An Interpretation of the English Bible REVELATION by B. H. CARROLL

An Interpretation of the English Bible


Late President of Southwestern Baptist
Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas

Edited by
]. B. Cranfill

Grand Rapids, Michigan

New and complete edition
Copyright 1948, Broadman Press
Reprinted by Baker Book House
with permission of
Broadman Press
ISBN: 0_8010_2344_0
First Printing, September 1973
Second Printing, September 1976



I.. Historical Introduction 1
II. An Analysis of the Book 13
III. An Exposition of the Introductory Passages. 27
IV. General Observations on the Second Revelation 38
V. The Condition of the Seven Churches in Asia. 48
VI. The Promises to the Faithful in the Churches 62
VII. The Throne of Grace 79
VIII. The Opening of the Seals 91
IX. The Sounding of the Trumpets 105
X. The Sounding of the Trumpets (Continued) 116
XI Prophetic Forecasts of Church History 129
XII. Prophetic Forecasts of Church History
(Continued) 142
XIII. Prophetic Forecasts of Church History
(Continued) 155
XIV. The Seven Plagues and the Seven Bowls of Wrath 169
XV. The War of Har-Magedon 184

XVI. The War of Har_Magedonù (Continued) 197
XVII. The Triumphant Holy War, Introducing the
Millennium 203
XVIII. The Millennium
XIX. The Loosing of Satan for a Little Season and
His Final Destruction 235
XX. The Second Advent of Our Lord; the General
Resurrection of the Dead; and the General
and Final Judgment 245
XXI. Our Lord’s Final Advent; the Resurrection of
the Dead; the General Judgment 257
XXII. The Future Eternal State of the Righteous and
Wicked 276
XXIII. Epilogue 288


Two thoughts strive for mastery in considering Revelation.
The first arises from the character of the book, its position in
the sacred library, and its relative importance. In rank it
equals any other New Testament book, being marvelously
great in its doctrines and promises. It is the inspiring book of
the Bible. From its composition to this day it has been a quick_
ening book in the experience of the people of God – a book of
resurrection power in all seasons of despair. Wherever the light
of its doctrines and promises shines, darkness is dispelled,
faith becomes heroic, hope revives, and the powers of the world
come to rest on those who walk in its light. Whoever, in humble
and docile spirit, enters into a prayerful study of its great
themes and lays to heart its great promises will set his soul on
fire with zeal and become transformed in his experience.
Not merely in date of composition, but in fitness of content it
closes the canon of the Scriptures. It finishes. It completes. It
perfects. It not only dispenses with all need of further revela_
tion, but is not susceptible of subtraction. Ignorance, impiety,
or blasphemy alone would undertake to add to or take from its
finality of content. It is the climax of history embodied in
prophecy. We may indeed expect new light to continuously
break out of God’s Word, but we may not expect a new word.
The second thought imposing solemnity on your teacher is
that it is quite possible he will never again have the oppor_
tunity and honor to teach this book to a class of preachers.
Only once in four years do we come to it – and when this expo_
sition ends he will be sixty_nine years old. Oliver Wendell
Holmes insists that nature administers the black drop at three_
score and ten, and while here and there exceptions arise in
human history of mental vigor and physical vitality extend_
ing to fourscore years, yet since the rule and not the exception

determines probabilities, it is my purpose to teach the book
now as if for the last time.
According to invariable custom in this course, we commence
a book with a brief historical introduction, not assuming to
forestall the more critical and elaborate discussion rightfully
belonging to the department of biblical introduction, but be_
cause you need some reliable knowledge on this subject in or_
der to an understanding of the book itself. If a historical
introduction be helpful in the case of other books, it is indis_
pensable in this book, since here historical introduction deter_
mines the theory of interpretation.
That you may not be altogether dependent on my con_
clusions, I commend as helpful, and not greatly misleading,
two books on historical introduction so far as Revelation is
concerned. I might give you a hundred, but these two are
among the best. First, the historical introduction in the brief
commentary of Jamieson, Fausset and Brown; second, the his_
torical introduction in the „American Commentary,” volume on
Revelation by Dr. Justin A. Smith. You may not understand
me, of course, to endorse all the positions in these introductions
taken by either one, but I mean to say that in the main they
are very helpful and the least misleading. Where I may differ
from them will be sufficiently evident.
I now also commend, out of a great multitude of commen_
taries, Just two on Revelation for collateral class reading. You
will find more rubbish and confusion in commentaries on this
book than on any other book of the New Testament, but the
two commended are easily accessible, and as you may want to
make this the study of your life on this book, read these com_
mentaries as we progress: First, the same Dr. Justin A. Smith
in the „American Commentary”; second, a little book, The
World Lighted, by Dr. Edward Smith.
There are two classes of commentaries that I emphatically
do not recommend. First, the class so carried away by premil_
lennial conception that all interpretations must be stretched
out or cut off to fit their procrustean bed. Second, the class so
obsessed with the spirit of the radical criticism that they follow
their presuppositions in minimizing the supernatural, and
particularly strain to eliminate the prophetic element from this

