Study of The Book of Revelation
by W. T. Russell
(Transcribed from tapes recorded in 1991)
The Bible has been translated into many languages for the benefit of many people of various tongues down through the ages. The Greek name for this book is Apocalupsis. The Latin name is Revelatio, and the English name, of course, is Revelation. All these titles in their respective forms literally mean—the unveiling. A veil hides from view and is a covering. So the name of this book in any language signifies exactly what it is; namely, an uncovering or unveiling. It is different from most being symbolic or figurative. Whether spoken or written, regular or ordinary prophesy is the word of communication of the prophet just as God spoke to him through the Spirit. Apocalyptic prophesy is pictorial. The pictures are symbolic of what is being prophesied. It is received by trance of vision by the Spirit of God.
All will agree the Book of Revelation contains figures or symbols which are shadows or representatives of the substance. Two major sources of confusion of the teachings of Revelation in the past and now are (1) the different methods of interpretation, and (2) the place it occupies in time.
There are those who strive to interpret the figures and symbols literally which make it utterly impossible to arrive at the truth. Examples of this are the interpretation of the woman in the twelfth chapter to be the virgin Mary and the man-child she bore Jesus Christ. A woman given as a symbol in this book can never be interpreted as a real woman. We can understand this by referring to the allegory which Paul used in the fourth chapter of Galatians. Hagar was a real woman, but Paul said she represented “The Jerusalem that now is.” Sarah was a real woman, but Paul said she represented “The Jerusalem which is above.” It is impossible to rightly interpret the Book of Revelation unless we recognize it to be symbolic apocalyptic prophesy and steer clear of interpreting the symbols literally.
If we have studied the Old Testament, we will recognize many symbols related to ancient Hebrew symbolic imagery in Revelation. Some of these are found in Daniel, Ezekiel, Zecchariah, and others. If we will but take time to read these Old Testament truths, we can see more clearly the use of symbols in Revelation which are related, in many cases, to ancient Hebrew examples.
Since it is truth we are concerned about, I would like to point out the experience of the Apostle Peter on the housetop in a vision. This experience was in symbolic order which we will do well to study for a better approach to the use of symbols in this book. Peter, in his vision, saw as it were a sheet, knit at the four corners, let down from Heaven containing all manner of four footed beasts of the earth, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice saying, rise Peter, slay and eat. But Peter said, not so, Lord, for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean. This happened three times before Peter got the message. It was said unto him, what God hath cleansed, call not thou common.
We must understand that this was to prepare Peter for a call to go preach the gospel to the Gentile household of Cornelius. Notice that which was shown Peter by symbol, revealed to him that God was no respecter of persons. Peter was a devout Jew, and under the law, was under obligation never to eat certain beasts, only such as had cloven feet and chewed the cudd, and all others were regarded as unclean and common. Now the strict Jew regarded the Gentile as common, and it was unlawful for a Jew to visit with a Gentile. So the lesson Peter was to learn was that God put no difference between Jew and Greek, that the same Lord over all was rich unto all that called upon him. So you see if this vision were interpreted literally, what would we have? All manner of four-footed beasts and creeping things in Heaven, for God drew them back up into Heaven.
I would like to discuss another example of symbolic prophesy in Isaiah. I cannot agree with the interpretation by many. Some would like us to believe Isaiah 11:6-7 teaches there will come a time when the wolf, lion, leopard, and bear will be as tame as a house cat. Let us examine this in the light of Peter’s vision as the fulfillment of prophesy.
“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.”
If this teaches what some claim it teaches, isn’t it strange that in both of these verses a clean beast and an unclean are mentioned together? The wolf and the lamb—leopard and the kid—calf and young lion—fatling cow and the bear. This is prophesy of the very same lesson Peter learned on the housetop.
What then was the lesson? Peter was a Jew and had grown up under the instruction that only the natural seed of Abraham were respected of God, and the Gentiles were disregarded. Yet God assured Peter that the Gentiles had his respect the same as the Jew. This is the fruit of figurative interpretation rather than literal. The lion eating straw like the ox simply means both Jew and Gentile have and enjoy the same spiritual food.
You will notice in the first chapter of Revelation that Jesus uses the symbols, seven stars, seven golden candlesticks, as well as Alpha and Omega. He tells us in plain words what they represent, but he leaves the other symbols in the book for us to determine.
Truly, we are entering into the study of a book of symbolic imagery, and we are under the same obligation to strive to rightly divide its teachings as any other book. I do not desire to stand before God in judgment having added to or taken away from this book or any other.
Three things we must not overlook concerning this revelation. John was told in 1:19, “Write the things which thou has seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter.”
That which John saw, of course, was the condition of things at that time; also, things that were to be afterward. He saw his glorified Lord in relation to the churches at that time, chapters two and three. He saw the revelation of the throne of grace in chapters four and five. The things to come to pass thereafter from chapter six to the end.
We may not understand thoroughly all the types, figures and symbols in this book as they were able to in John’s day; however, if looked at with the right viewpoint, the substance and basics can be reasonably understood.
As I have said before, it is a spiritual warfare between the true churches of our Lord and the counterfeit organization. We, as well as the churches in that day, are shown the ultimate victory of truth over falsehood and the true church over the counterfeit. Before there can be a counterfeit anything, there must be the real thing.
The illustrations used and positions taken in this book are honest sincere applications of what I truly believe. Some may be confused about some of these things. I, too, was greatly confused for a long time in reading this book, but years of study have helped me to understand at least part of it. In the past, I have had to back up on a few things I have preached. Regardless of how earnest you may feel about some scriptures, when proven wrong by the scriptures, we need to be honest enough with ourselves and God to give it up. I feel I can afford to give up error anytime
Study of The Book of Revelation
W. T. Russel (Tape #1)
Revelation is “apocalypsis” in the Greek language, and means a revealing or an unveiling which is the reason it has that name. Let me say in the beginning of this study–do not minimize the meaning of words. Every word has its meaning, and every word has its place. Some translators have used the wrong words in some cases, and the translation is not a perfect translation. However, the old, original tongue is a perfect record. We will point out some of these imperfect translations or words as we study this book.
Chapter 1:1 “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:” Notice the first verse: The Revelation of whom? “The Revelation of Jesus Christ.” And that is what it is. “The Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave unto him to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:” Now we must use the word “shortly” as God regards time–not as we regard time. The Apostle Peter said in the third chapter of his second letter, “One day is as a thousand years and a thousand years is as one day with the Lord.” So we must understand “shortly” in the sense that God looks at it–“shortly come to pass. “Signified” is another word in the first verse which carries a great weight. A thing signified is done by signs. From that we talk about a symbolic presentation of the different things in the book of Revelation. This is “The Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave unto him,” (that is unto Jesus Christ) “to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: Chapter 1:2″Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.” We read about a number of Johns in the Bible, and there are many opinions as to which John is referred to in verse one. Verse two tells us which John this is. It is the same John who bare record of the word of God and who wrote the gospel under his name, the Apostle John. “And of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.” I think, the second verse is given to identify the writer as the same one who wrote the gospel under his name. A vast majority of writers from which I have read and studied, even the earliest writers such as Iranius, Josephus, Eusebious, and the earlier writers back in the third and fourth centuries agreed that the Apostle John was the one who was exiled on the Isle of Patmos. Chapter 1:3 “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” Notice the third verse pronounced a blessing. A blessing is pronounced on the ones who hear the words of this prophecy and keep it. The “keep” here is not like keeping commandments. He is saying to keep the words of the prophecy in your mind–read the prophecies of this book and keep it in your mind. Learn it and keep it. Hold it. Now he said, “For the time is at hand.” I think in a varied and very broad sense, he’s talking about this dispensation in which we live. This is the last dispensation of time, and the time he is talking about is now. We are going to study about these things in the latter part of this book. Chapter 1:4 “John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;” Notice in the fourth verse he announces who he is. He identifies himself. “John, to the seven churches which are in Asia.” I want to say this now before it gets away from me. There were more than seven churches in Asia. This was in the Roman Province of Asia Minor, and these seven churches were in closer proximity and communication one with the other. We know there were at least three more churches in Asia. The church at Colosse was already organized which was in Asia, and there were two more in existence at that time. So let’s not draw the conclusion there were only seven churches in Asia, but let’s consider the real reason seven is used. We will deal with the number seven all though the book and it is used twelve times in these letters. Seven is the number for completeness. We have studied it before–just as a full week is seven days. We know also the number seven is used in the same way in the Old Testament time such as the record of Jacob working for Laban for seven years in order to get Rachel for his wife. He ended up having to work seven more years because he was deceived by getting the woman he didn’t choose. But the Bible says, “And Jacob did so and fulfilled her week.” Genesis 29:27, 28. It wasn’t a week of seven days but a seven-year week. We have the same right, and I think we are obligated in studying this to give notice to the figure seven as a symbolic number rather than the literal number seven. There were more than seven churches in Asia at that time, but seven was enough for him to use in this particular lesson to set forth the necessary examples. He said, “Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come.” This is introducing the eternal God from eternity through time and in eternity. “From everlasting to everlasting thou art God.” He announces here there is peace and a blessing pronounced upon them from him which is and which was and which is to come.” Notice here separate and apart, but a number for each one of the churches to have the same Spirit in substance.
Chapter 1:5″And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,” The first begotten of the dead is the first resurrected–the first one raised from the dead. If anyone tells you there was a resurrection before Christ, remember Jesus Christ was the first one to rise from the dead with a glorified body. Lazarus was raised from the dead, but he came back to life in the same body he lived in before, and Jesus came out of the grave with a glorified body which is what the first begotten of the dead means. The “prince” is Christ. “Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,” That doesn’t need any explanation. Chapter 1:6 “And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” This is one of the mistranslations. The revised version changes it, and I agree with it. It says “and he made us to be a kingdom to be priests unto his God and Father.” Now that is what the church is. It is a kingdom to be priests unto God. What is a priest? What does the word priest in the scriptures mean? It means one who has something to offer, or to make an offering of. Paul admonished his people in Romans 12:1 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. “Everyone who does that is a priest unto God and making a sacrifice and an offering to God. In addition, he made us to be a kingdom, an established kingdom of priests here on earth. So that brings in the church or the church kingdom. I noticed the word “Amen” That word “Amen” just simply means “so may it be” or “so be it.” Chapter 1:7 “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindred’s of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. “In the seventh verse I disagree with many scholars who have written on this subject who have taken a position just simply to uphold a false theory of the conversion of the whole nation of Israel in one day. They take the position the next verse means the time will come when the Jews shall look on him whom they pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourned for his only son etc. They try to apply it to a time when the nation of Israel will all be saved in a day. I want to point out some of the flaws in this belief which make it impossible to mean that. “Behold, he cometh with clouds;” (Now this is the second coming.) “And every eye shall see him.” The word “every” includes everybody dead and living. Notice the next part, “and they also which pierced him:” The very ones that thrust the spear into the side of the Son of God will see the Lord when he comes in the cloud of his glory. And in order for them to see him, the dead now in their graves and have gone back to the dust will have to be raised from their graves and stand up and see the Son of God when he comes. The interpretation by others of “the house of Israel finally accepting Christ as the savior and they’ll look on him whom their forefathers pierced” is not taught here. It teaches the very ones that pierced him, shall look upon him. I believe they will come out of their graves and look upon the Son of God when he comes back on the cloud of his glory. And then listen to this: “and all kindred’s of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.” Notice there is another “Amen”. They might have something to lean on if it weren’t for that one word “Amen”. But that “Amen” is more than a stop. And there is just one verse thrown in there on that one subject, and it is the coming of the Son of God. The word “Amen” just simply means “so be it” or “so may it be”, and it will be that way.
Chapter 1:8 “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” In the eighth verse, he said, “I am Alpha and Omega,” There’s no reason for anybody to have problems with the pronunciation of those two words. The Greek actually pronounces the first letter of the alphabet alpha. I said o-meg’-a, and you can do that too, because that is alright. The Koine Greek says o’-me-ga. So it’s alpha and o’-me-ga which is the Koine dialect, but pronouncing it the other way doesn’t make any difference whatsoever. Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet and omega or o-meg’-a is the last letter. He said, “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” (the first and the last or) “the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” This is the revelation of Jesus Christ, remember, that God gave to him and gave it through his servant John. John was the one that received it in the vision as it were, and it was delivered by John to us. This Jesus Christ is he that was, and he is, and is to come, the Eternal God.
Chapter 1:9 “I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the Isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.” John identifies himself again. Notice, he tells us in this, as well as telling brethren down through the centuries that have read it–I am your brother. I am a companion in labor, in patience, in the kingdom of Jesus Christ. So this John was in the church and one who had suffered life’s tribulation and persecution with the other servants of God. He said I am your companion in patience and labor writing to all. He tells why he is in the Isle of Patmos. Why are you over there, John? He is there “for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.” In other words, he is there for his ministry and his preaching the gospel of the Son of God and the word of God as his text. He said, I “was in the Isle that is called Patmos.” The Isle of Patmos was in the Sporades in the Aegean Sea. When I say Sporades, that’s a cluster of islands just dotted about like stars. The Isle of Patmos was about ten miles long and about five miles wide. It was an island of salt mines. We can understand that because the ocean or sea is of salt water. There were salt mines in most of the islands as well as in the Isle of Patmos. I won’t give you this as scripture because it is not scripture, but historians who have written about the Isle of Patmos tell us that prisoners were exiled on the Isle of Patmos and made to work in the salt mines. That leads us to believe possibly that John did the same thing while he was there as a prisoner.
Chapter 1:10 “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,” The phrase “as of a trumpet” didn’t mean he heard a trumpet talking. It meant the voice he heard was loud like a trumpet. In other words, it was easy to be heard, and it was audible and distinct.
Chapter 1:11 “Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.” He said, “I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, what thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia;” He tells them which seven to send it to. Let’s read–“unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.” What was he told to do? He said, “What thou seest, write in a book.” Now John was about to view something. He is told to write what he sees in a book and send it to the seven churches of Asia. He didn’t say to write seven books and send each church a book. He says write it in a book and send it to the seven churches of Asia. What is possible is this, one book could have been written by John and sent to one church, and from that church to another until all of them had read it. I don’t know, he might have written each individual church. But he is told to write what he sees.
Chapter 1:12 “And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;” All right, here’s what he sees, “And I turned to see the voice that spake with me.” Now he didn’t see the voice. Naturally he would turn to give heed and to take notice of what had been said and turned to see who was speaking. It was an unusual thing, a supernatural thing. “And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;” There’s the seven again, seven golden candlesticks. I want to show you the difference right here. I don’t want to let it get away. Back under the old ceremonial worship in the temple, there was a candelabrum. You’ll see it in pictures of Israel, and in their parliament. It is almost as important to them as the flag, the Star of David. In Israel’s case, it was a candelabrum. It had one base. There were arms which extended out from the one base and stem. Here he saw seven separate and distinct candlesticks showing that each one was independent one of the other. We must not fail to get that lesson.
Chapter 1:13 “And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.” What were the golden candlesticks? “And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps” (the breast) “with a golden girdle.”
Chapter 1:14 “His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;”
Chapter 1:15 “And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.”
Chapter 1:16 “And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.” There’s the seven again.
Chapter 1:17″And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:” The one that walked in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks was the first and the last; in other words, the Son of God, the Christ.
Chapter 1:18 “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” “Amen” here means “so be it”. The word “hell” is Hades. It is not Gehenna, the place of torment, but the state of disembodied spirits. It is this Christ that holds the keys, the authority over the hadean state of all dead–those that are dead in Christ and those that are dead without Christ. Jesus holds the keys of the state of the disembodied that are out of our midst now. He holds the keys!
Chapter 1:19 “Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;”
Chapter 1:20 “The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.” Now we have an unveiling of the things. Could language be any plainer? It just couldn’t be. The seven candlesticks represent the seven churches. Just as the seven candlesticks were separate and independent one from the other, so were the seven churches that the letters were to be written to. What did the seven stars in his right hand represent? Seven stars, my brothers and sisters, could be nothing else but the pastors of the churches that these letters were going to. Christ holds in his hand every one of his ministers–every one of the pastors of the churches. Christ holds these stars in his hand. He said the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches. There is a primary sense in which the word “angelos” from the Greek means the created angels. There is no mortality about them, but in a secondary sense, Angelos in the Greek has reference to representatives or messengers. In this second sense is that which is used in this chapter. So the seven stars held in the right hand of the Son of God are the angels of the seven churches or the pastors, and the letters are written to those pastors. They are to relay it to the churches.
Chapter 2:1 “Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;”
Chapter 2:2 “I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:” “I know thy works,” When a church gets the idea God doesn’t know what’s going on among them, they are just fooling themselves. He knows exactly what is said, the actions taken, and the things done. God knows what’s going on–what’s truth and error, and what’s right and wrong. “I know thy works,” (the kind of works they are.) Works are going on in churches today which are not good works! I know “thy patience”. Evidently the works, labor, and patience of this church were acceptable. He said I know that “thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:” Some came to Ephesus claiming to be apostles, and you know the admonition given previously in 1 John 4:1 “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” He said, “thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them to be liars:” There are no apostles today. The day of the apostle’s office is gone forever; yet some people act like apostles today. It’s easy for me to see some maneuverings going on today in pulpits where preachers actually act like the apostles. That is absolutely wrong. The apostles had authority directly given unto them from God, and they were to carry out their work here in the world. But when that was done, the office of the apostle ceased.
Chapter 2:3 “And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast labor, and hast not fainted.” They were a patient people, and labored for the sake of the name of Christ, and didn’t give up. They just kept on. In other words, they heeded the admonition of the Son of God–Be not weary in well-doing. For in due season ye shall reap if you faint not. Notice what he does first. He commends them for the good that’s in the church first. He doesn’t begin taking a lash to them for their error and get them discouraged before he starts, but tells them of the good that’s there. I think we would do well today to remind our churches of how much we appreciate the good in them first, and then point out the wrong. That’s the Bible way to do it.
Chapter 2:4 “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.” All right, he said, “I have some what against thee”. The first of all the commandments is to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul. That’s it. Mark 12:31 “And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thy self. “ Are you? Just answer from your own heart. I can remember when I was first saved and how longingly and how urgently my heart cried out for the salvation of all my friends. I wanted them to have what I had and have it quickly. Somehow that has slipped away from us to some extent. The very first objective of the church being set up in the world was to win the lost to Christ. The commission said, “Make disciples.” That’s the first thing. When people or a church puts other things above winning souls from sin to God, they love that other thing more than they love lost souls. This may be putting it a little bit bluntly, but that’s exactly the way it is. So, if God looked down in our churches today, what would he see? Would he say I have somewhat against you just like he did the church at Ephesus–you have left your first love. I’m afraid that would be the case a lot of times and a lot of places.
Chapter 2:5″Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” The fifth verse gives the remedy. I read a book sometime ago, and I guess several of you saw the book. It was written mostly about me and to me. I’m not calling any names, but it was about my position concerning the candlestick being removed and my teaching that the candlestick is actually the church. I still hold this position, and will continue to teach the candlestick is actually the church. But this writer said he would remove the candlestick out of its place that is the Lord’s place. Jesus said I will remove thy candlestick out of its place, except thou repent. I decided I would go back to see whether or not the original was followed in this translation. Paul told Timothy to study. I want to say to every preacher, it’s necessary that you study. If you find yourself being disputed on any point, and you find that you’re wrong, be man enough to admit it and give it up. But if you find out that you’re right, hold to it just like a bulldog. Don’t turn it loose. Don’t compromise. This is another wrong translation. I can prove it by the original Greek. The Greek grammar, for Greek students, is the same as in English; nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, etc. Also the singular, the plural, and the genders in the Greek are exactly the same as in English. I want to point out right here this mistranslation. “I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of its place.” In the original, it is feminine gender, and it should have been “her place.” I have the book if anybody wants to see it. I took a course in it, one semester at Western, and I wish I could take the other one if I could get the time to do it. But this is a mistranslation of the original Greek which is in the feminine gender. Mark it in your book. You can take it from me and from the authorities. That’s it. It simply means the church has always been referred to in feminine gender, never in the masculine, and never in neuter. The church is referred to as a woman. It’s referred to as her “she,” and never he and never it, but always in the feminine gender. So he’s saying here, I’ll remove thy candlestick out of its place–in other words, the church’s place, or locality. When the candlestick is removed, that local church ceases to exist. Another one may be set up somewhere else, or it may be the means of strengthening another church. But when that candlestick is moved, it is taken out of that locality, and this is exactly what happened at Ephesus.
Chapter 2:6 “But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.” This is the church at Ephesus. Who was the pastor at Ephesus at that time? I have never read where anyone–historians, etc.–was able to definitely say who was pastor of the church at Ephesus at this time. So I’m not going to surmise and say so and so was pastor because there’s no evidence. However, there was a pastor at Ephesus when this was written. In this sixth verse, it says, “But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.” Now notice, he didn’t say, “thou hatest the Nicolaitanes.” But he said, “Thou hatest the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes.” God doesn’t hate us, but he might hate some of our ways. He might hate some of our deeds, but he doesn’t hate us. The church at Ephesus didn’t hate the Nicolaitanes, they just hated their deeds. The question comes up, and I’m sure it would be asked, who were the Nicolaitanes? Some have voiced their opinion about this without proof. Their opinion was the Nicolaitans were derived from the teaching of Nicolas who was one of the deacons of the church at Jerusalem. They do not have any proof of that. It’s just a speculation they have reached or guessed. I have no doubt the man’s name was Nicolas who advocated the doctrine hated by the church at Ephesus. However, there is no evidence or proof whatsoever it was the Nicolas of the seven deacons chosen by the church at Jerusalem. We are not concerned too much with whom he was but rather what was his doctrine, and why the church at Ephesus and God hated this doctrine. Well the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes was this. There was a difference of opinion in that day just like there is today, and that finally showed itself in the Roman Catholic Church. We’ll get to that later on. There were people in that day who argued people were saved by works in the face of what the Bible taught–“by grace ye are saved.” Now the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes was this: If you are saved by grace and not by works, then if works couldn’t save you, then it would make no difference whatsoever about immoral acts one committed after he was saved. If a person were saved, he was freed from the law, and the law had no bearing on him whatsoever. When saved by God’s grace, the kind of life lived afterward makes no difference and will not hurt you at all. That’s the doctrine that God hates. God commended the church at Ephesus for hating that kind of doctrine.
Chapter 2:7 “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; to him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. “The God. “The seventh verse said, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” We notice here, without question, the letters which were being written to the seven churches of Asia were messages of the Spirit of God. He said, “He that hath an ear” (What kind of ear would a person have to have? He’d need a spiritual ear if he heard or understood what was said to the seven churches.) And he said, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches;” – not church. Now the church is spoken of in the scriptures in the singular, from a local standpoint, like the church at West End. You can mention every church in this country, and it’s a local, independent body as we talked before about the candlesticks being independent one from the other. There were seven golden candlesticks, and here are seven churches. So he said, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” He said the seven golden candlesticks are the seven churches. There is no such thing as one big church–universal. I know that is taught, but it’s not taught in the scriptures. I made a decision, and I think it would be profitable for us to make this division tonight for a later time in the study. You notice here it said, “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” At the end of every letter written to these separate churches, there is the promise of a reward. I don’t want you to think as I did for a long time that the church at Ephesus would enjoy distinct rewards from the other six churches. Let’s not read and think of it in that way. You can put every one of the promises of rewards the Lord mentioned to the seven churches in one sentence, and every one of them is a blessing and a reward to the entire group of the seven churches. We are going to get to that later in the study. So I’m going to leave that off for the time being. The eating of the tree of life: I might say this, we get a little hint about that by going back to the book of Genesis after Adam had transgressed the law and had fallen from his holy state, and God said,…”now lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever,” the Lord sent him out of the garden.” Now that gives us a little hint of what he is talking about. But we will get to that later on. Chapter 2:8 “And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; “In the eighth verse, “And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write;” Smyrna today is known as Ismar and still exists. He said, “These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;” (Of course that’s Christ.) Chapter 2:9″I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.” “I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty.” They were poor people and were not rich like some of the other churches in the things of the world, but we find in parenthesis the statement “(but thou art rich)”. They were rich in the things of God–not in worldly riches.”….and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. “Now Jews had their synagogues, and ruins of synagogues are still in evidence today in various parts of Israel. But here is a group of people that claimed to be Jews, and the Lord said they are not. They could make the claim of being legal descendants from Abraham. Well, the Arabs can make that claim today because they had Abraham as their father to begin with. I believe a lot of trouble in Israel today is because the Arabs and Jews, (the Hebrew) have the same claim on Abraham as their forefather. In my opinion, this has been going on for some time and will continue to go on. These groups of Jews here, even though they were right in saying they were legal descendants of Abraham, were not spiritual Jews. Somebody asks, what is a spiritual Jew? Paul said he is not a Jew which is one outwardly, but he is a Jew which is one inwardly and that circumcision is not that which is outward in the flesh, but that circumcision is of the heart. The spiritual Jew is one who has been born again. It matters not who he is. He’s a spiritual Jew if he’s been circumcised in the heart. Circumcision of the flesh was just a figure of the circumcision brought about by Christ. So these Jews who were giving trouble at Smyrna were descendants, no doubt, of Abraham, but they were not born again. They were causing the church at Smyrna a lot of trouble. Chapter 2:10 “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” Now I wouldn’t try to literalize that ten days. That’s a round figure. I’m sure they were not all thrown in prison at the same time. He’s just simply saying some of them would be thrown into prison. In past centuries, history shows many Christian people have been imprisoned. Thousands of Christians have given their lives for the faith they stood for. This said that ye may be tried as the reason you will be put into prison, and you will have tribulation ten days, but be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. Here is the promise and the reward again. Some might take the position this crown of life is salvation, but it’s not. This crown of life is a reward, and at the end of every letter we find a promise made for those that overcome. We will put it all together later on. Chapter 2:11″He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.” Of course the second death is the casting of both soul and body into hell at the end of the world, but we will get to that later. Let me back up just a little. I think we know who was pastor of the church at Smyrna without any question. Josephus, who was a Jewish historian, Iranius, and others have stated emphatically in their history that Polycarp was the pastor of the church at Smyrna at the time this letter was written. Polycarp was a disciple of John, and I’m talking about John, the Apostle. Let me say this now about the word apostle. Sometimes you hear it pronounced a-pos’-tale. It’s not pronounced that way. The “t” is silent, and you pronounce it a-pos’l as the three letters John wrote in the Bible are referred to as the three Epistles of John. The “t” is silent, and it’s e-pis’al as a-pos’al–not a-pos’-tle or e-pis’-tle. The “t” is silent. I just wanted to drop that thought as we passed by. Look at any dictionary you choose, and you can see this is true.
Chapter 2:12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; these things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;” We stated previously that the seven stars which Jesus said he held in his right hand were the angels of the seven churches. The primary meaning of the Greek word “angelos” is angel or the spiritual creation of God. The secondary meaning of that word is representative or messenger. Therefore, the letters addressed to these seven churches are written to the pastors for the Lord plainly tells us that he holds them in his right hand, and they are the angels of the seven churches. I want to do a little reasoning right here lest somebody would ask, “How does he draw the conclusion that the angels are pastors?” Would you want to take it literally? If the letters were written to literal angels, how did they tell the churches and what language did they use? If a thousand angels came to us speaking in their language, we wouldn’t understand them. This cannot be interpreted literally for that simple reason as well as others that we might mention. Chapter 2:13 “I know thy works and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.” It is very easy for me to determine the pastor of Pergamos was Antipas. Antipas was killed by the enemies of the church. He speaks about where Satan’s seat is. “And thou holdest fast my name” even in the face of that of Satan’s seat and his power “and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.”
Chapter 2:14 “But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.” This church was lacking in discipline. I’m afraid most of our churches today (I’d be safe in saying all of them) are also lacking in discipline. The few things he had against them were that they were allowing these things to exist in the church. Let’s look back just a little. Antipas, the pastor of the church, no doubt, had been killed by the occults, the worshipers of the Devil, Satan’s followers–just put it that way. I’m satisfied the people who made up the church were fearful. Just bring that home to yourself tonight and the churches. If one is killed and made a martyr for the things they stand for and believe in, there’s going to be somewhat of a dread and a fear attached to that. Now then the things that God had against this church at Pergamos were this. Thou has there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam. In other words, the same thing that Balaam taught, they’re teaching. The same thing that Balaam did, they are practicing. Well what did Balaam do? Read the twenty-second chapter of Numbers in the Old Testament. I will, however, refer to it here now. Balac tried to get Balaam to curse the armies of Israel so they might win a victory over them. God told him not to do it, but when he saw Balaam was going to do it anyway, God told him to go on. Poor old weak Balaam was offered quite a bit of money to do it, I’m satisfied, and money talks. See Nehemiah 13:2 and Numbers 22. Balaam had his mind made up and was actually going to do what Balac had asked. Balaam was on his way riding on his donkey when the angel of God stood in the way with a drawn sword. Numbers 22:23 “And the ass saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field: and Balaam smote the ass, to turn her into the way.” Balaam was kicking that mule trying to get him to go by the angel while the mule was going one way and another. Read Numbers 22:23-35. However, Balaam was still determined to go on against God and place a curse on the armies of Israel that Balac might win a victory. After Balaam was denied, and God wouldn’t let him curse Israel, he did come up with this sneaking idea and presented it to Balac. I’ll tell you what you do. You let the children of Israel intermarry with your people. You go over and partake of their sacrifices and invite them over to partake of yours. In such a manner there was brought together an evil communion between the two nations. It resulted in things that were obnoxious in the eyes of God. In this church at Pergamos, they had the same class of people. There’s no harm if you’ve been saved, go over yonder and partake of the heathen sacrifices–the sacrifices that are offered to idols. Go on over and eat with them. Let them come over and eat with you. Just be good and friendly and don’t even try to place yourself in a position to show the world that you are a separate people. You just be on good terms with every-body. What did he say about that? He reprimanded them for their lack of discipline on that class of people who brought heresy into the church that proved nothing else but division among the members of that church and its hurt. I started to say ruination, but that would be the wrong word. There is one of the churches that we will read and study about. There weren’t but a few of them left that were sound, and they were admonished to strengthen that which remained. Well, we will get to that later on. Look again at the fourteenth verse “…and to commit fornication.” The fornication here was carnal. There might also have been spiritual fornication as far as I know.
Chapter 2:15 “So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.” So they were drifting into that community. Some of the members of the church were advocating the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes which is this: As long as you are a child of God, go ahead and do as you please. No harm will come unto you whatsoever. This doctrine was started by the Devil, and God hates it.
Chapter 2:16 “Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.” One thing that I want to point out here is “I will come unto thee quickly.” We have a lot mentioned in the New Testament, first and last, of Christ’s coming. Every time it is spoken of as Christ’s coming, it doesn’t mean the final advent. We need to know and understand the difference between Christ actually coming to a church in spirit and His actual coming in person at the final advent. Christ said here in these letters I will come, and I will remove your candlestick. I will come and fight against them with the spirit of my mouth. Well how is he going to come? I want to point that out to you from the promise Jesus made before he went back. He said to his disciples in John 14:18 “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” That didn’t mean Jesus would come in his body, personally, but he did come as God in Spirit. He says here, I come, and I will remove the candlestick from the church at Ephesus, and we know that happened. It’s in ruins. There’s no church there anymore. He said I will come and I will fight against you with the spirit of my mouth. What did he mean there? He meant he would come by his servants who are led by the spirit of God fighting against heresies with the teaching of his doctrine and his word. He did not mean he would come in person.
Chapter 2:17 “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.” This verse will be discussed when we get through with the seven churches. However, here it is not to be thought of as the church at Pergamos receiving a special reward that will not be given to the other six churches of Asia.
Chapter 2:18″And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;”
Chapter 2:19 “I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.” This right the opposite from the church at Ephesus. The first works of Ephesus were better than the last. They had left the first love, but the last works of the church at Thyatira were better than their first. In other words, their enthusiasm, interest, and anxiety for the carrying out of the works that God had enjoined upon them were growing greater instead of less.
Chapter 2:20 “Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach, and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.” I would just like to point out right here there’s not a bit of difference in the practice of these two churches. One is Jezebel and the other is Balaam. That’s the only difference. The woman Jezebel didn’t exist in the church by that name. That’s going back to the Old Testament. He’s just saying you have one in that church, and he didn’t say who it was. B. H. Carrol said it might have been the pastor’s wife. That’s what he said about it. I didn’t say that. That’s what he said. He said that could have been the pastor’s wife, Jezebel. And he said you’ve got one there in the church just like the old Jezebel of long ago. What did she do? She did the very same thing that Balaam told the people at Pergamos to do–that was to marry and intermarry between the two. First thing you know, he would have the whole thing contaminated and have idolatry brought into the church–not only that, but intercommunion with idolatry as well. So I think that will be enough on that count. Of course the fornication he’s talking about–“to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.”–is spiritual fornication. Chapter 2:21 “And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.”
Chapter 2:22 “Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.” Now I want to say a thing right here about repentance. The Apostle Paul in his acknowledgments of personal errors in life, and wrongs that he did certainly didn’t claim to be a perfect man. He said I die daily. In other words, what Paul meant was that he separated himself daily from those things that were wrong–dying to sin–that he had committed. Churches are called upon to repent. They are called upon to give up and to turn away from those things that might be in the church that’s contrary to the will of God and do what is pleasing in his sight. So this church is called upon to repent of their failure to discipline that woman Jezebel or that character referred to as Jezebel of the Old Testament times who was seducing the members of the church into error. That is going into idolatry and participating of idolatrous practices.
Chapter 2:23 “And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he who searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.”
Chapter 2:24 “But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden.”
Chapter 2:25 “But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.” The phrase “till I come” is having reference to the end–to his second coming.
Chapter 2:26 “And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:” Notice these churches that are written to, even though they are addressed as churches, are personified. What I mean is that the letters are addressed to each member of that church in particular. “…he that overcometh” is a member of that church. It is the church personified by its membership as individual members. So he clarifies it by using the personal pronouns showing that he’s talking to each individual member of that church.
Chapter 2:27 “And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.”
Chapter 2:28 “And I will give him the morning star.” We’ll leave this 26th, 27th and 28th verses until we put them all together which are the promised blessings upon the churches for their endurance and for their being faithful.
Chapter 2:29 “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” This is the admonition of the twenty-ninth verse.
Study of The Book of Revelation
W. T. Russel(Tape #2)
Chapter 3:1 ” And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.” “And unto the angel” (or pastor) “of the church in Sardis write; these things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God,” Remember I said previously if there had been ten churches, there would have been ten Spirits; fifty churches, there would have been fifty Spirits. The seven Spirits of God are having reference to complete spiritual guidance for each of the churches. So God’s Spirit is everywhere–here in this world and in heaven as well. The world can’t contain God. Solomon said in 2 Chronicles 6:18 “But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built!” “These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.” Some churches have a great name of being very much alive because of their great activities and their promotion of these in the name of the churches. They seem to be very much alive from their actions and activities, but from a spiritual standpoint, they’re just as dead as a mackerel. That is exactly what he’s talking about here. Churches can have too many programs and too many social activities–as the old people used to say,” Too many irons in the fire to take care of”. They can get so involved in adding activities unsanctioned by God that the primary purpose of the church of winning lost souls to Christ is completely forgotten. This was the condition of the church at Sardis at that time. They outwardly appeared to be very much alive and very strong indeed, but inwardly they were dead.
Chapter 3:2 “Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.” I believe I will say this. There are many widely known “churches” with just a few in those churches who really know what it means to be born again–to be children of God. There are churches who take five year old children into the church. Kindergarten schools are organized for the little ones to get them while they’re small. Five year old children are taken into the church from kindergarten by answering the simple question, “Do you believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God?” They can believe this statement all the days of their lives if they live to be one hundred, but without the new birth, their church membership amounts to nothing. Their baptism is null and void. They are dead when at the same time they appear to the public as being very much alive. Some pastors have been seen with about six young men carrying Bibles who after getting the center table in a restaurant will make a show of themselves with their open Bibles. To me that’s just as Pharisaical as it can possibly be. It’s making a show. These are actively engaged in gathering members into the church, but with nothing said about an experience of salvation. This was the condition of the church at Sardis. He said there’s a few in there–and I believe even in modern churches, there are some of the members who know about true salvation. However, those members just go right along with the modernism.
Chapter 3:3 “Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shall not know what hour I will come upon thee. “The admonition to this church is to “Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come unto thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.”
Chapter 3:4 “Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.”
Chapter 3:5 “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.” Then he goes on, “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment” etc. We have now covered five churches. The remaining two to be covered are Philadelphia and Laodicea.
Chapter 3:6 “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”
Chapter 3:7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;” The seventh verse of the third chapter is where we begin. There are two more churches that were written to. Sometimes we have questions we would like to have answered just for our own satisfaction. It has been asked whether the seven letters in the book of Revelation were written by John when he received them while on the Isle of Patmos or written after he went back to Ephesus. It is my opinion he wrote the Book of Revelation when he received it because the Lord commanded him to do it in Chapter 1:11 and 1:19. In Chapter 1:19 He commanded him to “Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;” It’s my opinion he wrote this book while on the Isle of Patmos and not after he was brought back to Ephesus. The seventh verse is written to the church at Philadelphia. “To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write;” (This angel, as we have said before, no doubt, is the representative or the pastor of the church at Philadelphia) “These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David,” In Isaiah 22:20 there is a reference to the key of David in Eliakim the son of Hilkiah. Isaiah 22:20 “And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah:” Isaiah 22:21 “And I will clothe him with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle, and I will commit thy government into his hand: and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah.” Isaiah 22:22 “And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.” The prophecy of Isaiah in the 22nd Chapter is used in the same sense as in the letter to the church at Philadelphia; Of course “key” in the Book of Revelation in symbol represents authority. Jesus is the one who had the authority. If you want to go into it further, Jesus was called the son of David. He wasn’t the literal son of David in the flesh, but in descent he was the son of David with authority. Of course David’s authority was kingly authority in Israel. The authority written about here is the authority over the kingdom of God–the church kingdom.
Chapter 3:8 “I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.” Here he uses similar words as in Isaiah 22:22 “And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.” The open door the Lord had set before the church at Philadelphia was the door of missions. A door opened to the heathen so they might hear the gospel of the Son of God. Philadelphia was an inland church. It was very poor from the standpoint of earthly wealth–they were a poor people. Not only were they poor, but they were small in number. There wasn’t a large membership at this church. Jesus said, “Behold, I have set before thee an open door and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. Let’s not interpret “little strength” wrong. Jesus didn’t mean they had less power or less authority than some other church. He just simply meant they were small in number. We have a lot of churches small in numbers. They don’t have as much strength as some other churches have. He said, “And has kept my word and has not denied my name.”
