and He shall keep on reigning for ever and ever!'"

 

Fifth. This in no way implies that Christ has not been ruling here on Earth prior to that as-yet-still-future time being referred to here. To the contrary. He has been ruling as God from all eternity. And He has also been ruling as man ever since His ascension and heavenly session.

 

Yet our text certainly implies that Christ's present reign is still expanding. For that Kingdom is not yet consummated. It is only after the still-future destruction of the Papacy that this kingdom of the World will have become the universally-acknowledged Kingdom of our God and His Christ.

 

Then, it will be recognized as such: throughout the entire World. Thus: Ambrose, Augustine, Walafrid Strabo, Joachim of Floris, Arnold of Villanova, Pierre Jean d'Olivi, Matthew Poole, E.W. Hengstenberg, Albert Barnes, B.H. Carroll, and many others.

 

Thus Hengstenberg comments (on Revelation 11:15): "'The kingdom has become!' The result is first actually attained in verse 19.... That royal word of the suffering Jesus 'My Kingdom is not of this World' has been greatly abused. His Kingdom is not worldly; but the kingdom of the World is [to become] holy and Christian! This province [of this World] which has long enough been in [Satan] the enemy's hands has at last [by the time predicted in Revelation 11:15-18] finally been recovered. It is possessed by the Lord and [by all of] His anointed!"

 

This means that Christ is to possess or take possession of the kingdom of this World. In Him, so too are all of His anointed or baptized Christians.

 

Then, our already-reigning King Jesus Christ will be acknowledged everywhere throughout the World. Then He will be acknowledged as the King of the World acknowledged to be the ruling Lord He already and actually is. And thereafter He shall keep on reigning, for ever and ever.

 

Sixth. Christ's earthly Kingdom shall not be consummated immediately after the destruction of the Papacy. Once the Vatican has been demolished by the Protestant preaching of God's Word, Protestantism will rule the World.

 

We have already seen that the Post-Papal Protestant witnesses will not only revive or live again. Indeed, we have also seen how, after the destruction of one-tenth of the "great city" of the Romish Empire the increasing testimony of Protestant witnesses will ultimately influence even the remainder of mankind or "the rest" or all "the remnant" of "the people and kindreds and tongues and Nations" to give glory to the God of Heaven.

 

Thus we are told that in practice too the time will come when "the kingdom of the World has become that of our Lord and of His Christ." But we are also further assured that even after that, "He shall keep on reigning for ever and ever." He will then keep on ruling thus right here in "this World." And, after the Final Judgment, He will continue so to rule also over the renewed Earth. For ever.

 

Seventh. John was accordingly next transported to the time of the Final Judgment itself. Then, "the twenty-four Elders who sat in front of God upon their seats [or thrones] fell upon their faces and worshipped God."

 

At that time, they say: "We give thanks to You, O Lord God Almighty, Who is and Who was! For You have taken Your great power unto Yourself. And You have kept on reigning.... The Nations were angry; but Your wrath has come and the time that the dead should be judged."

 

The time has come too "that You should give reward to Your Servants the Prophets and to the saints and to them who fear Your Name, small and great." The time has come, that You "should destroy those who destroy the Earth."

 

As the Geneva Bible here comments: "This declares the office of the godly." For that office or assignment "is to give God thanks for the deliverance of His" that is, for the salvation of the children of the Lord. And that assignment is also given, in order "to praise His justice for the punishing of His enemies."

 

Lastly. Just at this very point in the Final Judgment there is the suggestion that the World already has been christianized. For at that Last Assize, history shall have run its course. Then, the Elders in Heaven declare: "The Nations were angry" but are angry no more, at that time of the end. Too, the emphasis will then be more on the rewarding of God's Servants than on His punishing of the destroyers.

 

For that will be "the time of the dead that they should be judged." That will be the time the Elders tell their God "that You should give reward to Your Servants the Prophets and to the saints and to them who fear Your Name, small and great."

 

The time will then also have come, the Elders go on to tell their God, that You "should destroy those who destroy the Earth." But at least on a national and an international scale, the destruction of the then-resurrected wicked will be on account of their past transgressions committed long ago before their deaths rather than with regard to widescale transgressions committed immediately prior to the Final Judgment. For such latter, apparently, shall have ceased long before then.

 

For then the Elders say: "The Nations were angry" not: 'the Nations are angry.' And then, the Elders say to God: "Your wrath came." They do not then say: 'Your wrath comes' or 'Your wrath shall come.'

 

By then, the seventh trumpet will long ago have finished sounding. Also by then, the kingdom of this World will long ago have become that of our Lord and of His Christ. Indeed, thereafter He shall keep on reigning for ever and ever. Thus too Bede, Anselm, and Thomas Aquinas.

 

As Matthew Poole points out, "it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown.... They shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria. And the outcasts in the land of Egypt...shall worship the Lord on the Holy Mount at Jerusalem" that is, on the Mount Zion of the Christian Church.

 

O Christian, let us then realize that Christ not only rules in this World today, in the hearts of His children. But let us also realize that the kingdom of this World the World-as-such (with all its scientific and artistic contents) is yet destined to become that of our Lord and of His Christ in practice too. Even thereafter, He shall keep on reigning here; on this Earth; in the World for ever and ever!

 

Let us then, as Christ's loyal witnesses, redouble our efforts toward the realization of this noble goal! Let us ever seek to gain the ascendancy, in our testimony toward the World until it becomes either converted or confounded! Either way, it will then give glory to the God of Heaven Whose Kingdom is over all, and Whose Kingdom keeps on lasting for ever.

 

 

 

 

 

So on, then, Christian soldiers! Onward, to victory!

The Glorious Church reigns since Eden and subdues even the Moon

Revelation 12:1-2 December 15

 

 

"Then the Temple of God was opened in Heaven, and there was seen in His Temple the ark of His Testament. And there were lightnings, and voices and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail. Then a great wonder appeared in Heaven a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet. And on her head was a crown of twelve Stars."

 

 

John had seen the seven Angels and heard them sounding the seven trumpets one after the other. Next, the Apostle John was shown a completely different vision.

 

It was a vision about events occurring prior to the climax and downfall of the Papacy. For John was shown "the Temple of God...opened in Heaven. And there was seen in His Temple, the ark of His Testament. And there were lightnings, and voices and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail."

 

This leads to yet another 'playback' of the history of redemption this time, probably from the first Gospel Promise in Genesis 3:15 right down to the rise and development of the Papacy. But this in turn then leads on to a further presentation of a general preview of the Papacy's yet-future fall and to the victory of the True Church alias the saints over all Non-Christian opposition, right here in this present World.

 

The first part of this playback does not relate to the virgin Mary. For even according to modern Romanism, before her pregnancy Mary had not yet been "clothed with the sun." Nor did she then yet have "the moon under her feet." Nor did she then yet have "on her head...a crown of twelve Stars" at the time John says the woman first conceived and then gave birth to her "male son" (Revelation 12:1-5).

 

The "woman" here symbolizes the earthly Church. This means the whole of that Church-as-such and specifically the Older Testament's Church right down to the time when Christ was conceived and soon thereafter born.

 

Thus most even of the Pre-Reformation-al Theologians such as Tertullian, Hippolytus, Victorinus, Methodius, Ephraim, Tichonius, Beatus, Walafrid Strabo, the Venerable Bede, Berengaud, Waldo and the Waldensians, Richard of St. Victor, Bruno Segni, Rupert Deutz, Joachim of Floris, Pierre Jean d'Olivi, Purvey, Walter Brute and even Rome's 1590 Franscisco Ribera. So too almost all Protestants, from Martin Luther right down to Hengstenberg etc.

 

Explained the latter: "The woman...is not the community of Israel in contradistinction to the Christian Church.... Nor on the other hand does it denote the Christian Church in contradistinction to the community of Israel. For the Christ-ian Church did not have Christ born into it....

 

"On the head of the woman, is a 'crown of twelve Stars.' These cannot denote the twelve Apostles...for the woman has the crown of twelve Stars...before the birth of her Son.... They are rather the twelve Israelitish Patriarchs, as ideal representatives of the Tribes" of Older Testament's Israel alias the Church of the Older Testament which later of its very own and self-same substance (homo-ousios) gave birth to the Newer Testament's Church.

 

Wrote John (during the first century A.D.): "A great wonder appeared in Heaven a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet. And on her head was a crown of twelve Stars."

 

First. It should be noted that the Church had not yet been exalted unto Heaven. Except for the Church Triumphant of the saints already in glory, this is still the case.

 

Yet both the Church latent and the Church patent was, and indeed is, of heavenly origin. Thus John wrote that "a great wonder appeared in Heaven a woman."

 

The True Church of Christ is frequently compared throughout Scripture to a beautiful woman. She was chosen by the Triune God before the foundation of the World to become His bride and the names of all her Members were even then written down in Heaven.

 

Consequently, once Christians have been justified and brought into the Visible Church they must never forget that they derive their 'citizenship' of the Kingdom of God, from Heaven. They do not derive it from this present sinful World even though it is here on Earth that they are to exercise their heavenly citizenship, now, in everything they do.

 

May we too never forget the "great wonder" of our sublime heavenly origin and our Heaven-on-Earth destiny! May we remember this especially while we serve the Lord here and now on Earth (as the Angels do in Heaven)!

 

Second. Though potentially existing in the 'mind' of God from all eternity, the Church as the Body of Christ came into actual existence only immediately after the fall of man. When God created man, He had communion with him. And He enjoined him, as the crown of His creation, to serve Him by being fruitful and multiplying and filling the Earth and subduing it to His glory in accordance with the Law of God inscribed upon the human heart.

 

When the Devil shortly thereafter misled man into sin God Himself, as the Word, immediately came to man's assistance. For He promised to incarnate Himself later as the virgin-born Second Adam or the Seed of the woman Who would crush the Devil's skull at the 'place of the skull' Golgotha.

 

As soon as Adam and and Eve believed this promise they became the first Members of Christ's Church here on Earth. And as soon as they and their believing children congregated together to call upon the Name of the Lord the first Visible Congregation of Christ's Church was constituted, here on Earth.

 

May we clearly see the relevance of the above also to us! May we too always understand that we also are but the continuation of that original Body of all Christian believers!

 

Third. The Church of Christ is indeed a "great wonder," particularly on account of her glorious appearance. For this description is true of the Church of all ages.

 

During the times of the Older Testament, the Church was already "a woman clothed with the sun" with "the moon under her feet and on her head a crown of twelve Stars." In the times of the Newer Testament, the Church is even more glorious. In yet-future ages, the Church becomes more glorious still. For she is predestined to grow from glory, and to yet greater glory.

 

It should be noted, however, that this glory is by no means limited to the Church as an institute. For the Church of Christ is His Church not only when she meets for worship, institutionally.

 

In addition, she is also the Church though the Church as an organism even when her Members engage in different endeavours than public worship. Indeed, such other different endeavours include Christian involvement in the subjugation of the whole World and all of its contents to the glory of God in exploration, in art, in science, in education, and in politics etc. (whenever done consciously to the glory of God-in-Christ).

 

It is, then, particularly as an organism that Christ's Church is "a woman clothed with the sun" having Heaven's light and glory as her own. For she has "the moon under her feet" and thus subjugates all the reflected cultural glory of the Earth.

 

Again, she also wears "on her head...a crown of twelve Stars" as the symbols of political authority. All this indicates how the Church as an organism alias the Body of Christ should ideally (though only indirectly) influence even the statesmen of the World through her powerful living-out and preaching of both the Law and the Gospel, both in public and in private.

 

As the Geneva Bible comments: "The Church...is compassed about with Jesus Christ the Son [and the Sun] of righteousness.... The Church treads under foot whatsoever is mutable and inconstant with all corrupt affections!"

 

Fourth. It is interesting to note how even the Older Testament's Church actually fulfilled this ideal role. For God created the sun and the moon and the stars for the use of elect mankind. Moreover, God told our first parents to have dominion over the Cosmos by subduing the Earth (and, in time, even the moon).

 

Now all of this was to be enjoyed by the children of God the true seed of the woman. They, like political "Stars" far more influential than movie stars! were to rule the Universe to the glory of the Lord.

 

It is, however, especially from the times of the Newer Testament onward that Christ's Church was powerfully to expand and to subdue the Earth. For after the Lord Jesus told His disciples to go into all the World and to preach the Gospel to every creature and to turn all Nations into His disciples the Church began to do just that.

 

Today, as Christians correctly understand this mandate from God, they are in their various different capacities as Members of the non-institutional Church-as-an-organism right now fulfilling this. For they are right now "being clothed" with the sun as they help harness solar energy to the glory of God. They are right now subduing the moon under their feet as they promote lunar explorations, for Christ's sake.

 

Indeed, they are right now by the grace of the Spirit wearing "a crown of twelve Stars." For on the basis of the God-given teachings of the Older Testament's twelve Tribes of Israel, supporting the further structure of the God-given teachings of the Newer Testament's twelve Apostles of Christ's Church Christians are right now infiltrating into, and will ultimately take over, even the political governments of this World.

 

They do this not for their own sake, but for Christ's sake. And they do this not as the institutional Church, but as the organic Body of Christ. Yet when they have finished doing this, "the light of the moon shall be like the light of the sun. And the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, like the light of seven days."

 

Sixth. All of this, however, will ultimately come to pass only because the Older Testament's Church produced Christ-according-to-the-flesh. He obtained this great dominion, on behalf of and for His People.

 

The pre-incarnational Church is the "ark of the covenant" which bore God's Testament: Jesus Christ. For Jehovah's wife, the beautiful woman of the Older Testament "was pregnant. She cried out; travailed in birth; and was in pain to be delivered."

 

According to many Theologians, this probably refers to the birth of Jesus Christ as the Second Adam. Thus Tertullian, Hippolytus, Victorinus, Walafrid Strabo, Berengaud, Richard of St. Victor, Bernard of Clairvaux, Albert the Great, Joachim of Floris, and Pierre Jean d'Olivi.

 

According to many other Theologians, the above verse probably refers to the ongoing 'birth' of new Christians especially in the Early Church and in the Mediaeval Church. Thus Methodius, Tichonius, Bruno Segni, the Calvinistic Geneva Bible, the Calvinistic Dordt Dutch Bible, Matthew Poole, Matthew Henry, Bishop Thomas Newton, John Brown of Haddington, Priestley, Thomas Scott, Adam Clarke, Albert Barnes, and even the Roman Catholic Douay Bible.

 

The above two views about the above verse are by no means exclusive of each other. Frankly, each in turn seems to be appropriate and correct.

 

The above verse represents also the beginning of the Newer Testament's fulfilment of the Older Testament's Protevangelium or 'First Gospel Promise.' There, God declared that the Seed of the woman would redeem elect mankind and crush the Devil.

 

That was the beginning of the fulfilment of the predictions of Isaiah where God promised that the virgin would conceive and bear Immanuel, Whose Kingdom would be established with judgment and Whose government would increase without end. And it is the beginning of the fulfilment also of the predictions of Micah where God promised that "the first dominion" and "the Kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem" when her birth-pangs would overtake her like "a woman in travail," when "out of Bethlehem He shall come forth Who is to be Ruler in Israel."

 

Christ's birth from the Older Testament's Church is just the beginning of His Kingdom. The Older Testament's Church becomes the Early-Christian Church and then increases into the Mediaeval Christian Church even after the rise and reign of the Papacy. As the True Church, she continues to be fruitful and to give birth also to the remainder alias "the rest of her seed" (including the Reformed Church) even in spite of dragon-like papal persecution.

 

Observes Jonathan Edwards: "For the first three hundred years after Christ, the Church was for the most part in a state of great affliction the object of reproach and persecution first by the [Judaistic] Jews and then by the Heathen [Romans]. After this, from the beginning of Constantine's time [A.D. 312f], the Church had rest and prosperity for a little while....

 

"But presently...the Church again suffered persecution.... [The Papal Romish] Antichrist arose and the Church was driven away into the Wilderness and was kept down in obscurity and contempt and suffering for a long time under Antichrist before the Reformation by Luther and others....

 

"This suffering state of the Church is, in Scripture, represented as a state of the Church's travail.... Revelation 12:1-2.... Before the time of Constantine, the troubles of the Christian Church were from [Pagan or] Heathen Rome. Since that time, its troubles have been mainly from [Papal] Antichristian Rome."

 

Nevertheless, O Christian, let us catch the glorious vision of what God says the Church should be and is! For the Bible declares that the Church is "a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve Stars."

 

Let us as Members of this glorious Church-as-an-institute, praise God for the birth of Jesus Christ the Lord and make known His saving power and restorative work even unto the very ends of the Cosmos! Too, let us also, as Members of the Church-as-an-organism then exploit the sun; subdue the moon; and (at least economically and politically) even reach for the stars!

 

 

 

 

 

So on, then, Christian soldiers! Onward, to victory!

Satan drags only One-Third of the Angels into Perdition

Revelation 12:3-4 December 16

 

 

"Look, a great red Dragon having seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns upon his heads! And his tail drew down the third part of the Stars of Heaven, and cast them to the Earth. Then the Dragon stood in front of the woman who was ready to give birth in order to devour her child as soon as he was born."

 

 

John had just been given the glorious vision of the Church of God (from Eden onwards), clothed with the sun and dominating the moon and crowned with Stars. In the fullness of time, this Church was to give birth to the Lord Jesus Christ. But next, the Apostle was given another vision of an entirely different character.

 

Wrote John: "There appeared another wonder in Heaven. And look, a great red Dragon having seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns upon his heads! And his tail drew down the third part of the Stars of Heaven, and cast them to the Earth. Then the Dragon stood in front of the woman who was ready to give birth in order to devour her child as soon as he was born."

 

First. It should be noted that although not a "great wonder" as was the previous vision of the sun-clothed woman even this "another" and sinister vision of the Dragon, was nevertheless a "wonder." The nature of this "wonder" is, of course, that God would ever allow this Dragon whom He Himself created to His Own glory at the beginning as an originally-sinless creature later to drag fully one-third of the created "Stars" down onto the Earth.

 

It is also a great wonder that God would allow the Dragon to threaten especially His Own beloved Son at the time of His incarnation and His Own beloved Church during her earthly history. As the Christian poet William Cowper reminds us: "God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform!"

 

Second. It should be understood, however, that this originally-sinless creature had undergone a detrimental change of character. That change occurred between the primordial time when God created him in original rectitude, and the later time when that creature draconianly pulled down the stars (and later still threatened the infant Jesus).

 

That creature, the Dragon we are told is the Devil, alias Satan. We are also told that it was through the dragonlike instrumentality of pagan Rome that Satan sought to destroy the man Christ Jesus. Yet though He made the one who is now the Devil, God did not make him as the Devil.

 

Neither did God create Rome as pagan Rome. To the contrary. Our God created the Romans as blessed sons of Japheth the son of Noah, the son of Adam, the son of God. And God created the one who is now the Devil, as a beautiful and originally "very good" angelic creature Lucifer (the great 'Upholder of the Light').

 

Third. We should note that Lucifer did not stay good. He was originally created to uphold the Light, namely God the Son. For the Son: is the Arch-angel; the Archee alias the Beginner of creation; the divine Mon-arch Who ruled all the created Angels; the One Who always was and still is the One and Only divine Light of the World; the One called 'Michael.' That latter Name means: 'Who is like the Triune God?' Yes, Who indeed(?) save that One Who Alone in His Own Self is the Central Person of the Triune God!

 

Yet, instead of upholding Michael the Light, Lucifer the "Light-bearer" apparently desired himself to become just like that Light. But in so doing, he only became "that old Serpent called the Devil and Satan." And as such, he misled some of the other "Stars" or created Angels when he with "his tail drew the third part of the Stars of Heaven" after him "and cast them to the Earth."

 

Fourth. The result of this Satanic rebellion was that "there was war in Heaven." God the Son alias "Michael and His Angels, fought against the Dragon. And the Dragon and his Angels fought but he did not prevail. Neither was their place any longer found in Heaven. So the great Dragon was cast out that old Serpent called the Devil and Satan who deceives the whole World. He was cast out onto the Earth; and his Angels were cast out with him" by now themselves having become his Demons.

 

From then on, also through his Demons, Satan deceived the whole World. Indeed, he and they then kept on doing so until the Lord Jesus Christ came as the mighty God-man to begin the reversal of that process.

 

It was that old Serpent the Devil who deceived our first mother in the garden of Eden and thus brought untold miseries onto the entire human race. Thereafter, he restlessly went forth to and fro throughout the Earth and proceeded to mislead nearly all individuals.

 

Satan misled even all the Nations except the True Israel within the Older Testament's Nation of Visible Israel, from whose bosom the Messiah was to be born. And Satan misled the Nation of pagan Rome in particular. For he dragged down and debased the "Stars" or the Political Leaders there too in his grim attempt to destroy the Messiah at His human birth, and later again at His death.

 

Fifth. This awesome spectre is described as "a great red Dragon having seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns upon his heads." Clearly, this refers to the Devil specifically in the guise of the Roman Empire.

 

That is an identification plainly made in many portions of Holy Scripture. It is therefore the conviction also of Tertullian, Victorinus, Pareus, the Dordt Dutch Bible, Mede, Tillinghast, Goodwin, Sherwin, Matthew Poole, Cramer, Matthew Henry, Sir Isaac Newton, Bishop Thomas Newton, John Brown of Haddington, Priestley, Thomas Scott, Adam Clarke, Bishop Elliott, David Brown, Albert Barnes, and many Theologians.

 

Furthermore, the spectre seen by John was that of "a great red Dragon" with "ten horns." This corresponds to the Roman or fourth "great" Beast in Daniel's vision. For that Beast there was "dreadful and terrible and exceedingly strong" with "great iron teeth" and "ten horns."

 

Moreover, John's Dragon had "seven crowns" upon its seven heads. These seven crowns and heads were probably successive and not contemporaneous. But either way, they clearly identify the beast as the temporal political power corresponding to the "seven mountains" surrounding the ancient city of Rome.

 

In addition, those "seven crowns" or seven Kings or Kingdoms may also represent the seven successive and heathen ancient World Empires (of which Rome was the then-current one). And again, the "seven Kings" remind one both of the seven successive forms of government of the Roman Empire itself as well as of Rome's seven chief "Kings" or Emperors during John's own century in particular, at the time that Apostle received this very vision.

 

It should be noted, however, that this prediction would not be fulfilled completely until long after John's own day. For it was only after the time of Constantine that Rome would clearly be seen to have ten uncrowned horns or provinces. And those ten provinces would thereafter soon be broken up into ten distinct Kingdoms, subsequently held together in an artificial way only by the Romish Papacy.

 

Barnes says: "John meant to describe what occurred in the World at the time when the True Church seemed to be about to extend itself over the Earth and when that prosperity was checked by the rise of the Papal Power.... The woman is driven for 1260 years into the Wilderness and nourished there.... I regard this therefore as referring to the time of the rise of the Papacy."

 

Sixth. The third part of the stars which the Roman Dragon drew down with his tail do indeed remotely refer to Satan's original dragging down of some of the Angels. Yet it probably also (and more immediately) refers to the corruption of the Political Leaders (or "Stars") of that significant part of the Satan-bound World then governed as the worldly Roman Empire.

 

There had indeed been Roman puppet-princes like King Herod of Palestine (who wickedly attempted to destroy the Lord Jesus at His birth) as well as Roman puppet-governors like Pontius Pilate (who Satanically tried to destroy the Messiah at the time of His death). So too in later centuries, there would also be Roman Puppet-Emperors like Julian the Apostate and the cruel Phocas (who as Satan's agents would wage war against the followers of Christ).

 

It is precisely these later imperial Roman persecutions of Christianity which are emphasized by many Theologians. Prominent examples of such, include: Matthew Henry, Bishop Thomas Newton, John Brown of Haddington, Priestley, Thomas Scott, Adam Clarke, and Albert Barnes.

 

But even at the very zenith of their power, both Satan the Dragon and his dragonlike Roman Empire could muster minority support only for their evil machinations. Previously, when Lucifer became Satan, only "the third part of the Stars of Heaven" followed him in his rebellion. At the birth of Jesus Christ, again only a minority of the World's Rulers uselessly tried to prevent it.

 

During the subsequent Roman centuries, only the third part of the Mediterranean World's resources and peoples were destroyed or impaired. And thereafter, even the cumulative spread of violence at the hands of Antichristian Emperors and Romish Popes all together destroyed hardly a third of the heartland of the West.

 

O Christian, thanks be to God Who always causes His Kingdom to triumph! For Satan's party is a minority. Already, he is a defeated foe.

 

He was defeated in his initial rebellion; defeated at Christ's birth when the infant Jesus escaped Herod's bloodbath; defeated by our Christ at Calvary, when His foot crushed the Serpent's skull; and defeated when Jesus rose from the realm of the dead, which could not hold Him there. Furthermore, Satan is constantly and progressively defeated by Christians too. For God continually and increasingly bruises Satan under their feet also.

 

 

 

 

 

So on, then, Christian soldiers! Onward, to victory!

Christ now rules All Nations, reigning over Them from on High

Revelation 12:4-5 December 17

 

 

"The Dragon stood in front of the woman who was ready to give birth in order to devour her child as soon as he was born. Then she brought forth a male child, who was to rule [or shepherd] all Nations with a rod of iron. Then her child was caught up to God and to His throne."

 

 

John had described that great red Dragon Satan, and his dragon-like Roman vassal (the Pagan Roman Empire). Next, he went on to explain how "the Dragon stood in front of the woman who was ready to give birth in order to devour her child as soon as he was born."

 

Although probably also referring to the Satan-inspired persecution of the true children of God in the Early and in the Mediaeval Church even the latter obviously roots in the persecution of Jesus Himself from the time He was a child. Accordingly, the human life of Christ Himself will be the main focus of this particular exposition here in our present study reserving Satan's subsequent persecution(s) of Christ's Church till our next study.

 

The Satanic Dragon inspired his Pagan Roman lackey and the latter's wicked Puppet-King Herod of Judea to attempt to destroy the Saviour right at His very birth. For when he heard that Jesus had been "born King" Herod "was troubled" and "sent forth and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem." For that was the city out of which God said "He shall come forth to Me Who is to be Ruler in Israel Whose goings-forth have been...from everlasting."

 

First. Satan's futile attempt to destroy the infant Jesus soon after He was born predictably ended in utter failure. For the woman, the Older Testament's Church, through the agency of the blessed virgin Mary as a Member of that Church, "brought forth a male child" alias a baby boy in the person of the infant Jesus.

 

Not only was the then-tiny Jesus not destroyed by wicked Herod as Rome's Puppet-King. Too, many also in Israel even then confessed His Lordship. And three important leaders also from the East even then acknowledged Him as their King, too.

 

At that very time, when the Roman vassal Herod was about to strike, the infant Messiah was "caught up unto God." For an "Angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph [the husband of Mary the mother of our Lord] in a dream, saying: 'Arise, and take the young child and His mother, and flee into Egypt!'"

 

Too, "when Herod was dead look! An Angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying: 'Arise, and take the young child and His mother, and go into the land of Israel! For they who sought the young child's life, are dead.'"

 

Also shortly thereafter, when he heard that Herod's son Archelaus was reigning in Judea Joseph and his wife and the infant Jesus again escaped and went to live in Galilee. That was the region where the Saviour had been predestinated to shine forth as a great Light and as a reigning King and with an ever-increasing government. Indeed, the one brought forth by the woman in John's vision was of course None Other than He "Who was to rule all Nations with a rod of iron."

 

The Geneva Bible makes a valuable comment on this. It observes that "Jesus Christ, the first-born among many brethren" whom He benefitted "was born of the virgin Mary, as a special Member of the Church."

 

Second. At the end of our Lord's earthly life, however, the Satanic Dragon through his dragonlike Pagan Roman lackey again threatened "to devour" Jesus. For then "the Heathen raged, and...the Kings of the Earth stood up and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against His Christ."

 

Too, also the Early Church's Christians prayed to the Lord while recounting that very event. They then reminded God: "Truly, against Your holy child Jesus Whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate together with the Gentiles and the People of Israel were gathered together in order to do whatsoever Your hand and Your counsel predetermined to be done."

 

However, again Christ was rescued being "caught up to God." For He was raised up from the dead on the third day after His crucifixion by the Romans. Thereafter, yet again He was "caught up" at the time of His ascension into Heaven just forty days later. Once more Satan and his Roman tool had failed to stem Christ's advancement of the Kingdom of God.

 

Third. Christ was, however, not only "caught up" at the time of His ascension. Immediately thereafter, He also sat down at the right hand of His heavenly Father where as the Son of man He started to reign, and whence He now reigns for evermore, and keeps on ruling throughout His Cosmos.

 

For the "male child" Jesus was "caught up to God and to His throne." And the man Jesus, as the Christ, now sways His royal sceptre as King of the entire Universe. For He commands in His Great Commission that all must submit to Him. And, through the efforts of His earthly Church, He steadily expands His sovereignty as the Son of man throughout the World.

 

Fourth. This must necessarily be the case. For Christ was foreordained before the foundation of the World to become the Second Adam or the Son of man and "to rule all Nations with a rod of iron" namely "to shepherd" and "to feed them." Indeed, right now, he is even extending the boundaries and greatly strengthening the principles of His Church here on Earth until all those same principles first encircle and finally permeate everything.

 

For as God the Father said of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord: "Yet have I set My King upon My holy hill of Zion!" And as the risen Saviour proclaimed to the World: "I will declare the decree. The Lord has said...'You are My Son. This day I have begotten You.'"

 

Indeed, as the Father then replied to the risen and ascended and then-enthroned Messiah: "Ask of Me, and I shall give You the Heathen as Your inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the Earth for Your possession! You shall [rule or] break them with a rod of iron. You shall dash them into pieces, like a potter's vessel" or brittle earthenware.

 

As also the Apostle John affirmed, after the death of the Messiah, the Latter "was caught up to God and to His throne." For, henceforth as the great Provider He "was to rule [or shepherd and feed] all Nations."

 

O Christian! Our Saviour has overcome the Devil, and also the latter's tool Pagan Rome. And now, from His celestial throne on high precisely as the Son of man, our Saviour henceforth rules the Universe yes, rules the whole Universe including even our own World as part of that Universe.

 

He firmly guides the further unfolding of even our own Earth's History. Indeed, He superintends also the expansion especially of His heavenly-minded Church here and now throughout the World.

 

He expects also us to share in that rule, here and now. Satan indeed threatens to devour us even as he threatened to devour our Saviour. But in the Name of Christ the Conqueror we are to 'devour' Satan. For we too are to subdue the Devil, to the glory of God. Each of us is to do so in his or her own daily life; in the area of the Church in general; and particularly in the public sphere.

 

Albert Barnes comments: "The Dragon stood...to prevent the increase and spread of the Church in the World." Yet "the Church...was destined to reign in all the Earth.... All the Earth was to become subject to its laws.... The Church would yet have the ascendancy or the dominion over the Earth....

 

"I understand the 'man-child' here therefore to refer to the Church in its increase under the Messiah, and the idea to be that that Church was...to be enlarged.... Though its increase was opposed, yet it was destined ultimately to assert a mild sway over all the World."

 

Christ reigns now from His throne above. Indeed, through the born-again child of God who reigns with Him here and now Christ is even now expanding His rule right here on Earth and among all Nations.

 

 

 

 

 

So on, then, Christian soldiers!

On, under the ever-expanding rule of Christ over this Earth of His!

Onward, to victory!

Christ ejects Satan from Above, and Christians too overcome Satan

Revelation 12:6-11 December 18

 

 

"Then the woman fled into the Wilderness...so that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and sixty days.... Then the Dragon and his Angels fought, but did not prevail.... Then I heard a loud voice saying in Heaven: 'Now salvation and strength and the Kingdom of our God and the power of His Christ has come! For the accuser of our brethren has been cast down.... Then they [our brethren] overcame [or conquered] him!'"

 

 

The Apostle had just described the frustration of the Satanic Dragon and his dragonlike tool Pagan Rome. For futile had been their attempts to devour the true child of God as rooted in the birth, resurrection, ascension, and heavenly enthronement of Jesus Christ the Second Adam.

 

John next went on to explain how Satan and Rome were again even further frustrated thereafter. For now they sought, but failed, to destroy also the People of God which had given birth to Christ and which (as the Newer Testament's Church) was still left behind on Earth to christianize it after the Lord Jesus Christ's Own ascension into Heaven.

 

Jesus had said those who hated Him, would hate also His followers. Thus, no longer able to reach the now-ascended and enthroned Christ Himself in Heaven Satan and his lackey Pagan Rome, in their hatred of Christ, now turned against the other children of God (alias the 'Christ'-ians). Indeed, Satan and Rome drove them into the cultural Wilderness for "a thousand two hundred and sixty days."

 

First. It should be noticed that the result of this Satanic and Pagan Roman hatred of Christians was war.

 

This was a grim warfare between the Satanically-inspired Rome on the one hand and God's Spiritually-inspired Christian Church on the other. The purpose of this warfare, was the acquisition of control over the Roman Empire within the huge area of which nearly all of the Early Christians then resided.

 

So, while Christ's bride fled into the spiritual Wilderness to be kept alive there for "a thousand two hundred and sixty days" there "was war in Heaven. Michael and His Angels fought against the Dragon. And the Dragon fought, and his Angels."

 

But Michael and His followers won. For Michael Mi ka-'El is the divine Christ. Indeed, Who is like God or Mi ka-'El? Who indeed? Except the One Who Himself is God or 'El! 'Michael' is the uncreated Divine Word or Logos. Thus Calvin, the Calvinistic Geneva Bible, the Calvinistic Dordt Dutch Bible, Matthew Poole, Matthew Henry, Hengstenberg, Lenski, and Carroll.

 

It is true that this specific warfare is rooted in the initial rebellion of Lucifer and his Angels (who thus became Satan and his Demons) fighting against Michael-Christ and His Angels even before the fall of man. And it is also true that this warfare thereafter continued, down throughout Old Testament times, in the struggles between the Gentile Nations and Israel.

 

Moreover, this same war was decisively waged by that Greater Israel (our Lord Jesus Christ). He did so, for us, at His death and resurrection and heavenly session.

 

Yet in its immediate context, this verse seems specifically to be referring (at least centrally) to an event some time after Christ's heavenly session. And that later event seems to be the spiritual struggle between Christians and Non-Christians for the control of the Roman Empire here on Earth during the early centuries of the Christian era after the ascension and heavenly session of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

 

During this later time, the harried Christians gradually kept on rising to ever greater heights. They were repeatedly inspired by the memory of the triumphant example of Michael-Christ during His Own previous earthly struggles against Satan and his followers. They were also encouraged especially by Christ's final earthly struggles, all Alone, against all those agents and without any help even from His Own Angels.

 

So the Early Church's Christians together with their Preachers as some of Christ's "Angels" or Heralds now themselves continued that holy "war" in "Heaven" that is, they too now fought especially on a 'heavenly' plane alias at the spiritual level. And, under Christ the Captain of their salvation, they fought the good fight of faith against the Satanic Dragon and his dragonlike Pagan Roman lackey which had previously sought to destroy even the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

 

As the Calvinistic Geneva Bible here correctly comments, 'Michael and His Angels' here means "Jesus Christ and His Members." The latter, it adds, includes "apostles, martyrs, and the rest of the faithful."

 

Similarly, also the Calvinistic Dordt Dutch Bible here comments that by "this 'Michael' that is, 'who is like God?' most expositors understand Christ Himself. So too, by 'His Angels' many understand the believers who have overcome the Dragon and his Angels, as is hereinafter asserted (v. 11)."

 

Second. The course of this grim war should very carefully be noted. "Michael and His Angels fought against the Dragon. And the Dragon fought, and his Angels but he did not prevail. Neither was their place any longer found in Heaven. So the great Dragon was cast out, that old Serpent called the Devil and Satan who deceives the whole World. He was cast out onto the Earth, and his Angels were cast out with him."

 

Here we learn that the Devil and his agents and wicked Pagan Rome as his lackey and all of its leaders would not prevail in that sustained warfare. To the contrary!

 

Christ and His followers would prevail over Satan especially during the days of Constantine. Thus Andreas of Caesarea, the Calvinistic Dordt Dutch Bible, Cotton Mather, Jonathan Edwards, Aaron Burr, Isaac Backus, Adam Clarke, and Albert Barnes.

 

In fact, Christ and His followers prevail over Satan right down to Christ's Final Coming. Thus Augustine of Hippo and Bernard of Clairvaux.

 

As David Brown points out, Lucifer and his Angels, who became Satan and his Demons, lost their hold in "Heaven" (alias the high and influential place of civilized life). They were driven out "onto the Earth" (alias into the lower and less-influential positions of civilized life) and then even outside of civilization and into the barbarian parts of the Earth.

 

Previously, Satan himself had been 'enthroned' in Smyrna and in Pergamos and in Thyatira and in Philadelphia and throughout the Pagan Roman Empire. Yet that was followed by a protracted war in those places between Satan's followers on the one hand, and the followers of Michael-Christ on the other.

 

During that struggle, Christians slowly but surely gained the ascendancy. Indeed, Satan and his followers were finally driven out of the 'heavenly' or high and important places of the Roman Empire. That occurred especially at the time of its formal christianization from 313-321 A.D. onward (following the conversion of the Roman Emperor Constantine to Christianity).

 

That did not totally eliminate Paganism even within the Roman Empire. Yet it certainly dethroned it throughout the Mediterranean World. It replaced Pagans with Christians in positions of control alias in all the 'heavenly' socio-political offices in the nominally christianized Roman Empire.

 

As the Calvinistic Geneva Bible comments, "the dragon was deprived of all his dignity." In fact, he "had no more place" to stand in high society.

 

Third. The result of this downfall of Pagan Rome, was the recognition of the Kingdom of Christ as the one and only official government of the Roman Empire from that time onward.

 

This does not, of course, mean that the Kingdom of Christ had not existed (on a small scale) here on Earth before that time. Nor does it mean that the kingdom of Satan did not continue to exist here on Earth (and even in the lower or 'earthly' regions within the now-nominally-christianized Roman Empire itself) after that time. But it certainly means that now, for the first time in the History of the World since the incarnation of Christ, not just an entire Nation but even a whole powerful Empire did at least profess allegiance to the Lord Jesus as the only King of kings.

 

For that reason, the Apostle could now predict: "I heard a loud voice saying in Heaven: 'Now salvation and strength and the Kingdom of our God and the power of His Christ has come! For the accuser of our brethren has been cast down.... Then they [our brethren] overcame [or conquered] him by the blood of the Lamb and by the Word of their testimony. And even unto death, they did not love their lives [the way they now loved the Lamb]!'"

 

As the Calvinistic Geneva Bible rightly comments in its heading to this chapter, here "the victory is gotten, to the comfort of the faithful." Even prior to their deaths, Members of the Church Militant here on Earth overcame Satan. By the grace of Michael-Christ, they conquered. They actually conquered Satan. Indeed, it was they (they themselves) that conquered him.

 

Satan had accused the Early Christian Church. Sometimes, He had persecuted her. But she and her Angel-Preachers, fighting with the spiritual weapons of the blood of Michael-Jesus and the prophetic Word of God, had witnessed faithfully without swerving.

 

Now, they and their successors had overcome Satan and his party. They had driven him from his previously-dominant control of the Roman Empire. And henceforth, the Christians themselves would now begin to exercise that control now that Rome had been christianized, at least nominally.