While criticism on the Greek text belongs in general to New
Testament Greek rather than to New Testament English, one
characteristic of the Greek in Revelation needs explanation
here, to wit: Its unlikeness and inferiority as pure Greek to the
Greek of John’s Gospel and of his letters. The relevancy of
some notice of this matter here arises from the fact that this
characteristic of the Greek is pleaded either to disprove the
authorship of John, the apostle, or else in support of an early
date of the book, which would very largely affect its inter_
pretation. The difference between the Greek of Revelation and
the Greek of John’s Gospel arises from a difference in the
nature of the two books; John’s Gospel is history; this book is
not only an apocalypse, but one run in the mold of ancient He_
brew symbolic imagery – one following the apocalyptic ana_
logues of Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and Zechariah. Not only so,
but its symbols are not limited to the apocalypses of ancient
prophecy; they are drawn from all the Old Testament books.
It derives its plumage from the paradise and the serpent of
Genesis, the plagues of Exodus, the wilderness of Numbers,
the Lion of Judah, the Holy City of Jerusalem, the Temple of
Solomon, the Jezebel of Israel, Babylon and the Euphrates,
just as well as from the apocalyptic Seraphim of Isaiah, the
Cherubim of Ezekiel, the locusts of Joel, the horses and wit_
nesses of Zechariah, and the beasts of Daniel. More than all the
New Testament books, Revelation is enswathed in Old Testa_
ment imagery. While it never quotes directly from the Old
Testament, yet it is throughout reminiscent of it. A careful
computer of its allusions and references to the Old Testament
reckons them at four hundred. So remarkable is this feature of
the book that Dr. Broadus, as I have been informed, was
accustomed to devote an entire lecture to this feature alone
whenever he taught Revelation.
Of course this necessitated Hebraistic idioms rather than
pure Greek. Compare the Classic Greek of Luke’s Dedication
with the Hebraistic Greek of the first chapters of his Gospel.
But with all this external unlikeness in Greek, there must be
taken into account one instance of likeness in the Greek of all
John’s writings – great Greek scholars have called their stu_
dent’s attention to it, that is, that a student of New Testament
Greek finds John’s Greek, whether in his Gospel, his letters or
Revelation, the easiest Greek to learn.
Another general fact should be noted in connection with the
inferiority of the Greek: It is the tendency of old age to revert
to the idioms and dialect of native speech rather than to be_
come more perfect in the acquired speech of a foreign tongue.
So that the inferiority of the Greek proves nothing against
John’s authorship nor in favor of an early date.
We now come to the authorship of this book. „Who wrote
it?” On these grounds John’s authorship has been questioned:
first, the character of the Greek, just explained. The second
objection arises from doctrinal bias. Early in the Christian
centuries certain men misinterpreted the teaching in this book
on the millennium and went into such extravagances that
after a while others began to inquire: Is Revelation an apos_
tolic book? There is where it commenced. Just as false inter_
pretations of certain paragraphs in Hebrews 6_7 led men to
question its Pauline authorship, so these interpretations on the
premillennium line made the book of Revelation odious. A
better thing is to show the misconception of the interpretation
and hold on to the apostolic authorship.
Evidence on authorship is always of two kinds. First, ex_
ternal, or historical. That is to say, the testimony of witnesses
living near to the times of the writer who otherwise had oppor_
tunities to know who was the author. It is the traditional
or historical evidence of authorship that is regarded as the best
evidence. This historical evidence is overwhelming in favor of
John’s authorship. Men who had heard John preach have left
on record their testimony. You will find the details of the
testimony in the two commentaries to which I called your
attention a while ago.
The second kind of evidence is internal, that is, what facts
does the book itself furnish as to its author? The internal evi_
dence of John’s authorship is absolutely overwhelming. I
might classify the main part of this evidence into two kinds:
First, what the author says of himself. You will find mainly
what he says of himself in the first chapter and the last. In
verse I, he calls himself John, and in verse 2, he identifies the
John thus: „Who bare witness of the word of God and the testi_
mony of Jesus Christ.” Now, that „bare witness” is in the
Greek aorist and signifies completed past action. That is, the
servant John to whom this apocalypse was given is the John
who had borne witness to the word of God and the testimony
of Jesus Christ. I know that some are disposed to evade the
natural grammatical force of this aorist by calling it tho
epistolary aorist. There is no reason to resort to this expedient.
In his Gospel John had done just what this aorist affirms, so
that verse 2, not only identifies the author as the apostle John
but clearly proves that the gospel preceded Revelation. More_
over, John’s method of certifying his Gospel is the method of
certifying Revelation, as you may easily see by comparing
John 19:35 and 21:24, with Revelation 21:8.
But there is a more convincing internal proof of John’s
authorship: The unique Christology of the Gospel and letters
is the Christology of this book. In the Gospel Christ is the
Logos, and so in Revelation. In the Gospel Christ is the Light
of the World, „the true Light that lighteth every man that
cometh into the world.” The whole sweep of the book of Reve_
lation is based upon Christ as the light of the world. In John’s
Gospel alone, Christ is the Lamb of God that taketh away the
sin of the world. In the book of Revelation, all along, Christ is
the Lamb that has been slain. In other words, unless a man has
a purpose to serve or is biased by doctrinal prejudice, unless he
be a slave to presuppositions, he must admit that the argu~
ment in favor of Johannine authorship is overwhelming, both
external and internal. And I say to you now, no book of the
New Testament is better accredited as apostolic than the book
of Revelation. We may unhesitatingly accept it as the culmi_
nation of God’s inspired Word.
Our next question on introduction is „When?” „When did
he write it?” Commentators adopt one of two dates. For
obvious reasons, one class say it was written about
A.D. 68 in the reign of Nero. Rationalists generally adopt this
date in order to eliminate the element of prophecy by applying
its statements to the destruction of Jerusalem. The reason that
prompts them to push back the date of Revelation led them
to push forward the date of Daniel and the latter part of
Isaiah. As far as possible, they ever seek to eliminate the super_
natural element in prophecy.
My first objection to that theory is that there is no witness in
history that so dates it. I know there are men who conjecture
it, but I mean a witness. There are enough witnesses to the
contrary like Irenaeus. „John saw this revelation just a little
while ago at the close of the reign of Domitian.” Any reason_
able mind must see that the condition of the seven churches
of Asia described in this book was absolutely impossible A.D.
68. That is the time Paul wrote the second letter to Timothy,
before John had anything on earth to do with the churches of
Asia. It is evident from chapters 2 and 3 that there had been a
long interval of time between Paul’s work at Ephesus and his
letters to Timothy, and the time when John wrote this book.
Nero’s persecution was local; he never banished anybody to
Patmos. Nero’s persecution while very bitter, both Paul and
Peter dying in it, was limited to Rome or the nearby parts of
Italy. This persecution which put John in position to write this
book is a worldwide persecution that reaches the very out_
skirts of the kingdom of God. So, when you ask me to set the
date, I am perfectly confident when I say to you that it was
written A.D. 95 or 96, toward the close of the reign of Domitian,
John having been banished to the isle of Patmos, working in
the mines in that island – banished from Ephesus, where the
persecution reached him. That is the date.
Our next question: What was the occasion of the book? Here
the answer is not only easy, but intensely interesting. John was
an old man. He stood alone; all the other apostles had long
since passed away. The progress of the gospel, mighty and
triumphant in Paul’s day, had been blocked; edicts went forth
proscribing every word of New Testament writing, requiring
it to be burned. Women were dragged before the legal tribunals
and commanded to adjure Christ and worship heathen gods, or
be thrown to the lions. The fire burnt throughout all Christen_
dom at this time. Of course, there was great discouragement.
Now, here comes this book. It is to reawaken faith, hope,
love, and courage in God’s people. It is to show them that the
clouds will pass away; it is to show them that, however heavy
the hand or the heel of the tyrant, truth will yet prevail, and
that ultimately the whole wide world will be conquered for our
Lord Jesus Christ. That is the occasion of the book. It was to
flash on the canvas as the last scene of Revelation the facts of
the future of the churches, of their triumphs in the struggle in
which they were engaged, and of the ultimate glorious victory,
and it met the occasion.
As I have told you, ever since it was written it has made the
heart leap and the soul exult. Since the book of Revelation was
written no true Christian has ever doubted the ultimate out_
come of Christianity.
The next thing, what is the book? That being the occasion,
what is the book? Follow me closely: Most of it is declared to
be prophecy. It proposes to set forth the things that shall be.
But we must note this modification – it is apocalypse as well
as prophecy. The Greek word „apocalypse” means revelation,
unveiling, and if the future be unveiled in that sense it is the
same as prophecy, but it has this distinction from ordinary
prophecy: Ordinary prophecy is the utterance of the prophet
concerning: what God said to the prophet. Apocalypse is a vi_
sion that shows the picture of the thing. For instance, this is
apocalypse: „In the year that Uzziah died,” says Isaiah, „I
saw the Heavenly King; I saw his throne lifted up,” and there
follows a description of the vision of the throne of God – and
that was revelation – apocalypse – seen in a vision. In the same
way Ezekiel saw the Cherubim and the whole full of eyes, and
the faces looking every way. That is apocalypse. That is pro_
phecy visualized.
In the third place, it is not only prophecy that is apocalypse,
but it is prophecy that is symbolic. What is prophesied is not
presented in plain words, as when Jonah said, „Yet forty days
and Nineveh shall be overthrown.” But it is apocalypse pre_
sented in symbol. For instance: „I saw a woman with a rain_
bow upon her brow, and the moon under her feet.” That is a
symbol. „I saw another woman clothed in purple and scarlet,
sitting upon a seven_headed, ten_horned beast.” That is a
symbol. Now, when you interpret a symbol, you must not inter_
pret literally, and there is where the most foolish interpreta_
tions of Revelation come in. Where it says, „I saw a woman
and the man_child she bore,” etc., some make it mean a real
woman, th& virgin Mary and the man_child Jesus Christ. But
a symbolic woman does not mean a real woman. So Paul in an
allegory makes Haar the Jerusalem that now is and Sarah the
Heavenly Jerusalem. And when this book tells of a beast com_
ing up out of the sea, it does not mean a real beast. You cannot
interpret the book of Revelation unless you keep your eye on
the fact that it is symbolic apocalyptic prophecy.
But we are not yet through with the question, „What is the
book?” If we mean, what is the book in the sense of its theme,
the answer is very different. Its theme is determined by its
key passages. The key passages of the book of Revelation are
1:12_20; 10_7; 11:15; 19:6_9. The first is the vision of light, the
second and third show „the finishing of this mystery of the
kingdom,” and the fourth its glorious consummation.
In other words, the book of Revelation is designed to show
that the whole world shall be lighted by the churches, which
are the light_bearers reflecting the original light of their Lord
in heaven; that this worldwide illumination shall be in the
Spirit’s dispensation and through the gospel.
The theme, then, of Revelation – God help me to impress it
upon you, for your reception or rejection of it will make you a
pessimist or an optimist – the theme of this book is) the evange_
lization of this world, the salvation of every man to be saved in.
this world, to be brought about by the means of Christ shin_
ing, not personally but as reflected in the candlesticks, or the
churches; that all the kingdoms of this world shall be brought
into subjection to Jesus Christ through the very gospel you.
are preaching now, and not by miraculous powers attending
the final advent.
It does not mean that the world will become worse and worse
and worse, and that the gospel will fail and that the Spirit will
fail, and that all the original instrumentalities of salvation will
play out, leaving salvation to be accomplished by the final ad_
vent. Revelation does not signify that at all. I want you to set
yourselves afire with that thought of the key passages.
We come now to speak a word on the interpretation of the
book. Every man who proposes to interpret a book must have
gone through it very carefully and have fixed in his own mind
some principle of adjustment, the leading, governing thought
as to the book, and we find that all the theories of interpreta_
tion are so based. For example: A commentary on Revelation
by a radical critic, a rationalist (and there are many of them,
not only in the German but also in the English) whose authors
do not believe in real prophecy at all, who interpret the whole
book according to their presuppositions, limiting all referen_
ces in it to current history of the author’s times.
So I will call the first theory of interpretation the Rational_
ist Theory. It is not the first in order of time, but I will put it
first in discussion,
The second theory is based upon this principle of adjust_
ment: that while the book is prophecy, all the prophecy refers
to the last days, to the culminating days, the second advent
days. That is called the premillennial theory of interpretation,
and they do just that way with Daniel. They do not allow any
Old Testament prophet to prophesy anything concerning the
church in the day of the apostles, nor concerning anything in
the development of the church, until we come to the culmina_
tion, the second advent. Take for example, the marvelous ninth
chapter of Daniel: they go on in the ordinary way with all the
weeks of the seventy weeks until they get to the last week and
they split it in halves, applying the last half to the end of the
world. This also is called the futurist theory of interpretation.
According to this nothing in the prophetic part of the book
has yet taken place.
The third theory is what is called the historical theory of
interpretation. From John’s time, when he was writing, from
the time of those seven churches and their condition, the object
of the book is to show the history of the development of the
kingdom of God until the end of the world. Not that every_
thing in the history of the kingdom of God would be presented,
but the salient points of its future history from John’s time
on Patmos until the second advent and general judgment and
windup of the world. It is not the history of nations but the
history of the kingdom of God touching_the nations, just as the
Old Testament is not a history of the nations, but is a history
of the development of the kingdom of God among the nations.
I refer again to a point in the interpretative theory. If we
adopt the futurist theory, then we will not believe that there
has ever yet been in this world a kingdom of God, nor will
there be, except as an ideal, until Christ comes. A recent article
in the Baptist Standard by a prominent Baptist pastor, one of
the ablest expositors of that theory, and a most lovable Chris_
tian brother and a mighty evangelist preacher, shows that to
him the kingdom of God has not yet been set up. Therefore,
this book of Revelation cannot be the history of the kingdom
of God. That has not yet come. He does not believe that the
stone kingdom, the little stone kingdom that Daniel saw, has
ever come. They say that there may be an ideal kingdom now
but not a real kingdom, no actual kingdom – from all of which
I profoundly dissent.
Now, on the last theory mentioned there may be this diver_
gence among those who advocate it: some of them hold that
the events under the seals are to be followed successively and
chronologically by what is set forth under the trumpets, and
that what is set forth under the vials come after, in order of
time, what is set forth under the trumpets. In other words,
those of them that hold that view cannot see how anything
within the period of time covered by the seals, and that nothing
that is set forth under the vials can take place in the time set
forth under the trumpets, but that one follows the other.
Now, the other wing of the historical interpreters take this
view: that the whole history of the kingdom of God is set forth from one viewpoint under the seals, that the events under the seals bring us to the end, and then, under the trumpets, we go back to the beginning and again we find the whole history of the kingdom of God set forth until we come to the end, under a dif-ferent viewpoint, and so on with the rest of the book. In other words, the events under the seals, the trumpets and the vials; do not follow each other but they synchronize; they are parallel.
The various titles of this book as found in different manu_
scripts and versions are all true enough as they are meant, but
are not inspired, because they are postapostolic. For example:
the Sinaitic and Alexandrian Greek manuscripts have this head -ing, „The Revelation of John,” just as we have it in the American Standard Revised Version. The Vatican Greek manuscript has this heading: „The Revelation of John the Theologian and Evangelist”. The Vulgate, or Latin Version, has this heading: „The Revelation of St. John the Apostle”, while the common English version, the King James Version, has „The Revelation of St. John the Divine”. The word „divine” means exactly the same _as „theologian”, and both of them mean this, John’s teaching of the nature of God. Matthew is not called a theologian in the literal sense of the word, Mark, nor Luke, but when John commences his Gospel: „In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”, he discusses the nature of God, and therefore he is called the theologian.
The heading is not a part of the book, but was put there
after the days of the apostle. They are postapostolic and there_
fore uninspired, and when they say, „The Revelation of John”,
they differ from the author who calls it „The Revelation of
Jesus Christ.” John did not reveal anything, but they doubt_
less mean, The Revelation received and recorded by John.

1. What introductions to Revelation are commended?
2. What commentaries on the interpretation of the book commended and what not commended?
3. What two kinds of evidence determine the author and date of the book and which is the more trustworthy?
4. On what two internal grounds have the apostolic origin and inspiration been questioned?
5. On what ground has it been denied that one man wrote both the Fourth Gospel and Revelation, and what was the reply to the objection?
6. Give (1) the external evidence that the apostle John. wrote Revelation, and (2) the internal evidence.
7. Give two theories as to the date of the book and the reasons for accepting the one and rejecting the other, and show how one of these predetermines the interpretation.
8. What was the occasion and purpose of the book?
9. What was the key passages of the book showing the purpose of it?
10. What is the book and what is the distinction between Revelation, symbolic revelation, and symbolic prophetic revelation?
11. Answer in one sentence: Who wrote the book, when, where, to whom, why, and in what language?
12. What three leading theories of interpretation, which do you prefer, and what are your reasons therefor?
13. What is the very remarkable relation of this book to the Old Testament, how does this relation affect the style of the Greek and also the interpretation?
14. What is its relation to the New Testament and to the whole canon of the Scriptures?
15. Adopting the historical theory of interpretation, do the events
of the several visions follow each other chronologically, or do they
synchronize with each other?
16. What are the various uninspired headings, or titles, of the book


I present to you in this chapter’ an analysis of the whole book
of Revelation. The idea underlying this analysis is, that no
man ought to attempt to interpret a book until he has
thought through it – all through it – and arranged its matter
in his own mind, correlating its parts and signifying their
relative importance. The analysis proper will be given at the
close of the chapter, but just now I submit some comments on
I give you first of all the brief analysis given by our Saviour
himself. In 1:19: „Write, therefore, (1) the things which thou
sawest; (2) the things which are; (3) the things which shall
come to pass hereafter.” The things which John saw, refers to
the vision, (w. 12_16) inclusive: „I turned to see the voice
that spake with me. And having turned I saw seven golden
candlesticks; and in the midst of the candlesticks one like unto
a son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and
girt about at the breasts with a golden girdle. And his head and
his hair were white as white wool, white as snow; and his eyes
were as a flame of fire; and his feet like unto burnished brass,
as if it had been refined in a furnace; and his voice as the
voice of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven
stars: and out of his mouth proceeded a sharp two_edged
sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his
strength.” That is what he saw.
The second division was „the things that are.” „The things
that are” are set forth in chapters 2_5. These are the things that
are, and consist of two subdivisions: First, the state of the
churches, not as they seem to be to themselves, but as God saw
them to be. That is the earth scene of the things that are, and
a very discouraging view it is.
In chapters 4_5, among the things that are, is a heavenly
scene – it reveals the throne of grace, with all of its agencies
and activities in behalf of the imperfect churches – and that is
an encouraging view.
Then the things that shall be hereafter commence at chap_
ter 6 and extend to the end of the book. That is the prophetic
part of the book.
Now, that is the Saviour’s analysis. It is my purpose to give
you my own elaboration of his analysis – not an improvement,
you understand, but an elaboration of it. And even as fully as
I give it to you, there will be, when we come to the interpreting
of the book and develop the analysis, a number of subdivisions
that cannot be put down in an outline.
The first part of my own outline is the author’s introduction
to the book. In a general sense the whole of the first chapter is
devoted to that. It commences first by giving the title of the
book, its origin, its medium of communication, its nature,
how certified, to whom certified, and its value. That is pre_
sented in verse
The second part of the author’s introduction is the greetings
to the churches, from verse 4_8. Following the method of nearly
all New Testament writers’, he commences with a salutation, or
thanksgiving, or invocation.
The third part of the author’s introduction commences_ at
verse 9, and tells you how, when, under what circumstances,
he came back to write this book. This includes the voice that he
heard and the vision that he saw, and the effect on himself of
that vision, and the explanation of the vision by Him who
gave it. Now, that is the author’s introduction to the book.
The book consists of a series of revelations, each one distinct
from every other one, and the first revelation commences at
1:12, and extends to 1:16. That vision is a revelation of our
Lord in his glory, and in his relation to the churches and pas_
tors, with an indication of the mission of the churches and the
pastors. That is the first great revelation of the book. The
revelation of our Lord, not in his humiliation, not in the state