Chapter 3:9 “Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.” “Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie;” We discussed that previously. The synagogue of Satan was none other than the descendants of Abraham who were so prejudiced toward Christianity that they banded together to persecute the churches, and it was called the synagogue of Satan. When Jesus referred to knowing where Satan’s seat was, he was talking about Satan’s throne of power. It was the Jews who were persecuting the true Israel of God. They were Jews by descent from Abraham, but were not spiritual Jews which are those that have been circumcised in heart as we discussed previously. The Jews were one of the greatest persecuting powers in that day. They claimed they were the descendants of Abraham, and were the only descendants of Abraham. These Jews banded together and persecuted the Gentiles of the churches who were claiming to be Jews. I am not able to say now, but a hundred years ago or maybe less, that little church in Philadelphia was still standing. Historians wrote about it. The church at Smyrna, which is Ismar now with about 500,000 populations, less than a century ago was still standing. But these other churches had ceased to exist in their locality. The church at Philadelphia was still standing. He said I’ll make these Jews (in that particular area) to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. The Lord promised the church at Philadelphia he would cause those who persecuted them to humble themselves before the little church at Philadelphia and worship God.
Chapter 3:10 “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon the entire world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” There are two things I think he is talking about here. I’m not going to be dogmatic and say it’s one or the other. Disregard the hour as being sixty minutes because he’s talking in general terms. One of these is, no doubt, the rising of Modhammedism which took place around 600 A.D. The other is that the Catholics had their beginning about 250 A.D. However, they didn’t have a pope until about 606 or 610. So, in my opinion, the temptation which was sent to try them was either the rise of Mohammedism or the Roman Catholic hierarchy. “….which shall come upon the entire world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” This statement gives us a broad scope that enables us to determine what it might have been. I truly think that it was one or the other– Catholicism or Mohammedism.
Chapter 3:11 “Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast, which thou hast, that no man takes thy crown.” I want to call your attention again to the letters addressed to the churches. It takes individual members to make up churches. So every letter is a personal letter to each member of each church. In other words, it is the church members personified, and it’s individualistic. So we want to notice as we read these letters that it makes each member of every church responsible for everything that is demanded by God. Not in church capacity as a whole, but every individual unit that makes up that body. That second person being used in this respect has its significance. This says that no man take thy crown. In other words, let no one else get your reward. I’m of this opinion, and Bible so teaches, that God has given to all certain talents and abilities. He knows what they are capable of doing with the proper use of the talents he’s given them. God knows what to expect of us as individuals. God determined in the beginning that he’d be glorified in man. I say man from a general standpoint, not from an individual. God is going to have purposes carried out in the world by mankind. He may have certain things for you as an individual to do as a member of the church. God may have a certain field for you to occupy as a preacher, a member of the church. I might fail to fill the place precisely and exactly that God has designed for me to fill. If I do fail to that extent, I will lose my rewards. God will use someone else to do the job I failed to do. In that sense, he will receive what could have been my reward. This is what “Behold I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man takes thy crown.” teaches. I think we need to be very cautious about our duties and responsibilities owed to God as individual members of the church.
Chapter 3:12 “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: 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 cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.” I will go into the twelfth verse later because he goes into the promises.
Chapter 3:13 “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”
Chapter 3:14 “And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; these things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;” The fourteenth verse is written to the church at Laodicea. I want to say this now to offset some opinions you might have read. Some authors say the letters written by Jesus to the seven churches in Asia represented seven different dispensations of time. They say that we are now living in the Laodicean age. In reading the letter to Laodicea, we might be reminded of this position and be tempted to believe it. I don’t believe a word of it. There was never a time when all the churches were just like the church at Ephesus or at Smyrna. There is no proof of this position whatsoever. However, down through the centuries of time churches have experienced the very same things that are recorded in the seven letters to the seven churches of Asia. The fourteenth verse says, “And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; these things saith the Amen,” (Of course the “Amen” there was the last, “the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.” Jesus Christ, the Bible tells us, all things were created by him, and for him and without him there was not anything made that was made. So this is Jesus talking.)
Chapter 3:15 “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.” I wish you were one or the other was the desire of Jesus Christ as he looked down upon this church at Laodicea. The state of the Laodicean Church was neither cold nor hot. A church can get cold. I don’t know any that haven’t become cold. They don’t stay hot constantly. The members might get fired up for a time, but then they might drop right back to the cold state for a while. In other words a church is just like a stream. It ebbs and flows with good and bad days.
Chapter 3:16 “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” When the Lord said I will spue you out of my mouth, he meant the church at Laodicea was lukewarm and nauseating to him. A lukewarm church just drifting along is nauseating to the Lord, the head of the church. It is pleasing to the Lord for the church to be active, moving one way or the other. A church must go down before it can ever go up. He does not want it stopped in one particular position of lukewarmness and staying there.
Chapter 3:17 “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:” Let me say this of Laodicea. It was a commercial city centrally located in commerce. It was increased with earthly wealth and goods. They had reached the place where they thought, “We have it made.” You know a lot of churches are in that shape today. We have it made with everything going our way. We have plenty of money, and if we don’t have it today, we can get it. Everything is just going fine, and what do we have to worry about. I would hate to see a depression as bad as anyone. The natural part of me has already gone through one, and I know exactly what it’s all about. When times were hard and people had to struggle to get by, they were more humble, more consecrated, and more dedicated to God than when they had plenty. It’s like a fellow who has eaten a big meal, sits down in a big easy chair, then goes to sleep. I’m afraid a lot of churches are in that shape today. He said you say you are “increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:” Take all of those words and sum them up, and see the condition Jesus saw the Laodicean Church. It is horrible to think about a church being in that shape. If the church was in that condition, each member was in the same boat all sailing along together. Jesus was simply saying they were unmindful of their conditions–wretched, poor and naked while thinking they had nothing to worry about, needing nothing. What they needed was God. The Laodicean Church had actually put Him aside. If the members of a church set their affections on the things of the world while putting God out of their service, the church‚ is sure to get into trouble down the road.
Chapter 3:18 “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye salve, that thou mayest see.” He has told the Laodiceans what they are to do in the eighteenth verse. The meaning of the word “counsel” is “advise you.” What is the meaning of “to buy of me gold tried in the fire,”? The Bible says “Buy the truth and sell it not.” It doesn’t mean to go to a merchant and pay $10 or $20 for the truth. It does mean to accrue to you that faith or the truth of the word of God. The Apostle Peter said in 1 Peter 1:7 “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” The church at Laodicea needed to exercise faith so they could be strong in the grace of God instead of putting so much of their dependence in the material things of the world. They needed to walk by faith and not by sight . . . He said that thou mayest be rich. There is no man richer in the world than the person that knows the truth of God and will contend for that truth in the face of all the opposition that might be around even though he is so poor in earthly riches he might have to go barefoot. Jesus made the church he left here in the world responsible for the keeping of that faith. If his church had not kept that faith, we wouldn’t have it today. I thank God we still have it and believe it will be here when the Lord comes back. Some may fail as they did in Laodicea by turning their minds in a different direction than of God. Nevertheless, the purpose of God will be accomplished by another church or others who will take up where they left off. Continuing with verse eighteen: “and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness does not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye salve, that thou mayest see.” This is typical symbolic language. It’s just plain advice given to the church so they might do what necessary to make their spiritual eyesight stronger is enabling them to see well. A lot of things can be done to help us along that line too.
Chapter 3:19 “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” I’m glad I can know I have been chastened of the Lord and would hate to be without the chastening hand of God for he said the ones he loved, he rebuked and chastened. He also said in Hebrews 12:8 “But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” So the person that undergoes the chastening hand of God is a child of God. The last part of verse nineteen says: “be zealous therefore, and repent.” which is the counseling of Jesus Christ to that church to be zealous. It’s always fine to be zealous in a good cause. Sometimes people have zeal without judgment for a wrong cause. They will go to great lengths because of the zeal for which they are striving. To be zealous in a good cause is what he’s talking about here. Jesus is telling them to be zealous over the cause of God, and repent of their carelessness and lack of zeal.
Chapter 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hears my voice, and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Preachers, let me say this to you. Never use verse twenty for a text to preach to sinners for it is not directed to sinners. Who is the letter written to? It’s written to the church at Laodicea. Jesus said to the members of that church, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock:” In other words, Jesus knocks at the heart’s door of the church member. (Some wouldn’t hear his voice then, and some will not even hear it today.) They may be rebuked and chastened for their ungodly living, for their failure to let the Spirit of God guide and dominate their thinking and their lives. They will pass it by and let the knocking continue not letting the Lord in to have his way. What does he mean by “If any man hears my voice, and opens the door,”? The Lord is not going to open that door. It’s up to the church member to open the door of his heart. When he opens that door the Lord said, “I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” What sweet communion! That’s when you see people shouting the praises of God and a church stirred in the Spirit. They clear the line. They have received forgiveness of their sins and stand clean and pure in the sight of God because they heeded the knocking at their heart’s door and made things right. Christ comes in, and you will see a revival when this happens. This is what the Lord is talking about in verse twenty. This is rich, isn’t it? It’s the truth. When the Lord said he would “sup with him, and he with me.” he just simply means that there’ll be sweet communion and fellowship between the individual and Jesus Christ. They can rejoice in the things of God and the glories that await us on the other side.
Chapter 3:21 “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.”
Chapter 3:22 “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” That’s the promise. Now I told you that we were going to leave off the promises to the churches for this particular reason. One church was not segregated from the other in the reception of the blessings that the Lord promised because they were all based upon one condition. The promises were to be received by the ones that met the condition. The condition, my friend, is this: “He that overcometh,” Jesus said, “shall inherit all things.” All of these letters close out with this promise from Jesus. The first one was to Ephesus, and he said he would give them access to the tree of life in the paradise of God. Now what is the tree of life? We first see it mentioned and read of it as mentioned in Genesis. It was in the Garden of Eden. When Adam and Eve had transgressed the righteous law of God, and had fallen from their holy state, and became transgressors, God said, lest he put forth his hand and take of the tree of life and live forever. What happened? They were put out of the Garden of Eden. All right, what is the tree of life? It is a symbolic term, and I’d like for you to consider it that way because that is exactly what it refers to, a metaphor if you please. It has reference to the giving of immortality. To partake of the tree of life is to become immortal. Wouldn’t it have been terrible if Adam in the Garden of Eden had partaken of the tree of life after he had transgressed the law and became a sinner, separated from God without any hope in the world, to have been a partaker of the tree of life and live forever in that state. He would have become an immortal being, and would have lived forever in the state of sin. So to partake of the tree of life has the same significance as taking of the bread of life to the soul. Jesus said your fathers, the Jews, they ate manna in the wilderness, and they are dead. But he said, “I am that living bread that came down from heaven that a man may eat thereof and not die.” That was talking about the inner man, the soul. The person that eats of that bread has everlasting life, and when the individual partakes of the tree of life, he has an immortal body, just as immortal as his soul. That wasn’t denied anybody that overcame, was it? All right, I want us to think before we go any further on this. Who is the over comer? Only those that are born of God. They are the only ones. What does he overcome? He overcomes the world. He overcomes the Devil and the over comer is one that is born again, as you will find in 1 John 4 and 5. All right, what’s the means of their overcoming? The blood of Jesus Christ is the means or the blood of the Lamb and the instrumentality that brings about that overcoming is faith. So faith in Jesus Christ brings about the cleansing by the blood, and the overcoming of the world of sin and Satan is by and through the shed blood of the Son of God. Whoever has been born again, their soul washed in the blood of the Lamb, one day after while we shall partake of the tree of life and have an immortal body just like the one Jesus had. That’s his promise to the church at Ephesus. He said he shall not be hurt of the second death. What is the second death? To partake of the tree of life is to escape the second death. The second death is the calling up of the souls that are in Hell or Hades. I’m talking about that place of torment, the bottomless pit. It is the state of the unsaved and the unregenerate. When they are called up, and the graves of the unsaved are opened and soul and body are reunited, that soul and body of the unregenerate are cast into the lake of fire. That is the second death. Jesus said to the over comer, he’ll not be hurt of the second death. That’s Baptist doctrine, pure and simple. Let’s go a little further. He said I will give him a white stone, on the stone a new name written which no one knoweth but he that received it. *** Brother Russell: Could you tell what Carroll said here that you are referring to? Right here I’m going a little further than Brother Carroll did. He gives a satisfactory answer, and I accept what he gave. However, I think he should have gone a little further. During the time when Revelation and these letters to the seven churches were written, a stone of election or refusal was well known. When people were brought before the court to be judged by the counsel, they were either condemned by the black stone or acquitted by the white stone. These seven churches were in a locality where they were being persecuted. The persecution even went so far as to deny citizenship to people who were just like you and me. They believed in the crucified and risen Christ and preached the gospel of the Son of God. The people who said they were Jews and were not had the authority to demand certain people lose their citizenship. They were denied the freedoms and liberties of the citizens of that country. What did Jesus say to this church? He said though you be condemned with the black stone by the court because of your faith, I’ll give you a white stone. In that white stone, there is a name written that no man will know except him that receiveth it. Who is he? You know who he is. I know where I was saved because I was there when it happened. There were several more there the night that God saved me, but I was the only one that experienced my salvation. I was the first one to know about it, and I had something in my heart that nobody else could tell me I had. The Spirit of God bore witness with my spirit that I was a child of God. So every child of God is elected of God. When Peter wrote the letter in 1 Peter 1:2 He said, “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.” These people were denied citizenship in that country where the church was located, but Jesus lets them know they are his elect with salvation that only the individual knows about. Some people just can’t swallow that. They will tell you, “I just know so and so I am saved.” Well, I just know that you don’t know it. And this Bible teaches that you don’t know it. The only way that anybody can know that they’re saved is by experiencing it for themselves. I can have a strong faith in your salvation and believe it as much as possible that you’ve been down to the fountain and had the drink that I had. I know that I had the drink by experience and can only believe you did. This is what he’s talking about here in this verse regarding the white stone. You were elected though you have been refused by your neighborhood, your community and your location. Even though the people thumb their noses at you, so to speak, I give you a white stone. You are elected by me. Let’s go now a little further.
Revelations 2:26: “And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:” 2:27: “And he shall rule them with a rod of iron;” (Who? The over comer.) “As the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.” I thought I would just pass this up. I can’t because I want to clarify some things here that have been misunderstood. We talked before about translators and their use of words. I don’t want anyone to say that Russell denies the inspiration of the scriptures and that some of it is false. I didn’t say that. I believe the original scriptures, in their original tongue, were perfect. However, the translators were men who were not inspired. They made mistakes in their own use of words by using words that did not fit the Greek text. I want to point them out to you in these cases. He said I will give him power over the nations. The word “power” comes from the Greek word “exousia” which always means “authority”. If it had meant “kingly rule or dictatorship or monarchy,” it would have been the Greek word “dunamis”. “Exousia” is used in the same sense that Jesus said all authority, all power in heaven and earth is given to me. Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, etc. The Catholics like the verb phrase “shall rule” in verse 2:27 “And he shall rule them with a rod of iron;”. You’ll find the Catholics using that interpretation. However, “shall rule” is not “basileuo” which would mean a “monarchy or dictatorship”. It is the word “poimaino” which means “to shepherd.” It is the same “shepherd” as in the Twenty-Third Psalm in the Greek Old Testament which is called the Septuagint. Jesus says I will give you authority over the nations, and you shall shepherd them, not rule them. How? They are to rule with a rod of iron. The Greek word used for rod here is “rhabdos” meaning a rod of correction. This rod is not a rod of chastisement or a rod to drive slaves. It is the shepherd’s rod tipped at one end with a crook at the other end. See the Septuagint for the shepherd psalm. The Septuagint says just what he’s saying here–thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. The shepherd does not carry two instruments–a rod and a staff–but the same instrument is used according to the need. The breaking into shivers as a potter’s vessel is not necessarily for ultimate destruction but may look to reconstruction. See Jeremiah 18:4-10. It becomes destructive only when impenitence becomes incorrigible. Jeremiah 19: 1-11. Even then it does not apply not to the entire nation but only to its hostile elements. So in that sense it is a rod of correction. We miss the mark if we misconstrue all this. Rule is punitive. The primary intent looks to correction and salvation. The shepherd goads the wandering sheep with the iron tipped end of his staff into a safer path or draws him back from a precipice with the crooked end of the staff. He sets up the staff as an ensign for rallying the flock together in time of danger or with it he counts the each morning and evening as they one by one pass under the rod in leaving the fold for pasturage or returning to it for shelter or in using it as a weapon of defense against the enemies of the flock. That takes care of the Catholic interpretation of Verses 2:26 and 2:27. They use these verses in the sense there is a pope that sets as authority to rule and govern the entire dioceses of catholic hierarchy wherever it may be. That man who sets on the papal throne is the king of the flock, and he is the one that governs and rules. As you can see the Greek words used in verse 2:27 mean shepherding rather than kingly authority, kingly rule, or dictatorship. Jesus told those people who overcame they had to be born again. They had to be saved people who would be the instrument of shepherding that flock, and that they would break them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. That does not mean absolute destruction. Read in Jeremiah where he said go down to the potter’s house and see how he messed up one piece of pottery and had to remake it. There are a lot of people that need reconstructed lives. As far as their souls are concerned, they are saved by God’s grace, but they need reconstruction and the rod of God. It is given to this church as a sheparding rod and not a rod of violence. I want to take up now the promises that were made to the church at Sardis. We didn’t get through all of it previously. Notice here in chapter 3:3 “Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.” Jesus did not mean that he was coming back in his second advent to the church at Sardis, for him, as we’ve spoken of before, personified the members of the churches. He spoke to them in the sense of individuals, the second person. There are many comings in the Bible that mention the coming of the Lord, and that he’s coming upon the people. Most of the time it means he’s going to visit them with judgments. He will visit them with the sword of his mouth which is preaching of the truth by his servants in using the word of God to just straighten people out to be simple about it. Now he said that he that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life. We mentioned previously in our study of one of the other seven churches a certain practice in the eastern countries at the time this book was written. If the citizens of those countries did not follow certain rules and regulations set out by those nations and walk the dotted line, so to speak, their names were erased from the books. They were no longer citizens and granted the same rights that the other people had. That’s where this originated. In simple terms, Jesus is telling the church at Sardis that their names might be taken off the list as citizens of their country or the territory in which they lived, but he would not blot their names out of the book of life. Jesus is not even leaving any indication here that anybody could use to uphold the possibility a person could lose their salvation. He’s just encouraging the church at Sardis, though they lose their citizenship in their community and in their territory, they’ll never lose their citizenship in heaven. That book doesn’t have any erasures. Every name that’s ever been recorded in that book is still there. There’s one more thing I want to say about that before we leave it. I believe we have studied this before in the foreknowledge of God. I believe that God is omniscient which means “all wise”. He is also omnipresent meaning he is everywhere and omnipotent meaning he is all powerful. You won’t find these words in the scriptures, but we refer to God in this way. If God is omniscient, “all wise”, you cannot place limitations on his knowledge. I believe God knew from the very beginning every name that would be written in the book of life. He didn’t foreordain the salvation of a single one of them. He left the choice in the hands of the individual as a free moral agent, but God knew what choice he would make. This is what I believe about foreknowledge. I believe also, the Bible teaches very clearly that God could have written every name from the very beginning in the book of life. I don’t believe he did since David said in the Psalm 87:5: “And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her: and the highest himself shall establish her. 87:6: “The LORD shall count, when he writeth up the people, that this man was born there. Selah.” So I think the writing of the name in the book of life takes place at the very time of regeneration and the new birth. This is just simply assuring the church at Sardis that they do not have to worry. There is no danger that God will ever erase their names from the book of life. I want to call your attention to another promise that was made. The promise is that he shall be arrayed in white raiment’s or garments, and is made to the church at Sardis, to the overcoming individual. I’m going back over that again now. There’s no way anyone can overcome this wicked world alone, and has never been a man that has lived who was able to overcome the Devil by himself. There’s never been enough water, even though the great majority of the surface of this earth is water, to cleanse anyone from one single sin. But the over comer is the one that believes that Jesus Christ is Son of God, and I don’t mean that now in just a historical faith. I mean the person that actually in his or her heart trusts Jesus Christ as their savior. The Bible said the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin, and I’m going to believe that. So as the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin, there’s nothing else that has anything to do with it. Water doesn’t do it. The action of a second party doesn’t do it. The sinner is cleansed from sin and becomes an over comer of sin, the Devil, and the world by the blood of Jesus Christ. When a person is saved, that is, regenerated and born again, their bodies are not dealt with in regeneration. There is not one thing done to the individual’s body in his new birth. I’ll tell you what does happen in regeneration and the new birth, a holy disposition is given to the mind. It doesn’t mean God gives them a new mind or brains. It simply means that God performs an operation upon the individual. In that way God leaves him with a holy disposition of the mind that he could never have as a sinner. So the over comer who is to be arrayed in white raiment or garments is the person who is regenerated, born again. I believe that sanctification of the soul, the inner man, takes place at the very time of the new birth. Yet sanctification in the body is progressive, and it starts the very day of regeneration. We can work at it all the days of our lives and never become perfect which doesn’t excuse us from striving daily to continuously make ourselves better. This sanctification is left up to the individual and is a progressive work only accomplished by the grace of God. I want to go now to the martyrs that John saw under the altar of God. Rev. 6:9 “And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:” 6:10 “And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” 6:11 “And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.” I don’t think John saw them in neither heaven nor any period of time after they reached heaven, but he saw them when they were dying. He saw them when they were giving their lives for what they believed. In that time of death, they cried out under the altar of God. If you can find an altar in heaven, I want you to show me where it is. When we leave this world and go to the heavenly world, there won’t be need for altars up there. Under the altar of God, John saw the martyrs who were giving their lives for what they believed in, and they cried out for actual judgment against their murderers. The Bible said that white robes were given to every one of them. Do you believe they had been in heaven any length of time before the robes were given? I don’t. I believe the robes were given to them when they went to heaven. It is my opinion the white robes given to the martyrs is a blessing for their faithful service to God which was given to them when their souls entered heaven to be with Christ. The believer is the over comer. This verse also says that they should rest for a little season until their servants would give their lives as they had. They have been waiting all this time, almost 2,000 years, and God has not yet visited this world in which we live with the vengeance that is coming that we read about in the 2 Thess. 1:7-8. I would like to go now to the promise that was made to the church at Thyatira. I can remember when I was just a boy; we use to burn plant beds. They treat them now chemically. We use to go into the woods and cut down trees and prepare logs and put them together and get a heap ready to set fire before daylight the next day. Many of you have experienced that I’m satisfied. My attention has been brought many times as a boy to the morning star. When all the rest of the stars that have shined through the night brilliantly had faded, they had ceased to be seen, but there was one that was still so bright as we walked and went to the place where we were going to burn a plant bed. And that morning star was the herald or the assurance of a new day. That morning star that is given to the over comer, the child of God, is that hope of glory that he has in his heart which is Christ, of that coming day after a while when we shall depart this world and all of its troubles and sorrows and disappointments and shall live with God and angels while the ceaseless ages of eternity roll on. Now that belongs to the over comer. The over comer is the believer, the one that has been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ, and Jesus has given to that individual a hope that is sure and steadfast and enters into that within the veil. It’s not seen. We can’t visualize it, but we can feel the assurance in our hearts that one day after while we shall experience for ourselves the reality of that assurance that’s presented here as the morning star. I want you to notice something else regarding the promises in Rev. 3:21 “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” This is not the throne of ruling. Some people today in their writings and teachings interpret this as being a throne of rule, and that Jesus is coming back and sit on the throne of David and rule the world. This is not the throne of rule but is the throne of judgment. There is a question which needs to be answered in connection with Verse 3:21 since he said “even as I also overcame,” Did Jesus Christ, the son of man and the Son of God, walk by faith? Did he look to his Father by faith? Yes, he did walk by faith. Jesus Christ lived his life here on this earth, and he did the work on earth for the Father. Jesus said that he sent me to do this work, and the Father’s will is that, that I do. So Jesus Christ, while he lived here in the world, lived and walked by faith in the Father. I would like to add a little more to this. The church Jesus set up here in the world was the church which God gave him the authority to set up when he came. Now Jesus, even though he was God manifest in the flesh, had a fleshly body. In his fleshly body, he wrought the will of God. The only person who has ever lived on earth that ever kept the law in its entirety and able to fulfill it was Christ. As to the likelihood of Christ sinning, some say that he just couldn’t have sinned. I don’t believe that. I think Jesus Christ was made just like us. His physical body came from his mother. He was God and man. He was begotten of God, but he had a physical body. The Bible said he was tempted in all points like we are. So if he was tempted like we are, my friend, the Bible said in James 1:13 “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:” 1:14 “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” So my savior, while he lived here in the body, had to be tempted or else there would have been no reason for the devil to call him out into the wilderness for that purpose. By not yielding, he proved himself an all-sufficient Savior. We read about the three temptations the Devil presented to Christ which he overcame, and the Bible said he departed from him for a little season. Those weren’t the only three temptations that he had. The Devil came back to him later. It’s not recorded as to what he did, but the Devil just left him for a short time. There’s coming a day, thank God, when Christ will sit upon the throne of judgment. He says that the over comer shall sit down with me on my throne as I have overcome and am sat down with my Father in his throne. If Christ was not capable of sinning, what did he overcome? Paul said in I Corinthians 6:2 “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? And if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?” 6:3 “Know ye not that we shall judge angels? How much more things that pertain to this life?” Won’t it be a wonderful time when Paul will sit on the throne of judgment with Christ. He will be a judge of Agrippa, Festus and Felix. Paul bore witness to these men of the Christ who suffered, died, and shed his blood for all men who heard the gospel, that good news of salvation. Even though Agrippa said, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” they turned it down. Paul, as well as every other over comer in the world, shall judge jointly with the Son of God. Job is another who will sit in judgment. God allowed the Devil to have liberty for just a little while with Job. He could not take Job’s life however. God said Job was a man who feared Him and eschewed evil and none like him on the face of the earth. After all the evil brought upon Job by the Devil, Job did not curse God. One day Job will sit on the throne of judgment of the Devil and all his angels. Paul and Job, as well as every other over comer in the world, shall judge jointly with the Son of God. God told the over comer he would give him the right and privilege to judge them. That will be a wonderful day.
Study of The Book of Revelation
W. T. Russel (Tape #3)
In review, the number seven is a sufficient and complete number for the teachings of Revelation. Seven stars represent the seven pastors of the seven churches. The seven Spirits of God before his throne are the complete and sufficient power for the number of churches and pastors. We have only studied the things happening on earth in our previous lessons. John saw the imperfect churches with imperfect pastors and members. He heard the words spoken by Christ, the head of the church. There were scenes of the churches being persecuted with trials and suffering and the powers being used against them. Despite all this, John saw the promises made to the churches by the Lord. These previous chapters show all of the claims made by certain people. Many things were done and palmed off in the name of religion of which we would not approve. It was made clear to John the difficult struggle the church was having. In chapter four God is pleased to show John there are agencies in heaven other than what he has seen on earth.
Chapter 4:1 “After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.” I have no doubt the Book of Revelation was written about 95 or 96 A.D. It was the very last book of inspiration that was written with its proper place as the last book of the New Testament. Since the Lord tells John he is going to show him what is coming afterward, we must begin with 96 A. D.
Chapter 4:2 “And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.”
Chapter 4:3 “And he that sat was to look upon like jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.” I would like to point this out here. John saw the throne of grace and God in his brilliance. He didn’t see a form of God. Similarly, when God spoke to Moses, Moses could only look upon the back parts of God. For John said no man can look upon the face of God and live. While on the Isle of Patmos, John looks into heaven through that open door. He sees a throne, and on that throne is one like a sardine stone, even like unto an emerald. He sees God in his spiritual brilliance and knows it is something supernatural. Not only that, but he sees the throne of God’s rich grace because all three are represented there. Let’s look:
Chapter 4:4 “And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.” What did John see in verse four? He saw twenty-four priests and twenty-four elders. In the Old Testament when David was king of Israel, he divided the priesthood into twenty-four courses. When each man fulfilled his course, he would go home. If you would know more about this, begin reading Luke 1:8. Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, was serving in the priest’s office in the order of his course when the angel appeared unto him. The angel told Zacharias his wife, Elizabeth, could conceive and bear a son. What do the twenty-four elders represent? They represent the perpetuity of the priesthood of the children of God from that day until the end of the world. The twenty-four divisions of the priesthood that David made were of the sons of Aaron. After they fulfilled their course as it came their time to fulfill it, they would retire to their homes. I want to say this: the twenty-four elders represent the perpetuity of the priesthood of God’s children for every born again child of God is a priest–not a high priest. Aaron’s sons were not high priests. They were priests and served in the temple as priests while Aaron served as the high priest. But I’ll call your attention to a statement by the Apostle John in Revelation 1:6 “And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” Look also at this statement made by the Apostle Peter in 1 Peter 2:5 “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” Rev. 5:10 “And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” How does he reign? Jesus Christ reigns through his people in the world. The church Jesus left here in the world is operating under the commission that Jesus gave it, and he said I’ll be with you always even until the end of the world. So we are reigning with Christ today as priests in the kingdom of our Father. The true churches of our country, and I’m talking about genuinely organized churches of the proper material and connections. All of these churches in the world today constitute the church kingdom. He has made us to be a kingdom of priests, and we do reign on the earth. That’s been going on for nearly two thousand years. It will continue to go on until the Lord comes on a cloud of his glory. The door of mercy will then be closed forever and eternally.
Chapter 4:5 “And out of the throne preceded lightnings and thundering and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.” The seven lamps of fire burning before the throne are the seven Spirits of God. There are seven churches under consideration in the book of Revelation with all seven named, and each one of the seven has the Spirit of God. If there had been one hundred churches, there would have one hundred spirits of God. Wherever the church Jesus set up and left in the world is assembled, Jesus is there in Spirit with them. The churches can be one hundred miles apart, and he will be at each church at the same time. So this figure seven is to be considered as complete, just as you would refer to seven days as being a complete week.
Chapter 4:6 “And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.” The sea in Revelation represents people. John had seen the unrest of the peoples of the world even before he went to Patmos. He had been a witness of the persecutions of civil powers. He had seen the frailty of the churches and men, and had witnessed for himself people of the world in an upheaval. Here John sees that same people in a sea of glass before the throne of God. In heaven things are not as disturbing as they on earth. Those conditions that exist in heaven have a calming effect on the people while those conditions here seem to stir up the people. That’s the difference between them. “…in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.” Let’s not say four beasts. If it had been beasts, the Greek word would have been “thereon.” Rather, the Greek word here is “zoa” which has reference to “living ones.” Let’s look at it as “living ones living beings, or living creatures.” Chapter 4:7 “And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.” Change “beast” to “living creature” in each case in verse seven and what do we have? We have the cherubim. What is the cherubim? It’s an agency of God consisting of angels. Where is it stationed? John saw it in heaven. Look at Hebrews 1:14 “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” So we have four angels that constitute the cherubim. I’d like to call your attention now to the gate of the Garden of Eden. When Adam and Eve had transgressed the law of God, there was an altar or a throne established at the entrance of the Garden of Eden. There was a flaming sword to keep the way of the tree of life. We also see two cherubim there. Now then, in this case, we have four. But I’d say this, if we could see the four cherubim, one of them looking east, one looking west, one looking north, and one looking south from our vantage point, we could only see two at a time. You might get in another position on the other side, and you’d just see two. You wouldn’t see all four of them for their faces are in different directions. The first was like a lion and a lion represents courage. There is no beast more courageous than the lion or those in the lion’s family. The second was like a calf. Well, just say ox because that is what it’s talking about. The ox has reference to strength and endurance. The third had a face like a man and it represent intelligence. And the fourth living one was like a flying eagle. What did that represent? It represents sight, vision, or the ability to see at a distance. So we have the cherubim made up of four each looking in a different direction and being able to move in any direction without turning around. They can move without turning around as in your automobile. If you want to go further in the study of that, go to chapter one of Ezekiel and read about Ezekiel’s iron wheel, the wheel in a wheel. The wheel was placed at right angles, and it didn’t have to be turned around. It would go in any direction–sideways, backward, or forward without turning. More also can be found in Ezekiel 10:14. We see this cherubim is an agency of God that John is visualizing here. In other words, God is letting John know he need not be discouraged. There are agencies of divinity able to take care of the situation.
Chapter 4:8 “And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.” I believe we’ve covered that. Flying would be the same as rolling or turning, and we won’t go into that any further. I do want to say it must have been a comfort to John that this heavenly agency rested neither day nor night and were on guard every hour. He could go to sleep with the assurance that the heavenly agency was watching and able to take care of the situations that might arise.
Chapter 4:9 “And when those beasts give glory and honor and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever,”
Chapter 4:10 “The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,”
Chapter 4:11 “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” That is a climax. You can look in any direction, as a creature of creation, and God created it for his pleasure. He said in Isaiah 46:10 “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:” 46:11 “Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executed my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.” Who’ll do it? You and me. No. We might be little instruments in God’s hands to carry it out, but it’s God’s power behind the servants he has on earth and the heavenly agencies he has above. We are workers or laborers together with God, and that’s the lesson John is taught here in this chapter. The original manuscripts of the Bible were written with no chapter divisions in the books. Since the translators were subject to mistakes, I believe part of chapter five should have been included with chapter four. Here is part of it.
Chapter 5:1 “And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.” The phrase “a book written within and on the backside,” simply means there was no more space to write or the book was filled thus the last book of the New Testament and the completion of inspired writing of the Bible. As I said before, the number seven means completeness. It is used in that capacity here “sealed with seven seals.” The seven seals meant seven revelations were to be made. They were complete revelations–nothing to be added or taken away. Revelation was written in 96 A.D. and no earlier than 95 A.D. during the reign of Domitian. Through Domitian’s power and influence, John was exiled on the Isle of Patmos. While he was there, he wrote this book. John was the only disciple who died a natural death. The rest of them were martyrs. John went back to Ephesus, and I’m sure lived there until he died a natural death. When I was a young preacher I did some second hand preaching. I do not mean to be critical and offend anyone. God bless the memory of our older brothers. I love them, but they could make mistakes like anyone else. I heard them preach the book sealed with seven seals in chapter 5:1 contained the plan of salvation. In John’s vision of heaven in this verse, he saw the Lamb who had already been slain. Christ had been crucified, buried, rose from the grave, lived on earth, and then ascended to the right hand of God. The book in the hand of Christ here was a revealing of Christ from 95 or 96 A. D. until the end of the world.
Chapter 5:2 “And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?”
Chapter 5:3 “And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.”
Chapter 5:4 “And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.”
Chapter 5:5 “And one of the elders saith unto me, weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.” The elder mentioned in this verse is referring to one of the four and twenty elders. The prevailing had taken place already before 96 A. D. Therefore, the “book” in these verses did not contain the plan of salvation. It contained the trials of the church on earth, and events that would happen from that time which only God could reveal.
Chapter 5:6 “And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.” The Lamb mentioned in this verse was a type of Jesus Christ since Christ had already been crucified at the time Revelation was written. You will notice this verse says ” stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. It was the risen Christ who prevailed who was qualified to take the book from him who sat on the throne and loose the seven seals to reveal the contents of the book. It addition it is said here “having seven horns and seven eyes,” which is mentioning the figure seven again for complete power and completeness of sight.
Chapter 5:7 “And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.”
Chapter 5:8 “And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of saints.” The “four beasts” are rendered “four living creatures” in the original, and I prefer it that way. Notice they all had harps in this verse–instruments of music. The golden vials full of odors were incense which is the prayers of saints. God gave John the responsibility of being an apostle, and at this time, he was imprisoned and exiled away from his people on the Isle of Patmos. Oh, how he must have been encouraged when God showed him what had taken place in the past and what was coming in the future. To me, this is wonderful! Through John, we also see these things.
Chapter 5:9 “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou was slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;” “And they sung a new song,” was a song that had never been sung before. It was praise to Jesus Christ.
Chapter 5:10 “And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.”
Chapter 5:11″And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;” (Myriads of angels, thousands and thousands of angels.)
Chapter 5:12″Saying with a loud voice, worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.” Christ is the only one that is worthy. John saw all these things in heaven. He must have been discouraged because all of his co-laborers, the apostles, had already been killed. He miraculously had escaped and was exiled on Patmos. He was shown the dark scenes of the state of the churches in Asia with their imperfections and the imperfections of men. He was told to write the churches letters. Sometimes we reach the place in life where we think the cause is just about to fade away. If we just looked at earth and mortal man, it certainly would soon fade away. I’m sure John was very much encouraged when he looked into heaven and saw that we are not left alone. Here John is given a view of God’s heavenly agencies and earthly agencies in cooperation with each other. God has carried out his purpose and will continue to carry out his purpose to the end of the world. Chapter 5:13 “And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.” Wasn’t that a wonderful experience? John just didn’t hear the voices of angels and men. He heard the voices of everything in the world that God had created that could make a sound. All of them were giving praise and honor to him that sitteth on the throne and unto the Lamb. And they said “forever and ever.” I’d like you to notice the heavenly scene in particular when the Lion of the tribe of Juda reached forth and took the book from the hand of God who sat on the throne. Listen to the response given by the cherubim, the four angels, the four and twenty elders. He went even far enough to say that every thing in heaven and earth gave praise unto him that lives forever and forever. David said let every thing that has breath praise the Lord. I can’t help but think of that when I hear the birds singing their songs. John heard this when he was on this Isle of Patmos: the honor, glory, praise of the singing, and every word uttered was toward Jesus Christ the Son of God. This book is about the revelation of Jesus Christ–not the revelation of John. It’s the revelation of Jesus Christ given to us by an angel to the servant John. John wrote what was revealed to him. Let’s not forget that the honor, praise and glory rightly belong to him that’s being revealed in this book.
Chapter 5:14 “And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.” “And the four beasts said, Amen.” The meaning of that word “amen” is so may it be. And I say now so may it ever be at all times now and hereafter. As I have said before the four and twenty elders that were around the throne represented the perpetuity of the priesthood. Of course for there to be perpetuity of the priesthood, there’d have to be perpetuity of the church that Jesus left in the world.
Chapter 6:1 “And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.” We are now going study the things which were revealed to John when Jesus separately opened the seven seals. He unveiled things which had been hidden to a great extent. The minds of people had been shrouded because of the complexity of the things they were not able to understand. “Come and see” is not in the original. It just simply says, “Come.” It wasn’t telling John to come. He was already there. Who was it telling to come? It was the introduction of a panorama, a scene as it were to be flashed on a screen or on a stage. It’s a peculiar thing that in the opening of the seven seals, the one who opened the seals never read a thing. There is nothing read from the portion that’s unsealed, but the seals are broken one at a time. Instead of reading what is in the book, it’s acted out or demonstrated as an act upon a stage so to speak. So the word “Come” just means to come forth. This panorama and this scene is to be shown and notice is given for it to start. I want us to keep that in mind in these seals.