 

For "the Kingdom of our God and the power of His Christ" had now come to a position of "salvation and strength" or blessing and vigour or health and haleness. Indeed, that had now occurred even within the very leadership of the Roman Empire itself.

 

"Therefore rejoice you Heavens, and you who dwell in them!" Rejoice you Heavenly Bodies; you Stars; you now-christianized Political Leaders! And rejoice you who dwell in such heavenly places; you who live within the now-at-least-nominally christianized Roman Empire! Rejoice because now you can rest from the persecutions which your fathers suffered here and there, from time to time, in the Roman Empire before Satan was dethroned in its territories!

 

Rejoice too, you Westerners of the twenty-first century, in your freedom to worship God in Spirit and in truth! Rejoice in the freedom most of your forefathers in less-christianized times and lands did not have!

 

Indeed, rejoice all you peoples everywhere! Rejoice in the benefits of Western civilization, itself the fruit of its earlier christianization in spite of its recent backslidings especially since the French Revolution!

 

See in Satan's Roman dethronement (and in his being cast out thence onto the "Earth"), a blessed foretaste of his ongoing dethronement everywhere! We conclude from all of this, the actuality and the ever-increasing certainty of Satan's progressive arrest and his relegation even into the bottomless pit to which he has so justly been predestinated. For, as the Calvinistic Geneva Bible again comments when Satan "was cast onto the Earth," he "was overcome by Christ."

 

O Christian, may we too overcome Satan and all his followers in our own day! May we overcome him by the blood of the Lamb and by the Word of our testimony! And with those spiritual weapons, may we cast Satan's cohorts too out of all of their positions of influence!

 

May we see to it that Christians replace them there to the glory of God! May salvation and strength and the Kingdom of our God and the power of His Christ come into their own even among us! And may we ever rejoice to see Satan and his followers cast down and Christianity everywhere on the rise toward its ascendancy!

 

 

 

 

 

So on, then, Christian soldiers! Onward, to victory!

Furious Satan fails to harm and cannot even reach the True Church

Revelation 12:14-17 December 19

 

 

"Then to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle so that she might fly into the Wilderness, into her place where she is nourished for a time and [two] times and half a time, away from the face of the Serpent.... Then the ground helped the woman. And the ground opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the Dragon cast out of his mouth."

 

 

It should not be presumed that the nominal christianization of the Pagan Roman Empire during the fourth century A.D. represented the termination of the struggles of Christ's Church even within that Empire. To the contrary. In some respects, it chiefly changed merely the nature of the struggle between the Christians on the one hand and the Devil's party on the other.

 

For down until then the greatest opposition to Christianity, at least after the breaking of the power of the Judaists in 70 A.D., had come from the Roman State and her Political Leaders. But from then on, these latter were now the allies of the Church though allies much lacking in dedication.

 

First. It should carefully be noted that this nominal christianization of the Roman Empire by Constantine by no means implies that all opposition to Christianity from outside the Church now ceased. For outside the Church, and especially outside the now-nominally-christianized Roman Empire, the Devil still retained his hold as tightly as ever in the never-christianized areas of the World.

 

Indeed, even inside the now-nominally-christianized Roman Empire, Satan henceforth concentrated on the lower social strata and on those that dwelt in the less-important regions on the fringe of the Roman landmass or "Earth." This would before too long be seen first in the attacks of the Pagan Visigoths and Huns and Vandals and Ostrogoths upon the Roman Empire; then in the speedy spread of Islam in the peripheral areas of and adjacent to the Roman Empire from the seventh century onward; and finally in the increasing Papal-Roman persecution of the saints right down to the Protestant Reformation and beyond.

 

The "Heavens" alias the higher powers of the Empire and those who dwell in them, might well indeed rejoice. But the "Earth" or the lower regions of the Empire and of the distant parts of the (Mediterranean) Sea and their still-unchristianized residents, would soon have little to rejoice about. For (in the opinion of many expositors) through first the Pagan Visigoths and Huns and Vandals and Ostrogoths, and then through Mohammad's Moslem persecution of the Church in those lower regions and also through Papal Rome's persecution of True Christians "the Devil has come down to you, having great wrath." "Woe to the inhabitants of the Earth and of the Sea!"

 

Second. It is comforting to note that the duration of the Devil's new "great wrath" is severely limited. In fact, his very knowledge of this big limitation heightens the intensity of his wrath precisely "because he knows that he has but a short time" to terrorize the inhabitants of the Earth and the Sea.

 

For even while venting his wrath upon the unsaved, the Devil however gradually was constantly in retreat before the steadily advancing expansion of Christianity. And this, even in spite of many temporary setbacks to the True Church.

 

The Devil had but a short time before he lost yet more ground even among "the inhabitants of the Earth and of the Sea" in the lower strata of the Empire. And after that, when Christianity would continue its expansion into "the regions beyond" even outside of the Roman Empire, the Devil would slowly but surely lose ground there too till later still "he would deceive the Nations no more." For ultimately not only the "Heavens" or the higher regions but even "the Earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea."

 

Third. A new time of persecution, however, first awaited the True Church of Christ. For even after the political dethronement of Satan the Dragon and his tool the Pagan Roman Empire following the conversion to Christianity of Emperor Constantine and the resultant nominal christianization of the Empire from the fourth century onward "when the Dragon saw that he had been cast onto the Earth, he persecuted the woman who brought forth the male child.... Then the Dragon got angry with the woman, and went to make war against the rest of her seed which keeps the Commandments of God and holds to the testimony of Jesus Christ."

 

The "war in Heaven" between Michael-Christ and His Angels [and Disciples] on the one hand and the Satanic Dragon and his party on the other, thus by no means ceased after the victorious nominal christianization of the heavenly regions of the Roman Empire during the third century. To the contrary, from now on, that "war" still continued but on a different plane.

 

Hitherto, the war against Christianity had been waged chiefly by political power. Yet from now on, however, it would be waged chiefly for religious reasons and by apostates and heretics.

 

Horrible persecution of the Christian Church would be inflicted by the Moslems first by the Arabs, and centuries later again by the Turks. It is instructive to note that Islam was originally nothing but a syncretism between apostasy from Christianity, and Paganism. Nevertheless, Islam does not consider itself to be Christian. Rather does Islam regards itself as the perfection of the True Religion taught by all of the Prophets from Adam to Jesus which True Religion Islam asserts Christianity had later corrupted.

 

An even greater though less obvious threat to Christianity, however, was soon to come from inside the Christian Church herself from the syncretism between Christianity and Neo-Paganism in general and the institution of the Papacy in particular. This Romish syncretism, though not completely apostate, was and is nevertheless heretical even though (unlike Islam) Romanism still considers itself to be legitimately Christian.

 

Fourth. We should clearly distinguish: the Pagan-Roman Beast; Mohammad the False-Prophet; and the Papal-Roman Whore. By the latter, we mean the system of Roman Catholic-ism (including even such apostate "Protestants" as appease it) and not, of course, individual Roman Cathol-ics, some of whom are genuine Christians in spite of their 'Babylonian captivity' within the very bosom of the Papal-Romish Whore (within which most of them were conceived and from which they all should certainly withdraw themselves).

 

Pagan Rome (and each of its political successors, such as Humanism in our own day) was a Beast. It was an instrument of brute political force, but one making no religious claims. Mohammad's Islam is a system of false-prophecy a politico-religious force which claims to be religiously-prophetic even while opposing Christianity. But the Romish Papacy is pre-eminently a Whore which, while claiming to be the very bride of Christ, is in fact "the mother of harlots and abominations of the Earth."

 

Fifth. Papal Rome, then, imitates the True Church or bride of Christ. The Proto-Protestant or True Church is the good "woman [which] fled into the Wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God." Yet even the Romish Whore sometimes fled away (from the advancing armies of Moslems) into the Wilderness so that many nominal Romanists too perished, as did also Proto-Protestant Christians, in the Wilderness or deserts of North Africa at the hands of the hordes of Islam. Indeed, even those who did not perish thus, lived on in their monasteries or in the Wilderness.

 

However, the Bishop of Rome alone was called "Pope" for the very first time precisely in the very generation Islam got under way, at the beginning of the seventh century. From about that time onward, Papal Rome began to persecute the Proto-Protestant True Church of Christ and her children, ever-increasingly just as fiercely as did Rome's co-heretical Islamitic cousin.

 

In all of this, the True Church of Christ became the Refugee Church "the Church in the Wilderness," as it were. For it was there in the Wilderness that she crept away into isolated areas to avoid persecution from the essentially-political Islam, as well as (almost contemporaneously) from the increasingly-politicizing Papacy.

 

Comments the Historicalistic because Calvinistic Dordt Dutch Bible (on Revelation 12:7-15): "This war and victory must here be understood of an exceptional appropriation of the first victory of Christ which would yet follow against Satan in the Members of Christ. Of this Christ Himself speaks in Matthew 16:18 and Paul in Romans 16:20 namely during the times of persecution and seduction under Pagan and Arian Emperors and other heretical kings.

 

"Then, Christ was opposed severely, in His Members especially also when the [papal] Antichrist in the West and the Mohammadans in the East got the upper hand, and suppressed the Church of Christ throughout the whole World. This is clearly proved from the time of one thousand two hundred and sixty days attributed to the flight of the woman in the Wilderness, after this struggle."

 

Opposing both Preterism and Futurism the Dordt Dutch Bible goes on: "Some here take 'a time' as a year; '[two] times' as two years; and 'half a time' as half a year.... They hold that the time of Antichrist's dominion would last no longer than three-and-a-half years.... But this view has been refuted at 11:3. Moreover, it is powerfully refuted in that if it were to be correct the Day of Judgment would, against the testimony of Christ [in] Mark 13:32, already have been known even during the time of the Antichrist....

 

"Scripture testifies that this mystery of unrighteousness already began working in Paul's time, Second Thessalonians 2:7, and that the Jews themselves will be converted and gathered unto the True Church of Christ before the end of the World. Romans 11:35; Second Corinthians 3:14; etc. Therefore this 'time' and [two] times' and 'half-a-time' must be taken as a time indeed known to God but not to us before it has ended....

 

"Every day is taken as a year.... This time, the Church of Christ shall be nourished in the Wilderness when the Outer Court of the Temple shall remain unmeasured; and the Holy City shall be trampled down by heathen; and the two witnesses shall prophesy; and a holy war shall be waged against the [true] saints....

 

"Some think that these are the persecutions which [the papal] Antichrist stirred up against the Greek Church because the latter [then] did not wish to received idolatry and invoking the saints and honouring of its relicts and its dominion which was long resisted by a few of the Greek Emperors. Others think that these are rather the persecutions stirred up against the Hussites in Bohemia and other places...together with the co-operation of the Emperors and Kings with the [papal] Antichrist when the Church began to stick her head out after the time of Luther."

 

Sixth. God, however, protected His true bride even against the Satanic anger of both Islam and the Papacy. "To the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly into the Wilderness into her place where she is nourished for a time and [two] times and half a time [alias one thousand two hundred and sixty years], away from the face of the Serpent."

 

Here the True Church, like a great eagle with her two God-given wings of faith and prayer, soars aloft and easily escapes her unsuccessful pursuit by the Serpent Satan and his new tool of Papal Rome. Nor is the wilderness or the desert a culturally-barren locality. For it was precisely in the Wilderness that also the Older Testament's Church developed all her arts and crafts to the glory of God.

 

Indeed, it was also precisely in the Wilderness that even the Whore of Papal Rome imitating the True Church acquired its own great wealth, and attained its own impressive cultural achievements. Thus, even in the rough parts of the Wilderness, the Church is nourished with God's good food at the hand of faithful Christian servants food in the Wilderness, comments the Calvinistic Geneva Bible, "which the Lord had appointed for her."

 

Still, the True Church was now indeed in the Wilderness. No longer was she in the "heavenly" position of political influence, as she was right after the conversion of Constantine. For, with the later rise of the Papacy, the leadership of the Roman Empire certainly became de-christianized in practice (if not also in theory).

 

This happened in a subtle and highly deceptive way. The leadership also of the visibly-organized "Church" became corrupt just as the Pharisaical leadership of the Israelitic Church had previously become right prior to its Christian Reformation.

 

Now the True Church had fled away from corrupt Israel into the Wilderness of Judea before A.D. 70. So too, after the Papal-Romish corruption of the nominally-christianized Pagan-Roman Empire, would the True Church again flee into the Wilderness but this time, for the centuries-long period of 1260 "day"-years.

 

During that time, the resuscitated and reheathenizing Roman Empire would work in conjunction with the Papal-Romish Whore. Together, they would persecute the true bride of Christ in the Wilderness.

 

For the Papal Whore persecuted the Waldensians in the "Wilderness" of their mountain fastnesses. She accused and indicted Huss and Wycliffe and even Luther and Calvin and others in her heretical ecclesiastical councils and even on the torture-racks and in the dungeons of her iniquitous inquisitions. And this is why even the Pilgrims and the Puritans fled both from Romish and from Apostate-Protestant persecution, to havens like the North American and South African "Wildernesses" both before and after that general time.

 

However, even during that centuries-long time of Papal-Romish and even Prelatical persecutions, Christ would nevertheless continue to sustain His true bride. For His Earth itself would swallow up the flood-waters of persecution and false-doctrine that belched forth out of the mouth of that Satanic Serpent, the great red Dragon.

 

As the Geneva Bible rightly comments: "God gives means to His Church to escape the fury of Satan." For thus God Himself causes "His creatures to serve to the support thereof."

 

Moreover, the "rest" of the woman's "seed" is the Body of Christ of which Jesus Himself is the Head (thus the Geneva Bible). It is "the Church after the Roman Emperors" (thus Matthew Poole), and includes the loyal Proto-Protestants (thus Adam Clarke). It represents especially "the Church after 1260 years" (thus Joseph Priestley and even the Roman Catholic Douay Bible) yes, even post-mediaeval True Christians (thus Albert Barnes). In one word, it means 'the True Church' (thus the Dordt Dutch Bible, Thomas Scott, and the D'Oyly & Mant Bible) and "includes all of Christ's brethren" (thus the Afrikaans Bible with Explanatory Notes).

 

Albert Barnes comments: "These [are] prophetic days, in which a day denotes a year. Twelve hundred and sixty years...I regard...as referring to the proper continuance of the papal power during which the True Church would remain in comparative obscurity, as if driven into a desert.... After the pagan persecutions ceased and Christianity was firmly established in the Empire..., Satan['s]...enmity was vented...in the rise of the Papacy, and in the persecutions under that....

 

"Pure spiritual religion that of the New Testament has never been wholly extinct. In the history of the Waldenses and...the Bohemian Brethren...in...places of obscurity...the True Religion has been kept up in the World....

 

"The reference here is to the opposition which Satan makes to the True Church, under the persecutions and corruptions of the Papacy.... It were the purpose of Papal Rome, to sweep it [the True Church] entirely away....

 

"Cruelties practised in the Inquisition on individual Christians" were intensified "in the persecution of such men as Wycliffe, John Huss, and Jerome of Prague.... This warfare against individual Christians was continued long in the Papal Church....

 

"The Papacy commences a new opposition against the spiritual Church of Christ.... Still filled with rage though incapable of destroying the True Church itself he [Satan] turns his wrath, under the form of papal persecutions, against individual Christians."

 

Consequently, the "rest" of the woman's "seed" is much greater in number then was her first male child Whom the Roman Puppet-King Herod had so feebly sought to destroy. And this ever-increasing "seed" continued to keep the Commandments of God and to hold to the testimony of Jesus Christ even in the Wilderness without flinching.

 

For, as the Calvinistic Geneva Bible remarks: "Satan was not able to destroy the Head or the Body." Meantime (according to some of the manuscripts), the Dragon unable to reach that remnant in the Wilderness frustratedly went and "stood upon the sand of the Sea."

 

However, one day, the centuries-long 1260 years of the True Church's sojourn in the cultural Wilderness would terminate. It began to terminate, about the time of the Protestant Reformation and the establishment of the new Protestant powers (of Switzerland and the Netherlands and Great Britain and Huguenot South Africa and especially Puritan North America). And it still continues to terminate, in progressive stages, by the powerful and still-increasing preaching of the unadulterated Word of God by the True Church.

 

For that ever-increasing remnant of the woman's "seed" will triumph over the Satanic Serpent and the Roman Whore as too did Jesus Christ as the 'firstborn' "child" or "seed" of the "woman." This triumphant advance will continue until the expanding Christian remnant, like Christ Himself, is exalted to the throne of God and participates in Christ's shepherdly rule over all Nations, right here on Earth, with His rod of iron (or the sword of the Lord which is the Word of God).

 

O Christian, Satan bellows loud! But he cannot even harm and still less destroy the True Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Soaring higher aloft on the faithful and prayerful two wings of a great eagle, as it were she ever ascends away from the Devil and toward the heavenly-enthroned Christ Himself. For even God's Earth assists her cause and frustrates all the iniquitous inundations of the Devil and all his agents.

 

Let us then keep the Commandments of God and overcome Satan and all his agents! And let us expand that Decalogue-demanding loyal remnant until the True Church's 1260 years in the cultural Wilderness completely fade into the unpleasant memories of the past, and until the Church fully emerges from that Wilderness to repossess the inheritance of the entire World as her Promised Land!

 

 

 

 

 

So on, then, Christian soldiers! Onward, to victory!

The Beast is wounded to Death and the Church acquires the Victory

Revelation 13 December 20

 

 

"Then the Beast which I saw was like a leopard, and its feet were like the feet of a bear, and its mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the Dragon gave it its power and its seat, and great authority. Then I saw one of its heads as it were, wounded to death."

 

 

We have seen how the dragonlike power of Satan's agents, even after the nominal christianization of the Roman Empire, would sometimes still continue to persecute the true children of God. Next, we give details as to how the later Romish Papacy would give a new lease of life to the increasingly corrupt elements in the political body then soon to become the 'Holy Roman Empire' (which the latter had inherited from earlier Rome as its predecessor).

 

First. John had just described how the great red Dragon Satan himself was frustrated in that he could not even reach the True Church in the Wilderness. The Apostle then went on to record that either that Dragon or he himself (or both) now went and "stood upon the sand of the Sea."

 

The God-inspired John then predicted: "I saw a Beast [now] rising up out of the Sea. It had seven Heads and ten Horns; and upon its Horns ten crowns; and upon its Heads the name of blasphemy."

 

As the Calvinistic Geneva Bible comments about this first Beast of Revelation chapter thirteen: "Here is a description of the Roman Empire, which stands in [or consists of] cruelty and tyranny." The 'seven Heads' signify "Rome because it was first governed by seven Kings or Emperors after Nero, and also is compassed about with seven mountains." And the Roman Empire's 'ten Horns' are said to "signify many provinces."

 

Now here, the Post-Constantinian Roman Beast standing on the edge of the Wilderness (and seen at the end of Revelation chapter twelve) seems to call forth a similar Beast from the Sea (seen at the beginning of Revelation chapter thirteen). At any rate, according to the Calvinistic Geneva Bible, the First Beast of Revelation thirteen having blasphemy upon its Heads and wearing crowns upon its Horns is not Nero but "seven Kings or Emperors after Nero." (For the Calvinistic Geneva Bible is not Preteristic but Historicalistic.)

 

Revelation thirteen's Post-Neronian blasphemous Beast wearing ten crowns not on its seven Heads but upon its ten Horns (which grew out of only one of the later Heads), strongly resembles the red and dragonlike creature described at the beginning of Revelation chapter twelve. For both have seven Heads and ten crowns; both are infused with the evil spirit of that old Dragon and Serpent the Devil; and both are apparently aspects of the Ancient Roman World.

 

Indeed, both Revelation twelve's red and dragonlike creature and Revelation thirteen's first Beast are 'ancestors' also of Revelation thirteen's second Beast (which looks like a lamb but which speaks like a dragon). More-over, together with that second 'lamb-like' Beast they are 'ancestors' also of the later or third and "scarlet-coloured Beast full of names of blasphemy, having seven Heads and ten Horns" the Beast that then carries, and then carries, the Papal-Romish Whore.

 

As such, there is a basic continuity underlying all three of these Roman Beasts. They are all driven by the Satanic Dragon of Revelation twelve.

 

Yet there are also important differences between the three Beasts. These differences show that those monsters are not wholly identical, but that the latter two each as it were 'evolves' from its predecessor.

 

As Rev. Professor Dr. Martin Luther points out: "Here, then, are the two Beasts. The one is the Empire. The other, with the two horns, is the Papacy which has now become a temporal Kingdom yet with the reputation and Name of Christ....

 

"The Pope restored the fallen Roman Empire.... It [the thus-restored Empire] is an image of the Roman Empire, rather than the body of the Empire as it once was. Nevertheless, he [the Pope] puts spirit and life into this image...and actually operates it to some extent. This is the image [of that] which was wounded, but did live" or still kept on surviving nevertheless.

 

Also Hengstenberg comments on Revelation 12:18 to 13:10, that "these three enemies of God's Kingdom to which the whole group refers, are not co-ordinate with each other.... The second [Revelation 12:2b-3a] is the vassal and instrument of the first [Revelation 12:17-18 alias 13:1a & 13:2b]. And the third [Revelation 13:11] is the abettor of the second [Revelation 13:16]." Consequently, many have identified even the Sea-Beast of Revelation 13:1f with the Papacy-in-embryo of Revelation 13:11f.

 

Now the red and dragonlike monster at the beginning of Revelation chapter twelve wears seven crowns upon its seven Heads. The latter, seven mountains and seven Kings, represent Pre-Constantinian Pagan Rome. Thus Tertullian, Victorinus, Pareus, Mede, the Calvinistic Dordt Dutch Bible, Tillinghast, Goodwin, and Matthew Henry etc.

 

Yet the Roman 'Sea Beast' at the Beginning of Revelation chapter thirteen no longer wears its crowns upon its seven Heads. Nor does it have only seven but fully ten crowns. Indeed, it wears those ten crowns not upon its seven Heads but upon its ten Horns apparently all of which grow out of only one of the Heads its seventh or youngest and latest Head which succeeded the previous ones.

 

The great Puritan, Rev. Professor Dr. Joseph Mede, points this out. So too does Hengstenberg: "The ten Horns [in Revelation 13:1], which denote ten Kings (chapter 17:12) that is, ten Kingdoms do not exist along with the Heads [alias all seven Heads]. But they sit upon the seventh Head."

 

This clearly points to an Early-Mediaeval tenfold dismemberment or "deadly wound[ing]" of the only-nominally-christianized Roman Empire after the Fall of Rome in the fifth century A.D. Thus: Irenaeus, Hippolytus, the Venerable Bede, Walafrid Strabo, Waldo, Luther, Melanchthon, Knox, and many other Theologians.

 

The transfer of the political throne of the Roman Empire from Rome to Constantinople already in 330 A.D., gave a stimulus for Rome itself to become the ecclesiastical throne of the the Romish Church. But the former also hastened the collapse of the Western Roman Empire politically, before the barbarian hordes from the North to be followed by the political fragmentation of the Western Roman Empire into the ten toes or the ten Horns alias the ten Kingdoms or divided Political Governments of mediaeval Western Europe.

 

So this first Roman monster alias the Sea-Beast is immediately followed and kept 'alive' by the second (or 'lamb-like) Beast' mentioned in the latter half of Revelation thirteen. This second Beast, the Papacy which looks like a two-horned lamb but speaks like a dragon revives and perpetuates the commemoration of the first Roman monster alias the Sea-Beast.

 

The next Roman monster (of Revelation chapter seventeen) is the international political Beast of "peoples and multitudes and Nations and tongues" after the Papal-Romish scarlet Whore (alias the 'lamb-like Beast' of Revelation thirteen) has mounted it and sought to steer it particularly from the time of the papal crowning of Emperor Charlemagne at the beginning of the ninth century onward. Thus Joachim of Floris, Dante, Osiander, Von Amsdorff, Chytraeus, Hooper, Pareus and even Romanists like Blasius Viegas, Francisco Ribera, Cornelius De Lapide, and Cardinal Bellarmin.

 

First. There is continuity between these three phases in the 'evolutionary' development of Rom-an-ism. Indeed, Daniel's Fourth Kingdom and Fourth Beast can be identified as Rome-as-such. Throughout, John was describing all of these developments in terms of conditions already operative in his own day.

 

The following Pre-Reformation Theologians regarded Rev. 13:1f's Sea-Beast as Antichrist: Irenaeus, Tertullian, Cyprian, Victorinus, Lactantius, Ephraim, Ambrose, Augustine, Primasius, Andreas of Caesarea, Bede, Berengaud, Walafrid Strabo, Haymo, Bruno Segni, Peter Waldo, Bernard of Clairvaux, Richard of St. Victor, Joachim of Floris, Eberhard of Salzburg, Pierre d'Olivi, Albert the Great, Ubertino of Casale, John Wycliffe, Walter Brute, Matthias of Janow, John Purvey, and John Huss.

 

The following Protestant Reformers did the same: Tyndale, Osiander, Joye, Bale, Von Amsdorff, Virgil Solis, Conrad, Jewel, and Bullinger.

 

And the following Post-Reformational Pre-Puritan Protestants did the same: Foxe, Napier, Pacard, Brightman, Cappel, Pareus, Cramer, James the First, Grotius, Alsted, Mede, Gerhard, and Helwig.

 

The same view was taken by Puritans and Post-Puritans like: John Cotton, Tillinghast, Durham, Holyoake, Cocceius, Increase Mather, Spener, Sherwin, Goodwin, Roger Williams, Jurieu, Phillipot, Cotton Mather, Fleming, Matthew Henry, Sir Isaac Newton, John Willison, and Jonathan Edwards. Thus was done also by later Conservatives such as: Bengel, Backus, Petri, John Gill, Bishop Thomas Newton, John Wesley, Hopkins, Dwight, Belknap, Faber, Fuller, Cunninghame, Keith, Scott, Junkin, Hinton, Bishop Elliott, and Albert Barnes.

 

Already in A.D. 840, Walafrid Strabo suggested that Rev. 13:1f's Sea-Beast adumbrated the Papacy-in-embryo. In this he was followed, with increasing emphasis, by: Waldo, Eberhard, Wycliffe, Matthias of Janow, Purvey, Huss, Tyndale, Osiander, Joye, Bale, Von Amsdorff, Virgil Solis, Conrad, Jewel, Bullinger, James the First, the Westminster Theologians who authored the Westminster Confession, John Cotton, Tillinghast, Cocceius, Goodwin, Roger Williams, Cotton Mather, Sir Isaac Newton, John Willison, Jonathan Edwards, Bengel, Aaron Burr, Backus, Gill, Bishop Thomas Newton, John Wesley, Hopkins, Dwight, Belknap, and most Protestant commentators from 1800 onward such as David Brown and Bonar and Fairbairn prior to the Church's massive collapse into theological liberalism through the impact of the earlier so-called 'Enlightenment' and the French Revolution.

 

Second. This continuity between the various Roman Beasts of Revelation chapters twelve and thirteen and seventeen, however although it applies to Rome throughout most of the period of her historical development applies not only to Rome. It also reaches back even to Ancient Babylon itself and even stretches forward to the religious establishments and/or political dictatorships also of today and tomorrow.

 

For the Beast mentioned at the beginning of Revelation chapter thirteen, does in fact symbolize all of the successive heathen World Empires of the past (and perhaps all those of the future too). For like all four of Daniel's Beasts, the First Beast of Revelation thirteen also rose up "out of the Sea" out of the troubled Heathen World.

 

To stress its continuity with Daniel's four Beasts, it is recorded in Revelation thirteen that the First Beast there "was like a leopard, and its feet were like the feet of a bear, and its mouth like the mouth of a lion and the Dragon gave it its power." This reminds one of Daniel's Babylonian lion and Medo-Person bear and Grecian leopard and Roman 'dragon' all rolled into one.

 

Again, like the statue in Nebuchadnezzar's dream, the remnants of all four of these different Beasts in Daniel are here at the beginning of Revelation thirteen amassed into one as the godless State in this case, as the dechristianizing Post-Constantinian "Power State." For, as the Calvinistic Geneva Bible rightly comments: "By these Beasts are signified the Macedonians, Persians and Chaldeans whom the Romans overcame."

 

Yet throughout, "the Dragon" alias Satan himself gave the Babylonian-Medopersian-Grecian-Roman World-imperial Beast both its religious as well as its political power. For the Devil gave both the Beast and its throne or "its seat" very "great authority." As the Calvinistic Geneva Bible once again comments, the Dragon which gave the First Beast of Revelation thirteen its power, "is the Devil."

 

Third. We are told that but one of the seven Heads of this 'Antichristian' Beast, was then "wounded to death." Here again, inasmuch as this was a deadly wound, the supposition is that the seven Heads of the Beast were successive rather than contemporaneous and that the first six Heads were by then all defunct. For otherwise, the remaining six Heads if they themselves had still been functioning could easily have kept the Beast alive. And in that case, its wound would then not have been "deadly" or mortal.

 

Yet being successive, the seven Heads probably signify not merely seven Roman Emperors. But as can be seen from the other lion-like and leopard-like and bear-like and dragon-like parts of that same Beast the latter far rather seems to represent seven successive World Empires.

 

Accordingly, the Head that was "wounded to death" at that time was the Roman Head of a successive series of seven Ancient World Empires. Such would then be: the Egyptian, the Assyrian, the Babylonian, the Medo-Persian, the Grecian, the Pagan-Roman, and the modern Papal Empire. For the wounded Head is the sixth or Roman Head that was already ruling in John's own day.

 

Revelation 13:1-10's Sea-Beast was equated with Rome-as-such by the Early Church. Thus: Irenaeus, Tertullian, Hippolytus, Victorinus, Lactantius, Tichonius, Ambrose, Augustine, Orosius, Jerome, Andreas of Caesarea, Oecumenius, the Venerable Bede, Walafrid Strabo, Aretus, and many others.

 

It was equated with Post-Constantinian and degenerate Mediaeval Rome by many Mid- and Late-Mediaeval Theologians such as Berengaud, Waldo, Joachim of Floris, Eberhard of Salzburg, Pierre d'Olivi, Ubertino of Casale, Dante Aleghieri, Michael Rupercissa, Petrarch, John Milicx, Wycliffe, Matthias of Janow, John Purvey, Walter Brute, Huss, and Savanorola.

 

The same identification was made by the Early Protestant Reformers. Thus: Luther, Oecolampadius, Melanchthon, Tyndale, Joye, Osiander, Knox, the Calvinistic Geneva Bible, Hooper, Bale, Latimer, Ridley, Von Amsdorff, Flaccius Illyricus, Bullinger, Funck, and Virgil Solis. Indeed, before the rise of theological liberalism round about the time of the French Revolution, the same identification was made also by nearly all later Protestants such as: Jewel, Cranmer, Foxe, Napier, James the First, Brightman, Pareus, the Calvinistic Dordt Dutch Bible, Gerhard, Cramer, Alsted, Grotius, Mede, Durham, Alsted, Cocceius, John Cotton, Parker, Increase Mather, Spener, Cressener, Jurieu, Matthew Henry, Fleming, Daubuz, Jonathan Edwards, Bishop Thomas Newton, J.A. Bengel, Petri, John Brown of Haddington, Thomas Scott, Adam Clarke, Hinton, Junkin, Lacunza, Faber, Fuller, Cunninghame, Keith, Cox, Bishop Elliott, David Brown, Patrick Fairbairn, William Symington, Albert Barnes, J.P. Lange, Apostolos Makrakis, J. Marcellus Kik, and many others.

 

Fourth. The international political Beast's sixth or Pagan-Roman Head endured from the fall of the Grecian Empire prior to 64 B.C., right down to the emergence of the lamb-like Beast alias the Papacy after the destruction of Rome at the hands of the Goths in the fifth century A.D. This shows that it was during this time that the Roman Head (as distinct from the Beast-as-such alias the successive series of World Empires), was "wounded to death."

 

Indeed, it was only during that (Gothic) age that the Beast was now said to be rising up out of the Sea the great Sea of Nations. And it was only after this Fall of Rome to the Goths that the previously-monolithic Roman Empire began to break up into the ten provinces or kingdoms of Early-Mediaeval Western Europe represented by the Beast's ten Horns each wearing a crown.

 

Certainly the Pre-Constantinian Pagan-Roman Empire was also wounded to death in principle when Christ Himself was wounded to death in practice before He rose again three days later. And, again like the resurrected Christ Who revived after His death also the 'resurrected' Beast's deadly "wound was healed." This occurred when the Pagan-Roman Empire remarkably continued for centuries, even after Calvary. Yet this is not one of the many events to which Revelation thirteen is referring.

 

Once more. The Roman Beast was later yet again "wounded to death" at its nominal christianization during the fourth century after Emperor Constantine's conversion to Christianity. However, even this "deadly wound was healed" in the subsequent apostasization of much of the Visible Christian Church after Emperor Theodosius (thus Matthew Poole), and under the influence of wicked Emperors such as Julian the Apostate and specially the cruel Phocas.

 

Thus the Roman Empire was "wounded to death" by the Fall of Rome to the Goths in A.D. 476. This is perhaps the central meaning of the text here at this point..

 

However, even that barbarian and "deadly wound" was "healed" once more. That occurred when political Rome was 'resurrected from the dead' and re-emerged under the Papacy as the so-called 'Holy Roman Empire' with its ten Kingdoms of Europe (namely England, France, Germany, Switzerland, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Austria, Central Europe, and Eastern Europe).

 

The above-mentioned ten Kingdoms do seem to be represented here by the Beast's ten crowned Horns or Hings or Kingdoms. For those ten Kingdoms grew precisely out of the very Head the sixth or Roman one which received the deadly wound.

 

It is, therefore, particularly this A.D. 476 wounding which is probably being referred to here. For historically, it was precisely after the division of the later Roman Empire into ten Romish Kingdoms since 476 A.D. that the deadly wound was indeed healed particularly by the next-mentioned and 'lamb-like' Beast of the Romish Papacy.

 

Observe: that the ten Romish Kingdoms only came into being after the beginning of the sixth century; that the Bishop of Rome alone was called sole "Pope" only from the beginning of the seventh century; and that the first clear augmentations of the powers of the revived 'Holy Roman Empire' (under Emperor Pepin the Short) and of the rising Papacy (under Pope Zacharias) began to show themselves very conspicuously only from about the middle of the eighth century onward. That was after Pepin's father Charles Martel had defeated the even more religio-political Islamic armies in France, and saved Europe from the religion of Mohammad.

 

As the Calvinistic Dordt Dutch Bible notes: "Constantine, the two Theodosiuses, Gratian, and a few other good and Christian Emperors promoted the Church for a period of time. Yet there were then also a few pagan and heretical Emperors and Kings who, having given their power to the Dragon, persecuted the Congregations of Christ and orthodox Preachers until finally, under imperial rule in the West, around the years 400-500 A.D., this Beast received a mortal wound when the northern Nations (the Lombards, Goths, Huns and Vandals) captured the city of Rome up to five times, and finally destroyed it.

 

"From that demise, the Antichrist finally brought forth his kingdom when Emperor Justinian around 550 drove off these barbarian Nations...and exalted the Bishop of Rome anew, whom the cruel Emperor Phocas pronounced to be Universal Bishop [alias sole Pope] in the year 606[-666f A.D.].

 

"Thereby the wound in the Head of the Beast was again healed, and he was revered among all Nations.... This wound was fully healed by Pepin and Charlemagne, who around 700-800 enthroned the Bishop of Rome in his full possession when the ten Kings who arose with him added their power to him."

 

Fifth. After the Beast's sixth or Roman Head's mortal wound was been healed, "all the World wondered after the Beast. And they bowed down to the Dragon which gave power to the Beast" by "receiving the statutes, ordinances, decrees, ceremonies and religion of the Roman Empire" (comments the Calvinistic Geneva Bible). John continues: "They bowed down to the Beast, saying: 'Who is like the Beast? Who is able to make war against him?"

 

Note that after the attention-demanding Islamic scourge had been stopped in France in A.D. 732 by Charles Martel, his son Pepin the Short had his own coronation approved by Pope Zacharias. In return Pepin forced the Lombards to surrender part of their territory in Italy to the Pope. This marks the beginning of the so-called "Papal States."

 

Indeed, that was to be followed by Pope Leo III's coronation of Pepin's son Charles as the Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne in A.D. 800 in return for Charlemagne's recognition of the Pope as the ultimate Head of all temporal and political power. By the time of Charlemagne's death in A.D. 814 his 'Holy Roman Empire' embraced Northern Italy and Spain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and much of Germany and Austria. At that same time, the Byzantine or Eastern Roman Empire comprehended the Balkans, Asia Minor, and Southern Italy. And the Islamic Empire then stretched from India through to Northwest Africa and on into Southern Spain.

 

The so-called 'Holy Roman Empire' lasting from the time of the first clearly-recorded Pope (the 590-604 Gregory) in the seventh almost down to the sixteenth century and the Reformation was powerful. In conjunction with its papal teammate, "there was given to it a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies. And power was given to it to continue forty-two months" during which time the true saints would be persecuted.

 

This expression 'forty-two months' means 1260 day-years, and represents the time of Antichrist's power. Thus: Victorinus, Lactantius, Ribera, Bellarmin, Luther, Flaccius Illyricus, the Calvinistic Geneva Bible, Conrad, Nigrinus, Napier, Brightman, Downham, James the First, Mede, Tillinghast, Sherwin, Beverley, Poole, Cressener, Gerhard, Cramer, Pacard, Jurieu, Hoe, Matthew Henry, Bengel, Fleming, Daubuz, Whiston, Bishop Thomas Newton, Wesley, Horch, Bengel, Priestley, B.H. Carroll and many others, including even the Roman Catholic Douay Bible. During that time, the Sea-Beast "opened its mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His Name and His Tabernacle and those who dwell in Heaven."

 

Sixth. This Sea-Beast is political Rome and the continuation of the Fourth Beast in Daniel's vision. The Beast blasphemously demands political homage throughout the then-known World of the 'Holy Roman Empire' (sic). Yet the Beast has power for only 'forty-two months.' For, as the Calvinistic Geneva Bible rightly comments: "Antichrist's time and power, is limited."

 

Indeed, in spite of all his persecutions of the true saints (before they finally overcome him) the 'resurrected' Roman Beast is unable to conquer them. For, as the Calvinistic Geneva Bible once again comments, the Beast overcame these saints only "in their bodies, not in souls." Moreover, very far from the Beast being able to exterminate the Church the very gates of hell shall not prevail against the ongoingly-aggressive Church of the true saints of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Meantime, only the unsaved inhabitants of the then-known "Roman" World (as opposed to the entire Globe) bowed down to the Beast. He received homage only from those "whose names are not written from the foundation of the World in the book of life of the Lamb Who was slain." Even at the very zenith of the power of the revived Beast all the great multitudes of the elect of God, bought by the precious blood of Jesus, keep on standing loyal to their Lord and King.

 

So too should the elect of God even today. And so too shall they keep on standing even till the end of the World!

 

As Calvin remarks in his Adultero-German Interim: "Christ is called 'the Lamb slain from the foundation of the World' inasmuch as His blood cleansed the faults of all ages from the very commencement of the World." And as the Calvinistic Geneva Bible rightly comments: "Antichrist has no power over the elect."

 

Seventh. The doom of that Roman Beast is sure. For "he who keeps on leading into captivity shall [himself] go into captivity! He who keeps on killing with the sword must be killed, with the sword!" For "here is the patience and the faith of the saints."