that he was in before he came to the earth, not in the state that
he was in while on the earth, but in his glorified humanity.
We have before us a vivid picture of Jesus as the one who was
dead, but is alive to die no more. This first revelation is intense_
ly interesting – a revealing of Jesus as he now is in his glori_
fied state, and in his relation to the churches and the preachers
that are to reflect his light in the world.
In thinking about Jesus many people use the memory only,
as in Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. They think of him as
born in Bethlehem, as cradled in a manger, as a little child in
the Temple, as being baptized, and through the Spirit inducted
in his earthly mission, as the teacher of parables and the
worker of miracles. Or they think of him on the cross, or in the
grave – all in the past. How intensely important to us, then, is
a vision of Jesus now.
The second revelation – chapters 2_3 – is an earth scene of
the state of the churches just as Jesus sees them – not what
they suppose themselves to be, but what they are in the white
light of omniscience and holiness. We call this part of the book
the letters to the seven churches, but these letters simply give
to each church a view of itself as God sees it. For instance:
one church had a name to live, but God saw it to be dead; one
church thought it was rich and mighty and had need of
nothing, but God saw it to be miserable and poor and blind and
naked. One church supposed itself to be exceedingly orthodox,
and yet God saw it was compromising with the worst form of
You are not to understandù1 beg you not to understand –
that these letters to the churches are prophecies. You must
not understand them as seven prophetic periods, the first
period in which Christendom is in the state of the Ephesus
church, and the second in the state of the Smyrna church, and
the last period in the state of the Laodicean church. Some con_
tend that these seven churches represent seven periods of
Christianity – that is a premillennial misconception. What
these seven churches were at that time you will find churches
to be just now. All of them will not be like the Ephesus church
but some of them will. All of them will not be like the Philadel_
phia church, but some of them will. All of them will not be like
Laodicea, but some of them will. I say the result of that reve_
lation is exceedingly discouraging when viewed with the first
revelation. The first revelation shows the world lighted by the
churches, the next revelation discounts it by the defective con_
dition of the churches.
The third revelation, the second of the things that are, is a
heaven scene, chapters 4_5, the throne of grace in heaven, with
a vision of a Triune God and the Cherubim, and all the angelic
activities that are to aid the churches to do their work. I would
not throw out chapters 4_5 of Revelation for all the gold in
this world. Every time I get blue over the study of the state of
the churches, I turn these pages over, open to chapters 4_5 and
read of the throne of grace in heaven. That puts hope into the
work of the churches.
The fourth revelation commences at 6:1, extending to and
including 8:1. That is prophecy – the opening of the seals. The
book that was sealed is the. book of future events, and now the
Lion of the tribe of Judah will break its seals and let you see
the successive future events. What the seals represent, from a
single viewpoint, extends from the time John wrote to the cli_
max of the book, and the end of time. It is a complete view. It
will be explained to you that the horses that come forth repre_
sent the different receptions given to the gospel as it is
preached, and you are to understand that that view is a com_
plete view, except the climax, which is reserved until you get
to the end of the book. If you want to know, in general terms,
the result of preaching the gospel until the great climax comes,
you have it symbolically outlined in the opening of the seals,
from 6:1 to 8:1. That verse is misplaced – it ought to be the
closing verse of chapter 7.
The analysis next presents the fifth revelation – the sound_
ing of the trumpets. That also is a complete view from the be_
ginning to the end, as were the seals. It does not follow in its
events the seal events, but it goes back to where the seal events
commence, and parallels it – it is a synchronous, not chrono_
logical, view of the gospel of Jesus Christ as it is prayed. The
key passage is 8:4_6. That chapter shows every trumpet sound
is a response – not to a sermon as in the case of the seals – but
to a prayer. It is one of the most instructive parts of the book.
It shows that the world’s evangelization is not to be accom_
plished exclusively by preaching – that praying has a great
deal to do with it. Whenever a trumpet sounds, it is not a reply
to a sermon, but it is a reply, maybe, to some poor widow that
prayed while you preached.
The sixth revelation is another complete view from begin_
ning to end, synchronous with the others, and it represents an
institution under the symbol of a woman, the true church, as
opposed to the false church under the symbol of another
woman. The true church and the false church viewed as
opposing institutions, is the biggest part of the book. It ex_
tends from 12:1 to 19:10 the true church and the apostate
church viewed as institutions. The Bible knows nothing of a
universal time church, whether visible or invisible. There are
churches, and there is a church as an institution. It is always
churches in Revelation, but the church as an institution is
symbolized by this woman. She has the radiance of the sun,
crowned with the stars, the moon is under her feet. But the
other woman is dressed in scarlet and purple, and is seated
upon a beast that in his original appearance came up out of
the sea. He had seven heads and ten horns, and the woman sits
on him. She is the counterfeit church. The symbols of the
vision are three distinct things – a sea beast, an earth beast,
and a woman. This section includes the seven vials, or bowls,
of wrath. The events including the seven bowls of wrath do
not wait until the seal events are passed away and the trumpet
events are passed away, and then follow successively, but it is
a complete view from the beginning – from the time John wrote
until Jesus comes. Here is a view of the true church as an in_

stitution and the counterfeit church as an institution, and the
conflict between them.
The seventh revelation commences at 19:11 and extends to
20:10. That ought to be put into a separate chapter, for it is an’
entirely distinct revelation. It is split up by arbitrary chapter
divisions. It, too, goes back to the beginning and reaches to the
end. It is not the true church as an institution and the apostate
church, as in the last case, but in it Christians are presented as
soldiers under the leadership of Jesus Christ in a holy war. And
that holy war is waged against the false prophet, the beast,
and Satan. In this war Satan is bound, the millennium comes,
and then the revival of evil after the millennium and the last
great battle. That is the holy war, and the center part of it is
the millennium.
To show you that these events are synchronous, the same
white horse that came forth when the first seal was broken,
appears now with the same rider leading in a conflict between
good and evil. It is a war waged between Christ and his soldiers
and the devil and his soldiers, and the war song is Psalm 110.
That is the holy war song: „The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit
thou at my right hand until I make thine enemies thy foot_
stool. Rule them with a rod of iron, as thy word goeth forth
from_ Zion, and from the day that thou leadest out thine
armies, thy young men shall be volunteers, and as multitudi_
nous as the drops of the dew in the dawn of the morning.”
So far, four revelations have been synchronous. Each one
came nearly to the climax and stopped. Now we come to
the eighth revelation (20:11_15), the coming of the Lord and
the general judgment. This chapter is not only the climax of the
preceding one, which was the fourth synchronous view, but it is
the suppressed climax of all preceding views. The seventh seal
is followed by silence – the last thing is not told. The seventh
trumpet is about to be sounded, but it does not sound. It only
says that when it is sounded the mystery of the kingdom of
God will be finished; and every other view comes right up, but

not quite, to the climax. Now, the climax is the eighth
revelation, or the coming of the Lord and the general judgment.
Let me impress the thought by repetition. All the other
views approach this climax and stop. The seventh seal is
followed by silence (8:1). The seventh trumpet comes to the
world conquest and announces the judgment at hand. The
bowls of wrath find an end after the war of Har_Magedon,
before the judgment. The true church is brought within sight
of the marriage of the Lamb, which is an unfinished picture.
The climax of all of them is this eighth revelation, or the com_
ing of the Lord ‘and the general judgment.
The ninth revelation is the state of the saints in glory after
the judgment (21:1 to 22:5). This is the grand climax. The
coming of the Lord was the climax, but the final state of the
redeemed is the grand climax. The first climax ends all the
four synchronous views, and this grand climax rounds up the
whole book, showing the final estate of the redeemed in glory,
and of the wicked in eternal punishment.
The eleventh item of the outline, the certification of the
whole book, with its closing invitation and warnings (22:6_20).
This section tells us three things: The certification of an entire
book, which you will find the most solemn attestation this
earth has ever known, and after the certification is the in_
vitation: „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.” It
closes with the warning: „Whosoever shall add to or take
from this book,” etc.
The twelfth and last item of my analysis is the closing
salutation. This is the last verse of the book (22:21). I have
put this general view of the book before you at the start: I
would not attempt to interpret a book that I had not thought
through, and not be like one beating the bush to flush mean_
ings or conjectures – that go off at a tangent like birds when
flushed. This analysis enables you to mark down each bird,
and bring them all again into one covey.
The theme of the book is the mystery of the kingdom o(
God. It shows that this whole world, every continent of it,
every foot of it, all the places that are on it, lost through the
first Adam, will be reconciled through the Second Adam, and
the instrumentalities by which the gross darkness that is on
the world through the usurper Satan is finally dispersed, are
the churches reflecting Christ the Sun of Righteousness, and
the preachers here on the earth empowered by the Holy Ghost.
Let no man impress your mind that salvation, at the latter
part of the world, is to be brought about by a different instru_
mentality from that at the beginning of the world. God never
had but one plan of salvation. Settle it as a fundamental point
of your theology that the plan of salvation has always been
one plan. Every man on earth that has been saved to date,
and every man that will be saved on this earth, will be saved
by the blood of Christ preached by the gospel and applied by
the Holy Spirit. Not a soul, not one, will be saved after Christ
comes. In his first advent he came as a sin offering unto sal_
vation. In his second advent he comes apart from salvation,
or apart from a sin offering to salvation. He comes to wind up
the affairs of the world, raise the dead, and judge the world.
He who, in his theory, seeks to point the people of God to
some other way of enlightening the world than by the original
plan – Christ’s light reflecting in the churches under the guid_
ance of the Holy Spirit – is to my mind in his theory (bless
God, not often in his practices!) opposed to the plan of salva_
tion. There is to be no saving dispensation after the Holy Ghost
dispensation, and the Holy Ghost dispensation lasts while
Christ is on the throne up yonder and the Holy Ghost is here
on the earth, a vicegerent, testifying about Christ, testifying
through the churches and the preachers, and the people of God.
If I thought that the gospel trumpet was of some base metal,
iron or brass, to be succeeded by a more precious trumpet of
silver, gold or diamonds, under some other dispensation,
should lose my present high respect for the gospel.

Another general remark, when we come to the details of the
exposition, I will stop at certain points in the series of discus_
sions and give a special discussion on certain special themes.
For example, the symbolic numbers of Revelation, as the
seven in the seven churches, the seven Spirits of God, the seven
seals, the seven trumpets, the seven bowls, and other numbers.
Then there will be a special discussion on the antichrists of the
Scriptures, and there have been a number, and the confusion
of commentaries is in mixing the antichrists. Then it will be
necessary to have a special discussion on the millennium. What
are its precursors; what is it; what follows it? Then a dis_
cussion of the final advent of our Lord. You may rest assured
that the same Jesus that died, was buried, and was raised
again, and who ascended into heaven, whom the heavens must
retain unto the time of the restoration of all things, will him_
self finally come to his people here on earth, visibly, audibly,
palpably, personally, and no doubt of it. As his first advent
was the highest peak in the view of the Old Testament, so
his final advent is the highest peak in the view of the New
Testament. But, it is to be hoped that you will not beguile
yourself with supposing that every time a coming of the Lord
is referred to it means his final advent. Of this fact I hope to
convince you in these discussions. In a certain sense, and every
time in a scriptural sense, there are many comings of the Lord.

Our Lord’s own brief outline (1:19)
1. „The things which thou sawest” (1:12_16). The vision
of the glorified Lord, source of all light, in his relation to the
churches and pastors, and their consequent mission as the
light_bearers of the world.
2. „And the things which are”: The state of the imper_
fect churches and pastors as God sees them, an earth scene
tending to discouragement (2_3). (2) The throne of grace,
with all its agencies and activities, helping the imperfect
churches and pastors (4_5), a heaven scene, tending to encour_
3. „And the things which shall come to pass hereafter”
(6_22), showing that by the heavenly helps the imperfect lower
lights shall ultimately illumine the whole world.

The author’s own introduction to the book (1)
The title of the book, its nature, origin, medium, by whom
signified, to whom, for whom its value (1:1).
The human author identified (1:2).
To whom addressed first clause of v. 4, and v. II.
The author’s greeting and doxology (1:4_8).
The author’s account of how, when, where, and under what
circumstances he was commissioned to write (1:9_20). This
includes the voice and the vision, the effect of the vision on
him, and the Lord’s explanation of it.

I. The first revelation – what John saw (1:12_16).
Or a revelation of the glorified Lord himself, now shining
as the Sun of Righteousness, source of all spiritual life, in
his relation to the churches and pastors on earth, the lower
lights, commissioned to reflect the heavenly light and so
illumine the whole world.

II. The second revelation (2_3).
The state of the churches and pastors, not as they them_
selves, nor as the world sees them, but as they really are in
God’s sight. This is an earth scene of „the things that are,”
and, on account of the imperfections of these agencies for
world illumination, tends to discouragement.
Note 1. The real condition of no two churches is the same.
Note 2. The varied provisions for remedying imperfections
adapted to each special need.
Note 3. The various adversaries all directed by one leading
Note 4. The hope lies in Christ’s „walking among the
candlesticks” in constant supervision and continually speaking
through the indwelling Spirit.

III. The third revelation (4_5).
This is a heaven scene of „the things that are.” It is a reve_
lation of the throne of grace with all its agencies and activities
employed to help the imperfect churches and pastors illumine
the world. This scene tends to encouragement. It is the sure
promise of ultimate triumph.
„The things that shall come to pass hereafter”
(The prophetic part of the book: Chapters 6_22).