Chapter 6:2 “And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.” This scenery is borrowed in a way from the first and sixth chapter of Zechariah. You’ll find four horses mentioned by the prophet, Zechariah. There are only two verses of scripture given at the opening of the first seal. White always represents purity. We will later read about the white robes given to the martyrs which are an emblem of righteousness and purity. There was one who sat upon this white horse. That one represented the word of God or the gospel of Jesus Christ. He is the very one who had died and by his death became worthy to break the seals and reveal future events regarding the gospel and its affect. In this scene, it’s a white horse with his rider going forth conquering and to conquer. A bow and a crown were given to him, and he went forth conquering and to conquer. In Psalms 45:5, he says “Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king’s enemies; whereby the people fall under thee.” The Apostle Paul in Hebrews 4:12 said, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” So the gospel is referred to in different places sometimes as arrows and sometimes as a sword. This rider on the white horse is dispensing the gospel with its cutting power and its penetrating affect in the hearts of the enemies of God–the followers of Satan. I’ve read many other opinions as to what is being depicted in these seals. Despite this, I believe it is a revelation of Jesus Christ, the word of God, and we need to limit our minds to the fact it is a revelation of the word of God by Jesus Christ. And if it is the revelation of Jesus Christ, the word of God, then we must take the position without fear of contradiction that this horse and its rider is none other than the gospel of Jesus Christ, the word of God conquering in the past, present and future. So this first seal represents Jesus Christ himself, the word of God, and its affects when it is preached. When the gospel is preached in love as designed to be preached, and is received in honest hearts, it will conquer sin and redeem them from sin. They will be saved with an everlasting and eternal salvation. The first seal has to do with the affects of the preaching of the gospel of the Son of God on honest hearers.
Chapter 6:3 “And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.” As said before, the beast referred to in verse three is also a “living creature,” and a member of the cherubim. They are angels giving the call to come forth. In other words, they are introducing another scene. Nothing is said, but it is just presented.
Chapter 6:4 “And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.” Notice it was not a two-edged sword. The gospel spoken of by Paul is a two-edged sword, but to this man or rider is given a “great sword.” It’s the very same word used in the Greek for the knife, the sword Abraham raised to take the life of his son in sacrifice to God. The “great sword” given to this man riding the red horse was a sword of sacrifice. I want us to notice the different affects the gospel had. When the gospel is received in honest hearts, it has a peaceful affect. To those who have received the gospel and have been saved, they are joyful. They are happy because others are being saved. However there is another affect the gospel has upon other individuals. For instance, the woman who was a soothsayer, who caused Paul and Silas to go to jail. The Bible said she brought her masters much gain by her soothsaying. Some people say fortunetellers are just a hoax. There are fortunetellers, and they are being directed and lead by the wrong spirit. I don’t want to be around them or have any part of their work because their operation is by an evil spirit. This woman soothsayer or fortuneteller brought her masters much gain by her soothsaying. Paul and Silas preached the gospel to this woman. Paul commanded the devil, the unclean spirit which enabled her to be a fortuneteller, to come out. She was then converted. What were the results? How was the gospel received? Paul and Silas were put in prison by the masters of this woman because they had lost their source of guidance in material matters. This instance shows a different affect the gospel had rather than when it was received peacefully. The word of God is the same, but everyone doesn’t receive it the same. Another example of the different affects of the gospel is Demetrius in Ephesus. He made shrines (little idols) which was a great money making business for him. They were making these little idols, and when Paul preached the gospel in that vicinity of Ephesus, it caused a regular riot. The affect of the gospel was the idol makers lost some of their customers. They complained their business was in danger because of Paul’s preaching the gospel. The gospel had a different affect in Ephesus and surrounding communities than when the first seal was opened. Idols are still worshipped today in such religions as Buddhism and Shintoism. Even in Catholic churches and Catholic homes, you’ll find little images or idols the people actually worship or trust in. Jesus said in Matthew 10:34 “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” 10:35 “For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.” We have examples of this given in the scriptures in Paul’s day. He went to Corinth, a country of idolatry. Some heard the gospel with an honest heart and were saved from sin. The example was that an unsaved husband became furious with his wife when she was saved. They could no longer live together peacefully. Paul told them in 1 Corinthians 7:12 “But to the rest speak me, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she is pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.” 1 Corinthians 7:13 “And the woman which hath a husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.” The gospel has caused a lot of friction in homes. It’s caused a lot of friction between husbands and wives and even brothers and sisters. I think of an old song that Brother L. A. Stuart used to sing along time ago. One of the verses or a part of the song at least, is this: “My brothers and sisters won’t own me, but I’ve started to make heaven my home.” So there’s been a divisive reception of the gospel all down through the centuries, and it will continue to be so. In fact, I believe today it’s worse than it has ever been. So this is the affect of the gospel as it’s preached and its affect, not only in the past, but in the present, and also in the future.
Chapter 6:5 “And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand.” Again “come” should be used instead of “Come and see.” It means just let this be seen. In other words, let us look at the picture and see the symbol. Let us look at the figure and see what he’s talking about because he didn’t explain anything that he saw in the vision. He just showed it in signs and symbols.
Chapter 6:6 “And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.” I want you to think symbolically and not literally because he’s using literal things to express figurative things from a spiritual standpoint. We can see that bread comes from barley and wheat. The spiritual side of that is bread from heaven. Its spiritual bread, and not earthly. The black horse that we are reading about here is having to do with a famine not of bread we eat to sustain life for this natural body, but it is a famine of hearing the true gospel of the Son of God. I know today the famine is getting worse. If you have moved around very much, watched television and listened to the radio, you will have to say also there is very little true gospel preached compared to the amount of preaching that’s done. There is very little pure gospel of the Son of God being measured out to the peoples who hear today. It is being so diluted that it doesn’t even favor the gospel of the Son of God. It is a time of famine and depression when people withhold the truth of the gospel of the Son of God. It is a famine when they fail to contend for the conditions which are embodied therein and pass it off as some unimportant something that doesn’t amount to anything. The Bible said in Amos 8:11 “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:” I want to say again I know that some writers say this has reference to the gospel in hands of the Catholic church. The Catholic Church is a counterfeit organization and has never preached the pure gospel. You couldn’t say they dole out a little here and a little there. By saying that, you’d have to admit the Catholic Church has the pure gospel. I say they do not have it. The trouble is not with those who do not have the truth but with those who have it and are afraid to preach it. They just dole it out a little at a time for the remuneration they get from it, because they will lose out if they preach the whole truth. The world does not want the truth today neither in the days gone by. Thus the point I am trying to make in the opening of this third seal with the black horse is that it represents a famine of hearing the true gospel of the Son of God. If all of the preaching and the programs on radio and television today were the pure gospel of the Son of God instead of a makeshift preaching, this country would be turned upside down. But there’s a famine in hearing the word of the Lord. About all the preaching you hear on television today is graveyard stories and beautiful illustrations. They will not get to the heart of the scriptures and tell what it means, what Jesus died for and where he is. They will not tell what the sinner has to do to be saved. So there’s a famine in the hearts of people today for lack of hearing the gospel of the Son of God.
Chapter 6:7 “And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.” Use only “Come” here. Here is another picture, another panorama, another scene that we want to look at.
Chapter 6:8 “And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.” Hell means Hades in this verse. Hell does not mean the place of torment in all places in the Old Testament or the New Testament. Hell only means the place of torment when it is translated from the Greek word Gehenna. Hades follows directly at death or after death. What is Hades? It is the state of the disembodied soul from the body. I didn’t say purgatory. No, I’ve not found that yet. It’s just not in there, but Hades is. I want to give you a little illustration right here to prove what I’m talking about. David, in his prophecy concerning the death of the Son of God, wrote in his personal way as if it was concerning himself, but it was actually prophecy concerning the Son of God. He said in Psalms 16:10 “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” Some people think that Christ went to hell, the place of torment. They believe he preached to the spirits in torment, that he had paid the price for sin and had set everyone free. That would have been an additional torment, wouldn’t it? Or else they could be released from that hell and have another chance and they just did not have. There is a difference in a “state” and a place. What was David talking about when he said “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell;”? On the day of Pentecost Peter stated what David said, thou wilt not leave my soul in Hades. Did Christ’s soul occupy Hades? Yes. Christ’s soul was disembodied and by virtue of his blood made atonement for sin. He sprinkled his blood on the mercy seat and made atonement for the sins of the world. However, God did not leave his soul in that state. He was only in that state for three days and nights then his body being raised from the grave, his soul and body were reunited. It also says in that verse, “……..neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” The body of Jesus lay in the grave three days and nights and did not see corruption or did not decompose. I want to add this. All of our friends and loved ones– saints or sinners–are in Hades. Someone said, “What do you mean?” I mean those who have died in Christ, children of God, their spirits are in a disembodied state. They are in the presence of God today, and they occupy a hadean state. Every person who has died without God is in a disembodied state. It is the hadean state which is between death and the resurrection as we understand the disembodiment. The Bible speaks of that hell (the place) they are in as a bottomless pit. But they are in hell just the same. The souls of God’s children are in heaven just the same. They are occupying a hadean condition or state, and it’s not talking about the place. The souls are in that hadean state now of disembodiment, and their bodies are in graves. Their bodies might have been cremated with their ashes scattered to the four winds. Yet when the day of the resurrection comes, that body will be given life anew. The disembodied soul will then re-enter the resurrected body and then will be fulfilled what David said in Psalm 17:15 “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.” I buried my father in Union Cemetery out from Fountain Run, Kentucky a ways, the old home church cemetery, several years ago. The body we buried was just that old tabernacle, the house he lived in while he was here. On August the third in the morning about 7:20, his soul, that spirit, the inner man left him and went away to God. He’s separated tonight from the body that lies up there in the cemetery. Therefore, he is in a hadean state, the body and soul separated. But one day after a while God will say it’s enough. The sound of the trumpet will be heard by the angels, and they will be sent to gather from the four winds of the earth those who are in their graves. My dad’s soul will come back in the clouds with Jesus, and the body will go up to meet him. There it will be reunited eternally. Did someone say the soul had to enter the body in the grave before it would live again? Romans 8:11 tells us “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelled in you.” We who are saved will all have a body like the body of the Son of God. This old mortality will be swallowed up of life, and the former things that we have had to endure and contend with down here will have passed away forever. The truth of this seal we are talking about in verse eight is certainty of death’s coming. He said the 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 beasts of the earth. And I don’t think we are through yet. We’ve just gotten to this fourth seal. However, I don’t think the beasts here are the four-legged kind, but warring nations. I want to call your attention to this man on the pale horse or rather he that sat on this horse with Death and Hades following right along with him. It’s following you and me today too. It’s going to catch up with us some of these days. The separation is going to take place. There might be some living here today, our children or grandchildren who will be living here on this earth when the last stage will take place.
Chapter 6:9 “And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word o God, and for the testimony which they held:”
Chapter 6:10 “And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” The fourth and fifth seals are connected. How? The fourth seal said they had power given to them over the fourth part of the earth to kill with the sword, with hunger, with death and with the beasts of the earth. It has already been fulfilled. You’ll find that in better than 50 million of the saints of God have given their lives for their belief and what they possess. This is the affect the gospel had on those who had the power to put them to death. We are going to talk about who they were later on. Who were the ones who cried out in verse ten, those under the altar of God? Where is that altar? Is it in heaven? If there is an altar in heaven, I haven’t read about it. If you can find it, you tell me where it is. When we get to heaven, we won’t need the altar. The altar is used down here with the benefits of the altar being received down here. We won’t need it when get to the other world. Here are souls of people that were seen under the altar of God, and they cried out. When? Well, let’s see. When Abel was killed by Cain, his own brother, Abel had just made an offering unto God that consisted of a lamb. Its blood was shed, and its body was offered in sacrifice upon an altar that Abel had made. In the eleventh chapter of the Hebrew letter, it says, by faith, Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain whereby he obtained witness that he was righteous. We find Cain bringing of the fruits of the ground, the works of his own hands without faith, and he offered his offering. God didn’t accept it, and it made Cain furious. That gets us right back to the second seal, too, doesn’t it. What happened? He killed his brother. God said, Cain, where is your brother? He said, Am I my brother’s keeper? He denied knowing the whereabouts of Abel. But God said the voice of thy brother’s blood cried out unto me from the ground. The souls under the altar of God were seen in the time of the shedding of their blood in the time of their death. And they were crying out vengeance against their murderer. The blood of Abel was crying out the same thing. I’m glad we have a scripture that tells us of One’s blood which speaks better things than the blood of Abel. This scripture tells of the blood of Jesus being shed for mercy upon those that are lost and without God. Therefore his blood spoke better things than the blood of Abel that cried out for vengeance against his murderer. What was said to these under the altar that were dying? I think John saw them in the time of their death. If he didn’t, I want someone to tell me how long they were in heaven before they were given their white robes. Did they go to heaven and stay up there a while in the hadean state without a white robe of righteousness? This Bible said white robes were given to everyone of them. They were told to rest for a little season until their fellow servants should give their lives as they had. They are resting and waiting today. According to the teachings of the word of God, there’s going to come a time when the civil powers will exercise authority over us. We will lose this liberty we have enjoyed for so long, and have taken for granted it will be here always. When this liberty is gone, you will find more people looking for hiding places to worship God than you ever found at church when they had that privilege. When deprived, see how quickly people want back freedoms that have been liberally bestowed upon them. Look at the extent they’ll go to exercise their rights as did those in the Dark Ages. They hid out in the dens and caves of the earth carrying on their services, and the Catholics wrote our history charging us as heretics. When you read in history about the heretics, you can say a Catholic or a Catholic sympathizer wrote that history, and he talking about the Baptist. Their name might not have been Baptist. It might have been Albigenses, Waldenses or some other name, but their doctrines were the same as we hold today. There are two connecting thoughts in the previous lesson I would like to discuss. One is in reference to the fact that as the gospel is preached, (It has been preached in every age of the world.) all sermons include death. If it had not been for the death of Christ, our sins would not have been paid for. This is the reason death is included in the opening of the seals. The gospel explains to everyone how it’s appointed unto man once to die and after that the judgment. The second thought I want to connect to the first is the view from the opening of the fifth seal. As I previously said, it’s a bit peculiar to have a book sealed with seven seals opening one seal at a time while not actually reading the book. Instead of it being read, it was pictured in a panorama, scenery, or in symbol which would give the contents under each seal. When he had opened the fifth seal in
Chapter 6:9: “And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:” This, no doubt, is having reference to the martyrs who gave their lives because they were preachers of the gospel. Their cries were not after they had died and their souls had gone to heaven. Their prayers were in death.
Chapter 6:10 “And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” The Lord didn’t answer that prayer. He does answer before we get out of this book. The climax of the things we are studying will be found in the twentieth chapter of this book. God didn’t tell them how long it would be until vengeance would be poured out upon a persecuting world. But he did say after giving each of them white robes, they should rest yet for a little season. Now, in the eyes of God, two thousand years would be a little season for the Bible tells us that a thousand years is as one day with the Lord. These martyrs have been waiting and resting from their labors for nearly two thousand years. They will have to wait until their fellow servants and their brethren should be killed. This should tell us something–their fellow servants are to be killed just as they were. According to this word, before God’s vengeance is poured out on a wicked and persecuting world, others will give their lives as did the apostles and the millions of martyrs many years ago.
Study of The Book of Revelation
W. T. Russel (Tape #4)
Chapter 6:12 “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;” Care should be taken to understand the meaning of this sixth seal. Keep in mind John saw this in his vision.
Chapter 6:13 “And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.”
Chapter 6:14 “And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.”
Chapter 6:15 “And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;”
Chapter 6:16 “And said to the mountains and rocks, fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:”
Chapter 6:17 “For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” I want to point out that we are brought by a vision to the end of the world by this sixth seal, and the seventh seal is yet unopened. There are some things in connection with this that I want to call attention to. The scripture in the sixth chapter quoted here is taken from Joel 2:30 “And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.” 2:31 “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come.” If this prophesy has ever been fulfilled, I don’t know when it was. I’ve never read of anyone placing a date or time of its fulfillment. I also want to call your attention to this prophesy associated with the opening of the sixth seal. There will be a period of time the inhabitants of this earth will be able to see the end of the world and what will happen in the opening of the seventh seal. However, the Bible does not tell us how long it will be before that time. Matthew 24:29-31 is agreeable with this interpretation. Look at it: Matthew 24:29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:” 24:30 “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” 24:31 “And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” When the Bible is correctly understood, it forces us to recognize in the closing scenes of this world what God is going to do. A period of time is set forth in the opening of this sixth seal that great men in high places or authority, wicked men of every kind, will seek to hide themselves from His coming and the judgment. The Bible also says in 1 Thess. 5:4 “But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.” I’m sure the child of God will know when the end of the world approaches–not the day nor the hour but the nearness. There have been people down through the centuries of time who thought the end was coming and predicted the time it would happen. Of course they missed it. This sixth seal actually tells us that there is going to be a time when the sinful world at large will recognize the Lord is certainly soon to come. They will be ready to hide themselves and even to pray for the rocks and mountains to fall upon them and hide them from the face of him that shall soon appear. I’m not going to be foolish enough to manufacture a time not found in the scriptures, but I’m sure that day will come. Let’s go now to the eighth chapter to see the connection of the opening of the seven seals and the sounding of the seven trumpets. We will study the seventh chapter after we have discussed the eighth and its connection to the sixth.
Chapter 8:1 “And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.” This show there is going to be some time–half an hour. I’m not going to estimate now the length of time that half an hour is typical of; however, there is a waiting period between this sixth seal and the disclosure of the seventh in John’s vision. It just means there will be a final disclosure of what is to happen at a later time. It will be when the climax of this is reached in the twentieth chapter of Revelation. It’s a sad thing so many people have taken the twentieth chapter of Revelation as a key to everything written in the book. They have taken the twentieth chapter as the beginning and tried to make everything else fit in with it. Instead of the beginning, it is the climax. We will not reach the climax of the coming of the Lord until we reach the twentieth Chapter in Verses 20:9 through 20:15. The climax is also found in Matthew 25:31-46 and Paul’s version of the climax is in II Thessalonians 2:6-ll.Some may have wondered why we have used the seven seals as the affects of the preached gospel until the end of the world. The Book of Revelation is addressed to the churches. It has to do with the churches, and Jesus Christ’s association with the churches. Jesus gave to no one else but the churches this commission. In Matthew 28:19 “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:” 28:20 “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” Revelation begins with the church in her infancy. It ends with the final triumph of the churches over all the heresies, all the powers of evil, and brings it into the presence of God triumphal. That’s the reason why that route is taken, and I believe it’s the truth. Let’s now discuss the seven trumpets. Seven churches were selected as a sufficient or complete number to represent the kingdom of Jesus Christ on earth. Someone might ask the question why the sounding of the trumpets has reference to the affect prayer has in connection with the preached gospel through the years even to the end of the world. I believe it does have reference to prayer and the effects that prayer has in connection with the gospel because of what is in chapter 8:3-5.
Chapter 8:3 ” And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.” “And another angel came and stood at the altar,” (This is not the brazen altar of sacrifice, but it is the golden altar of incense.) “Having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense,” (I believe that angel is none other than the angel of the covenant which is Jesus Christ, the Son of God.) “That he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.”
Chapter 8:4 “And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.”
Chapter 8:5 “And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thundering, and lightnings, and an earthquake.” It is evident the sound of the trumpets tells us about the answers to prayer. Paul explains the old ceremonial law of burnt offerings and incense in the temple. He tells us as the smoke of these offerings ascended up; it represented the prayers of saints going into the presence of God. Jesus was the angel of the covenant seen in heaven by John at the brazen alters when the prayers that were offered here on earth ascended up to God in heaven. Christ, the mediator between God and man, is represented in this scene. Therefore, the sounding of the trumpets has reference to the prayers as they are received in heaven but the prayers are offered here on earth and the results that we read about in Revelation is the answer to those prayers that are offered on earth.
Chapter 8:6 “And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.”
Chapter 8:7 “The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.” Who was the great enemy of the church in John’s time? John was the last of the apostles. The rest of the apostles died at the hand of the persecutors and civil powers. History shows this enemy tried to kill John by placing him in a caldron or barrel of boiling oil, and it was only by the providence of God that he lived. God spared him for writing of the Book of Revelation. He was exiled on the Isle of Patmos and wrote it. Who was the enemy of the church in John’s time when this was written? It was pagan Rome. Changes were made in Rome, and we’ll see the steps as we study. Pagan Rome was a Godless nation. She persecuted the early church, and was behind the killing of the apostles. Babies were tied to their mothers’ necks. These mothers were killed with their babies hanging around their necks rather than give up their professed faith. We couldn’t find a better witness than John. He had waded through it all. He knew how the other apostles died. The Apostle Paul was imprisoned in Rome. Before John was exiled on the Isle of Patmos in 68 A. D., he was aware of Paul being beheaded in Rome. The enemy of the church in John’s day was pagan Rome. There must have been many prayers for their persecutors to be visited with the vengeance of God, and prayers to God for relief of the persecution the church was undergoing. What was the answer to their prayers? The prayers were answered by the fall of the Roman Empire as described in the historical account by Gibbons. He gives a step by step description in his book “The Decline and fall of the Roman Empire.” B. H. Carroll writes his understanding of the first trumpet, “I understand the first trumpet to mean the judgment of the Roman Empire, the pagan Roman Empire that caused its decline, and thus judgment means the invasion of nations from the north.” Gibbons explains that. “Scandinavia, Germany, and beyond the Danube, even the shores of the Baltic – out of their forests came the untamed Germans and Goths and across the Danube came the Vandals and Huns.” Carroll gives credit to Gibbons for this information from his book “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.” Gibbons shows the invasion of these hordes from the German forests and across the Danube broke over all the boundaries of the Roman power and carried their wasting influence with fire and sword into Italy itself. I am persuaded beyond any question to agree that Gibbons is right in his historical account. I also believe B. H. Carroll is unmistakably right in his application of Gibbon’s historical account of the pagan Roman Empire’s destruction. The destruction of pagan Rome came about in answer to the prayers of God’s people. That was the first trumpet
Chapter 8:8 lets now look at the second trumpet. “And 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;”
Chapter 8:9 “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.” Now, I must disagree with Dr. Carroll here. He’s a smarter man than I’ll ever be, but even the smartest men can be wrong. I’d like us to keep that in mind. I’m glad we can interpret the word of God for ourselves, and I’m just giving you some things to think about in your study. B. H. Carroll said in this book a mountain means a city. I disagree. A mountain in the book of Revelation, the Prophesies of Isaiah and others has reference to a nation and to a kingdom. That being the case, I want you to see the symbolic meaning of this. He said the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and a third part of the sea became blood; and there died a third part of the creatures even them that had life, and a third part of the ships were destroyed. Near the city of Rome was the volcano, Vesuvius. Those who have studied history and geography know what happened to Pompeii years ago. I believe it was in the year of 79. History tells us that Pompeii and Herculaneum were cities buried by an eruption of the volcano of Vesuvius. This just gives us a little type. This is a symbol. I am saying it is a symbol of the overthrow of the pagan Roman Empire as a result of the prayers of the saints of God. This Roman Empire was completely buried as if by an eruption of a volcano never to rise again, and it all came about in answer to prayers. Carroll credits Dr. Lyman Beecher’s history as stating it took Rome 300 years to die. Gibbons as he writes about the decline, writes about the fall in his book “The Decline and fall of the Roman Empire.” The eruption of the volcano of Vesuvius was simply a type of the eruptions which took place through armies invading Rome and brought about the downfall of the existing kingdom or power at that time. According to Daniel, that empire divided into ten kingdoms. Each of those ten kingdoms were completely destroyed. Why were they destroyed? They were destroyed because of people praying on earth. The sounding of the trumpets gives us the answer to those prayers which were heard in heaven. By using worldly powers as agencies, God answered the prayers of God’s people. He has been doing that all down through the years.
Chapter 8:10 “And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters;”
Chapter 8:11 “And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.” Again, I’m going to have to depart company with Carroll. I like to be consistent as any writer should be in his writing. A preacher needs to be consistent in his preaching and in his life. We read in the first part of Revelation that a star represented a preacher, a minister, a messenger, or a representative. So I’m going to be consistent with my teaching and say the star was supposed to be of a heavenly calling since it fell from heaven burning as a lamp. This star just had the nominal appearance of a preacher, and he was just another Judas who got in among the others. I’m going to say the Holy Roman Empire and the Holy Roman Catholic Church, as they like to call it, had its origin with the fall of one man. This man would have been identified with the true church in his day, but I’m not talking about him as being a child of God and falling from grace but as being a preacher who turned from the truth. All the Protestants and denominations, except the Baptist, existing today originated with one man. Many of these denominations began during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. They all have a human head. This lamp or star burning as a lamp was not a church that apostatized, but it was someone who got in the rank and led off a people into heresy. The result of that heresy brought about much persecution among the churches of the living God. Of course God’s people prayed about it. The Catholic Church is a counterfeit church, not an apostate church. Now, I know that people depart from the faith. I realize down through the ages there have been people who have departed from the true doctrinal principles of God after once holding to them. Nevertheless, the organization called the Roman Catholic Church had its origin through one man even though his identity is unknown. He, with his followers, made this counterfeit church look as much like the original as possible to deceive people. It is still a counterfeit church today. It will go down before the Lord comes back.
Revelations 13:3: ” And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.” This verse confirms that a man was the head or the beginning of the Holy Roman Catholic or Holy Roman Empire. Verse three says the pagan head was wounded to death. What is the head? Christ set up the true church while he was on earth and is the head of the true church. The Holy Catholic Church came into existence by the pagan head being wounded to death. The ecclesiastical head took its place which had to be one man the same as all other false churches started in the world’s history. This light burning as a lamp had no reference to a church apostatizing but was a wicked man who got in the true church and started a counterfeit movement. Notice the affect the counterfeit church and its teachings had upon the truth. The image is of casting wormwood into the water and making it bitter. Water, here, meaning the waters of life. When a false gospel is preached, and people are made to accept and believe a false teaching, it contaminates their minds. It doesn’t contaminate the true water of life, but it does bring about contamination in the minds of the hearers. When a heresy is followed, it is bitter not sweet. Look at the opposite of this in Exodus after Moses had led the children across the Red Sea.
Exodus 15:23 “And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.”
Exodus 15:24 “And the people murmured against Moses, saying, what shall we drink?” Exodus 15:25 “And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD Shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them,”
Exodus 15:23-25 Heresy, a false gospel, false teaching, is unpalatable to the souls of men. But Psalms 34:8 says, “O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusted in him.” False teaching is always bitter– never sweet, never good, but bad. The incident of the sweetened waters of Marah is just the opposite of waters that flowed from this man who was counterfeit in his teaching and a heretic in his practice. He produced only bitterness and woe, and it has gone on all down through the centuries of time with nothing to sweeten it. There was great glorification when Constantine the Great, became a Roman emperor. What did he do? He united that counterfeit church and the Roman state making that ecclesiastical movement a state or government church. Oh, there was much rejoicing. History tells us there was much glorification of Constantine because he had united the church and state, that counterfeit church. Gradually, the state became subordinate to the church. In other words the church did the dictating, and the state followed. The church was in the lead, that is, the counterfeit church claimed all ecclesiastical as well as civil powers. There is a Roman Catholic State in Italy. The pope of that ecclesiastical state demands that all countries send their ambassadors to him because he claims to be a civil ruler as well as ecclesiastical ruler. There is your church and state. The ecclesiastical powers of Rome, the church, had the power for a time. Later the state regained control. They just rallied back and forth until Garibaldi arose. He was an Italian general born in 1807 and died in 1882. Garibaldi as an Italian general paved the way for Victor Immanuel to come into Italy. Victor Immanuel was the first king of Italy, 1861 to 1878. Victor Immanuel marched through Italy at the head of his army with an open Bible. This was the first time this had ever been seen. Until that time, the Bible had been chained to the pulpit with the priest interpreting the scriptures for the laymen. They were not allowed to interpret it for themselves. It had been locked up in the Latin version, and Victor Immanuel declared liberty of conscience to all people. As we study these trumpets, I don’t profess to know all the history connected with it. But I do profess this much that each trumpet down to the sixth is an answer to the prayers of God’s people and like the sixth seal, stops right there until the climax in the twentieth chapter of Revelation. This may have been something that you’ve never heard or thought about before, but I want to admonish young preachers and others, especially the young preachers, to acquaint themselves with these matters while you are young. The time is coming when age is going to creep upon you. You will not be as alert in your thinking, studying and maintaining thoughts as you are today. I can memorize a scripture just as easily as I ever could go back over that scripture until I go to sleep, but find when I awake in the morning, it’s gone. Why? It’s not because I’m not as intensely interested as I use to be, for I am. It’s because I am ageing. I’m just doing the best I can. I am glad of scriptures that I committed to memory when I was young because I remember them and can quote them now as well as I could then. It’s not so with new scriptures recently learned. You need to acquaint yourselves with the affairs of the times today–what’s going on in the world. Jesus said while he walked here on earth, “What I say unto one, I say unto all, watch.” How are you going to watch? The signs are here right in this book to watch for and know that the coming of the day of the Lord draweth nigh.
Chapter 8:12 “And 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 as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.” The sounding of every trumpet by each of the seven angels is simply a response or an answer to the prayers of God’s people.
Chapter 8:13 “And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhibiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!” The heaven mentioned here is not the heaven of disembodied spirits. It is the heaven above us–the sky where the birds fly–the first heaven. Of course the other heaven is outer space. The third heaven, heaven of heavens, is the place of disembodied spirits. I heard one preacher say the “woe, woe, woe” meant when you are plowing Old Beck and get out to the end of the row, you say woe, stop. It does not mean to stop. These three woes mentioned here mean some tragedy is coming upon the world. There are three of them left. We have already studied four of them. These woes are divided into two groups–a group of four and then a group of three just as the seals are divided in the same grouping.
Chapter 7 I would like to say again the reason I left out the seventh chapter is because I wanted to make the connection of the opening of the seals and the sounding of the trumpets in their order. In the last part of the sixth chapter, we talked about the sixth seal bringing us to the end of the world. The first verse of the eighth chapter said, “And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.” Then he begins with the seven trumpets leaving the incidents under the seventh seal with nothing said about it. The trumpets are sounded and the woes are given through the sixth woe just as the seven seals are given with only six seals explained. The seventh seal and seventh trumpet are reserved to be brought together in the final consummation of all things in Revelations 19:18-20. I think it is fitting and proper that we take stock of what we have learned about the opening of the seals and sounding of the trumpets and put this seventh chapter where it belongs. In the seventh verse of the sixth chapter, you will find these words. “For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” The seventh chapter tells us who will be able to stand the great day of God’s wrath. The seventh chapter is in its place not only to assure John of God’s grace and of souls being saved, but there would be a great gathering in heaven some day.
Chapter 7:1 “And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.” “And after these things” means after the opening of the six seals which brings us to the end of time in panorama. We were studying that from the standpoint of types, shadows and symbols. In the panorama of these seals have been portrayed in words for our understanding. This verse says he saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth. At one time some of the old people argued the earth had to be square since the Bible said the earth had four corners. (I don’t want to reflect on the old people since I’m not as young as I once was, but I don’t believe the earth is square.) Of course this is holding the four winds of the earth– north, south, east and west. But let’s get the symbol of it or the figurative meaning of the four winds. These winds are symbolizing destructive forces and are not literal winds. Several years ago a tornado came close to Bowling Green. If the tornado had gone there, it would have torn up the town. This is emblematic of forces God uses. He reveals here the use of such forces as a judgment against the wickedness of the world.
Chapter 7:2 “And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,” This angel had the seal of the living God. The seal is emblematic and supposed to be understood by us in the same sense as the seal of the state might be affixed to a legal document. In years gone by in the western part of the country when there was a lot of range land with no fences, cattle were sealed with branding iron which had the imprint of the owner. The brand might have been the name of the ranch, the owner’s initials, or name. I believe when the Bible said the soldiers sealed the stone over the mouth of the sepulcher of Christ, it was not fastening the stone to the wall, but was actually a seal placed upon it which said you can’t touch this. The Old Testament tells about things being sealed with the king’s signet which is in the same sense as in the “seal of the living God” in Verse Two. Here is a scripture to harmonize with this type of seal. II Timothy 2:19 ” Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” God knows everyone of his children. The knowledge of God of his children is the same as the sealing of his children.
Chapter 7:3 “Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.”
Chapter 7:4 “And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.” This is a vision done for the benefit of John and the churches to which the letters were written. This vision was also to all churches and God’s people in every tribe of the children of Israel down through the centuries. There are twelve tribes of Israel originating from the twelve sons of Jacob. There are a certain number of people who belong to God in every tribe of the children of Israel.
Chapter 7:5 “Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand.” I do not believe the number twelve thousand is a literal number from every tribe of the children of Israel. If I believed that, I’d join the hard shells and say God decided back in eternity that exactly twelve thousand of every tribe of the children of Israel would be saved–no more, no less–with exactly one hundred forty-four thousand as the sub total of the children of Israel. One hundred forty-four thousand is a square number. It denotes a number of Jews who are saved from every tribe which lets us know there will be some saved out of every tribe of the children of Israel. Take this number symbolically and figurative as you do the others. Similarly, the number seven is used for the number of completeness. John on the Isle of Patmos witnessed the sealing of all the Jews from that time to the end of the world. He names the tribes from which these will be saved in verses five through eight. We will not go into these since it is just a reference to all the children of Israel.
Chapter 7:9 “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindred’s, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;” After the one hundred forty-four thousand were sealed, he saw a multitude that no man could number. This was to assure John of the great company preserved of God who would be in heaven. Some preach and some get the idea there’s only going to be a few in heaven. I agree there’s going to be few in comparison to the many that have lived on earth. The innumerable company had white robes and palms in their hands. How many of you have ever heard the song we used to sing a long time ago “Palms of Victory”? I haven’t heard it for a long time. The palms represent they had won the victory. Jesus said to fear not, for he had overcome the world. How did he overcome the world? He overcame it by faith. Someone said, “Did Jesus have faith?” Yes, he sure did. If he didn’t, what was he praying for? Why did he pray? I’m not saying that Jesus Christ was saved like you because he was the Son of God when he came. Still he lived a life of faith while on earth because he came to do the will of his Father and he prayed to the Father. This shows also the suffering of the seven churches of Asia, their persecutions, and their hardships of which we have studied. Not only that but it shows the opening of the seven seals, the way the gospel is accepted by some, rejected by others, and even times when there’d be a famine of hearing the word of the Lord. When everything looked dark to John and to the other disciples in the churches of that day, it is revealed in the seventh chapter not only the salvation of a number of the children of Israel, but also an innumerable company no man could number. They stood before the throne with palms in their hands showing they had won the victory through Christ.
Chapter 7:10 “And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.” Who were the ones in this verse? They are the ones with white robes and palms in their hands, the ones who had won the victory by faith and had reached home. They were giving praise to God for the salvation they had received through Christ.
Chapter 7:11 “And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,” Notice this about the elders. The elders represent the perpetuity of the priesthood on earth–the children of God perpetually carrying out his work by making sacrifices. The word priest indicates one who has something to offer. God’s people have been offering their bodies as a living sacrifice to God, holy, acceptable unto him which is their reasonable service. The four and twenty elders represent the perpetuity of the priesthood until Christ comes back. That’s taken from the Old Testament. I’d like to refer you back to it. Aaron had four sons. Two of them had their lives taken because they offered evil fire on the altars. One of the remaining two sons of Aaron had sixteen sons and the other had eight. In David’s time the priesthood was divided among those twenty-four sons making a division of twenty-four times. This is where the “four and twenty elders” originated. Four and twenty elders represent the perpetual priesthood in service to God on earth. Every saved person is a priest, not a high priest, but a priest. Here is what happened to those elders and the four living creatures which made up the cherubim. They all fell before the throne on their faces and worshipped God saying, Amen. The word amen means “so be it” or “so may it be.”
Chapter 7:12 “Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.”
Chapter 7:13 “And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?”
Chapter 7:14 “And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”
Chapter 7:15 “Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.”
Chapter 7:16 “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.”
Chapter 7:17 “For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” This must have been a comforting scene to John after he had seen all the terrible things going on in earth–the many hardships, the persecution of the churches, and even those who had given their lives for the faith that they held. This scene showed John the day is coming when there is going to be a change. God will be right in the midst of his people, and he’ll lead them into fountains of living waters, and he’ll feed them, and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. That’s the heaven scene right here between the seals and the sounding of the trumpets. It’s there as encouragement for John in the time in which he lived and to be sent to the seven churches of Asia. All those down through the centuries have been able to read it for encouragement as well as today.
Chapter 9:1 “And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.” I want to call your attention to the word fall. It was not present tense when John saw it. It is past tense in his vision. And he said the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fallen. The star had fallen to the earth and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. The star John saw fallen from heaven was none other than the Devil himself. He had already fallen when John saw it. And to him was given the key to the bottomless pit. Now Jesus said, I am he that has the keys of hell and of death. The Lord gave limited permission for things to be done by and through the Devil. Refer to the Book of Job 1:8 “And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in all the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and eschewed evil?” Satan began to accuse Job by saying Job didn’t serve God without getting something. This should be encouraging to every person serving God. God is the best paymaster you ever worked for. The Devil affirmed it when he said, “Doth Job fear God for naught?” He said, “Put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.” Of course, God just gave him the liberty to try it. It was a limited liberty. I’d like to point that out. He went far enough to take all of his wealth, his family, and his health. The only thing left was he and his wife. Job sat out in the ashes and scraped his sores with a piece of potsherd. Job 2:9 “Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God, and die.” God allowed the Devil to go that far with Job. We are told Job said, “Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive well at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips?” Even in that dark hour, Job said Blessed be the name of the Lord. It takes something besides humanity and mortality to be able to say a thing like that in the condition that Job was in. My point is that God has given the Devil liberty to a limited extent. Here we see a key to the bottomless pit given to the Devil. he is the angel or the star that had fallen from heaven. He opened the bottomless pit with the key that was given to him. This is what he found.
Chapter 9:2 “And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.”