 

As Hengstenberg comments: "The True Members of the Church may indeed be overcome outwardly, and even killed by the Beast. But they can never be drawn by him into apostasy." Hence they are always more than conquerors!

 

The saints, then, are to stand firm until, in God's Own good time, He Himself kills the Roman Beast with the Word of the Lord. Ordinary Christians not in government service, are not physically to wield the punitive sword against the State. But they are spiritually to wield the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God not only in favour of the State, but where necessary even against the State.

 

So "let the saints...sing upon their beds! Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand to execute vengeance upon the Heathen and punishments upon the People; to bind their Kings with chains and their nobles with fetter of iron; to execute upon them the judgment written! All the saints have this honour."

 

Eighth. The Second Beast in Revelation chapter thirteen, which looks like a lamb but which speaks like a dragon, would come up only gradually.

 

The A.D. 185 Irenaeus (as too did the later Andreas of Caesarea) held that this lamb-like Beast would be "a false-prophet." Later, it was identified with "the False-Prophet" (Revelation 13:1-12 with 16:13 & 19:30 cf. Deuteronomy chapter 13) and even with "Antichrist" (cf. First John 2:18f & 4:1-3 with First Thessalonians 2:7f). Thus the Franciscan Spirituals, the Waldensians, the Hussites, Luther, Calvin, the Westminster Confession (25:6), the Belgic Confession (article 29) and also Hellenbroek, Gomarus, Kersten, Eykman, and Todd, etc. Indeed, this lamb-like Beast was also a 'false-king.'

 

Around 200, Tertullian called the lamb-like Beast "the Antichrist." In 380, Tichonius said it would be a "false-priest" and later, so too did many Mediaeval Scholars (such as Walafrid Strabo, Haymo, Berengaud, Richard of St. Victor, Albert the Great, Joachim of Floris, and Pierre Jean d'Olivi). Indeed, in 1259 Ubertino of Casale even equated it with the "Romanist Clergy."

 

Also before then, this lamb-like Beast had already been identified specifically with the Papacy. Thus the A.D. 1170 Pietro Waldo, and Eberhard of Salzburg in 1230 and Robert Greathead in 1240. This was confirmed, still before the Protestant Reformation by Scholars like Dante, Michael of Cesena, John Rupescissa, Petrarch, John Milicx, Wycliffe, Matthias of Janow, Purvey, Walter Brute, Huss, and Savanorola.

 

Among the Protestant Reformers the very same identification was made by: Luther, Oecolampadius, Osiander, Joye, Tyndale, Bale, Jewel, Von Amsdorff, Bullinger, Virgil Solis, Conrad, Knox, and Mrs. John Calvin's brother-in-law William Whittingham. It is also the teaching of all of the leading Lutheran and Calvinistic symbols. Thus: the Augsburg Confession, the Articles of Smalcald, the Formula of Concord, the First Scots Confession, the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Confession, the Second Helvetic Confession, the Second Scots Confession, the Irish Articles, the Preamble to the Canons of Dordt, the Westminster Confession of Faith, and the Savoy Declaration.

 

This Second Beast, the lamb-like Beast, would come up out of the Earth or from the very Heartland of the First Beast's Roman Empire. It would come up as the Calvinistic Geneva Bible of 1560 correctly maintained precisely as "the Pope's kingdom."

 

Also after the Reformation, the lamb-like Beast was identified with the Papacy by Napier, Foxe, James the First, Pacard, Helwig, Brightman, Hoe, Mede, Cramer, the Calvinistic Dordt Dutch Bible, Goodwin, Durham, Sherwin, Tillinghast, Poole, Gerhard, Cocceius, John Cotton, Roger Williams, Increase Mather, Alsted, Spener, Jurieu, Cotton Mather, Daubuz, Matthew Henry, Sir Isaac Newton, Bengel, Willison, Bishop Thomas Newton, Aaron Burr, Gill, Wesley, Backus, Petri, Dwight, Hopkins, John Brown of Haddington, Keith, Lacunza, Faber, Fuller, Thomas Scott, Adam Clarke, Bishop Elliott, David Brown, Fairbairn, Dabney, Albert Barnes, Bonar, Makrakis, Philip Mauro, B.H. Carroll, and J.M. Kik.

 

Calvin records in his Institutes of the Christian Religion (IV:2:12 & IV:7:25): "Daniel and Paul foretold that Antichrist would sit in the Temple of God.... We regard the Roman Pontiff as the leader and standard-bearer of that wicked and abominable kingdom.... We call the Roman Pontiff Antichrist."

 

Mauro comments: "Beyond a doubt, Romanism did arise during the course of existence of the Roman Empire. It is a system of religious character and political aim.... It has been, from the very beginning, closely identified with the Nations composing the Roman Empire. Moreover, it corresponds with what is said in the text concerning the Second Beast.... For how could the remarkably peculiar manner in which Romanism came into existence (in close alliance from the very start with the Roman Empire) be more appropriately symbolized than by the picture of a Beast coming up out of the Earth, in guise like a lamb, but speaking as a dragon and exercising all the power of the First Beast before him?"

 

The lamb-like Beast would come up not as any one particular Pope but as the centuries-lasting institution of the Babylonish-Roman-Romish Papacy. It would finally include even all of her romanizing Pseudo-Protestant daughters which themselves later apostasize from Biblical Protestantism.

 

It is not any one Pope, but rather the institution of the Papacy as such that is the Antichrist. This is the view even of great Secular Historians of Rome and Romanism such as Gibbon, Ranke, and Harnack.

 

Edward Gibbon says: "The images of gold or silver or brass that might serve to represent the Nations and their Kings, were successively broken by the 'iron' monarchy of Rome. See Daniel 2:31-40.... 'And the fourth Kingdom shall be strong as iron; forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces, and subdueth all things'.... The Roman Pontiff fought and conquered.... The cardinals and favourites were enriched with the spoils of Nations.... The ambitions of the Popes subsided in the meaner passions of avarice and luxury.... They freely tolerated the impunity of vice, disorder and corruption."

 

Leopold von Ranke suggests that the Papacy arose under the protection of the Roman Emperor, and that the Pope even stepped into his shoes. And Prof. Dr. Adolf von Harnack insists that "the Bishop of Rome...was the chief person there, after the Emperor's disappearance.... The Roman Church, in this, privily pushed itself into the place of the Roman World-Empire of which it is the actual continuation. The Empire has perished." But "it has only undergone a transformation.... The Pope, who calls himself 'King' and 'Pontifex Maximus' [or 'Highest Priest'] is Caesar's successor!"

 

Rome's Pope alias the 'Lamb-like-Beast' alias the Babylonish Whore "exercises all the power of the First Beast" and "causes the Earth and those who dwell there to bow down to the [First] Beast" as the 'Holy Roman Empire.' The 'lamb-like' Papal Beast "does great signs [or pseudo-miracles]...and deceives those who dwell on the Earth by the means of those signs which it was given him to do." The Papal Beast causes "as many as would not bow down to the [Romish] image of the [First or 'Holy Roman'] Beast, to be killed."

 

The Second or Papal Romish Land-Beast enlivens the image of the First or Roman Sea-Beast. For the Papal Beast itself is the very image of the First Roman Beast. Thus the Calvinistic Geneva Bible, Thomas Watson, Joseph Priestley, Thomas Scott, Adam Clarke, the D'Oyly & Mant Bible, Jenks's Comprehensive Commentary, the Cottage Bible, and Albert Barnes. And the Papal Beast wields the tyranny of image-worship or idolatry over the people. Thus the Calvinistic Dordt Dutch Bible and Matthew Poole.

 

Ninth. This Second or Papal Romish Land-Beast or false lamb-like Beast causes "those whose names are not written in the Lamb's book of life...to receive a mark" of their enslavement to him. This is a token of their acknowledgment of his own antichristian authority over them.

 

The comments of the Calvinistic Geneva Bible as this point, are dramatic indeed. "The Pope's Kingdom," it declares, "is of the Earth and leads to perdition." It is begun "and established by ambition, covetousness, beastliness, craft, treason, and tyranny." The 'two horns' of the Second Beast "signifies the priesthood and the kingdom and therefore he gives in his [coat of] arms two keys, and hath two swords carried before him.

 

"So Boniface the Eighth" who 'reigned' as Pope from 1294 to 1303 "showed himself one day in apparel as a Pope, and the next day in harness as the Emperor.... The two horns in the Bishop's mitre, are signs hereof."

 

The Second Beast "spoke devilish doctrine, accused God's Word of imperfection, set up man's traditions, and spoke things contrary to God and His Word. For the Pope in ambition, cruelty, idolatry and blasphemy did follow and imitate the Ancient Romans."

 

Morever, the Pope brings people "to idolatry" and impresses them with "the name of that 'Holy [Roman] Empire' (as he terms it).... For the First Roman Empire was like the pattern, and this Second [Papal] Empire is but an image and shadow thereof....

 

"Except the Pope...according to the operation of Satan" proceeds to "confirm the authority of the King of the Romans he [the latter] is not esteemed worthy to be made Emperor. This Antichrist will accept none but such as will approve...the Pope's doctrine."

 

Now this Second and 'lamb-like' Beast demands homage and obeisance. He gives a "mark" to his slaves. Here the Calvinistic Geneva Bible comments that the Papacy's "chrismatories, graisings, vows, oaths and shavings are signs" or marks of submission to him.

 

Tenth. John then goes on: "Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding, count the number of the Beast. For it is the number of a man. And his number is six hundred and sixty-six."

 

Now many have identified the "666" in Rev. 13:18 with Lateinos alias 'the Latin one' and/or Romith alias 'the Roman one' and/or Papa alias 'Pope.' See, before the Protestant Reformation: Irenaeus, Tertullian, Hippolytus, Bede, Pierre d'Olivi, and Purvey.

 

Similarly, at the Reformation, the very same identification was made by: Luther, Melanchthon, Osiander, the Calvinistic Geneva Bible of Knox and Mrs. John Calvin's brother-in-law William Whittingham, Nigrinus, Chytraeus, Foxe, and Napier. Later, this was restated by: Hellenbroek, Pareus, Cramer, Mede, Gerhard, Alsted, Matthew Poole, Cocceius, Vitringa, 'a Brakel, Whitby, Sir Isaac Newton, John Brown of Haddington, Thomas Scott, Farnham, G.S. Faber, Ethan Allen, Adam Clarke, Bishop Thomas Newton, Cunninghame, Frere, Keith, the D'Oyly & Mant Bible, the Columbia Family Bible, the Cottage Bible, Jenks's Comprehensive Bible, Junkin, Albert Barnes, and many more.

 

Thus, already about A.D. 185, the famous Celtic Church Father Irenaeus of Lyons had in his Against Heresies (V:25:1-3 & 26:1 & 28:1 & 30:3) referred to "Antichrist" the "Apostate" whom Christ had said would be the fulfilment of the "Abomination of desolation which has been spoken about by Daniel the Prophet." For "Daniel too, looking forward to the end of the Last" or Fourth alias the Roman "Empire i.e., the ten last Kings amongst whom the kingdom of those men shall be partitioned and upon whom the Son of Perdition shall come declares that ten Horns shall spring up from the [Roman] Beast, and that another Horn shall arise in the midst of them."

 

That other Horn would, of course, be the Romish Papacy. Indeed, John's Revelation continues Irenaeus indicates "what shall happen...concerning the ten Kings who shall then arise, among whom the [Roman] Empire which now rules" the Earth in A.D. 185 "shall be partitioned."

 

After the ten Kings appear, the subsequent Papal Antichrist or "he who is to come shall slay three [of those ten] and subject the remainder [or the other seven Kings] to his power so that he shall himself be the eighth [Horn or Kingdom] among them." Compare Daniel 7:7f & 7:20f. "Then they shall lay Babylon" alias the Neo-Roman Empire "waste, and burn her with fire....

 

"For when he [the eighth Horn alias the Antichrist] has come; and of his own accord concentrates in own person the apostasy; and accomplished whatever he shall do according to his own choice" he will then be "sitting also in the Temple of God, so that his dupes may adore him as Christ" or as the Vicar of Christ (Second Thessalonians 2:2-3). "His coming John has thus described in the Apocalypse: 'And the Beast which I saw was like a leopard' etc. (Revelation 13:1-7)....

 

"After this, he likewise describes" the next (namely the Papal) Beast alias "his armour-bearer, whom he also terms a false-prophet." This latter Beast has the number '666' (cf. Revelation 13:18), and means Romish or Latin. For, concluded Irenaeus in 185 A.D., "Lateinos has the number six hundred and sixty-six. And it is a very probable [solution] this being the name of the Last [or Roman] Kingdom" of the four Empires seen by Daniel (in his chapters 2 & 7). "For the Latins are they who at present bear the rule."

 

Irenaeus connected '666' to the measurements of Nebuchadnezzar's image in Daniel 3:1-6f, which should be compared to the previous image's Roman legs in Daniel 2:34,38,41f. Too, the numeral characters for '666' are the Greek letters chi-xi-sigma ( ) as found in the Biblical Manuscripts A, 046 and T. In another way too, this would suggest the Antichrist. For the chi and the sigma combine ( ) to form an abbreviation for Ch-risto-s alias 'Christ' once the intermediate and in-the-Greek 'snake-like' letter xi ( ) has been omitted.

 

Also the A.D. 200f Tertullian of Carthage in his tract On the Resurrection of the Flesh (chapters 24 & 25) identifies the power then 'holding back' the manifestation of Antichrist alias the 'man of sin' in Second Thessalonians 2:3-8. Asks Tertullian: "What obstacle is there, but the Roman State the falling away of which, by being scattered into ten Kingdoms, shall introduce Antichrist upon its ruins?" For the souls of the martyrs in glory await to see how that "'City of Fornication' may receive from the ten Kings its deserved doom, and that the Beast Antichrist together with his False-Prophet may wage war on the Church of God." Cf. Revelation 6:9-11 & 13:1f & 17:7-12.

 

Similarly, Hippolytus of Portus wrote in his A.D. 230 Treatise on Christ and Antichrist (chapter 50): "It is manifest to all, that those who at present still hold the power, are Latins. If then we take the name [or number] '666' [in Revelation 13:18] as the name of a single man it becomes Latinus."

 

With this number '666' one may perhaps compare also the Synod of Whitby. For there, in the year A.D. 664, the new Church in England most tragically decided to reject the Proto-Protestantism of the Ancient Celtic Church and instead to embrace Roman Catholicism and its Papacy. By A.D. 666, that had become quite apparent to the earlier Celtic Church of Britain and Ireland.

 

Comments the famous Geneva Bible of Rev. John Knox and Mrs. John Calvin's brother-in-law William Whittingham: "About 666 years after this revelation, the Pope or the Antichrist began to be manifest in the World.... These characters chi-xi-sigma signify 666....

 

"This number is gathered from...Lateinos.... This notes the Pope or Antichrist, who uses in all things the Latin tongue.... The Italians are called Latini.... Hereby he [John] notes from what country he [the Anti-christ] would come."

 

The Calvinistic Dordt Dutch Bible comments: "It is their confession that they are Roman Catholics or good Papists. They regard [the Pope] as Head of the Church, and they cannot stray from his doctrine and institutions.... The Latin or Romish Church...performs her most important religious services in Latin.... Whence the name Romish or Latin, which this number expresses....

 

"This [666] is a number calculated, in the manner of the Hebrews and the Greeks who use the letters of their alphabets to express numbers, from the letters of the name of a man or of an order of humans.... The oldest and most probable explanation is that of Irenaeus, who lived shortly after the time of the Apostle.... He applies it to the word Lateinos, in which the number 666 is found.... For the Pope claims to be the Head of the Latin Church, and wishes to conduct religion in the Latin tongue."

 

The 1615 Irish Articles was authored probably by the Puritan Archbishop James Ussher, who was later appointed a delegate to the Westminster Assembly. In its art. 80, it declares: "The Bishop of Rome is so far from being the supreme Head of the Universal Church of Christ, that his works and doctrine do plainly discover him to be 'that man of sin' foretold in the Holy Scriptures, 'whom the Lord shall consume with the Spirit of His Mouth.'" Second Thessalonians 2:3-8.

 

The 1643f Westminster Confession (at 23:4o and at 25:6o) denies to "the Pope any power or jurisdiction" over magistrates "in their dominions or over any of their people...if he shall judge them to be hereticks or upon any other pretence whatsoever.... Revelation 13:15-17."

 

Indeed, "there is no other Head of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ; nor can the Pope of Rome in any sense be Head thereof; but is that Antichrist, that man of sin and son of perdition that exalts himself in the Church against Christ and all that is called God.... Revelation 13:6."

 

The Scottish Presbyterian James Durham says in his 1657 Complete Commentary upon the Book of the Revelation: "This agrees well to Antichrist in the doctrine, and to the Pope in the fact.... It is no dead image but an Empire that can speak and can cause such as will not worship it, [to] be killed....

 

"He is that Antichrist.... For the letters of a name which in Greek and Hebrew are numerals...gather a name including that number 666 in it.... Others reckon it...so many years...before he came [by 666].... Irenaeus...was hearer of Polycarp, disciple of John.... He who has all the character of Antichrist's doctrine, and has a name which in the numeral letters make up 666, he is Antichrist.... To the Pope, both these agree....

 

"Antichrist is no open professed enemy but a false counterfeit [and] pretended friend.... He is already come and so must be the Pope.... That therefore is a truth of Chrysostom's that he sits in the Temple of God which is not at Jerusalem but in the Church, pretending to have a prime place in it.... He is the seventh Head of the Beast. Yes, he is a Beast....

 

"The Antichrist has horns like the Lamb; sits in the Temple of God; looks like Christ.... This Antichrist sits at Rome and by a new sort of idolatry heals the wound the sixth Head had gotten, i.e. by worshipping idols, images, &c.... This Antichrist does great signs.... This Antichrist...drives all his designs under a resemblance of making use of Christ's power, as having horns like a lamb and by a pretext of and claim under a vicarship and deputation from Him.... We conclude that Antichrist is come and not [yet] to come.... The Pope is the very Antichrist, and the Papacy the very anti-christian kingdom here described."

 

Also the 1658 Savoy Declaration of British Congregationalists declares: "The Pope of Rome...is that Antichrist, that man of sin and son of perdition that exalteth himself in the Church against...all that is called God whom the Lord shall destroy.... We expect that in the latter days, Antichrist being destroyed, the Jews called, and the adversaries of the Kingdom of His dear Son broken the churches of Christ being enlarged and edified through a free and plentiful communication of light and grace, shall enjoy in this World a more quiet, peaceable and glorious condition than they have enjoyed" up till now. See too the Westminster Larger Catechism, QQ. & AA. 191f.

 

Eleventh. The false religion of Romanism will probably yet in the future absorb the apostate Protestantism represented by the increasingly socialistic and humanistic and revolutionary World Council of Churches and maybe even the false religio-political system of revitalized Islam. This would give new life to the international political Beast. They would then constantly reinforce one another just as in the past they have sometimes openly while at other times surreptitiously persecuted the true saints of God.

 

Even back in 1806, after the French Revolution of 1789, Faber anticipated this in his Dissertation on the Prophecies (I:269). There he wrote: "Nor can we wonder that that era should be marked with peculiarly horrible events.... We recollect that it is to witness the dying struggles not only of Atheism but likewise of Popery and Mohammedism.

 

"It is an era, however, which will be terrible only to the enemies of the Church of Christ. Those who have come out of the mystic Babylon [Revelation 18:2-4] and have refrained from polluting themselves with the Antichristian abominations of infidelity, will not be partakers of her last plagues....

 

"This favoured servant of God [viz. John] has, with inimitable simplicity and wonderful accuracy, given us three distinct paintings of three great enemies of the Gospel of Christ: Popery, Mohammedism, and French Atheism.... The first two being...the two feet of the great apostasy with which it trampled both upon the East and the West during the same period of 1260 years....

 

"For Popery and Mohammedism had these features in common, that they were each a lesser or a greater defection from pure Christianity.... They each equally affected to act not contrary to the will of Heaven but under its immediate sanction.... The last [Atheistic French Revolution], being completely a monster sui genesis" was "predicted by St. John...as if no symbol could be found adequate to describe the enormous wickedness of its character."

 

Twelfth. Even the agency of the Romish Papacy itself and its associates can, however, only postpone but not prevent the death of the mortally-wounded international political system which is the continuation of the secular World Empire. As John's subsequent chapters (16:13-19f and 18:2-21 and 19:20f) all clarify, its future downfall and total destruction is absolutely certain.

 

For God's elect stand firm. They have not been branded with the '666' mark of the Beast. But they have been branded on their foreheads in Baptism with the '333' mark of the Triune God guaranteeing cradle-to-the-grave and eternal security to all of the faithful.

 

They decline to submit to the Romish Papacy and to accept the mark of the Beast. For, believing in Christ Whose perfect and divine number is eight hundred and eighty-eight, they refuse to receive six hundred and sixty-six as the purely-human and imperfect number of the religio-political Beast.

 

Albert Barnes has stated this same truth well. He comments: "The reference...is therefore to Rome considered as a civil or secular power yet Rome regarded as giving support to the Second Beast, the Papal power.... This [secular Roman] power was restored, by being brought into alliance with the Papacy.... Every wound that was inflicted on that power by the incursion of barbarians and by the dividing off of parts of the Empire was healed by the Papacy....

 

"The waning secular power of Rome was thus restored by connecting itself with the spiritual or ecclesiastical power, thus prolonging what might properly be called the 'Roman domination' far beyond what it would otherwise have been.... The fact that so large a portion of the Kingdoms of the Earth was under the influence of the Papacy, and sustained it; and the claim which it set up to universal dominion and to the right of deposing Kings and giving away Kingdoms corresponds entirely with the language here used....

 

"'He who leadeth into captivity, shall go into captivity. He that killeth with the sword, must be killed with the sword' [Revelation 13:10].... This is yet, in a great measure, [still] to be fulfilled.... It discloses the manner in which the Papal secular power will come to an end....

 

"Rome now is practically held in subjection by foreign arms, and has no true independence. Perhaps this will be more and more so, as its ultimate fall approaches.... Nothing can secure its continuance for any very considerable period longer."

 

O Christian, neither Pagan Rome and its political successors nor the Romish Papacy and its 'Apostate Protestant' religious successors nor their combination as the so-called 'Holy Roman Empire' and all of its successors shall ever be able to deceive the truly elect of God! Baptized and sealed with the mark of the Lamb, they are more than a match against the Antichrist as they patiently await the fall of all of the enemies of God.

 

Wielding the sword of the Lord alias the Word of God they know that they shall yet overcome all their persecutors. For those very enemies will yield to the sword of the Lord, the Church-preached Word of God and thus be brought into captivity to Christ. Or otherwise they themselves will either 'go into captivity' or otherwise be killed with the punitive sword wielded by the instruments of God's Own choice in the days of His vengeance.

 

 

 

 

 

So on, then, Christian soldiers! Onward, to victory!

Preaching the Everlasting Gospel causes Romish Babylon to fall

Revelation 14:1-12 December 21

 

 

"Then I saw another Angel fly in mid-air, having the everlasting Gospel to preach to them who dwell on the Earth and to every Nation and kindred and tongue and people. He said with a loud voice: 'Fear God and give glory to Him! For the hour of His judgment has come. And worship Him Who made Heaven and Earth and the Sea and the fountains of waters!' Then there followed another Angel, saying: 'Babylon has fallen, has fallen thoroughly that great city! Because she made all Nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.' And the third Angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, 'If any man worship the Beast and his image and receive his mark on his forehead or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy Angels and in the presence of the Lamb.... The smoke of their torment keeps on ascending for ever and ever.... They who worship the Beast and his image and whoever receives the mark of his name have no rest day nor night.'"

 

 

John had just seen the Second Beast branding the mark of the dragon-like First Beast onto all under his control. Then "look! The Lamb stood on Mount Zion, and with Him a hundred and forty-four thousand having His Father's Name written on their foreheads."

 

This is the faithful number of those who believe and are baptized. Thus they get marked on their foreheads in the Name of the Triune God. They all represent the sum-total of God's elect everywhere, and down through the centuries. 144,000 = (3 x 4) x (3 x 4) x 103 where '3' represents the Trinity; where '4' represents all the points of the compass; and where '103' represents the perfect number of fullness cubed (as it were). Such are all those who refuse to bear the mark of the Anti-Christian Beast.

 

They all stand on Mount Zion; that is, they all live within the Christian Church. They are the 'spiritually-faithful' the True Members of the Church Militant here on Earth. They represent all the 'virginally-faithful' who have not defiled themselves with the whorish woman Babylon alias the lamb-like Beast of Papal Rome and all of her Pseudo-'Protestant' daughters.

 

Those sealed on their foreheads with their Father's Name, sing the song of victory even amid worldly oppression. They sing, in the knowledge that all Nations shall yet come and worship before Jehovah. Like virgins undefiled, they loyally follow the Lamb wherever He goes if needs be, even into the cultural Wilderness.

 

Yet these baptismally-branded believers know their new song rises up even into Heaven itself. They know too that the predictive parts of that song will in God's good time be fulfilled. They believe, even as a result of their own Christian testimony, that all Nations will yet come and worship God.

 

The meaning here, comments the Calvinistic Geneva Bible, is that the Lamb "Jesus Christ rules His Church ['on Mount Zion'] to defend and comfort" alias to strengthen her. The 'hundred and forty-four thousand' implies "a great and ample Church."

 

Further, 'the sound of many waters' is for "signifying that the number of the Church should be great and that they should speak boldly." For, as the 'firstfruits' unto God, the Lamb's "faithful ought to live justly and holily so that they may be...an excellent offering to the Lord."

 

First. Like a mighty 'Angel' or Messenger preaching from God to the people of the whole World the faithful Christians, through their Ministers of the Word, "preach to them who dwell on the Earth and to every Nation and kindred and tongue and people." Indeed, they say "with a loud voice: 'Fear God and give glory to Him! For the hour of His judgment has come. And worship Him Who made Heaven and Earth and the Sea and the fountains of waters!'"

 

This is the message that is to be brought to the World; from the Lord; and by the Church of all ages. It was preached by the Apostolic Church.

 

But it was particularly sounded forth by the Church of the Protestant Reformation. It is the message of the first Angel, boldly preaching the everlasting Gospel to all Nations on Earth even by radio and television!

 

As a result, a second Angel or Messenger predictively announces: "Babylon has thoroughly fallen!" And a third Angel warns that everyone who honours the Beast and his image, shall drink of the wrath of God. However, all three preach the same triune message viz. the everlasting 'good news' Gospel; the everlasting doom of Babylon; and the everlasting damnation of the wicked.

 

The Calvinistic Dordt Dutch Bible regards the first Angel as representing Waldo and the Waldensians; the second Angel as representing Wycliffe, Jan Huss and Jerome of Prague; and the third Angel as representing Luther and Zwingli etc. Interestingly, since the beginning of the nineteenth century this everlasting Gospel is being broadcast and published specially by the modern Missionary Movement in its continuing evangelization of the whole World.

 

It is the preaching of this everlasting Gospel which will demolish the Papal Babylon and all of its Pseudo-'Protestant' daughters. For this message, exalting as it does the Sovereignty of the Triune God over all the Universe, effectively calls upon all men everywhere to repent and to worship Him and to honour Him in all they do (by subduing the Earth and the Sea and the Sky only to the glory of the Triune God).

 

Many Theologians identify the fulfilment of the second Angel's message announcing that 'Babylon' has fallen with the advent of the still-future latter-day glory of the Church, as a result of the long-sustained preaching of the Gospel. Revelation 14:6-8 & 17:1-5,14. Especially Matthew Poole, Matthew Henry, Timothy Dwight, Adam Clarke, Elias Smith, Ethan Allan, Lyman Beecher, Edward Griffin, Albert Barnes and B.H. Carroll seem to hold this view.

 

Comments Albert Barnes: "The design of this vision is...to sustain the courage and the Faith of the Church in the persecutions and trials which were yet to come by the assurance that the Gospel would ultimately be triumphant.... The Gospel is to be preached to all men as on an equality.... It is implied also that, at the time referred, this will be done. When that time will be, the writer does not intimate, farther than that it would be after the Beast and his adherents had attempted to stay its progress....

 

"For the fulfilment of this, therefore, we are to look to a period subsequent to the rise and fall of that great Antichristian power symbolized by the Beast.... It is not, I suppose, Rome considered as Pagan that is here meant but Rome considered as the prolongation of the ancient power in the Papal form.

 

"Alike in this book and in Daniel, Rome Pagan and Papal is regarded as one power, standing in direct opposition to the Gospel of Christ; resisting its progress in the World; and preventing its final prevalence.... When that falls the last enemy of the Church will be destroyed, and the final triumph of the True Religion will be speedy and complete."

 

As the Geneva Bible comments here: "The Gospel teaches us to fear God and honour Him which is the beginning of heavenly wisdom." O, that we too also today might always sound forth this very message and ourselves practise what we preach to others!

 

Second. The result of this powerful Gospel-preaching of the whole counsel of God (according to the totality of His Word) is the destruction of 'Babylon.' "Then there followed another Angel, saying: 'Babylon has fallen, has fallen thoroughly!'" Here, so certain is 'Babylon' to crash as a result of the ongoing and future preaching of the everlasting Gospel that her fall is described as an already-accomplished fact.

 

This is the first direct mention of 'Babylon' (as such) in the Book of Revelation. But there have already been many indirect allusions to it. For 'Babylon' is clearly to be identified with the lamb-like Second Beast's attempts to revive the mortally-wounded Sea-Beast. Consequently, according to very many Theologians, 'Babylon' here is not at all Pagan Rome but instead the Papal-Romish "Church" (and her sycophantic and miserably pathetic Pseudo-'Protestant' daughters in their Babelic confusion).

 

For "Babylon" is the sum-total of religio-politico-economic iniquity. She is seen to be the 'false lion' of Daniel's Babylonian Beast masquerading as the true Lion of Judah. She is shamelessly disloyal to the heavenly Bridegroom she falsely claims to love. Indeed, rather does she attempt to make "all Nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication."

 

As the Geneva Bible of John Knox and Mrs. John Calvin's brother-in-law William Whittingham correctly comments: 'Babylon' here signifies "'Rome,' forasmuch as the vices which were in Babylon are found in Rome in greater abundance [such] as persecution of the Church of God, oppression and slavery; with destruction of the People of God, confusion, superstition, idolatry, impiety....

 

"Babylon the First Monarchy, was destroyed [cf. Daniel 2:31-37f & 7:3-5]. So [likewise] shall this wicked kingdom of Antichrist have a miserable ruin though it be great, and seems to extend throughout all Europe." For "God is provoked to wrath so that He suffers many to walk in the way of the Romish doctrine, to their destruction."

 

Comments Albert Barnes: "On what principles should idolatry be denounced and condemned anywhere, if it is not in papal Rome? ... This formidable Anti-christian power, would be overthrown."

 

Third. Those who serve 'Babylon' and who disregard the True Church's testimony to separate from her shall later be destroyed. Indeed, they shall thereafter ultimately spend all eternity, together with that Babylonian Beast, in the Lake of Fire.

 

After the above messages of the first two Angels, "the third Angel followed them, saying with a loud voice: 'If any man worship the Beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation. And he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy Angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends up for ever and ever. And they have no rest, day nor night they who worship the Beast and his image, and whosoever receives the mark of his name.'"

 

That too is to be part of the True Church's message to a Christ-rejecting and Beast-worshipping World which serves either the totalitarian Anti-Christian State and/or a totalitarian and false religious system. For he who does not trust Christ alone for his salvation is doomed. Indeed, "he who does not believe the Son, shall not see life but the wrath of God keeps on abiding upon him."

 

Fourth. God's Gospel-proclaiming People must be patient in awaiting the Fall of 'Babylon.' They must indeed work for that event, and witness about their Saviour. But meantime, "here is the patience of the saints." For the sanctified Members of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ are patiently to await the fall of the totalitarian imperialistic State as they faithfully keep on proclaiming their powerful Gospel (just as already seen).

 

They are also to await the fall of the apostate religion of Babylon. For fall it will in God's good time. But the 1260 day-years of 'Babylonian captivity' must first run their course. Only after that, will the saints really come into their own throughout the World. And meanwhile, they must while working and witnessing be patient.

 

Fifth. While expectantly awaiting the ultimate downfall of Babylon, the saints are to obey the Decalogue. For "here are they who keep the Commandments of God." Antinomian Babylon (alias deformed Rome) and also her semi-deformed daughters (such as all the Anti-Reformed and Pseudo-'Protestant' Antinomians) are distinguished by the breaking of the Commandments of God by idolatry, blasphemy, murder, deceit, theft, and fornication. As would be expected, the True People of God are contrasted with Babylon in such a way that all will recognize the difference between the True Church on the one hand and false religion on the other. Accordingly, God's True Children fear God and give glory to Him. For they "fear God and keep His Commandments."

 

Finally. God's True People remain loyal to the Christian Faith. "Here are they that keep the Commandments of God and the Faith of Jesus" alias the Christian Faith. This is not mere emotion nor even intellectual assent to certain Christological dogmas which even Papal Rome acknowledges. To the contrary. This is a simple and a whole-hearted trust in the merits of Jesus Christ alone.

 

But this simple trust in Christ's merits, Rome denies in her homage rendered to Angels and Saints (such as Mary). Moreover, the required trust only in Christ's merits, is denied in Rome's idolatrous obscuring of His finished work on the cross especially by the blasphemous papal doctrines of purgatory and the mass and the meritoriousness of human works of so-called supererogation etc.

 

Like many modern 'Evan-jellyfish' Rome too professes to love the Lord. But her denial of the fear of God is powerfully evidenced in her not keeping His Commandments against idolatrous image worship and against sabbath desecration; and in her ungodly requirement of compulsory celibacy and poverty as regards her clergy etc.

 

Nevertheless, the Romish Beast and her antinomian daughter-denominations shall be overthrown. Not they but the True Church of consistent Protestantism finally triumphs.

 

"This chapter," comments Albert Barnes in his Analysis," is "designed to hold out the symbols of ultimate and certain victory.... The hundred and forty-four thousand on Mount Zion, as emblematic of the final triumph of the redeemed, have the Father's Name in their foreheads.... They sing a song of victory" and have "the vision of the final triumph of the Gospel.... The Gospel will thus be preached among all Nations.... Babylon the mighty Anti-christian power...is overthrown!"

 

O Christian, let us then follow our Lamb whithersoever He leads us! Let us spread the everlasting Gospel to every Nation and kindred and tongue! And, while awaiting the certain fall of unclean Babylon as the ultimate result of such powerful Gospel-preaching let us patiently keep the Commandments of God and the Faith of Jesus, as a testimony for the conversion of sinners; but above all, to the glory of God!

 

 

 

 

 

So on, then, Christian soldiers! Onward, to victory!

Blessed are the Dead in Christ and their Works follow Them!

Revelation 14:13-20 December 22

 

 

"Here is the patience of the saints. Here are they who keep the Commandments of God and the Faith of Jesus. Then I heard a voice from Heaven saying to me: 'Write, "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth!"' 'Yes,' says the Spirit, 'so that they may rest from their labours. And their works follow them.'"

 

 

John had just mentioned the necessity of the saints patiently keeping the Commandments of God (alias the Decalogue) and the concomitant Faith of Jesus (alias the Christian Faith). They were to do so, even while themselves publishing the whole counsel of the everlasting Gospel throughout the World. For that is the Lord's Own means of bringing about the fall of the false religio-politico-economic system of 'Babylon.'

 

John went on to encourage his immediate addressees (who would faithfully help to start bring about this ultimate fall of 'Babylon'). At the same time, the Apostle wanted to encourage also those who would later faithfully follow in their footsteps (and who would themselves too help bring about the final fall of 'Babylon').

 

Next, the Apostle John wrote: "Then I heard a voice from Heaven saying to me: 'Write, "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth!"' 'Yes,' says the Spirit, 'so that they may rest from their labours. And their works follow them.'"

 

First. John here assures his readers: "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth!" Many Christians may suffer; and some may even be killed for the sake of their most holy Faith. But whether they die naturally or violently those "who die in the Lord" should certainly know that they die the death of the "blessed."

 

As Albert Barnes suggests in his Analysis and Commentary: "The blessedness of all those who die in the Lord" refers to those who "would be found faithful unto death.... We owe much to a system of religion which will enable us to say and to feel that it is a blessed thing to die....

 

"We should be grateful...thus to speak of those who are dead" and "with corresponding feeling to look forward to our own departure from this World.... They who thus die, are the friends of the Lord Jesus.... The assurance, then, is limited to those who are sincere Christians.... They will be ever-onward blessed."

 

The death of the saints of the Lord indeed is precious in His sight. For there is no Romish-Babylonish uncertainty about the eternal destiny of the children of the Lord. No final computation is either necessary or possible, in order to try to ascertain whether they are "good enough" to get to Heaven. For it is solely the blessed righteousness of Jesus Christ, imputed to their account, which makes them "good enough" and which ensures that they will indeed get to glory.

 

As the Calvinistic Geneva Bible here rightly observes: "The faithful are exhorted to patience." For those "are ingrafted in Christ, by faith who rest and stay only on Him, and rejoice to be with Him."

 

Second. John also insists that the true believer goes to be with the Lord immediately after death. "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth!"

 

Right after their deaths "from henceforth" the Lord's People go to be with Him. Forthwith. No Romish period of 'Purgatory' ever follows.

 

As the Calvinistic Geneva Bible correctly comments: "Immediately after their death, they are received into joy." And Albert Barnes: "Immediately after their dissolution, they would be blessed.... Henceforth blessed are the dead [in Christ].... Their condition was not to be regarded as one of misfortune, but of blessedness and joy."

 

Third. John also here describes the tranquillity of the condition entered into by the blessed dead immediately after their death. There is no Romish-Babylonish cleansing or striving to become "better" which then awaits them. For they die "so that they may rest from their labours."

 

They had laboured very hard for the Lord and His cause while they were here on Earth. And thereafter, they enter into the saints' everlasting sabbath rest which remains for the People of God. The tempestuous wicked, however, go to hell where they have no rest, day nor night.

 

As Dr. Calvin remarks in his Psychopannychia, the blessed dead go to "the throne of God's glory" or "the bosom of Abraham." For there, "they are admitted with Abraham the father of the faithful where they enjoy God fully, without weariness."

 

Fourth. There will be no more toil for the godly in their next life. The Apostle John declares that "the dead who die in the Lord...henceforth rest from their labours."

 

States Albert Barnes in his Analysis and Commentary: "The word here rendered 'labour' (kopos), means properly...toil, labour, effort.... It is here used in the sense of wearisome toil in doing good; in promoting religion; in saving souls; in defending the truth. From such toils, the redeemed in Heaven will be released. For although there will be employment there, it will be without the sense of fatigue or weariness."

 

Fifth. John assures His Christian addressees that, when they arrive in glory, "their works follow them.'" This important statement establishes that all our good works performed while here on Earth to the glory of God will last for ever.

 

All of our "very good" works of subduing the Earth and the Sea and the Sky and everything in them, as conscious attempts to extend the Lord's Kingdom, will not be annihilated after our deaths. To the contrary. These good "works" will in fact be preserved from then onward, for all eternity.