IV. The fourth revelation, or the opening of the seals (6:1
to 8:1).
This section begins the prophetic element which continues to
the end of the book. Its design is to foreshow the various effects
of the gospel as preached. It is a complete view from this
angle of vision from John’s day to the end of things, suppress_
ing only the final climax for the time being (see 8:1: which
properly is the last verse of chapter 7), with the temporary
silence on the opening of the seventh seal, which silence will
be broken when at the end of the book the climax is supplied.

V. The fifth revelation (8:2 to 9:19).
The sounding of the trumpets, or the gospel as prayed.
Note 1. The key passage of this section (8:3_6), that every
trumpet sounded is a response to prayer, and not to a sermon.
This also is a complete view from that day to the end of time,
hinting at but suppressing the final climax, as did the seals.
Note 2. That while it is a complete view, like the seals, it
is from a different angle of vision.
Note 3. That its events are not successive to the seal events,
but synchronize with them. The two views are parallel.
Note 4. The remarkable episode (10:1 to 11:14) following
the sixth trumpet which gives a distinct but subordinate reve_
lation, and which includes six of the seven thunders and two
of the three bowls, the little book, the measuring of the
Temple, the death and revival of the two witnesses.
Note 5. Connecting 10:7, with 11:15, we see not only a key
to the meaning of the book but this view is synchronological
with the seals.

VI. The sixth revelation (11:1 to 19:10).
The true church as an institution, symbolized as a glorious
woman (12:1), and the later apostate church as an opposing
institution symbolized as a harlot (17:1_6).
This also is a complete view from John’s day to the end of
time, only from a new angle of vision, and is parallel with the
preceding synchronous views of the seals and the trumpets,
and, like the others, lacks only the final climax.
Note 1. That the one great dominant adversary is Satan
(12:3, 9).
Note 2. That his persecutions through world governments
drive her into the wilderness – obscurity – for a long time
Note 3. That when he had failed to destroy her by heathen
world power, he causes to rise among the nations a new world
power, i.e., a union of church and state, „spotted like the
leopard,” which makes war with the saints (13:1_10). Then
develops from this union a papal head (13:11_18), who as_
sumes all power civil and religious, and from these two develop
an institution – the apostate church (17:1_6).
Note 4. In this symbolism: (a) A woman represents the
church, true or apostate, as an institution, (b) The sea repre_
sents the nations, (c) A sea beast, as in Daniel, represents a
world power over the nations, (d) A spotted beast, .a world
power dominated by apostate Christianity, (e) The earth
beast, in the guise of a lamb, but with the voice of the dragon,
represents an assumed earthly head to both church and state.
Note 5. In this section come the seven plagues, or seven
bowls of wrath poured on the apostate church, and the great
war of Har_Magedon.

VII. The seventh revelation, or the holy war between the
saints and the emissaries of Satan (19:11 to 20:10).
This is also a complete view from John’s day to the end of
time, and, like the three preceding, needs only the climax. It,
like the rest, has its own angle of vision. As Matthew, Mark,
Luke, and John present the life of our Lord in four parallel
views, each complete from its angle of vision, so here are four
complete synchronous views of his kingdom, each from its
own angle of vision, to wit: (1) The seals, or the gospel as
preached. (2) The trumpets, or the gospel as prayed. (3) The
true church as an institution, opposed by the apostate church
as an institution. (4) The holy war, and the salvation of the
Note 1. The progress of the conquest of the western nations,
culminating in the millennium (19:11 to 20:6).
Note 2. The progress of the conquest of the eastern nations,
Gog and Magog (20:7_10).
As this section is a distinct revelation, complete in itself, it
should not be broken by arbitrary chapter divisions, but should
make one distinct chapter.

VIII. The eighth revelation (20:11_15).
The final advent of our Lord, the resurrection of all the dead
and the one general, final judgment fixing the eternal destiny
of saint and sinner. This climax caps all the four synchronous

IX. The ninth revelation, or grand climax of the book (21:1
to 22:5).
Paradise regained.

X. The tenth revelation (22:6_21j.
The divine and human authentication of the book, with as_
surance, promises, threats, invitations, and the author’s closing

1. Give our Lord’s brief analysis of the book, and what parts of the
book belong to each division.
2. Give the teacher’s elaborate analysis.
3 According to this analysis, how many revelations, and how many
synchronous views, giving terminal points of each?

Revelation 1
Having clearly in mind the analysis of the entire book al_
ready given, we shall begin with the interpretation of the book
of Revelation.
The first word in this book, as in the Old Testament books,
gives its name: Greek, Apocalupsis, Latin, Revelatio, English,
Revelation. They all mean literally an unveiling of that which
is hidden.
The source of the revelation, as you see from the text, w
God the Father. The medium of the revelation ‘is Jesus Christ.
The agent employed in signifying it is an interpreting angel.
The revelation is made to John the apostle for the people of
God. Notice that the word „signify” is appropriately used,
since the revelation is to be made known by signs or symbols.
The angel, who signifies it, is the author of the great voice as
of a trumpet in verse 10. We hear his voice again at the be_
ginning of chapter 4, and he reappears on the scene in the last
chapters of the book. Verse 2 tells us which John received
this revelation in these words: „Who bare witness of the
word of God and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, even of all
things that he saw.” It is quite important to know when John
bare witness of the word of God. The tense is the „aorist”
and usually, according to grammatical construction, refers to
something in the completed past. Following this sense of the
aorist we are bound to construe verse 2 as identifying the John
to whom this revelation was made and the bearing witness
would refer to the witness that he had already borne in his
Gospel. This construction would conclusively establish the
authorship of the book. It would prove that the author of
the Gospel is also the author of this book, and that the Gospel
was written first.
The only escape from this conclusion is to make the witness
bearing refer to what John now does concerning this revelation
which he is receiving. Many great scholars insist on making
this the meaning, and calling the tense the epistolary aorist. I
see no necessity for adopting this latter construction. By
reference to John’s Gospel, and indeed to his first letter, we see
that he there claims to have borne witness to the word of God
and the testimony of Jesus Christ and of all things that be saw
and heard.
In verse 3 we have the words: „Blessed is he that readeth
and they that hear the words of this prophecy.” We know that
in later times the churches had readers who would read to them
any communication received and explain the communication.
The rest of the church would hear. We have already found
that Paul gave directions that his letter to one church should
be read to another church, and the letter to that church be
also read to the first church named. So it is unnecessary to go
to a later date to find the origin of a reader to the churches.
The New Testament itself gives the origin.
From verses 4_6 we have John’s greeting to the seven
churches of Asia to whom the entire book is addressed. Not
only all of chapters 2_3 are specifically devoted to special
messages for the churches named, but at the end of the book,
22:16, we have these words referring back to the whole book,
„I, Jesus, have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things
for the churches.”
It is important to note in this connection our Lord’s use of
the word ecclesia. In Matthew 16, he says: „I will build my
church,” using the term to signify the institution. In Matthew
18, he says, „tell it to the church,” referring to whatever par_
ticular congregation the decision of the case of discipline be_
longs. Many times in the hook of Revelation he uses the

word „church,” and in every case the reference is to particular
churches. Our Lord’s usage of the word knows nothing of a
now existing universal church, whether visible or invisible. He
does not say to the church of Asia, but the seven churches of
Asia. There is nothing in his use of the word to indicate the
existence of church in any provincial, national, worldwide, or
denominational sense. On the contrary, he seems to guard
very carefully against such a use of the term. It is true that in
chapter 12, without using the term „church,” he does present
the idea of the church as an institution under the symbol of the
woman arrayed with the sun and the moon under her feet,
and upon her head a crown of twelve stars, which woman later
becomes, in chapter 19, the bride of Christ or the church in
Carefully note the expression in verse 6: „and he made us to
be a kingdom and to be priests unto his God and Father.”
Again we have the past tense, signifying that the kingdom al_
ready exists. It would be strange to make one part of the
sentence mean a kingdom to come, and the other part to mean
an existing priesthood. We know from many scriptures that
Christians are now priests offering spiritual sacrifices unto
God, and so also they now constitute a kingdom. The kingdom
is now and has been since the God of heaven in the days of his
flesh set it up. It will become the kingdom in glory but it is a
kingdom in actual fact now.
Verse 7 needs very careful interpretation. „Behold, he
cometh with the clouds, and every eye shall see him and they
that pierced him, and all the tribes of the earth shall mourn
over him, even so Amen.” Alford holds this verse to be the
key passage of the book and so does every premillennialist.
They are sure that it refers to the final advent of our Lord. I
do not wish to startle you, but it is necessary to ask where
John obtains this imagery.
Your attention has already been called to the most notable
fact in connection with this book, that while not directly quot_

ing the Old Testament, it teems and bristles with references to
the Old Testament. All of its analogues are taken from the
Old Testament. The paradise of Genesis, the plagues of Ex_
odus, the visions of God in Isaiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, and the
marvelous visions of Zechariah, furnish the molding of the
Where, then, the question recurs, do we find the origin of the
phrase used in verse 7? In Daniel 7, we have „One like unto
the Son of man coming in the clouds to the Ancient of days and
receiving the kingdom.” This unquestionably refers to Christ’s
ascension and exaltation after his resurrection. In Zechariah
12:10, we have the origin of the piercing of Christ, as follows:
„And they shall look upon him whom they have pierced, and
they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for his only son.”
This mourning, after beholding whom they had pierced, is
followed by the opening of a fountain for sin and uncleanness.
It is not the mourning of despair by the lost who shall see
Christ at his final advent, but it is the penitential mourning
that follows the pouring out of the Spirit of God upon the
house of David that enables them to see Christ pierced and
held up before them in the gospel and thus find life. John has
already, in his Gospel, referred to this passage in Zechariah,
applying it to Christ crucified and not to Christ coming at
his final advent. The language of the Gospel is: „But one of
the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came
there out blood and water; and he that saw it bare record, and
his record is true, and he knoweth that he sayeth true, that
ye might believe, for these things were done that the scrip_
tures might be fulfilled: They shall look on him whom they
have pierced.”
Since the text „the coming in the clouds” and „piercing” and
„mourning” are all borrowed from the Old Testament and all
refer to Christ crucified and held up before sinners, who,
through the pouring out of the Spirit, are enabled to recognize
him and believe in him and thereby be saved, we are hardly