Chapter 9:3 “And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.” Continue to remember this is symbolic language. This book is God’s picture book. The only way it can be rightfully understood and interpreted is to take the symbols and identify them with the very thing he intended to teach by the symbol or the figure. Let’s look at verse two. He said out of the bottomless pit arose a smoke as it were of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. This is a natural phenomenon, but what is the spiritual interpretation of it? The spiritual interpretation of it is that every false doctrine is a heresy. It comes right out of hell and originates with the Devil. When heresy is taught and believed by people, it is just like a smoke screen that hides the truth from the minds and hearts of people. This is exactly what verse two teaches. Notice the locusts came out of the smoke. In other words, the locusts came out of the darkness brought about by the false doctrines and teachings which originated with the Devil coming out of hell. In the east, they were acquainted with locusts and their destructive power and force. He uses locusts here as a symbol. It says “and unto them was given power as the scorpions of the earth have power.” These locusts, I think, are used as a symbol because there is nothing more destructive than locusts especially to vegetation. He uses this in a symbolic manner. Heresies, when believed, is darkness and keeps people there. Chapter 9:4 “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 which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.” I want to show you their purpose and what they do. In the seventh chapter twelve thousand (a definite number from each tribe of Jews) were sealed as a possession of God. It also says another innumerable company were sealed as God’s possession. The torment coming out of hell would not affect those that had the seal of God, but it would torment sinners–unbelievers. Those are the ones who had believed a lie and then to their grief, found they were wrong. Still today, when people learn they have been deceived, they are tormented. They are tormented when they realize their heretical plan of redemption is wrong, and they are lost. There are people in our time who have believed heresy in the so-called churches. Yet in their hearts, they know they have nothing. These unsaved ones hope their “good works done on earth” might get them into heaven. Paul said in I Corinthians 15:19 “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” We do not know what’s in the hearts of unsaved people who have adopted heresy and followed false teaching. This applies today as it did back in that time. In summary, these torments were for atheists and unbelievers, and not to any child of God. Children of God are already sealed and secured.
Chapter 9:5 “And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.”
Chapter 9:6 “And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.”
Chapter 9:7 “And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men.
Chapter 9:8 “And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions.
Chapter 9:9 “And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle.” Chapter 9:10 “And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.” Verses five through ten is warfare of right and wrong, good and evil, truth and error. It is symbolic, and you can determine the meaning of it as easy as I can, if you can at all. We will not go into them any farther. Chapter 9:11 “And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.” Apollyon and Abaddon mean “destroyer”. The purpose of the Devil in bringing about heresy which people will believe to the damnation of their souls is to destroy them. He is the destroyer of the human race and uses that means to bring about their destruction. I am proud I know the truth of the plan of salvation. There is no guessing or just believing God exists, but I know he exists. The Apostle Paul plainly tells us in II Timothy 1:12: “For the because I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” I believe when John looked into heaven and saw the innumerable company sealed of God as his possession, you were in that number if you are a child of God today. What a wonderful encouragement for John to look ahead two thousand years in the future and see a great multitude of people sealed of God. He witnessed that God will bring about his purpose with all his agencies not only in heaven but on earth. What a wonderful picture.
Chapter 9:12 “One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.”
Chapter 9:13 “And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God,” Let me say this about the altar. I said previously there’s no altar in heaven. What I meant by that is the altar is on earth. There is a vision of the altar in the temple which was a symbol. The “golden altar” is also a symbol seen in John’s vision. It has reference to the altar of incense of which prayer was offered. As we see it in heaven, we see it as answered prayer, and as the trumpet sounds, it’s a response to the prayers on earth and the response from heaven. It’s there as a symbol. Jesus Christ, our Passover, is sacrificed for us. He is the one who stands between God and man tonight–not a golden altar. This is just a picture. The four horns of the golden altar is a vision before God.
Chapter 9:14 “Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.”
Chapter 9:15 “And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.” Notice it says here “prepared for an hour.” That just simply meant for an hour in one day, a day in one week, and a week in one month. It was a definite time. They had been prepared, and they were waiting and the command was given that they be loosed from the River Euphrates. The ancient people thought every disaster which came their way, came out of the Euphrates River.
Chapter 9:16 “And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand: and I heard the number of them.” The number would have been about two million. Chapter 9:17 “And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone.” Chapter 9:18 “By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths.”
Chapter 9:19 “For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt.” Do you take that literally? Wouldn’t that be a terrible scene? I’ve heard people say, “Why before the end of the world, there’ll be locusts on earth as big as horses.” What a locust, what a locust! That is the literal interpretation. However, every one of these figures have a meaning. It is up to us to figure out the symbol and find out the real thing that it’s talking about. I’m not well versed in history. There is much of it I do not know. However, I have a book on ancient history, and I wish they studied it in high schools today, but they don’t. In that history we find the things that happened in ancient times. This history book records the things in Daniel such as Nebuchadnezzar being the head of the Babylonian kingdom, and the very words of Daniel that were prophesied from the king’s dream. As recorded in the Bible, this history book tells of the power and authority of Babylon falling to the Medes and Persians. From them, it was taken by the Greeks, then to the Romans, and finally the Bible comes right along and says that the God of heaven in the days of these kings shall set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed. All the rest of those kingdoms were destroyed. The horde represented by locusts, I think, was fulfilled by the wars that were declared about the sixth century by the Moslems–Mohammedans. Mohammed was the head of their religion. Wherever they went, they went to kill, to waste, destroy, and take possession. They did. Look at what is going on in Iran right now. Mohammed arose in the sixth century. At that time, Mohammed and his follower’s waged war making sure they were prepared to take over before they ever made a move. In our time the Ayatollah Khomeini knew what he was doing. He had been isolated for about fourteen years and not allowed to come back into his home country. Yet in all that time he was getting his forces together. He knew exactly when to make a move. The Mohammedans have always done that. The very territory today which was occupied by Baptist churches, the Mohammedans or the Moslems, have swallowed it up. They even have taken over part of the Holy Land. Their Mosque is right on the very site of the Temple of Solomon where Herod rebuilt that temple. If you get into it, you’ve got to pull off your shoes and leave them on the outside. I believe this is exactly what he is talking about.
Chapter 9:20 “And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk:” I reiterate that God gave them over into the hands of the wicked one to perform his work and take over the territory because of their turning away from God in the worship of idols.
Chapter 9:21 “Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.” At this point, I would like to review what we have seen under the sounding of the trumpets. First Trumpet: The decline–the weakening of pagan power in answer to prayer. Second Trumpet: A complete overthrow of pagan power–pagan Rome. Third Trumpet: Roman Church, the ecclesiastical together with the civil Roman empire. Fourth Trumpet: The Dark Ages Fifth Trumpet: Three woes are introduced. The first is directly attributed to Satan. In that corruption as a result of the counterfeit movement, there is infidelity, rationalism and atheism. Not only that, Satan has been given liberty to open the bottomless pit. Hell’s smoke ascends from the pit which has reference to the heresy and false teachings originating with the counterfeit movement. The locusts that came out of hell’s smoke was the invasion of the territories discussed previously even the Holy Land itself. The land of Israel has almost been devastated by wars year after year. Modhammedism had full sway in Israel for some time and put the Moslem Mosque on the foundation of Solomon’s Temple. The rest of the Ninth Chapter alludes to warfare. I can’t point out every detail or even the exact period of time. However, I’m fairly close to the time.
Study of The Book of Revelation
W. T. Russel (Tape #5)
Chapter 10:1 “And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire In the tenth chapter John is still looking into the things of God in the world by a vision. I think this is Jesus Christ, the angel of the covenant of grace because a rainbow was upon his head. There is the promise, the rainbow of promise. The throne of grace is a throne of promise. Paul stated in Galatians 4:28 “Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.”
Chapter 10:2″And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth,” This book is not the sealed book of chapter five. That book was sealed with seven seals, and the only one worthy to open or break the seals and look upon that book was the Son of God, the Lion of the tribe of Judah.
Chapter 10:3 “And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roared: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices.” Here is the angel of the covenant and in his hand is an open book. John heard the message, but the angels said seal it up. We’ll find out what it was a little later in the study.
Chapter 10:4 “And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.”
Chapter 10:5 “And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven,”
Chapter 10:6 “And swear by him that lived for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer:” Wait a minute. There’s been a misunderstanding and a misrepresentation there. I have been guilty in the past, but I’m not guilty of this explanation of verse six now. Brother Calvin Gregory used to say he had heard some lambasting sermons preached from this text: And the angel standing one foot on land and one foot on the sea, right hand raised to him that lives for ever and ever that time should be no more. Is this the end of the world? That’s not what he’s talking about here. If he were talking about the end of the world, then the end would have been right here. We’d not get the remainder of the things that were to take place at the last day, but we don’t get them. I want to take you to some books of translations. I don’t want to be accused of saying some of the Bible is not true. I believe every last word in the original, properly translated, is the truth with not a single error to be found. I also believe there’s not a single contradiction in the Bible. If you think you have found a contradiction, you’d better examine yourself, because it will be in your mind and not in the book. Here are some other translations of this chapter 10:6. The American Standard Version says, “There shall be delay no longer.” Weymouth, in his translation, says, “No further delay.” Bass also says “No more waiting.” We know that is what it means because of that which follows. Let’s read it as it should be. “And swear by him that lives for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be delay no longer:” In other words, the things spoken about in the preceding chapters are about to be revealed.
Chapter 10:7 “But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.” This makes it clear. The thing has been held back and restrained. When we came to the sixth seal, the seventh seal was opened with a silence in heaven for the space of half an hour. There was nothing said about the happenings of the seventh seal except seven angels were given seven trumpets. These trumpets have sounded, and six woes have been pronounced. The seventh is yet to come. He says in this verse, there shall be delay no longer. Now we are going to see what is going to take place following this. Notice this seventh verse said: “But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.” Look now at the fifteenth verse of the eleventh chapter: “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.”
At this point, we are brought to the end. Here every- thing has been fulfilled which was spoken of by the prophets in the Old and New Testament.
Chapter 10:8 “And the voice which I heard from heaven spoke unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth.” The angel of the covenant had in his hand and open book. As said previously, this book is not the same book that you read about in the fifth chapter because that book was closed and sealed with seven seals. This book is open in the hand of the angel which I think is none other than the angel of the covenant, Jesus Christ. Chapter 10:9 “And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey.”
Chapter 10:10 “And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.” The gospel or the word of God in general, taking it all, some of it is very sweet, and some of it is very bitter. That’s according to the way you look at it from a human standpoint. The thing that was possibly bitter to John when he ate this book, and that doesn’t mean that he put it in his mouth and ate it up and swallowed it literally, but it was symbolic. In other words, he was supposed to appropriate to himself that little book. The little book was the open Bible which was something brand new. This was the “perfect” spoken of in 1 Cor. 13:10.
Chapter 10:11 “And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.” John was told as a preacher, all the rest of them dead, thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings. John wrote this on the Isle of Patmos. On the Isle of Patmos is where he had the vision, and it was revealed to him that he would leave that place, or that he would be a minister before nations, peoples and tongues after his exile there was over. John was released and returned to his homeland where he later died a natural death according to history.
Chapter 11:1 “And there was given me reeds like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.” Chapter 11:2 “But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.” Now in the eleventh chapter, he said there was given me a reed like unto a rod, a measuring stick. And the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple, leave out. Now this is bound to be in a vision. John was enabled to see the old temple and its location, and its arrangement for the old temple had been destroyed in 70 A. D. about 25 or 26 years before this book was written. So John saw in vision the old temple. He was given a measuring rod to measure the temple of God and the altar and them that worship in that temple. But he said the court which is without the temple, leave out and measure it not for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months. I don’t know what you may think about what I am going to say, but I believe at that time, that as the nation of Israel and the nation of Jewish people, the angel of God was able to measure and even count the ones that worshipped God in spirit and in truth. As we have studied before, 144,000 is simply a figurative number to show us there was a definite number saved out of every tribe of Jacob which constituted Israel of course. He said now leave out the outer court because that’s given unto the Gentiles or unto the nations, and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months. Now forty and two months would be three and one-half years if we took it literally. But if we take it prophetically as numbers are interpreted, even in Daniel’s writing and also in the language of Ezekiel, we’ll have to let one day stand for a year, and that’s the way I’m taking it. I think that is exactly what it means. That the world of the Gentiles, the Gentile nation, should tread underfoot the holy city as it was, and that outer court, forty and two months which represents 1260 years which is exactly the number of years the dark ages lasted. I believe I can give you when it started approximately -250 A. D. and it ended in 1510. Count that and you’ll have 1260 years. The question might be asked as to what brought about the end of the dark ages the time when the true church was persecuted and trodden underfoot. What brought to an end that persecution and that deprivation of liberty that the church suffered over for all that length of time? It was in 1510 which was early in the sixteenth century that Martin Luther nailed his thesis to the Wittenberg church door which is the Catholic Church. There are a lot of things about Luther which I do not endorse. I certainly don’t endorse his church and his doctrine, but there is one thing sure, and we cannot discount from Luther, and that is through his efforts and his nailing of his objections to the teachings of the Catholic Church; that brought about a reformation which resulted in this country of ours being filled with protestants. One thing we’d have to say about Luther, he broke the bar that had the door locked and enabled us to have the beginning of religious liberty. This little open book that we read about a while ago in the hand of the angel, was fulfilled at that time when the world for the first time had the liberty to worship and serve God after the dictation of their own hearts. So it brought liberty, and it ended the dark ages. From 250 then to 1510, was a dark age indeed for the true church of the Lord Jesus Christ. “During the half century before the appearance of Luther, signs of a growing discontent with the papacy were accumulating among all classes of the nation. An official document was issued to this effect in 1510.” (Gephardt) The beginning of the end of the dark ages. Chapter 11:3 “And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.” I want you to notice this third verse and the verses following even in consequence of what we just studied. “And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.” Now that’s exactly the amount of time and the number of years that was spoken of above – forty and two months and one thousand two hundred and threescore days is exactly the same which is 1260 years. Most of the historians that you read after will tell you there wasn’t but one church in all that time, and that was the Catholics. That’s what they’ll tell you, but if you will be careful in your examination of the history, you’ll find them referring to heretics along the way. Those heretics that those historians wrote about were those who were upholding the truth. The Catholics didn’t agree, and they called them heretics. Most every time where you’ll find the Catholic writers and those affiliated with them writing the history, you’ll find them talking about the heretics, and most of the time, they are the Baptist. They weren’t called Baptist. These people have been called by various names mostly by the man that was in the lead probably, or the most prominent figure. They have been called Albigenses, Waldeneses and Montanists, etc. They were undistinguished people by the world, but God knew where they were all the time, and hiding out from the law of civil powers in dens and caves. If you want to read about it, go to the eleventh chapter of Hebrews, and you’ll read about those people that hid out in the dens and caves of the earth. It wasn’t only history, but was prophetic also which said, “Of whom the world was not worthy.” The world is not worthy of those people who would die rather than give up their faith so it might be perpetuated and brought down to a little fellow like me that I might possess it. Thank God it’s the same faith that I have today and you have as Baptists. The Bible said they loved not their lives even unto death. We’ll get to that in just a little bit. The two witnesses here in this third verse “And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.” Now the two witnesses that he’s talking about is none other than the church or churches and the preachers. There are the two witnesses. This reveals to us that even through the Dark Ages when the world thought there wasn’t anything else but the Catholics, that the true church of the Lord Jesus Christ and true ministers were carrying on the work of God even when they had to hide out away from the law in order to do it. Of course, this carries us right back that during all that time that we read about and studied about in the sounding of the trumpets, the gospel was being preached, and godly men and women prayed and finally in God’s own good time, he heard and answered their prayers and brought their release from that exile that they had to bear in order to worship and serve God until liberty was brought to the church.
Chapter 10:4 “These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.” Now when he said these are the two olive trees and the two candlesticks standing before the god of the earth. Now we could go back to Jeremiah and also to Zechariah, Jeremiah 11:16 and Zechariah 4:3. This imagery is taken from what Jeremiah and Zechariah had to say about the olive trees and the candlesticks or the lamps. The olive oil from the olive tree was that which supplied the light. What does that represent? If the preacher and church are not supplied with the Spirit of God and the truth, he is not a very profitable preacher, and he is not a very successful preacher. If it hadn’t been for the olive trees that furnished the oil for the light, there would not have been any lamps of light. The two candlesticks are mentioned in the same manner as the two olive trees are mentioned, and he said standing before the God of the whole earth, and that doesn’t mean that there were just two churches that were the light, but it refers right back to Jeremiah’s and Zechariah’s prophesy also. There was a reason for mentioning the two, but I wouldn’t be dogmatic about what the two meant. But I do take the position that he was talking about the ministry and the churches, and they were the two witnesses. I had a peculiar thing to happen back several years ago in the 50’s when we were having debates pretty regularly around here. It seems like these folks have gotten tired of debates. They don’t want them anymore. However, I’d had a few debates in Monroe County, between Tompkinsville and Glasgow and had one in Hendersonville and of course others. I was having one over at Skaggs Creek, and the Campbellites didn’t like it very well. One morning I had a visitor when I lived at Goodlettsville. He came up the driveway in an old truck, and I guess he would have weighed about 195 pounds, something like that and short, breeches legs struck him about half way between his knee and his ankles. He knocked on my door, and I went out to see who it was. He said, I came down here to talk to you about your debating. Don’t you know that you’re doing wrong? He said the Bible is against debating. I said tell me where. Well, he never has told me. I said who are you anyhow. He said I am one of the two witnesses. I said, well where is your buddy. He said I left him down in Alabama. We had a little difference. I said, that is funny, I never read about that in the Bible anywhere. I finally told him the best thing he could do was to go hunt up his buddy and let me take care of my own business. I also asked him if he didn’t know how he got to my house, and he said he did. I said the same driveway will take you out. So that is the end of my admonition from one of the two witnesses.
Chapter 11:5 “And if any man will hurt them, fire proceeded out of their mouth, and devoured their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.”
Chapter 11:6 “These have power to shut heaven that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.” The two witnesses–the churches and the pastors–this is taken also from the Old Testament. They have power to do the things in Verse 11:6. This is still symbolic. In other words, this is having reference to judgments being sent upon the wicked down here as a payment for their wickedness and for the things they have done to the cause of God. It’s having reference to judgments.
Chapter 11:7 “And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascended out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.”
Chapter 11:8 “And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.” That is Jerusalem. Of course that is just symbolic language.
Chapter 11:9 “And they of the people and kindred’s and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.” That’s three years and a half.
Chapter 11:10 “And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.”
Chapter 11:11 “And after three days and a half the spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.” The three days and an half mentioned here are also three years and a half.
Chapter 11:12 “And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.” You know that same voice, I guess it was, spoke to John a little later on, said Come up hither, and I’ll show you the Bride, the Lamb’s wife. Now these were told to come up higher not into the heaven itself where the disembodied spirits are, but to come up higher. And he said, “Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven (And that is not the heaven of heavens.) in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.”
Chapter 11:13 “And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell and in the earthquake was slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant was affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.”
Chapter 11:14 “The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.” I have an excerpt from Justin A. Smith’s history that was quoted by B. H. Carroll, written in his book. Any of you that have The Interpretation of the English Bible, you’ll find it on Page 123. Someone would like to say, why are you using books? Why are you referring to books? If there is anybody that has any originality, I’d like to see them. That’s what studying is all about. That’s what Paul meant when he said in II Timothy 2:15: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needed not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” We get our knowledge from our predecessors. If we have any knowledge, we have to get it from somebody else, because the day of inspiration is gone. I know, some people think if they just get into the pulpit, God will fill their mouths, and they don’t have to do anything. They are just too lazy to study. That’s one reason why they don’t have any church work, and they sit around and grumble and gripe because they don’t have when they haven’t prepared themselves. Now people you go to preach to, they want to hear something. And the only way you can give them something and feed them is to find the food. Now this is taken from Justin A. Smith, a historian. “No purpose of God as regards the gospel of man’s salvation fails. He permits to his gospel a fiery ordeal extending through many centuries, but at the fit time, he appears again in his behalf and through chosen instruments causes it to be once more declared as here represented in the little book.” Now that is what we were talking about a while ago – the little open book. In premedical simplicity and in a ministry that bears it to all the world by what appears in the eleventh chapter, we are given to understand that while the outer court of the symbolical temple and the city itself are trodden underfoot by the enemies of God and truth and righteousness, the inner sanctuary is kept safe. In other words, there survives in the very worst of times, a faithful remnant by which an undecorated altar is preserved, a true worship offered, and that truth which embodies the substance of ancient types maintained.” Now that makes me think about Elijah. You know he got discouraged. He thought that about all God’s people were dead, all the prophets gone but him. He was the only one left. The rest of them had been killed in one way or another, and they’d even dug down all the altars of God. He went and hid himself in a cave and prayed to die. The Lord appeared to him, and said what hinders thee, or what is the matter with you, Elijah? He said, Lord they have dug down thine altars. They have killed the prophets, and I alone, am left. I’m the only one that is left. You know what God told him. I’ve reserved seven thousand men that haven’t bowed their knees to Baal. You know sometimes, we think the jig is about up, if you’ll pardon the expression. But God said upon this rock, I’ll build my church and when he said that he meant that he would build it up, he’d strengthen it, he’d edify it, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. So during all the dark ages and all the persecutions, even the millions that gave their lives, for the truth, God reserved a number sufficient to perpetuate the church and gospel. I believe it will be done until he comes back again. I like this history. This man is hitting it right on the head. He said, “These are the witnesses. The voice of a true testimony in God’s behalf does not die out of the world. Even when persecution rages most hotly nor is it holy ground even when the world’s loud tumult is at its worse. These witnesses do indeed testify; prophesy in sackcloth, the garment of distress and mourning. Such of the Lord’s true people have survived in such times as a hunted flock. The truth itself is under reproach. The deriding voices rave against it. The true church and its ordinances are in the world’s esteem placed in humiliating contrast with the shows and splendors of that counterfeit church which for the time is supreme while everything beautiful and sacred and beneficent in Christianity is as if clad in sackcloth of humiliation, and lamenting in the language of the ancient prophet that there are none to stand upon the Lord’s side. There comes a time when the triumph of evil seems complete, it is the deeper gloom that precedes the dawn. All of the powers of darkness triumph. The murderers of the witnesses rejoice over them and make merry, and send gifts one to another. But the triumph is brief. Just at this crisis, God appears for his truth and his people. The slain witnesses stand on their feet. They rise into vigor of lifelike glory that’s shown in the person of the face of the risen Lord. Their enemies beheld them with consternation and triumph which now comes to them in turn is like the Lord’s own ascension to heaven in a cloud receiving all power in heaven and in earth. Effects follow which show how truly divine is that intervention. The hostile power shakes as when earthquakes rock the globe while the great and wicked city in whose streets the slain witnesses have lain feels the shock. This is in general the picture sketched for us in the striking symbolism of this chapter. If we have read this symbolism right, there can be, it would seem only one answer to the question, whether historical counterparts shall be sought, there is one point of crises in modern times which fulfills in a remarkable degree the conditions of an adequate historical parallel to the aplitic picture here sketched. Not as fulfillments of the prophesy in exact detail, but as indicating some general aspects of the period as having this significance we note the following:” (I want you to listen to this, now.) “In A. D. 1512 to 1517 a council was held in Rome, called from the place of its assembly, the Church of St. John Lateran,” (that’s Catholic) “the fifth Lateran Council. At the eighth session of this council, held in December 1513, a papal bull,” (and that is a decree, a bull is a decree) “was issued in which was a summons to all dissidents from the papal authority. In other words, all of those that disagreed with the Roman Catholic doctrine and teaching. All of these dissidents were to appear before the council at its next session in the following May and to show cause for their continued refusal to acknowledge the pope’s supremacy. When the council came together in that session, May 5, 1514, no answer appeared to this summons. Not that there were no longer those in Christendom who refused allegiance to the usurped authority of Rome, nor because anyone could have imagined an opportunity for a free protest before the council would have been allowed them. Not because joined with the impossibility of a response unto such conditions, it was a fact that just at that time, there actually was no one ready like the Wycliff and the Huss of a former age.” Now Wycliff and Huss, you remember them, if you’ve read history. They got up against the heretical teachings of the Roman Catholic hierarchy, and they were burned, and their ashes were scattered. One of them, I believe it was Huss in the Arnos River. Wycliff was taken up out of his grave and was burned, and his ashes were scattered. Now he had been killed. His life had been given for the same principles you and I should love dearer than life today. All right, let’s see a little more. “There was no Luther who was soon to appear to give a voice to the spirit of revolt against Rome which though widely prevalent was for the most part, nursed in secret throughout the length and breadth of Christendom says Elliott, and his words are true in the sense just explained. Christ’s witnessing servants were silenced. They appeared as dead. All right, the orator of the sessions ascended the pulpit, and amidst the applause of the assembled council, uttered that memorable exclamation of triumph, an exclamation which notwithstanding the more multiplied anti-heretical crusade and inquisitorial fires was never, I believe, pronounced before and certainly never has been since. And here’s what it was. There is an end of resistance to the papal rule and religion; oppose exist no more. And again, the whole body of Christendom is now seen to be subjected to its head, that is, to thee,” and that was to the pope. Now this year in the Fifth Lateran Council, the proclamation was made after no dissidents, or those who disagreed with the Catholics and the pope, failed to show up, and they couldn’t find them, the announcement was made “they exist no more.” They just didn’t happen to know it. They still existed. They were hiding out in the caves and dens of the earth, and they carried out the work of God through that 1260 years even in hiding and preserved the truth through the dark ages and brought it down to us. Now let’s look a little farther. I want to clinch this. He does the clinching. I’m just reading. “Three years and a half later” (There’s your three days and one half.) “When they had announced that all were dead that wasn’t in agreement with the pope, three years and one half later, October 31, 1517, Luther nailed his thesis to the Whittenburg Church door. It is undoubtedly true, for some time previous to the meeting of the Fifth Lateran Council as described; the murderers of God’s people have been especially active with results of intimidation and the apparent silencing of dissent and protest highly gratifying to the hierarchy. The crusaders against the Albigenses and Waldenses had well nigh extirpated those troublesome heretics. The measures of inquisition in various parts of Europe had succeeded to the utmost wish of those by whom they were carried on. A threatening schism or division in the papal body was healed during the session of that council. So fully, in view of all did the members of the council sympathize and in the exultant and confidence of their orator, that upon the final adjournment, they celebrated the triumph which popery seemed to have achieved in a feast whose splendor had never in Rome been equaled. It was like the rejoicing and merrymaking and the sending of gifts of which our prophesy speaks. It is also a matter of history that in that same council, there was an emphatic reaffirmation of the long-standing papal law that the bodies of heretics should be denied all rights of Christian burial. So that here also we find almost literal fulfillment of the words, “Do not suffer their bodies to be put in graves.” All right, let’s read a little further. “These conspicuous examples of the application of this law in the exhuming and burning of the bodies or bones of Wycliff at an earlier date by command of the Council of Constance and the direction given by the same council that the ashes of Huss should be cast into the Lake of Constance, are familiar facts. It may be added that in like manner the ashes of Savonarola were thrown into the Arnos, and that it was common for the papal bulls to ordain that the heretics against whom they were fulminated should not only be put to death but should be denied Christian burial.” Now that’s it. And that goes back to 1500, and that was written and is an exact history of what took place in that Fifth Lateran Council. I know that was a lengthy reading, but believe that will leave an impression on some minds here tonight as to what has happened and what Revelation is all about and that we can go to the history and find the fulfillment of what was revealed even symbolically and know for a fact that it is the closing book of the Bible, not to be added to or taken from, or it is the completion of the word of the living God, and we don’t need anymore. All right, let’s go right back to the lesson.
Chapter 11:15 “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.” (Not just a thousand years.) For ever and ever, for ever and ever, no limitations. Chapter 11:16 “And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,” The four and twenty elders represent the perpetual priesthood of the church and cause of God. Chapter 11:17 “Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and was, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.” Not going to reign, but hast reigned, and he had taken to himself his power and had reigned, and the other said he would reign for ever and for ever. So there are no limitations there. Let’s look at little further. Chapter 11:18 “And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.” Now I want you to listen to this last verse.
Chapter 11:19 “And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightning, and voices, and thundering, and an earthquake, and great hail.” (“Ark of His Testament” or Ark of the Covenant) Now then, go back to the Old Testament in the traveling of the children of Israel when they invaded the territory that God told them that he’d give to them. The command to them was that the Ark of the Covenant should be born in front of the army, and whenever that ark was born and took the lead, they won the victory. The walls of Jericho fell down, and that Ark went around the city seven times in the lead. When the veil of the temple was rent from the top to the bottom, there was no Ark of the Covenant seen in the holy of holies, none at all. In fact you’ll find no record of the Ark of the Covenant and its whereabouts from the time of the children of Israel were taken captive into Babylon until this time right here. That’s the first time you see it. Whether it was hidden or whether it was carried into Babylon, I do not know. What was the Ark of the Covenant? It was just a wooden chest. That’s all it was. In that chest, there were the Ten Commandments on tables of stone stored in that Ark of the Covenant. Not only were they there, but the rod of Aaron that budded was there, an alpha of the manna that feed the children of Israel when they were coming through the wilderness was put in there. On the very lid of that chest, were the two angels, the cherubim, and the top of that chest was the mercy seat, and it was always an emblem of where God met with his people, and also marked victory. So here in the last verse of this chapter we are brought right down to the end of time like the seven seals that which is in the seventh seal was not told us; that which is in this last woe is not explained, but the very temple where God dwells is opened, and John was permitted to see the Ark of the Covenant that hadn’t been seen by human eyes since Israel was taken into Babylonian captivity. What did that mean to him? It meant victory. It meant encouragement. There’s the Ark of the Covenant in the temple of God, and God was simply showing him that it was there and victory was just ahead. I want to add here that the opening of the seals, and the blowing or sounding of the trumpets, as well as the woes were not in chronological order. The first seal and first trumpet as well as the woes relate to each other; so also second seal, second trumpet and second woe in the same order all the way through.
Study of The Book of Revelation
W. T. Russel (Tape #6)
We will now go to the twelfth chapter which opens up a new field of thought. I hope everyone has a good understanding of the previous chapters. They really introduce what is to follow. We can now begin to understand and unravel some of the things presented in our first studies. John is still seeing these things in a vision. Today there are claims of visions, but I don’t believe in their existence because they ended when the day of inspiration came to a close. However, God did use those means in other days.
Chapter 12:1 “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:” “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven;” That is in this apocalyptic heaven–not in the heaven of heavens but in the skies or in outer space. Get a picture of”. . . A woman clothed with the sun.” If you will. This is not a real woman for it would be impossible for anyone to be clothed with the sun. It’s just a type or a symbol. “. . . and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:” Visualize her as she was clothed with the righteousness of the Son of God. This is the meaning of this verse for Christ is the Sun of righteousness. The woman was clothed with him. “. . . and the moon was under her feet, “Just as the moon is a reflection from the sun and doesn’t possess any light of its own, the church is not Christ, but it reflects Christ. When the members of the church let their light shine, it is a reflection of the light they receive from Christ. The woman found here is none other than the church–the true church. Upon this woman’s head was a crown of twelve stars. Most commentators say the twelve stars represent the twelve apostles as the foundation of the church. I also believe the twelve stars are the twelve apostles; however, I disagree they are the foundation of the church. Instead, they are crowned as officers of the church, but Jesus is both head and foundation. To be consistent with my other interpretations, the twelve stars were actually preachers or servants of God; hence the crown of twelve stars are the twelve apostles as officers or preachers selected by the Lord as the leaders to set things in order after he went away.
Chapter 12:2 “And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.” Churches having a burden for lost souls during revival meetings have often been referred to symbolically as a woman in travail. I would say also, the church, Zion travails. The Bible said as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children. In one sense–in one sense only–do I take the position that this is a parallel–an effect of the church’s responsibility and the burden that rests upon her in regard to the salvation of souls? I, in no sense, take the position that the church is the mother of any child of God, much less Jesus, and God’s only begotten Son. How could the church be the mother of Christ when the Bible declares Him to be her head and founder? The Romanists take the position that the Virgin Mary is the mother here, the blessed virgin. They worship Mary more than they do Christ. This is what the wrong interpretation will lead you into. Chapter 12:3 “And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.” This red dragon is a picture of the Devil. His power and his authority are represented by the heads and the horns. The seven crowns upon his heads simply refer to a complete number of crowns. I’d like to call your attention right here again to the contrast between these crowns. The woman appeared with the crown of twelve stars. The Greek word for her crown is “stephanos” which means a crown or wreath of victory. It is a symbol that victory is hers. The word for the crowns of the great red dragon is “diadem.” Diadem means a crown of sovereignty or royalty. These crowns represent authority. That is the difference between the two in the very beginning of our lesson.
Chapter 12:4 “And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.” Get a picture of the Devil portrayed as a dragon. None of us have ever seen a dragon, but maybe we’ve seen crocodiles. Of course the tail is their prime weapon. In walking along a water course where crocodiles inhabit, one could be mistaken for a rotten log lying on the bank. Being unnoticed, he could suddenly knock you into the water with his strong tail and come right in after you. The tail of this dragon drew or cast down a third part of the stars of heaven. Still being consistent in my teaching, these stars were preachers. They were deluded–deceived–and were brought into the fold of paganism or no fold at all. I started to say religion, but the pagans were a Godless people from every standpoint. However, the dragon succeeded in getting a third. I’m glad that’s all he took because that leaves the majority on the Lord’s side.
Chapter 12:5 “And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.”
Chapter 12:6 “And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.” They are year days. Prophetically interpreted, a day stands for a year in this book as we have already noted. A thousand two hundred and threescore days would be 1260 years which was the time that the church was in the wilderness, 1260 years. Here’s something I want you to notice: From the seventh verse down to the fourteenth verse, is parenthetical. The reason I say it’s parenthetical is because the context of this chapter ends with verse six and you come to the fourteenth verse before you read anything else about the woman except in the thirteenth verse when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. So in the sixth verse, it stops off with the context and is taken up again in the fourteenth verse. So from the seventh through the thirteenth verses is parenthetical. If we had left that part of it out and gone right on with the fourteenth verse, it would tell us how the woman got into the wilderness. The sixth verse said she fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared of God that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred threescore days. And the fourteenth verse said the woman was given two wings of a great eagle that she might fly into the wilderness into her place where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. There you have the 1260 years again, the very same length of time. Now between this sixth and the fourteenth verse is a parenthetical expression and tells what happened as a result of this dragon and his standing before the woman. It tells us that the child was caught up unto God and to his throne. We will find out who the child is in this parenthetical expression. I want to say right here the child cannot be Jesus Christ. If the child is Jesus, then the church is the mother of its founder which is an utter impossibilility. I want to get that off of our minds right now. The child can’t possibly be Jesus Christ if the first verse has reference to the church. Many expositors that I have read after take this position without any question. However, some take the other position that the man child is Jesus Christ and that the woman is the Old Testament church. Well, I’ve never read about that. That’s just an imaginary thing which people have had stuck in their minds. There was no church as an institution in the Old Testament. Therefore, this child could not have been born of an Old Testament church. Let’s look now at what happened as a result of this birth. The child was caught up unto God and to his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred threescore days.
Chapter 12:7 “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,”
Chapter 12:8 “And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.” Chapter 12:9 “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceived the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” Jude says angels left their first estate. I’m sure there was a war or an uprising then. I don’t know how this war was conducted. But, you may be sure that Christianity in the world, when it’s true Christianity has always had warfare with the Devil in the promotion of the gospel and the truth. It’s been offset by false teachings or theories. In that sense, I would say that’s the war that took place between Michael and his angels, and the dragon and his angels with Michael being Jesus Christ himself. This said he prevailed not, neither was their place found anymore in heaven. There was a time when the Devil had access to heaven. We read about that in Job’s writing where he said the sons of God presented themselves before the Lord, and that was the angels. The Devil came along in their midst and at that time accused Job. For God said hast thou considered my servant Job. There’s none like him in all the earth. A man that feared God and eschewed evil. And the Devil began to tell God what he would do under certain circumstances, accusing him. Well that door was left open until the plan of salvation was completed. Christ had gone back to the right hand of God, and was there as a mediator between God and man. That door was closed, and the Devil had no right to re-enter heaven. This furnished an analogue for this vision which John saw when he was on the Isle of Patmos. It is just a picture of that which had happened.
Chapter 12:10 “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.” The great dragon was cast out, that old serpent called the Devil and Satan which deceived the whole world: he was cast out into the earth and his angels cast out with him. I might bring in the accusations that the Devil had to offer in his approach to God which furnishes, as I said, an analogue for this that we are studying. The plan of redemption was wrought out in eternity, and was just as efficacious before Jesus came into the world and paid the price on the cross as it was after he paid the price in his death. The Devil was constantly accusing and charging God with not carrying out his promise of making the plan of redemption and the sacrifice had not been offered. Therefore there was no way. After that God fulfilled his promise. The Devil was shut out of heaven from that day and could re-enter no more. That is the analogue we are reading about now. I want to call your attention to this “man child.” I know it’s a little difficult, but I think if we’ll compare scripture with scripture, we’ll be able to understand exactly what he meant. God made promise to Abraham. That promise was, “In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” Then Paul said in speaking about that, he said, “not unto seeds as of many, but as of one, and to thy seed which is Christ.” Gal. 3:16 Now Christ Jesus is the seed of the kingdom. But then we read on, and we find they that are the children of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. Gal. 3:7 we have the seed, which is Christ (singular). The children (plural) of faith, being the children of the seed and the children of Abraham. So, this changes from singular to plural. I want to show you just how that works. He said here. “And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.” Now then, in the tenth verse, notice how the singular is changed to the plural. “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.” “And they” (plural) overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” (Now the man child that was born here produced is actually the rendering of the Greek word.) (This man child that was produced was a type of the martyrs that lost their natural lives down here. The Devil could kill their bodies, but their souls were caught up unto God. So this man child represents the martyrs under the pagan persecutions. We are still studying the pagan persecution. You can’t find another noun in this except man-child, so that is the antecedent of the pronoun ‘they’. See verse eleven.
Chapter 12:11 “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” Showing that they were caught up to God in spirit. The Devil couldn’t get their souls but he did kill their bodies. Chapter 12:12 “Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhibiters of the earth and of the sea! For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” And the Devil is still down here. He has been here all the time, ever since. And he’ll stay down here until he is cast into the lake of fire where he, together with the beast and false prophet, shall be tormented forever. Rev. 20:10.
Chapter 12:13 “And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.”
Chapter 12:14 “And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.” I want you to go back to our previous study when we brought up the cherubim. Remember the cherubim consisting of four angels. One of them had the face of a lion, another had the face of a calf, another had the face of an eagle, and another had the face of a man. So in this case, the cherubim were the means of transportation, so to speak, on moving into the wilderness which has reference to isolation. She was driven out away from the public, but the cherubim were the instrument used of God to carry her into that place prepared for her where she was nourished for a thousand two hundred and threescore years. We are going to get to that a little bit later on.
Chapter 12:15 “And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.” Now notice the Devil in his failure as he had failed the first time with the woman. He killed the bodies of the apostles and others, but he didn’t get their souls. The saying of “the blood of the martyrs became the seed of the church” is true. So the church still traveled on, but it was driven into the wilderness or into the place of isolation away from the public. The devil being wroth with the woman cast out a flood of waters. In other words, he used wicked agencies to persecute the woman.