 

For this reason, Paul could joyfully command his Christian addressees: "Whether therefore you eat or drink or whatsoever you do do all to the glory of God!" And for this reason, he could also promise them: "Therefore, my beloved brethren, you must be steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord forasmuch as you know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord!"

 

States Albert Barnes in his Analysis and Commentary: "The works of mercy which they had done on the Earth, would follow them to the Future World, securing rich and eternal blessings there.... 'Their works do follow them'.... The rewards or the consequences of their works will follow them to the Eternal World....

 

"All that the rightous do and suffer here, will appropriately be recompensed there.... We can make the present affect the future for good.... By our conduct on the Earth, we can lay the foundation for happiness millions of ages hence.... What we do today may determine our happiness in that future period."

 

Sixth. John's verse perhaps also refers to an extended earthly period of 'postmillennial' blessings "from henceforth" namely, from after the time of the fall of the Romish Babylon, and before the Final Coming of Christ. Thus Timothy Dwight, Elias Smith, Ethan Allen, J.H. Livingston, Lyman Beecher, Edward Griffin, and B.H. Carroll.

 

Here, "henceforth" would mean: after "Babylon is fallen." Namely: when "delivered from the horrible troubles which are in the Church" (thus the Geneva Bible); in the coming time of great earthly blessings (thus Matthew Poole and Matthew Henry); and "after the fall of the Papacy" (thus Carroll).

 

In that as-yet-still-future blessed period here on Earth, those that are "in the Lord" will apparently be very fruitful in their Commandment-keeping "labours" here on Earth while they are yet alive. Then, when at a ripe old age they finally "die" they will enter their joyous heavenly "rest."

 

Seventh. As Earth's blessed future History continues to unfold, however while the centuries roll on after the destruction of Romish 'Babylon' the end of the World inexorably approaches. "Then I looked," wrote John, "and behold a white cloud! And upon the cloud One sat like unto the Son of man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle.

 

"Then another Angel came out of the temple, crying out with a loud voice to Him Who sat on the cloud: 'Thrust in Your sickle, and reap! For the time has come for You to reap. For the harvest of the Earth is ripe.' "Then He Who sat on the cloud, thrust in His sickle on the Earth. Then the Earth was reaped."

 

At the end of History, Jesus will come on the clouds and Himself gather His harvest into His heavenly barn for all eternity. For, as the Calvinistic Geneva Bible comments, this signifies that "Christ shall come to judgment on a cloud even as He was seen to go up" on a cloud, at His ascension into Heaven.

 

The Postmillennialist Albert Barnes here comments: "The time alluded to here is the end of the World.... The design is to state that the Redeemer will then gather in a great and glorious harvest, and by this assurance...sustain the hearts of His People in times of trial and persecution."

 

But meantime, it is the duty of all Christians to sow the Gospel-field. They themselves are to proclaim the Good News. And they are to encourage their Preachers to preach the Word of God everywhere.

 

Eighth and last. When Jesus comes for His harvest at the end of History, He will not only gather His wheat into Heaven. At the same time, He will also thrust the tares into Hell after He has uprooted those weeds from the World (as His very Own wheatfield).

 

"Then another Angel came out from the altar having power over fire. And he cried out with a loud cry to him who had the sharp sickle, saying: 'Thrust in your sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the Earth! For her grapes are fully ripe."

 

As the Calvinistic Geneva Bible rightly comments: "The overthrow of the people is compared to a harvest." It is "compared...also to a vintage."

 

Then "the Angel thrust in his sickle into the Earth. He gathered the vine of the Earth." And he "cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God."

 

Jesus, when He was previously here on Earth, had "trodden down the winepress alone." Similarly, He eschatologically declares: "I will tread them down in My anger, and trample them in My fury. Then their blood shall be sprinkled upon My garments."

 

Having sprinkled many Nations in Christian Baptism when He in the Spirit wrote His Father's Name on their foreheads His Own blood-baptized vesture will then be sprinkled with the blood of the wicked. That already occurs somewhat, in His repeated judgments down throughout History. It will finally occur, and in full force when "He treads down the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God" at His Final Coming.

 

Then he who believes and is baptized, shall be saved. But he who does not believe, shall be damned and burned up with unquenchable fire. The latter shall then be trodden down outside the Christian Church (thus the Dordt Dutch Bible, Brakel, Hengstenberg, Schlatter, Greijdanus, and others) until his blood reaches up its full distance from the winepress even unto the bridles of the horses ridden by the victorious armies of the Lord as they follow the Word of God down through the centuries, and as they wield the conquering Biblical message of the sword of the Lord.

 

The Calvinistic Geneva Bible comments correctly on John's words. "By this similitude, he declares the horrible confusion of the tyrants and infidels" in the days of Christ's wrath.

 

The Calvinistic Dordt Dutch Bible adds that "the godless shall be punished.... Their sins have reached up to the highest, and God's patience with them has ended.... God's judgment is executed...over the godless.... God shall cast His wrath onto the godless, in the abyss."

 

In his Analysis, Albert Barnes here describes: "The final overthrow of all the enemies of the Church.... To this, all things are tending. This will certainly be accomplished, in due time.... This whole chapter therefore is designed to relieve...the mind...[to] be cheered with the assurance of the final triumph of truth and righteousness.... To the Church at large in the darkest times...there is the certainty of final victory.... This should be allowed to cheer and sustain the soul."

 

O Christian, may we too in the words of the famous hymn 'labour for the Master from the dawn till setting sun!' May we wield the sword of God's Word in all that we do as a witness to His sovereign control over our lives in every field of our endeavours!

 

For then, we shall indeed live the life and die the death of the blessed. Then, we too shall rest from our godly labours of being fruitful and multiplying and filling or replenishing and subjecting the Earth and the Sea and the Sky and all they contain to the glory of God.

 

Then, also we shall rest from our labours of promoting the preaching of the Gospel in all the World toward the christianization of all the Nations. Then, we too shall rest in glory, until the Earth has become filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the Sea and until all those labours follow us unto Life Eternal to be enjoyed in this life, and in the next, and on the New Earth yet to come. For ever and ever.

 

 

 

 

 

So on, then, Christian soldiers! Onward, to victory!

The Victory over the Beast: all Nations come and worship God!

Revelation 15 & 16 December 23

 

 

"Then I saw another sign in Heaven, great and marvellous.... I saw, as it were, a sea of glass mixed with fire; and them who had gotten the victory over the Beast.... They sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb. They say: 'Great and marvellous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, You King of saints [or "King of Nations"]! Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your Name? For You alone are holy. For all Nations shall come and worship before You.'"

 

 

Christ had just given John an insight into the outcome of the believer's testimony to His Own Mediatorial Lordship here on Earth. That would culminate in His Second Coming in Final Judgment when there will no longer be any further time of waiting for the very end of History.

 

Then the Lord Jesus went on to give His Apostle details about "the seven last plagues" (thus Tertullian). For those plagues would bring about the downfall of the false religio-politico-economic 'Babylon' a long period of time still prior to Christ's Final Advent in ultimate judgment.

 

Those last plagues would destroy the Papacy. Thus Pierre d'Olivi, the Calvinistic Dordt Dutch Bible, John Cotton, Thomas Goodwin, Matthew Henry, Jonathan Edwards, Bishop Thomas Newton, John Brown of Haddington, Adam Clarke, the D'Oyly & Mant Bible, Jenks's Comprehensive Commentary, Albert Barnes, and B.H. Carroll.

 

Observes Barnes in his Analysis: "The 'plagues' are described as if they were a succession of physical calamities that would come upon this Antichristian power, and bring it to an end.... The course of the exposition thus far will lead us to regard this chapter as a description of the successive blows by which the Papacy will fall. A part of this is still undoubtedly future, though perhaps not far distant.... The great mass of Protestant commentators suppose that it refers to the Papacy."

 

However, it refers further also to the allies of the Papacy. For the Papacy does not exhaust but is rather the great standard-bearer of the Anti-christ (as such). Thus Beatus, Joachim of Floris, John Calvin, Matthew Poole and Thomas Scott. So, when the Papacy is destroyed also its antichristian allies are themselves soon destroyed by the last of these seven plagues.

 

Yet these latter-day allies of the Papacy have still not yet been welded into the final Pan-Antichristian Religious Alliance. Such future allies of the Papacy, will ultimately include: Apostate Pseudo-'Protestantism' (thus Goodwin, Backus, Adam Clarke, David Brown, and Fairbairn); Islam (thus John Cotton, Goodwin, and Carey); Paganism (thus John Gill, Dowling, and Albert Barnes); the French Revolution (thus Joseph Priestley, the Cottage Bible, and Albert Barnes); and all of the latter's radical daughters, such as Socialism and Humanism (thus Philip Mauro and Francis Nigel Lee).

 

First, however, John saw "another sign in Heaven great and marvellous." He saw "them who had gotten the victory over the Beast and over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing 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."

 

Already when they were still on Earth and before they died and went to Heaven, these children of God had been singing this song of triumph. At that previous time, they had been anticipating the certainty of the earthly Church's future victory throughout the World and the fall of the great city of 'Babylon' even as Moses in his own day had sung about God's triumph over all of His enemies.

 

And now, right after their deaths at the end of their fruitful earthly lives, the saints sing in Heaven too. They do this after their deaths thus after they, also at their death, have "gotten the victory over the Beast and over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name."

 

There in the glory of Heaven itself, the Church Triumphant stands on 'the sea of glass.' There were indeed many "troubles and afflictions" for the Church Members while they were previously here on Earth (as the Church Militant). However, she sang her way out of all of them and conquered them.

 

Indeed, comments the Calvinistic Geneva Bible, in that way "the saints of God overcame them all." For even before their deaths, the saints, while yet here on Earth, "sing divine songs unto God by Whose power they get the victory." And thereafter once in Heaven the Church Triumphant sings this song even more convincingly and invincibly than she ever did when still only the Church Militant.

 

Hear the Church Triumphant sing in Heaven! "Great and marvellous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways You King of saints [or 'King of Nations']!"

 

Second. From Heaven above, after their death but before the Fall of Babylon and the resultant christianization of the World, the dead saints further prophesy. There they predict the universal triumph of the Gospel here on Earth and its conquest of the Earth, even before the end of the History of the World.

 

For they victoriously sing: "Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your Name? For You alone are holy. For all Nations shall come and worship before You.'" Indeed, it is precisely because Jehovah is the "King of the Nations" that all Nations shall yet come and worship Him.

 

Third. The heavenly saints are certain that all people on Earth shall yet come and fear the Lord. They are convinced that all Nations shall yet come and worship before Him. "For Your judgments [or ruling operations] are made manifest."

 

Well they know it is precisely the manifestation of God's judgments the outpouring of "the seven last plagues" that will shake the kingdom of the Beast to its very foundations. That is what will help bring about both the Fall of 'Babylon' and the christianization of the World.

 

May we too fearlessly sing out the judgments of God in our own day, over all who resist the Lord Jesus' claims on their lives! And may we keep on doing so until the 'walls of Jericho' as it were come tumbling down and 'the saints go marching in!'

 

Explains Albert Barnes in his Analysis and his Commentary: "The Church would ultimately be triumphant.... That formidable Antichristian power represented by the [Roman] 'Beast' would be destroyed.... Wrath is to come upon the Beast; or the complete overthrow of this formidable Antichristian power" over the Nations.

 

"As the result of these punishments inflicted on this dread Antichristian power, they shall come and worship Thee. Everywhere in the New Testament, the destruction of that power is connected with the promise of the speedy conversion of the World.... That formidable power is overthrown, and the grand hindrance to the universal spread of the True Religion is now taken away....

 

One great hindrance to the spread of the true religion, would be taken away by the decline and fall of the Turkish power." Hence, both the international Romish Antichrist and 'the Turkish power' or international Islam will crash!

 

Fourth. John saw how the tabernacle of God in Heaven was opened. Then the seven Angels came out of it, and poured forth upon the Earth the seven last plagues of the wrath of God which they received from one of the four living beings in Heaven.

 

The seven Angels, according to the Calvinistic Geneva Bible, include the Church's Preachers as "God's Ministers." And by the four living beings, "are meant all the creatures of God which willingly serve Him for the punishment of infidels." For "God gives us full entry into His Church, by destroying His enemies."

 

Moreover, the seven plagues greatly resemble the seven trumpets which John had previously heard sounding. For plagues too affect the Earth and the Sea and the Rivers and the Sun and also 'Babylon-on-the-Euphrates.'

 

But whereas the trumpets were essentially instruments of warning the plagues poured out from the seven vials or bowls of the wrath of God, are essentially instruments of punishment. And whereas the trumpets generally warn against the destruction of but one-third of the items affected the plagues actually smite the entirety (alias three-thirds) of the items affected.

 

The Puritan James Durham, in his 1657 Complete Commentary upon the Book of Revelation (p. 604), has rightly remarked: "The four first vials [in] chapter 16...carry on Antichrist's ruin.... The fifth vial overturneth Rome his seat.... The sixth overturneth Turks, Popes, and the rest of that kingdom; bringeth in the Jews; and setteth the Gospel at its full brightness. The seventh vial sometime after that, bringeth the end upon all enemies...and fully overturneth the Devil's kingdom in the World." Cf. Romans 11:25-32.

 

Now it should be recognized that the plagues poured out, represent God's judgments particularly on the Beast (and its associates) in its Babylonish-Romish or Pagan-Papal manifestations. As such, the series of "the seven last plagues" commence at a later (or Papal) stage of history than did the series of trumpets (the first of which had commenced sounding perhaps even as early as the time John was writing down the Book of Revelation).

 

This makes the series of plagues very relevant to our own day. For Papal Rome, though greatly weakened since the Protestant Reformation, has by no means yet been destroyed.

 

Fifth. The first plague was poured out of its terrible vial or bowl only after the Babylonish-Romish Papacy had set up the image of the Imperial Beast alias the Holy Roman Empire in the Middle Ages. Thus John Cotton, Thomas Goodwin, and Moses Lowman. For the first Angel "went and poured out his vial upon the Earth" of the Holy Roman Empire. "Then there fell a malignant and afflictive sore [or system of ulcers] upon the man who had the mark of the Beast, and upon them who worshipped [or continuously went on worshipping] his image."

 

This seems to point to the Middle Ages, when the Holy Roman Empire became ulcerated. Even at that time, it evidenced signs of its own later fragmentation. For this 'afflictive sore' as the Calvinistic Geneva Bible comments "was like the sixth plague of Egypt, which was sores and boils or pocks. And this reigns commonly among Canons, Monks, Friars, Nuns, Priests and such vermin which bear the mark of the Beast." Just think of the Black Death!

 

O, may the wicked turn from their evil to the living God, also in our own day! For we too live in a similar day of ulceration the day of the moral and political decline of the West, as evident in the spread of the plague of AIDS especially among homosexuals.

 

It is perhaps significant that Albert Barnes attributes a role to the 1789 French Revolution and its ongoing aftermath in bringing down the Papacy. Thus he comments that that ungodly revolution, "from France as a centre, spread like a plague throughout its affiliated societies to the other countries of Papal Christendom.... All the infidelity and atheism of the French Nation, before so strongly Papal, went just so far in weakening the power of the Papacy.... The horrid outbreaks in the French Revolution, were the first in the series of providential events that will result in the entire overthrow of that Antichristian power" of the Papacy.

 

Sixth. The second and the third and the fourth vials were next poured out (on the Sea and the Rivers and the Sun). The second vial containing the second plague probably refers to the Late-Mediaeval plunging of the uncivilized sea of Nations into an ocean of blood, by the Turks and the Mongols.

 

Seventh. The third vial containing the third plague probably refers to the poisoning of the rivers and fountains of the truth, by the false doctrines of the Papacy. Here one thinks of the Celibacy and the Mass and Purgatory and Mariolatry etc., which then polluted both the Eastern-'Orthodox' Church as well as the Western Church.

 

Eighth. "The fourth Angel poured out his vial [containing the fourth plague] upon the Sun; and power was given to it to scorch men with fire." This 'inflammation' of the Sun seems to refer to the Holy Roman Emperor and his satellites, who then scorched mankind. It seems to suggest the fiery politico-religious persecutions of the various mediaeval Inquisitions against the Waldensians, the Wycliffites, the Lollards, and the Hussites.

 

May we too, in our own day, beware of the threats of barbarians against civilization! May we guard against the poisonous and even lethal effects of antiscriptural doctrines even in many 'churches' (sic)! May we steer clear of the burning fury of corrupt politicians, in their hatred of Christianity! But may we also know that even while plagues like these are being poured out upon the wicked, all things still work together for good to those who love the Lord. For all things are also working toward the abolition of the Romish and the Islamic tyrannies, and in the direction of the ultimate christianization of our own great planet Earth.

 

Ninth. We need to remember that the Late-Mediaeval 'Holy Roman Empire' was controlled by the Vatican as the seat of power of the persecuting Beast. "So the fifth Angel poured out his vial [containing the fifth plague] upon the throne of the Beast. Then his kingdom was full of darkness. And they gnawed their tongues for pain. And they blasphemed the God of Heaven, because of their pains and their sores. But they did not repent of their deeds."

 

This fifth plague, according to the Calvinistic Geneva Bible, "signifies that the Pope's doctrine is a horrible plague." Similar to this are the many views of Martin Luther, Henry Bullinger, Virgil Solis, Georg Nigrinus, John Cotton, the Calvinistic Dordt Dutch Bible, Thomas Goodwin, James Durham, Matthew Poole, Brakel, Vitringa, Matthew Henry, Moses Lowman, Jonathan Edwards, Timothy Dwight, Samuel Hopkins, Thomas Scott, John Brown of Haddington, Adam Clarke, Bishop Thomas Newton, T.H. Horne, Ewald, Hengstenberg, Moffat, R.H. Charles, Zahn, Carroll, and many others. For all of the above identify the seat or "throne of the Beast" with the Vatican in Rome.

 

According to the two great American Theologians Edwards and Hopkins, the fifth plague is probably a reference to the "outpouring" of the antipapal 1517 Protestant Reformation commencing with the Pope's repudiation by Luther and that great Reformer's exposure of the Papacy as Babylon and of the Vatican as the very throne of the Beast. For, after the Mediterranean World had become "full of darkness" through the twin blights of Islam and Romanism, the light broke through again with the rediscovery of the Bible by Luther and Calvin. After the darkness of the Papacy, came the light of the Protestant Reformation. Post tenebras, lux!

 

Even more remarkably. Almost a century before the French Revolution of 1789, Robert Fleming in 1701 first published his Apocalyptical Key, subtitled An Extraordinary Discourse on the Rise and Fall of Papacy; or the pouring out of the Vials (of Revelation chapter 16). There he wrote about "the fifth vial (verses 10-11) which is to be poured out on the seat of the Beast or...on the Roman see.... This judgment will probably begin about the year 1794 and expire about A.D. 1848.... Seeing the Pope received the title of Supreme Bishop no sooner than A.D. 606, he cannot be supposed to have any vial poured upon his seat...until the year 1848 which is the date of the 1260 years, in prophetical account, when they are reckoned from A.D. 606. But yet we are not to imagine that this will totally destroy the Papacy (though it will exceedingly weaken it). For we find that still in being, and alive, when the next vial is poured out."

 

It is significant that the judgment against Rome predicted by the 1701 Fleming indeed began in 1794, just before Napoleon's 1798 invasion of the Vatican through General Haller. Furthermore, the predicted judgment indeed expired, as forecast, in A.D. 1848 being the year of the Communist Manifesto and the year of its resultant European Revolutions.

 

Yet Rome would not repent! Instead, she blasphemed God and His Holy Word. She did so at the Council of Trent, anathematizing the Bible-upholding Protestants and persecuting them in the Jesuitical Inquisition. And even since Trent Rome has further blasphemed God by enacting ungodly ex cathedra pronouncements such as those of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary (1854), the Syllabus of Errors (1864), the Infallibility of the Pope (1870), and the Bodily Assumption of the Virgin Mary (1950), etc.

 

So tenth. "The sixth Angel poured out his vial [containing the sixth plague] upon the great river Euphrates. Then its water became dried up, so that the way of the Kings of the East might be prepared."

 

Here, at Revelation 16:12, the Calvinistic Geneva Bible explains what is meant by the waters of the "Euphrates." Those waters are "the strength of Babylon." They are "the riches, strength, pleasures and commodities of Rome the second Babylon." This vial, held both Cotton and Goodwin, will destroy the Turks (or Moslems), and convert the Jews to Christianity.

 

Now this drying up the life-waters of Babylon-in-the-Euphrates, takes place after the outpouring of the fifth vial on the throne of the Papal Beast at the time of the Protestant Reformation. And the Protestant "faithful, which are the true kings and priests in Christ," are those who "have taken away" the Romanists' strength and the pretensions of the Pope by "disclosing their wicked deceit."

 

Revelation 16:12 seems to have a further meaning, too. The drying up of 'the water' of 'the great river Euphrates' so 'that the way of the 'Kings of the East might be prepared' also seems to indicate an Oriental and possibly even a Pan-Moslem thrust westward.

 

Comments the Calvinistic Dordt Dutch Bible: "Some here understand the thus-named actual River Euphrates, on both sides of which the Turks and the Persians [or Iranians], and similar Nations of the East have their territory as noted in chapter 9:14. They would still unite with one another" in a Pan-Islamic Jihad or 'Holy War' apparently against the West.

 

Yet the drying up the waters of Babylon refers also to an event prior to the final Fall of Babylonish Papal Rome. As such, the result of the outpouring of the sixth vial seems to relate to the diminishing power of Rome-on-the-Tiber (and also to the diminishing power of Islam-at-the-Euphrates).

 

Because of that diminished power of Romanism as well as of Islam, the "Kings of the East" shall come to Christ. Revelation 15:4 cf. 16:12. Thus: Brightman; John Cotton; Huit; Hooke; John Owen; Goodwin; Fleming; Noyes; Matthew Henry; Lowman; Jonathan Edwards; Lampe; Gill; John Brown of Haddington; Faber; Farnham; Robert Scott; Fuller; Ethan Allen; W.C. Davis; the D'Oyly & Mant Bible; Mason; M'Corkle; A. Armstrong; T.H. Horne; Junkin; J. Wilson; Burwell; Albert Barnes; McFarlane; U. Smith; Makrakis; and William Symington.

 

Comments Barnes: "There is every reason to suppose that this passage has reference to something in the future history of the Turkish dominions, and to some bearing of the events which are to occur in that history on the ultimate downfall of the Antichristian power referred to by the 'Beast'.... The Euphrates is represented as a barrier to prevent the passage of 'the Kings of the East' on their way to the West....

 

"Applying the symbol of the Euphrates as being the seat of the Turkish power the meaning is, that that power is such a hindrance.... In some way that hindrance is to be removed.... It refers to what is still future."

 

"The Kings of the East would be converted to the True Religion.... There was some hindrance or obstruction to their conversion.

 

"That is, as explained, from the Turkish power.... The destruction of that power, represented by the drying up of the Euphrates, would remove that obstruction....

 

"The way would thus be 'prepared' for their conversion.... We should most naturally therefore look, in the fulfilment of this, for some such decay of the Turkish [or Moslem] power as would be followed by the conversion of the rulers of the East to the Gospel."

 

Eleventh. Both Islam and Romanism are crumbling in our own day, as a result of the impact of Protestantism and as a result of the technological and other advances which that Protestantism has either directly or indirectly produced. The Islamic Caliphate has now been shattered. And the vital life-waters of the Vatican also continue to dry up.

 

Indeed, there is today slowly but very surely an increasing spread of Protestant-Christian truth in both Moslem and Romish lands, and elsewhere too throughout the World. There is an increasing drought in the hearts of both Moslems and Romanists, and an increasing thirst for the refreshing waters of God's most Holy Word.

 

God's true children, some of them still imprisoned in what Luther calls the 'Babylonian Captivity' of Romanism (and of Islam) are gradually, yet constantly, being liberated into the Congregations and Denominations of the Reformation. Thus John Cotton, Jonathan Edwards, and Samuel Hopkins.

 

In this manner, "the way of the Kings of the East" is being "pre-pared." As a result, they too are to come to the True Protestant-Biblical religion and to be saved by its Christ-according-to-the-Scriptures.

 

According to Thomas Brightman and John Owen and Jonathan Edwards, this refers to the universal proclamation of the Gospel and to its willing embracement by the Orient alias "the Kings of the East." According to John Gill and Albert Barnes and the independent Greek Orthodox Scholar Apostolos Makrakis, it similarly represents the christianization of the Moslems.

 

It further represents the protestantization of the many Apostate Pseudo-'Protestants' and Romanists (according to Fleming, Lampe, and Gill); the on-going christianization of the West (according to Noyes and Mason); the calling of the Pagans alias 'the fullness of the Gentiles' (according to Matthew Henry and Fleming and Gill and Barnes); and the conversion of the Jews (according to Cotton, Goodwin, Matthew Henry and Fleming). See too Moses Lowman, John Brown of Haddington, George Stanley Faber, and many others.

 

Twelfth. Rome will never completely relinquish her power, however, without a final fight. That fight will be furious and fanatical even though undertaken in frustration and doomed to failure. For ultimately, Rome and Islam will employ even demonic influences and to some extent do so even today on the foreign Mission Field in order to try stop the slow but steady and World-conquering advance of the Protestant Reformation.

 

Thus John saw "three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the Dragon, and out of the mouth of the Beast, and out of the mouth of the False-Prophet. For they [the unclean spirits] are the spirits of Demons, working [pseudo-]miracles." And the spirits of the Demons too "go forth unto the Kings of the Earth and of the whole World to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty." And God "gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue 'Armageddon.'"

 

These 'three unclean spirits like frogs' says the Calvinistic Geneva Bible signify "a strong number of this great Devil." They indicate "the Pope's ambassadors, which are ever crying and croaking like frogs, and come out of Antichrist's mouth, because they would speak nothing but lies and use all manner of crafty deceit to maintain their rich Euphrates against the True Christians....

 

"Albeit they call themselves 'spiritual and holy fathers' in actual fact they are really 'spirits of Devils' alias Demons. The 'go unto the Kings of the Earth and of the whole World.' For by way of diplomatic representatives from the Vatican "in all Kings' courts, the Pope has had his ambassadors to hinder the Kingdom of Christ."

 

Comments Jonathan Edwards: "In this last great opposition which shall be made against the Church to defend the kingdom of Satan all the forces of Antichrist, and Mahometanism, and Heathenism, will be united...through[out] the Whole World.... It is said that 'spirits of Devils shall go forth unto the Kings of the Earth and of the whole World, to gather them together to the battle of the great day of God Almighty'....

 

"These spirits are said to come out of the mouth of the Dragon, and out of the mouth of the Beast, and out of the mouth of the False-Prophet.... There shall be the spirit of Popery, and the spirit of Mahometanism, and the spirit of Heathenism all united. By the Beast, is meant Antichrist.... By the False-Prophet...an eye seems to be had to Mahomet, whom his followers call the 'Great Prophet'.... Christ and His Church shall in this battle obtain a complete and entire victory over their enemies. They shall be totally routed and overthrown....

 

"It is said, Revelation 16:16, of the great army that should be gathered together against Christ.... Then it is said, 'And the seventh Angel poured out his vial into the air. And there came a great voice out of the temple of Heaven, from the throne, saying, "It is done!"'....

 

"The Devil is utterly baffled and confounded.... He now sees his Anti-christian, and Mahometan, and Heathenish kingdoms through[out] the World, all tumbling about his ears....

 

"Satan has set up in opposition to the Christian Church...his Mahometan kingdom. It shall be utterly overthrown. The 'locusts' and 'horsemen' in the ninth [chapter] of Revelation, have their appointed and limited time set them there.... The False-Prophet shall be taken and destroyed. And then, though Mahometanism has been so vastly propagated in the World and is upheld by such a great Empire this smoke which has ascended out of the bottomless pit shall be utterly scattered before the light of that glorious day, and the Mahometan Rmpire shall fall at the sound of the great trumpet."

 

Albert Barnes comments that the phrase 'out of the mouth of the Beast' here refers to "the Papacy" whereas 'the False-Prophet' here means Mohammad's religion of Islam. "The word rendered 'False-Prophet' Pseudopro-pheetou does...seem then to refer to some power that was similar to that of the Beast.... There is no opinion so probable as that it alludes to the Mahometan power...as such. That was still to continue for a while in its vigour...and was yet to exert a formidable influence against the Gospel; and probably in some combination...with Paganism and the Papacy....

 

"The name 'False-Prophet' would, better than any other, describe that power.... To no one that has ever appeared in our World, could the name be so properly applied as to Mahomet.... That power...in connection with the Papacy and with Paganism constituting the sum of the obstruction to the spread of the Gospel around the World....

 

"Evil spirits [alias Demons]...'go forth unto the Kings of the Earth'.... No class of men have been more under the influence of Pagan superstition, Mahometan delusion, or the Papacy than Kings and Princes.... It might be presented as affecting the whole World to wit, the Heathen, the Mahometan, and the Papal portions of the Earth."

 

Also today, we live in a very significant age the age first of Pius XII ("the Fascist Pope"); then of John XXIII ("the Worker's Pope"); next of Paul VI ("the Maoist Pope"); and thereafter of John-Paul II ("the Evolutionistic and Pro-Moslem Pope"). We now find the Romish Papacy promoting demonic collaboration with other religions, with Socialism, and with Communism.

 

Indeed, the modern Papacy is flirting even with Zionism (alias international Judaistic Imperialism); with Islam (the religion of "the False-Prophet"); and with Animism and Spiritism (especially in South America and Africa and Asia). All of this is, of course, in substantial agreement with what Christ told John would come about after the outpouring of the sixth vial.

 

Now the end-result of the outpouring of this sixth vial, will be the decisive struggle of Armageddon, at the time of the outpouring of the seventh vial. Yet this future 'Battle of Armageddon' will prove to be the end of the Romish Papacy and also of all its Neo-Babylonian syncretisms.

 

Armageddon will bring about the division of 'Babylon' into three parts, and prepare the way for the christianization of the Nations of the World and 'the Kings of the East.' For Armageddon will no more prove to be the end of World History, than were the various decisive battles of Armageddon during the times of the Older Testament.

 

Comments Albert Barnes: "There will be a mustering of spiritual forces. There will be a combination and a unity of opposition against the Truth. There will be a rallying of the declining powers of Heathenism, Mohametanism, and Romanism....

 

"The Turkish power, especially since its conquest of Constantinople under Mahomet II in 1453 and its establishment in Europe, has been a grand hindrance to the spread of the Gospel.... By its laws, it was death to a Mussulman to apostasize from his faith and become a Christian....

 

"It was not until quite recently...that evangelical Christianity has been tolerated in the Turkish dominions.... The prophecy before us implies that there would be a decline of that formidable power, represented by the 'drying up of the great river Euphrates' [Revelation 16:12]....

 

"Events are occurring which would properly be represented by such a symbol.... There is, in fact, now such a decline of that Turkish power.... There has been for centuries a gradual weakening of the Turkish power.... This gradual decay will be continued.... Turkish power will more and more diminish.... One portion after another will set up for independence.... By a gradual process of decline...what is here symbolized by 'the drying up of the great river Euphrates' will have been accomplished.

 

"We may look for a general turning of the princes and rulers and people of the Eastern World to Christianity represented (verse 12) by its being said that 'the way of the Kings of the East might be prepared'.... Nothing would be more likely to contribute to this or to prepare the way for it, than the removal of that Turcoman dominion which...has been an effectual barrier to the diffusion of the Gospel in the lands where it has prevailed. How rapidly...the Gospel would spread in the East, if all the obstacles thrown in its way by the Turkish power were at once removed....

 

"We may look for something that would be well represented by a combined effort on the part of Heathenism, Mohametanism, and Romanism to stay the progress and prevent the spread of evangelical religion.... We are to suppose that something will occur which...will determine the ascendency of True Religion in the World."

 

Great, however, will be the future slaughter on Har Megiddo alias the 'Mount of Slaughter' or 'Mount of Idolatry' when Christ commands the emptying out of the seventh plague from the last bowl of His wrath! For when "the seventh Angel poured out his vial into the air" predicted John "there came a great voice from the throne out of the temple of Heaven, saying: 'It is done!'

 

"Then there were voices and thunders and lightnings. And there was a great earthquake such as was not since men were upon the Earth so mighty an earthquake, and so great! And the great city was divided into three parts. And the cities of the Nations fell. And great 'Babylon' came into remembrance before God, to give to 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 from the sky, every stone about the weight of a talent. And men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail. For its plague was exceedingly great."

 

The 'great city' to be divided, comments the Calvinistic Geneva Bible, even includes "the whole number of them that shall call themselves 'Christians' of whom some are indeed so; some are Papists (but, under pretence of Christ, serve Antichrist); and some are neuters (which are neither on the one side nor on the other)." The 'cities of the Nations' or of the heathen Gentiles, signify "all strange religions of the Jews, Turks [alias Moslems] and others which then shall fall [together] with that great Whore of Rome."

 

The great Puritans men like Thomas Brightman, the Calvinistic commentators in the Dordt Dutch Bible, John Cotton, John Owen, James Durham, Thomas Goodwin, Matthew Henry, Moses Lowman and Jonathan Edwards all give a similar assessment. So too do John Brown of Haddington, Samuel Hopkins, G.S. Faber, Patrick Fairbairn, Albert Barnes, and Apostolos Makrakis.

 

The 1637 Dordt Dutch Bible even says that by the words 'the cities of the Nations fell' "is to be understood all other cities outside of Christendom, such as those of the Turks, Persians [or Iranians], and other Heathen."

 

Great indeed will be that international and interreligious shake-up. For after that according to Thomas Brightman, John Cotton, William Sherwin, Thomas Goodwin, Matthew Henry, Moses Lowman, Jonathan Edwards, Thomas Scott, Ethan Allen, W.C. Davis, Albert Barnes, E.W. Hengstenberg and many others the ongoing Protestant Reformation here on Earth will then (postmillennially) triumph World-wide.

 

The outpouring of the seventh vial, comment both John Cotton and Matthew Henry, overthrows the Antichrist and inaugurates the 'Millennium.' Goodwin observes it is directed against both Islam and the Papacy, and brings in the 'Millennium.' Carey says it brings about the fall of Islam. Barnes argues it overthrows the Papacy and Heathendom.

 

The 'great city' or commonwealth which then collapses into three parts, is apparently that of Rome and its Empire. Thus the Calvinistic Dordt Dutch Bible, Brakel, Vitringa, Ewald, Hengstenberg, Barnes, Charles, Zahn, Hadorn, Munck, Lohse, Visser, and the Afrikaans Bible with Explanatory Notes.

 

Yet also "the cities of the Nations fell." This means the domains even of: the Turks alias the Moslems; the Jews; the Heathen; and also the apostate Western Nations such as France (some time after its French Revolution). Thus Brightman, the Geneva Bible, the Dordt Dutch Bible, Barnes, and Makrakis.

 

Here, Albert Barnes rightly comments that 'the great city...divided into three parts' means "the city of 'Babylon'...representing Rome." Revelation 11:13 & 14:8 & 16:19. "It refers to Papal Rome, or the Papal power.... It relates to something yet future....

 

"The certain and entire ruin of the power, is predicted by this.... As the capital fell, the dependent cities fell also.... 'The cities of the Nations' that were allied with it would share the same fate. The cities of numerous 'Nations' are now, and have been for ages, under the control of the Papal power.... The calamity that will smite the central power as such that is, as a 'spiritual' power will reach and affect them all."

 

From then onward, very rapidly, the saints of the Lord conquer the whole Earth. Thus Brightman, Sherwin, Lowman, Jonathan Edwards, Thomas Scott, Ethan Allen, W.C. Davis, and E.W. Hengstenberg. The saints will go marching in, and come into the possession of their rightful inheritance. For the meek, the Law-abiding citizens of the Kingdom of God, shall inherit the Earth.

 

Thomas Brightman taught (in 1614f) that the passage Revelation 16:16 to 18:24, marks not the end of History but the fall of Romanism and of Islam. He believed it would also mark the conversion of the Jews, and the erection of long-lasting Christian-international harmony throughout the World. So too a century after Brightman also Theologians like Jonathan Edwards. Another century later, this was again confirmed by Albert Barnes and many others.

 

O Christian, may we like Luther and Calvin before us then concentrate all our energies on spreading the Gospel and applying the Bible to the whole of life and to every field of human endeavour! Let us not be afraid to stand up against the apostate religious and political and ecumenical movements that are producing the cacophonous towers of Babel in our own day such as the United Nations, the 'World Council of Churches' and the Socialist International! But let us continue our Christian witness to the glory of God until suddenly, like a thief in the night, God comes in temporal judgments and destroys that "great Babylon" as well as "the cities of the Nations" associated with her!

 

Let us tenaciously advance Christ's Kingdom on all fronts, in the teeth of all 'Babylonian' opposition! And may we do so in the sure knowledge that the 'Babylonian' conspiracy shall fail and that thereafter "all Nations shall come and worship before the Lord"; even "the Kings of the East."

 

 

 

 

 

So on, then, Christian soldiers!

Onward for the Lord Jesus Christ's Kingdom!

Onward against the Anti-Christian 'Babylons' of this present World and its wicked 'age' or epoch!

Onward to victory!

The Lamb and His overcome the Beast, his Servants, and the Whore

Revelation 17 December 24

 

 

"Then the Angel said to me..., 'The Beast that was, and is not even he is the eighth [Kingdom], but [he] is of the seven and goes into perdition.... And the ten Horns which you saw, are ten Kings which have not as yet received a Kingdom.... These shall make war with the Lamb; but the Lamb shall overcome them for He is Lord of lords and King of kings and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful.... And the ten Horns which you saw upon the Beast these shall hate the Whore; and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.'"

 

 

John had just described the pouring out of the seven last plagues of God upon the Roman Beast in coalition with the Papal Beast and all its allies. That results in the final fall of that great 'Babylon.' Next, the Apostle gives his readers a partial 'playback' of this.

 

Writes John: "I saw a Woman sit upon a scarlet-coloured Beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven Heads and ten Horns.... And upon her forehead, was a name written: 'Mystery Babylon'" etc. Revelation 17:3-5.

 

Here, John outlines the close co-operation of these two Beasts (long after his own day and right before the beginning of the time of the termination of that partnership). That termination (at the outpouring of the seventh and last vial), would be brought about in two ways, says John. (1), the Lamb and His followers by the powerful preaching of and obedience to the whole counsel of God would start to overcome the "ten Horns" or Kings or Kingdoms of the so-called 'Holy Roman Empire' and all its successors. (2), by the remarkable providences of that same God the ten Horn-kingdoms of the international Beast would themselves finally turn against 'Babylon.'

 

Right at this point, two preliminary questions need to be asked regarding Revelation chapter seventeen. Here, just who or what is the scarlet-coloured Beast? Here, exactly who or what is the Woman called 'Babylon'?

 

The scarlet-coloured Beast is Rome. Thus Joachim of Floris, Dante, Osiander, Hooper, Von Amsdorff, the Calvinistic Geneva Bible (of John Knox and Mrs. John Calvin's brother-in-law William Whittingham), Chytraeus, Pareus, Grotius, the Calvinistic Dordt Dutch Bible, Matthew Poole, Matthew Henry, Bishop Thomas Newton, the D'Oyly & Mant Bible, Albert Barnes, and B.H. Carroll. Indeed, this is agreed upon even by many Romanists such as Blasius Viegas, Ribera, De Lapide, and Bellarmin.