warranted in making this passage the key passage of the book,
and certainly are not warranted in referring it to the final ad_
vent of our Lord. The key passage of the book we will con_
sider directly. It is the purpose of verse 7 to refer to the
spiritually prompted vision of Christ by faith on the part of all
the tribes of the earth.
Bearing on the statement that the kingdom now exists we
may consider verse, where John says, „I, John, your brother
and partaker with you in the tribulation and kingdom and
patience which are in Jesus . . .” Here, so certain as John
then partook with them in the tribulation of persecution, and
in the patience that steadfastly endured that persecution, so it
is certain that he, at the time of the writing, was partaker
with them in the existing kingdom.
Verse 10, commences thus: „I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s
day.” It has been the safe interpretation of the fathers that
the Lord’s Day here refers to the first day of the week, the
Christian sabbath. We have already noted in Colossians that
the entire system of the Jewish sabbaths, weekly, monthly,
annual, septennial, and the sabbath of the Jubilee, were all
nailed to the cross of Christ, being shadows and finding their
substance in Christ they were abrogated; henceforth the Chris_
tian should not be judged for failing to observe the Jewish
sabbatical system. He might observe that system from mo_
tives of expediency that he might gain others, but certainly
not on demand and as an obligation. We have already seen
in our discussion of the letter to the Hebrews the distinction
between the sabbath and the seventh day. The sabbath is
perpetual with all its obligations. Hebdome, or seventh day,
was not perpetual. „Another day” is referred to, and as the
Father finishing the work of creation appointed a commemora_
tive sabbath on the seventh day, so Christ, having finished the
greater work of redemption, appointed „another day,” the first
day of the week, so that there should remain to the people of
God a sabbath_keeping.
On this, therefore, the Lord’s Day, or the Christian sabbath,
John was in the Spirit, and heard the angel voice as of a
trumpet instructing him to write in a book the visions to be
received, and send it to these seven churches of Asia. Woe to
the professed Christian, and especially to the preacher, who
hears no voices and sees no visions. We thus hear and see
when we are in the Spirit. The man who has no sabbath_keep_
ing (sabbatismos), who consecrates no Lord’s Day, will not
likely be in the Spirit.
We have a remarkable vision which is the key passage to
the interpretation of the whole book of Revelation in verses
12_16. The elements of the vision are, first, seven golden
candlesticks, and in the midst of the candlesticks a vision of
Christ as the Sun of Righteousness. He holds in his right hand
seven stars and out of his mouth proceeds a sharp two_edged
sword. This vision he explains himself: The candlesticks
represent the churches; the stars represent the messengers or
pastors of the churches; the two_edged sword represents his
word, or the gospel. The whole vision is one of light. The
central light – Christ, the Sun of Righteousness; the lower
lights – the churches and’ the preachers; the instrumentality
of dispensing the light – the Word of God.
In the next chapter we see that while Christ is in the midst
of the churches, he is not there in person, but through the
other Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, who is his „alter ego,” his
vicar here upon earth. John in his Gospel had previously rep_
resented Christ as the light of the world, but since he ascended
into heaven this light is reflected in the churches and preachers
through the Spirit and by the Word. The object of the vision
is to show that the whole world will be illumined by the
churches and the preachers in the dispensation of the gospel,
which dispensation is the dispensation of the Holy Spirit, for
when Christ speaks to the churches he says: „If any man hath
ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit sayeth to the
The doctrine of this vision is of incalculable importance.
It teaches that the Spirit dispensation, or Word dispensation
through the churches and the preachers, is to accomplish the
whole work of the application of the salvation achieved by
our Lord’s vicarious death. We will find in every subsequent
revelation this ruling thought; the world to be illumined by
these light_bearers. There is no hint of any other source or
medium or instrumentality of light. There is no hint that the
churches will fail on the earth and that some other divine
interposition must take place to finish the mystery of the
kingdom of God. This is in accord with the Great Commission
in Matthew 28: „Go ye into all the world and make disciples_
of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and
of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe
all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo! I will
be with you all the days, even unto the end of the world.”
The pessimist who believes that the object of the gospel is
simply and only to be a witness and to take out a few here
and there of the lost world and that light will become feebler
and dimmer until the second advent, and then by marvelous
displays of miraculous power, the return of Christ in person to
supersede the Spirit, the world is to be conquered for Christ –
this view, I say, is at war with all the teachings of this book,
and of the other New Testament books. The Spirit, through
the churches and the gospel, will accomplish all the conquests
that are to be accomplished and Christ’s return is not as a sin
offering unto salvation, but to raise the dead, judge the world,
and wind up the affairs of this kingdom preparatory to turning
it over to the Father.
The final, personal, visible, audible, palpable return of Jesus
Christ to the earth, with whatever displays of divine power,
is not for the conversion of any man. It ends the days of sal_
vation. If we hold in our minds that practically the gospel
will be a failure and that the world will grow worse and worse
until the second advent of Christ, and that we are to look for
the great forces of redemption after he comes back, then we
cannot, except with a very limited faith, press the mission
work for the evangelization of the world. It will not be in our
hearts to hope to see missions accomplish the salvation of men.
We may count, therefore, the whole book of Revelation as a
vision of ever_increasing light until by the gospel through
the Spirit the whole world is flooded with light – and indeed
this idea is manifest as the governing thought in every subse_
quent revelation until the final consummation of eternal light
presented in the twenty_first and twenty_second chapters, the
closing chapters of the book.
In verse 17 we are told that when John saw the glorified
Christ he fell at his feet as one dead. It is the uniform teach_
ing of the Bible that the nearer we approach to God and the
clearer our vision of him, the more sensibly do we feel our
sinfulness. Job had a very good opinion of himself and talked
boldly of his desire to meet the Almighty face to face, but
when the Almighty came, and Job stood in the white light of
the holiness of God, though he was the saintliest man of his
day, he cried out: „I have uttered that which I understood
not, but now that mine mine seeth thee, I abhor myself and
repent in dust and ashes.” Isaiah, also, the saintliest man of
his day, when he saw the vision of the Almighty, cried out:
„Woe is me, for I am undone, because I am a man of unclean
lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips, for
mine eyes have seen the King Jehovah of Hosts.” When,
therefore, you hear one making the extravagant boast of his
sinlessness, you may know that the boast argues his distance
from God rather than his nearness. If he were indeed in
brighter light, then would he be able to see the spots upon his
garments that are invisible in his state of semidarkness.
This vision represents our Lord, as a royal priest on his
throne. The glory of his exalted state, and of the authority
with which he is invested when understood by faith, dispels
fear; though the saint is so imperfect, his voice comes: „Fear
not. I am the first and the last, and the Living One, and I was
dead and behold I am alive for ever more, and I have the keys
of death and of Hades and I have the keys of David, with
power to open so that none can shut, and power to shut so that
none can open.”
To the despondent Christian, a vision of this exalted Christ
is a sure cure of both his despondency and of his fear. It is a
vision not of our Lord in the days of his humiliation when he
had not where to lay his head, when he was emptied of the
glory of his original state in heaven, but it is a vision of the
risen, ascended, and exalted Jesus on the throne of the universe,
and as his presence is felt in the churches. Through the Spirit
the word preached by the churches is the power of God unto
I cannot refrain from reference to an incident in my own life
in the summer of 1905. I was on a train in the Panhandle and
greatly distressed in mind as I thought of the imperfections
of the churches and of the preachers. The despondency in_
creased when I saw in all the Southwest, a territory larger than
all the rest of the South) no provision made for training preach_
ers to be great and efficient in their ministry. When I saw rep_
resentatives of some ministerial training schools coming into
Texas and other states of the Southwest with their minds
poisoned on the vital doctrines of the inspiration of the Bible,
the deity of Christ, his vicarious expiation, the transcendent
power of the Holy Spirit, my despondency increased the more.
How can we have in the Southwest a school for the adequate
training of our preachers? How can we safeguard it from
heresy when it is established? How can we make it a barrier
against the inflowing tide of semi_infidelity in the pulpit? It
was at this very juncture that I recalled to mind this vision
which John saw on the isle of Patmos, and so vivid was the
recollection that it was to me as if I heard Jesus speak audibly:
„Fear not, I am the Living One. I was dead, but am alive to
die no more.” Instantly my heart leaped with joy and I half
rose from my seat saying to myself: „Jesus is alive, and if
Jesus be alive he can manifest that life now as well as he mani_
fested his life on earth and even with greater power. If when
alive in the flesh he could still the storm, heal the sick, raise
the dead, reconcile us to God by his vicarious death, then
surely after his resurrection, ascension, and exaltation, with
all authority in heaven and on earth in his hands, he can make
it possible to do anything desirable for the efficiency of his
churches and his preachers. It would not, then, be necessary
to rely upon historic monumental evidences, but each of us
now could have sensible demonstration that Jesus is alive and
king forever.” It made an epoch in my life. It gave me the faith
and courage with which to undertake the establishment of the
seminary of which I am president.
In verse 19 we have our Lord’s analysis of the book of Reve_
lation: „Write therefore the things which thou sawest, and
the things which are, and the things which shall come to pass
hereafter.” What he saw was this vision. The things which
are, were: First, the revelation of our glorified Lord, in his
relation to the churches and pastors, and their consequent
mission as light_bearers. Second, the state of the imperfect
churches here upon earth as set forth in chapters 2_3. Third,
the revelation of the throne of grace in heaven, as set forth in
chapters 4_5. Fourth, the things which shall come to pass
hereafter, are the things presented in all the rest of the book
from chapter 6 to the end.
In this interpretation of the book, while on some details the
teaching cannot be dogmatic, yet the main lines of thought
are just as clear as the main lines of thought in the Four Gos_
pels. A patient study of the book will be of incalculable ad_
vantage to us. As we pray and study and have faith, the
assurance will settle upon our hearts that whatever may be
the temporary ebbs and flows) the outcome will be that all the
kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdom of our Lord
Jesus Christ through the work of the churches and the preach_
ers, and that earthly imperfections are more than compensated
for by the great power of God from the heavenly throne of our
Lord, keeping the lamps filled with oil and trimmed and burn_

1. Analyze verse I, showing the meaning of apocalypse, its source,
medium, instrument, method, to whom, for whom.
2. How may a strictly grammatical construction of the aorist or past tense of „bare witness” in verse 2 prove that the apostle John wrote both the Fourth Gospel and Revelation, and that Revelation, was the later book?
3. Judging from the expression in verse 3, „Blessed is he that readeth and they that hear,” and comparing it with I Thessalonians 5:27, and Colossians 4:16, when originated the custom, so well attested in later days, of having „readers to the churches”? And what modern invention superseded the necessity for the custom?
4. „The seven churches that are in Asia.” Counting the instances in Matthew and Revelation: (1) how many times in the record of our Lord’s own saying does the Greek word ekklesia occur and (2) in what two senses alone, and (3) since he says „The churches of Asia,” and not „The church of Asia,” and since several times in chapter 2 and 3 he Bays „Hear what the Spirit saith to the churches,” and not „to the church” – what is the bearing of this usage on the idea of a provincial, national or universal church?
5. Prove from the use of the word „kingdom” in v. 6 and 9 that premillen-nialists are mistaken in contending that there is yet no kingdom except an ideal one.
6. Compare v. 7 with the Old Testament analogues in Daniel 7:lb
14, and Zechariah 12:10_14, and 13:1, with John 19:37, and then answer:
(1) Is this „coming with clouds” the final advent of our Lord?
(2) Do the tribes here see him with the natural eye in the glory of his final advent, or with the eye of faith lifted up on the cross by preaching (as in Acta 2 and 3, by Peter, and in. Galatians 3:1, by Paul)? And
(3) Is the mourning when they see him a mourning of despair or a
mourning of penitence unto salvation?
7. Interpret the key passage of the book 1:12_16, explaining each
metaphor, and then answer particularly:
(1) Is Christ present with the churches personally or through the Spirit? In answering this question consider 2:7, II, 17,29; 3:0, 13,22.
(2) Does he, as the Sun of Righteousness, shine directly or reflectively through the churches and preachers, making them the light of the world, and through the Word, represented as a sword issuing from his mouth?
(3) Trace through the book the proof that this vision of the world
lighted by these instrumentalities is the key passage
(4) And is there anywhere in the book any proof that the world will
otherwise be illumined or men saved?

Revelation 2-3

This section of the analysis is the second revelation, chap_
ters 2_3, an earth scene of „the things that are.” It consists
of the letters to the seven churches, and is a revelation of their
condition in God’s sight. Now, upon these seven letters I
wish to make some general observations.
My first is that you should find a map – generally the last
map in your Bible – of the eastern part of the Mediterranean
Sea. That will show you the province of Asia – the south_
western part of Asia Minor. And on that map yon must lo_
cate the seven churches. Commence at the southwestern coast
of Asia Minor – there you will find the first church, Ephesus,
a seaport, or used to be, situated on a little river that flows into
the_Aegean Sea. Follow the coast line north until you come to
Smyrna, another seaport.’ Still going north you come to Per_
gamum, or Pergamos (either is correct). That is not a seaport,
but is close to the sea. The first three churches, then, are found
by following up the coast going north. The other four church_
es are inland, and you will find them by commencing a little
north of where Pergamos is located, and by following a line
south you come to the other churches in the order named:
Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea. Now, look a little
off that coast from the southwestern part of Asia Minor, and
you will find a little island, barely discernible on the map,
called Patmos. That is where John was. So, my first observa_
tion is that the reader should locate on a map the province of
Asia, the seven churches (noting which are seaports and which
are inland) and Patmos.