Chapter 12:16 “And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.” The meaning of verse sixteen is simply this: In certain nations where the Devil tried to use the agency of civil government or powers, laws were passed which didn’t allow him to use civil powers to carry out his persecution against the church. This is what is meant by the earth helping the woman in swallowing up the waters that were cast out against her to persecute her. Let me simplify that right here. This country of ours in a measure was founded upon religious liberty. People came to this country from the old country in order to have freedom to worship God according to the dictates of their hearts. They didn’t find that freedom for a long time. I have at home in a history book the concern of a little church in Rhode Island. While President Washington was president of the Thirteen Colonies, the Presbyterian Church was the state church supported by the government, and by the taxes of Baptists, and others. That little church in conference acted to write a letter to the president about this matter, and the letter stated: “You may tax the water that we drink. We’ll pay taxes on the water that we drink. We’ll pay taxes on the food that we eat, even on the air that we breathe, but give us liberty to worship God according to the dictates of our hearts.” The president took the time to sit down with a goose quill and write a letter back to that church and tell them that he had received their letter, and their request would receive his utmost consideration. Baptists were the originators that applied for religious liberty in the United States of America. If we didn’t have it now, we’d be persecuted just like they were back yonder. In that case this country is the earth, this particular part of the earth, which has helped the church by offsetting the agencies of the Devil that were devised through civil governments to persecute the church. I thank God that we have that liberty. Did you know we are taking it too much for granted? So the earth helped the woman by passing laws. We have in our constitution now that there will be no laws passed affecting the rights of people to have religious liberty. Baptists were behind that. They want to give everyone else the same religious freedom they claim and want for themselves. Some other people wouldn’t be that generous if it were in their hands. Chapter 12:17 “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” This proves what I said a while ago that this man-child is the seed referred to. It changed from singular to plural to show the fact it is the church. “…….the remnant of her seed,” (in the plural) “which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” So the Devil is trying another way to get to the church. I want to show you another effort based upon the seventh verse of the twelfth chapter. “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Now what method is the Devil going to use next? He has failed with pagan Rome and agencies used in pagan Rome to destroy the Lord’s church, but he doesn’t quit there. I’d like to call your attention to this fact. Luke 4:1 “Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.” Luke 4:2 “And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered.” The Devil approached Jesus in three different ways to tempt him. Let me say that he was subject to being tempted because he was a man. Not only was he a man, but he was also God. He is the only one that has ever lived or ever will live that was both God and man. He was subject to being tempted as a man. Now I think that we can prove very easily that Jesus Christ was subject to temptation. What is temptation? James said let no man say when he is tempted that I am tempted of God. For he said God cannot be tempted with evil. Neither tempted he any man. But he said we are tempted when we are drawn away of our own lusts and enticed. There would have been no reason for the Devil to try to tempt Christ if he had not been subject to temptation. He did tempt him three times. The Bible said he left him for a little season, but he came back again. The glorious thing to me is my Savior was made after the order of man and was the second Adam subject to temptation like you and I but was able to resist it, and prove himself to be a sufficient Savior for the entire world. Let me ask a question of those who believe Jesus could not be tempted. Upon what grounds did Jesus ask that the act of death be taken from him? Some may offer the argument that Jesus did not possess inherent depravity, therefore could not be tempted. My answer is, neither did Adam. As such a man on the cross of Calvary, he satisfied the broken law of God and finished a plan whereby you and I might be saved through his merits–not ours. Jesus is meritorious because he was able to resist the temptation thereby proving to God the Father that he was a sufficient, suitable sacrifice for the sins of the entire world. So that being the case, the Devil doesn’t stop. If he fails one way, he’ll try another. This is what we are studying now. He’s failed under pagan Rome, a godless nation. He’s used everything at his disposal and will persistently try to destroy the church. Nevertheless he has failed thus far, and he will certainly continue to fail because the Bible plainly teaches there will be faith on the earth when Jesus comes back on a cloud of his glory.Here are some things put in order to give a better understanding. In chapter twelve John saw the radiant woman, clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet, and a crown of twelve stars on her head. This surely represents the true church. The dragon is before this woman, she being with child, ready to devour her child, as soon as it was born. When the child was born, it was caught up to God and to the Lamb. Now we affirm that this was a class. Why? Because chapter 12:11 says “And overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and loved not their lives unto the death.” So the singular man-child was changed to plural. It is abstractly speaking because when a singular is changed to a plural, you have an abstract. In that case it was shown as a class of people–males. Who were they? They were the apostles who gave their lives with the exception of John who went, according to God’s purpose, to the Isle of Patmos. They tried to kill him but God preserved his life. After returning to his home, he died a natural death. The Devil got the apostles’ bodies, but he didn’t get their souls. For they loved not their lives unto the death. They were willing to die. We contend that the apostles were the class representing the church. The radiant woman was given two wings of a great eagle, and she fled into the wilderness where she was nourished. This was a place prepared for her where she was preserved for 1260 years which was the wilderness period of the church. Count approximately from 250 A. D. to 1510 A. D. as the wilderness period of the church which is a total of 1260 years. The scriptures say the earth helped the woman. This was done by the laws of governments giving protection to her. She was persecuted but survived the 1260 years of obscurity. I like to think of it as obscurity because as far as her work is concerned, it was not public. They had to hide away in order to carry on their services. Yet through the 1260 years, they preserved the same faith which Jesus committed to the church. Until they came out of the wilderness, they were not at liberty to reach all the nations of the world. The fires of the reformation were the beginning of a brighter day for the church. About 1517 the fires of the reformation had spread all over Europe. While the Catholics of the Roman Church were so busy trying to patch up the damage that had been done to them by the reformers, the true church had the opportunity to go forth and preach the gospel everywhere. In chapter eighteen, we see the judgment of God poured out upon the great whore. John is shown the woman in purple and scarlet who is the counterfeit church. She is now in the wilderness so far as their liberty to deceive the whole world is concerned. God sent plagues and rendered judgment on the counterfeit church which made it possible for the true church to come out of the wilderness. It left the counterfeit church in the wilderness deprived of power she had exercised before. The Devil was bound with his powers restrained not abolished. He is the one who gave the beast and the false prophet their authority. When he was restrained, he could no longer use the Roman Empire to carry out his wishes toward the true church of the Lord and his deception of the people. He was placed in obscurity just as the true church had been for 1260 years. The counterfeit church never comes out of the wilderness. We know the true church has been persecuted in the past through the centuries which have proved to increase her zeal and determination to march forward. Today, we have grown lazy and complacent taking everything for granted. We have the best opportunity, the best facilities and the most convenience that the church has ever had in her history to spread the truth to earth’s most remote boundaries. What are we doing? We are lazy, doing nothing. Sometimes I think we need some fire under us. Maybe we’d get busy and wake out of our sleep if persecutions and pressures came upon us. During this period the pagan Roman Empire had a Caesar head. In the thirteenth chapter of Revelation this head was wounded to death, but the deadly wound was healed by the papal head or the pope which is another power rising. It’s not a nation or a kingdom because the pope is of Rome, the seventh kingdom revealed in the image in the second chapter of Daniel. So the papal head was the Roman Catholic hierarchy. As long as Rome held sway, the true church suffered loss of liberty being driven into the most secret hiding places away from the laws of the political and religious government of Rome that exercised the means to exterminate the true church. The true church would have been exterminated had not God protected her. There was a time when Rome actually thought that the true church was gone completely. Just as the true church was without liberty to exercise their commission being driven into the wilderness, the powers of Rome was severed until she could no longer execute the Christians, carry out the dragon’s intentions, so she is found in the wilderness of obscurity. Chapter twenty tells us what happened. The dragon’s power to deceive the nations was affected by his being restrained. This is what is meant by the binding of Satan. In this restraining of the Devil’s previous liberty to take the lives of God’s people through Roman laws, we find her in the wilderness. To the world, the true church, which seemed to be dead, now comes forth by liberation to openly and publicly declare the gospel to the world. This is the first resurrection. The question is asked who the rest of the dead are. They are those who are left in the wilderness and are dead as far as their power to exterminate the true church is concerned. When the Devil was bound, they ceased to have that power and the facilities to do what they had done. They were in that sense, dead–inactive. Notice in chapter seventeen, verse fourteen the defeat of the beast with the ten kings who gave their power and strength to the beast. In simple terms they were allies and supporters of Rome. But the Lamb overcame them with his army who were the called and chosen and the faithful. However in the sixteenth verse of that same chapter, these same ten kings after their defeat, turned against the Holy Roman Empire and fought against her. I do not know the identity of those ten kings. Rome thought the true church was dead. Justin A. Smith in his history tells us the eighth session of the fifth lantern council was held at the church of St. John Lantern in December, 1513. In that session a papal bull or decree was issued to summons all dissidents (objectors or opposes of papal authority) to appear before the next council in May to show cause for their continued refusal to acknowledge the pope’s supremacy. No answer appeared to this summons for the meeting of May 5, 1514. This was not because there were no opposes of the claim of the pope’s supremacy. They knew the scheme of the council was to kill them when they came to the meeting to oppose the pope. In the words of Elliott, “Christ’s witnessing servants were silenced.” They still lived but they were silenced. “They appeared as dead and the orator of the session ascended the pulpit and stated, “There is an end of resistance to the papal rule and religion and opposes exist no more.” “The whole body of Christendom is now seen to be subject to its head that is to thee.” No dissidents were to be found, and as far as Rome was concerned, they thought the victory was won. Three and one half years later after this council, Martin Luther nailed his thesis to the Whittenburg Church door. If we are not in that thousand year period that John talked about, we never will be. I’m willing to risk what reputation I have on that statement. Of course there are places in the world today that do not have religious liberty. However they do not use Rome as a civil power to cut off liberty of conscious. Let’s not forget though this liberty will be taken away when the Devil is loosed. When he is loosed from his prison, he will deceive the nations again through his select means. I want to refer back to chapter eleven, verse fifteen. The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever. That’s more than a thousand years, isn’t it? When did that happen? It happened exactly at the time that the Roman powers were cut off. Jesus said go into the entire world. So when this power was severed, the whole world became the field of the church to spread the gospel to earth’s most remote bounds. We are in that thousand year period, but what are we doing about it? Rome will never again be able to close the open book, the Bible. No one had the right to read and judge for themselves what the scriptures taught. The priest had the authority to dish our just what he wanted them to know a little at a time. The scriptures were in the Latin version chained to their pulpits. The recovered gospel will never be silenced again. She’ll never be able to stop the onward march of missions. All nations are an open field, and have been since the binding of Satan. Our time is limited for the Devil will be loosed again, and what the consequences will be remain to be seen. If the Lord’s church could have been destroyed, it would have been destroyed long ago. If it hadn’t been for the providence of God, and his heavenly agencies cooperating with earth’s agencies, the church would be out of existence today. It is still here, thank God. The Devil is not through. He’s failed every step of the way, and he’s still determined to make another effort. When the restraint is taken off him, he can’t go back and use Rome–the beast or the false prophet–the pope, because they were cast into a lake of fire. They are not mentioned anymore except that the Devil is finally cast into the lake of fire where the beast and the false prophet are already gone. This is revealed in John’s vision. What is he going to use? He will go upon the breadth of the earth and compass the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city, the church. He will have an innumerable company which is the meaning of “as the sands of the sea.” That’s a pretty big army, isn’t it? Look in the second chapter of II Thessalonians. 2:1 “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,” 2:2 “That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.” (Someone had been writing them letters and making it appears that Paul was doing the writing.) 2:3 “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;” (This “son of perdition” means a child of hell–an incarnate demon. Likewise, Judas was the son of perdition, and went into perdition. As Judas was never a child of God, neither is this “son of perdition” a child of God.) 2:4 “Who opposed and exalted himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sat in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” 2:5 “Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?” 2:6 “And now ye know what withhold that he might be revealed in his time.” 2:7 “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.” 2:8 “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:” 2:9 “Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,” 2:10 “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” 2:11 “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:” 2:12 “That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” This is the man of sin the Devil will use in his last effort to destroy the church. However, it says the Lord will destroy him with the breath of his mouth and with the brightness of his coming. If we could but see just a few years ahead what’s waiting for us, we might treasure more the heritage and liberty God has provided us. Some of you might be living when you will not be permitted on Sunday morning to gather at the house of God. These good old songs, “Amazing Grace,” “How Firm a Foundation,” and “There is a Fountain Filled with Blood” will not be heard, or you will not be allowed to openly and publicly bow and pray to God who gives us life. A preacher will not be able to stand with the open Bible and declare what he believes to his church. There will be a man claiming to be Christ or God. He’s the last anti-Christ. Jesus told the Jews, those self- righteous Pharisees that he came unto them in his father’s name, and they received him not but another would come in his own name, and him they would receive. As I said before, I wouldn’t be surprised if the man of sin is alive today maybe as a child. Since the nations are in such a state, the time is appropriate for a man to appear claiming the ability to heal all ills of the nations and bring everything back together. He is going to be one claiming to be the Messiah, the returning Christ. I thank God for all the truth written and preached by B.H. Carroll. Despite that, I disagree with his view of the entire nation of Israel being saved in a day. Someone says now preacher, the eleventh chapter of Romans says all Israel shall be saved. Yes, and I believe it, but he’s talking about spiritual Israel. I believe every child of God is a member of spiritual Israel. They that are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And they are children by faith. And Paul said he is not a Jew which is one outwardly, but he is a Jew which is one inwardly, and that circumcision is not that which is outwardly in the flesh, but that which is of the heart. So every person that has been circumcised in heart is a child of God and is a spiritual Jew. Paul said all of them are going to be saved. He is talking about the resurrection of the saints. Someone might say they were already saved. They are spiritual and have been born again. Nevertheless their bodies were left just as God found them. But Jesus promised deliverance from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of children of God. All Israel shall be saved. Every last one of them dying in the Lord will come out of the grave with a body just like the body of the Son of God. All of them will be saved. So I say again, if we could look out into the future and see what is ahead for us, I believe we would be a busier people carrying out the work God has left in our hands. We might wake out of sleep and get a little more energy moving out just a little further to reach a lost world.
Study of The Book of Revelation
W. T. Russel (Tape #7)
If I am not right in what I have taught in this book, I hate to face it at the judgment. I want you to know that I am sincere, honest, and not trying to put over something just because I want it to be that way. A preacher told me that once he held to a certain position but finally gave it up. He said, “I don’t know why I believed and preached that unless I just wanted it to be that way.” That’s a pretty bad excuse. I want things to be like God has it fixed. I have tried with the help of God to present this exposure in a way which I hope you are able to understand and see what is coming in the future. Most of what we have written about thus far is the fight, persecution, and hardships of the church in the years gone by and the agencies by which it has happened. Of course the Devil has been the one who has used those agencies. We’ve come to the conclusion that the opening of the seals was the revelation of the effects of the gospel, as preached, from the time it started in the beginning of this dispensation to the end of the world. The sounding of the trumpets showed response to prayers that had been around the throne of God maybe for years and years. There are prayers still unanswered around the throne. They are waiting for God’s own good time. We should be willing for God’s will to be done, and things done in his time when he will get the most honor and glory. We don’t take that into consideration too much. When we want God to do something, we want him to do it now. But now he might not get the honor and glory that he could get later. We need to be patient. We will see something about that a little later in this book.
Chapter 13:1 “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.” The personal pronoun “I” is a mistranslation. It should have been the second person “he” instead of the first person since it is not John standing on the sands of the sea. We are going to read it as it is found in the original. The Revised Version says, “And he stood upon the sands of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea …” He has reference to the dragon, Satan. The word “beast” in Revelation, as well as in Daniel and other books of the Old Testament, has symbolic usage. It has reference to a kingdom or a government. The word “sea” alludes to people. And the sand of the sea represents multitudes of people. A beast rising up out of the sea, out from among that multitude of people. This beast had seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns, ten crowns, upon his heads the name of blasphemy this is another order of government. Chapter 13:2 “And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.” The dragon gave him his power and his seat (or his throne) and great authority. This new government coming into being is out of hell with it’s power given by the Devil. The “beast” or kingdom represented by a leopard, a spotted beast, has reference to the political and ecclesiastical connection in one government which is referred to as the Holy Roman Empire following the Pagan Roman Empire. I’d like to call your attention to the fact that the Devil had failed in his efforts to destroy the church through Pagan Rome for we see Pagan Rome coming to an end. I’d like for you to go back, and we’ll tie it in regarding chapter 12:14 where the church fled into the wilderness, and she was “given two wings of a great eagle.” As we said before, this eagle is still having reference to the Cherubim which are God’s agents who carry out his purposes on earth. The church was carried into the wilderness, and the Devil was wroth or maddened because he failed. He cast out of his mouth waters as a flood after the woman or the church, but the earth helped the woman. We mentioned previously that the earth helping the woman simply meant that governments sympathetic to liberty enacted laws that were executed by them, which protected the church. Of course, that was through God’s providence. 12:17 “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” As I said earlier almost all of what we have studied except what we’ve received in panorama of an opening of things in heaven gives us little glimpse once in a while of heaven’s agencies. Most of what we’ve studied has been dark for the church even the seven churches of Asia with the weaknesses that were seen in them. We are traveling in this book toward the time when God is going to answer the prayers that have been prayed. He is going to reward his gospel that has been preached, and we are going to see the victory over the devil and all of his combined forces before we reach the end of this book. When thinking about the Book of Revelation, many people start at the twentieth chapter. They try to make it the key to the entire book. I’m not doing that because no book in the Bible has ever been written in that manner. The context of every subject in every book of the Bible comes first, and then the consequences follow. We will get to the twentieth chapter, but we are going to study what happened before the twentieth chapter. The leopard beast is the Holy Roman Empire which is the union of church and state. Constantine was the one who united the Roman church and state. Part of the time the state had the authority, but every time there is a union of church and state, you’ll find problems existing between them. The problem is which one is the boss. Of course the two went along that way for a time. There was much rejoicing when they were united and became a Holy Roman Empire and took the place of the Pagan Roman Empire. See the transfer in verse three.
Chapter 13:3 “And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.” We see pagan Rome dying in this verse. It is dead and never to rise again. The deadly wound which brought death to pagan Rome was healed by another head. What was that head? It was the Roman head–the Roman Empire–taking the place of the pagan empire. The entire world wondered after the beast.
Chapter 13:4 “And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” This is Rome who had the whole world under its dominion at that time. Now I want to go back right here. In Daniel’s time, he saw four kingdoms. Three of those kingdoms had fallen, and only one remained. He saw a stone cut out of the mountain without hands which crushed all these kingdoms, and they became as the chaff of the summer threshing floor. In the image seen by Daniel was a head of gold representing the Babylonian Kingdom with the kingdom of the Medes and Persians seen as silver? Daniel saw in that same form the Greeks or the Macedonians, and the Roman Kingdom. The king saw that image completely destroyed in his dream. Daniel told him what it represented. This image was a type or a shadow which is exactly what we are studying in the book of Revelation. So we notice this, the whole world wondered after the beast. “And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” That is the government, who is able to stand up and battle against Rome which had the whole world under her sway at that time.
Chapter 13:5 “And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.” This is the wilderness period. How long was he given? It was “forty and two months” or twelve hundred and sixty years. When you count each day for a year, the very same length of time that we have studied heretofore.
Chapter 13:6 “And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.”…his tabernacle,” is his church.
Chapter 13:7 “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindred’s, and tongues, and nations.”
Chapter 13:8 “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” This was a sad scene. This beast, this political, ecclesiastical government–the union of church and state–and every unsaved person living at the time followed after and worshipped the beast. I’m thinking of this as being in the past, because it is. It’s long past. There was a time when everyone wandered after that beast that was not saved. The Lamb’s book of life here does not mean their names were written in the book from the foundation of the world but rather the Lamb being slain from the foundation of the world. However, some people take the position that he’s talking about having the names written in the Lambs book of life from the beginning. I think God could have written those names in the book if he had wanted to, but the Bible doesn’t uphold it. We just can’t interpret without tying in some other scriptures which we will get to shortly.
Chapter 13:9 “If any men have an ear, let him hear.” It’s one thing for a person to have an ear, and it’s another thing for him not to use that ear. He’s making an appeal here. If you have a spiritual ear of understanding, heed what you are hearing. What are we supposed to hear? We are supposed to hear when the Devil failed in pagan Rome; he organized and placed in operation a counterfeit church. It was a counterfeit church from the beginning, and it continues to be a counterfeit church today. I want to call your attention to seven nations. Daniel saw four of these nations in the image which we have discussed previously. The Babylonians were in power, but they were to decline until replaced by the Medes and Persians. The Greeks finally replaced them until the Roman Kingdom came to power. The Roman Kingdom was depicted by the legs and feet which were of iron mixed with miry clay. Thus the world depreciated in greatness from gold to iron mixed with miry clay. Rome actually, as Gibbons says, began to decline and fell under the hammer of the truth of the gospel of the Son of God. Daniel saw that. There are seven nations which we are going to study. One of them was Egypt who had the children of Israel in bondage four hundred years. They tried everything possible to keep them in slavery in Egypt, but God delivered them by a mighty hand. Assyria, the capital of which was Nineveh, was the second nation and Babylon the third. The fourth nation is the Medes and Persians with the fifth being the Macedonian or Greek nation. The Roman Empire is the sixth we are to study, and the Holy Roman Catholic Empire is the seventh. Finally, there was one who was not a nation, but he was of the seventh. He is the pope. The instrument introduced in Revelation which the Devil began with is getting weaker all the time. We will finally see the fall–the complete overthrow–of the Roman Catholic Church before the end. We will finally see the Devil, the false prophet and all of his agencies cast into the lake of fire with the rest of the wicked of the world. Then we will see total and complete victory to the church that Jesus set up almost two thousand years ago. This should give us courage and more zeal to move out knowing that we are not fighting alone, that God has agencies in heaven, and we are just laborers together with him. May God help us to move out and tell the world the truth?
Chapter 13:10 “He that leaded into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killed with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.” Here is the promise. “Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.” What is he talking about? He’s talking about those saints of God who patiently, through faith, endured the persecutions that came upon them—through faith and patience–not just patience. Chapter 13:11 “And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke as a dragon.” Chapter 13:12 “And he exercised all the power of the first beast before him, and caused the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.” In other words, he exercises the power of the pagan empire. The pagan head of Rome was wounded to death. But that deadly wound was healed by the Catholic head, the head of the papacy. There is where it was bought back to life, but it exercised all of the power of the first beast or pagan empire.
Chapter 13:13 “And he doeth great wonders, so that he make fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,”
Chapter 13:14 “And deceived them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.” The Catholic institution is based in Italy, but wherever you find it, you’ll find many images and claims of miracles. It’s not uncommon to pick up your paper and read of a new miracle that happened in Catholic ranks, and many people believe it. They claim their images weep, and some that shed blood drop after drop. Their claims have deceived millions of people for there are millions and millions of people connected with and members of the Catholic Church. They have more images than the heather. It’s another type of idolatry used in their worship. Verse fourteen simply says they were given power to do this by the one who gave him his seat and his authority, which was the Devil. So whatever they have ever claimed in the world of miracles, it’s like the fortune tellers of today. Nobody disputes the fact that there are fortune tellers. There are fortune tellers, but every last of one them do and see what they see in the future by the power of the Devil who gives them the same authority that he gave this leopard beast. They are in the same category as far as I’m concerned.
Chapter 13:15 “And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.” He had power to give life or breathe unto the image of the beast. This means the beast, government, or empire that had fallen by the sword was dead as an empire but was rejuvenated and brought back to life by another head. That head was the Catholic head. The little beast who had two horns like a lamb which spoke as a dragon was the pope.
Chapter 13:16 “And he caused all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:”
Chapter 13:17 “And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”
Chapter 13:18 “Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.” After we discuss the beast of verses sixteen, seventeen and eighteen, we will get into these kingdoms and the beasts of these kingdoms. Who is this man? Verse eighteen says that it is the number of a man. Well, if it is a number of a man, then it has to be taken from his name. The Catholics from the very beginning have used in their services, worship, all their ceremonies and their mass the Latin language. The Latin language has been used until recently which is another thing they are giving up. Today they are allowing the priests in their dioceses, the churches if you want to call them that, to say their ceremonies and carry out their ordinances in any language they wish to use. No longer are they confined to the Latin language. They’ve given back that much. However, there is much more the Catholics have given up. I’ve done a lot of searching regarding verse eighteen. I do not pick up things from others without investigation and have gone as far as I am able to determine whether this is right or wrong. These letters which make up a name have a numerical value. Every Greek letter has a numerical value. Verse eighteen says this man has a number, and it is the number of his name. That number is six hundred threescore and six. The first ruler of Rome was Latinas. In Greek, his name is Latinos. When you add the numerical value of the letters of Latinos, they total 666 Greek Luanda L = 30 Alpha A = 1 Tau T = 300 Epsilon E = 5 Iota I = 10 Nu N = 50 Omikron O = 70 Sigma S = *** Total 666 I am convinced beyond any shadow of doubt that it was the basis of the Latin language that has been used down through the centuries by the Roman Catholics because of the name from which this number comes – Six Hundred Threescore and six. I would like now to tie some things together here. I want us to understand in the seventeenth chapter of Revelation some of these things that we have written about in reference to this beast. Notice in chapter 17:7 that the beast which carried the woman had seven heads and ten horns. In that same chapter he tells us exactly what that is. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sat. Now that woman was riding a scarlet colored beast. She was on top of the beast and supported by the beast. And he said, “And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sat.” (In other words, seven governments.) In 17:10 it says “And there are seven kings: five are fallen,” (Five had gone down in John’s time, and one was then in power. So that makes six.) Let’s look a little bit further at, “and the other has not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.” That makes seven. 17:11 says “And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.” 17:12 “And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.” 17:13 “These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.” 17:14 “These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.” (Brother Russell: Is the 13th Chapter correct? I put it in to make it clearer.) In the Thirteenth chapter we read where the saints were overcome by the beast, driven into the wilderness and into obscurity. But here we find the freeing of the church from the wilderness, and the church winning the victory over the beast that had been developed and given authority and power by him to overcome the church. I want to study more about this beast, but we’ll have to go back to Daniel. As you will remember, Daniel interpreted Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. A great image stood up before Nebuchadnezzar in his dream, and that great image had a head of gold, and his breast was of silver, his belly was of brass, and his legs were of iron. Notice how the kingdoms depreciated. Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar, “Thou art this head of gold.” In other words, this head of gold represents the Babylonian Empire. The breast of that image was silver which represented Persia and Meadia because they were together. The next one we see in that image was Greece. The iron mixed with miry clay represented the Roman Kingdom. While John was writing the Revelation on the Isle of Patmos, the Pagan Roman Kingdom was in power. John was suffering persecution while all of the other apostles had died at the hands of Pagan Rome, and the church had been driven into the wilderness by Pagan Rome. There were two more nations before Daniel’s time. One of them was Egypt; the other was Assyria which was before Daniel’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. Egypt held captive the children of Israel in slavery. God had made a promise together with the prophecy that they’d be strangers in a strange land, and serve them for four hundred years. He also said he would deliver them with a mighty hand which he did. Egypt then went down to Assyria. Assyria held sway throughout the earth, and from Assyria the Babylonian Empire was founded. Here are the seven nations: 1. Egypt 2. Assyria 3. Babylon 4. Persia
5. Greeks 6. Romans 7. Holy Roman Empire Notice 17:11 “And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.” This eighth fellow is not a nation, but he is of the seventh. There is no eighth nation because there are just seven nations. But this pope which is the eighth is of the seven, and this says, he’ll go into perdition. That just simply means, he’s going to be destroyed. His destruction is going to come. I don’t know when, but it’s going to happen. And all because God has had true churches in this world that have not been afraid to stand up against heresies advocated by the Catholics and the Protestants which are the daughters of that Roman hierarchy. Fathers and mothers and other children of God have prayed for the truth to reach the hearts of people and for overcoming faith which every believer has. So we see we are going right back and picking up the gospel and its effects. We are going back and picking up the response to the prayers of the people who have prayed down through the centuries of time. God may not have answered when we asked him to answer, but they linger around the throne. There may be martyrs in heaven now that prayed before they left this world. Their prayers still unanswered. Yet as surely as we live today, they will be answered. We are going to get to that. So that eighth which is of the seventh, is the pope head. What is he the head of? He is the head of the Catholic Hierarchy. The Roman Empire has been gone a long time. It fell never to be brought back. But there is a nation so-called and so-claimed and accepted by the other nations of this world. It is the Roman Catholic hierarchy with the pope as the head of that nation. He demands all nations send their ambassadors to him recognizing him as the head of state as well as the head of the Roman Catholic Church. He is of the seventh. Might need to put the following paragraph at the beginning in the Thank You Section or the Introduction Section. Chapter 14 to see this prevailing interest in our Bible Study. I think a lot of prayers have been answered in that respect. I’m hoping, trusting, and praying that those who have read this may have gained something from these lessons, at least to give them a little toehold to study more deeply the things we haven’t had time to even touch upon. I want to call attention to this one thing lest we lose sight of it let’s remember in this study this far, the church is still in the wilderness in John’s vision. Another thing I want you to remember is that it’s impossible for anyone to understand the basic purposes of the book of Revelation if they study it chronologically. By that I mean that each chapter does not follow the other in time order. God gave to John in his visions, first of all, God revealed Jesus Christ. And that is what the book said to begin with. The Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave unto him and sent and signified it by his servant John. Then John got a vision of the state of the churches at that time which was a dark scene indeed and discouraging from an earthly standpoint. A chapter is given next with a heaven scene. John is permitted to look into heaven and see the agencies used by God to carry out his purposes. Those agencies are used with the churches here on earth. They have the same interest and the same purpose which is to honor and glorify God. Again we get another picture of some bad things coming into the world. We see Pagan Rome with all of its ungodliness and persecutions of the churches. The churches are shown being driven into the wilderness by the civil powers and authorities. Here deaths of the saints of God are seen. Following this chapter, God reveals that victory is ahead. Even in the face of all of the power and the forces that the devil has to use against the church, God shows his power and his ability to overcome those things that are hurled against the church. He shows that he is protecting the church even in the wilderness through the dark ages. The Bible said he nourished her and took care of her through all of that period while every conceivable thing imaginable was used by the devil to destroy the church that Jesus left on earth when he went back to heaven.
Chapter 14:1 “And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.” We studied about that earlier in the seventh chapter. In other words, the angels held back the four winds of the earth. These four winds represented the forces or agencies that God would use in answering prayer. He would use these forces in visiting the wicked and the counterfeit church and her activities. They were commanded to hold back their forces which were not to be released until the servants of the living God were numbered in their foreheads. Then we go to the tenth chapter where John saw an angel with one foot on land and one foot on the sea. The angel had his right hand lifted up to heaven and swore by him that lives for ever and ever, that there should be delay no longer. In other words, some of the things that he had held back were going to be released. It would be revealed to John in symbolic form. We read where 144,000 were sealed with another company that no man could number–an innumerable company that was saved in the seventh chapter. However, because that innumerable company is not mentioned in 14:1, it doesn’t mean they are not included. Many people think there will not be many people in heaven. There will not be many in comparison to the numbers who have populated this planet, but I read about an innumerable company that’s going to be there. In spite of all the Devil has used to deceive and lead astray people to follow him, God has an innumerable company of people who are sealed and secured at this time. We talked a lot about numerals and their symbolic meaning in round figures. In fact, I believe the 144,000 in round figures represents the true church of the Lord Jesus Christ here in the world. I will tell you why I believe it.
Chapter 14:2 “And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps:” Chapter 14:3 “And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.”
Chapter 14:4 “These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb.” This is not to teach celibacy as the Catholics take it which brought about the nunneries. The monks also isolated themselves from the world because of their interpretation. Verse four is simply talking about those who are made pure by the blood of Christ and the imputed righteousness of the Son of God. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits unto God and unto the Lamb. “…..which were redeemed from the earth?” This represents the redeemed host of God that will be in heaven whether or not it is an exact number. John saw those singing praises unto God in a song that no one knew except those that sang it. They were singing that song before the four and twenty elders and the cherubim. It was a new song, and no man could learn it but the 144,000 which were redeemed from the earth. The analogue of the song in verse three is taken from Deuteronomy in the song of Moses. When the children of Israel were safely delivered from Egyptian bondage and crossed the Red Sea, the song of Moses was sung. In fact he said in Rev. 14:4 “These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins.” He is not talking about this from a natural standpoint. I want that understood. He is talking about true churches. All the denominations in the world except one are counterfeit, and the mother of the counterfeit churches is the Catholic Church which originated in Rome. The virgins talked about here are as Paul talking to the Corinthians when he said I’m jealous over you with a Godly jealously because I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. That’s what he is talking about. These virgins seen in this vision were true and faithful churches that followed the Lord. “These are they which followed the Lamb whithersoever he goeth.” In other words, they don’t have a man or men as their leader. A man is the head of every other organization. The head of the church that Jesus built here in the world is Jesus himself. He is the one that gave the laws, the rules, the regulations, and the discipline to govern that church. These are the ones that follow him whithersoever he goeth “…being the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb.” These first fruits are not having reference to something that might be bought. In the Old Testament God demanded the first fruits of everything be given to him. The first fruit unto God is every person that belongs to God in the general sense. In a special sense, though, this is having reference to those who have followed Christ in their lives and the faith for which they have stood. If it hadn’t been for those people, we wouldn’t be here today proclaiming the same doctrines as were proclaimed while Jesus lived here among men. There have been millions of people who laid down their lives for this gospel and truth to endure. A question comes up very often. Could I lay down my life for what I believe? Or if I were called upon to give up some of my principles and what I believe in, what would I give up first? There isn’t one that I’d give up. The time is coming when people will have to hide somewhere in order to worship and serve God after the dictates of their own conscience. The law will be such that it will be an offence for them to do it, and they’ll be punished just like they were in the dark ages. Others will give their lives just like those did in the dark ages before the Lord comes back. Some may be living today who will see that time. That is taught by the scriptures if I know anything at all about it. Revelation 6:7-11.
Chapter 14:5 “And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.” It didn’t say they were without sin. They were without fault. “And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.” Now, what did he mean by that? The teaching and preaching from their mouths were not lies, but it was the truth. The Baptist down through the centuries of time have consistently preached and contended for seven distinct doctrines that no other denomination in the world will endorse. Let me say that if Baptist are wrong, they are further wrong than anyone. But they are not wrong. In all the doctrines and principles the Baptist advocates and preaches, the scriptures back it up. They don’t use a penknife to cut out the scriptures they don’t like but try to harmonize the scriptures and present to the people the whole truth and not just half truths. That is what he is talking about here. Their gospel and their preaching are not lies, but it is true.
Chapter 14:6 “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,”
Chapter 14:7 “Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” This verse seven is the demand of the gospel in the past, present and future until the end of the world.
Chapter 14:8 “And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” Do not read this as “is falling.” When this vision was seen by John, Babylon had already gone down. This Babylon had given the church so much trouble. She still does today. So many have been persecuted by her efforts and millions have given their lives and shed the last drops of blood in their bodies because of the persecution of this mystery Babylon. “….she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” Basically, spiritual fornication, and spiritual adultery is the affiliation with the worshippers of idols, and it is association with those that claimed idolatry. However, there is the same force and meaning applied to those after the beast because it is heresy. As such, it is the worshipping of an idol god. This verse says she made all nations to drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. All churches which began after Jesus set up his church are false. To associate with them in their teachings, practices, ordinances, and regard them with the same authority as Jesus’ church is spiritual adultery and spiritual fornication. This verse is talking about spiritual fornication, not natural fornication or adultery. It also says “she made all nations to drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” Those nations who have promoted and supported this counterfeit church for centuries have been in existence for centuries. It had its beginning in a formative manner in about 250 or 251. They claimed to have a pope but didn’t have until the year 606 or 610. All of the Protestant movements have come out of Catholicism. They came out in protest to the teachings of the Catholics. There are a lot of well educated people in our country who do not know this. They believe everyone who is not Catholic is Protestant. If you are going to have any dealings with legal documents respecting religion practices, you’ll be listed as Protestant or Catholic. Our Baptist has never been Protestant because they did not protest. They were already here when the Catholics had their beginning. They never came out of anything. Jesus set up the true church while he was here in the world, and he said I’ll be with you always even to the end of the world. I believe he’s still with it now. If I didn’t believe we were the true church, I’d be looking for it. This lesson is full of great truths that should give comfort and consolation even in this day in which we live. Those who associate and affiliate with this counterfeit movement of the Catholic Church, Protestants, or daughters of Catholicism are in the same class exactly. Yet here we have promise. I think there’ll be preachers on earth after we are gone who will be proclaiming to the world that Babylon is gone down forever, never to rise again. She’s falling now, but when this angel came preaching this gospel, she’d already fallen. She’d already gone down. This Babylon is none other than the counterfeit church that the Devil instituted in order to try to pull down the true one.
Chapter 14:9 “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,” Chapter 14:10 “The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:” We talked before about the identification mark as not being a literal figure stamped in a person’s hand or head, but rather ID. We’d think of it in a natural way as an ID card to identify who we are and various things concerning our lives. Those who receive this mark in verse nine shall have those things come upon them in verse ten. I’m sure someone is wondering if all of Rome, all of the daughters of Rome, and every person affiliated with them will suffer these consequences in the presence of God and angels. We will come shortly in this same book in John’s vision where he sees a call being made to the true children of God in these organizations. This call tells them to come out of her my people that ye be not partakers of her plagues. This true gospel of the Son of God is that which will bring them out. It is the only thing that will bring them out of heresy. Chapter 14:11 “And the smoke of their torment ascended up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever received the mark of his name.”
Chapter 14:12 “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” And that goes right back to this Lamb standing on mount Zion with 144,000. These are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, and here is the patience of the saints. What is that faith of Jesus? Keeping the faith of Jesus means keeping the principles of the doctrines of Jesus Christ. The only people on earth who have ever kept the faith of Jesus Christ are the church which he set up when he was on earth. It has been here for nearly 2000 years. It will be here when the Lord splits the clouds and comes back in his glory. Chapter 14:13 “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea saith the Spirit that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.” This was given in connection with the rest of this as a form of encouragement to those who were dying in the Lord. They rest from their labors and their toils, and it wouldn’t be the end of them. It would be a sad thing if it were the end of our forefathers who held so tenaciously to the doctrines we love and cherish. If the faith had died with them, it would have been a terrible time, wouldn’t it? Their faith, works, and doctrines preached for the sake of truth in God’s name did not end when they died. They left an example for their children and their children’s children. It has been brought down from generation to generation until this time. Not one single act done for God will ever be lost. That is one of the most wonderful and encouraging things I have found in the work of God. Regardless of any forces raised against the truth and the true church of Jesus Christ, it shows us the Lord is watching over it constantly. We may not be able to see the outcome, but God knows when and what will happen. We just need to have faith that he’ll take care of the situation when the time comes. He always has and always will. They are resting tonight from their labors, but their works are still living on. I’m sure you have sung that old song, “What shall I leave behind?” They have left plenty behind which is the greatest heritage the world has ever known in the principles of the doctrine of the church. These people died for them, and we should also be willing to die for them.