 

The Beast's seven Heads are Kingdoms whether those of Pagan Roman Emperors, of the 'Holy Roman Empire' (thus Adam Clarke), or of an international Neo-Roman Empire (thus Barnes and the Afrikaans Bible with Explanatory Notes). The ten Horns on the Beast, are Nations (thus Luther and Conradus). All in all, the Beast is intimately associated with Antichrist (thus the A.D. 650 Andreas of Caesarea, the Venerable Bede (700f), and Walafrid Strabo (840) and specifically with the Papacy (thus Cranmer, Napier, and Adam Clarke).

 

This 'Babylon' is not the very ancient Pre-Assyrian Babylon of Genesis eleven. Nor is it the Post-Assyrian 'Neo-Babylonia' of Isaiah fifty. For both of those Babylons had ceased to reign by the time of the Apostle John's 'Babylon.' Yet those earlier Babylons were indeed types of John's later Babylon, the "Great City" that reigned even in that Apostle's own lifetime.

 

Papias, Clement of Alexandria, and Eusebius all equate John's 'Babylon' with Rome. Accordingly, one could say that Babylon was the Eastern Rome; and that Rome was the Western Babylon (thus Augustine).

 

As the great Campegius Vitringa insists: "Rome is said to be Babylon [in Revelation 17:5 etc.], on account of idolatry; is said to be Egypt [in Revelation 11:8], because tyrannizing the People of God; is said to be Sodom [in Revelation 11:8], on account of the corruption of morals; but is spiritually said to be Jerusalem [Revelation 11:8], because in her the Lord is said to be crucified in a mystical way [that is, in the Romish Mass and in His Members]. From this, we easily gather that this means not Pagan but Papal or Pseudo-'Christian' Rome because it is no way probable that the Holy Spirit would compare Pagan Rome with Jerusalem."

 

First. Long before the emergence of those ten Horns on the 'scalp' of the Beast, the Apostle was given a dramatic description of 'Babylon' in the period of her adult maturity. After she had become well-established and very much in control of a by-then-crownless international political Beast 'Babylon' is described as a crowned scarlet Whore.

 

"Then there came one of the seven Angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying to me: 'Come here! I will show to you the judgment of the great Whore that sits upon many waters, with whom the Kings of the Earth have committed fornication. And the inhabitants of the Earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication!'"

 

This description of the Whore was given to John by one of the holy Angels who would (in later Church History) pour out the contents of a bowl containing one of "the seven last plagues" of "the wrath of God." Too, this description is termed "the judgment of the great Whore." These two facts indicate that the description refers not to an incipient but rather to an advanced stage in the development of this 'Babylon.'

 

Especially prior to the Reformation, and to a much lesser extent thereafter, this great Whore was often equated with Pagan Rome. Thus Rabbi Kimchi, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Hippolytus, Victorinus, Eusebius, Ambrose, Oecumenius, Tichonius, Augustine, Andreas of Caesarea, Arethas, Cassiodorus, Bede, Berengaud, Joachim of Floris, Thomas Aquinas, Salmeron, Pererius, Bellarmin, Baronius, Cornelius de Lapide, Ribera, Bossuet, Grotius, and Hammond.

 

Even the eminent Romish Historian and Statesman the Duc de Broglie stated in his famous book History of the Church (VI:434 & VI:456): "The Popes mounted the throne voided by the Caesars." Thus the Popes "grasped, little by little, the place left vacant deserted by the successor of Augustus."

 

However, even before the Reformation, the great Whore of Revelation was sometimes equated with the Romish Papacy. Thus: Peter of Blois, Waldo and the Waldensians, Joachim of Floris, Pseudo-Joachim, Eberhard of Salzburg, Robert Grosseteste, Pierre d'Olivi, Marsilius of Padua, Dante, Petrarch, Michael of Cesena, John Rupescissa, Wycliffe, Matthias of Janow, Purvey, Walter Brute, Huss, and Savonarola.

 

At and after the Reformation, a whole torrent of Theologians equated the great Whore with the Papacy. Thus: Luther, Flaccius Illyricus, Calvin, Coverdale, the Calvinistic Geneva Bible, Knox, Bale, Tyndale, Hooper, Ridley, Cranmer, Jewel, Napier, Francis Junius, James the First, Brightman, Mede, the Calvinistic Dordt Dutch Bible, Gerhard, John Cotton, James Ussher, Matthew Poole, Matthew Henry, Roger Williams, Increase Mather, Vitringa, Fleming, Sir Isaac Newton, Backus, Dwight, Carey, John Brown of Haddington, Priestley, Austin, Wolf, Lacunza, Thomas Scott, Adam Clarke, Keith, David Brown, Albert Barnes, B.H. Carroll, Marcellus Kik, and many others.

 

Moreover, as time goes on the great Whore of the Romish Papacy produces also a whole litter of Daughter-Whores. Cf. Ezekiel 16:44-57 and Hosea 2:2 & 4:12f. For Neo-'Babylon' is "the Mother of Harlots." Revelation 17:5. In light of the apostasy of today's Ecumenical Movement, it is clear that these Daughter-Whores include even Pseudo-'Protestants.' Thus Thomas Goodwin, Isaac Backus, Gatchel, Austin, Hopkins, Simpson, Adam Clarke, M'Corkle, Cunninghame, Lampe, Hinton, David Brown, Patrick Fairbairn, and many more.

 

So too does John's description of the woman herself. For she is no more the virgin bride of Christ of which the Church of Rome was once a part, prior to the rise of Papal Vaticanism. No! By the time reflected in John's description, in much the same way that the Older Testament's Israel degenerated into a veritable Sodom also the Early-Christian Virgin had now degenerated into a mediaeval "Whore" or a painted Jezebel.

 

This Whore had been unfaithful, constantly, to the heavenly Bridegroom to Whom she owed loyalty. For she had fornicated with the Kings of the Earth. Thereby she had also intoxicated the inhabitants of the Earth with the wine of all this fornication all this immoral commerce going on between an apostate ecclesiastical power and international political leaders.

 

The great Whore, then, is Rome. Thus Tertullian, Eusebius, Jerome, Ambrose, Augustine, Bede, Berengaud, and many others. Specifically, she is the Romish Papacy. Thus Waldo and the Waldensians, Joachim of Floris, Eberhard of Salzburg, Pierre d'Olivi, Dante Alighieri, Petrarch, Wycliffe, Huss, Savanorola, and all of the Protestant Reformers.

 

Eschatologically, Rome will (also through devices such as the modern 'Ecumenical Movement') unite with and thus ultimately include even many whorishly re-romanizing Pseudo-'Protestants.' Thus Thomas Goodwin (1680), Isaac Backus, Samuel Hopkins, Adam Clarke, David Brown, Patrick Fairbairn, and others.

 

As many of the finest Protestant (and even some Romish) Bible commentators declare: Papal Romanism is the Mother of Whores and, here, is herself called "Babylon the Great." For she whorishly and progressively absorbs and syncretizes all the Pseudo-Christian (and ultimately also very many of the Non-Christian) religious elements already described and noted at the end of the previous chapter right after the outpouring of the sixth vial of the seven last plagues.

 

Second. After hearing the Angel's description, John was actually shown a vision of the Papacy at the height of her powers. Wrote John of the Angel: "So he carried me away in the Spirit, into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting upon a scarlet-coloured Beast, full of names of blasphemy. It had seven Heads and ten Horns."

 

This represents an advanced stage of History. Toward the end of Revelation chapter twelve, we found a description of the birth of the Papacy at the end of the early centuries of the Christian Church when the latter was forced to flee into the Wilderness to avoid imperial and papal persecution.

 

In Revelation chapter thirteen, we were given a description of the later growth of the Papacy in her healing of the wound of the international political Beast of the so-called "Holy Roman Empire" and also of her own gradual absorption of that Beast's politico-economic functions. However, here in Revelation chapter seventeen we are given a description of the still-later Papal control of the international political Beast.

 

Here in Revelation chapter seventeen, the Whore is still masquerading as the woman in the "wilderness" and thus is still claiming to be the True Church of Christ. Yet now, she is in fact seated or enthroned on top of the Beast with the ten Horns. She herself is (as it were) the 'eleventh' or 'stout and arrogant Horn' in Daniel's vision. For the Whore is now seen to be steering and guiding the international political Beast and she has it carry her wherever she would have it go. For now she "reigns" and "reigns over the Kings of the Earth."

 

Third. John not only "saw a Woman sitting upon a scarlet-coloured Beast full of names of blasphemy." But he also noted that, herself, "the Woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour; and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication....

 

"Upon her forehead was a name written: 'MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.'" Indeed, John also perceived that "the Woman [was] drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus."

 

In strange contrast to the simple attire of the true bride of Christ, the Whore or 'Scarlet Woman' of John's vision perfectly corresponds to the 'purple-for-papal' and 'scarlet-for-cardinal' gaudiness and wealth of the Vatican. Instead of being the 'mystery' or revelation of the true bride of Christ which Rome wrongly claims to be both the Whore herself and the 1260 day-years' length of time of her hegemony in the World is the mystery or manifestation of her falseness.

 

Now the word "mystery" here means a revealed secret or a clear disclosure. It discloses a thoroughly whorish religious movement and a decidedly worldly power claiming to be the very bride of the heavenly Christ Himself.

 

As the highest synthesis of false ecclesiastical and political and economic syncretism, Rome is appropriately termed 'Babylon the Great.' For she is the symbol of all apostate World-Empires, from the time of Nimrod the first Babylonian dictator onward.

 

Indeed, Papal Rome has even continued in those ancient Babylonian iniquities. She has also reproduced similarly-iniquitous apostate and Pseudo-'Protestant' Daughters. Those apostate Pseudo-'Protestant' Daughters, are Rome's 'Fellow-Harlots.' In fact, even now, she is in the process of trying to become re-united with them.

 

Most appropriately, then, Rome has been labelled both 'BABYLON' and 'THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS' by many leading Protestant (and even by some Roman Catholic) Bible commentators. And because she has time and again persecuted many of the true children of God she is very fittingly described as "the Woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus."

 

According to the Calvinistic Geneva Bible of John Knox and Mrs. John Calvin's brother-in-law William Whittingham, "Christ Jesus...will take vengeance on this Romish Harlot." Here, the Romish "Antichrist is compared to a Harlot, because [s]he seduces the World with vain words, doctrines of lies, and outward appearance." For this "Woman" is "the new Rome which is the Papistry, whose cruelty and bloodshedding is declared by scarlet." In one word, "this Woman is the Antichrist; that is, the Pope."

 

Mauro comments: "This woman is not only herself a Harlot, but is expressly 'the Mother of Harlots and abominations of the Earth' an abomination being an idol, or anything that is worshipped and trusted. This 'Mother Church' will no doubt gather her Daughters to her ample bosom ere the end comes.... Everything not of God, will be consolidated into one opposing system."

 

Fourth. John was given an explanation of the Beast with the seven Heads and ten Horns which carried the Whore. This Beast with the seven Heads or Kings or Kingdoms (alias kinds of government) is the successive series of political World-Empires "that was, and is not, and yet is."

 

That is the same Beast already described in earlier chapters. That Beast "was" before Calvary. It "is not," ever since it was 'slain' through Christ's resurrection. "And yet [it] is," even thereafter. For its deadly wound was inflicted by Christ's death and resurrection (and further by Constantine's resultant accession). Yet later, it was to be healed (particularly by the Papacy) so that it would even thereafter continue to live on.

 

Explained the Angel to John: "The seven Heads are seven Mountains, on which the Woman keeps on sitting. And there are seven Kings [or Kingdoms]. Five are fallen; and one is; and the other has not yet come. And when he [or it] comes, he [or it] must remain for a short age" meaning: keep on ruling for a time.

 

The seven Heads, then, are seven "Mountains." Ancient Pagan Roman authorities (such as Virgil, Horace, Tibullus, Propertius, Ovid, Pliny, Silius Italicus, Statius, Martial, Claudian, Prudentius and the A.D. 69 Emperor Vespasian) all refer to Rome as Urbs Septicollis alias the 'City of the Seven Hills' (namely Capitolinus, Palatinus, Caelius, Esquilinus, Viminalis, Quirinalis, and Aventinus).

 

So too do the secular writings of the late first century B.C. Dionysius Halicarnassus and those of the A.D. 46f Plutarch. So too do the so-called Sybilline Oracles (B.C. 200 to A.D. 200). So too does the A.D. 300 Church Father Victorinus. And so also do many Protestant Writers (such as Junius in his 1599 Geneva Bible of John Knox and Mrs. Calvin's brother-in-law William Whittingham, the Calvinistic Dordt Dutch Bible, Matthew Poole, Matthew Henry, Albert Barnes, Carroll, and the Afrikaans Bible with Explanatory Notes).

 

Now these seven "Mountains" are not just seven so-called 'Mountain-like' Leaders of Ancient Rome from the end of the Roman Republic down to the time of the Apostle John viz. Pompey, Julius Caesar, Octavian alias Augustus, Tiberius, Caius alias Caligula, Claudius, and Nero. For in Revelation seventeen, these seven "Mountains" are also identified with seven "Heads" or seven "Kings" alias Kingdoms. Thus they are also and even especially the seven successive Kingdoms alias World Empires since the first apostate World-Empire of Nimrod in Ancient Babylon right down to the last apostate World-Empire of the revived and World-embracing Babylonianism of the great Whore Papal Rome and all her apostate Pseudo-'Protestant' Daughters and Fellow-Harlots.

 

Of these World-Empires (explained the Angel to John in that Apostle's own own time), "five are fallen" namely the Ancient Egyptian,the Assyrian, the Neo-Babylonian, the Medo-Persian, and the Grecian. "And one is" namely the Imperial Roman (thus Matthew Poole and Albert Barnes). That World-Empire was still standing in the first century (A.D.) when John was writing these inspired words. It would finally perish with the deposition of the Emperor Romulus Augustulus by the Barbarian Invader Odoacer, in A.D. 476.

 

Noted John in his own day: "The other [or seventh World-Empire] has not yet come." That would be the Papal-Romish Empire. Thus Joachim of Floris, Dante, the early Protestant Reformers, and many others. When it did come, it would mark the A.D. 606f 'rebirth' of 'Babylonianism.' Thus Osiander, Flaccius Illyricus, Bale, Brightman, James the First, Joseph Mede, John Cotton, Holyoake, Cressener, Gerhard, Helwig, Jurieu, Alsted, Phillipot, Cotton Mather, Matthew Henry, Sir Isaac Newton, Bishop Thos. Newton, Backus, B.H. Carroll, and others.

 

Furthermore, explained John, after the above seven Kings or Kingdoms or World-Empires "the Beast that was, and is not even he is the eighth." This is: the Imperialist State (thus Matthew Henry); the Holy Roman Empire (thus Adam Clarke); the Papacy in interaction with the international Empire (thus the Calvinistic Dordt Dutch Bible of John Knox and Mrs. John Calvin's brother-in-law William Whittingham); the Papacy (thus Albert Barnes and B.H. Carroll); the Antichrist (thus the Afrikaans Bible with Explanatory Notes).

 

Now that Papal-Romish-Ecumenical Empire would surely come! Since, "when it comes it must remain [or continue] a short space" (meaning: for some length of time). It arrived when the Bishop of Rome was first called sole 'Pope' alias 'Universal Father' in A.D. 606.

 

At that time, the Scarlet Whore started to 'paint scarlet' even the very political Beast itself. Subsequently, she herself was crowned as "Queen" over the then-crownless Beast. Revelation 18:7. For that Whore, the Papacy, would more and more demand universal political control over the political Beast and indeed also over all the Kings of the Earth. Revelation 17:3 & 17:17.

 

Now it is precisely in the days of the Papacy as the seventh King(dom), that the fornicating union (but not amalgamation) between the international apostate "Church" and the international political "Beast" takes place. For the successive seven Heads of the beastial series of World-Empires, are not only seven Kingdoms. In addition with the manifestation of the Imperial Roman Beast alias the sixth Kingdom of John's own day (as the "one" which "is"), and with the later revelation of the Papal-Romish Ecumenical seventh Kingdom (as the other "not yet" come) "the seven Heads are seven Mountains, on which the Woman keeps on sitting" enthroned and keeps on ruling. "The Woman which you saw, is that great city which keeps on reigning over the Kings of the Earth."

 

So Rome, in the opinion of very many commentators on the Book of Revelation, is the city with the seven Mountains. Thus the city of Rome as the World Centre of Roman Paganism, would later syncretize with Papal Romanism as its modified continuation. Consequently, the Romish Vatican City would become the seat or throne of the Beast and the headquarters or innermost citadel of the new 'Babylon the Great' of the future.

 

Fifth. Even the ten Horns of the (Roman) Beast point to this identification. The Angel referred John back to Nebuchadnezzar's image's ten toes (after the time of Pagan Rome) and to Daniel's vision's ten Horns which would only later grow out of the Head(s) of the fourth or Roman Beast. Yet those ten Horns, the Angel told the Apostle, "have received no kingship as yet" (meaning in John's own day). But when those ten Horns or Kingdoms did receive their kingship or sovereignty they would receive that great power as Kings-with-the-Beast, and for an age-long period.

 

This receiving of sovereignty by the in-John's-time ten future Kingdoms refers to the fragmentation of the Roman Empire after the fall of the Imperial Rome of Caesar Romulus Augustulus to Odoacer in A.D. 476, and its subsequent division into the ten Kingdoms later to become the so-called 'Holy Roman Empire.' This corresponds to the development of those 'Kingdoms' later gaining sovereignty (as ten crowned Horns).

 

So the ten Horns represent ten Kingdoms. Thus Irenaeus, Osiander, Bale, Bellarmin, Blasius Viegas, Pareus, Grotius, Hammond, John Cotton, Roger Williams, Holyoake, Increase Mather, Matthew Poole, Samuel Sewall, Cotton Mather, Noyes, Matthew Henry, Bishop Thomas Newton, John Brown of Haddington, Timothy Dwight, G.S. Faber, Thomas Scott, Cunninghame, James Begg, Jenks's Comprehensive Bible, Louis Gaussen, Albert Barnes, B.H. Carroll, and many others.

 

More specifically, those ten 'Horn-Kings' are countries specifically in Western Europe. Adam Clarke identifies the Beast's ten Horns with "future Latin Western Europe." So too even the A.D. 400 Jerome, the ninth century Berengaud, the 1560 Geneva Bible, the 1639 Dordt Dutch Bible, and even the 1650f Roman Catholic commentator Bossuet.

 

Yet it was only later that those thus-crowned Nations would achieve unification of purpose by surrendering some of their sovereignty to (and thus jointly reigning with) the international political Beast as such. Cf. Emperors Pepin and Charlemagne and the mediaeval Popes Innocent and Boniface). Only when that had finished happening would the great Whore of the Babylonian Papacy mount the Beast and steer it (Horns and all), in a papal attempt to dominate the Kings of the whole World.

 

For the Babylonish Papacy is "the great Whore that keeps on sitting upon many waters." It is also "that great city which keeps on reigning over the Kings of the Earth" (as even papal coins proclaim). As the Angel with one of the seven last plagues told John: "The waters which you saw where the Whore keeps on sitting, are peoples and multitudes and Nations and tongues."

 

How existentially relevant all this is, in our own time! For today, the Papacy is again making a most determined effort to gain control of the whole World through promoting both religious syncretism (under her leadership) and internationalism (under her influence). But how comforting it is to know, as Mauro notes, "that God's hand will be the active agent in it; that He will 'put in their hearts to fulfil His will and to agree, and give their Kingdom to the Beast' (the League of Nations or something similar)" such as the United Nations Organization, "until the words of God shall be fulfilled!"

 

Sixth. It should be noted that all such Papal efforts will not prevail! For, some time before the Vatican has achieved her objective of ruling the entire World (as Nimrod of old tried to do in Ancient Babylon) God will pour out the seventh and last vial of His wrath on the Great City and on the cities of the Nations.

 

As a result, the ten [leading] Kingdoms of the international political Beast will rebel against the Papal attempt to dominate them internationally. Thus the Angel said to the Apostle John: "The ten Horns which you saw upon the Beast...shall [start to] hate the Whore; and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire."

 

Perhaps only slowly, but nevertheless very steadily the international political Leaders will become increasingly disillusioned with the leadership of the Whore of Babylon. First, they will grow to "hate" her. Later, they shall "desolate" or abandon her. Next, they shall strip her of her clothes or authority, and leave her naked." Then, they shall "burn her with fire."

 

Let us now hear the classic Protestant statement of these great truths! The following are the words of Rev. Professor Dr. Francis Junius, in his 1599 expanded edition of the 1560 Calvinistic Geneva Bible of John Knox and of Mrs. John Calvin's brother-in-law Dr. William Whittingham themselves.

 

"The Beast signifies Ancient Rome; the Woman that sit on it, the new Rome which is the Papistry.... This Woman is the Antichrist that is, the Pope." The Beast" is "the Roman Empire [from] which being fallen into decay the Whore of Rome usurped authority and proceeded from the Devil, and thither shall return." And the ten Horns of the revived political Beast, are various or "diverse Nations [such] as the Goths, Vandals, Huns, and other Nations which were once subject to Rome, [but] shall rise against it and destroy it."

 

This means, comments Matthew Poole, that the Kings shall apostasize from the Papacy. It indicates, suggest Albert Barnes and Apostolos Makrakis, that Western Europe would oppose the Papacy after the French Revolution. It predicts, observes Adam Clarke, the future depapalization of Western Europe.

 

It also means that Christians shall then overcome both the Antichrist and his political allies. Thus Augustine, Jerome, Salvian, the Dordt Dutch Bible, Adam Clarke, and Hengstenberg.

 

Thus Hengstenberg comments: "Believers are expressly represented as sharers in the victory.... They must also be regarded as sharers in the conflict.... The words 'King of kings and Lord of lords' point to the foundation of Christ's victory. The Lamb conquers because He is the Lord of lords. Believers conquer, because they are with the Lamb.... Promises of victory given to the Christian Church...pass into fulfilment first when Rome is overthrown by the ten Kings [or Kingdoms] and then when they themselves are overcome by the Lamb and are received into the bosom of the Christian Church."

 

Albert Barnes comments in his Analysis of Revelation seventeen (and on 17:16 & 17:18): "If the Papacy was 'the eighth [Head], and of the seven' then it is clear that this must refer to some form of civil administration lying between the decline of the Imperial and the rise of the Papal power.... All this power was concentrated in the Papacy; all that revived or prolonged Roman power had now passed into the Papacy, constituting that mighty dominion which was to be set up for so many centuries over what had been the Roman World....

 

"The 'ten Horns...are ten Kings'.... Soon they passed into the more permanent forms of administration, which succeeded them in Europe.... With the rising Papal power, they would exercise their authority in connection with that and under its influence.... In history, all these King[dom]s...became Roman Catholic, and were united in the support of the Papacy...until the Reformation in the sixteenth century.... The same powers, represented by the ten Horns that were formerly in alliance with the Papacy, shall become its enemy and contribute to its final overthrow....

 

"The ten Kingdoms on the Beast would ultimately hate the Harlot and destroy her.... The Nations of Europe embraced within the limits of those ten Kingdoms, shall become hostile to the Papacy..... France...has already struck more than one heavy blow on that power; England has been detached from it; many of the states of Italy are weary of it.... Nothing is more probable than that Spain [and] Portugal...will yet throw off the yoke forever....

 

"Europe needs but little farther provocation, and the fires of liberty which have been so long pent up will break forth.... That storm of indignation which has expelled the Jesuits from all the courts of Europe; which has abolished the Inquisition; which has more than once led hostile armies to the very gates of Papal Rome will again be aroused in a manner which cannot be allayed.... The period will come and that probably not far in the future when those powers that have for so many ages sustained the Papacy will become its determined foes, and will rise in their might and bring it forever to an end.... That mighty power, which has controlled so large a part of the Nations of Europe for more than a thousand years of the World's History, will come to an end."

 

Also the independent Greek-Orthodox Scholar Apostolos Makrakis adds: "The hatred of the Kings for the Woman, dates back to the schism of Luther. As many Kings as espoused the protest, hated the Harlot.... The French Revolution...[which] came into power through the mercy of the people and not that of God or the Pope, also hated the Harlot depriving her of all her income and consuming the wealth and riches with which she fed her own 'flesh'.... Victor Emmanuel...the King of Italy...relieved the Pope of his entire political power; founded his own throne; and confined the Church Potentate [viz. the Pope] within the Vatican where alone he wielded religious authority stripped of his former political purple, his power, and his glory."

 

Seventh. After disposing of Romanism, the allied Kings shall fall into disarray among themselves. Perhaps for some time even after destroying the Babylonian Papacy under whose banner they themselves had previously campaigned as the "eighth" Head of the Beast, the ten Kings will continue to hate and to oppose both Christ and Christians. They will sink their differences and "have one mind, and shall give their power and strength to the Beast" to "make war with the Lamb" before they themselves go "into perdition." For "God has put [it] in their hearts, to fulfil His will and to agree and give their Kingdom to the Beast until the words of God shall be fulfilled." But when that predestinated time has come to pass, "the Lamb shall overcome them for He is Lord of lords and King of kings and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful."

 

Last. Christ shall overcome His enemies. He overcomes them by means of the declaration of His Word and the resulting good works of His earthly Christians. And so though of course solely by the inward and outward grace of God alone the earthy Christians themselves shall overcome Christ's enemies. Thus Augustine, Jerome, the Calvinistic Dordt Dutch Bible, Adam Clarke, Albert Barnes, E.W. Hengstenberg, and Makrakis.

 

The whole chapter, comments Albert Barnes, "refers to Papal Rome...that had its rise...after the decline of the Roman civil power.... It was only by the reviving influence of the Papacy that Rome was saved from becoming a total waste.... Its first visible appearance as a power that was to influence the destiny of the World, was in the time of Gregory the Great, 590-605.... The passage before us refers to the period when the Papal power became...marked and defined....

 

"I may refer to...two Roman Catholic writers, giving the same view of Rome.... The first is Augustine Steuchus, who thus writes: 'The Empire having been overthrown, unless God had raised up the Pontificate, Rome...would have...been a most foul habitation.... In the Pontificate, it revived as with a second birth.... All nations, from East and from West, venerate the Pope not otherwise than they before obeyed the Emperor.' The other, is Flavio Blondas: 'The Princes of the World now adore and worship as perpetual Dictator...the Supreme Pontiff, the substitute of the aforesaid Emperor'....

 

"The inner colour of the cloak of the Pope, is scarlet; his carriage, is scarlet; the carpet on which he treads, is scarlet. A large part of the dress of the bodyguard of the Pope, is scarlet; and no one can take up a picture of Rome, without seeing that this colour [scarlet] is predominant....

 

"All covered over with blasphemous titles and names. What could more accurately describe Papal Rome than this? ... The image here is that of Papal Rome, represented as an abandoned Woman in gorgeous attire, alluring by her arts the Nations of the Earth, and seducing them into all kinds of pollution and abomination....

 

"How applicable this is to the Papacy. Let the blood shed in the valleys of Piedmont; the blood shed in the Low Countries by the Duke of Alva; the blood shed on St. Bartholomew's Day; and the blood shed in the Inquisition testify!

 

"There can be no doubt that this refers to Rome.... It was to be a revived power.... This is strictly applicable to Rome when the Papal power arose.... If it had not been for the rise of the Papal power, the sovereignty of Rome as such would wholly have been extinct.... It was to be a power emanating from the 'abyss' or that would seem to ascend from the Dark World beneath.... This was true in regard to the Papacy..., which the whole history of the Papacy and of its influence in religion confirms.... The Papacy, as an ecclesiastical institution, was sustained by the civil power, with which it was so closely connected....

 

"The Papacy, in fact, revived the almost-extinct Roman civil power, and gave it new vitality. The price of that, was that it should be in its turn sustained by that revived Roman civil power.... All this power was concentrated in the Papacy...until the Reformation!"

 

O Christian, especially since the Protestant Reformation, not just Christ Himself directly but also indirectly through His followers will bring down His enemies. Numbered are the days of the waning Papacy and all her apostate Pseudo-'Protestant' Daughters. Numbered too are the days of all those overtly Non-Christian religions which Rome would syncretistically absorb.

 

Indeed, even the political governments which both nationally and internationally resist the expansion of Christianity shall ultimately be overcome by the Lamb and by the called and the chosen and the faithful who are with Him. For the outcome of this ongoing battle shall ultimately result in the final christianization of the whole World.

 

 

 

 

 

Who, then, is on the Lord's side?

Who will serve the King?

On, then, Christian soldiers! Onward, to victory!

Babylon falls, losing All her Culture; but the Saints inherit All

Revelation 18 December 25

 

 

"Babylon the Great has fallen, has fallen thoroughly and has become the habitation of Demons.... Come out of her, My People, so that you not be partakers of her sins, and so that you not receive of her plagues! ... The voice of harpers and musicians and of pipers and trumpeters shall be heard no more at all in you!"

 

 

John had described how, as a result of God's outpouring of the last vial of His wrath, the ten Kings would ultimately turn against the religious Whore called 'Babylon.' This Whore we saw to be the Romish-led modern movement toward inter-religious syncretism.

 

Yet the ten Kings would ultimately start to hate Rome and then turn against her, and burn her. Then Rome would fall also as a result of pressure from the Word of the Lamb, and from those Christians who proclaim Him.

 

Here in Revelation chapter eighteen, we have yet another partial 'playback.' For here, the Apostle proceeds to give us the inspired details of the fall of that great 'Babylon.'

 

At the outpouring of the last vial of God's wrath John saw "another Angel come down from Heaven, having great power.... The Earth was illuminated with His glory. Then He cried out mightily, with a strong voice."

 

This Earth-illuminating and mighty-voiced Angel is rather obviously the Messenger of the Covenant, alias the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. For the description here recalls the Sun-faced and loud-voiced Angel Who had previously given the 'Little Book' to John.

 

Now, once again, "He cried out mightily with a strong voice." Yet this time, He declares: "Babylon the Great has fallen, has fallen thoroughly and has become the habitation of Demons and the stronghold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird!"

 

First. This is not to be construed as a physical descent of Jesus but rather of His announcement from Heaven of the then-arrival of the earlier-intimated downfall of the modern 'Babylon' alias the Romish Papal Alliance. Thus Calvin, the Calvinistic Geneva Bible, the Calvinistic Dordt Dutch Bible, Matthew Poole, Bishop Thomas Newton, Jonathan Edwards, John Brown of Haddington, Apostolos Makrakis and many others.

 

Comments the independent Greek-Orthodox Scholar Makrakis: "This great and mighty voice proclaims the moral downfall of the Roman Catholic Church.... Foul and hated vultures symbolize Teachers...of the popish doctrine, hierarchical organization, and spiritual government of the Roman Catholic Church."

 

Yet the divine announcement also predicts the as-yet-still-future and the humanly-uninhabited condition of her ruins after her desolation. Like Babylon of old, also the modern 'Babylon' will yet become a dwelling-place of vultures. For it is yet to become the locality of "every unclean and hateful bird."

 

Significantly, the eagle-vulture was the emblem of Rome. As the Geneva Bible appropriately comments, in "this description of the overthrow of the great Whore, the Angel Christ describes Rome to be the sink of all abomination and devilishness and a kind of hell."

 

Observes Jonathan Edwards in his History of Redemption (Period III Part II Section I Application 4): "The kingdom of Antichrist shall be utterly overthrown. His kingdom and dominion has been much brought down already by the [fifth] vial poured out on his throne in the Reformation. But then [at that yet-future time], it shall be destroyed utterly. Then shall be proclaimed, 'Babylon is fallen, is fallen!' When the seventh Angel sounds, 'the time [and two] times and half [a time] shall be out and [the] time [of further waiting] shall be no longer.'

 

"Then shall be accomplished concerning Antichrist the things which are written in the eighteenth chapter of Revelation about the spiritual Babylon, that great city Rome...that has for so many ages been the great enemy of the Christian Church first under Heathenism, then under Popery.... That cruel, bloody city shall come down to the ground!"

 

States Albert Barnes in his Analysis and Commentary on Revelation chapter eighteen: "This chapter may be regarded as...designed to show the effect of pouring out the seventh vial...on the formidable Antichristian power so often referred to.... Papal Rome...will be reduced to a state of utter desolation, resembling that of the real Babylon.... It is the Papacy, represented under the image of the city, and having its seat there. That is to be destroyed as utterly as was Babylon of old....

 

"It refers to Papal Rome, and is designed to describe the final overthrow of that formidable Antichristian power.... The Reformation was in entire accordance with what God would have His People do.... His People are expressly commanded to 'come out of her, so that they might not be partakers of her sin nor of her plagues!'"

 

Barnes continues: "The Church has never performed a duty more manifestly in accordance with the Divine will and more indispensable for its own purity, prosperity, and safety than the act of separating entirely and for ever from Papal Rome. The Reformation was a great movement in human affairs. It was the index of great progress already reached, and the pledge of still greater.... Just in proportion as the principles of the Reformation are acted on the destiny of mankind is onward!"

 

Second. The reason is given for the fall of this 'Babylon.' "For all Nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the Kings of the Earth have committed fornication with her and the merchants of the Earth have gotten rich through the abundance of her delicacies."

 

Indeed, it is precisely her unfaithfulness toward the heavenly Bridegroom and her syncretistic whoring after false-gods and images for the sake of riches that will bring about "Babylon's" downfall. Thus says also Holy Scripture itself. For, as the Geneva Bible elaborates, "the greatest part of the World has been abused and seduced by this spiritual Whoredom."

 

Third. All Christians organizationally connected with the 'Church' or rather the 'Anti-Church' of 'Babylon' that is, connected either with Rome as the "Mother of Harlots" or with apostate modernistic Pseudo-'Protestant' groups as her whorish Daughters should resolutely break with that system of falsehood and confusion, and join with the True Church of Christ's faithful People. For, wrote John, "I heard another voice from Heaven, saying: 'Come out of her, My People so that you not be partakers of her sins, and so that you not receive of her plagues!'"

 

This demonstrates that Christ still has true disciples even within the bosom of Romish 'Babylon' and her apostate Pseudo-'Protestant' Daughters. But it also warns that all who recognize her unfaithfulness, yet still stay there, thereby at least indirectly give her their own support and thus themselves then become actual partakers of her sins and recipients of her plagues.

 

Therefore, as the Geneva Bible insists: "When God threatens the wicked, He ever comforts and counsels His, [as to] what they ought to do that is, that they do not communicate with the sins of the wicked!" This means that the moment God's children inside of 'Babylon' recognize her sins to be wicked they must not longer remain in communion with but come out from her.

 

So Barnes comments: "As applicable to papal Rome, in view of her impending ruin, this means (a) that there might be found in her some who were the True People of God; (b) that it was their duty to separate wholly from her a command that will not only justify the Reformation, but which would have made a longer continuance in communion with the Papacy, when her wickedness was fully seen, an act of guilt before God.... There never was any duty plainer than that of withdrawing from papal Rome; there never has been any act attended with more happy consequences than that by which the Protestant World separated itself for ever from the sins and the plagues of the Papacy."

 

For fourth. Babylon is to be punished double according to her evil works. This is why another voice here petitioned the Lord: "Reward her even as she rewarded you!" Reward or pay her back twofold "according to her works! In the cup which she has filled up fill it for her, double!"

 

Here again, the implication is that modern Babylon is not basically an ignorant heathen entity but an enlightened Denomination or 'Church' turned Whore. For, as Jesus warned: "That servant who knew his Lord's will, but did not prepare himself, or did not do according to His will shall be beaten with many stripes." May this never be our own experience!

 

Fifth. The process of the destruction of Babylon, after the outpouring of the last vial of the wrath of God, may well stretch over a considerable period of time. It is true we are told that the end of "her plagues comes in one day death, and mourning, and famine" and that "she shall be burned utterly, with fire." Yet we need to remember that "one hour" here, as previously, probably means "one age" and that even "one day" is with the Lord as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day." Because "the Lord is not slack concerning His promise as some men regard slackness; but is long-suffering toward us not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance."

 

Again, we have already noticed (after the outpouring of the sixth vial of the wrath of God) that the water of the Euphrates (or the peoples subject to that 'Babylon-on-the-Euphrates' better known as 'Rome-on-the-Tiber'), may only gradually be "dried up." And it has also appeared that the ten Kings will destroy the Whore step by step as their disillusionment grows to hatred and that hatred manifests itself in their increasingly serious actions of first abandoning and then exposing and next robbing and finally burning her. Thus, we should perhaps expect that even the very fall of 'Babylon' will be gradual (after the outpouring of the last vial of the wrath of God).

 

Sixth. It should be noted that this Babylon's former "lovers" all the Kings of the Earth and those of their citizens who were intoxicated with her fornications shed only 'crocodile tears' after abandoning her and burning her with fire. "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." They may very well finally burn her. Yet they do not burn also themselves.

 

Just like a Whore's "lover" might kill her in disgust and then himself foolishly bewail her death, so too will Babylon's former companions one day bewail her not for her own sake, but because of the resultant losses to themselves. The "merchants were the great men of the Earth." For, as the Geneva Bible insists, "the Romish prelates" were "merchants of souls." But in that day, "the merchants of the Earth shall weep and mourn" over Babylon "for no man buys their merchandise any more."

 

Comments Barnes: "The Kings of Europe have owed much of their influence and power to the support which has been derived from the Papacy.... When that power shall fall, there will fall much that has contributed to sustain oppressive and arbitrary governments.... Europe might have been long since free if it had not been for the support which Despotic Governments have derived from the Papacy....

 

"The courts of Europe, under the Papacy, have had the same general character for dissoluteness and licentiousness as Rome itself.... The fall of the Papacy will be the signal for a general overturning of the thrones of Europe.... In the final ruin of Papal Rome, the Kings and Governments that had sustained her and had been sustained by her, would see the source of their power taken away."

 

Seventh. This "merchandise itself" produced as it was by the liaison between Babylon and her lovers is marvellously comprehensive. It covers every aspect of the World embracing both nature and culture.

 

It includes minerals, such as gold and silver and and precious stones and brass and iron and marble. It also embraces vegetable products such as linen, thyine wood, all kinds of vessels of most precious wood and cinnamon, scents, ointments, frankincense, wine, oil, flour, and wheat. It comprehends animal products such as pearls, purple, silk, scarlet, ivory, cattle, sheep and horses. It includes also human products like harps, pipes, candles and chariots (as the Geneva Bible observes: "such as the wantons use at Rome"). Indeed, it further involves even human beings themselves such as slaves, craftsmen, musicians and bridegrooms.

 

Now all of this "merchandise" will not have been produced in vain. It will indeed soon be "found no more" in 'Babylon' at the time of her destruction. But the merchandise as such will not itself be destroyed. For however unworthy the human motives which produced it may be the merchandise as such is not itself evil.

 

To the contrary. As the product ultimately of God's enablement, the merchandise is valuable very valuable. As such, it is all destined to be inherited by the children of God. This will come to pass, when the saints take full possession of the Kingdom both here on Earth, after the fall of 'Babylon the Great' and even more so hereafter, on the New Earth yet to come.

 

As Rev. Prof. Dr. Klaas Schilder declares in his book John's Revelation and Social Life (pp. 207f): "Kings and Nations...have sought their glory and honour. And in Babylon's shining cultural life, they gathered for themselves treasures; brought their luxuries together; and put everything in order with the thoroughness of hands experienced in arranging wealth....