My next observation is based upon what we considered in
the last chapter, that is, the key passage of the book (1:12_16),
representing Christ as the original light, the Sun of Righteous_
ness, shining as the sun in its full strength, reflecting his light
upon the churches, and through them here on earth his reflected
light is to illuminate the world. The description of this glori_
fied Christ shows him in the garb of a high priest, and invested
with kingly ruleùa royal priest. If that be the key passage,
then the whole of this book, up to 20:11, where you strike the
climax of the bookùthe whole of the book up to that point is
what is called the Spirit’s dispensation, or the dispensation of
the churches, or the dispensation of the gospel preached. Ev_
erything up to 20:11, where Christ comes to raise the dead
and judge the world.
Now take that key passage of Christ as the light of the
world, and trace its connection through this section we are
studying, chapters 2_3. In order that you may trace it, open
your Bible and read the following verses – the beginning of
each letter to a churchù2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14. As you
read these verses introducing what is said to each church,
you will see that the titles or appellatives applying to Christ,
through whom this light comes, are all citations or allusions
to the first revelation. So all of this section shows that this
key passage unlocks everything said to the churches. In the
same way we may trace the key passages through the whole of
the book unlocking the meaning of every vision. The connec_
tion, therefore, between this section and the first revelation
is evident in these verses.
To impress that on you perhaps you had better read these
verses. Begin at chapter 2 and read only the beginning of
each letter to the churches: „To the angel of the church at
Ephesus write, These things saith he that holdeth the seven
stars in his right hand, that walketh in the midst of the seven
golden candlesticks.” Now that is a quotation from chapter 1,
where the key passage is given; Christ is seen walking in the
midst of the candlesticks; Christ is holding the seven stars
in his right hand.
Verse 8: „And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write,
These things saith the first and the last, who was dead and
liveth again.” By reading the first chapter you will find these
allusions to Christ: „The first and the last, who was dead but
liveth again to die no more.”
Verse 12: „To the angel of the church at Pergamos write,
These things saith he that hath the sharp two_edged sword.”
In that first revelation a two_edged sword is represented as
issuing from his mouth, standing for his word of judgment.
Verse 18: „To the angel of the church in Thyatira write,
These things saith the Son of God, who hath eyes like a flame
of fire and feet like unto burnished brass.” That is the de_
scription of his eyes and feet as seen in the first revelation.
Now 3:1: „And to the angel of the church in Sardis write,
These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God and
the seven stars.” Evidently that is an allusion to the first
Verse 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 none can shut,
and he that shutteth and none can open.” These things are
alluded to in the first revelation.
Verse 14: „And to the angel of the church of Laodicea write,
These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the
beginning of the creation of God.”
My third general observation is based upon Christ’s own
uses of the word „church” as found in Matthew and Revela_
tion. There are twenty_three instances of Christ’s using the
Greek word ecclesia – church. In Matthew 24:18, he says,
„I will build my church.” In Matthew 18:17, he says, „Tell
it to the church.” The references in Revelation where he uses
the term church or churches are the following: 1:4,11,20, and

again 20; 2:1, 7_8, 11_12, 17_18, 23, 29; 3:1, 6_7, 13_14, 22;
Now here are twenty_three examples of the use of the word
ecclesia – church – as spoken by our Lord Jesus Christ himself;
and it is evident from a study of these twenty_three instances
of the use of the word, that Christ never said anything about
an invisible or universal church.’ His teaching is to the con_
trary; he does not say the church in Asia, but „the churches
in Asia.” He does not use the word church in any provincial
sense, or state sense, or national sense, or denominational
sense. This is a very convincing exhibit of the uses of the
word, as coming from the lips of our Lord, rebuking the con_
tention of many people of the present day who talk about a
universal church here on earth, whether visible or invisibleù
the New Testament does not know anything about either one.
It is true that in 12:1 under the symbol of a woman, also in
17:3, under the symbol of another woman, he presents first
the church as an institution and then the apostate church as
an institution, and it is equally true that in 19:7_8 he presents
the church in glory, under the symbol of a bride, and in 21:9,
under the symbol of the heavenly Jerusalem, a city. So that
we may say that Christ used the word to describe the time
church as an institution, and to name the concrete example
of this institution particular churches, and to foreshadow the
coming glory church – something which does not yet exist.
My fifth general observation is the significance of Christ
walking amid the candlesticks, knowing, revealing, rebuking,
threatening, promising. The body of each letter will show
their condition: „I know thy works,” or „where thou dwell_
est” – and the rest of the terms to the churches telling the
condition of each church. He tells the things favorable and
the things unfavorable, he rebukes, exhorts to amendment,
and closes each with a precious promise. This unseen presence,
this exercise of actual omniscience, this authority to rebuke or
remove, this diversity and wealth of promise, tend to produce
extraordinary results: it encourages the faithful that he knows
and will reward; it stimulates the backslidden to revival and
amendment; it alarms the unworthy and terrifies with certain
and speedy judgment.
My next general observation is that this presence of Christ
in the churches is not a personal presence – he is up in heaven,
but he is present through the Spirit, his alter ego, the one that
came down according to his promise to be his vicar, his vice_
gerent here on earth. Now, as proof that this is the meaning,
read 2:7: „Hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches”;
verse II: „Hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches”;
verse 17: „Hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches”;
verse 29: „Hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches”; 3:6:
„Hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches”; verse 13:
„Hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches”; verse 22:
„Hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” So that every
time he says anything to any of these churches, he closed by
calling it „what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”
That teaches that Christ is present with his people here on
earth, not in a personal sense, but through the Holy Spirit,
whom he sent after he ascended into heaven. So in the Great
Commission, „I am with you all the days, even unto the end
of the world.” He is not with us in person: we cannot see him,
touch him, feel him, but he is present in the Spirit. That also
shows that this whole book comes in the Spirit dispensation,
under the guidance of the Holy Spirit all through the book, up
to 20:11. Christ stays up in heaven until the time of restora_
tion of all things. While he stays up there the Spirit represents
him down here. When he comes (20:11), the Spirit dispensa_
tion is ended, the gospel dispensation is ended, the gospel
preaching is ended.
My seventh general observation is that the condition of no
two of these churches is exactly the same. Look and see that
the deficiency of one is not the deficiency of another. Ephesus
is sound in doctrine, but deficient in love. Smyrna was poor
but rich. Laodicea rich but poor. Pergamos was faithful in
persecution, but wanting in discipline. In Ephesus the first
works were greater than the last, while Thyatira the last works
were greater than the first, and in Sardis none of its works, first
or last, was perfect in God’s sight. Smyrna was attaining to
a crown of life, while Thyatira, having a name to live, was
dead. Philadelphia glowed with fervor while Laodicea was
lukewarm. I ask you to note this diversity of condition in the
seven churches, that you may apply it to any seven churches
in Texas. The same examination of the First Church in Fort
Worth, in Dallas, Austin, Houston, San Antonio, Waxahachie,
Galveston, or of the seven leading churches in any one city,
would reveal similar diversity of conditions in God’s sight.
This application goes to confirm what is evident, namely, that
these are real letters to seven contemporaneous churches, and
were not intended to Be prophetic of seven consecutive periods,
the Ephesian first, the Laodicean last. It is a travesty on
sound interpretation to say: „We are now in the Laodicean
My eighth observation, that Christ’s titles) and Christ’s
threats, and Christ’s promises are adapted to meet the specific
condition of each church as it comeg up: he does not use the
same threats, he does not use the same titles; be does not offer
the same promises, but in every case there is an adaptation
to the need, showing the infinite diversity in Christ so as to
suit the diverse needs.
My ninth observation is that you may gather up into one
sentence the promises made to the faithful ones in all of the
churches – make one sentence of it. A special succeeding chap_
ter will expound these promises to you. Let us make up that
sentence now (2:7) : „To him that overcometh will I give to eat
of the tree of life”; verse II (latter part) : „He that overcometh
shall not be hurt of the second death”; verse 17: „To him that
overcometh will I give of the hidden manna, and I will give
him a white stone, and upon that stone a new name written
which no one knoweth but he that receiveth it”; verse 26: „To
him that overcometh and he that keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give authority over the nations, and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of the potter are broken to shivers; as I also received of my Father, and I will give him the morning star”; 3:5: „He that overcometh shall be arrayed in white garments, and I will in no wise blot his name out of the book of life, and I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels”; verse 12: „He that over_cometh I will make a pillar in the temple of my God and he shall go out thence no more; and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is the new Jerusalem which cometh down out of the heaven from my God, and I will write upon him my new name”; verse 21: „To him that overcometh I will give to sit down with me in my throne, as I also overcame and sat down with my Father in his throne.”
Only by grouping all of these promises into one great sen_
tence do we understand the riches of the heavenly reward to
the faithful.
My next observation is that a calm survey of the imper_
fect conditions of the churches and pastors makes it seem im_
possible that such instrumentality can bring about the glorious
results set forth in 11:15 – „The kingdom of the world is be_
come the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ.” There are,
however, two elements of hope in the picture: Christ is walking
in the midst of the churches, leading to repentance, and the
Spirit is directing and enabling. I know the first time I very
carefully studied the condition of the seven churches in Asia,
and then applied the revelation to any seven churches around
me, with their seven pastors, I found no perfect pastor and no
perfect church. Every church had some fault or faults and
every pastor had some weakness or faults. So I said in my
heart: „How are preachers like these and churches like these
to capture the world?” and I never got over that discourage_
ment until I read chapters 4_5, when the heaven scene of the

„things that are” revealed the throne of grace with agencies
and activities helping the churches and preachers on earth.
My next observation is: That the doctrine of this book of
Revelation necessitates the perpetuity of the churches. The
doctrine is just this: Christ will appoint no other instrumen_
tality for the evangelization of the world; the world is to be
lighted through these churches, and that when a candlestick is
removed, another church is raised up, and that in every age
of the world there will be some churches faithful to the Lord.
That is the teaching of this book, and particularly do you
find it when you come to that view of the church presented as
an institution under the symbol of a woman, and the apostate
church presented under the symbol of a woman. You will see
the woman that represents the true church driven into the
wilderness, where she is in hiding for a long time; just like
Israel led out of Egypt wandered in the wilderness for thirty_
eight years, and as historians would have a hard time tracing
every day’s steps of Israel in the wilderness, so a church his_
torian now has a hard time in putting the surveyor’s chain on
the trace of the true churches in this wilderness period. There
is no difficulty in tracing the New Testament history. Nor is
there any difficulty from the Reformation period to the present.
It is easy to prove that there are now churches similar in faith,
doctrine, ordinances, officers, and purposes to the New Testa_
ment churches. But there is a certain dark period in history
that this book of Revelation will discuss, when the church is in
the wilderness, and one time when the two witnesses – that is,
the churches and the pastors – seemed to be dead; the two wit_
nesses are slain, when the apostate church rejoices that there
is no dissent in the world. But as you watch a little while you
see these witnesses, both of them, rise up and go on with their
testimony. If church historians would write their histories in
view of the forecast given in the book of Revelation, they
would be saved from many a foolish notion.
My next general observation is, that a candlestick be re_
moved – that is, a particular church organization be dissolved
– has no bearing on the preservation of the true Chris_
tians who are members of that church. Sardis, as a church
organizer, was declared to be „dead,” but „thou hast a few
names in Sardis that did not defile their garments: and they
shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy.” The church
was blotted out, but „I will in no wise blot out their names
from the book of life.”
My last general observation is this: Since Christ has ap_
pointed these churches for the evangelization and illumination
of the world, what is the law on the preacher or the member
that destroys one of these churches? Paul answers that ques_
tion for us. He says to the church at Corinth: „Ye are God’s
building, ye are the temple of God, and him that destroys the
temple of God will I destroy.” And I tell you that is a very
solemn thought for a preacher who so ministers that he
destroys a church, or for any deacon, or deacons, who so act
as to blot out a church of our Lord. The candlestick is indeed
removed, but woe to him that causeth its removal. You would
do a thousand times less harm to reach up and blot out the
most brilliant planet in the sky than to blot out the feeblest
little church here on earth which is trying to do good. Every
pastor ought to bring this question up in his own heart: Is my
ministry of this church building it or pulling it down; is it
strengthening or destroying? What a solemn responsibility
upon anybody who takes charge of a church. You may track
some preachers by a trail of decayed, divided, or dissolved
churches. You may track some other preachers by a trail of
growing, illuminating churches – every one they labor with
I put my hand on a man’s shoulders, once, when he asked
me to congratulate him on being called to a certain church.
I said to him: „I will give you just six months to split it into
shivers.” He said, „What do you mean?” I said: „Is not that
the result wherever, so far, you have preached? Go back over
your ministry and name a church that you really built up.” To
my astonishment that man still thinks a great deal of me, and
the last talk I had with him he promised that if he was ever a
pastor again he would prove by his pastorate that he did not
split things.

1. Locate on. a map the province of Asia, the seven churches and the
island of Patmos.
2. Show how the key passage of the first revelation, 1:12_16, unlocks
the meaning of the second revelation, chapters 2 and 3.
3. Cite from Matthew and Revelation our Lord’s own uses of the
word „church” (Greek ekklesia) and their bearing on some modern
misuses of the term „church,” particularly „the church universal” –
visible or invisible.
4. Gather up into one sentence all the titles of Christ in the second
revelation, and explain each.
5. Show what the significance and effect of Christ „walking among
the candlesticks.”
6. Show that the symbolic description of Christ in the first and
second revelation is that of a priest and king.
7. How is Christ present with the churches?
8. Show the diversity of the conditions of the churches, no two alike.
9. By application show a similar diversity now.
10. Are these real letters to seven contemporaneous churches, or a
prophecy of seven successive periods of church history?
11. What adaptation do you find in Christ’s variant titles, rebukes,
threats, and promises?
12. Gather up into one sentence the series of Christ’s promises, and
what does the grouping show?
13. Keeping the outcome in view – chapter 11:15ùwhat effect on the
mind of the imperfect churches and pastors, what two elements of hope, and where do we find encouragement greater than the discouragement?
14. What is the necessary doctrine of the book on the perpetuity of
the churches, and what is the difficulty of the historical tracing of this perpetuity, illustrating by Old Testament analogue?