Chapter 14:14 “And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.” Reaping time, reaping time! This reverts to the wheat and tares which Jesus spoke of when he lived on earth. Man sowed good seed in his field. When the blade was up, there appeared tares among the wheat. His servants told him there were tares among the wheat, and he said an enemy has done this. When God made man, he made him holy thereby placing good seed in the Garden of Eden. But the Devil comes in and tempts Eve. As a result, Adam chose knowingly and willingly to follow his wife. He transgressed the law of God and brought sin and death upon the entire world. The whole nature of the human race was changed. Right there is where the tares were sown. In this world of ours today, there are growing up together wheat and tares. The wheat represents the children of God–the good seed, and the tares represent the bad seed which are the wicked ones or those that are lost in the world. And his servant said shall we pluck up or pull up the tares from among the wheat. He said no. Let them both grow together until the harvest. Then what did he do? He said I’ll send my angels. I want you to note this. The angels will be the agents God will use in reaping the earth, both saint and sinner. In the parable of the wheat and tares, he said gather the tares in bundles to be burned but gather the wheat into my barn or unto the garner. This is the separation of the wheat from the tares, but it will take place at the harvest. Now then, that is the analogue for this that we read here in the fourteenth chapter.
Chapter 14:15 “And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reaps: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” This brings us down to the end to harvest time. We can go out into revival meetings and preach the gospel to unsaved people today. Very few of them are interested enough to hear and be benefited thereby by leaving the wages of sin and get right with God. The day of reaping the wicked of the world is coming. This angel is told to thrust in his sickle “for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” It is the harvest of the wicked world. As I said before, you can’t take the book of Revelation chronologically. You must recognize the context and picture God is trying to show. As he shows bad in one part of Revelation and good in another, he gives encouragement to his people. He divides it where we can get the lesson in harmony with the other scriptures before the Book of Revelation.
Chapter 14:16 “And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.” Notice this first angel is none other than the angel that Christ summoned to reap the earth, and that was the good. Now look at the next.
Chapter 14:17 “And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.” Chapter 14:18 “And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.” The very mention of fire in that verse of scripture carries us right back to the parable mentioned by Jesus of the wheat and tares. The tares will be gathered in bundles to be burned.
Chapter 14:19 “And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.” He goes into another symbolic illustration here in the last two verses. “And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.” Let’s look at some other scriptures to better understand these verses. Matthew 25:31 “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:” 25:32 “And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divided his sheep from the goats:” To further tie these together, let’s look in the writings of Paul to the Thessalonians Church in 1 Thessalonians. 4:13 “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.” 4:14 “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.” 4:15 “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.” 4:16 “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:” 4:17 “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” These scriptures from Revelation 14:19-20, Matthew and 1 Thessalonians say the same thing. There will be a resurrection, a reaping, and there will be the gathering in that last day. I like the song that has in it “We’ll live forever in the air. I think it teaches exactly the truth. The man who wrote that song believes just like the Bible teaches. The Bible teaches us that in these scriptures just quoted from the Thessalonians Letter. I’ll give anybody $50 if I have to borrow it, to get him back here on this earth with his saints. I never have read after any man that could do it. I never have heard any man preach that could do it. I do know the Bible teaches we shall be with him forever in the air. When we are caught up to meet him in the air, we’re not going to be brought back to this sin cursed earth. We will not be brought back because he said those that obeyed not the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ would be punished with everlasting destruction in that very day. Fire and brimstone will be rained out upon this earth to be the source of their punishment. There will be no children of God here when that fire comes down as there was none of God’s children left outside when Noah entered the ark, and none left in Sodom when God rained fire upon that city. God shut the door and saved them from the flood that came upon the world, and Lot whose righteous soul was vexed in Sodom. Now God’s not going to visit this world in vengeance until every child of God is out of it. He said behold me make all things new. I’ll make a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwells righteousness. Somebody might ask the question as to where the new earth will be. My answer is, “Where is this one?” We know we are living on it, but to tell where it is, is something else. The same God that created this earth and put it where it is will do as Peter said in chapter 3:10 of his writing. “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” To burn up a thing is to leave nothing but the ashes. That’s all that will be left. He said I’ll create a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwelled righteousness. The same God that created this one says he will burn it up. He has the same power to create another wherever he chooses. My belief is that it will be where we go up to meet him for he said, “…so shall we ever be with the Lord.” So I’m going to leave it right there. That satisfies me.
Chapter 14:20 “And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.” If you want to go at it literally, that would be 200 miles. What if you talk about Palestine? Palestine is the place, and it’s not 200 miles from one end of Palestine to the other end. So we know that he is talking in figurative language. What’s he talking about? He’s speaking about war. He’s speaking about the woes that are being poured out upon the wicked in that day, and he is speaking of it in symbolic tongue that we can see the fierceness of the wrath of God when he pours it out upon a wicked world. Eventually the prayers of those millions who died for the cause we love and that truth that is so deeply embedded within us will be answered. They prayed in death, O Lord how long until thou will judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth. That prayer has been lingering around the throne of God all this time. The promise is here that it is going to be answered. It will be answered when God pours out the vials of his wrath upon the children of disobedience, and this wicked world, and especially on the counterfeit church. Sometimes we reach the place where it seems there is no victory. It seems as if there’s no one interested anymore. They’ve gone the way of the world. I’m glad, though; there is the laborer who toils by study trying with all of his ability to prepare himself to go before those who will hear the gospel of the Son of God knowing that God has promised the believer total and final victory without the loss of a single one.
Study of The Book of Revelation
W. T. Russel (Tape #8)
Before we get into the fifteenth chapter, let’s do a little recapitulation of what we have come to right now. If everyone who tries to understand the book of Revelation will recognize that it’s the last book of the Bible, and it completes God’s revelation to man. There is a woe pronounced upon anyone that tries to add or to take from it. The book consists mainly of the church built by Jesus, and really in the very beginning, we are shown the interest of the book by John writing to seven churches. In the writing to these seven churches, there is weakness displayed. Not only does he dwell with the weaknesses of the church, but he commends the churches for all that’s good in them. Then he follows that up with promises assuring the churches that he walks in their midst. I believe that he does walk in the midst of the churches. Of course he’s not here in person because he is at the right hand of God. He’s here in the person of the Holy Spirit in every one of his churches. In this book, Jesus shows himself as having given his life but is alive forevermore. The agencies are shown which he has used in the past, present and future on earth and also the agencies in heaven to carry out his purpose. Revelation deals largely with the conflict between the true church and the false or counterfeit church. The devil tries to imitate and place something before the people of the world from a religious standpoint that looks like the true and real thing. He realizes it cannot have all error and get the people to believe it. Thus he has enough truth mixed with error to deceive the people. It started back early in this dispensation, and the formation of the counterfeit church is recognized about 250 or 251 A. D. There have been changes in it through the past centuries. However, it is still here although it is not the same. It is constantly changing. The Catholics have given up some of their main principles, and they will continue to do so. I believe they are forced to give up their principles by the preaching of the truth. The truth originated with God and was given to the church to preach to the world to make disciples. We see in the Book of Revelation the true church of Jesus Christ and the counterfeit church of the Devil. I’m going to say it’s of the Devil because the Bible says the Devil gave the authority to begin with. He has been in charge of that movement ever since it started and is still in charge today. It is the Devil causing them to back down on their principles to appease the people today. The earthquake of the reformation shook the very foundations of the Catholic Church so they had to do something about it or go under at that time, and we will get to that later. The main thought I want you to keep on your mind is this last book of the Bible is a revelation of Jesus Christ and his relationship to his church. The agencies revealed through his servant, John are to be used in the furtherance of the gospel and of the church’s work that he’s left in their hands in the world. Along with this is the continued warfare which is fought with the word of truth, not with guns and swords. Paul made this statement; we wrestle not against principalities, powers–earthly powers, earthly governments or civil powers. Our warfare has never been carnal which flesh and blood is. But ours is a warfare which is mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. I want to state that victory over the strongholds of the Devil is won by using instruments of warfare designed by God. The instrument of warfare to be used by the church is the sword of truth which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17 “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:” Let me remind you again the church is still in the wilderness at this point in our study. In the fifteenth chapter we are going to find an introduction to what is called the Battle of Armageddon. That word just simply means the Hill of Megiddo. There have been many actual and real battles fought in that very spot. The Hill of Megiddo is where Gideon won the victory over the Midianites. Joshua won his victory on that Hill. If I remember correctly, there are at least eight decisive battles which were fought and won in the location referred to as Armageddon. In our continued study, I still contend that this is an analogue. The battles of the past fought and won on the Hill of Megiddo is an analogue for the battle this Book of Revelation talks about, and the war called the Battle of Armageddon. In other words, this is the antitype. The Battle of Armageddon is the spiritual side. Those eight battles fought on the Hill of Megiddo were natural. There were hundreds and thousands who died in battle. In this battle, it is the pouring out of the plagues upon the counterfeit church and her supporters and backers. This is done in answer to the prayers of the martyrs, but keeps in mind that it is done before the church comes out of the wilderness.
Chapter 15:1 “And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.” In this verse there are seven plagues poured out. We studied about the trumpets. Prayers were offered and were received in heaven, but the people were told to wait for a little season. As soon as their fellow servants had given their lives as they had, the prayers would be answered. Those prayers have been lingering around the throne of God all this time. But they are being answered in the pouring out of the seven last plagues–the vial of the seven last plagues upon the counterfeit church. There will be no more. Also notice it says God’s wrath is filled up in them. These last seven plagues are designed for and sent upon the counterfeit church. It’s wonderful to even think about the mercy and love of God. He so loved this world that he was willing to give and did give his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but has everlasting life. It’s another wonderful thing that Jesus left the church in the world and invested her with power to preach the gospel of truth and to carry the good news of salvation to the whole world. Wonderful, yes it’s wonderful that Jesus was that merciful, and God had that much love to have called out those who have preached the unadulterated gospel of the Son of God. Rather than give up the gospel invested to them by God, these preachers chose death. The blood of the martyrs down through the centuries has proven to be the seed of the church. All of that and more is wonderful in our eyes today. Yet there’s coming a time when the wrath of God is going to be exposed and exercised. God is a loving God. God is a merciful God. God is a longsuffering God. His arms are stretched out today to a sinful world. One of these days his hand is going to be drawn back. The mouths of his servants are going to be closed, never to speak another word of the gospel again. The last call to the sinner is going to be made from the last pulpit of this world. The door of God’s mercy is going to be closed against the world forever. God is going to pour out his wrath upon this sin-cursed world because he gave all that he had, and the very best that he had. They have rejected it and turned their backs on it. It went in one ear and out the other. Today it seems to me that we’re just gathering in the fragments, the remnant. Why is it that we do not hear of revival meetings as we used to when there were scores of people saved? There were great revivals that would break out and go on for weeks, day and night. I can call to your attention in the effort of Brother C. B. Massey in Bowling Green when he went there to an old tobacco barn in Bowling Green and started a revival meeting. It went on and on and on. In that meeting, there were over a hundred souls saved by the grace of God. It proved to be the nucleus of the church of which I was a pastor from 1964 to l982. Why is it that we do not hear of scores and hundreds of people being saved throughout our country in this day? It seems to me the few that are left are now being gathered. Somebody will say, preacher how can you say that? Well don’t you know that God knew from the very beginning who would hear the gospel in sincerity with an honest heart? He knew who would give heed to it and turn to Christ by faith and be saved. Why, of course, he knew all about that, my friend. To say he did not would be to limit his knowledge and wisdom, and I’ll never do it. There may be only a few left out there who will be saved. Yet that doesn’t give us any reason to stop, slow down, or relax our efforts in the least because that work is to be finished. We are to labor until it is finished, and when it is, and then God is going to pour out his wrath upon this sinful world. Paul said fire and brimstone will be rained from heaven upon the earth. That’s going to take place here.
Chapter 15:2 “And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.” The beast, as we have studied thus far, was to begin with paganized Rome. And when the head of pagan Rome died or was wounded to death, then there was brought back to life the very same principles that were exercised by pagan Rome in what is called the Holy Roman Empire. The spotted beast that we talked about in another chapter was the uniting of civil Rome with the Church of Rome. So we’d call it a political, ecclesiastical government. The head of this ecclesiastical government which we studied is the eighth. The eighth is not a nation, but he’s of the seventh, and the seven was the Holy Roman Empire. The papal head or the head of the Roman Catholic Church is the pope. The word pope means papa or father. That is why they use it so much. Now I want you to get this analogue in the second verse. “And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.” Now the analogue for that is the deliverance of the children of Israel out of the Egyptian bondage. You know one peculiar thing about Revelation; you can go back in the Old Testament and find an analogue for every symbol that is used in the book. We cannot understand it or be able to interpret it unless we find the type in the Old Testament that answered by the anti-type in the book of Revelation. I hope you understand the explanation given regarding these scriptures. What is the analogue for this sea of glass? The children of Israel were God’s chosen people as a nation at that time. Today, the church of Jesus Christ is the espoused bride of the Son of God and his chosen people is the church just as it was during the time of Revelation. They are also distinguished from all others as a body. The children of Israel stayed in Egypt for 430 years, but God promised to deliver them from the bondage of Egypt with a mighty hand. And he did. When Moses and Aaron went to Egypt, God caused many miracles to be worked though Moses and Aaron before the Pharaoh of Egypt. There were ten plagues or ten incidents of miracles that were performed through Moses and Aaron. The plagues that followed them were upon the people of Egypt, their land, and their holdings. Seven of those ten were directed toward the Egyptians. Three of the ten didn’t touch the children of Israel. So the seven last plagues are to be poured out upon the counterfeit church. This counterfeit church has fought the advancement of the truths held by the church Jesus left on earth. It has been used in many ways by the Devil in many nations to hinder and molest this truth. The Devil also has used those things even to take the lives of millions of the true saints of God. Moses and Aaron went to Egypt and worked the miracles through their hands. Of course the power was from God. Finally Pharaoh let the children of Israel go out of Egypt. With Moses as their leader, they were at the Red Sea when Pharaoh changed his mind. He was sorry he had let two million people leave his country. It is hard to conceive of two million leaving Egypt. Pharaoh then gets his armies together and follows them knowing they would be bottlenecked at the Red Sea. Yet in that bottleneck at the Red Sea is where God lead the Israelites. The Bible said they were led by a pillar of cloud in the daytime and by a pillar of fire by night. Exodus 13:22 “He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.” God had been their leader up until that point. The Israelites were gathered at the Red Sea with Pharaoh’s army behind. Some of them were clambering because Moses had led them out of Egypt, and they were trapped. Nevertheless, while standing on the bank of the Red Sea, Moses said, stand still and see the salvation of God. Stretching his rod over the Red Sea, it parted. The Bible tells us in the fourteenth chapter of Exodus that it was a wall of water on either side. I want you to get a picture of this. The children of Israel were out in the middle of the Red Sea with a pillar of fire behind them. The pillar stood between the Israelites and the Egyptians that were pursuing. It was darkness behind them. The Egyptians couldn’t see where to go, but here is a wall of congealed water which is nothing but ice. The sea is frozen, standing upright with this pillar of fire behind the children of Israel giving them light as they crossed that briny deep. Get a picture of the brilliance of that pillar of fire as it glistened against that wall of ice on either side, and you’ll get a picture of the victory that Jesus is talking about here in Revelation revealed to us by John. Just as the children of Israel were led across the briny deep unto victory on the other side, the enemy was drowned in the sea behind them. We see victory explained in this fourteenth chapter. The victory seen in this chapter in crossing the Red Sea is the work of God toward Israel as he promised in Genesis 15:14-16
Chapter 15:3 “And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.” I mentioned earlier the Song of Moses. What are the words to that song? “Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.” That was the song they sang giving praise to God who was giving them the victory he had promised. The victory includes us today. Thank God for the victory. I think of Paul when he considered his weakness. He talked about himself as a man for he still had that carnal mind. We still have it because God doesn’t give us another mind when he saves us. He just gives us a different or holy disposition to the mind we already have. The carnal mind is still there. Paul said in Romans 7:19 “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.” 7:20 “Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelled in me.” 7:21 “I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.” In other words it is not that man who is born again. It is not the inner man because in I John 3:9 he said, “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remained in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” It is this outward man, not the inward man that does the sinning. Paul comes right down after expressing his weakness and says in body with a sinful nature. It’s carnal, and we must fight a battle to live a life with which God is pleased. Paul said it is a continued warfare. When Paul asked the question, “…. who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” He said, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” So deliverance and victory over sin, Satan and the forces of evil that surround us in this world is through Christ Jesus. If you are in him and have him with you, you need not worry for the victory will be yours later on. We will win this victory through Christ, not ourselves.
Chapter 15:4 “Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? For thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.” I want to say this. This truth in vision is backed up by a number of statements made in the New Testament, and one in particular is this: Every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is the Christ to the glory of God. Every inhabitant of the world from the beginning to the end will bow here on earth and give honor and glory to God, confess before him, worship him as God and savior, or they will do it in Hell. It will do no good in Hell, but it can do them good here now.
Chapter 15:5 “And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened:”
Chapter 15:6 “And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles.”
Chapter 15:7 “And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who lived for ever and ever.”
Chapter 15:8 “And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.” What is the analogue to that? If you have studied about the tabernacle that Moses built in the wilderness, you’ll note that they did not enter the tabernacle for service of the worship until the smoke filled that house. The smoke came from heaven, and it was a type of the indwelling of God in that house. This analogue goes back to the tabernacle in the wilderness. It is also followed up by the temple of Solomon, and that which was rebuilt by Herod, they entered it not until God’s presence was made manifest by the smoke that filled the house. On the day of Pentecost the church was gathered together in prayer meeting for about ten days. There came into their midst as of the sound of a rushing, mighty wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. It was the coming of the Spirit of God which Jesus had promised to the church in John 14:16-18. He said in Acts 1:8 “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Here is the filling of this house. He is talking about the church. I am saying today that the church of earth has been an instrument of God in carrying out his purposes. The pouring out of the plagues upon the counterfeit church and a wicked world is in answer to prayer.
Study of The Book of Revelation
W. T. Russel (Tape #9)
Chapter 16:1 “And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.”
Chapter 16:2 “And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.” What is the analogue to this? It is the plague of sores poured out on the people of Egypt because of Pharaoh’s refusal to release the children of Israel from bondage. I’d like to add that the sores came upon the magicians also. Someone asked me if I believe there are actually magicians and fortune tellers, etc. The Bible teaches there are such. Remember, I said their power is not from God but is of the Devil. In the first miracle wrought by Moses and Aaron before Pharaoh, God told Aaron to cast a rod down upon the ground, and it became a serpent. The magicians were called, and they did the same with their enchantments. This can be found in Exodus 7:9-11. The waters of the Nile River were worshipped by the Egyptians as a god. God, by the hand of Moses and Aaron, turned the river into blood. The fountains of waters throughout the land of Egypt and in every house were turned to blood and were undrinkable. The magicians were called, and they did the same by their enchantments. Another miracle wrought by God through Moses and Aaron was frogs covering the land of Egypt. The magicians were called, and they did exactly the same. The next miracle was the casting of the dust of Egypt which brought about lice all over the people and animals. The magicians tried unsuccessfully to perform this miracle. They said these men are of God, and their work is of the hand of God; thereby, they virtually admitted their miracles were of the Devil. We find the analogue of these sores in verse two goes back to the literal plague sent upon Egypt. The sores talked about in Revelation are those sores and painful afflictions that come as a result of false doctrines, teachings, and heresies that have been spread throughout all the country. It is still being spread today by the Roman Catholic Church as in that time. It has not been put down yet, but its power has been curtailed and limited.
Chapter 16:3 “And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.” As we said, the sea represents peoples. We notice that this beast came up out of the sea. One came up out of the earth, but John stood on the sands of the sea, and the beast came up out of the sea which meant he came from among the people. It says the sea became as the blood of a dead man. How is the blood of a dead man? We know that the blood is the life of man. In the Old Testament the Israelites were commanded not to eat the blood of animals. The animal’s blood was to be shed. The reason God gave for this commandment was, “For the blood is the life thereof.” You are not to eat of the blood. The blood of a dead man ceases to flow. It coagulates. What is this? When this vial is poured out in a spiritual sense, it is meant to teach the sea (people) are still there, but the people (sea) become as the blood of a dead man. In other words, it ceases to flow. Every living soul died in the sea. What does he mean by that? It simply meant that every living soul became as the blood of a dead man causing them to cease activity. The people are still there but not active. John viewed a time when the Devil was bound, and when his power would be so limited and there would be a millennium of peace. We will study about it later. Again, the church is still in the wilderness. These plagues are being poured out upon the counterfeit church. This is the conflict between the true and the false religion.
Chapter 16:4 “And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood.” In Egypt the Nile River and the fountains of that country flowed in blood which happened literally. In verse four, however, this is a symbol representing spiritual things–not literal. What do the rivers and fountains of waters refer to? We read about the waters becoming as wormwood in another chapter. They were unfit to drink. Also in the time of Moses when he was leading the children of Israel from the bondage of Egypt, they came to the waters of Marah in Exodus 15:23. They might have carried water from Egypt, but it could not have lasted very long. When they came to the waters of Marah, there was plenty of water, but it was bitter and unfit to drink. I want to tell you today that their theories and their so-called principles which are called the gospel of the Son of God are unfit for anyone to receive. These rivers of waters becoming as blood means that the theories of Catholicism which were to be advanced through the years are unfit for anyone to accept and build their lives upon. Chapter 16:5 “And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and was, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus.” God’s judgment is just. Chapter 16:6 “For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.” Who has shed the blood of saints? They are pagan Rome until the pagan head was wounded to death, since the Catholics have held sway. Today they don’t have the power to take the lives of saints as they once did. You might include every false church that’s ever come on the face of the earth. However, I won’t say this is referring to every one of them. Mohammedism is in Iran which is ancient Persia. When the Ayatollah Khomeini took over, what happened there? There were great numbers put before firing squads and killed. Religion and force on the part of Mohammedism was behind all of it. They have died by the millions at the hands of false churches and doctrines that have infiltrated the world.
Chapter 16:7 “And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.”
Chapter 16:8 “And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire.”
Chapter 16:9 “And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.” This shows these plagues came from God, and they were in answer to prayer. We are living in a hardened world today. The hearts of people are getting harder and harder and harder. One reason for that is there are so many confusing ideas, false doctrines, and theories that are being advanced through every means that is available–radio, television, and newspapers. The people are confused, and there is so much sin in the world right beside of this confusion that is so enticing to a world of sinners that they are hardened against God and religion. This is exactly what the Bible teaches would come to pass. Chapter 16:10 “And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain,” What kingdom and what beast is this referring to? It is the Roman kingdom and Roman Catholic hierarchy. They are the ones visited with these plagues. I want to say again these plagues are in answer to the prayers of God’s people.
Chapter 16:11 “And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.”
Chapter 16:12 “And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.” There is an analogue to the twelfth verse. The Euphrates River is spoken of a number of times in the Old Testament days and also in the New Testament. When it’s used as a symbol, it represents the superstition, sentiment, and the false doctrines that are supported by the Romans or the Roman pretension. All of that came about through monasteries, nunneries, and schools, and were by-products really of the Roman government as connected with church and state. It was the counter teaching of the Catholics after the reformation that I think of as introducing and carrying forth the battle of Armageddon. Armageddon is actually also a symbol. It was in the Valley of Megiddo of which many major battles of the Old Testament days were fought, and there was a lot of blood shed. In the Book of Revelation in Greek, it’s Armageddon. In the Old Testament, it is Har-Magedon, and Har means mountain. That’s the meaning of the prefix Har-Magedon. We should not take literally the Mountain of Megiddo. The wars talked about in the Book of Revelation are not fought with guns and ammunition. The whole Book of Revelation is the warfare between the counterfeit and the true church. We must interpret it that way to get the true meaning of it. Since the Valley of Megiddo was outstanding in history for a place of many battles, it was a valley of warfare. Gideon won his battle over the Midianites there. Many other battles were fought and won in that valley. So this Har-Magedon introduces a mountain we’ve already referred to a mountain in the scriptures as being symbolically a government. I wanted to mention that so we could get a better understanding of the thirteenth verse.
Chapter 16:13 “And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.” Notice where these unclean spirits came from. They came out of the mouth of the dragon which is the Devil, out of the mouth of the beast which is that government and out of the mouth of the false prophet which is none other than the pope. So these three were the supporters or behind what was done. Here is what B. H. Carroll says. “When we look in history to find some fulfillment of the work done by these unclean spirits, we find just three things. I confess I’m able to find no other things as result of their work. First, the declaration of the council of Trent with its attendant profession of faith drawn up by the pope and its catechism on the doctrines drawn up under his direction. That is the first thing they did to bar the further progress of Protestantism that broke out early in the fifteenth century. In 1563 the first unclean spirit, the first frog brought out his work. Second, the dogmatic decrees of the Vatican council held in A.D. 1870 setting forth the infallibility of the pope. Third, the excathedra utterances of the so-called infallible pope, particularly in the various utterances concerning the Virgin Mary who was declared to be free from the taint of original sin, and second from actual sin. Third her assumption in heaven, and fourth her being made the queen of heaven as the pope expressed in one of his encyclical letters, Mary is the fountain of all grace and the only hope of salvation.” Do you think the Catholics are teaching truth? They have just enough to flavor it, and that’s all. We are going into the unclean spirits like frogs and their work and what happened as a result of their work. Remember, the church is still in the wilderness. It will get out before we get to the end of this great study.
Chapter 16:14 “For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.” The fourteenth verse tells that the three unclean spirits like frogs are spirits of devils working miracles.
Chapter 16:15 “Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watched, and kept his garments, lest he walks naked, and they see his shame.” This statement of verse fifteen inserted here is parenthetical because it is taken from the main subject and context. It is a warning that something which is about to happen, and it is a warning to Christians, God’s people.
Chapter 16:16 “And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.” The sixteenth verse returns to where it left off in the fourteen verses. John is still seeing this in a vision. He didn’t see it actually happen as said previously, but it is associated with a dream, while not being a dream. Rather it is actually a God given revelation in a vision. John viewed in this vision that he gathered them together in the place called Armageddon. We are not to interpret this literally. The war is not fought literally in that Valley of Megiddo where Gideon won his victory over the Midianites and others fought and won battles there. This is a war which is a spiritual affair.
Chapter 16:17 “And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.”
Chapter 16:18 “And there were voices, and thunders, and lightning’s; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.”
Chapter 16:19 “And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness and governments. Regardless if these governments are small or large, he’s still dealing with them.
Chapter 16:21 “And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.” This is just simply God pouring out his plagues upon the counterfeit church. Also the counterfeit church through its mediums makes a final effort to counteract the effect upon the Roman Catholic Church in the reformation. No more is said about the battle of Armageddon. We were brought up to the reformation in our last lesson. In the thirteenth verse of this chapter, the three unclean spirits like frogs came out of the mouth of the dragon, of the beast, and of the false prophet. It was a threefold action on the part of the Devil and the united kingdom of Rome, that is ecclesiastical and civil, as well as the effort of the false prophet which is the pope. What three things were done by these three unclean spirits like frogs to counteract the reformation of the sixteenth century? The Church of Rome suffered a great blow in the reformation. The Bible talks about it as an earthquake. It says such an earthquake hadn’t been, and he’s still talking from a religious standpoint. When we mix up the mountains, hills, roads, and things of the world while trying to interpret it after that manner, we find ourselves lost out in the woods. The reformation was beginning among the catholic people a long time before Luther had the grit to nail his thesis to the church door. There was dissatisfaction and unbelief in the teaching of the Catholic Church a long time before Luther ever did this. Certain things were enacted in the Council of Trent which happened in about 1563. There were decrees drawn up by the pope. Of course he was the one who had the last word, but it was also endorsed by the government. All of this originated with the Devil. I want to say that I’m glad I’m living in a free country. There has been a time I would have lost my head if I had made the statement that God shows in the Bible that there is just one true church which is a divine institution here on earth. All the rest of the existing institutions had their origin as protesting the dogmas and doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church. She is the mother of all the heretical movements that have taken place and of all the Protestants in the world. There were many things that were introduced in the Council of Trent. I want to read a few things here by looking into history as Dr. B. H. Carroll tells it. “We are unable to find but three things that those three unclean spirits or demons could have devised for that purpose. These three I described to you as the so called ecumenical council of Trent which was in 1563, the dogmatic decrees of the so-called ecumenical Vatican council, and the several papal utterances whose authority rested on the claim of papal infallibility. These are the three things in history which constitute modern Romanism. Nothing else in history can be found to fulfill 16, 13, and 14 about the unclean spirits like frogs. Just as to say the least, they had the right to say what they felt. There was much persecution as a result of this institution known as the Jesuits. They did hold the reformation movement back and interfere in some areas. As I see it today, this is the real war or Armageddon. The reformers were trying to reform the Catholic Church. The reformation was not to reform the true church, but it protested the doctrines and principles of the Catholics; therefore, they are called protestant. The Baptists never did protest. They were separate and apart from that Catholic movement and every reformatory movement against Catholicism. It is portrayed as a literal battle, of course. But it is a spiritual conflict.
Chapter 17:1 “And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sat upon many waters:”
Chapter 17:2 “With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.” Who is this sitting on many waters? In chapter twelve we read the Pagan Roman Empire has persecuted and driven the true church into the wilderness. God had given unto her the wings of a great eagle that she went into her place. She was nourished there a thousand two hundred three-score days. “Days” in this verse are year days. A thousand two hundred threescore years was the period in which the church was in the wilderness. Now we find the counterfeit church in the wilderness. It is switched. Here is where we are coming out. I have been pointing out periodically during the study that the church is still in the wilderness. The reformation of the sixteen century with it’s affect on the Roman Catholic movement and everything they used to counteract the reformation, gave the true church of the Lord Jesus Christ greater opportunities to teach and to preach the gospel of the Son of God.
Chapter 17:3 “So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.” At this time we do not find the true church, the radiant woman in the wilderness, but let’s read it again. “So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.”
Chapter 17:4 “And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:” “Fornication” in this verse is spiritual fornication. Chapter 17:5 “And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” If she is the mother of harlots, she must have children. As said before in our study, all of the Protestants of our day are organized by a man and were pulled out of Rome; therefore, they are called daughters of the harlot. The harlot herself is none other than the Roman Catholic Church. If we didn’t have religious liberty today, they’d have me in jail in just a few minutes. Thank God that we do have a revelation from God as to how God looks upon the true church and how he looks upon the counterfeit. Not only that, but a revelation in his word that the day is coming through some medium that this Roman Catholic movement which started a long time ago, together with her daughters, will no longer be recognized even as she is during this study. I have a history of “The Glories and Triumphs of the Catholic Church” that was printed in 1902, 89 years ago. If you read that, and then look at the Catholic Church today, you’ll see she isn’t what she used to be by far. Much has been given up and backtracked because of the educational position of people in families who affiliate with her. The Roman Catholic Church movement and teachings are not accepted as in the past. To gain back the influence she once had, many doctrines have been given up. As the years go by, it’s going to cease to look as it once looked. There is an ecumenical movement today in action working as a world council. We will wait and see what the outcome is later on. Keep in mind it is the Catholic Church, the counterfeit church in the wilderness, as we read about it here. Let’s now discuss the blasphemy of the Roman Catholic Church. What is meant by the names of blasphemy? Look at the following list of things which are blasphemy. 1. A man assuming to be infallible. 2. A man claiming to be the head of the church when Christ is the head of the church. 3. The prayers and manipulations of the officiating priest actually creating God in changing the bread and the wine to the literal body and the literal blood of Jesus Christ. 4. To worship the wafer as it is carried along in a procession called the procession of the host. 5. To address a woman as the fountain of all grace and the only hope of salvation. 6. The Catholics put emphasis on Mary, the mother of Jesus. She is considered the fountain of all grace leaving out Jesus. They teach you can only get the attention of Jesus Christ through Mary. 7. Jesus Christ, to them, is not the mediator between God and man. Instead it’s Mary. Jesus Christ is not the advocate standing between us and God, but its Mary. Many, many more things could be named regarding the teachings of the Catholic Church which are blasphemy against God. This woman is that person. “And upon her forehead was the name written MYSTERY, BABYLON” It is not referring to the city of Babylon. The real city of Babylon was built on each side of the Euphrates River. The Euphrates River came through the center of Babylon. In the days of Cirrus, the King of Persia, and their invasion of Babylon, they dug canals around Babylon on either side and diverted the waters of the Euphrates River around the city. The Persians used the bed of the river to move in and capture Babylon. This is the reason it’s used as a type or symbol in the Revelation Letter as the drying up of the River Euphrates and making ready for the kings of the east. We need to look at the spiritual interpretation and learn that through the reformation, this Mystery Babylon, the antitype of the true City of Babylon, is now in the wilderness and in captivity.
Chapter 17:6 “And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.” Here she is, drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. The translator sure did miss the point when he translated it to “admiration. The word should be consternation, not admiration. John was the one doing the speaking. He said, when I saw this I wondered with great consternation, not admiration. How could he admire what he had just seen? I want you to get another look at that woman, that city or that counterfeit church. I read an article in the history “The Glories and Triumphs of the Catholic Church.” They were trying to make excuses for the martyrdom of saints, and this is the excuse they made. It said this never came from the head of the church, but it was from those in the outskirts and could not be blamed upon the church. However, when it comes to authority, they’ll cling to the pope of Rome and what he says, but anything done on the outside is without authority. This is their excuse. I don’t blame them; I’d try to get out of it too, even in print or any other way, because it is a tragedy that has never been equaled in the world. Many millions were killed by the Catholics, together with Rome and paganism, because they believed in God and kept the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ. “Foxes Book of Martyrs” said fifty million. That is a lot of people, isn’t it? Chapter 17:7 “And the angel said unto me, wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carried her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.”
Chapter 17:8 “The beast that you saw was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.” Even though this verse sounds like contradictory language, it just takes harmony to understand it. To get that harmony, go to the language of Daniel to the great image which stood up in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. It was a huge image representing four nations. The first one was the Babylonian nation, the second the Medes and Persians, the third the Greeks, and the fourth pagan Rome. There were two kingdoms before the time of John and Nebuchadnezzar. They were Egypt and Assyria. These make six nations. “The beast that thou sawest was…” This was the pagan empire. It was, but at the time John wrote it, it was not.
Chapter 17:9 “And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sat.” The seven mountains are seven governments or kingdoms that were supporting this Catholic movement.
Chapter 17:10 “And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.” This makes six. Chapter 17:11 “And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and get into perdition.” What was the seventh? It was the Roman Empire. Counting from Egypt, Assyria, and on down to the Roman Empire, we have this seven. Then he said, “… even he is the eighth, and is of the seven…” So he is not a nation within himself, but he is affiliated with the seven. What is the seventh? The Roman Empire changed from the pagan empire to Holy Roman Empire. He that is of the seven but yet is counted as the eighth is the pope. He is not a nation, but is of the seven and get into perdition. Now this tells he that is of the seven get into perdition which is hell. It was said of Judas that he was a son of perdition. In other words, a child of hell. This verse gives us the final windup of this fellow.
Chapter 17:12 “And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.” This had not happened when John wrote Revelation.
I’m unable to identify those ten kings. From what I have studied and learned from others, I believe the number ten is to be taken figuratively because there have been more than ten kings who have ruled under the authority of the beast. This says they receive one hour with the beast. One hour with the beast meant a short time. There are some things or symbols where we are more or less left without any answer. Some of it is pointed out very clearly. But as long as we are on the right course in the purpose and object of this book, we have gained by its study.
Chapter 17:13 “These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.” Their power and strength was given to the government.
Chapter 17:14 “These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.” We have had some dark pictures, haven’t we? We’ve had some gloomy days and gloomy years in the past in this book of Revelation. Now, though, the spiritual war of Christ and his Church is winning over the heretical and counterfeit of the ages. Those that are with him are called “chosen and faithful.” Who are the “chosen and faithful?” We learned by the scriptures that God calls people from sin to salvation by the gospel. The pure, unadulterated gospel of the Son of God as it has been preached by the church through its ordained preachers is going to finally win out. People get terribly downhearted sometimes, and I’ve been there myself. So this fourteenth verse must have been good news to John since he had seen so much. All his brothers, the apostles, had been martyred. John had even been put in a caldron of oil, but God let him live miraculously to write Revelation while in exile on the Isle of Patmos. Why was he exiled? He was exiled for preaching the gospel of the Son of God. In the early history of our country the Presbyterian Church was the state church. It was a governmentally operated church of the Thirteen Colonies. This church was supported by the taxation of the population of this country. Some people say, “Oh I’m a Presbyterian, and there’s not much difference between us.” I’ll tell you the difference. They are just as counterfeit as the Church of Rome, because they are a daughter of it. Calvin was a persecutor. If he was living today, and we didn’t have the Constitution of our country with its guarantees, he’d be one in the number to kill every one of us. So the Presbyterian Church which was a state church of this country was supported by the rest of the people, including the Baptist. They had to pay taxes from which the Presbyterians were supported. Those taxes went to pay the Presbyterian preacher. This is in history. This did not just happen one time, but the land Baptist families had cleared with their homes and gardens were taken from them and sold to support the same church which was the Presbyterian Church. They will be numbered as daughters of Rome, and we need to remember it. It nauseates the Lord for his children to be in fellowship with everything that comes along. I also get nauseated when I see those who I thought were strong in the faith and stood for the truth of the Son of God to venture off and be comrades and in fellowship with those who were against us in the past. Those people would have rid the earth of us had it not been for the liberty by our government and the God of heaven watching over his church.
Chapter 17:15 “And he saith unto me, the waters which thou sawest, where the whore sat, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.” We studied in another chapter that the waters represented nations of people, and that is a symbolic reference.
Chapter 17:16 “And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.” In other words, they are going to turn against her.
Chapter 17:17 “For God hath put in their hearts to fulfill his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.”
Chapter 17:18 “And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigned over the kings of the earth.” Who was it in John’s time? That’s all you need to know. In 96 A.D. who was it that reigned over the entire world? It was Rome. She had the whole world under her sway. No nation dared for three hundred years to make war with Rome.