 

"Shall culture have blossomed in vain? Must all that wealth disappear without a trace? Is God's day of judgment a furious iconoclasm a blind and total and unsparing destruction of everything that is?

 

"Scripture knows nothing of this! Babylon has not lived in vain, and neither has she garnered and guarded her riches in vain.... That which is sinful in Babylon's culture, is to be burned away. But that which is cultural in Babylon's sin that God will not reject!"

 

Last. It is important to understand that although 'Babylon' is to be destroyed the Nations whom she has misled, will not be destroyed. To the contrary. They shall be liberated.

 

For all Nations will be tamed by the healing Word of God. They will be released from deception for a "thousand years." And they shall be saved together with all of their cultural glory, honour, and natural splendour. Christ's Great Commission to preach the everlasting Gospel to all peoples, will yet destroy 'Babylon' and turn all Nations into His disciples.

 

Observe that the Nations which 'Babylon' deceived do not bewail her fall (as do the Kings and the Merchants who were in league with her). Rather are the Nations then liberated from enslavement to 'Babylon'; converted by the Word of God; and sanctified in their cultures to serve the Lord and fully to enjoy Him forever.

 

Concludes Barnes in his comments: "The fall of papal Rome...will remove one of the last obstructions to the final triumph of the Gospel.... In chapter 16:10-16, we saw that one great hindrance to the spread of the True Religion would be taken away by the decline and fall of the Turkish power [meaning that of Islam]. A still more formidable hindrance will be taken away by the decline and fall of the Papal power.... When this power shall finally cease, any one can see that perhaps the most mighty obstruction which has ever been on the Earth for a thousand years, to the spread of the Gospel will have been removed, and the way will be prepared for the introduction of the long hoped-for 'Millennium.'"

 

O Christian, blasphemous as 'Babylon' was and is she shall not have existed in vain! Faithless as she is toward the Lord some of God's True People are still within her bosom, and they must yet be called forth out of her and regrouped in authentically-Christian Congregations and Denominations.

 

In God's good time, 'Babylon' will come crashing down. "For strong is the Lord God Who judges her." Then, all her many riches just like the gold and the frankinscense and the myrrh brought to the Saviour at the time of His birth shall accrue for the benefit of the saints of Christ's Kingdom. Thus, in the last analysis, 'Babylon' shall be seen to have worked for the ultimate benefit of the Kingdom of God and her citizens and not at all for the ultimate benefit of Satan and his wretched followers.

 

Not the unbelievers but the meek alias those who submit to God and His Law shall inherit the Earth. They shall inherit the Earth and all its fullness. For God will yet give the entire Universe to His children as it were, as their 'Christ-mas present' (sic!) for Christ's sake.

 

 

 

 

 

So on, then, Christian soldiers!

Onward, toward the fall of 'Babylon' and the liberation of its captives!

Onward, to victory!

A Heavenly Multitude of much People hallelujahs the Lord!

Revelation 19:1-10 December 26

 

 

"Then, after these things, I heard a great voice of many people in Heaven, saying: 'Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and honour and power to the Lord our God!' ... Then I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and like the sound of many waters, and like the sound of mighty thunderings, saying: 'Hallelujah! For the Lord God omnipotent has started to reign and keeps on reigning.'"

 

 

Christ had given John a dramatic description of the actual downfall of Babylon the Great, after the outpouring of the last vial of the wrath of God. Next, the Apostle went on to record the joyous reaction to that event the reaction of the saints in Heaven who had worked so hard to bring this about, previously, when the were still on Earth before their deaths.

 

The Angel enjoined the dead saints and the good Angels in Heaven even at the very hour of Babylon's fall: "Rejoice over her, O Heaven, and you holy Apostles and Prophets! For God has avenged you upon her."

 

As then, the World will still not yet have been christianized. For, even after the fall of Babylon, the ten Kings and the international political Beast itself will not yet have been destroyed. But Babylon (as the international apostate religious organization supplying the various Horns or Kingdoms of the Beast with their spiritual cohesion), will then have fallen.

 

Indeed, the Beast will then have been left all alone without any further ideological purpose to live for. Consequently, also his downfall will only be a matter of time after the demise of the Whore.

 

Thus, there will be every reason to rejoice already at the downfall of 'Babylon' and even prior to the destruction of the political Beast and its Kingdoms. This means we too should rejoice even prior to the completion of the christianization of the Earth's Nations which will follow only after the destruction of the Beast.

 

Let it also be noted that it is not the True Church that is to be taken out of the World! To the contrary. It is the religious 'Babylon' that is now removed from the World. For this World, is God's World not Satan's.

 

The Geneva Bible correctly comments on this heavenly "Hallelujah" (or 'Let us praise the Lord!'). It explains: "You must praise God because the Antichrist...has been removed from the World."

 

First. After seeing the vision of the destruction of Babylon, then, John "heard a great voice of many people in Heaven." This is the voice of "the twenty-four Elders" of the international Church Triumphant above. Representatively, they are 'praising the Lord' for the downfall of the earthly 'Babylon' (about which the heavenly Church had just become aware).

 

This is the voice of those who, apparently before their deaths, had themselves worked for the triumph of the Gospel and the overthrow of 'Babylon.' It is the voice of "many people" and not just of a mere handful raptured away from the Earth, and from out of the human race, before some supposedly-endtime 'Great Tribulation' (sic).

 

Furthermore, this song of praise at the fall of 'Babylon' shall hallelujah the song of a liberated creation and 'the power and the glory' of the "Thy Kingdom come" of the Lord's Prayer. For this song shall then be sung by the living God's "many people" in Heaven.

 

"Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and honour and power to the Lord our God! For true and righteous are His judgments. For He has judged the great Whore which corrupted the Earth with her fornications; and He has avenged the blood of His servants at her hand."

 

After a brief pause, "again they said: 'Hallelujah!'" For the fallen Babylon was now being burned with fire. Indeed, "her smoke [now] rose up for ever and ever!"

 

As the Geneva Bible here very appropriately comments: "The wicked shall be burned in continual fire that shall never be extinguished." For all of God's "judgments are true and just." Consequently, "we ought to praise Him evermore for the destruction of the Pope."

 

Second. The "twenty-four Elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshipped God Who sat on the throne saying: 'Amen, hallelujah!'" For, as the Geneva Bible observes, "by the four 'beasts' [or zooa] are meant all creatures."

 

Accordingly, these zooa represent the whole sub-human creation. Those zooa too rejoice to see the realization of yet another great step forward in the progressive coming of the Kingdom of God. For, together with the twenty-four Elders as representatives of the Church of both the Older and the Newer Testament administrations of God's Covenant with mankind, those zooa themselves are overjoyed to see the downfall of the Antichristian 'Babylon' for which they too had all waited so long.

 

Third. "A voice came forth from the throne, saying: 'Praise our God, all you His servants, and you both small and great who fear Him!'" This unidentified voice was probably that either of an Angel or of one of the four zooa. Either way, the voice was representative of the non-human part of God's creation. It apparently spoke on behalf of the entirety of creation both non-human and human, both in Heaven above and on Earth below.

 

For all creatures (both "small and great") are God's "servants." And the whole creation now stands on top-toe while awaiting its deliverance from the bondage of corruption, and while expecting the manifestation of the sons of God.

 

Fourth. The entire Universe Angels; all of the many different kinds of living creatures here called zooa; the Church Triumphant in Heaven; and the Church Militant here on Earth will reverberate in praise of Jehovah, when Babylon falls. For John "heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and like the sound of many waters, and like the sound of mighty thunderings, saying: 'Hallelujah! For the Lord God omnipotent has started to reign and keeps on reigning. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him!

 

"'For the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. And to her it was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white. For the fine linen is the righteousness of [the] saints.'" And that righteousness has been imputed to them solely as a gracious gift, by and from the Bridegroom Himself.

 

Fifth. The arrival of this 'marriage feast' does not indicate that all History is now to be at an end. Thus Henry More, Matthew Poole, Adam Clarke, Albert Barnes, E.W. Hengstenberg, William Hendriksen, and B.H. Carroll. Indeed, only 'Babylon' will have fallen thus far and the Church Militant here on Earth will then still have to overcome the Beast and the Kings of the Earth (clothed as that bride will then be in clean white linen for that very task).

 

But the 'marriage feast' of the Lamb will then be drawing near, and His wife will have made herself ready. Most solemnly, she has for a very long time already been 'engaged' to Him. But now after the fall of the great 'Babylon' she will prepare for the 'marriage supper' to be held for all the wedding guests some time before the wedding itself. Only later will the actual marriage union itself be consummated, when the Church herself adorned like a bride for her Husband will dwell with the Lamb and He with His bride.

 

Says Matthew Poole: "The marriage is one thing; the supper another, and (ordinarily) consequential to the marriage itself." Hendriksen, writing about "the wedding-feast including the marriage-supper," observes that "the usual festivities lasted seven or at times twice seven days." Matthew 22:1f cf. Genesis 29:27f & Judges 14:10-17f.

 

Hengstenberg even more accurately remarks that "we must distinguish between the arrival of the marriage and its celebration," as "appears from the added clause 'and His wife has made herself ready.' If the wife has first made herself ready, then the wedding cannot yet have begun.... The marriage is come, whenever the wedding-day has dawned.... The marriage here, is not the marriage-feast.... Compare Matthew 18:20 'I am with you always, even to the end of the World,' which contains...the surpassing display of glory that is to be made to the Triumphant Church. It is as if He then first brought home His bride.

 

"In Matthew 9:15, also the time that stretches from the death of Christ to His return appears as a time of absence for the Bridegroom. In the parable of the ten virgins, the return of the Bridegroom is in the first instance expected" but not yet realized. "In Ephesians 5:25-27, the Church is represented as a bride adorned for a future marriage....

 

"It is only in [Revelation] chapter 21:2" and not already in Revelation 19:1-9 "that the New Jerusalem comes into view, prepared and adorned as a bride for her husband. We are [in Revelation 21 but not yet in chapter 19], therefore, already beyond the victory over the ten Kings; beyond the thousand years; beyond the last victory over Gog and Magog. Those who fail to perceive the anticipative character of the song" of Revelation 19:1-9, do not seem to understand that "the betrothed was sometimes called the 'wife' of the Bridegroom; compare Deuteronomy 22:24, Genesis 29:21, Matthew 1:20, and here, [Revelation] 21:9, 'Come hither, I will show thee...the Lamb's wife'....

 

"The things meant are the great and consolatory truth of the coming of the Lord's Kingdom, of the marriage of the Lamb, of the suitable preparation of the bride and her appearance in the bright and pure linen-attire of righteousness. These truths have been communicated in the form of a song of praise by the Church of the just made perfect (Revelation 19:1-9). But this was only the visionary form." Thus Hengstenberg.

 

Sixth. After the downfall of 'Babylon' and before the actual consummation of the union between the heavenly Bridegroom and His earthly bride, the 'marriage supper' will first have to take place. And that, as we shall see, will coincide with the supper of the great God at the time of the overthrow of the Antichristian Beast and the Kings of the Earth.

 

For this reason, the saints will put on their wedding garments and get ready for the marriage supper. And those garments are the fine clean and white linen of their Christ-imputed righteousness (alias their graciously established Lawabidingness and graciously empowered public testimony). Thus adorned with all their good works for their heavenly Bridegroom they will then triumphantly follow the Word of God unto victory over all of His earthly enemies.

 

Well does the Geneva Bible remark: "Blessed are they who are called to the Lamb's supper!" For all of His guests are those "whom God of free mercy calls to be partakers of His heavenly graces and delivers from the filthy pollutions of Antichrist."

 

Seventh. It should now be recognized that a marriage supper in Biblical times could last for quite some considerable time. Accordingly, we are not to think that the marriage supper is the actual consummation of the marriage itself. For the actual consummation of the marriage will take place only at Christ's Final Coming after the wedding feast.

 

Indeed, there are some indications even here that a period of universal triumph of the Gospel throughout the World will first need to occur (between the time of the wedding feast and that of the marriage's consummation). It is very incumbent upon the guests at Christ's wedding feast to feed festively on the Word of God, and patiently to satiate themselves with "the true sayings of God" before the advent of the prophesied consummation. For they know that "the testimony of Jesus, is the spirit of prophecy."

 

Moreover, the wedding guests are to act even as "Prophets" as it were and to invite others also to come to the marriage supper. For, as the Geneva Bible observes, Christ here "shows that...God uses to reveal His secrets...to the Prophets so that they may declare them to others."

 

Last. Apparently still referring to the 'voice that came out of the throne in Heaven' to the unidentified voice coming from either an Angel or from one of the four zooa John then wrongfully "fell down at his feet to worship him" whose voice it was. "But he said to me, 'See that you don't do it! I am your fellow-servant....

 

"Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy!'" Worship God; worship Jesus; for Jesus is God! But don't worship any other!

 

Comments Albert Barnes: "This would prohibit the worship of the Virgin Mary, and of any of the saints, and all that homage rendered to a created being which is due to God only.... Nothing is more contrary to the Divine Law, than rendering in any way that homage to a creature which belongs of right to the Creator."

 

O Christian, may we too longingly await and work for the fall of Babylon! May we look even beyond that happy event! And may we even now, nourished with the "spirit of prophecy" alias the ability to forthtell God's Word, rejoice in the certain advent of the yet-later marriage supper of the Lamb and of the consummation of His marriage to His bride later still! Let us always fortify ourselves with the Word of God; resist all of God's enemies; and seek wherever possible to win even them for our Saviour's cause!

 

 

 

 

 

So on, then, Christian soldiers! Onward, to victory!

Christ and His Armies conquer, destroying their Earthly Enemies

Revelation 19:11-21 December 27

 

 

"Then I saw Heaven opened. And behold, a white horse! And He Who sat upon it, was called 'Faithful-and-True' and He judges and makes war in righteousness.... Then the armies in Heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean... Out of His mouth goes forth a sharp sword, so that He should smite the Nations with it.... Then the Beast was taken...and cast alive into a lake of fire.... The rest were slain with the sword of Him Who sat upon the horse, which went forth from His mouth."

 

 

John had just described the preparations for the marriage supper of the Lamb. This will occur after the downfall of Babylon (produced by the outpouring of the last vial of the wrath of God).

 

Next, John went on to record the inspired details of the completion of the conquest of the World by the Word of God Jesus Christ (after the outpouring of that same seventh and last vial). For the Apostle wanted to explain that the Saviour yet achieves this victory precisely through the agency of the Congregations of His Christian Church alias the conquering divisions of the Lord's Army.

 

The Puritan James Durham, in his 1657 Complete Commentary upon the Book of Revelation (II:605), has rightly commented at "chapter nineteen" that "the Battle of Armageddon...is notable from two singular events the one, in the conversion of the Jews.... The other, in the destruction of the Beast and his helpers," probably by "the Turks.... The Beast, having fled from Rome, is now wholly overturned so that the name of 'Pope' ceaseth."

 

First. John declares that he "saw Heaven opened. And behold, a white horse! And He Who sat upon it, was called 'Faithful-and-True' and He judges, and makes war."

 

This hardly means that the activities now to be described, though indeed emanating from Heaven are to be executed only in Heaven. For the heavenly "armies" which follow Christ, are those of the Church Militant right here on Earth (which spiritually is seated right now with Christ in Heaven).

 

Indeed, we are distinctly told that it is here on Earth that the Horseman named 'Faithful-and-True' "judges" and also "makes war." Rather obviously, then, our description here as previously is a deeply meaningful heavenly symbol of happenings here on Earth.

 

Nor are these happenings exclusively future. For we are not told that the Horseman shall judge and shall make war and shall tread the winepress, but rather that He does judge and does make war and does tread down the winepress. He does so here and now. He keeps on doing so uninterruptedly until He has victoriously completed the subjugation of all of His earthly enemies.

 

Second. It is clear that this Horseman is our Lord Jesus Christ. For "His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. And He had a Name written which no man knows but He Himself. And He was clothed with a vesture baptized in blood.

 

"And His Name is called 'The Word of God'.... Out of His mouth goes forth a sharp sword.... And He has on His vesture and on His thigh a Name written, 'KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.'"

 

Here again, it is obvious that all of this impressive language is deeply meaningful and rich in symbolism. For our Saviour already wears many crowns from all of His previous victories. Yet He is destined to acquire still more. The sword of His Word has already inflicted many wounds and surgical healings. Indeed, it will continue to do so also throughout the future.

 

As the Geneva Bible comments, by these words "is signified that Jesus Christ our Judge shall be victorious and shall triumph over His enemies." He rules or judges and fights righteously or in accordance with His Holy Law "so that the wicked shall tremble before His face." And the reason for the many crowns on His head, is "to show that He was [and is and always shall be] Ruler of all the World."

 

This passage is obviously not referring to Christ's final coming on the clouds of Heaven. Indeed, here there is no mention at all of any clouds.

 

To the contrary. The passage is rather referring to the Lord Jesus' prior and repeated if not even continuous comings (plural) to conquer this Earth through the wielding of the Sword of the Lord which is the Word of God alias Holy Scripture. Thus Matthew Poole, Matthew Henry, Adam Clarke, Albert Barnes, E.W. Hengstenberg and Benjamin B. Warfield.

 

Indeed, this continuous wielding of the Sword of the Lord, is the continuous proclamation of the Word of God which is the Sword of the Spirit. This is done by and in the power of the Holy Ghost and through the agency of Christ's earthly saints. Thus Matthew Poole, Matthew Henry, Adam Clarke, Albert Barnes, B.B. Warfield, and Apostolos Makrakis.

 

Here, Christ comes continuously. His Church alias His Army follows Him clothed in fine linen, white and clean. As already seen, the "clean white linen" is the righteousness of the saints (or the gracious imputation and progressive implantation of Christ's Own Lawabidingness). Moreover, the Kings of the Earth who fight against Him do so precisely by fighting against the Christ-ians, as the heavenly Christ's earthly Army.

 

The sword (deeply symbolically yet very really) proceeds out of the Saviour's mouth. Thus it is clear that the very nature of the saints' warfare against Christ's enemies, is not to be fought belligerently with many swords of steel. It is rather to be waged spiritually with the unique sword of Christ's Spirit which sword is the Word of God.

 

Nor is the battle to be fought just once and for all whether only at the time of our justification at Calvary; or whether only at Christ's Final Coming. No! Instead, the battle is to be fought repeatedly and all the time from Christ's glorious ascension and royal enthronement onward, right down to the time of His yet-future advent in Final Judgment.

 

Third. It is obvious that Christ's Army wins its earthly war against the Kings of the Earth. For the Leader of that Army wears "on His head many crowns" (plural) as the 'status symbols' of His many victorious conquests (plural). Importantly, under His direction the battles are waged by the troops of the One Who Himself wears the blood-baptized garment.

 

By this, comments the Geneva Bible, "is signified His victory and the destruction of His enemies." Through His Christ-ians' own wielding of the Word of God or the Sword of His mouth, Christ Himself does indeed "smite the Nations. And He shall rule them with a rod of iron. And He treads down the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God."

 

Now it is certainly true that the war between converted saints and unconverted sinners has indeed raged on ever since the fall of Adam and especially since Calvary. Yet our text here does seem to indicate that the complete victory of Christ's saints over the World will be realized after the fall of 'Babylon' at the final end of the 1260 day-years.

 

That phase of the war shall then be fought out against the Beast and the False-Prophet against the remnants of the Papists and the Moslems, and also against the Pagans as well as against those whom Luther calls "the Red Jews." Thus, in general Matthew Poole, E.W. Hengstenberg, and Albert Barnes. So too, in general, Prof. Dr. Loraine Boettner and Dr. J. Marcellus Kik.

 

Martin Luther has written that here "the Devil's final wrath gets to work. There, in the East the second woe; Mohammad and the Saracens. Here, in the West, Papacy's Empire with the third woe. To these is added...the Turk, Gog and Magog as will follow in chapter twenty.... There comes, in chapter twenty, the stirrip-cup Gog and Magog; the Turks; the Red Jews.... After the Turks, the Last Judgment follows quickly."

 

Albert Barnes comments quite emphatically here: "The religion of Christ would finally prevail.... All persecution and sorrow here, would be followed by joy and triumph." Christ on His horse "is here the symbol of the final victory that is to be obtained over the Beast and the False-Prophet...and of the final triumph of the Church....

 

"There can be no doubt that the Messiah is intended, as He goes forth to the subjugation of the World to Himself.... These hosts of the redeemed on white horses accompany Him to be witnesses of His victory, and to participate in the joy of His triumph....

 

"The sword seems to be an emblem of His words or doctrines, as penetrating the hearts of men.... It is the emblem of a work of destruction wrought on His foes.... 'With it, He would smite the Nations'...that were opposed to Him; to wit, those especially who were represented by the Beast and the False-Prophet....

 

"The Kings [would still be] under the control of the Beast and the False-Prophet, chapter 16:14f & 17:12-14.... There is allusion here to the same assembling of hostile forces which is described in chapter 16:13f.... There can be no doubt that the writer in these passages designed to refer to the same events the still-future scenes that are to occur when the Roman, the Pagan and the Mahometan powers shall be aroused to make common cause against the True Religion....

 

"The 'Beast' here, as all along, refers to the Papal power.... The False-Prophet had been united with the Beast in deceiving the Nations.... The whole representation is that of an alliance to prevent the spread of the True Religion [of Protestant Christianity] as if the Papacy and Mahometanism were combined."

 

However, "the Beast and the False-Prophet" alias "the Papacy and Mahometanism...will be subdued by the Word of the Son of God.... These great Anti-christian powers which had so long resisted the Gospel and prevented it being spread over the Earth, which shed so much blood in persecution and had so long corrupted and deceived mankind, would be subdued.

 

"The True Religion [namely Biblical Christianity] would be as triumphant as if the Son of God should go forth as a warrior in His own right and secure their [Romish and/or Islamic] Leaders for punishment.... This destruction of these great enemies which the whole course of the interpretation leads us to suppose is still future prepares the way for the [post]millennial reign of the Son of God."

 

Fourth. It should be noted here that Christ's campaign would be won in three subsequent stages. Let us now consider them in sequence.

 

Initially, it appears that Christ shall begin to smite the Nations with His sword in order to render them harmless. This will happen particularly at the end of 1290 day-years. And this event will ostensibly occur within 30 day-years after the fall of the abominable 'Babylon' (at the termination of her 1260 day-year hegemony).

 

Next, after this, it seems Christ will 'tread down the winepress' and 'sprinkle His garments.' Here, He apparently converts the Kings (thus Hengstenberg) and the Moslems (thus Bede and Makrakis), and baptizes the remnants of the Nations into a Christian World-order.

 

That will occur after perhaps a further 45 day-years, during a time of great blessing and widespread revival at the end of 1335 day-years. Thus Bede and Makrakis.

 

After that, it would appear that Christ shall then rule the Nations. He will rule them with a rod of iron, or by the sword of His Word. And this will apparently last for a long period John would call "a thousand years."

 

Let the armies of Christ's saints then be patient! May they fight under His banner with tenacity! For they shall indeed achieve the conquest of the World all in God's Own good time.

 

Fifth. This whole war, after the fall of 'Babylon' and before the real commencement of His "thousand years'" reign over the Nations, constitutes the marriage supper of the Lamb or the supper of the great God. At the beginning of this supper, the Kings of the Earth alias the various leaders allied with the Beast are disposed of. And at the end of the feast (perhaps 45 day-years later) "the remnant" is "slain." But in both cases, all the birds of the air are filled with the flesh of Christ's enemies at the supper of the great God.

 

What a fitting end to that great unclean bird, that great vulture, the international political Beast! For how much blood it would by then have shed by the power of its own cruelty!

 

Sixth. The armies of Christ's Church will then, however, obtain a relatively quick victory. Earlier, ere the overthrow of 'Babylon' that Whore herself gave spiritual purpose and direction to the international political Beast and its ten Kings or Kingdoms. But now, after those Kings will have themselves turned against her and helped to destroy her they have no real purpose other than a purely negative hatred of Christ and of Christians.

 

At that stage, their essential lack of internal cohesion becomes quite apparent. For then it shall be as Daniel remarked about the ten toes on the Roman feet (and hence in the very last stage of development) of the image in Nebuchadnezzar's dream about the successive World-Empires.

 

"As the toes of the feet were partly of iron, and partly of clay so the Kingdom[s] shall be partly strong, and partly broken.... But they shall not keep on cleaving to one another even as iron cannot be [or remain] mixed with clay." For when the words of God shall have been fulfilled after the ten Horns' destruction of the Whore those feeble "ten toes" will apparently no longer be able to "agree" even among themselves.

 

Seventh. As a result, the international political Beast and its Leaders after the destruction of the ecumenical and syncretistic religious Whore of 'Babylon' will quickly collapse. "Then the Beast was taken, and with him the False-Prophet [of Islam].... These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone" or sulphur.

 

Here, comments the Calvinistic Geneva Bible, "the worldly princes that fight against Christ" shall be defeated. That will occur at "the overthrow of the Beast" the international political Beast and all his followers.

 

Eighth. The political Beast and the False-Prophet shall then indeed be cast into the Lake of Fire. Yet this does not mean that all (and perhaps not even that any) of the human followers of the Beast and of the False-Prophet will then themselves also be cast into the Lake of Fire.

 

Probably the Leaders of the political Beast's legions in that last battle against Christianity and perhaps some of their incorrigible followers also will then be eliminated. And many of those among the infidel hordes who fought against Christ, will then be fed to the vultures.

 

Not so, however, the rest of those legions. Not so the rank and file, "slain" with the sword of the Spirit by the Word of God in that final great spiritual conflict between Christ's Army and the hordes of the Anti-Christian international political Beast and its Kings. And especially not so those subsequently "slain" by the Word, in the missionary mopping-up operation of Christ's earthly soldiers.

 

Those "slain" thus, will not be condemned. To the contrary. They will instead experience World-wide 're-viv-al' and will then join the Christian Church. Thus Barnes and Hengstenberg. For "the remnant were slain with the sword of Him Who sat upon the horse, Whose sword [God's Word] proceeded from His mouth" unto victory!

 

Thereafter, there shall be a long reign of international Christian peace for many years. Now Zechariah is one of the great 'source books' of the Apostle John's Book of Revelation. And Zechariah had prophesied previously: "It shall come to pass that every one who is left of all the Nations which come against Jerusalem [alias the Christian Church] shall even go up from year to year to worship the King."

 

There will even then not yet be a state of completely universal faithfulness or total sinlessness. But there will, until the Final Judgment, be a long-lasting and World-wide Christian civilization enduring or continuing for a 'Millennium' alias "a thousand years" (or perhaps yet more) undisturbed by any further Anti-Christian wars or even rebellion.

 

Ninth. As Prof. Dr. Loraine Boettner has remarked on Revelation 19:11f in the 1964 edition of his own great book The Millennium: "The best explanation of this passage, we believe, is that given by Dr. Warfield" in his article The Millennium and the Apocalypse as reprinted in his Biblical Doctrines (pp. 647f & 662). Extended citations from that article now follow.

 

Explains Warfield: "The section opens with a vision of the victory of the Word of God, the King of kings and Lord of lords over all His enemies. We see Him come forth from Heaven, girt for war.... It is a vivid picture of a complete victory, an entire conquest, that we have here....

 

"We are carefully told that the sword by which the victory is won proceeds 'out of the mouth' of the Conqueror.... We are not to think...of any literal war or manual fighting, therefore. The conquest is wrought by the spoken word in short, by the preaching of the Gospel....

 

"We have before us here a picture of the victorious career of the Gospel of Christ in the World.... It is the period of advancing victory of the Son of God over the World.... It is the eleventh chapter of Romans...in symbolical form....

 

"John teaches that...[not the postmortal-heavenly but precisely our present premortal and] earthly History of the Church is...a History of...conquest over evil.... John teaches...this conquest will be decisive and complete.... Jesus comes forth not to war merely, but to victory....

 

"Every detail of the picture is laid in, with a view precisely to emphasizing the thoroughness of this victory. The Gospel of Christ is, John being witness, completely to conquer the World.... Distinction may be made between a converted Earth [at the start of the 'Millennium'] and a sanctified Earth [during the 'Millennium']....

 

"There is a 'golden age' before the Church at least an age relatively golden, gradually ripening to higher and higher glories as the Church more and more fully conquers the World and all the evil of the World.... The possibility of an extended duration for the conquered Earth, lies open.... A progressively advancing conquest of the Earth by Christ's Gospel, implies a coming age deserving at least the relative name of 'golden.'"

 

According to Martin Selbrede in his 1999 article Reconstructing Postmillennialism (p. 31): "The parallelism between Revelation 6 and Revelation 19-20 is remarkably strong and corroborative of Warfield's thesis. Both visions depict Christ on horseback followed by death-dispensing instrumentalities (paralleling Ezekiel 14:11-21) sent for vengeance, followed by scenes of disembodied souls in a state of peace against which a contrasted chronon mikron (little season) is opposed in which the battle of the still-living saints is placed.

 

"Since these are concurrent in Revelation 6 and 12, eschatological universalists hold they are concurrent in Revelation [19 &] 20 as well.... Oddly, this multi-layered parallel and its clear echo at Revelation 12:12 remain almost totally ignored by the rank and file Preterists of the late 20th century. Perhaps these parallels are resistant to incorporation within that agenda."

 

O Christian, let us then even now gird on the full armour of God! Let us hurry to do battle for the cause of our Saviour everywhere we can! Let us wield the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God expecting to triumph! And let us, after spiritually eliminating the incorrigible leaders of the various Anti-Christian conspiracies, mercifully incorporate the large "remnant" of converted deserters from their ranks into the Christian Church, as the Army of the Living God!

 

 

 

 

 

So on, then, Christian soldiers, marching as to war; with the cross of Jesus, going on before!

Onward, to victory!

The Saints reign on their Thrones with Christ a Thousand Years

Revelation 20:1-6 December 28

 

 

"Then I saw an Angel coming down from Heaven.... He laid hold of...Satan and bound him a thousand years...so that he would deceive the Nations no more.... Then I saw thrones. And they [the Nations] sat upon them. And judgment [or rulership] was given to them. Then [I also saw] the souls of them who had been beheaded for the witness of Jesus and for the Word of God; and those who had not worshipped the Beast or his image nor had received his mark upon their foreheads or on their hands. Now they [the Nations] lived and reigned with Christ, a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live; not even when the thousand years ended."

 

 

Christ had just showed John a preview of the completion of the mopping-up operation by the armies of His Church apparently some seventy-five day-years after the downfall of 'Babylon.' This mopping up of the remnants of His former enemies, results in the establishment of a Christian World Order in every land, throughout our great planet Earth.

 

For John now saw "an Angel coming down from Heaven." And He bound Satan "for a thousand years."

 

As to its fulfilment, this event seems yet future. From both the broader context and the narrower, this seems to refer to an event which only starts commencing after the termination of the mopping-up operation just mentioned immediately prior to it.

 

First. Most Theologians place these "thousand years" not in Heaven but right here on Earth and before the time of Christ's Final Coming visibly and simultaneously to resurrect the whole of mankind unto judgment at the very end of the World. Thus: Barnabas, Papias, Caius, Origen, Ambrose, Tichonius, Augustine, Jerome, Primasius, Gregory the Great, Bede, Aquinas, Dante, Purvey, Luther, Calvin, Knox, the Geneva Bible, Chytraeus, Bullinger, Junius, Foxe, Napier, James the First, Grotius, Hammond, Dowling, Brightman, Pareus, John Cotton, the Dordt Dutch Bible, Goodwin, Parker, Gerhard, Poole, Vitringa, Cocceius, Matthew Henry, Jonathan Edwards, Wesley, Bengel, Newton, John Brown of Haddington, Priestley, Hopkins, Dwight, Horne, Faber, Scott, Fuller, Cunninghame, Adam Clarke, David Brown, Barnes, Fairbairn, Hengstenberg, the Hodges, Shedd, Warfield, Kik, Carroll, Boettner, Rushdoony, and many others.

 

The above view Postmillennialism has been mercilessly attacked by the Post-Apostolic and indeed very modern heresy of Pretribulationism. Many modern Pretribulationists and other Dispensationalists (such as John Walvoord and Hal Lindsay) boldly claim that most (if not all) of the first Early Church Fathers were Rapturists. Such believe Jesus could return "at any moment" to resurrect dead Christians, and then secretly "rapture" His dwindling though still-living Church "up into the air" before first "the great tribulation" and then the destruction of ungodly worldlings. Soon thereafter, Pretribulationists insist, the Church would then return with Christ visibly from Heaven and rule with Him visibly here on Earth for a thousand years until God would resurrect the wicked dead for their Final Judgment.

 

The above notion called "Chiliasm" is false. Neither the Church of the Older Testament (even when under foreign domination) nor the always-struggling and often-persecuted Church of the Newer Testament (even till the fourth century) ever expected to dwindle or to be whisked away; but only to conquer this great planet Earth under her victorious Messiah. That Church expected God not to the rapture her but to keep on using her message and mission, in order to heal the World His Son had come to save. John 3:16!

 

From the end of the third century, the Church's expectations and efforts were partially realized at the nominal christianization of the Pagan Roman Empire. For the victory-orientated Church of the first four centuries was overwhelmingly anti-chiliastic, and totally anti-pretribulationistic.

 

Quite false, then, is the chiliastic claim of John Walvoord and other modern Dispensationalists (such as Hal Lindsay etc.) that the Early Church was solidly Premillennialist. Quite the contrary is the case.

 

The chiliastic "two resurrections" theory is neither Older-Testamentical, Ancient-Apocryphal, Pseudepigraphical, Newer-Testamentical, Apostolic, Early-Patristic, nor Neo-Apocryphal. Instead, it is a Mid-Patristic aberration by only a minority and derived from Babel, via Zoroastrian Paganism.

 

Second. As regards the true interpretation of Revelation 20:2-6 and its "thousand years" it is important to note that Calvin, the greatest of all Reformers, located the 'Millennium' not in Heaven (as do many modern 'Amillennialists') but here on Earth. He located it not in the past or in the present (as do some 'Preterists' and as do most 'Amillennialists') but in the future. Indeed, he located it (unlike all 'Premillennialists') before the visible return of Christ. Thus, Calvin was a 'Postmillennialist.'

 

For in his Institutes of the Christian Religion (III:25:5), the genius of Geneva rejected the 'heavenly Millennium' theory (held by many modern 'Amillennialists'). There, he rejected also the views of "the Chiliasts" or Premillennialists "who limited the reign of Christ to [but] a thousand years."

 

These chiliastic or premillennialistic "fictions" Calvin claims "are too puerile to need or to deserve refutation." Nor do they "receive any countenance from the Apocalypse (Revelation 20:4), from which it is known that they extracted a gloss for their error since the thousand years there mentioned, refer not to the eternal blessedness of the Church, but only to" those events "which await the Church Militant in this World."

 

Note here especially Calvin's word "await." He says, also against some 'Preterists' and many modern 'Amillennialists' that the aforesaid events of "the thousand years" still "await" Christ's Church; and indeed not His Church Triumphant in glory but His "Church Militant in this World." Thus the clear Postmillennialism of the genius of Geneva.

 

Third. In Holy Scripture, it was after seeing the subjugation of the "remnant" of Christ's former enemies since the destruction of the international political Beast and the False-Prophet that John "saw an Angel coming down from Heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in His hand. Then He laid hold of the Dragon, that old Serpent which is the Devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand years."

 

Now it is perfectly true that the juridical basis of this thousand years' binding of Satan was already laid down when Christ bound the Devil's power at Calvary. Yet this binding at Calvary may not for a moment be divorced from its necessary consequences at Christ's subsequent resurrection, ascension and especially at His heavenly session when His universal rule was launched.

 

As a result of Christ's rule and reign, it is also true especially after Pentecost Sunday that the Holy Spirit binds the power of Satan in the lives of Christians when they are translated from the kingdom of darkness into Christ's Kingdom at the time of their regeneration. An ongoing and tighter binding continues also thereafter as the Holy Spirit progressively binds Satan more and more in their lives throughout the period of their sanctification.

 

It is also certainly true that Christ through His Spirit is even now restraining Satan more and more throughout the World. That occurs as the Church expands extensively and intensively, and as Satan is more and more being bound in the lives of individuals and of Nations down through the centuries.

 

This is not at all easy to square with any kind of modern Premillennialism in general and Dispensationalism in particular. Yet it is very easily reconcilable with the viewpoint of the Early Church of the first and second centuries. See, for example: the A.D. 98 Didachee or Teaching of the Twelve Apostles 16; the A.D. 98 Epistle of Barnabas 15; the A.D. 130 Epistle to Diognetus 12; the A.D. 135 Second Clement; the A.D. 173 Melito (PP 102); the A.D. 175 Claudius Apollinarius (in Eusebius's Preface to the Paschal Chronicle); the Gospel of Nicodemus; the anti-dispensationalistic 'Covenantal Premillennialist' Irenaeus; the A.D. 220 Hippolytus (apparently a Postmillennialist); and the clearly-postmillennialistic A.D. 300 Victorinus in his (the first extant) commentary on the Book of Revelation (especially at 6:1-2 and 20:1-5).

 

Thus, the circa A.D. 135 Second Clement (20:4) stated that "Divine judgment surprised a spirit that was not righteous and loaded it with chains." Cf. Revelation 20:1-2.

 

Even more dramatically, the antipremillennialistic circa A.D. 180 Gospel of Nicodemus (22) triumphantly declares that "the King of glory seized the chief satrap Satan by the head, and delivered him to His Angels and said: 'With iron chains, bind his hands and his feet and his mouth!' Then He delivered him to hades [cf. the bottomless pit], and said: 'Take him, and keep [or guard] him securely till My Second Coming!'" Cf. Revelation 20:1-15.

 

More amazingly yet, the A.D. 185 Irenaeus (practically the first extant non-postmillennialistic Theologian) insisted that "the Son of man...fought and conquered" and bound the strong man" Satan. For Christ did "bind the strong man, and despoiled his goods."

 

Indeed, continued Irenaeus, Christ did "tread upon the enemy's head" and shall trample down...the dragon." For He "would bind the dragon" and He "bound [Satan] with...chains...in order that man, being set free, might return to his Lord.... For when Satan is bound, man is set free." Revelation 20:2-3. Thus Christ "the Word bound him securely...and made spoil of his goods.... 'Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection!" Revelation 20:6.

 

This is the view also of the famous postmillennialistic Presbyterian and Reformed Theologian Rev. Professor Dr. Charles Hodge. Thus, in his renowned Systematic Theology (II:637f), he insisted: "Having been committed to Him for a special purpose, this universal dominion as Mediator will be relinquished when that purpose is accomplished. He will reign until all His enemies are [= have been] put under His feet. And when that last enemy [death] is subdued, He will deliver up this Kingdom to the Father and [then] reign forever as King over the redeemed" as the Central Person of the Triune God.

 

Hence the elect are sealed baptismally on their foreheads precisely unto their later resurrection. First Corinthians 15:22-29 cf. Revelation 7:2-17 & 20:2-15 (q.v.).

 

Also the renowned Amillennialist Rev. Prof. Dr. Anthony A. Hoekema understands it thus. For he too rightly observes: "Because of the binding of Satan during this present age, the Nations cannot conquer the Church; but the Church is conquering the Nations." Matthew 28:19 cf. Revelation 7:2-9 & 15:4 & 20:3 & 22:2-4 & 22:10f.