Revelation 2_3

I will begin this chapter with some additional general ob_
My first observation is that in each city of these seven
churches there are three competing religions – heathen, Jewish,
Christian. In every part we see evidence of the conflict.
My second general observation refers to the meaning of the
term „angel” – each letter commences: „to the angel.” Some
people have wrongly supposed that each church has a guardian
angel. They fail to tell us how these guardian angels communi_
cated these messages to the churches. There are quite a number
of Greek words like „apostle,” „deacon,” „angel,” that have
both an etymological meaning and an official meaning. Official_
ly, the term „angel” refers to these messengers from God – from
the upper world – but the word means messengers or represent_
atives, and in this book – particularly in the cases of the angel
in the churches – it means pastor who is the representative of
the church. If I were to write a letter to the church at Austin,
I would direct it to the pastor of the church, and through him
as the representative it would be communicated to the church.
My third general observation relates to the doctrine of
Balaam, to which reference is made in the letters to two or
three of the churches. You will remember the analogue in the
Old Testament where Balaam was called upon. to prophesy
against Israel, by Balak, the king of the Moabites, and God
would not let him prophesy any evil, but he coveted the big
pay that Balak offered him, and later suggested how Israel
could be destroyed – by bringing about the alienation from
God, telling Balak to introduce to the Israelites the most
beautiful of the Moabitish women, and let them seduce the

Israelites to partake of the festivals of the heathen religion as
well as of the Jewish religion, and this open communion with
the heathen religion resulted in the worst form of immorality
and idolatry that brought about the alienation between Israel
and Jehovah. Now there were two men and women living in
these churches, or in these cities, who taught that doctrine.
They preached open communion between the Christian religion
and the heathen religion: „You come to my festival and I will
go to your festival: I will partake of your Lord’s Supper with
you if you will partake of the heathen feast with me.” Paul
had already said: „You cannot partake of the cup of the Lord
and the cup of the devils; you cannot eat at the table of the
Lord and at the table of devils.” That was the teaching of
Balaam as found in these churches – and very hurtful to
several of them, as you will see in the exposition.
My next general observation relates to the meaning of
Nicolaitans, at least twice referred to in our letters to the
churches. Some people suppose that Nicholas, who was or_
dained one of the seven deacons in the Jerusalem church, men_
tioned in Acts 6, afterward founded the doctrine here referred
to, and hence those who adopted the doctrine were called
„Nicolaitans.” There is no particle of evidence to connect
Nicholas in Acts 6 with these Nicolaitans. There was a Nicho_
las, doubtless, who did teach the doctrine that is here men_
tioned, but what you want to know is not who started the
doctrine, but what was the doctrine. It was a form of
Antinomianism: If election be true, and you are saved by
Christ and not by works, then it does not make any difference
what sin you commit; you are all right. I have seen in Texas a
preacher who was a Nicolaitan, who boldly taught in private
that immorality committed by a Christian cannot possibly re_
sult in any harm to him, and based his seduction to evil upon
that theory. But it is the doctrine of the devil, no matter if it be
a preacher who holds it, or somebody else.
My next general observation is to show Paul’s connection
with these seven churches of Asia. All of them were established
either directly or indirectly by Paul. You will find the history ]
in Acts 19, where he held his great meeting at Ephesus, in
which all of the province of Asia heard the word of God. The
next part of the history is in Acts 20, where Paul delivers his
memorable address to the elders of the church at Ephesus.
Then, during his first Roman imprisonment, he wrote to
churches in this section concerning the Gnostic philosophy.
These letters are to the Colossians and the Ephesians. Then to
Philemon, who lived in this section, he wrote concerning
Christianity’s attitude toward slavery. Then, still in the first
Roman imprisonment, he wrote to its Christian Jews – the let_
ter to the Hebrews. After he escaped from that Roman im_
prisonment he wrote the first letter to Timothy, who had
charge under Paul’s direction of the church at Ephesus, and
when the second time he was imprisoned at Rome and had been
condemned to death he wrote the second letter to Timothy, still
at Ephesus. So that up to A.D. 68, when Paul was martyred, all
these churches were under his apostolic jurisdiction.
My next general observation is to show John’s connection
with these seven churches. You may see from uniform
tradition that John moved to Ephesus as a last surviving
apostle and had charge of all these churches at least by A.D. 80.
While living at Ephesus he wrote his three letters, which we
have considered. One of the fathers, Clement of Alexandria,
expressly says that after the death of Domitian, John escaped
from exile in Patmos, and returned to the city of Ephesus.
Now we are ready to take up the churches in the order of
their condition:
First, Ephesus: this city was the metropolis of proconsular
Asia, one of the greatest cities of ancient times, having in it
one of the seven wonders of the world – the temple of Diana,
whose religion, however, was not so much a Greek religion as
Oriental, since the Diana of the Ephesians was represented by
a wooden idol, a monstrous image that set forth the fruitfulness
of nature – a very different Diana from the Diana of the
„To the angel of the church at Ephesus.” Who was he? Some
claim that Timothy was the pastor at the time that John wrote
this letter. There is no evidence of it, and it is very highly im_
probable from the fact that Timothy was not a pastor at all,
but an evangelist, an apostolic delegate, and even in the second
letter to him Paul is calling him from Ephesus to come to
Rome. It is not at all probable that Timothy remained at
Ephesus as pastor from A.D. 68 to 96, when this book was
written. So we will say we do not know who this pastor was at
What things were commended in this letter to the church at
Ephesus? If I was teaching the book of Revelation to a class
in Greek, I would have much to say of the shades of meaning
in the words employed. But confining myself to the English, I
will say that the things commended are: „Thy works, thy toil
of service, thy adherence to sound doctrine and the motive that
prompted the work.” All was done for Christ’s sake. Another
thing commended was the attitude of this church to false
prophets. „Thou hast tried them that say they are apostles and
are not” – and just here we find an overwhelming argument in
favor of the late date of the book of Revelation. If you turn to
John 4:1, which he wrote from Ephesus, between A.D. 82 and
85, he gives his commandment to try the spirits, whether they
be of God. Now, later, he says that Ephesus had obeyed that
injunction: „Ye have tried them that say they are prophets, or
apostles, and are not, and condemned them.” We will find one
of the seven churches that did not try themù1 will tell you
which one when we come to it.
The attitude of that church to the Nicolaitan doctrine we
have just discussed is also commended: „Thou hatest the doc_
trine of the Nicolaitans, which also I hate.” So these are the
things commended in that church.
The thing reprobated was just one thing: „Thou hast left
thy first love.” That means: „You do not now possess that
fervor of love which filled your hearts when you professed to
be Christians, when you were first converted.” Whoever has
abated in the love that he had in his heart when God converted
him, that one needs a revival. That is a condition of the
Ephesus church. Sound in doctrine, sound in discipline, but
they had not the love which characterized their conversion.
How would that affect you, brothers and sisters? It hits me
sometimes – not all the time. I can never forget the love in my
heart for God and man when God converted me. At times it
has abated, but characteristically it remains with me, and
many a time has even gone beyond what it was when I was
first converted.
Let us look, then, at the exhortation to this church: „Repent
and do thy first works” – that is to say, in the spirit of the love
as you did at first. The threat: „If you do not, I will come and
remove thy candlestick.” We do know that the Ephesus candle_
stick was removed.
The church at Smyrna: Smyrna for more that two thousand
years had been a city – it is a city now, as it has now a popu_
lation of about 200,000, and three_fourths of the population
today are nominally Christians: whether Greek Catholics,
Roman Catholics, or Protestants. It is the seat of great com_
merce, situated as it is with such a splendid harbor on the
Aegean Sea.
„And to the angel of the church at Smyrna” – who was that
angel? I can tell you this time. In A.D. 168 a pastor of that
church, Polycarp, was martyred under the rule of Marcus
Aurelius, the Roman emperor. As he was about to be executed
he said to the proconsul who governed the province: „I have
been a Christian eighty_six years.” Subtract 86 from 168, and
you find that he was converted in A.D. 82. Now we know that he
was a pastor in A.D. 108, for Ignatius in his writings says he
visited Polycarp, the pastor at Smyrna, that year. Tertullian,
Ireneus, Eusebius, all say that Polycarp was made pastor at
Smyrna under the administration of the apostle John, and if
he was converted in A.D. 82 he would have been a Christian
fourteen years when this letter was written. That is time
enough for him to become pastor of the church. He was one of
John’s own converts. John went to Asia about A.D. 80, and in
A.D. 82 Polycarp was converted, and when he became a preach_
er he was installed as pastor of the church at Smyrna.
Now, what things are commended here? „I know thy tribula_
tions and thy poverty, but thou art rich”ù while in this world’s
goods the members of the church were poor, in spiritual things
they were rich. We will find, when we come to Laodicea, the
exact reverse: they were rich in this world’s goods, but in the
sight of God they were miserable, poor, blind, and naked.
We notice in this letter to the church at Smyrna the attitude
of the Jewish religion to Christianity – „the synagogue of
Satan” – those who say they are Jews and are not. That is,
they claim to be Jews on account of fleshly descent from
Abraham, but they are not the spiritual descendants of Abra_
ham. So that the Jewish church existed there as the bitterest
enemy of the Christian church. They are the people who ac_
cused Polycarp in A.D. 168, they brought the wood to burn him
at the stake, and helped to pile the fagots on the fire as he was
burning. You will notice that it makes no difference as to the
mere form of organization, whether Christian or Jewish, it is
the devil who is the real author of the evil, and hence it says
here that „Satan shall cast many of you into prison.” Satan
can work just as well, or maybe a little better, through one
who claims to be religious and is not, than through an outsider.
There is no censure on the church at Smyrna. There is an
exhortation to be faithful unto death. „They will put you to
death, but I will give you the crown of life.” As it is expressed
in Christ’s address to the apostles: „Fear not them who kill
the body but are not able to kill the soul; rather fear him who
is able to destroy both soul and body in hell,” and though they
kill you in the body, which is the first death, I assure you you
will not be hurt by the second death.
Pergamos: This is a city, at the present time, of about 30,_
000 inhabitants. One_tenth of them are professing Christians,
either Greek Catholics, Roman Catholics, or Protestants of
some kind. The heathen religion in this city was the dominant
force of evil, the patron deity was the demigod Esculapius –
that is, the physician god – but there were also temples in the
city to Jupiter, Minerva, Apollo, Venus, and Bacchus. Hence
„I know where thou dwellest, where Satan’s throne is” – that
is to say, the heathen religion in the city of Pergamos was
the religion of state, and enforced tests of allegiance on pain of
What is commended here? That they hold fast, notwith_
standing the persecuting test, and do not deny Jesus Christ.
Particularly was that so in the case of their illustrious pastor,
Antipas, who is mentioned here. When the heathen authority
demanded of him that he turn loose Christianity and avow the
heathen religion, he held fast and did not deny, and suffered
What is reprobated in this church? That it did not exercise
gospel discipline; they retained in their members Balaamites
and Nicolaitans. I doubt not that it was fear that prompted
many of them, after the pastor was put to death, to say this:
„I will submit to the government test, at least have open com_
munion with the heathen; I will partake of their feasts and
the things sacrificed to the idols.” Some of them were following
the doctrine of Nicholas, saying: „If you are a Christian it
doesn’t make any difference what you do.” The exhortation
calls on them to repent, or else judgment from the sword that
issues from the mouth of Jesus Christ shall come upon them.
The next church is Thyatira. This inland church is com_
mended for the following things: love, faith, service, patience,
and unlike the church at Ephesus, its last works were better
than its first. In Ephesus the first works were the best, and the
last works not up to the mark on account of having lost their
What things are reprobated? They had not exercised disci_
pline: „Thou hast that woman Jezebel, who claims to be a
prophet.” That demand in I John 4:1 to try them that say
they are prophets and apostles was disregarded. In this case
great trouble came to the church from a woman. When a
woman is good she is better than a man, but when she is bad
she is worse than a man. The woman has much to do with
Christianity; she is for or against it, and the man who does
not recognize the might of woman’s influence is blind. That is
why I rejoice to co_operate in every good work which the
women undertake. I wish to assure you that Lydia, who is
mentioned in Acts 16, as being a woman of Thyatira, is not the
Jezebel who is mentioned here; it is a slander on Lydia. It is
every way improbable that Lydia of A.D. 52 is the Jezebel of
A.D. 96. I am more inclined to think she was the wife of the
pastor. I do not know who the pastor was. You pastors, your
wives will be mighty where you work – mighty for good or
mighty for evil. Anyhow, this Jezebel claimed to be a proph_
etess, and that this prophetic spirit told her that open com_
munion with heathenism had no harm in it. Now comes the
great text for the preacher: „I gave her space to repent, and
she repented not.” As a young preacher, in every revival meet_
ing I preached on „the space to repent,” emphasizing the fact
that beyond that allotted time there was no hope of salvation.
This woman crossed the boundary line, she sinned against the
Holy Spirit and her sin, therefore, had never forgiveness, either
in this world or in the next. There is such a boundary line and
then no more space for repentance.
There is reference in this letter to „the depths of Satan.” It
is a little difficult to translate the Greek so as to convey the
right idea. It is quite probable that this is the thought: The
Gnostic philosophers claimed that they had a new knowledge,
later and better than any revelation, as if to say: „You know
what Paul says, and you know what John said, but we have
the depths of a later and better knowledge.” Our Lord admits
the depths, but declares them „the depths of Satan.”
Sardis: This city is the capital of Croesus, said to be the
richest man in the world in his day. You read how Cyrus
captured him and destroyed his empire. Sardis, his capital,
was always a city of great wealth. There is no commendation
in this letter, except toward the last he says: „There are a few
ill Sardis” – not many – „who have not defiled their garments,”
but the church was absorbed in the acquisition of wealth and
swallowed up in worldly_mindedness. It is distinctly stated:
„None of thy works are perfect.” We have found heretofore
something exceptionally good to commend – especially in the
case of Smyrna. But the church at Sardis had no excellence in
any direction, whether in growth, fellowship, or mission work:
„None of thy works is perfect,” hence the exhortation to repent
is accompanied by this sharp threat: „Repent, or I will come
like a thief in the night and visit you with my judgment.” This
is a coming of the Lord, but not his final advent. It is like that
coming in his other great prophecy, concerning the evil servant
who said in his heart, „My lord tarrieth,” and began to beat
his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunken, to whom
in an unsuspected hour the lord came, cut him asunder and
appointed a portion with hypocrites (Matt. 24:48_51) ; or like
the rich fool who heard the summons: „This night shall thy
soul be required of thee.”
The sixth church is Philadelphia. This was the smallest and
weakest, and apparently the most insignificant of the churches.
Philadelphia was only a _village situated on the top of a vol_
canic range of mountains; earthquakes destroyed the place
two or three times. An open door is set before it. The perse_
cuting Jews were to fall down before it and know that the Lord
loved it. There is a sweeping promise: „I will keep thee from
the hour of trial, that hour which is to come upon the whole
world to try them.” It is difficult, in the light of subsequent
history, to define precisely this „hour of trial.” It may refer
in part to the great apostasy which developed into the Roman
hierarchy discussed in this book (chapter 17). Or in part to
the rise of Mohammedanism, A.D. 600, and which by A.D. 1392
had conquered all the territory in which these churches were
located. At any rate, Dr. Justin A. Smith, at this point, quotes
from the infidel historian, Edward Gibbon, Decline arid Fall
of the Roman Empire, referring to this Turkish conquest: „in
the loss of Ephesus the Christians deplored the fall of the first
angel, the extinction of the first candlestick of the Revelation;
the desolation is complete) and the Temple of Diana or the
church of Mary will equally elude the search of the curious
traveller. The circus and three stately theaters of Laodicea are
now peopled with wolves and foxes; Sardis is reduced to a mis_
erable village; the god of Mahomet, without a rival or a son,
is invoked in the Mosques of Thyatira and Pergamos, and the
populousness of Smyrna is supported by the foreign trade of
the Franks and Armenians. Philadelphia alone has been
saved by prophecy or by courage. At a distance from the
sea, forgotten by the emperors, encompassed on all sides by
the Turks, her valiant citizens defended their religion and
freedom above fourscore years, and at length capitulated
with the proudest of the Ottomans. Among the Greek colonies
and churches of Asia, Philadelphia is still erect – a column
in the scene of ruins – a pleasing example that the paths of
honor and safety may sometimes be the same.” So this
church survived at least thirteen hundred years, long
after the other six had passed away. Indeed, the „pillar” to
which Gibbon refers still stands, as if to’ accentuate the promise
in verse 12, „I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God”
– what a glorious thing for that weak church. Paul once wrote
about Ephesus: „I will tarry at Ephesus until the Pentecost,
for a great door is opened unto me, and there are many adver_
saries,” but the Ephesus door had been shut a long time with
the Philadelphia door still open. There on the mountaintop the
faithful pastor and the faithful little village church were
leading the people to Christ. The „open door” connects suit_
ably with the words of our Lord in the first revelation: „I have
the keys of death and Hades,” and with the beginning of this
letter: „I have the key of David.”
We may also compare Matthew 16:19, „I will give unto you
the keys of the kingdom of heaven.” But the „keys” of the
three passages are not the same; the ideas are different:
1. The keys of the kingdom mean apostolic or church
authority to declare the terms of entrance into or rejection
from the kingdom of heaven, illustrated by the latter clause of I
Matthew 16:19; 18:18; John 20:23; Acts 2:38; 5:9; 8:20_23;’
10:43; 16:30_31.
2. The keys of death and Hades mean Christ’s authority
over the death of the body and to open the state or place of,
disembodied souls. As when he says: „The gates of Hades
shall not prevail against the church,” i.e., the death of disciples,
sending their souls into the spirit world, shall never so prevail
as to leave no surviving church on earth. Or when it is said:.
„Thou wilt not abandon my soul unto Hades” (Acts 2:27), i.e.,
my soul will not continue disembodied, for my body will be
raised (Acts 2:31). The same authority over the dead would
not permit Lazarus to return to the earth to warn the brothers
of the rich man, nor permit the prayers of the lost rich man to
relieve his own condition, nor to intervene for his kindred on
earth (Luke 16:23_31). This authority exempted Enoch and
Elijah from death as it will exempt living Christians at his
final advent (I Corinthians 15:55_56), brings back with him
the souls of the saints in heaven when he returns (I Thessa_
lonians 4:14), and causes both the grave to give up its dead
bodies and Hades to give up its disembodied souls at the judg_
ment (Revelation 20:13).
3. The key of David means Christ’s authority to confer
great opportunities for saving men, as here in our passage, and
in I Corinthians 16:8_9, i.e., of admitting them to the saving
presence of the Lord. Compare Isaiah 22:22.
The seventh church is Laodicea. Smyrna was hot – it flamed
like fire in its zeal; its fidelity unto death glowed like an oven.
Sardis got as cold as ice. But Laodicea was lukewarm, neither
cold nor hot – it did not come out strong and openly for any_
thing. It was like the man in the canoe who once had lost his
paddle in the stream, and prayed: „Good Lord, help me – Good
devil, help me.” That is the weakest of all characters, and when
the strong expression is here used: „I will spew thee out of my
mouth,” it is designed to show that this condition is nauseating
to the Lord Jesus Christ. That was the Laodicean condition.
And strange to say, they thought they were rich and needed
nothing; whereas, as God saw them, they were miserable and
poor and blind and naked.
I have heard Laodicean letters read at associations: „Dear
Brethren: This year’s letter reports to you that we are at peace.
Baptized – none; received by letter – none; excluded – none;
restored – none; given to missions – nothing.” That is the peace
of death. I again wish to repeat that in no age of the world
have all of the churches been like Ephesus, or Smyrna, or Per_
gamos, or Thyatira, or Sardis, or Philadelphia, or Laodicea.
And in every period of history there have been churches like
all these types. What if next Sunday the recording angel
should come down and write on the board of every church in
Fort Worth some one of these seven names: Ephesus, Smyrna,
Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, or Laodicea? Some
of the brethren would stand out and read the inscription, and
their knees would shake like Belshazzar’s when the hand_
writing of the Lord appeared on the wall.
We cannot in these chapters go into all the details of criti_
cism like a commentary – the salient points must suffice. But
one verse concerning Laodicea must be noticed somewhat:
„Behold, I stand at the door and knock: If any man hear my
voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup
with him, and he with me.” It is a mistake to preach a sermon
to sinners from this text. It is addressed exclusively to delin_
quent church members. In walking among the candlesticks our
Lord knocks at the hearts of backslidden or hypocritical .mem_
bers, demanding admission and promising spiritual intercom_
munion to those who admit him. In this way he often rings the
spiritual doorbell at the houses of professing Christians whose
ears are quick to hear the calls of fashion, pleasure, ambition,
or business, but so stopped as never to hear the ringing of him
who comes often and patiently stands and keeps ringing.
Sometimes he rings by sickness, sometimes by financial loss,
sometimes by death in the house. The sickness, loss or death
are realized, but they do not recognize them as the calling of
the Lord.