Study of The Book of Revelation
W. T. Russel (Tape #10)
Before going into the eighteenth chapter, I would like to review the seventeenth chapter. Remember in chapter 17:3 the scene has changed. In Revelation 12:14 the woman was given the wings of a great eagle. (The eagle represents the cherubim or agency of God. It is the agency used by God in effecting his purpose on earth and in heaven. Read again about this agency in chapter 4:6-8. They are the four beasts (living creatures) who, I believe, carried Elijah and Enoch to heaven. The angels who carried Lazarus to heaven mentioned in Luke 16:22, I also believe, are that agency.) The woman fled into the wilderness where she was nourished for a time, times and half a time. (Time=one day times=two days and one half a time=one half a day. The total of this is three and one half days and translated into year days totals 1,260 years. Daniel says, and we also have a thousand two hundred and three score days which being year days would be 1260 years.) I do not know anyone of any reputation in writing who has taken the 1260 days literally. It is interpreted as year days. In approximately the year 250, the woman or the true church of the Lord went into seclusion. We use that word seclusion because that’s what the wilderness means. In about 1510, 1512, and 1513 or along there, we find her coming out of that seclusion. It happened about the time when the reformation fires spread throughout the world starting with Germany by Martin Luther. The main subject of our study in this book has been the conflict between good and evil represented by the true church of our Lord as the good and the counterfeit church as the evil. It has to do with the struggles that the church has had down through the centuries. There may be some things in this prophecy, this symbolic imagery which in part can be recognized in some things existing today for I recognize the fact in certain parts of the world there are state and church united. We all would have to recognize that as the Church of England for instance. Of course it is not a state church here, but it is the Episcopalian Church in this country. Bear in mind that the persecutions existing when John wrote the Book of Revelation have passed away. The civil powers no longer have the liberty through any church group to persecute as they did in the dark ages. I want it understood that the Dark Ages have already passed. The true church is out of the wilderness, and now in the seventeenth chapter the counterfeit church is in the wilderness. The Devil can’t use her to deceive the nations anymore. The counterfeit church has gone into seclusion but is still in existence. We can harmonize this with the twentieth chapter when we get to it. The counterfeit church is the woman sitting upon the scarlet colored beast full of names of blasphemy. The scarlet beast has seven heads and ten horns which represent authority and power. She is arrayed in purple and scarlet color and decked with gold and precious stones and a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication. And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. John said I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints. There is no interpretation for this to be found in any century of this age except that Roman persecution which came about through the political and civil Holy Roman Empire and pagan Roman Empire as well. The pagan preceded the Holy Roman Empire and, of course, later, the pope became the head. As we studied in the last chapter, he was the eighth but he wasn’t a nation. He was just of the seventh which was the Holy Roman Empire
Chapter 18:1 “And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.” Continue to keep in mind that John is seeing these things in a vision. God is showing things to him in a symbolic way.
Chapter 18:2 “And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.” Now, what do we have here in this eighteenth chapter? It has become the cage of every unclean and hateful bird–not the true bird, not the heritage of God. But it is the heritage of the Devil and it is witnessed in pictorial language. See Jeremiah 12:9 “Mine heritage is unto me as a speckled bird, the birds round about are against her;” This is the true church and God’s heritage. Below he is referring to other birds. (Organizations) “…and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.” In Isaiah 13:19 19 And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ Excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. Also in Isaiah 21:9 “And, behold, here cometh a chariot of men, with a couple of horsemen. And he answered and said, Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground.” Listen to Jeremiah 51:8 “Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: howl for her; take balm for her pain, if so be she may be healed.” These scriptures say almost exactly the same thing regarding the real city of Babylon in their prophecy. In Jeremiah 51:8 the prophets were talking about the city of Babylon that actually existed and was built on both sides of the Euphrates River. The Euphrates River was the means of transportation by boat to bring merchandise into the city of Babylon.
Chapter 18:3 “For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.” In this verse it is speaking of spiritual fornication. I want also to say this about the third verse. You only have to visit the Vatican and to go through that great building to realize exactly how much wealth is stored away by the Catholics. You can’t even imagine it without seeing it. There you’ll see many great monuments overlaid with gold which have been presented to them from different nations. Locked in the archives of the Vatican, there are some of the most valuable books in the world today. Some of the oldest manuscripts of the scriptures are in the hands of the Vatican in Rome. There is no way to estimate the value of their delicacies in their little kingdom. They do have a kingdom for they count themselves a nation just as the United States. The pope is the head of that nation. They demand that the ambassadors of other nations recognize him as head of a nation. If he had the power, he’d exercise the same power today as in the past. He’d make all nations bow down to him as not only the ecclesiastical head of the church but as the king of the world. Chapter 18:4 “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”
There are Christian people in the Catholic Church, people that have been saved in spite of false practice. There was a young man who was Catholic that came to Fairview Memorial where I was a pastor. He married a member of that church, and they had twin girls. For a long time there was an argument about where the children would go to church. Finally, the husband agreed to alternate taking the girls one Sunday to the Catholic Church with him and the next Sunday to Fairview Memorial Baptist Church with their mother. The mother of the girls spoke to me about it, and I told her she was going to have the most confused girls in the world. However, I told her to go along with it because it wouldn’t last. It only lasted about 6 weeks. He stopped taking one of them to his church, and he too stopped going. His wife then started bringing them both to Fairview Memorial since he had stopped going to the Catholic Church. However, when she and the girls started to church each Sunday, he would complain because he didn’t want her to take them with her. She said, if I’m going to church, I’m taking them. She continued to carry them to church with her. One particular Sunday morning after having their usual argument, she made up her mind on the way to church to leave the twins with her mother. She would go back home and settle it once and for all. As she walked into the door of their home, her husband wanted to know where the daughters were. After telling her husband where they were, he started. “What would you say if I took those girls and had them confirmed in the Catholic Church?” She said, “I hope I’m dead before that happens.” Well, that cut him to the heart, and he went in the bathroom while she was out in the living room crying. She said he stayed and stayed. “I didn’t know what he was going to say or do when he came out. All I could do was just sit there and pray.” He came out in a little while and said, “Martha, I’m not going to open my mouth again about you taking the girls to your church. That’s the only church they know. Your pastor comes out here and visits us, and they love him. My pastor or my priest doesn’t even come around. You can take them on.” Early one morning after Christmas I got a telephone call from one of those twins. She said, “Brother Russell, the Lord saved me last night.” I said, “Where?” She said, “Right down beside of my bed.” I said, “I’ll be out there to see you.” I got in my car and went out. Of course, we had a good meeting out there. She said, “I got sick, and it was all down here. I didn’t want anything to eat, and I was afraid to go to bed at night, and I couldn’t sleep. And Christmas night, I lay there, and I lay there and tossed and rolled. Finally I just got up and got down on the floor, and asked God to save me. And he did, he did.” I baptized that little girl. Everyone had hugged and shook hands with the child. Then after making such a fuss about their coming to church, I saw her daddy walk down the isle, take her in his arms, hugging her and crying for the longest time. I said, old boy you are not a Catholic. You may be identified with the Catholic Church, but no Catholic could do that. Something had gotten hold of him. I long to see the day when he will come out. I hope it will be soon. I believe he will. His mother who raised him has already joined the Baptist Church. She was saved at a prayer meeting among her neighbors. Her sister also wanted her priest to marry her to a Baptist, and he said no. She said she wouldn’t go back there again. They were married in a Baptist Church, and kept going to an old time Baptist Church with him out in the country from Lexington, Kentucky. She was saved out there, joined the church with her husband. The daddy of the twins was told about it. He was almost ready because he had taken all he could handle. Pray for that man that he could have a Christian home, and a Baptist family. Also in looking again at verse four, we only have to go back to an experience in Sodom. We read about where three men came to Abraham’s tent door. One of those men called Abraham aside and talked to him about Sodom as her sins had come up before God. They had come to see how bad it was for God was going to destroy that city. The sins of Sodom and Gomorrah were the cause of her utter destruction. Abraham pleaded, and that person called an angel who stayed behind to talk with Abraham never did enter Sodom. I believe it was none other than Jesus Christ himself. Abraham and he talked, and Abraham bargained with him as we might call it. If fifty righteous should be found in the city, would he destroy it? Abraham finally came right on down to ten. God said if even ten could be found he wouldn’t destroy the city. That is the same principle here. The sins of this mystery Babylon, this Catholic counterfeit religion which has been spread all over the world are the very thing we are talking about. The plagues and the wrath of God are being poured out upon her because of her sins.
Chapter 18:5 “For her sins have reached unto heaven and God hath remembered her iniquities.” Notice this woman riding that scarlet colored beast is the church supported by Rome, being the Holy Roman Empire.
Chapter 18:6 “Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double.”
Chapter 18:7 “How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.” In other words, the queen is beyond judgment. I’m not to be judged for I’m above judgment. I’m sitting without the scrutiny of any people or any nation. I’m above all that and am no widow and shall see no sorrow.
Chapter 18:8 “Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judged her.” Now this is the pouring out of God’s judgment upon this counterfeit church. She’s in the wilderness because of the fact that God has had servants who preached the truth. Now we are going right back where we started in the first part of the book in the opening of the seals, it was the gospel and the effects of the gospel as it was preached. The sounding of the trumpets was the answer to prayers of God’s people. These plagues to be poured upon the wicked being told about in this verse are the beginning of the answer to the prayers of God’s people especially the martyrs. In the sixth chapter we read about the martyrs crying unto God as they were seen under the altar of God in 6:10 “And they cried with a loud voice, saying, how long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” 6:11 “And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.” Also victory is being won over the heresies of the Catholic Church all through the centuries. These plagues are the judgments that are called down upon those false leaders and teachers of that time.
Chapter 18:9 “And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning,” The word “fornication” means spiritual fornication. This is figurative language. It is destructive, and I wouldn’t say that they will literally be burned. It is just a symbol of utter destruction.
Chapter 18:10 “Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour is thy judgment come.”
Chapter 18:11 “And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyout their merchandise any more:” Some wonder why we interpret Mystery Babylon to mean the civil and ecclesial Rome or the Holy Roman Catholic Church. The reason is simple. She answers to the spotted beast, and the pope to the little horn. Not only so, but she is that woman riding on the scarlet colored beast, and the scarlet colored beast is Rome.
Chapter 18:12 “The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble,”
Chapter 18:13 “And cinnamon, and odors, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.” In those two or three verses there, we find just about everything of commercial value. The main thing, however, is they have made slaves out of men, and not only that, but they have become robbers of their souls. It is a crime to be involved in the trade of slaves– the selling and buying of human beings to toil, be whipped like a beast, and be used like any other instrument of service. God made of one flesh all mankind to dwell on earth. It is worse, however, for a person to be a mental slave because his mind is absolutely enslaved by error and heresy. He lives his life as a slave in mind and in the end loses his soul. This is the charge against this counterfeit church in the judgments that are sent against her.
Chapter 18:14 “And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all.”
Chapter 18:15 “The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing,”
Chapter 18:16 “And saying, Alas, alas that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!” This just shows you the aftermath. It shows you what the effect is going to be in the world when this thing has taken place.
Chapter 18:17 “For in one hour so great riches is come to naught. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off,”
Chapter 18:18 “And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying what city is like unto this great city!”
Chapter 18:19 “And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! For in one hour is she made desolate?”
Chapter 18:20 “Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.” I want you to get that now. The apostles are called upon by John to rejoice over her ye holy apostles and prophets. Now we don’t have any apostles today. They passed away during the first century or shortly after in the next century to say the least. What does it mean? The answer has come to their prayers back when they gave their lives for their faith rather than submit to the demands of the Catholic doctrines and teachings. You and I have the liberty enjoying this truth that has been paid for with the blood of many of the saints of God.
Chapter 18:21 “And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.”
Chapter 18:22 “And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee;”
Chapter 18:23 “And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.” Now I want you to hold that. I want you to hold that verse of scripture in mind till we get to the twentieth chapter. For by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.
Chapter 18:24 “And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.” Did you know that Jesus made the statement while he was in the world that the blood of the prophets from righteous Able on down would be required of this generation. This Catholic movement that had its beginning about 250 A. D. usurped and took upon themselves the very character of all those that persecuted the prophets down through other ages. God is finally going to pour out his wrath upon this sin-cursed world, and included in that number is this group of people that have been an enemy of the church of Jesus Christ ever since 250 A. D. Actually it did start before that time. Now don’t forget by their sorceries were all nations deceived. “And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.” Isn’t that a horrible thing? Now this is the truth. This is by divine inspiration, by God’s Spirit leading John to reveal to everyone in the world the identity of this woman charged with these things. The plagues will be poured out upon her in this age in which you and I now live.
Chapter 19:1 “And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honor, and power, unto the Lord our God:” Let’s see if it has been done. Now, we are going to look into the heaven scene. We just read about what’s taken place on earth. God’s judgments against the great whore, the woman in scarlet, and the woman that was bedecked with pearls, and precious jewels, etc. of the earth.
Chapter 19:2 “For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.” This says judgments, not judgment as in the Day of Judgment. Each time you read about judgment and judgments in the Bible it doesn’t mean the day of judgment of the entire world. God sends judgment upon nations and upon individuals today as he has in other days of the world. I want to point out a sacred truth. I hope we will never forget it. While Jesus was on earth during his personal ministry, called out a prepared people. He had sent a man to prepare and make ready those people, and he used that material to set up an institution in the world which is his church. He gave to the church and to that church only, the commission to go into the entire world and preach the gospel of salvation to every creature. Only his church had the authority to immerse the believers in water, to instruct those who had been made disciples, and to that church only the authority to administer and observe his supper, the communion with himself until he comes back on a cloud of glory. Every other institution in the world that is called a church is directly or indirectly affiliated with this counterfeit Church of Rome. To have any affiliation with them in carrying out the commission and ordinances that Jesus left with his church, is nothing more than spiritual adultery, and spiritual fornication. God thinks that much of his church. And may I say God expects that much of his church. He expects his people, his church to be so instructed that they will not affiliate with those so-called churches set up by man. We have some weak-kneed Baptists that say, “Ah, we are all going to the same place. We are headed in the same direction. We all are going to wind up in heaven one day after a while.” I do not dispute it if you have been saved by God’s grace. Yet Jesus has a bride that’s going to be presented to him in that day, and he will be married to her. The rest, my friend, will not even be recognized and is not recognized today as a church. To have any association with them in the way of ordinances is no different than when the Christians in the days of the apostles wanted to partake of the meat that was offered to idols. Jesus told John to write the church that had the woman Jezebel. B. H Carroll said it might have been the pastor’s wife. Of course he didn’t know. The woman Jezebel was teaching the members of the Lord’s Church to be friendly and partake of meats sacrificed to idols and affiliate with them in their services while inviting them to do the same with the members of the Lord’s church. God wants us to be friendly and hospitable, but there is a place where we must draw the line. God is going to visit those who have tried to imitate what he has done, and tried to deceive the world by that imitation. This counterfeit church is nothing but an imitation of the one Jesus set up. It has been the source of all spiritual adultery and fornication that has taken place in this world aside and apart from idolatry. That is a broad statement, but I’m willing to face the judgment and leave it just like that.
Chapter 19:3 “And again they said, Alleluia and her smoke rose up for ever and ever.” Chapter 19:4 “And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia.” Here’s another scene in heaven. The four and twenty elders represent the perpetual priesthood of God in the earth and in heaven. These beasts are the four living creatures that we read about in the early part of this book which is the cherubim in chapter four. We spoke about that song which the colored people sang so much, “Swing low sweet chariot coming for to carry me home.” That is nothing but the cherubim. The glorious communication or transportation that was used when poor Lazarus died at the rich man’s gate. He was carried by angels, that chariot, or the cherubim who came down from heaven and took Lazarus home to God and to glory. The cherubim fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia. What were they rejoicing about? They were rejoicing that the enemy of all righteousness had been put down.
Chapter 19:5 “And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.”
Chapter 19:6 “And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thundering, saying, alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reined.” This voice of a great multitude is the voice of many peoples, nations of people. “…and as the voice of mighty thundering…” represents the powers of God. “…saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigned.” Not going to reign, but is reigning, and is recognized in this chapter. Glory is given unto the God of heaven because of the fact the Lord God omnipotent reigned. I’m glad that he has reigned and will continue to do so until the end of the world.
Chapter 19:7 “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come and his wife hath made herself ready.” It doesn’t say the Lord made her ready or God made her ready. I’ll tell you that God does make people ready for heaven. He supplies them when they believe in the Son of the living God, and their names are enrolled in the Lamb’s book of life in glory. All the demons in hell and in the earth can’t keep them out of heaven once redeemed by the precious blood of the Son of God. Yet the people who will be identified as the bride of the Son of God will be those who made themselves meet the standards God demanded. I’m not afraid to leave that statement in the study too for its left as the free agency of man to go his way. Many saved people have gone into error and heresy. Their works at the end will be totally burned up because they did not run the race according to the rules that were laid down. Paul talked about the ones in Corinthians who have run the race according to the rules God has laid down. See 2 Timothy 2:5. In 2 Corinthians 11:2 Paul said I am jealous over you with a Godly jealously. I wouldn’t give a snap of my finger tonight for a pastor that isn’t jealous over his flock in a godly way. I don’t mean a natural way. That’s evil for a person to be jealous of somebody else. I think sometimes some preachers get a little jealous and afraid somebody is going to get their warm place. That’s not the jealousy I’m talking about. It is the jealousy of a Godly nature in the heart of the under Shepard guiding the flock according to the perfect rule of God. The perfect word of God is the Bible. All the miracles, faith healings, speaking in tongues, and all other things practiced during apostolic times passed away when that which is perfect came. He left us a perfect rule of faith and practice, and that is the word of God. Those who have lived by that word, and according to that rule have been followers of Jesus Christ as he went down to the River Jordan and was baptized at the hands of a Baptist preacher. There are some people who say,” If you’re buried in water you’re baptized.” Yes, you are buried. This is to be called but it’s not scriptural baptism. A man may have a host of disciples, and in one sense a disciple is a follower. But in scriptural sense, it’s not only a follower. In a scriptural sense, a disciple is one that has left all, has forsaken father and mother, wife and children, houses and land, and even his own life which just simply means taking up his cross and following Christ. They are the true disciples of the Lord. See Luke 14:26. You can remember these statements long after I’m dead and gone. There is only one way to be a true follower of Jesus Christ. That way is to be saved by the grace of God, know in your heart that you are redeemed and born again, and be baptized by a Baptist preacher by the authority of a Baptist Church. That person then is in the right condition to be taught the principles of doctrine which Jesus lay out in order to be truly in the bride of the Son of God. Paul said I’m jealous over you with a Godly jealousy for I have espoused you or engaged you to one husband that I may present you a chaste virgin unto Christ. See 2 Corinthians 7:2. Some say that Christ is already married to his bride. Well, how could Paul say that to the Corinthians if Christ were already married? The statement by Paul to the Corinthians is enough to knock that in the head forever. Paul was looking forward to the time when he’d make a presentation of that church to the Lord Jesus Christ as his bride and be married to her. That will come to pass after while.
Chapter 19:8 “And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” “And to her”–This is the one that has made herself ready. “And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness” The revised version says the righteousness or acts of righteousness of the saints.
Chapter 19:9 “And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, these are the true sayings of God.” The word “called” comes from a Greek word “kaleomai” and it just simply means invited. Now I never heard of a bride being invited to her wedding, did you? It’s her wedding, and the guests will be those invited by the bride. Who are the invited? As said before, all the demons in hell can’t keep a born again child of God out of heaven. I have more confidence in a lot of people’s salvation than they do. However, I’ve never known a person yet to admit he believed he could lose his own salvation. Have you? But I have met a few who were afraid the other fellow would lose his. The invited to the wedding will be all of the saints from Adam that are not members of the bride if he was saved, and I think he was since someone had to tell Abel about it. They will be the guests at the wedding. That’s the reason why I interpret the words of Paul’s writing to the Ephesians when he said, “Unto God, Be glory in the church.” In other words, the church is the fullness of Christ, and of the very purpose God had in eternity is fulfilled in Christ through the church. Let me finish that which Paul said, “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all age’s world without end.” Even if a person takes the position there’s going to be a millennial age after this age, that would be singular, wouldn’t it? But this says throughout all ages. So you’d have to say more than one. What ages was he having reference to? All the ages from here back. For we read in the eleventh chapter of the Hebrews that the old patriarchs of the long ago in another age looked for a city which had foundations whose builder and maker is God. What were they looking for? They were looking for the church made known unto them by inspiration and through prophecy. They died in faith seeing the promises afar off. They didn’t attain those promises, but they confessed we are just pilgrims here on the earth. And all that say such things Paul said, declare plainly that they seek a country, another country, another city. See Hebrews 11:14. All the saved of all ages will be there, and I believe with all my heart that God will get glory by Christ Jesus through the church in that day from all the saved that have lived in all of the ages gone by. If not, someone tell me what Paul meant “in all ages.” “And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” My only objective and purpose is to try to impart what I believe to be the truth of the word of God. And as I write, I feel my weakness and the weight of the responsibility. I will assure you that what is presented as it has been in the lessons previous to this; it will be the truth as I see it. And I’m not trying to hold up any pet theory. I’m not trying to get the scriptures to agree with me, but I’m trying my best to agree and harmonize the scriptures. That’s the only way we can arrive at the truth.
Chapter 19:11 “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.” This is John now still viewing these things in a vision. To me it’s like it happened to the Apostle Peter on the housetop. He fell into a trance, and he had a vision. John had many visions on the Isle of Patmos, and he recorded them for our learning. He recorded that for not only the people who lived in his day, but also for us in our day. We can’t afford to be wrong about it because we will be misled if we are. I wouldn’t want to teach something that would cause people to look forward to a happening that would never take place. However, there are many people who have advanced ideas, and many people have accepted those ideas. They are looking forward to something that they will never see. That’s a vain thing, because it’s based upon an unharmonized use of the scriptures. In the beginning of the nineteenth chapter, we read what John had to say about the rejoicing in heaven. The rejoicing was because they could see the victory over the beast and over the false prophet and the counterfeit church. Beginning with the eleventh verse, the Lord is revealing through John that heaven’s and earth’s forces were united. We don’t have to go back very far in this book to find an earth scene of churches with their toils, persecutions and hardships. The next chapter you’d see heaven open and the agencies of heaven cooperating and working together with the churches on earth. It’s been that way since the church came into existence. It will be until it comes to the end because Jesus said the Spirit would abide with her forever. See John 14:16-17. So we can be sure that it is not going to fail. The white horse in John’s day was the method in which they went about war called a Calvary. The one who sat upon this white horse in John’s vision was called “Faithful and True and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.” The judgment he’s talking about is righteous judgment which is brought against the evil and heretical forces of the world and not about the final judgment. I wouldn’t want to confine that exclusively to the Roman Empire or the Roman Catholic hierarchy. But in every case wherever it might be that there has been persecution by civil powers in Rome or any where else; this is having reference to that.
Chapter 19:12 “His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.” The other time we saw this man on a white horse, it was Jesus Christ. It can’t be anyone else. He had a crown given unto him. That was a crown of victory. He has on his head many crowns which are crowns of many peoples or nations. They are his because he has been given the opportunity through his servants to reach the nations of the earth. In the Dark Ages the church was not able to carry out the commission while she was in the wilderness. Their work was done secretly to stay away from the enforcement of the law of the Holy Roman Empire. “And he had a name written, that no man knew, but him himself.” Well, if no one knew it but he himself, there’s no point in speculating on it.
Chapter 19:13 “And he was clothed with vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.” This image is used symbolically to show us the journey of the church and Christians from beginning to end is a spiritual warfare. Let’s not forget the book of Revelation is a book of symbols. It’s God’s picture book not to be interpreted literally. You’ll get lost before you get started if you try. Verse thirteen is representative of a war of course, but the war is not against flesh and blood. Paul said it is against principalities and powers and spiritual wickedness in high places. He also said the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but are mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds. “…and his name is called The Word of God.” This should settle with everyone as to who is on the white horse. It is The Word of God which is Jesus Christ, because The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.
Chapter 19:14 “And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.” It means purity.
Chapter 19:15 “And out of his mouth get a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treaded the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.” It’s not hard for us to understand the preaching of the gospel and the use of the word of God as the sword of the spirit as warfare against the Devil. I’d like to call your attention to this scripture in Isaiah. God said “My word shall not return unto to me void. It shall accomplish that I please and prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” Now listen to this: “It may prove a savor of life unto life or death unto death.” So when the weapon of the word of God is used, and it’s referred to as a sword, but it is the sword of the Spirit. When it is used, it’s been the case many times that it’s a savor of death. To others it has been a savor of life. Some heard, met the conditions of the gospel and have been saved. Others have heard, turned a deaf ear, and went their own way. To those, it proved to be a savor of death unto death. Now then, “And out of his mouth get a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treaded the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.” Now this doesn’t mean the man on the white horse will reign over all the nations of the earth, but it does mean that people of every nation would hear the gospel. I believe there are people in heaven of every race or nationality. There are nations today that have had the gospel and true old fashioned churches just as we do, but persecution drove them out of their countries. Their descendants for generations have been without the truth and the gospel.
Chapter 19:16 “And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” This gives you and me the understanding when the world comes to an end and the nations of the earth fall, that the one spectacular king will be Jesus Christ, and him only, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. Then shall come to pass Isaiah 45:23 and Romans 14:11-12.
Chapter 19:17 “And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;” Some writers want to take this a literal battle fought with guns, swords and ammunition, etc. I would like for them to just literalize for me the angel standing in the sun, and also the cry that was made by that angel.
Chapter 19:18 “That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.” I’d like for them to literalize that for me. How would he get the fowls of the air to hear and understand any language he might utter to eat of the flesh of men, horses, etc. as it says in verse eighteen?
Chapter 19:19 “And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.” To give you a review this is still dealing with the battle of Armageddon and the opening up of the way whereby the truth was to be published to the entire world, just read this nineteenth verse. “And I saw the beast,” (for he’s still there) “and the kings of the earth, and their armies gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.” So the Holy Roman Empire which was the follow-up of Pagan Rome and the pope which is the eighth but is of the seventh kingdom is still right there. And he said I saw that beast in that vision, and his army was gathered together against the one that sat on the horse and against his army.
Chapter 19:20 “And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.” Now listen, here’s where the climax comes. “And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire” Not the lake of fire, but a lake of fire. Now that has significance. We see as a result of this battle which was engaged in by earthly soldiers of the cross of Jesus Christ in cooperation with heavenly forces. Paul said we are laborers together with God. In the beginning of our study we found the cherubim around the throne of God in heaven. There were four faces to these cherubim which were angels, and it gives the character of God Almighty and the means by which he exercises his will and carries out his purpose in connection with earth forces that he has instituted and set up for that purpose. I think the Lord’s purpose is going to be carried out through the church, and there won’t be one thing left undone. A lot of people get disgusted, discouraged and think it’s just about all over. It won’t be over until all of God’s purposes are fulfilled. I’m not teaching that every man that God has placed in position to carry out a part of his will do it. Every last one of us will fail in some points. The glorious thing about that is we are not the only ones God has to carry out his purpose. I may fail to do that which God had for me to do, but he’s going to get it done. He’ll just give it to someone else. The other person who carries out the purpose of God will win the reward for his labor, and the one that fails will lose it. That’s just about as simple as I can make it. The beast and the false prophet were cast alive into a lake of fire, but they didn’t die. They didn’t die and go to a lake of fire, but they were cast alive in their human body, if you want to look at it from that angle. In words, they were just pitched in to a lake of burning sulpher that is brimstone. Now there is the judgment sent upon the beast and the false prophet.
Chapter 19:21 “And the remnant was slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.” This is still literal warfare in symbol. But it represents the consummation and bringing to an end of the false church and the false prophet. They are taken out of the scene of action never to rise again.
Study of The Book of Revelation
W. T. Russel (Tape #11)
Chapter 20:1 “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.” We are still in types, shadows, symbols, and pictures. This scene is presented in a manner we can understand naturally. Let’s look at the spiritual side of it though to get the right meaning. I believe the angel who came down from heaven was Jesus, the angel of the covenant, for he said in the beginning of Revelation that he has the key of hell and of death. So Jesus Christ is the angel of the covenant, and he has the key. That key represents authority and the chain in his hand which is a binding instrument is a means of restraint, a power or force. It doesn’t mean the Devil which is a spirit can be bound with a literal chain. We know this is symbolic. Chapter 20:2 “And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,” This means he was restrained from the former use of the means to deceive the nations. He used all the names of the Devil so there would be no mistake about whom he was talking. This is generally used as a key of the Book of Revelation. This verse is where the thousand year millennium has it’s beginning. Yet how much ground have we covered in order to get to this twentieth chapter? How much has been wrought on earth and in heaven before we got here? The twentieth chapter cannot be the key to the Book of Revelation and make all the rest of it harmonize or agree with it. All the other chapters in Revelation cannot be forgotten. Some people get the idea to bind Satan is to kill him, which is not true. There has never been a soul saved yet except the Devil was bound. I can prove that by the scriptures in Mark 3:27 “No man can enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house.” This is also found in Matthew 12:29 “Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? And then he will spoil his house.” That strong man is the Devil. But when one stronger comes along, he will bind the strong man and take from him his goods and possessions. Thus each time someone is saved, the Devil’s power over that person must be restrained. The restraint of the Devil is exactly what is taught here. The Devil’s power is not completely severed because there are many devils that are evil spirits in the world. Therefore the binding of Satan is simply the restraint placed upon him that he should deceive the nations no more. He used Rome and her civil powers to execute his will through the Roman church in his fight against the true church. He has failed in everything he has done, but he is constantly trying other things. In the Book of Revelation, he’s trying through a counterfeit church to destroy the Lord’s church. It has been a great battle waged down through the centuries in that respect. Someone might like to know if this period of time is a literal one thousand years. I do not believe it is. Also I do not believe the 144,000 Jews, 12,000 out of every tribe of Israel, are literal numbers. These are definite numbers for indefinite numbers–in round figures, definite for an indefinite. If I believed there were exactly 12,000 of every tribe of Jacob saved, I’d have to join the hard-shells in their belief that God fixed it in eternity to save just a certain number. The number 12,000 is a square since 12 times 12 is 144. This is the meaning of the numbers. There is no way to tell, however, how long the thousand years will actually be. In the twelfth chapter persecutions, including the Roman Empire–pagan and papal, drove the early church into the wilderness. Following paganism, the civil government joined with the ecclesiastical force of the Roman Catholic Church preventing the true church from exercising her liberties worldwide. The true church hid in dens and caves in order to carry on her work. The true church stayed in the wilderness for 1260 years. The wilderness does not mean literally dry and barren land. We have not yet studied that the seat and authority of the beast was given to him by the dragon who is the Devil. He was loose to use paganized Rome and ecclesiastical Rome or the Roman Catholics to deceive the nations. The nations were deceived then in the use of civil force to disallow the laity liberty to decide for them what truth was. There is a different deception I want you to think about. The Roman Catholic Church and its papal head backed up by the civil powers of Rome was the force which deceived the nations of the world. All nations were under Roman rule. As long as the Catholic Church was backed by Rome’s civil powers, the Devil was loose with all of his power. As a result of this, the true church was in the wilderness in obscurity but yet carrying on her work. With God’s help and by the help of governments, the church prevailed. The doctrines and principles of the church were preserved for us. However, this work had to be done in private or the wilderness. Satan is bound here, but don’t think he is entirely without help. Even if he were, man is still left with his depraved nature. Yet some believe in the thousand years the nature of the animals will be changed. They don’t say anything about man’s nature changing though. This is an example of their belief: The lion, the fiercest of the wild animals, will be as tame as a housecat. Children, during that time, will be able to lead the lion by the mane without harm to them. If the nature of wild animals will be changed, then why not man? By excluding the nature of man, these people would have to admit their belief is false. Man is a sinner by nature as beasts are wild by nature. Someone might want to know how I arrived at this. See Isaiah 11:6-7 and the tenth chapter of Acts. Have you ever heard anyone preach that the nature of animals will be changed during that thousand year reign? I certainly have, and there is a song that so teaches, “Peace in the Valley.” I want to tell you what it means in a manner everyone can understand. Peter was a very strict Jew, and he looked at Gentile nations as nothing. The Apostle Peter knew in Jewish law only certain animals could be used for meat. They were animals which chewed the cud and had cloven feet. The animal would be unclean if he chewed the cud but did not have cloven feet, etc. Peter did not dare touch an unclean beast. The unclean beast represented the Gentile, and the clean beast represented the Jew. In the tenth chapter of Acts read about Peter’s vision. Acts 10:9 “On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour:” Acts 10:10 “And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance,” Acts 10:11 “And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending upon him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth:” Acts 10:12 “Wherein were all manner of four-footed beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.” Acts 10:13 “And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.” Acts 10:14 “But Peter said, not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.” Acts 10:15 “And the voice spoke unto him again the second time, what God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.” Acts 10:16 “This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.” What lesson did Peter learn? He learned there was no difference between the Jew and the Greek. For the same Lord over all was rich unto all that call upon him. Peter said later that he then understood. He was shown there was no difference between the Jew and Gentile by the means of the clean and unclean beast. After Peter went to the household of Cornelius, a Gentile, it was questioned by those of the circumcision in Jerusalem. Look at these verses from Isaiah to see the clean and unclean beasts mentioned together each time. It is not accidental. Isaiah 11:1 “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:” David was a child of Jesse, and he was of the stem of Jesse. The branch that grew out of his roots was none other than Jesus Christ. Isaiah 11:2 “And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;” Isaiah 11:3 “And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:” Isaiah 11:4 “But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.” This goes back to what we pointed out earlier. Isaiah 11:5 “And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.” Isaiah 11:6 “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.” The wolf, leopard, and young lion all represent the Gentile. The Jews are represented by the lamb, kid, and calf. “…a little child shall lead them.” Has that ever been the case? Even a little child when it is first converted, Jew or Gentile, having something in his heart, the Spirit of God, leads him to lead others. Jesus said in Matthews 11:25: “At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.” Isaiah 11:7 “And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.” Again in this verse the bear and the lion represent the Gentiles and the cow and the ox represent the Jews. What is being taught in these scriptures? It means by the death of Christ he made twain one new man, so making peace between Jew and Gentile bringing them all together in one body (Jesus’ body) by the cross. God put no difference between the Jew and Gentile for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call on him. Some teach however, that because the Jews had the first chance at the gospel and rejected it, Christ postponed setting up his kingdom. They say it will be set up at the beginning of the millennial age. This belief denies the authority of all the churches since Jesus left. Jesus set up his church during his personal ministry. See Luke 16:16 and Daniel 2:44. To tell you the truth premillenarian counts the church just a shadow or a figure of what is to come. But they contend for a literal one thousand years to come. Let us get back to Revelation.
Chapter 20:3 “And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.” In this verse some people stop to believe in the millennial. I do not believe the teachings and interpretations of post-millennialism or the pre-millennialests views. You’d have to call me a millenarian, because I do not believe there is a literal reign of Christ on earth with his saints. If I couldn’t prove that, I’d be afraid to make the statement.
Chapter 20:4 “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them…” I said previously that every pronoun had an antecedent. B. H. Carroll will tell you the antecedent of the pronoun “they” here in the fourth verse can be found in the nineteenth chapter which is going too far back. An antecedent is the noun closest to your pronoun. That’s the rule of English. So the antecedent of the pronoun “they” in the fourth verse is “nations” in the third verse. The purpose of his being restrained was that he should deceive the nations no more. They had been deceived and pushed back by civil authority. So his being restrained ended his deception of the nations. The nations were not under his power any longer. John said I saw thrones, and they (these nations no longer under his power) sat upon them. These thrones represent authority, and the binding of Satan or the restraining of his power gave the nations the liberty and authority to judge or to govern which they did not have before. These nations are now on top until the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. Regardless of how long the thousand years represent, at the end of that time, the Devil will be loosed from the bottomless pit for a little season. To find out how long the “little season” is, go back to the sixth chapter in the ninth verse where John saw the souls of them that were slain for the word of God. 6:11 “And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.” When the fellow servants are killed for the word of God in the thousand year period or the “little season,” then the thousand year period will be fulfilled. It has been a long time, but it is a little season. “…and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus…” There is nothing said about a body in this verse for it’s not a bodily resurrection. If it had been, he would have said he saw the bodies. Who were the souls he saw? It tells in the sixth chapter about those souls in another of John’s visions. He saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the word of God and the testimony which they held, and he saw them under the altar of God. And they cried out and said O Lord how long till thou will judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell upon the earth. White robes were given to everyone of them. And it was said to them that they should wait a little season until their fellow servants should be killed as they were. White robes were being given to those disembodied souls because their bodies were left on earth. The same thing applies here. So we have the principles for which these souls whose bodies stood and defended. He said I saw these souls that were beheaded, and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. This has reference to principles personified which are continued by the Lord’s people. As we said, this is not a bodily resurrection. Anyone who takes the position that it’s a spiritual resurrection or regeneration of being saved, you will have to say the rest of the dead were the unredeemed or the lost. You can’t make one physical and the other spiritual. They both have to be measured on the same scales and by the same rule. I know some people teach the first resurrection is the conversion of the soul or regeneration. If you are going to take that as being regeneration, what about the rest of the dead? The rest of the dead would be wicked people, sinners, and there wouldn’t be anybody saved through that period of time. You can’t take one spiritually and the other literally. This is not a parable. The church for 1260 years appeared as dead, completely obliterated. It appeared there was no one to advocate the cause of Christ. When liberty came their way, history tells us they came up out of the earth like grasshoppers. There’s the first resurrection of those who appeared dead. It’s a public rising to active duty of the true church. The church had been elevated to its former position before the rising of this beast and this false church which was used to hold it back for the period of 1260 years. Who were the rest of the dead? The rest of the dead were those that were very much alive and using their power and influence against the church of Jesus Christ. They kept it in seclusion for 1260 years, but when the Devil was bound and could no longer use the civil government and the powers of the Roman church to persecute the true church, they were dead (inactive) as far as their power and authority were concerned. So the rest of the dead are the ones who lost their power as a result of the binding of Satan. They do not have power anymore to act legally until the thousand year period (whatever time that represents) is over. When that period is over, and the Devil loosed, some government will rise with the same persecuting power. However, it will not be with the Roman Catholics and Rome as before. It will be a different line. It is found in II Thessalonians, second chapter as to how it will be. II Thessalonians
Chapter 2:1 “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,”
Chapter 2:2 “That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.”
Chapter 2:3 “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;” Who is he? Look at the next verse.
Chapter 2:4 “Who opposed and exalted himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sat in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” Someone might say he is Catholic, but I deny it. The Catholics have never denied God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. They may have gone to extremes with Virgin Mary, but they never have denied the Godhead. So it’s not Catholic.
Chapter 2:5 “Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?” It wasn’t the false prophet, because he was cast into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
Chapter 2:6 “And now ye know what withhold that he might be revealed in his time.”
Chapter 2:7 “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.” What is taken out of the way? It is that ecclesiastical Roman power, the Catholic Church cast into the sea like a millstone together with the beast and false prophet to be seen no more forever.
Chapter 2:8 “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:” He’s going to be right here on earth when the Lord returns on a cloud of glory. If words mean anything at all, he’ll be right here at work. Who will he be? He will be that world dictator, the man of sin. I’d just like to say that the nations of this world, including this United States of America, are getting in the condition right now to be taken over by a world ruler. I wouldn’t be surprised if this man of sin is not living now. He may be a child, but I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if he is not alive and waiting his time. This man of sin will be here on earth demanding to be worshipped as God, sitting in the temple of God, and declaring him to be God. Has there ever been anyone who fulfilled this scripture? No. Verse eight says he’ll be here when the Lord comes, and he’ll be destroyed with the brightness of his coming. This is going to take place after the Devil has been loosed that little season. When the Devil is loose and goes up on the breadth of the earth and encompasses the camp of the saints about (the church), fire is going to come down out of heaven and destroy them. It will be the destruction of the same enemy who will be here when Jesus comes.