 

Nevertheless, in this present context of Revelation chapter twenty, for a number of reasons the "thousand years" does indeed seem to refer to a period the principal aspect of which is as yet still future. Thus: John Calvin, John Cotton, Jonathan Edwards, Matthew Poole, Matthew Henry, Bishop Thomas Newton, John Brown of Haddington, Samuel Hopkins, Thomas Scott, Adam Clarke, David Brown, Patrick Fairbairn, Hengstenberg, B.H. Carroll, Loraine Boettner, and very many others.

 

Fourth. The "Angel coming down from Heaven" seems to be our Lord Jesus Christ. He keeps on coming down from Heaven in the Person of His Holy Spirit ever since Christ's heavenly session.

 

As the Geneva Bible of John Knox and Mrs. John Calvin's brother-in-law William Whittingham claims: "This Angel represents the order of the Apostles, whose vocation and office was from Heaven or may signify Christ, Who would tread down the Serpent's head" through the work of His Apostles and other later representatives. Thus too the Calvinistic Dordt Dutch Bible (1599 Junius edition), Matthew Poole, Matthew Henry, Adam Clarke, Carroll, and Kik.

 

Christ Himself came down from Heaven at the time of His incarnation, in order to bind Satan and to destroy the works of the Devil. He came down from Heaven later again (in the Person of His Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday) into His Church. And through His still-expanding earthly body, His Word-preaching Church (as already seen in the previous chapter) Christ is constantly coming down from Heaven 'invisibly' in the ongoing and everlasting procession of His Spirit (from the Father and the Son). He is thus, now, progressively binding the Devil more and more. Thus John Cotton, Jonathan Edwards, Samuel Hopkins, J. Marcellus Kik, and Loraine Boettner.

 

But furthermore, according to our present text Christ will again keep on coming down from Heaven invisibly (through the mighty Spirit-filled preaching of His "Angels" or Preacher-Messengers), to bind the Devil for "a thousand years." This He will do especially during and after the destruction of the international political Beast and its godless Horns or "the Kings of the Earth" and all their incorrigible followers.

 

The result will then be the large-scale conversion of the "remnant" of the Anti-christian hordes and the arrival of a time of speedy expansion of Christianity and, at length, of World-wide blessings. Such will then endure 'millennially' last right down to the time of Jesus' Final Coming (visibly, in power, and with great glory).

 

Declared John: "I saw an Angel come down from Heaven, Who had the key of the abyss, and a great chain.... And He seized...Satan, and bound him a thousand years."

 

Comments Professor Dr. Hengstenberg: "What is here undertaken against Satan, stands in the closest connection with what has been said before in Revelation 19:18-20 respecting the ten Kings and the Beast.... The...God-opposing principle was broken in the ten Kings partly through severe judgments of God (19:11-21); partly through the peaceful mission of the Church (in 17:17)." Compare 19:20f & 20:10.

 

Hengstenberg continues: "They have renounced their enmity against God and Christ and the Church. And by reason of their having taken on them the yoke of Christ the Beast too has retired from the stage.... "'Resist the Devil and he will flee from you' (James 4:7), etc. If the Earth were to watch and pray for a thousand years Satan would have nothing on it!"

 

Fifth. The still-future 'millennial' and Spirit-ual coming of Christ from Heaven to bind the Devil here on Earth is not to be regarded as a visible coming. After all, it is not yet His later and Final Coming at the Last Judgment (which shall, of course, be seen by every eye).

 

For we are implicitly told in this very chapter that Christ's Final Coming will occur only after the end of the "thousand years." And inasmuch as this chapter is a continuous extension from the previous one the coming of Christ referred to in our present passage will probably be just as invisible (yet just as Spirit-ually real) as the other "coming" referred to in the previous chapter.

 

At the beginning of Revelation chapter twenty, then, Christ will indeed come from Heaven. Yet He will then come invisibly; will then keep on coming in the power of His Holy Spirit; will then increasingly be manifested World-wide to all the Nations; will then be manifested through the mighty Spirit-filled preaching and sin-binding application of His Word by His faithful Ministers or "Angels" or Messengers; and will then be manifested here on Earth in the lives of all of His Commandment-keeping and Christ-loving People. Thus: John Cotton, Jonathan Edwards, Samuel Hopkins, Marcellus Kik, Loraine Boettner, and many others.

 

Sixth. The essentially Spirit-ual nature of this coming of Christ described in our present passage, is evident from the very description itself. For Satan is an invisible and a non-material spirit who could hardly be bound by a visible and a material chain!

 

Only a Spirit-ual "chain" only the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God has ever bound Satan in any sense in the past. Thus the Geneva Bible, the Dordt Dutch Bible, Kik, Boettner, and others. And only this same Spirit-ual chain one day to stretch right around the World will ever bind Satan in the future too.

 

For, as the Geneva Bible insists, the 'key of the bottomless pit' here means "the Gospel whereby Hell is shut up to the faithful, and Satan is chained so that he cannot hurt them.... The Ministers [or 'Preaching Angels'] hereby open it ['Hell'] to the infidels...through their [own] impiety and stubbornness."

 

Seventh. Now this Spirit-ual chain even today progressively being imposed by Christ in His Spirit-ual work through His Word-wielding Church will one day embrace the whole World. Then will that "chain" liberate all Nations from the deceits of Satan while imprisoning the latter within its grip, like a dog on a leash.

 

During the times of the Older Testament, it was only the Nation of Israel which had the liberating weapon of God's Word with which to protect itself from the wiles of the deceitful Devil. All of the other Nations in the World were then deceived by Satan. But with the incarnation of Christ in the times of the Newer Testament, His 'Great Commission' bids us to go into all the World and to liberate all of the previously-deceived Nations from their imprisonment to the Devil and his fetters of sin and ignorance and disease and poverty. For we are to give the Nations the protective chain of the Word of God with which to bind the Devil in their personal and national lives and their international relationships, so that he should no longer deceive them.

 

Obviously, even today, many Nations are still being deceived by Satan and have not yet been liberated by this Christian missionary outreach with the liberating Gospel. But one day, this still-expanding process will be completed at the yet-future time of the binding of Satan World-wide. Then, all Nations-as-such including even the Jews as apparently the last Nation to be christianized will serve the Lord Jehovah-Jesus.

 

In that day, the Nations (as such) as distinguished from the many present minority groups of Christians within each Nation will then, by the Church's own spreading abroad of Christ's Gospel, be brought into the glorious liberty of the sons of God. And in that day, Satan will be "bound" (though not totally be harmless) throughout the World and all its Nations for "a thousand years." Thus Jonathan Edwards, David Brown, B.B. Warfield, J.M. Kik, Loraine Boettner, and Rousas John Rushdoony.

 

Eighth. This blessed time of a "thousand years" (or perhaps even thousands of years) represents the cube of ten (as the number of plenitude). Thus it symbolizes a thrice-multiplied condition and duration of fullness, and probably also an indefinitely long period. For the Devil will much be restrained by this triple "seal" in the bottomless pit while all "the Nations" he previously deceived will then be marked World-wide with Baptism as the triple seal of the Triune God.

 

The "thousand years" thus represents or such thousands of years thus represent a golden age or a long and blessed era of the inter-nation-al triumph of True Christianity throughout the Earth. Then, Satan will be restrained by the power of the Gospel from deceiving all the Nations. Thus Jonathan Edwards, David Brown, B.B. Warfield, Marcellus Kik, Loraine Boettner, and R.J. Rushdoony.

 

It will be: a period of unchallenged and universal hegemony for Christianity. It will be a time of True Religion and undefiled when international peace shall flow like a river. It will be a very long season of immense spiritual blessings resulting in great public righteousness. And it will be an age of tremendous material prosperity and of vastly-increased longevity.

 

Exactly how long will the 'Millennium' last? Perhaps precisely 1000 years suggest the Geneva Bible, the Dordt Dutch Bible, and Bishop Thomas Newton. For a very long time suggest Joachim of Floris, John Calvin, Matthew Poole, Albert Barnes, and E.W. Hengstenberg. For a long symbolic period suggest Matthew Henry, Thomas Scott, Adam Clarke, Warfield, Kuyper, Kik, B.H. Carroll, and Herman Hoeksema. For 365,000 years one year for every day of our present years, for a thousand years suggest Bishop Thomas Newton, Joshua Wilson, Robert Scott, Charles Hodge, H.E. Gravemeijer, Loraine Boettner (and a whole host of others such as W.C. Davis, W.C. Brownlee, A.H. Burdick, Joseph Emerson, Charles Buck, Alexander Campbell, & Isaac Hinton).

 

The 'Millennium' then, will occur here on Earth between the First Advent and the Final Coming of Christ. Thus Augustine, Primasius, Andreas, Walafrid Strabo, Bede, Haymo, Berengaud, Albert the Great, Thomas Aquinas, the Calvinistic Dordt Dutch Bible, Matthew Poole, Matthew Henry, John Brown of Haddington, Adam Clarke, the D'Oyly & Mant Bible, David Brown, Albert Barnes, Patrick Fairbairn, B.H. Carroll, Kik, Boettner, and Rushdoony. It is not an oxymoronic 'amillennial Millennium'(?!) only in Heaven ('a la Lenski).

 

As John remarked: "Satan...would deceive the Nations no more.... And I saw thrones. And they [the Nations] sat upon them [the thrones]. And judgment [or rulership] was given to them [the earthly Nations].... Blessed and holy..., they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years."

 

Ninth. The following remarks of Philip Mauro are very instructive. "At last," he explains, "an era of life and blessing comes to the World over which sin and death have held sway for six thousand years. And the first guarantee of this [and the first necessary condition to secure it] is that the earthly enemies of God are destroyed...for a thousand years....

 

"We must remember that the things John saw and which he describes as [if] already past ('they lived and reigned') were in fact many centuries in the future at the time he saw and described them.... As regards the period here given as 'a thousand years' we should seek the spiritual and symbolical meaning of the term. What chiefly impresses me, is that it conveys the idea of fullness and completeness.

 

"That coming period of blessing will be full measure. It will not be broken or curtailed.... But nevertheless, the 'Millennium' is not the eternal state of perfection and blessedness. Hence it will come to an end. It is to be observed that the phrase 'a thousand years' occurs six times in these few verses.... The six is itself significant. It very definitely signifies that the 'Millennium' with all its blessings nevertheless comes short of perfection. It does not reach...to seven....

 

"During the 'Millennium'...we shall have not only the opportunity, but also the ability, to inquire fully into these matters.... The 'Millennium' is a period during which the natural creation is restored virtually to the state in which it subsisted before the entrance of sin into the World.... Moreover, God's plan for the natural World will then be carried out in that man will 'have dominion over all the Earth' and over all living creatures."

 

Tenth. The still-future "thousand years" reign of subsequent generations of Christians here on Earth, will be akin to our present earthly life (yet much improved), and an improved foretaste of the heavenly life after death (yet before the Final Judgment). Thus John applies the term "thousand years" to embrace also the period of the Christians' postmortal sojourn in Heaven (until the Final Judgment).

 

This is very appropriate. For all earthly Christians whether martyred in the past; suffering in the present; or triumphant in the future did reign, reign now, or shall reign, with Christ. They did so, do so, or shall do so right here on Earth.

 

Moreover, they will continue their present reign-with-Christ also after their deaths even in Heaven until Christ Himself hands over His Mediatorial reign to the Father, on His Own Final Coming at the end of the "thousand years." And after that time, when the Triune God will be all things and in all people, all of His triunely-baptized children will still keep on reigning under Him (and with Him) unto all eternity.

 

Now all Christians have, at least incipiently, "lived and reigned with Christ" ever since their "first resurrection." This "first resurrection" is that of their souls when they were regenerated and thus "lived" again and "reigned" (while here on Earth prior to their deaths). Thus: Calvin, the Geneva Bible, Kuyper, Kik, Boettner, and many others. Indeed, this is especially true of those imbued with the spirit of the martyrs. Thus: John Cotton, David Brown, and Albert Barnes.

 

Even those future earthly saints who will die at a ripe old age during the future era of blessedness will start to reign precisely from the time of their regeneration onward (and then continue to reign also during the time of their postmortal life in Heaven and right down till the Final Judgment). Indeed, they will continue to reign even thereafter right here, back again on our renewed planet (as the New Earth), and for ever.

 

Eleventh. John also saw how the Christian Nations, under the direction of Christ's Spirit, would reign and rule here on Earth internationally, during the 'Millennium.' He explains: "Satan...would deceive the Nations no more.... I saw thrones. And they [the de-Satanized and then-Christianized Nations] sat upon them [the thrones]. And judgment [or rulership] was given to them [the Nations]."

 

Here, John was enabled to look ahead at Christian Nations, right here on Earth. He foresaw especially the yet-future generations of Christian Nations which will live and reign here on Earth during more-Christianized times.

 

Twelfth. John also saw, however, the Christian dead in Heaven. In particular, he saw "the souls of them who had been beheaded for the witness of Jesus and for the Word of God" here in the World before the commencement of the 'Millennium' here on our great planet Earth.

 

Here, John was looking first of all at the 'martyred' "souls in Heaven of those Christians who had been killed (and who are being killed and who yet shall be killed) killed for their Christian Faith killed while previously here on Earth. For, as the Calvinistic Geneva Bible comments, here we see "the glory and authority of them that suffer for Christ's sake" namely suffered "while they...remained in this life."

 

The American Revised Version translates: "I saw thrones, and they [that] sat on them; and judgment was given unto them. And I saw the souls of them that had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus.... And they [all] lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years."

 

J. Marcellus Kik well paraphrases his understanding of John's words as follows: "I beheld the [living] saints seated upon thrones ruling over the flesh and the World and the Devil. Yes, I beheld too the [postmortal] victorious lives of those who had been beheaded and also of those who [had] suffered because they [had] refused to worship the Beast. As a matter of fact, all saints lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years."

 

Thirteenth. As already indicated by Kik, in addition to the souls of the martyrs John also saw in Heaven such Christians who got there after dying from natural causes. These are "those" of the blessed dead who had not been "beheaded" or 'slaughtered' for their Christian Faith yet who likewise "had not worshipped the Beast or his image nor had received his mark upon their own foreheads" while they were previously alive here on Earth.

 

Here John was looking at the souls in Heaven of those other dead Christians who had commendably stayed loyal to their Christian Faith until the time of their earthly death (and of course also thereafter). These were they who had died 'naturally' and who had not suffered a so-called "martyr's" death (such as by being "beheaded" for refusing to recant, in front of ungodly persecutors, their profession of faith in Christ).

 

Fourteenth. All of these Christian "dead-in-Christ," however both the 'martyred' and the 'unmartyred' "lived and reigned with Christ a 'thousand years.'" This is in marked contrast with "the rest of the dead" alias the un-believers who had died outside-of-Christ.

 

For all of those who died in Christ, had priorly started to live and to reign with the Saviour from the time of the (prebaptismal) regeneration of their soul; through to the time of the postmortal life of their soul in Heaven; and even until the Final Judgment and beyond, for evermore. They already started to live and to reign when they were 'born again'; thereafter, they had refused to receive the mark of the Beast but had instead received the mark of Triune Baptism for life. "This is the first resurrection."

 

Exulted the Apostle John: "Blessed and holy is he who partakes of the first resurrection! On such, the second death has no power. But they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall keep on reigning with Him a thousand years."

 

Here, "the second death" means the continuing existence of the ungodly in everlasting misery without Christ, and separated from the blessed presence of God. That "second death" commences at man's conception, during this present earthly life. It intensifies postmortally in 'Hell' as the place of spiritual torment which the wicked enter immediately after death. Indeed, it worsens further still after the Final Judgment, when death and 'Hell' are both yet to be cast into the everlasting Lake of Fire for all eternity. Subsequently, the wicked continue to exist with their soul then reunited to their (resurrected) body in the fires and torments of Hell for ever.

 

Those who partake of "the first resurrection" do so during this present earthly life, even from the very moment of their regeneration onward.

 

Such instantly become priests of God and of Christ; serve Him increasing ever since; and then and thereafter keep on reigning with Him for a thousand years. They do the latter first here on Earth; and then, after death, in Heaven until the 'second resurrection' (viz. that of the body on the Day of Judgment). Subsequently, they continue to exist with their souls then reunited to their (resurrected) bodies in Heaven, upon the New Earth, and in ever-lasting bliss.

 

Fifteenth. It was Victorinus the Austrian Overseer of Pettau who, right after the fiercest-ever persecution of Christians, in A.D. 300 wrote the first extant commentary on the Book of Revelation. Penned before the rule of Constantine as the first Christian Emperor of the Roman Empire, the commentary of Victorinus is clearly anti-chiliastic and postmillennialistic.

 

Says Victorinus on Revelation 6:1f: "The first seal being opened, he [the Apostle John]...saw a white horse, and a crowned Horseman having a bow.... After the Lord ascended into Heaven and opened all things, He sent the Holy Spirit Whose words the Preachers sent forth like arrows, reaching to the human heart so that they might overcome unbelief.... For [in Matthew 24:14] the Lord says: 'This Gospel shall be preached throughout the whole World for a testimony to all Nations!'"

 

Victorinus further added on Revelation 20: "Those years in which Satan is bound, are at the first advent of Christ even to the end of the age. And they are called a thousand, according to that mode of speaking in which a part is signified by the whole just as is that passage 'the Word which He commanded for a thousand generations' (although they are not a thousand).... He says that he [Satan] is bound and shut up so that he may not keep on seducing the Nations. 'The Nations' signifies the Church, seeing that it is itself being formed from them." Thus, the Nations are being brought into the Church!

 

"The 'first resurrection' is now, of the souls who are by the Faith which does not permit men to pass over to 'the second death.' Of this resurrection, the Apostle says: 'If you have risen with Christ keep on seeking the things which are above!'"

 

Sixteenth. Augustine of Hippo-Regius declares in his A.D. 413-426 work City of God (18:47f & 20:7 & 22:1) that "the Church of Christ has everywhere increased. This House of God is more glorious than the first one which was constructed of wood and stone...and other precious things. Therefore the prophecy of Haggai [2:9f] was not fulfilled in the rebuilding of that temple.... Before His advent, He [Christ] had not yet been desired by all Nations.... The glory of this House is not so apparent now as it shall be when everyone who is there, shall be there always....

 

"[In Mark 3:27,] the Lord Jesus Christ Himself says: 'No man can enter into a strong man's house and despoil his goods, except He first binds the strong man meaning by 'the strong man' the Devil.... It was for the binding of this strong one that the Apostle saw in the Apocalypse 'an Angel coming down from Heaven having the key of the abyss, and a chain in His hand. And He laid hold,' he says, 'of the Dragon, that old Serpent which is called the Devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand years...so that he should deceive the Nations no more'....

 

"He would by His grace collect, as now He does, a people so numerous that He thus fills up and repairs the blank made by the fallen Angels.... That beloved and heavenly city is not defrauded of the full number of its citizens, but perhaps may even rejoice in a still more overflowing population!"

 

Seventeenth. Rightly does that even later and greater Augustinian Dr. John Calvin therefore insist against the crackpot brands of Chiliasm or Premillennialism in his Institutes of the Christian Religion (III:25:5): "Those who assign only a thousand years to the children of God to enjoy..., observe not how great an insult they offer to Christ and His Kingdom.... If their blessedness is to have an end, the Kingdom of Christ...is temporary. In short, they are either most ignorant of all divine things or they maliciously aim at subverting the whole grace of God and power of Christ which can-not have their full effect unless sin is obliterated; death swallowed up; and eternal life fully renewed."

 

Calvin remarks also in his Psychopannychia: "John has described a twofold resurrection, as well as a twofold death; namely one [resurrection] of the soul, before judgment and another when the body will be raised up and when the soul also will be raised up to glory. 'Blessed,' says he, 'are those who have part in the first resurrection; on them the second death takes no effect' (Revelation 20:6).... That first resurrection...is the only entrance to beatific glory."

 

So too Junius in his 1599 edition of the Calvinistic Geneva Bible of Knox and Whittingham. He comments that 'the first resurrection' is "to receive Jesus Christ in true faith and to rise from sin in newness of life."

 

Eighteenth. The stronger Christianity becomes here and now on our present Earth, both extensively and intensively the stronger will our own present blessed reign with Christ be felt. For the more the Christian Faith expands here and now on this present Earth the more will we truly live; both here and now on this present Earth, and also after our death, in Heaven and before our final and bodily resurrection. Indeed, the stronger Christianity becomes in our present World the easier it will be for our children and grandchildren and their descendants to live to the glory of Christ here and now in this present World.

 

Yet the un-believers, dead in their trespasses and sins throughout their earthly lives and twice dead in Hell after their physical deaths shall only continue to 'exist' (but not to "live"). For even the resurrection of their bodies on Judgment Day will for them not be a resurrection unto life but rather a resurrection unto the damnation of the second death.

 

So the unbelievers, "the rest of the dead, did not live." Also previously they had only existed but never truly "lived." Nor would they ever live even after the time "the thousand years were ended." For Jesus shall reign not just till He crushes all His enemies, but thereafter too!

 

As the Calvinistic Geneva Bible rightly comments, by 'the rest of the dead' John here "means them which are spiritually dead. For in whom Satan 'lives' he is dead to God." And he shall suffer 'the second death' or "the death of the soul, which is eternal damnation."

 

Nineteenth. The great Puritan John Cotton made some striking observations about the 'Millennium' way back in 1642. That was one year before the Westminster Assembly, which he was invited to attend as a Commissioner.

 

The pouring out of the seventh vial of Revelation chapter sixteen, held John Cotton, inaugurates the thousand years' reign of Christ here on Earth as soon as the power of the preached Word of God finally defeats Antichrist. That would then in turn activate a wide-scale international social regeneration, which Cotton called the 'first resurrection.' That 'first resurrection' would be spiritual, not bodily. It would commence at the fall of the Antichrist. And it would be characterized by the regeneration of individuals as well as by the 'resurrection' of whole Congregations of the Church.

 

"These thousand years," explains Cotton in his work The Church's Resurrection (pp. 5f), "therefore do most properly begin from the throwing down of Antichrist and destruction of Rome. The Lord will then send such powerful Ministers [alias 'Angels'] into the Church that, by the power of the keys, they shall take hold of Satan that is to say, convict him and his instruments of all Popish and Paganish Religion; and bind him by...the strong chain of God's ordinances, Word and Sacraments, and Censures.... The Lord in His Word shall take hold of them and abandon them; and if they be Church Members, will bind them in chains [away] from the Ordinances of God as [by way of] Admonition and Excommunication...and partly also by punishment from Civil Magistrates as need shall be." Cf. the Westminster Larger Catechism 191f.

 

Twentieth. The 1657 Scottish Puritan James Durham comments on Revelation 20:1f: "We conceive this place to hold out a flourishing and good condition for some time of the Church Militant...going [al]together opposite to things wherein the [present] low condition of the saints consisteth.... It consisteth in the plurality and abundance of professors...imbracing this Gospel, many Nations...joining them[selves] to the Lord.... It consisteth...in outward freedom...[viz.] when heathen persecution is stopped...and Kings become nursing-fathers to the Church....

 

"The length of time it continueth...is a long time.... Good conditions come not instantly...but by degrees.... The Lamb, [together] with the chosen and faithful that are with Him, shall make war with the enemy and overcome.... The period of this vision, the Devil's final overthrow, is the same with the period of the vials. For the sixth overturneth the Beast, and the seventh vial bringeth it the next more universal overthrow to the Devil.... The World will be lengthened long....

 

"Consider John's way in this same vision.... Some things, yea many, are not to be applied according to the letter but in a spiritual way.... The first resurrection...is a resurrection opposed to the sinful dead world which continues dead.... It is such a resurrection as upon which freedom from the second death doth flow....

 

"That is not a bodily resurrection, but a spiritual.... It is questioned whether our Lord Jesus shall come personally [alias physically] to reign with the saints on Earth. We answer negatively.... Enoch walked with God three hundred years.... To reign with Christ will imply a spiritual presence of Christ with them....before...His judgment." Op. cit., pp. 749-56.

 

Twenty-first. Jonathan Edwards states in his 1739 History of Redemption (Period III Part II Section I Application Secondly & I), that there will be a "great spiritual resurrection...of the Church of God.... This spiritual resurrection, is the resurrection spoken of as attended with judgment. Revelation 20:4....

 

"I would describe the prosperous state the Church shall be in.... It is most properly the time of the Kingdom of Heaven upon Earth.... Now is the principal fulfilment of all the prophecies of the Old Testament which speak of the glorious times of the Gospel...in the latter days....

 

"Then, all Countries and Nations even those which are now most ignorant, shall be full of light and knowledge.... Then, many of the Negroes and Indians will be divines.... Excellent books will be published in Africa, in Ethiopia, in Tartary....

 

"It shall be a time of great holiness (Isaiah 65:20).... Everything shall then be done to the glory of God (Isaiah 23:18).... It shall be a time wherein religion shall in every respect be uppermost in the World.... The Kingdoms shall be given into the hands of the saints of the 'Most High God,' Daniel 7:27.... 'They shall live and reign with Christ, a thousand years.' Revelation 20:4....

 

"Those who are in highest advancement shall be holy men. Isaiah 49:23.... Kings shall employ all their power and glory and riches, for the advancement of the honour and glory of Christ and the good of His Church. Isaiah 60:16.

 

"Those will be times of great peace and love (Isaiah 2:4 & 32:18; Psalm 66:9; Zechariah 9:10 & 8:10f).... It will be a time of excellent order in the Church of Christ (Psalm 122:3).... The Church of God shall then be beautiful and glorious (Isaiah 60:1 & 61:10)....

 

"That will be a time of the greatest temporal prosperity (Zechariah 7:4 & 8:5 & 8:12; Isaiah 65:21; Micah 4:4; Jeremiah 31:12f & 33:9; Amos 9:13).... It will be a time of great rejoicing (Isaiah 35:10 & 60:12 & 66:11 & 12:3 and Revelation 19:7-9)."

 

What, then, will be "the duration of this state of the Church's prosperity?" Edwards answers: "The Scriptures everywhere represent it to be of long continuance.... Revelation 20:4."

 

Twenty-second. We close with an extended citation from Albert Barnes's 1851 Commentary on the Book of Revelation. In his Analysis of chapter twenty, Dr. Barnes explains: "This chapter...pertains to the future, and discloses things which are yet to occur.... Satan is to be arrested and bound for a thousand years.... This is properly the 'Millennium' the long period when the principles of True Religion will have the ascendency on the Earth....

 

"There may be long intervening periods between the events thus thrown together into the final grouping. We are not to suppose necessarily that these events will succeed each other immediately, or that they will be of short duration. Between these events thus hastily sketched, there may be long intervals that are not described....

 

"Hills in the distant view, may seem to lie near each other. One may seem to rise just back of another, and to the eye they may seem to constitute parts of the same mountain. And yet, between them there may be deep and fertile vales.... So it is in the prophecies....

 

"Time is marked in the prophetic description until the fall of [Romanism as] the great enemy of the Church. Beyond that, it does not seem to have been regarded as necessary to determine the actual duration of the events referred to.... The grand purpose was to show that Christianity would finally triumph.... The end is triumphant and glorious. We are assured that every enemy of the Church will be slain, and that there will be a long period of happiness, prosperity, and peace.... The number of the redeemed will be augmented beyond all computation; and the promise made from the beginning that 'the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head' [Genesis 3:15] will be fulfilled in all its extent, and with a divine plenitude of meaning."

 

In his Commentary itself, Dr. Barnes insists: "The scene that is recorded here [in Revelation 20:1f], occurs after the destruction of the Beast and the False-Prophet (chapter 19:18-21), and...after the final destruction of the Papal and Mahometan powers.... There are elsewhere in the Scriptures abundant promises that the Gospel will ultimately spread over the World.... The World shall enjoy a reign of peace and righteousness during the long period....

 

"The Earth would continue under a reign of righteousness, through a vastly long period in the future.... During that period, there will be a state of things upon the Earth as if Satan should be withdrawn from the World."

 

As to the "condition of the World in the period referred to," Barnes suggests the following.

 

"(1) This will be subsequent to the downfall of the Papacy and the termination of the Mahometan power in the World....

(2) It will be a condition of the World as if Satan were bound.... All that occurs [today] under the direct influence of Satan in causing or perpetuating slavery, war, intemperance, lust, avarice, disorder, scepticism, atheism will be checked and stayed.... This passage does not require us to suppose that there will be a total cessation of Satanic influence in the Earth during that period...though there will be a general prevalence of righteousness....

(3) It will be a period of long duration....

 

"(4) What...will be the state of things during that...thousand years?

(a) There will be a great increase in population....

(b) There will be a general diffusion of intelligence upon the Earth....

(c) There will be great progress in all that tends to promote the welfare of man....

(d) It will be marked by unlimited subjection to the sceptre of Christ....

(e) There will be great progress in all that tends to promote the welfare of man....

(g) It will be a period of the universal reign of peace....

(h) There will be a general prevalence of evangelical religion....

(i) it will be a time when the Hebrew people the Jews will be brought to the knowledge of the truth, and will embrace the Messiah whom their fathers crucified....

 

"The doctrine which has been held, and is held, by those [viz. the Premillennialists] who maintain that there will be a literal resurrection of the saints to reign with Christ [and indeed] during a thousand years, can receive no support from this passage.... It may signify...the raising up of an increased Christian zeal and holiness; the revival of the Christian Church.... Christian principles shall be displayed in action throughout the World in an infinitely greater degree than ever before....

 

"Satan will be bound.... The True Religion will have the ascendency in the Earth.... Holy principles will then reign.... Religion will no longer be trampled underfoot, but will triumph. In all parts of the Earth, it will have the ascendency.... The ruling influence in the World will be the Religion of the Son of God."

 

O Christian, let us rightly be very perturbed about the terrible plight of those today still outside of Christ! But let us also rejoice that we believers, sealed by God in Triune Baptism, already reign with Christ having done so ever since we were regenerated before Baptism!

 

Let us work toward the steady expansion of Christianity throughout the Earth so that, in God's good time, the Devil will no more be able to deceive the Nations for "a thousand years"! And until that comes to pass let us live and die for Jesus, reigning with Him here and now on Earth in a heavenly way and after our death even in Heaven "for a thousand years," until the time of the Final Judgment!

 

For we know that this very World of ours shall yet become filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. We also know that after the Final Judgment, we ourselves will come back to the (renewed) Earth and then enjoy that inheritance in full, for ever and ever.

 

 

 

 

 

So on, then, Christian soldiers! Onward, to victory!

Satan unbound only to be dragged off to Final Judgment

Revelation 20:7-15 December 29

 

 

"And I saw an Angel.... He laid hold of...the Devil...and bound him a thousand years...so that he should deceive the Nations not even when the thousand years were completed. After that, he must be unchained for just a little time.... Then the Devil who had deceived them was cast into the Lake of Fire and Brimstone [or Sulphur] where the Beast and the False-Prophet are. Then they shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever."

 

 

How will the 'Millennium' end? All the Nations of the World will indeed get converted whether premillennially, amillennially, or postmillennially. But after that will they then 'apostasize' from the truth, right before the Final Judgment at the great white throne? If so what becomes of the perseverance of the saints?

 

We ourselves (together with many others) believe Scripture teaches there will at the end of the yet-future postmillennial 'Millennium' be absolutely no final falling away. Below, we shall give detailed reasons for our opinion. Yet now, we outline the seven events we expect after the 'Millennium.' For these seven events become clear, once we carefully compare First Corinthians 15:51-54 and First Thessalonians 4:14-17 with Revelation 20:3-12.

 

First. This is the order of the seven last events.

 

(1) The raising of the bodies of the dead-in-Christ and their meeting the Lord in the air First Thessalonians 4:14-16.

(2) The simultaneous raising of the bodies of the dead-in-Satan and their remaining here on Earth, while surrounding the camp of the saints Revelation 20:5 & 20:8 cf. Matthew 24:37-41.

(3) The immortalizing in a moment of the living saints, and their meeting the Lord in the air; thus vacating the camp of the saints here on Earth First Corinthians 15:51-54 cf. First Thessalonians 4:15-17 & Revelation 20:5-9.

 

 

That will then immediately be followed by the remaining events. Viz.:

 

(4) The changing momentarily of the physically-undead and then-premortal wicked, who will then remain on the Earth First Corinthians 15:51f & Revelation 20.8f.

(5) The final judgment here on Earth, involving the punishment of all the wicked in (2) and (4) above Revelation 20:9-14.

(6) the thrusting of the condemned wicked from off of the Earth and into the hellish Lake of Fire and Brimstone for ever Revelation 20:15. And

(7) the descent of the Christians through the air, together with Heaven, down onto the then-renewed Earth for ever Revelation 21:1f,10f,24-26 & 22:1-5.

 

Second. The still-future earthly 'Millennium' seems to be distinct from and subsequent to (and a result of) the present reign of the ascended Jesus from His heavenly throne. Right now, the glorious Gospel of the now-reigning Jesus still needs to be brought to and to christianize all the Nations dwelling upon our now-great and then-straight planet Earth.

 

Now the 'Millennium' only begins when an 'Angel' from Heaven preaching the Word of God to all the Nations, really and truly binds Satan internationally. This Angel seems to be Christ the heavenly Messenger, working through His earthly Ministers of the Word and Sacraments who preach His message in terms of His Great Commission. As a result, ultimately as John heard the heavenly choir sing to the Lord "all Nations shall come and worship before You." Revelation 15:4.

 

Then, Satan will no longer be able to deceive any Nation in the way he did deceive all Nations (except the Nation of Ancient Israel) before Christ commanded His Gospel message to be taken to every Nation. Accordingly, this 'Millennium' seems to commence at that future time when the Christian Gospel becomes the most powerful influence on Earth, among all Nations, everywhere.

 

However, John's inspired vision of the "thousand years" foresees not only the commencement of that period. It predicts also its long duration when Satan shall be bound; when the previously-deceived Nations shall all be sealed (with the mark of Christian Baptism); and when they shall reign with the Lord Jesus for "a thousand years" (alias the perfect period of 'ten cubed').

 

Third. John's prophecy also infallibly describes the termination of the 'Millennium' in a rapid series of events. Those rapid events follow one another in swift succession. They are: Christ's Final Coming at the post-millennial end of World History; the simultaneous bodily resurrection of both the believers and the unbelieving "rest of the dead"; the parading of all of the ungodly, here on Earth, before the eyes of the Church Triumphant (then to be with Jesus "in the air"); the Last Judgment of all humanity and of Satan and his Demons; and, immediately after that, man's entry into his everlasting final state.

 

The Nations as such will have been converted and baptized by, and at, the beginning of the 'Millennium.' Subsequently, throughout the last "thousand years" of our Earth's still-future World History, there will everywhere be peace among the dominant and reigning Christians (both in Heaven among the blessed dead, and also here on Earth among the living saints). Throughout that blissful time, Satan will be shut up and sealed in the bottomless pit. Then, at the end of that period, the doomed Devil will be hauled out of his prison and led off to his final condemnation together with all who have ever followed him.

 

Fourth. It should be noted that Satan does not as it were 'of his own free will' escape from prison, at the end of the 'Millennium.' Quite to the contrary. He is then intentionally loosened only by the power and wisdom of the sovereign God.

 

"A thousand years" previously but apparently still subsequent to the beginning of our own twenty-first century the Lord Jesus Christ will have christianized the Nations and have thrown Satan into chains. This Christ will then have effected through the agency of the Church's progressive wielding of the Sword of the Lord (which is the Word of God). But then, immediately after the "thousand years" after the last Member of God's elect Church has been regenerated, and after that great crowd of believers which no man can number has been brought to faith in Jesus God will once again unleash the Devil from his chains.

 

Why? Not to terrorize the (then globally christianized) Nations anew; but solely to drag Satan and his squalid squad off to their Final Judgment and speedily so! This is why Satan is unchained and indeed for just "a little time." Quickly, he is forced to collect his wretched followers so that all of them can rapidly be condemned and then be thrust into the Lake of Fire and Brimstone forever, by the sovereign will of Almighty God.

 

Fifth. While God is dragging the Devil forth to judgment, the latter's miserable servants follow him. These include not only his wicked Angels, but also all of his human followers too the then-to-be-resurrected dead "Nations which are in the four quarters of the Earth, Gog and Magog."

 

Those dead Nations had previously 'lived' (or rather existed) but then died. That occurred long before the advent of the "thousand years." And that 'Millennium' would expire only after a thousand years at a later time.

 

Yet even by then, a few of Satan's followers would never yet have 'died.' They will thus still be 'alive' (or rather only exist) on the Earth even at the end of the 'Millennium.' They will then exist very weakly and only on the fringes of an overwhelmingly-christianized but not-yet-sinless international World Order. Only then will they too die and be judged!

 

The events described in Revelation 2O:8, are similar but not identical to the events described in Ezekiel chapters 38 to 39. In Ezekiel's passage, Gog is a leader who comes only from the north. See Ezekiel 38:2-15 & 39:11, and cf. Genesis 1O:2-5. In Revelation 20:8, however, Gog is a Nation which together with the Nation(s) of Magog comes from the four points of the compass, and from the extreme fringes of the Earth.

 

Yet the "Gog and Magog" of Revelation 20:8 may also (and perhaps even exclusive1y) be referring to the resurrected Pagan-Roman legions with their Non-Roman foreign mercenaries in the Pagan-Roman armies of the first century B.C., down to the middle or toward the end of the first century A.D. When previously alive, such hailed from the time of Pompey's invasion of Jerusalem in B.C. 63, down to Titus's destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. (as apparently adumbrated also in Ezekiel 38:2-16f and 39:1-11 & 39:29 cf. Acts 2:1-32).

 

Sixth. Note that in Revelation 20:8-11f, the "two" Satanically-deceived entities Gog and Magog do not occupy the whole World; nor even the length and breadth of the World; but only "the breadth of the land" or "gees." Note further, they do not overwhelm but merely "compass" or "surround" the camp of the saints not the saints themselves (who will right then have left their camp to meet Christ in the air). Not one of the saints will then be harmed!

 

Compare this with the "compassing" or "surrounding" of Jerusalem by the Roman armies (with their Gog-Magog mercenaries) around A.D. 70. In that military operation not a single saint was harmed, because all of the saints had by then already left the "land" (or "gee"). Matthew 24:15-28 & 25:15-22 (especially verses 20-22); Luke 21:20f; and Revelation 20:5-8.

 

The 1637 Geneva Bible comments at Revelation 20:8 on 'Gog and Magog' (at the end of the 'Millennium'): "By them are meant divers and strange enemies of the Church of God.... Read Ezekiel 38:2."

 

In 1748, the great Baptist and Hypercalvinist Theologian Dr. John Gill held "that all the wicked shall be brought out of Hell, for the purpose of going up on the length of the Earth to fight [the] battle referred to in Revelation (20:5,8)." And even Arminian Seventh-day Adventists stated in 1957 that at Revelation 20:8 "Gog and Magog are revived by means of, or resulting from, the second resurrection."

 

So the Devil will then collect his plentiful and replete "dead-in-Satan" probably before he collects his penurious and scanty "alive-in-Satan." For the "dead-in-Satan" are "the rest of the dead" who will be resurrected apparently just a moment after the resurrection of the "dead-in-Christ" at the end of World History, when "the thousand years are finished."

 

Seventh. The order of events when the "wheat" and the "tares" are to be gathered, seems to have been given already in Revelation 14:14-20. We are also in agreement with the footnote in the Scofie1d Reference Bible at Matthew 13:30: "The gathering of the tares to bundles for burning does not imply immediate judgment. At the end of this age (Matthew 14:40), the tares are set apart for burning. But first, the wheat is gathered into the barn (John 14:3 & First Thessalonians 4:15-17)."

 

This apparently means that at end of the World, Christ through His Angels first "reaps" or resurrects or touches all men taking the reaped wheat alias the believers up in the air, while leaving the reaped tares alias the unbelievers on the Earth. Second, His Angels collect (sullexate) the tares and bind them into bundles "in the four quarters of the Earth." Thus Revelation 20:7-9. Next, the wheat He thrusts together (sunagagete) into His "heavenly" barn. John 14:3 & First Thessalonians 4:14-17. And last He only then seizes the already-bound tares, in order "to burn them." Matthew 13:30.

 

The dead-in-Christ shall then rise first, and triumphantly meet the triumphantly returning Lord "in the air" when He consummates World History. At that same time, the dead-in-Satan shall rise but they stay on the Earth unto their judgment (thus Adam Clarke). For they shall rise unto their final condemnation and their everlasting punishment.

 

Next, the alive-in-Christ (who will not yet have died) shall be overclothed with immortality, in the twinkling of an eye. They will then be snatched up into the clouds, together with the dead-in-Christ (who will have arrived there immediately before their just-overclothed brethren).

 

Then those who are 'in Satan' who had not yet died physically, will join the just-resurrected (but never-to-ascend) dead-in-Satan and stand together on the surface of the Earth. From the air above, the Church Triumphant will then look down at those left behind on the Earth below.

 

Both the many resurrected wicked who had died previously, and the few wicked who had died but recently together with the handful of wicked who would never yet have died at all shall then be dragged across the face of the Earth to their Final Judgment. They will be a public spectacle; in disgrace; and then removed to their everlasting punishment in the Lake of Fire.

 

So then at the very time of Christ's final coming, Satan will be unchained (but only to be destroyed). Foolishly, he will summon his handful of then-still-living followers from the lunatic fringes of an otherwise christianized World. That mere handful the "alive-in-Satan" will then join the ranks of the wicked Angels (or Demons). They will also join the numerous human dead-in-Satan (whom God will just then have raised up unto their own Final Judgment).

 

Eighth. The Lord will then parade all of those wicked persons before the eyes of His elect. The latter will then be "in the air" above the Earth. They will thus be "forever with the Lord" both then and also when they subsequently descend from the air, after the destruction of the wicked. After that, the righteous will re-inhabit the then-cleansed Earth forever. But right before that happens God will first march both Satan and all of his followers, in disgrace, throughout the Earth. For that will be their very last earthly journey as they are forced to trudge along, unto their doom!

 

There is no question of Satan deceiving the Christian majority of all the World's many inhabitants in that day! Nor is there then any apostasy from the World-dominating latter-day Church. Thus: Hippolytus, Jonathan Edwards, John Gill, Moses Stuart, Warfield, Stonehouse, Kik, Boettner, Vonk, Rissi, and Rushdoony. Nor is there even a short period of successful renewed Satanic activity to deceive even a portion of any Nation then extant. No! At that time, powerless Satan will need to be enabled, however feebly, to crawl out of his prison. Only Almighty God can and will unlock the door and then turf out the Devil, unto his Final Judgment.

 

Still, the Devil will then indeed make a feeble and desperate attempt "to deceive" his previous dupes once more. Yet in doing this, he thus deceives not God's elect but only Satan's own servants.

 

Such will include the never-dead alias the few 'living' unbelievers. But the bulk of Satan's deceived human followers, will consist of the dead Nations which will just then have been resurrected unto condemnation at the marginalized four corners of the Earth where most of them had flourished only before their deaths more than a thousand years earlier.

 

Ninth. Satan re-deceives the long-since-dead pagan Nations of Gog and Magog (thus both the Hypercalvinistic Baptist John Gill as well as Arminian Seventh-day Adventists) and/or the Demons (thus the Calvinist Vonk). Gog and Magog are Satan's dupes who will only-just-then have been resurrected from the dead, unto everlasting damnation. Yet Satan's followers, such as they are, will apparently then once more constitute a considerable number "like the sand of the sea." Thus the Devil "shall go out to deceive [the previously dead and only-then-resurrected] Nations in the four quarters of the Earth." Those then-just-resurrected pagan Nations Gog and Magog will then be gathered together to battle. Then, hopelessly against all odds, they will be certain to suffer speedy and decisive defeat.

 

Even this final deceit of the Devil in again (as formerly) deceiving the (resurrected) pagan Nations, shall be eminently unsuccessful; especially when measured against both the whole course and the final outcome of World History. It is true that Satan and his Demons and his few then-still-living human followers will then get re-inforced by the Devil-serving hordes of the "rest of the dead" (just resurrected by God to face their Final Judgment). But, even then just before they are together hurled into the Lake of Fire and Brimstone forever they will (both qualitatively and quantitatively) be vastly inferior to the innumerable Christian armies.

 

In His sovereignty, God will then visibly shunt and parade both the human followers as well as the Demons of the Devil before the Christian onlookers then "in the air" above. Thus will the latter then know that the Final Judgment of all their enemies will have arrived.

 

Satan will never again deceive the Nations the way he did before the beginning of the execution of Christ's Own 'Great Commission' had commenced converting them. The resurrected Pagan Nations, Gog and Magog, will not at all gain control of the World. They shall merely be shunted across the breadth of the Earth unto the judgment of their damnation. The much stronger Christian Nations of that still-future day, shall never be in any real danger least of all then. For they shall then all be "in the air" forever with the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Tenth. John predictively foresaw that the 'lunatic fringe' of the marginalized Nations, Gog and Magog shall only "go up" across "the breadth of the Earth." Then they shall surround "the camp of the saints" or the then-empty "beloved city" alias the various vacated church buildings. Those buildings will then be altogether empty. For, as right before the siege of Jerusalem (in A.D. 66-70) the real Church alias the saints themselves will just then have left their earthly abode, in order to meet the Lord "in the air" and to witness the utter destruction of Gog and Magog on the Earth below. First Thessalonians 4:15-17.

 

In Scripture, "the camp" always refers only to the visible "buildings" of the Church Militant. Thus Eldad and Medad prophesied outside the camp. The camp is always that of the Church Militant, and never that of the Church Triumphant. The purpose of unleasing the wicked is not to attack God's troops who had till then been in their camp but only to drag the ungodly across the Earth, past the now-empty camp, unto judgment. Thus Dr. Adam Clarke.

 

Eleventh. With all of the saints then together in the air with the Lord fire shall then come "down from God out of Heaven" to devour the wicked. For He will then have come back on the clouds at that very time to cleanse His Earth forever. Indeed, "the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from Heaven with all His mighty Angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that do not know God and that do not obey the Gospel." Those ignorant and disobedient unbelievers "shall be punished with everlasting destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power." For "on that Day He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe."

 

This rapid succession of events will take place in just "a little time" after the end of the as-yet-still-future blessed "thousand years" of millennial earthly peace. Almighty God Himself then raises the Pagan Nations from the dead (and also stirs up the few living unbelievers who will by then never yet have died) unto their final judgment and condemnation. All Satan's deceptions, including his deceiving the 'living-dead' and the then-resurrected way-out Fringe-Nations Gog and Magog will then be exposed forever.

 

Twelfth. Already the A.D. 170-235 Hippolytus wrote about Revelation 20:7f in his eschatological Fragments about the loosening or unbinding of Satan at the very end of the 'Millennium.' "This unbinding of Satan," says Hippolytus, "does not mean that he will then enjoy a time of renewed activity but that he and his fo1lowers will then be thrown into the fire."

 

A far more extended treatment is given by Augustine of Hippo-Regius. Formerly, while and after being an Anti-Christian Manichaean, he himself had toyed with chiliastic Premillenarianism. But after his conversion to Christ, in his A.D. 413-426 masterpiece The City of God (XX:6-13) he wrote inter alia the following about Revelation 20:1-9.

 

"There are also two resurrections.... The first and spiritual resurrection...takes place in this life, and preserves us from coming into the second death. The second does not occur now but at the end of the World and...is of the body not of the soul.... The Last Judgment shall dismiss some into the second death; others into that life which has no death....

 

"Those who, on the strength of this passage, have suspected that 'the first resurrection' is future and bodily, ...surpass the measure of credulity itself. Such assertions can be believed only by the carnal. They who do believe them, are called by the spiritual: 'Chiliasts' which we may literally reproduce by the name '[Pre-]Millenarians.' It were a tedious process to refute these opinions point by point. We prefer proceeding to show how that passage of Scripture should be understood....

 

"By the 'chain'...the Devil is...restrained from seducing those Nations which belong to Christ.... It is not said that he [the Devil] would not seduce anybody, but 'that he would not seduce the Nations' meaning, no doubt, those among which the Church exists 'till the thousand years would be fulfilled'.... The words 'that he would not seduce the Nations'...are not to be understood as indicating that afterwards he is to seduce.... He is shut up till the thousand years be fulfilled, on this account that he may no more deceive the Nations.... God forbid that such should be the case!"

 

Augustine explains that the loosening of Satan after the thousand years will be "occurring while the Final Judgment is imminent.... These Nations which he [John] names 'Gog' and 'Magog' are not to be understood of some barbarous Nations in some part of the World.... They are therefore the Nations in which we found that the Devil was shut up as in an abyss and the Devil himself coming out from them.... The reign of the saints with Christ shall last longer than the bonds and imprisonment of the Devil.... The thousand years of the reign of the saints does not terminate, though the imprisonment of the Devil does" but only unto his everlasting condemnation!

 

Thirteenth. Also Jonathan Edwards comments in his 1739 History of Redemption on the activity of the then-resurrected ancient Nations of Gog and Magog in Revelation 20:8. He remarks: "There is nothing in the prophecy which seems to hold forth as though the Church actually falls into their hands as the Church had fallen [previously and quite before the earlier commencement of the 'Millennium'] into the hands of Antichrist, to whom it was given to make war with the saints.... God will never suffer this to be again after the fall of Antichrist! For then the day of her mourning shall be ended."

 

In his 1845 Commentary on the Apocalypse, Rev. Professor Dr. Moses Stuart comments: "The eye of hope is directed forward, and sees the thousand years of uninterrupted prosperity.... I cannot therefore doubt that the setting sun of the Church on Earth is to be as a Heaven of unclouded splendour. Peaceful and triumphant will be her latest age." This was cited approvingly also by Dr. Barnes, in his own Analysis of chapter twenty of the Book of Revelation.

 

On the whole period of the 'Millennium' itself, Rev. Dr. Albert Barnes himself comments at Revelation 20:9f in 1851f: "The great glory of the World will be the millennial period; when religion shall have the ascendency and the [human] race shall have reached its highest point of progress on Earth and the blessings of liberty, intelligence, peace and piety shall have during that period been spread over the globe. In that long duration, who can estimate the numbers that shall be redeemed and saved? That period [having] passed, the great purpose contemplated by the creation of the Earth the glory of God in the redemption of a fallen race, and in setting up a Kingdom of righteousness in a World of apostasy will have been accomplished.... There will be no reason why the Final Judgment should not then occur."

 

At the same place, Barnes comments also on the way in which the 'Millennium' will end. Referring to Revelation 20:7f, he explains: "This overthrow of the enemies of God and of the Church, will be final. Satan will be 'cast into the Lake of Fire and Brimstone, to be tormented day and night for ever.' The Beast and the False-Prophet are already there (chapter 19:20). That is, they will have ceased long since, even before the beginning of the millennial period.... Satan now, the last enemy, will be doomed to the same hopeless woe. And all the enemies that have ever opposed the Church in all forms of Paganism, Mahometanism, Popery, and delusion will be destroyed for ever. The World then will have peace; the Church will have rest; the great triumph will have been achieved."

 

Fourteenth. Also the 1851-1921 Rev. Professor Dr. B.B. Warfield writes about Revelation 20:7f in his work The Millennium and the Apocalypse: "The picture that is brought before us here, is...the thousand years.... In the preceding vision (19:11-21), Christ's Gospel is to conquer the Earth. He is to overcome all His enemies.... The 'binding of Satan' is therefore in reality not for a season, but with reference to a sphere; and his 'loosing' again is...in another sphere.... The saints described, are removed from the sphere of Satan's assaults.... He is bound with respect to them."

 

In 1929, Rev. Professor Dr. Ned Stonehouse of Westminster Theological Seminary published his book The Apocalypse in the Ancient Church. There, he quoted approvingly the previously-mentioned words from Hippolytus we ourselves have cited. Then Stonehouse himself stated: "In truth, this loosening of Satan signifies not that he enters upon a period of renewed activity, but that he with his followers are to be cast into the burning and judged."

 

In his 1955 book Revelation Twenty, Rev. Dr. J. Marcellus Kik, a former Associate Editor of Christianity Today, stated: "Satan's loosing will be that period just before the Second Coming of the Lord.... Before the loosing of Satan, all Nations will become predominantly Christian.... Notice that Satan does not break out of the prison by his own power.... He is loosed by the Lord.... Nothing more is written in this prophecy concerning an intervening period between the destruction of Gog and Magog and the resurrection of the dead. This must be the final destructive blow."

 

Fifteenth. In the 1957 edition of his great book The Millennium, Prof. Dr. Loraine Boettner stated: "Warfield believed there will be no resurgence of evil at all at the end, but rather that at the return of Christ, the present Kingdom then perfected with the conquering of the last enemy, death will be merged into the eternal Kingdom....

 

"We do believe that the views of such a distinguished Theologian must be given consideration in any comprehensive treatment of this subject. And we agree that Revelation 20:1-10 affords no real basis for believing that there is to be a final apostasy in the sense that a large proportion of Earth's inhabitants turn against God or that the safety of the saints is seriously threatened."

 

Sixteenth. Rev. Dr. R.J. Rushdoony states in his 1970 Thy Kingdom Come! that in Revelation twenty, "verses 7-10, we see the release of Satan, [so] that he might be destroyed in all that he presumes to be. This means that the Gospel age sees the False-Prophet and Beast destroyed in their Babylonian dream (in the explicit revolt of Satan against Christ's Kingdom)....

 

"Some see a defeat of the saints and a victory for Satan in the end times but only by importing other Bible passages into this text, all with doubtful reference." Rushdoony himself then insists: "We are here told only of an attempt.... It fails, and God destroys forever the power of Satan."

 

Indeed, in his 1994 Systematic Theology, Rushdoony explains: "The Second Coming...shall be preceded...by the destruction of all His enemies except death (First Corinthians 15:24-26). However, there can be a very long time-span between the World-triumph and His coming again."

 

Seventeenth. To Mathis Rissi in his 1972 book The Future of the World: An Exegetical Study of Revelation 19:11 to 22:15, the sphere of Revelation 20:3 and 20:7 "deals with the kingdom of demonic powers and of the dead as the prison in the underworld.... Satan entices the ghostly Nations of the dead and the Demons, 'innumerable as the sands of the sea' from the four corners of the Earth where the underworld manifests itself....

 

"Thus, at the end there comes the manifestation of the unredeemed.... But the Church is indestructible.... No fresh battle takes place. But rather a fire from Heaven consumes the whole ghostly array, and Satan is delivered over to the Lake of Fire where the Antichrist and his helpers already are" and have been ever since the onset of the 'Millennium' many years previously.

 

The assumption that John could here have thought of the inhabitants of the underworld, is made too by W. Metzger in his book The In-Between Kingdom. He rightly points to Ezekiel 32:17f, where many Nations appear in the kingdom of the dead (at Revelation 20:5-13) among them even the Nations of Gog, Meshech and Tubal (Ezekiel 38:2).

 

Explains Rissi: "Terms like 'Kings' and 'Armies' can also refer to men or Demons, and John [in Revelation 1:18 & 6:8f cf. 20:3-9] thinks here first of all of 'the dead' in the underworld. Their appearance, at the last 'attempt' to 'conquer' the people of God, reveals their powerlessness and their appearance at the Last Judgment (10:11f), their guilt."

 

Eighteenth. In 1972, this writer (Dr. Francis Nigel Lee) told Dr. R.J. Rushdoony that he (Lee) denied a final apostasy at the end of a postmillennial 'Millennium.' Rushdoony replied that he too had for some years himself begun to doubt the 'final apostasy' view.

 

Dr. Lee visited Dr. Boettner in 1975 and expounded to him his own reasons for rejecting a final apostasy at the end of the postmillennial 'Millennium.' Boettner then told Lee the latter's thesis was striking and very plausible, and that he wanted to agree. See his Commendation at the front of this book.

 

Unfortunately, some of the preteristic and revisionistic faction among modern Postmillennialists have lapsed back to what Rushdoony has called an "amillennial hangover" in their pessimistic understanding of Revelation 20:3 and 20:7f. Such persons according to Martin Selbrede's 1999 monograph Reconstructing Postmillennialism would include especially Gary North and Ken Gentry.

 

In the March 1982 edition of The Counsel of Chalcedon, published by the Atlanta Congregation of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in the United States, Rev. Dr. Ken Gentry wrote a fine article in favour of Postmillennialism. Yet there, he nevertheless made several misstatements (here emphasized by Dr. F.N. Lee).

 

"After an extensive era of righteousness and peace," wrote Gentry, "Satan will be loosened and will incite a brief rebellion.... The rebellion will be repressed by the glorious Second Coming of Christ.... Representative proponents of this view, [have] included John Calvin..., Warfield, Loraine Boettner..., Rushdoony, Nigel Lee," etc. Thus Gentry (underlinings by Lee).

 

In the September-October 1982 issue of The Counsel of Chalcedon, Dr. Lee questioned the accuracy of the names he himself underlined above pointing out that Warfield, Stonehouse, Loraine Boettner, R.J. Rushdoony and Francis Nigel Lee all deny a final apostasy among the humans then still living; as too do Hippolytus, Gill and Vonk. Professor Lee further claimed that only this view is thoroughly consistent with all of the various 17th-century Westminster Assembly documents. See: Westminster Confession of Faith 8:8u and Westminster Larger Catechism QQ. & AA. 45f-r & 52b & 53g & 54pqr & 191c-m & 195w-a.

 

In that same issue, Gentry responded indicating he had known Lee himself denied the 'final apostasy' view. Gentry then cited from Rushdoony's above-mentioned book Thy Kingdom Come! on Rev. 20:8 but omitted a most important sentence of his there thus making it appear as if Rushdoony were an advocate of Gentry's own 'final apostasy' view (which Rushdoony is not). With the exception of Gill (whom Gentry discredited because of what he calls Gill's known Non-Postmillennialism), Gentry left undiscussed all of the authorities Lee had cited but implored Lee "soon" to publish what Gentry called Lee's "good" and "massive work on Postmillennialism."

 

On December 22nd 1983, New York's well-known Hebrew-Christian Rev. Steve M. Schlissel of Messiah's Mandate wrote to Dr. Lee: "I had lunch with Dr. Van Til yesterday, and he gave me your address.... In listening to one of your tapes on Postmillennialism (which I thought was excellent) you alluded to your belief that the millennial period would not end in a falling away. I am most interested in your reasoning and proofs. I am not committed to a position on that particular point. You mentioned having shared your view with Boettner. Has he since adopted it? I have found that a positive future orientation is essential to a virile Church. The main criticisms of Postmillennialism that I've seen, have been marred by blatant newspaper exegesis. The Church of Christ must raise her sights considerably, if she is to be found faithful to her Commission!"

 

Nineteenth. On September 7th 1984, Dr. Boettner wrote to Dr. Lee: "I remember with real appreciation your visit here at my home about nine years ago.... I am writing primarily to say that in the recent [revised 1984] edition of The Millennium, I have added a chapter, 'The Millennium of Revelation 20.' This presents a new interpretation of chapter 19:11-21, which carries over into the 20th chapter and, I believe, gives a truly logical basis for the postmillennial position.

 

"I have never been fully satisfied with the view that there is to be a fearful apostasy just before the end of the Church Age, in which the saints would be all but annihilated just before Christ returns.... I believe that this [my new] interpretation solves that problem; that it firmly establishes the postmillennial system. I am sending you a copy of this book....

 

I shall be glad to have your reaction to this...interpretation. I highly respect your position as a Reformed Theologian and a Postmillennialist, and I shall await with interest your evaluation."

 

Twentieth. On September 15th 1984, Dr. Lee responded to Dr. Boettner: "Thank you for your gracious airmail letter September 7th 1984, just received. I too remember with the fondest memories your fine hospitality during my visit to your home some nine years ago, and our agreements then about 'no final apostasy' at Revelation 20:8....

 

"I find myself in total agreement with your recent edition of your great book The Millennium in its new chapter 'The Millennium of Revelation 20'" and "which...you...state...'presents a new interpretation'.... I myself would regard...Rev. 20:5-12ff [as being descriptive of]...Christ's postmillennial no-final-apostasy Second Coming.... I do not know that I myself would call that interpretation 'new' for many of us have held it, consciously, for getting on to two decades."

 

Twenty-first. Unbeknown to and independently of Dr. Lee, also Martin Selbrede had reached similar conclusions, which he communicated to Boettner from 1982 onward. Boettner himself acknowledged this in his own 1984 tract The Millennium Will There Be A Final Apostasy? So too did Martin Selbrede, in his own later-publicized study Reconstructing Postmillennialism (1999).

 

In that study, according to Martin Selbrede, Delitzsch holds that "Isaiah 24:21f is the definitive verse for a final apostasy.... The verses in question read: 'And it cometh to pass in that day, Jehovah will visit the army of the high place in the high place, and the Kings of the Earth on the Earth. And they are imprisoned, as one imprisons captives in the pit, and shut up in prison; and in the course of many days they are visited. And the moon blushes and the sun turns pale: for Jehovah of hosts reigns royally upon Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before His Elders in glory.'

 

"The 'escape clause' for eschatological universalists, is twofold in this instance. First, Delitzsch, speaking of these three verses in Isaiah, admits that 'the Prophet does not arrange what belongs to the end of all things in a 'chronotactic' manner.... This alerts us to guard against dogmatic assertions regarding the chronological relationships among the narrated events. Second, the subsequent 'visitation' which Delitzsch equates with the little season of Revelation 20:7-9 could just as easily be applied to the Final Judgment.

 

"This, too, Delitzsch touches on when observing that 'what the apocalyptist of the New Testament describes in detail in Rev. xx.4, xx.11 sqq. and xxi, the apocalyptist of the Old Testament sees here condensed into one fact'.... The collapse of separated events into a single prediction by Isaiah, suggests that eschatological universalists are unlikely to come under any serious or immediate pressure from expositors intent on resurrecting the views of this learned 19th century expositor.

 

"On the matter of intra-Apocalyptic parallels to Revelation 20 (Revelation 6:9-11 and Revelation 12:12), it should be noted...that a text-critical issue arises with the former parallel. Hengstenberg (Revelation 1:271-2) shows...the...variants to plerososi ['they have filled'] at Revelation 6:11 have no parallel passage support; whereas plerososi provides a meaning loaded with...parallels (Acts 20:22-24, Second Timothy 4:6-8, Romans 15:19, Luke 9:31, Acts 8:35 & 12:25 & 14:26, and Hebrews 9:39-40).... Plerothosi ['they have been filled' cf. IV Ezra 4:36f] is numerically dominant.... These are concurrent in Revelation 6 and 12.... They are concurrent in Revelation 20 as well, thereby nullifying an 'end-time apostasy....

 

"Dr. Francis Nigel Lee reportedly does not hold to a final apostasy at the end of history.... Revelation 20.... All serious students of eschatology would do well to include consideration of this learned Postmillennialist's exposition of Revelation 20, if any pretence of completeness is to be made good." Thus Selbrede.

 

Twenty-second. John foresaw these still-future events as clearly as if they had already occurred in the past. Thus, using the 'historic future' tense, he declares that "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 they shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever."

 

This presupposes a Final Judgment also of humanity. So God will then immediately proceed to the condemnation and banishment of the wicked; and the acquittal and vindication of His own elect. Indeed, the resurrection of the dead in Christ and of "the rest of the dead" when "the thousand years are finished" takes place precisely for this purpose.

 

So too does the ultrarapid change of "the living" when they too will be clothed with physical indestructibility. The faithful "alive-in-Christ" and the wicked "alive-in-Satan" are both to be transformed at the same time. For, at Christ's Visible and Final Coming in power and great glory, all of their bodies will be raised to unannihilatable and unchangeable everlasting continued existence. And those bodies will thenceforth spend all future eternity either on the heavenly New Earth yet-to-come or else in the everlasting Lake of Fire and Brimstone.

 

All of this will start occurring in the "little time" of "the twinkling of an eye." The living saints shall then put on immortality, and meet the Lord "in the air." This will occur just after the dead-in-Christ shall themselves have been resurrected and ascended from the Earth to meet Christ descending from the Heavens. But the simultaneously-resurrected dead-in-Satan together with the living unbelievers shall then huddle in terror in the four corners of the World before being dragged by God across the breadth of the Earth, unto their Final Judgment.

 

The saved, then with Jesus in the air, shall be judged and vindicated from the Lamb's Book of Life. So shall they be forever with the Lord. But the lost, now all alone on the Earth, shall be condemned from God's Book of Works. "And fire came down from God out of Heaven, and devoured them" at the Final Judgment of the wicked dead bodily resurrected from their graves, whether they had formerly been buried in the ground or even at sea.

 

Twenty-third. As John predicted: "I saw a great white throne and Him Who sat on it from Whose face the Earth and the Heavens fled away. Then, no place was found for them" in which to hide. "I saw the dead small and great standing before God.

 

"Then, the books were opened." Firstly, the Book of Works. Then another book was opened which is the Book of Life. Then the dead were judged according to their works from those things which had been written in the books. Also the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and the grave delivered up the dead which were in them.... They were judged every man according to their works."

 

Note that the emphasis throughout is here on the salvation of the elect rather than on the damnation of the wicked. The latter is, of course, the very real alternative to the former. For death alias the grave, and even for Hell all of their inhabitants will be destroyed (though never annihilated). "Then death and the grave [and even Hell] were cast into the Lake of Fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the Lake of Fire."

 

Yet life and Heaven are indestructible! Those who had not merely unannihilable existence (like the wicked), but who by God's grace had been given everlasting life before they died will then be even further enriched, on the new Earth yet to come.

 

Observe that the wicked, after the Final Judgment, are removed from the Earth forever and henceforth hurled with the grave and even with Hell itself into the Lake of Fire, where they will thenceforth be kept incarcerated for all eternity. Yet the present Earth itself is to be cleansed, and to become the everlasting abode of the righteous when, after the Final Judgment, Heaven comes down and is merged with earthly life forever.

 

Last. As the next (and final) two chapters of the Book of Revelation make clear even the Lake of Fire is but a tiny ghetto within this huge Universe. The inhabitants of that Lake, are of two kinds. First, they include but a small fragment of all the hosts of Angels. Second, they also embrace an off-scoured minority of mankind. As to the rest the majority or all of the many millions of the human race they, having been purified by the blood of Christ, will not die forever but instead live in bliss with the Lord forever.

 

There shall be a re-new-ed Cosmos in its totality a re-new-ed Heaven and a re-new-ed Earth fused together, in which righteousness (alias respect for God's Moral Law) shall dwell. This righteous Cosmos will then probably be centred in the Father's House with the many mansions, alias the Holy City called 'New Jerusalem' which will then come down from God out of Heaven, and settle onto the re-new-ed Earth forever.

 

But the Lake of Fire will be God's own garbage dump. Its contents are pure trash. And that Gehenna will be located and will always remain outside of New Jerusalem's 'city limits.'

 

O Christian, Satan and his hordes shall sovereignly be loosened by Almighty God Himself right after the expiry of the "thousand years" of international Christian 'millennial' bliss! But they shall then forthwith be dragged off to their Final Judgment.

 

Never for a moment will they then be able to threaten the Lord's saints who will at that very time just have been caught up into the air forever to be with their returning Saviour. For, only "a little time" after the loosening of Satan and his goons, there shall follow the Final Judgment.

 

This then is the purpose for which the Devil and his hellish followers shall be loosened. For after their judgment and damnation, Satan and all his followers shall be punished with everlasting death in the Hell of God's maximum security prison: the Lake of Fire from which no escape will ever be possible.

 

On the other hand, God's vindicated children will freely enter into the City of God. For they, in all of their uncountable numbers, shall inherit the re-new-ed Earth and continue to rule as Prophets and Priests and Kings, with God their Father, forever.

 

 

 

 

 

So on, then, Christian soldiers!

Onward, against the Devil and all of his followers!

Onward, to victory!

Overcomers inherit All Things in the City of New Jerusalem

Revelation 21 December 30

 

 

"Then I saw a New Heaven and a New Earth. For the first Heaven and the first Earth had passed away, and there was no more Sea. Then I, John, saw the Holy City New Jerusalem coming down from God out of Heaven.... Then there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. Neither shall there be any more pain. For the former things have passed away.... Then the Nations shall walk in the light of it [the City of God]. And the Kings of the Earth bring their glory and honour into it..., and they shall keep on bringing the glory and honour of the Nations into it."

 

 

John had just described the Final Judgment, with its doom of the wicked and its vindication of the children of God. Next, the Apostle focussed his attention on the New Heavens and especially on the New Earth as the everlasting abode of the righteous.

 

John now once again recorded what Christ's Angel showed him: " I saw a New Heaven and a New Earth. For the first Heaven and the first Earth had passed away, and there was no more Sea."

 

First. Some see in this description a picture of the Church Militant. Thus Tichonius, Augustine, Vitringa, and Rushdoony.

 

Others see it as symbolizing the Present Church Triumphant in Heaven. Thus Irenaeus, Tertullian, Bede, Joachim of Floris, Poole, Matthew Henry, Hengstenberg, Lange, Thomas Scott, Mauro, and Hoeksema.

 

Even more Theologians regard it as a description of the Ultimate Church Triumphant on the New Earth yet-to-come. Thus Hippolytus, Lactantius, Martin Luther, Junius's edition of the Geneva Bible of John Knox & Mrs. John Calvin's brother-in-law William Whittingham, Brightman, the Dordt Dutch Bible, Bishop Thomas Newton, Adam Clarke, Albert Barnes, B.H. Carroll (etc.); together with all of its renewed culture (thus Calvin, Vitringa, Adam Clarke, Albert Barnes, Abraham Kuyper Sr. & Jr., H.H. Kuyper, Bavinck and Schilder).

 

As Adam Clarke comments on Revelation 21:1f: "The Ancient Jews believed that God would renew the Heavens and the Earth.... This general supposition they founded on Isaiah 65:17" which predicts 'Behold, I create New Heavens and a New Earth!'"

 

Revelation 21 is not just one or more but all of the above. As the 1560 Calvinistic Geneva Bible of John Knox & Mrs. John Calvin's brother-in-law Dr. William Whittingham rightly comments: "All things shall be renewed and restored into a most excellent and perfect estate, and therefore the day of the resurrection is called 'The day of restoration of all things.' Acts 3:21."

 

However, "the Holy City New Jerusalem" is also "the holy company of the elect" and "the bride [or] the Lamb's wife" is "the Church which is married to Christ by faith." These comments on the Book of Revelation in all of the editions of the Geneva Bible from 1599 onward, appear to have been written by the strict Calvinist Rev. Professor Dr. Francis Junius (1545-1602).

 

Again, the "city 'Holy Jerusalem'" is "said to come down from Heaven.... Because [of] all the benefits that the Church has, they acknowledge it to come from God through Christ." Furthermore, the phrases 'the Nations...shall walk in the light' of the City of New Jerusalem, and 'the Kings of the Earth shall bring their glory and honour into it' shows that "Kings and Princes (contrary to that wicked opinion of the Anabaptists) are partakers of the heavenly glory, if they rule in the fear of the Lord."

 

Second. The intimation that there will be "no more Sea" certainly seems to indicate that there will then indeed be Land and Air and even River-water on the New Earth. Consequently, it will not be a brand-new and essentially different Earth, but rather our same Earth re-new-ed and per-fect-ed.

 

The material resurrection-bodies within which we shall then live on that equally material and renewed Earth will be re-new-ed (yet not be brand-new). They will not be essentially different bodies from those we now possess but the same bodies as it were 're-tread-ed.' They shall, says the Westminster Confession of Faith (32:2), be "these selfsame bodies and none other."

 

On the other hand, though the New Earth to come after the Final Judgment will be essentially the same as this present Earth it will indeed have a rather different appearance. Negatively, the New Earth will be without our Sea and without man's sin or any of its consequences. And positively, the New Earth will then be this present Earth developed to perfection.

 

For at that time "there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying. Neither shall there be any more pain. For the former things [shall] have passed away."

 

Third. The knowledge that our present World will not at all be annihilated but rather perfected should encourage us to live consistent Christian lives here and now in all that we do. Paul insisted that whether we eat or drink or whatever we do, we are to do everything to the glory of God. And he also insisted precisely in respect of the Final Coming of our Saviour, that we are to keep reminding ourselves that all of our present labours for God and His Christ shall not be in vain.

 

Similarly, Peter too remarked: "What manner of persons you ought to be in all holy behaviour and godliness, looking out for and hastening to the coming of the Day of God, in which...we, according to His promise, look out for New Heavens and a New Earth, in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, seeing that you are looking out for such things be diligent, so that you may be found by Him [to be] in peace; without spot; and blameless!"

 

Peter taught that our present Earth will not be annihilated at Christ's Final Coming. For he compared the New World to come with the Old World at the time of the Flood; and he tells us that the works done here on Earth are to be "found" or "retrieved" also after the final holocaust. He also knew and taught that all the useful arts and crafts from the time before the Flood, were preserved beyond it and, as recorded by Moses, were further developed by Noah and his children on the Post-Flood 'New Earth' thereafter.

 

It is only to be expected then, that John too would teach the same patriarchal doctrine as had both Noah and Moses and the same apostolic doctrine as had both Paul and Peter. So John himself insisted in his Book of Revelation that even the works of our earthly labours (as the Church Militant), do follow us into glory; and shall be preserved and enjoyed on the New Earth for ever. Indeed, even the saved Kings and the saved Nations bring their royal glory and national honours into New Jerusalem City.

 

Fourth. The above information enables us to understand the true nature of the everlasting future dwelling-place of the saints on the New Earth yet to come. For we read: "I, John, saw the Holy City New Jerusalem coming down from God out of Heaven prepared like a bride adorned for her husband."

 

This "Holy City" indeed represents the Members of the Christian Church as such (both the Church Militant and the Church Triumphant). However, one can hardly divorce the saints from their everlasting abode. Hence, it seems transparently clear that the "Holy City" of the future includes both the saints and the place where they shall dwell.

 

For the Holy City is not itself the bride, but is prepared like a bride adorned for her husband. And a bride's adornments, even though they surround the bride, are not the bride herself.

 

"The bride, the Lamb's wife," is not just "that great city" alias "the Holy Jerusalem" itself. The bride herself consists of the saved "Nations" and the "Kings" who bring their honour and glory into the Holy City.

 

Fifth. The Holy City and its inhabitants in John's last vision is perhaps primarily a picture of the future Church and her dwelling in glory on the New Earth yet to come. Yet it is certainly true that all who are regenerate, are already new creatures and in that sense new creations.

 

It is true that the saved Kings and Nations "bring the glory and honour of the Nations" into the Kingdom of God here on Earth, and even now. It is also true that they "shall continue" to do so in the future, even prior to Christ's Final Coming as well as thereafter.

 

Sixth. It is also true that the Church Militant here on this present Earth is founded on the 'Canon' alias the Measuring-Rod of God's Holy Word. This means the Older Testament's teachings of the 'twelve' Patriarchal Tribes of the children of Israel, and the Newer Testament's teachings of the 'twelve' Apostles of the Lamb as all reflected in the twenty-four heavenly Elders.

 

This is so even though the Tribes and Apostles are not exactly twelve each. It is again so even though they themselves are not literalistically the gates and the foundations of that heavenly city.

 

Seventh. It is not true, however, that the Church has or will come down from Heaven before the Final Judgment. It is not yet true that there is even now "no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying." And it is not yet true that there is "no temple" or "no need of the sun neither of the moon."

 

One day, all of this shall indeed be true! One day, it shall be true of God's present People and of their future environment. Even now the People of God have these precious promises; even now they have a foretaste of that ultimate enjoyment. But only after the New Jerusalem comes down from Heaven onto the renewed Earth, will all of these promises fully be realized.

 

This ultimate realization will take place only after the Final Judgment and long after the still-future "thousand years" earthly reign of Christ's saints, which itself follows the still-future destruction of the Beast and its Kings subsequent to the yet-future Fall of Babylon the Great. (On this, see some of the various eschatological works of Rev. Prof. Dr. A. Kuyper Sr., Rev. Prof. Dr. K. Schilder, Rev. Dr. O. Jager, and Rev. Prof. Dr. F.N. Lee.)

 

Eighth. At the end of World History, there will apparently be confederation and covenantal co-operation (though not complete unification and amalgamation) between the renewed Heaven and the renewed Earth. The re-created or rather the re-made Heaven shall apparently come down together with the City of New Jerusalem onto the re-created or rather the re-made Earth.

 

For "the city had no need of the sun neither of the moon to shine in it. For the glory of God did illuminate it, and the Lamb is its light.... And there shall be no night there. And they need no candle, neither sunlight. For the Lord Himself gives them light."

 

At that time the Kingdom of Heaven will be co-extensive with the whole Earth. Jesus in the Lord's Prayer taught us to plead that this should come to pass, when He commanded we pray to our heavenly Father: "Thy will be done on Earth as it is being done in Heaven!"

 

Ninth. In that everlasting Day, the righteous themselves shall always shine like stars in the firmament. Then our present and ever-increasing heavenly reign with Christ shall be consummated in our inheriting of this Earth itself indeed, in our inheriting this Earth as then renewed.

 

For "he who overcomes, shall inherit all things." Indeed, that means "all things" in the created (and to-be-re-created) "Heaven and Earth."

 

Tenth. Our inheritance of "all things" will include all the treasures of our present World of Nature. That which is natural, will then be glorified for ever. For God's children will behold the "great and high Mountain" on which the heavenly Jerusalem will come to rest here on Earth.

 

They will enjoy the jasper-coloured light which will illuminate it. They will walk on the golden street and stand on the bejewelled foundations of the City of God. They will drink of the crystal-clear river proceeding out of or flowing forth from the throne of the Lamb. And they will partake each month of the delicious fruit of the groves of the tree of life.

 

Eleventh. However symbolical these descriptions may indeed be they do symbolize material objects. These material objects will be located in a material World to be inhabited by material people with material bodies. For New Jerusalem City is no 'ghost town' inhabited only by disembodied spirits!

 

A major part of the "all things" we will inherit, will be constituted by the riches of human culture. Originally, the Lord God had given His Great Commission to man to develop culture to His glory. Said the Triune God: "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the Earth and subdue it! Also dominate the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and every living creature that moves on the Earth!" Too, God commanded man to cultivate the ground.

 

This was again substantially repeated after the Fall. Jesus the Second Adam fulfilled it in His earthly life, and is consummating it through His earthly children especially since His heavenly session. Consequently, the Church is still to promote it today. Indeed, Christians will s