Chapter 20:5 “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.” The fifth verse said, “But the rest of the dead lived not again,” showing that they had lived. Do you get the point? They lived not again, but they had lived. The rest of the dead lived not again in character until the thousand years were finished.
Chapter 20:6 “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” The second death is the casting of both soul and body in hell at the resurrection. These who had part in the first resurrection could not be hurt of the second death.
Chapter 20:7 “And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,” What’s he going to do when he is loose? Let that thousand years symbolically represent an unspecified amount of time. I’m not speculating because it’s a definite figure for an indefinite. As soon as that period is over, the Devil will again have his power to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth. The Devil was restrained from deceiving the nations for the thousand year period of time as he had done for 1260 years. Notice the beast, which is Rome, and the false prophet, which was the pope, were cast into a lake of fire and brimstone, and are no longer in existence. They are not with him when he starts his last move against the church. Thus after the Devil is unchained, he will use another means.
Chapter 20:8 “And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gogh, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.” Look at how some people interpret this: A thousand years of peace and tranquility on earth. Christ would be sitting on the Throne of David in Jerusalem governing the entire world. All offices of every nation would be filled by a resurrected saint. These people believe during that thousand years the ferocious nature of the wild beast will be tame. Also they believe Satan will have no power to hurt, hinder or harm anyone during that time. If their belief is true, consider this: Our nation has been in existence for over two hundred years. In that two hundred years, look at the increase in population. How many would be here in a thousand years if there were no deaths or disease. Also where is the Devil going to get the uncountable number to deceive the nations after the thousand years? He would not have had any influence whatsoever on the world to gather a great army during that “thousand years of peace and tranquility.” Chapter 20:9 “And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.” The camp of the saints is the church, and the Devil is making his last attempt to destroy the church that Jesus left in the world.
Chapter 20:10 “And the Devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.””…where the beast and the false prophet are…” Since the beast and false profit were already in the lake of fire, the Devil could not use them in his last move against the church.
Chapter 20:11 “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.” This eleventh verse starts with the judgment. It comes after the Devil was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone and he said they shall be tormented day and night forever. “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away;” (And I want you to notice that next clause.) “And there was found no place for them.” I don’t see where folks get their doctrine who says the earth is just going to be seared over like burning off a brooms age field. Peter said in his writing that the earth and all the works that are therein shall be burned up. This said there was no place found for them.
Chapter 20:12 “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” Verse twelve is not a judgment as to whether or not the soul is saved. If you’re not saved on earth, you’ll spend eternity in hell. It sets forth the judgment of the people, the nations of the world. All nations of earth will be gathered before God as the scripture said, and he will judge them out of the things written in the books according to their works. This judgment is after the resurrection of the body. Rewards will be given for good works, and rewards will be lost for works which are displeasing to God. The soul that’s been regenerated, born again, or saved by God’s divine grace has already been before the judgment. It was condemned, but by faith in Jesus Christ who took his place, that soul was acquitted and made free from sin. The soul was made alive unto God and will never appear again before any judgment. Jesus said in John 5:24 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” The word “condemnation” there is simply judgment. Why? Because he is passed from death unto life, and John said in 1 John 3:9 “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remained in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” You might ask if it is possible for a saved person to come to the judgment with only bad works. Well, I’ll just let Paul tell us in I Corinthians,
Chapter 3:11: “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” 3:12: “Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;” 3:13: “Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.” 3:14: “If any man’s work abides which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.” 3:15: “If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” If that doesn’t simplify the judgment, I don’t know where to go to. There’ll be people at the judgment who say they were saved, and I have no right to dispute them. Some will say they can’t believe it because their lives didn’t show it. I’m telling you there are some saved people whose lives have been spent largely for the Devil. They will have no rewards at the judgment, because their works will all be burned up. That’s strange preaching to some people, yet it is what the Bible says, and I believe it. There are those that will tell you there is going to be two resurrections and two judgments. The first resurrection is going to be of the righteous. I’d like you to read this following scripture.
I Thessalonians, Chapter 4:13 “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.” 4:14 “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.” 4:15 “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.” In other words, we’ll not go up before them. 4:16 “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:” 4:17 “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” This simply teaches those in Christ who are living on earth will not precede those in the grave, but they will be raised before the living are changed. Both will be caught up together to meet the Lord in the air. We should all know the wicked will not go up to meet the Lord. There is one verse of scripture I told you in the beginning of this study that what I teach from this stand or any other is what I believe. I’m not trying to cram anything down anybody’s throat, because you are going to have to answer for how you hear, and I’m glad that I don’t have that responsibility resting on me. My responsibility is to tell you. It’s your responsibility to hear it as it is in truth. In the fourteenth chapter of Job, I want you to listen to this eleventh verse: “As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayed and dried up:” “So man” (Now that means all mankind.) “Man lieth down, and rises not: till the heavens are no more,” The premillennialist have a moral right to their opinion, but I don’t think they have a scriptural right. This says that man will not be raised from the dead until the heavens pass away. But they say that the righteous dead will be raised a thousand years before the heavens pass away. Let’s look at this. There was another book opened. Some people will tell you this white throne judgment is the judgment of the wicked. I wonder where they get that. I’m just going to use this simple illustration. According to these people this is the judgment of only the wicked. The righteous had already been judged a thousand years before this judgment whose names were written in the book of life. If this is true, why is the book of life there? Why bring the book of life to the judgment of the wicked at the end of the thousand years if it is only for the wicked. The fact is my brother, this is the general judgment of the righteous and the wicked for this says in the last three verses of this chapter.
Chapter 20:13 “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.” There have been lots of people buried at sea, saved and unsaved. Boys in the navy, out on the briny deep have died and were buried at sea. That was their grave. Hell here is Hades which means the state of the disembodied. It just refers to a state or condition
Chapter 20:14 “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” As far as the wicked are concerned, the hadean state is the bottomless pit. When those in Hades that are dead in sin are delivered up, what happens? Death and hell were cast into the lake of fire, and this is the second death. What is the second death? It is the casting of both soul and body of the wicked into the lake of fire and brimstone. Those whose names were not in the book of life were the only ones cast into the lake of fire. Were there not names found in the book of life? If not, the book had no business there! Selah.
Chapter 20:15 “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Doesn’t that take into consideration both classes? If it doesn’t, I’m just as blind as a bat. If God is not the judge of all (saved and lost) people at that day, how could it say those who were not found written in the book of life were cast into the lake of fire? If this is the judgment of only the wicked, there would be no need to search in the book of life because the righteous were judged a thousand years previous to this judgment. I find no logic in this.
Study of The Book of Revelation
W. T. Russel (Tape #13)
I want to introduce this part of the study with these things. Satan had the civil government and the counterfeit church to back him until the symbolic thousand year period. When Satan was loosed at the end of the thousand year period, we notice he renewed his old trade of deceiving the nations. While he was restrained for the symbolic period of a thousand years, it was that he might not deceive the nations. I believe with all my heart that we are in that symbolic thousand year period now and have been in it for a time. We have liberty to worship God according to the dictates of our heart without any pressure so far in our country being placed upon us in the freedom of worship. I’d like to say the Baptists were the medium through which that liberty was brought about. In fact the first public schools in this country were started by the Baptists. When the Devil is loosed, he will go up on the breadth of the earth and compass the camp of the saints about and the beloved city. That beloved city is the church. Now in his gathering of the nations through a means of deception, we find he will have an innumerable company because it says as the sands of the sea. That will cause you to do some real study if you’ll let that sink in. Compare the ideas and opinions of others regarding a literal reign of Christ here on earth for a thousand years. They say the literal reign will be after the resurrection of the body of the saints. Every office will be filled with the resurrected saints including teaching of the schools, and everything that carries any authority whatsoever will be occupied by a resurrected saint. They can keep their belief for I don’t want it. If that is the truth, would there be anybody saved in that thousand years if we take it literally? Some of them say there would be people saved in that thousand years. Well, will they live through that thousand years and not die? If they did, they’ll live longer than anyone else did in history. Death would prevail without question, and those saved during that time would die and be buried. Wouldn’t that necessitate another resurrection? Absolutely. That’s just some of their cross ups with that belief. The Devil goes out to gather an army from the four quarters of the earth. Since a whole only has four quarters, he will gather an innumerable company from the whole earth. His army will be as the sands of the sea to fight his last battle against the church. We are told that they went upon the breadth of the earth and compassed the camp of the saints about (the beloved city), and fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. This time the Devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet already are. The beast and the false prophet (the pope and Rome) had been cast into a lake of fire and brimstone prior to this, and they cannot be used to fight this last war. They are not even mentioned in the gathering of the army. Look at the harmony of the scriptures in Revelation and in II Thessalonians: 1:6 “Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;” 1:7: “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,” 1:8 “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:” 1:9: “Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;” 1:10 “When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.” 1:11 “Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:” The church as Thessalonica at the time Paul wrote this letter was under heavy persecution. They were troubled on every side. Verse eight is in direct harmony with the destruction of the Devil’s last army that he gathered together. For it said fire and brimstone would be rained from heaven and devour them. These verses in II Thessalonians are having reference to the coming of the Lord. He will be revealed with all of his mighty angels and in flaming fire at the same time. The flaming fire is taking vengeance upon them that know not God and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. I Corinthians, fifteenth chapter in Paul’s writing show harmony. 15:51: “Behold I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,” How quick? 15:52: “In a moment and even in less time than that. He brings it down to “the twinkling of an eye.” Well now, that is pretty quick. “at the last trump:” If that is the last trump, what about the wicked that they claim won’t be raised from the dead until a thousand years later. There are those that teach that. Yet these verses say it will happen at the last trump, that the dead will be raised and the living will be changed in the twinkling of an eye, and it will be at the last trump. “The trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” 15:53: “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” 15:54: “So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.” Look now in I Corinthians 15:22: “For as in Adam all die,” (That means all now, not just the Christian, but in Adam, all die.) “Even so in Christ shall all be made alive?” 15:23: “But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.” 15:24 “Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father;” (This kingdom is the church kingdom with Christ as the head. At the end he’ll deliver up that kingdom even to the Father.) “When he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.” The church is operating today under the authority of Jesus Christ. For in the commission he said “…all power” (“power” meaning authority) “is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” By virtue of that authority Jesus told the church to go into the entire world, teach all nations that is make disciples of all nations. The time is coming when Jesus shall put down all rules, all authority and all power which will be when he shall deliver up the church kingdom to the Father. He’ll then take his place with his bride, the church. And God shall be all in all.
I Corinthians 15:25: “For he must reign,” (Christ must reign.) “till he hath put all enemies under his feet.” 15:26: “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” These are in answer to: “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” “For he hath put all things under his feet.” That is God put all things under the feet of Christ. “But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is accepted, which did put all things under him.” God the Father is the one that is accepted. He didn’t put himself under Christ. But all other things are put under him. Also in I Corinthians 15:28: “And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him that God may be all in all.” This is simple language, isn’t it? It shows there’s going to be a change and a summing up of the situation at the end of the world. Let’s notice Matthew and see if we are not in harmony along that same line. 24:29: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:” Some want to limit the tribulation to seven years while others say it is three and one half years. I want to tell you the tribulation Jesus is talking about has been suffered by the Jewish nation since their rejection of the Son of God. Some writers say God postponed the kingdom because the Jews as a nation rejected Christ when he came. They also believe the kingdom will be set up when Christ comes again. Those who endorse that kind of preaching, make the church null and void as far as the commission is concerned. The Baptist has been the biggest fools in the world if that be true. That’s making a broad statement, but I’m willing to face it at the judgment. My argument is that Jesus set up his church kingdom during his personal ministry on earth. This kingdom would be left to only a certain class of people and it would stand forever. To say the kingdom is postponed until Christ comes in his second advent would make Baptists fools, but I’m glad that isn’t true. The tribulation is the troubles Jews have endured in every country of the world except the United States. The United States is the only country that has sheltered the Jews. Some make the argument that because of the United States has sheltered the Jewish people; there will be special rewards to them when the nations are called together. They say the judgment in the twenty- fifth chapter is not the general judgment but it is the judgment of nations. How can whole nations on the left be turned into hell and all nations on the right enter into life eternal as nations. I’m going to say there will never be a nation where all citizens of that nation are children of God and vice-versa. In Matthew 25:31: “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:” 25:32: “And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a Shepard divided his sheep from the goats:” 25:32: “And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.” 25:33: “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:” These verses in Matthew do not teach those are nations on the left and right, but rather they are individuals. The commission says go into all nations. Gather those out of all nations who will hear the gospel, repent of their sins, and believe on Christ. I believe every nation will be represented at the judgment, because the Bible says this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all nations and then shall the end come. Matthew 24:30: “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven:” (This is the heavens above where the birds fly.) “And then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” Now listen to this in Matthew 24:31: “And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” These are children of God gathered by the angels. Matthew 24:32: “Then learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender and putted forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:” He is just pointing out by seeing the things he spoke of come to pass, you know the end of the world and the coming of Christ draweth nigh. In the thirteenth chapter of Matthew in the parable of the tares and the wheat, he said the field is the world. The good seed are the children of the kingdom, and the tares are the children of the wicked one. The reapers are the angels. The angels are the servants of Christ that will be sent to gather the tares in bundles to be burned, but they would gather up the wheat into his barn. So the angels will be the ministers or the servants of Christ in the reaping of this earth which is set out in the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew. Look again at the twentieth chapter, verse eleven of Revelation. “And I saw a great white throne,” (The throne of the glory of Jesus Christ.) “And him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.” This verse bothers those folks who think the earth is just going to be seared or burned but will remain. Why this says the earth and the heaven fled away, and there was no place found for them. There is more in II Peter 3:10: “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” I’m going to believe those words as Peter placed them, because it’s confirmed with the words of John. If those verses are not convincing enough, then a person cannot be persuaded to believe the earth will be totally burned up.
Chapter 21:1 “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.” Three-fourths of the earth is water and there are no more oceans.
Chapter 21:2 “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”
Chapter 21:3 “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.”
Chapter 21:4 “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” I want to make a comparison here. I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away. Do we believe that? If we do, we have to believe this. For the former things are passed away. If they are passed away, they exist no more. When the Lord comes back in the clouds with all of his mighty angels in flaming fire, this earth will be wrapped in fire. According to the scriptures written by Paul and the Apostle Peter, it will be destroyed. He also said I make a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwelled righteousness. I believe the same God who spoke into existence this earth with everything provided for man in his mortal state, will create a new earth and heaven adaptable to that spiritual state. The former things we have known here will all pass away, and we will know them again no more for ever. Isn’t that a wonderful thought? The greatest thing I can think about is that in the other world Jesus is creating, there will be none of the sufferings of this natural life. There will be no illnesses, heartaches, disappointments or no invalids in that world. All of that will be over. What a wonderful state and condition to inhabit.
Chapter 21:5 “And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.” I had a debate once in Gallatin with E. W. Clevenger on the final security of the saints. He was never able to do anything with it and refused to allow the debate to be published. My leading statement of scripture in the debate was “Behold I make all things new.” God started with these old souls of ours that are lost and away from God. We are aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, strangers from the covenant of promise without God and without hope in the world, but through the regenerating process, they are made new creatures in Christ Jesus. They can’t sin because they are sealed by the spirit of God. The Devil just can’t get to them. To tell you the truth, he just doesn’t know where they are. David said, He that dwelled in the secret place of the Almighty…” That is a place the Devil doesn’t know anything about. So, we have here all things being made new, not only our souls in the new birth, but new creatures in Christ Jesus. Read Ephesians 2:10 and 1 John 2:10. Chapter 21:6 “And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.” When John wrote this, God had made that offer to man. He’s been making the offer through the gospel ever since that day, and his hand will be outstretched until the end of the world when the door of mercy shall be closed. Even today meetings are in progress where the gospel is being preached. People are being told that God’s hand is still stretched out beckoning the unsaved to come home while they have the time and the opportunity. Yet we find in the language of Solomon in Proverbs that the day will come when God will laugh at the calamity of the wicked that have rejected him and turned a deaf ear to his call. See Proverbs 1:24-27. That’s a sad thing to think about, but it’s going to happen.
Chapter 21:7 “He that overcomes shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.” Who is he that overcomes? It’s he that believeth in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And John said, “And this is that which overcomes the world, even our faith.” Jesus told his disciples not to be afraid for I have overcome the world. It is our faith that overcomes, and he that overcomes shall inherit all things. He said, I will be his God and he shall be my son.
Chapter 21:8 “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” That is the casting of both soul and body in hell. I want to give you a quotation from Paul right here; for I’m sure a question has arisen in your mind. You know I read that verse of scripture, I guess hundreds of times before I saw what he was saying. He is saying this: Hebrews 11:6: “But without faith it is impossible to please him…” I want to give you a quotation here from Paul for I am sure a question has arisen in your mind. I read this verse of scripture many times before I was able to understand it. He is saying in Romans 8:8 “So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” The ninth verse says, “But ye are not in the flesh, if so be that the Spirit of Christ dwells in you.” So every child of God has the Spirit dwelling in him, and he is not counted in the flesh but in the Spirit. Those in the eighth verse are unbelievers, in the flesh and without the Spirit.
Chapter 21:9 “And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me saying, Come hither, I’ll shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” He shows him the Holy City, New Jerusalem descending out of heaven from God. Now is the angel showed John anything else, it is not listed. So the New Jerusalem is in truth a symbol, in every particular, the church in her glorified state.
Chapter 21:10 “And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,” John had already seen the city in the second verse of this chapter. He saw it coming down out of heaven prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. God gives him a little closer look. Anyone who believes this is a literal city as many do today, I may disappoint you. To tell you the truth, there’s going to be a lot of people disappointed because they have been taught things which will not be enjoyed or experienced after death or in heaven. People talk about walking on gold paved streets and living in a mansion in that city. I may be branded, and you may shake your heads calling into question what this old unworthy servant of God tells you, but I’m going to believe that John actually saw the bride, the Lamb’s wife in symbolic imagery.
Chapter 21:11 “Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;”
Chapter 21:12 “And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:”
Chapter 21:13 “On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.
Chapter 21:14 “And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”
Chapter 21:15 “And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof.”
Chapter 21:16 “And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.” Let’s look at the description of the city. When looking at the city from a literal standpoint, it would be a 1,500 mile square. The length, breadth, and the height is equal making it a perfect cube which is a symbol of divine perfection. The church is the fullness of him that filleth all in all, and the church is the fullness of God.
Chapter 21:17 “And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel.”
Chapter 21:18 “And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass.”
Chapter 21:19 “And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald;” I’ll have to confess that I do not know what all of these gems and these precious metals signify. I also have not read of anyone else who has tried to explain what they represent.
Chapter 21:20 “The fifth, sardonic; the sixth, Sardis; the seventh, chrysalides; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.”
Chapter 21:21 “And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it was transparent glass.” I say again (even the gold) it cannot be interpreted literally. I had a gold wedding ring my father gave to my mother when they were married. As soon as my fingers were large enough as a young boy, I put on the ring. After wearing it so long, the edges wore as thin and sharp as a knife blade. In fact I’m carrying a scar on my finger now from the ring. I helped my uncle lift a heavy rock, and the ring caught under the rock burying the sharp edges in my finger. The gold had worn as all gold does. We know about all the precious metal of gold and the gems such as pearls and diamonds mentioned in this city. In the eighteenth verse it says the walls are made of jasper. All these things are taken from the earth. The Bible says the former things or the things we know now will pass away. The earth and the works therein will be burned. So that does away with the idea the city will be a literal city made of gold paved streets. I say again this city with all of its beauty and perfection is a symbol of the church of Jesus Christ in her final glory. The grandeur of it is more than the human mind might perceive of or be able to understand. John saw this city descending out of heaven from God, and he said it’s the Lamb’s wife. If you want to take it as a literal city, then a literal city is going to be the Lamb’s wife just as he would marry Nashville, Chattanooga, Chicago, or New York. This is a symbol of the bride of the Son of God in her final glory. We could talk a week and not be able to explain how great it is. There are others who take this same position. Among these who do is D. B. Rhea, one of the leading Baptist preachers of a hundred years ago. The very language of chapter twenty-one proves this city is not a literal city. 21:2: “And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” It says in 21:9: “…Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” 21:10: “And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.” John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem as the bride of Christ. If the only thing he saw was a city, then we will have to admit the city represented the bride of Christ. We will have to stop preaching the bride of Christ will be made up of true churches with real members who lived here on earth. I’m going to accept the latter.
Chapter 21:22 “And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.”
Chapter 21:23 “And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moons, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.”
Chapter 21:24 “And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honor into it.”
Chapter 21:25 “And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.”
Chapter 21:26 “And they shall bring the glory and honor of the nations into it.” Chapter 21:27″And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defiled, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, nor makes a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” I want to call your attention to this. I didn’t say all names written in the Lamb’s book of life would enter the city. It did say they could not enter unless their names were written in the Lamb’s book of life. The twenty-fourth verse says the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it. This should distinguish between those who are really the church and the ones who will walk in the light of it. That makes a difference, doesn’t it? I can walk in the light of a church but not be a member of that church. I could walk in the spiritual light of a body of people that meets at that church and could experience the light that shines forth from this body of people, yet I wouldn’t be a part of it. Each gate was one several pearl, and at the gates there were twelve angels. The names written thereon which were the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel. I wondered for a long time why this symbol was used with respect to the church. There were twelve gates with twelve angels, and names written thereon were the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel. Remember that God selected and married Israel as a civil nation. As the head and founder of the church built on earth, the Son of the living God was born through the Jewish Nation. To that extent, Israel was honored. The opening, or the gate to the city, was made possible through the Jewish Nation by the giving of the Son of God, her head, who loved the church and gave himself for it. See Ephesians 5:25. Therefore, the purpose of God was brought about. In eternity before the world was, God had an eternal purpose. Nothing was done haphazardly and nothing happened accidentally. God did everything with purpose of mind. The Bible says he knew from beginning the end. God purposed the things that have happened so far to his honor and glory. All things purposed by him who has yet to take place, will take place. His name will be honored and glorified in mankind, though not in all men. As instruments in God’s hands, his purposes will be carried out. Twelve foundations are mentioned in this city. The names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb are in that foundation. We learned by the New Testament that Jesus Christ himself is the chief cornerstone. The inscription of the names of the apostles in the twelve foundations of that city signifies they are the officers of the church Jesus left in the world. Here is another thing which is difficult for people to understand. Jesus ordained apostles, but their work is now finished with their office closed. There is not an office of apostleship today. The business of the church such as the setting forth of discipline, rules and regulations, and the ordination of elders in churches to be pastors was left in the hands of the apostles to direct until the New Testament was completed. When the New Testament was completed, the rules and regulations were laid down in print. The apostles were the inspired men who penned those rules and regulations down in the New Testament for the church to go by. The New Testament became the guide for their rule of faith and practice. The apostles were the instruments at the beginning. I would like to say the church was not set up instantly. That’s another thing this great preacher, D. B. Ray, of years gone by affirms. He says, and I agree, that the establishment of the church was a progressive work. The church was started by John’s ministry. He prepared the material and made it ready for the coming of the Son of God. This Bible says to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. I believe when John had fulfilled his mission every piece of material was true material. Of course Judas got into the church that the scriptures might be fulfilled as prophesied beforehand. However, every true member who went into the church was completely prepared to fit in his place when Jesus came on the scene. There was nothing else to be done to them except bring them together. This is the same as in Solomon’s Temple. The material was prepared beforehand, and every stone that went into the foundation of that building was hewn out in the quarry to fit in the place where it belonged. The lumber was of the cedars of Lebanon. Every piece of it was cut in the forest, and then floated down to the place where it could be picked up and carried to Mt. Mariah. Every piece fit in its place, and without the sound of a hammer. When John the Baptist came with authority from heaven, he preached the everlasting gospel of the Son of God. The people who heard his preaching met the conditions of repentance toward God, and faith in Christ that John said was coming after him, and all of those individuals became lively stones–living stones–and they were exactly fitted for the place that God had for them in building his church in the world. So John’s preparation of the material was exactly fitted when Jesus came, and all he had to do was just bring it together. He didn’t do that until after he was baptized by John the Baptist who had the divine authority. Jesus made manifest the fact that he did have that divine authority by walking a distance of sixty miles to be baptized at his hands. Then in the wilderness, after forty days and forty nights, he endured the temptation of the Devil. Afterward we see Jesus by the Sea of Galilee, and he began to call together his church. John said behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. They began to follow him, and Jesus called them together. I’m not going to say how many was needed before she was identified as the church. However, this is what Jesus said in Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” This is simply a symbolic picture of the divine perfection of the church that Jesus will claim for himself one day after while. I have been asked if I thought every saved, scripturally baptized member of the church will be in the bride. My answer is no because of the scripture in Revelation 19:7 “…… and his wife hath made herself ready.” There is a readiness to be made by each individual. Each will be judged personally and individually. Churches on earth, I’m sorry to say, and you know it is true, are negligent in discipline. She might overlook things done by a member and fail to discipline that member, yet it will not go unheeded by God for he is not negligent in discipline. On the other hand, the church on earth might mistakenly exclude someone from the church, but God will not take them out of the church. So not all born again, baptized children of God into a Baptist Church will be in the bride. They will be the ones who walked according to the rule of faith and lived the lives pleasing to God as examples to the world. I pastured a church in Bowling Green, Kentucky that’s better than fifty to sixty years old. This church only had four charter members when it was organized. They declared themselves an independent body. I’ll say where there are as many as two, three or four together under covenant and fellowship, declaring themselves to be a church, they are. Now when Jesus called together the material that John had prepared, he had his church. Today, we’ll have people who desire a church to set a time when a church will be organized. That’s quite different to what it was in the beginning. When a church is organized today, letters of demission are given from another church. The only credentials the members of the first church needed were that they were born again children of God and had been baptized by John the Baptist. When Jesus came on the scene and brought them together, they were a church. We’ll have an all day or an afternoon service today and ordained help will be called in from other churches, and a council will be formed. Letters received from other sister churches will be read of members who have decided to form themselves into an independent church. That council will decide and vote whether or not they are good letters. Affirmation will then be given. In the presence of that council, they will declare themselves an independent body adopting the Articles of Faith, and the Church Covenant then giving themselves the hand of church fellowship. We organize a church in this way today so that it may have the recognition of all who are there as being an independent church. This is their credentials. The credentials of the first church were that they were baptized by John the Baptist and set up by Jesus Christ. Like Habakkuk of long ago and restated by Paul that eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man, the things that God nor the Lord hath prepared for them that love him. However, he has revealed them unto us by his spirit. In our souls we can feel it, and know that it is great. Yet our bodies and minds are not able to comprehend the glory awaiting the people of God. The city here symbolizes the wife has made herself ready. We read in another chapter where he said, let us be glad and rejoice for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife has made herself ready. This city is the completed church. It will not be complete until the last member goes in.
Study of The Book of Revelation
W. T. Russel (Tape #14)
I would like to discuss some things about literal and symbolic things in the book of Revelation. There are other books of the Bible which deal with symbols as the book of Revelation. Daniel, Ezekiel, and even Jeremiah of the Old Testament used symbols. It was left up to the reader to determine what that symbol represented. The Bible teaches us that God is a spirit. Jesus explained the difference between the spirit and the flesh or the physical in the twentieth chapter of John. Thomas said I won’t believe its Christ until I put the tip of my fingers in the print of the nails in his hand and thrust my hand into his side. Jesus appeared in their midst, and they were all together. Knowing the mind of Thomas, Jesus said, reach your finger and feel the prints of the nails in my hand. Thrust your hand into my side and be not faithless, but believe it. Thomas didn’t have to for he said “My Lord and My God.” Christ was spirit because Christ was God, the Holy Spirit was God and the Father is God. There are three personalities in the Godhead, but the three are one. They are united in one equally. The only difference existing between the persons of the Godhead is the office–their official standing. Jesus is the word made flesh. The word, which was spirit, was incarnated in human flesh giving Christ a body like ours. He wants to the grave with that body, and he arose from the grave with that body. However his risen body was a spiritual body of flesh and spirit not a body of flesh and blood. Now let’s see the definition of the spirit. Jesus said God is a spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. Jesus appeared in the upper room through locked doors in the midst of his disciples. They naturally thought he was a spirit because he didn’t come in the door but just appeared in their presence. All of God’s children will have that attribute at the resurrection. There won’t be any barriers to the resurrected body. Jesus said handle me and see. So the resurrected body of Jesus could be touched. He was a person just as he went to the grave and told them a spirit has not flesh and bones as we have. God doesn’t have flesh and bones for he is a spirit. I know the Bible speaks about God having hands, eyes, ears, and feet, but it’s altogether spiritual. It is the language that human beings can understand and perceive of God being a spirit having the tendencies we have in the flesh but not in the same form. Jesus is the only member of the Godhead with the same form as ours, and it took the incarnation to bring it about. We are not to think of any other member of the Godhead as having our form except Christ. Another misconception of some is that the Holy City or New Jerusalem is heaven. It’s not just as Nashville is not Davidson County or the State of Tennessee. The Holy City or New Jerusalem is a symbol only, as I see it, of the church in her final glory. As I said before, I do not know the meaning of the gems and all of the metals mentioned in this city. I’ll say this much though, it certainly is the eternal grandeur of the church to be looked upon in her final glory. It is not to be taken as a literal city. Heaven, however, is a literal place today. The heaven that now is, is going to pass away as you would roll up a piece of paper and cast it out into a mighty wind. This heaven is the location of the souls of the saints now. At the end of the world when Christ comes out of the heaven that now is with all of his holy angels and all the disembodied spirits, the door of mercy will be closed forever and heaven will pass away as a scroll when it’s rolled together and cast into a mighty wind. See Revelation 6:14. He said I’m going to make a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwells righteousness. God made the earth pure and finitely holy. No sin marred it until Adam transgressed the law of God. As a result of his transgression, God sent a curse on this earth and made it bring forth thorns and briers since that time. The earth that now is will be burned up so said the Apostle Peter in 2 Peter 3:10. We have also read, the earth and the heaven fled away, and there were found no place for them. Everything must have a place to exist. Therefore they will no longer exist. God created the sun, moon, stars, and the elements. The Bible said the elements will melt with fervent heat. The same God who created all of those things adaptable to humanity also said the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who had subjected the same in hope. See Roman 8:20. The earth was made suitable and adaptable to the lives of human beings. God put everything in this earth that man would need while he lives here. He gave man the intelligence to seek out what he had put in the earth whether it is under the earth, in the earth, or above the earth. Wherever it is, man has carried out the command of God to subdue it. The time is coming when the earth will no longer be needed. An earth adaptable to humanity will not be needed because humanity will no longer exist. The saints of God, after the resurrection, will possess spiritual bodies like the resurrected body of Jesus. Christ said he would create a new heaven and a new earth wherein would dwell righteousness. A new heaven and earth will be made adaptable to the spiritual family of God
Chapter 22:1 “And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.”
Chapter 22:2 “In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.”
Chapter 22:3 “And there shall be no more curses: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:”
Chapter 22:4 “And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.” Chapter 22:5 “And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God give they light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.” Chapter 22:6 “And he said unto me, these sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.”
Chapter 22:7 “Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that kept the sayings of the prophecy of this book.”
Chapter 22:8 “And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things.”
Chapter 22:9 “Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.” He told John not to worship him but worship God. Angels were not to be worshipped, and neither was man.
Chapter 22:10 “And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.” In the Old Testament, Daniel had a vision in which God told him to seal up the vision and not yet reveal what he saw. In this vision, John is told to reveal the prophecy of this book. This is just a benediction to the book of Revelation. That’s all it is. A benediction and a final amen. You know that word amen means “so may it be.” It goes back to the first chapter of the book.
Chapter 22:11 “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he who is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” This is a declaration that as the end finds you, so shall you forever be. Chapter 22:12 “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” Soul salvation is by grace, but rewards come by works.
Chapter 22:13 “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” He told us this at the beginning of Revelation, but evidently he thought it needful to remind all again.
Chapter 22:14 “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” No unbeliever has the right to the tree of life, neither entrance into the church. What is the distinction between the tree of knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life? Let’s go back to the Garden of Eden. God planted a garden eastward in Eden, placed Adam and Eve in that garden, and said of every tree in the garden, thou mayest freely eat. But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shall not eat of it: for in the day that thou eats thereof thou shalt surely die. Genesis 2:16-17. (This is not the tree of life.) He said the one that stands in the midst of the garden is the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and the day that thou eats thereof thou shalt surely die. Someone has asked me the question, “Could they have eaten of the tree of life in the Garden of Eden?” I finally came to the conclusion that they didn’t need the tree of life until they fell or transgressed the law of God. I do not believe they ate of the tree of life ever. We see in this verse that those who do his commandments may have right to the tree of life and may enter through the gates into the city. What is that tree of life? It’s that which gives immortality to the body. Wouldn’t it have been a sad thing when Adam transgressed the law of God and stood a sinner condemned, without God, without any hope, if he had reached forth his hand and ate of the tree of life? If he had, he would have lived, and the whole human race would have lived in a sin-cursed world forever and ever without any hope. That’s the reason God said since Adam has transgressed the law, Gen. 3:22 “…. and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:” He turned them out of the Garden of Eden and placed at the entrance of the Garden cherubim and a flaming sword to keep the way of the tree of life. We studied about cherubim as we studied this book. The cherubim are the agency of angels that God uses as instruments in carrying out his purpose in the world. Eastward at the Garden of Eden was set up cherubim which is a symbol of the throne of God’s grace. Wherever you find the cherubim or angels whether they have faces, wings or wheels it represents the divine presences of God and God’s divine grace and mercy. Eastward in the Garden of Eden, the throne of grace was established that it might keep the way of the tree of life. The only people who will ever be able to partake of that tree of life will be those who have come to the throne of grace and obtained mercy in the salvation of their souls. They can partake of that tree of life and live eternally in an immortal body. This tree is another symbol. Genesis 2:9 tells us the tree of life was in the midst of the garden. Adam was not a subject of the tree of life until he transgressed God’s law as shown in Genesis 3:23 that to eat of this tree would bring eternal life but in the sinful state. Paul said in I Corinthians in 15:53 “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” 15:54 “So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.” The raised can then say this: 15:55 “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” Paul said the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. When the last one comes out of the grave, the victory will be won forever and eternally. Christ will then turn the church kingdom over to the Father as said in I Corinthians 15:28 “And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” Chapter 22:15 “For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loved and makes a lie.”
Chapter 22:16 “I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.” Note he had sent his angel to testify of the things in the churches. So this is the testimony of the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. It starts in the first part of the book, and it ends in the last amen of the Book of Revelation.
Chapter 22:17 “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Look how he mentioned that first–the Spirit and the bride. Who’s the bride? The church. The Spirit came on the day of Pentecost. Jesus said it will abide with you forever. I’ve got to go away. For if I go not away the comforter will not come. But I will pray the Father and he’ll send you another comforter, and he will abide with you forever. He’ll reprove the world of sin, of righteousness, and of a judgment to come. The commission was given to that distinct church who received the baptism of the spirit on the day of Pentecost, and it came that day to stay with the church until Jesus comes again. It’s been here ever since, and it will be here until he comes back. Who else is supposed to have a part in winning the lost? “And let him that heareth say, Come.” Everyone who is born of God has a responsibility of leading others to Christ whether in the church or out of the church. They are children of God and have the right to say come.
Chapter 22:18 “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:” This is serious. This verse means it is the complete revelation, the final book with nothing more to be added. We have many who have taken on themselves to write their own Bible or books such as the Mormons have and claim it to be another Revelation. It plainly says in verse eighteen whoever adds to or takes away from this book, the plagues written therein shall be added to them, and their part will be taken out of the book of life. Everyone has a right to have his name written in the book of life but all must meet the conditions.
Chapter 22:19 “And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” I’ve had so many people come to me and say, “Well, it’s possible that names can be taken out of the book of life.” It didn’t say that. I want to tell you that because of Jesus’ death and shedding of his blood on the cross of Calvary, he gave every rational being in the world a right to a place in the book of life. There is a part for every individual to have his name. It’s big enough to include his name, but he must meet the conditions which are laid down in the gospel. He is saying here if someone takes away from this prophecy and the things that are written in this book, his part will be taken out of the book of life. It will be taken away from him. And from the holy city and from the things which are written in this book. This is the same as Jesus giving one talent to one servant, and he took it and buried it in the earth. This can be found in Matthew 25:25-27.
Chapter 22:20 “He which testified these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” So may it be. That’s what that means. These are the words of John. “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” I’m satisfied when John had viewed all God had showed him in vision, he was able to say, and even longingly, that Jesus would come quickly, that the things revealed in this book might be experienced by him.
Chapter 22:21 “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” Read here Paul’s writing of what’s going to happen at the end of the world and the kind of rule that will be here when the Lord comes back. At the end of these scriptures read how Professor Alexander Trotter confirms this.
II Thessalonians 2:1 “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,” 2:2 “That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.” 2:3 “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;” 2:4 “Who opposed and exalted himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sat in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” 2:5 “Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?” 2:6 “And now ye know what withhold that he might be revealed in his time.” 2″7 “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.” 2:8 “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:” 2:9 “Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,” 2:10 “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” 2:11 “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:” 2:12 “That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” The following was written about two hundred years ago. Our country was just a very young baby at that time and was rejoicing over the fact of a democracy. It was written by Professor Alexander Trotter about the fall of the Athenian Republic, the Republic of Athens, Greece. The truth of his words ring out today as we find ourselves in the center of the cycle that takes a democracy from freedom to bondage. How much freedom do you have today? Here are his words. I want us all to get this. It would be well to remember it. “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves the largest from the public treasure. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasure with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average ages of the world’s great civilizations have been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through this sequence. From bondage, spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency back again into bondage.” That was a wise man. Can we escape the cycle? It seems the only hope could be understanding what is happening to us because there can be no question that those who do not understand history are bound to repeat it. I think that’s in exact agreement with what the Apostle Paul tells us concerning the man of sin that is coming who will be a world dictator. This whole world will be under a dictatorship, and freedom and democracies will be obliterated forever and ever. I don’t know how long he is going to last, but at the end of his reign is going to be the end of the world. So this world we are living in tonight is growing worse and worse. It’s not going to get any better. The Bible tells us that evil seducers will wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. There is no scripture that I have ever found to give us any encouragement that at the very end there is going to be a time of peace. It’s just the reverse. It just gets worse and worse and worse. Our generation or period of time has never had any trouble. We will really not know the value of freedom until we are under a dictatorship that forces their will upon us in our worship and service of God. I appreciate getting that piece of information. I say again that man was a wise man.