1. What three competing religions in proconsular Asia?
2. Meaning of the angel of the church?
3. What was the original doctrine of Balaam, and what was its ap_
plication to the Asian churches?
4. What was the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, and was the Nicholas
of Acts 6 the founder?
5. What Bible material showing Paul’s connection with the seven
6. What was John’s connection?
7. Tell of this city and its religion.
8. Was Timothy the angel of this church – giving reasons for your
9. What was the condition of this church– good or bad?
10. What strong evidence here of late date for the book?
11. Tell of this city – past and present.
12. Who probably was angel of the church, giving argument?
13. Its condition, and with what church contrasted?

14. What of the hostility of Jews to Christianity here and how evident?
15. Who was the real author of persecution?
16. Tell of this city, its library, and heathen religion.
17. What is the meaning of „Throne of Satan”?
18. The things commended and reprobated?
19. Wherein were the conditions here contrasted with Ephesus?
20. What was the chief cause of trouble here?
21. What evidence that this Jezebel was the Lydia of Acts 16?
22. In the Old Testament analogue what was the magnitude of the
trouble caused by Jezebel?
23. What of the influence of woman on Christianity – good or bad?
24. Show what Christian women workers are doing today.
25. What great text for revival sermon in this section and its doctrine?
26. Meaning of „depths of Satan”?
27. Tell of history of this city and its characteristics.
28. What was the condition of the church and only commendation?
29. Explain the coming of the Lord in this account, and cite similar
30. Tell of the city and relative position of the church..
31. Probable meaning of the „hour of trial on. the whole world”?
32. Cite Gibbon’s testimony to the power of our Lord’s promise to
keep this church.
33. With what scripture does the „open door” connect?
34. Explain, in order, the three key passages cited in chapter, and
illustrate by other scriptures.
35. What was the condition of this church in its own sight and God’s?
36. What one word expresses their condition and what strong term
expresses our Lord’s nausea at the condition?
37. What text here is misapplied to sinners, and explain it.

Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 26_28; 8:5, 12, 81

Let us recall again that the Lord adapts his titles, exhorta_
tions, threats, and promises to the varied conditions of the
churches. In no two cases are they alike.
This chapter is devoted to the promises. All these promises
are connected with one word „overcometh” – Greek „nikao.”
The details of these promises are given in seven distinquishing
series in the second and third chapters, and the sum of them
expressed in 21:7, „He that overcometh shall inherit all things”
– or better, „These things” referring back to the things
enumerated in 21:1_6.
Let us group into one sentence all the detailed and
distinquishing promises of the seven series: „To him that
overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the
Paradise of God” – and „He shall not be hurt of the second
death” – and I will give to him the hidden manna, and I will
give him a white stone, and upon the stone a new name
written, which no one knoweth but he that receiveth it” – and
„I will give him authority over the nations, and he shall rule
them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken
to shivers; as I also have received of my Father: and I will
give him the morning star” – and „he shall be arrayed in white
garments, and I will in no wise blot his name out of the book
of life, and I will confess his name before my Father and
of my God, and he shall go out thence no more; and I will
write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city
of my God, the new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of
heaven from my God, and mine own new name” – and „I will

give to him to sit down with me on my throne, as I also over_
came and sat down with my Father on his throne” (see 2:7, II,
17,26_28; 3:5,12,21).


1. They are all clothed in the most sublime imagery.
2. Their character, multitude, and magnitude are over_
whelming, outshining any galaxy in the natural skies. The
mind is dazzled by their blended brilliance. The hand of
apprehension looses its grip in trying to grasp them and com_
prehension must wait for understanding until the realization
of postjudgment experience.
3. Yet even now unstaggering faith receives them,, and hope
lives in their radiance. They reverse gravitation because they
draw upward; they pull toward heaven and uplift. They stimu_
late more than wine until one is intoxicated with the Spirit.
They awaken desire, develop strength, and inspire zeal.
4. Laying aside all dogmatism, comparing scripture with
scripture in exceeding humility, praying fervently for spiritual
guidance, let us attempt an interpretation.
Inasmuch as all these promises are to him that „over_
cometh,” our first concern is to know the meaning and sweep
of this word, and just what or whom must be overcome, and
with what means we may overcome.
Evidently the word „overcometh” is not limited to one
definite transaction, but has a continuous meaningùa sweep
beyond a single event. What are its terminals? When does the
overcoming commence and where does it end? It commences
with justification and ends at the death of the body with com_
plete sanctification of the soul. „He that endureth unto the end
shall be saved” – „Be thou faithful unto death, and thou shall
receive a crown of life.” John elsewhere supplies the object
of the verb. Twice he says: „Ye have overcome the wicked one”
(I John 2:13_14). Three times he declares the world as the ob_

ject to be overcome (I John 5:4_5). Only those „born of God
overcome the world.”
The means of overcoming is „the blood of the Lamb”; the
instrumentality is faith – „and this is the victory that hath
overcome the world, even our faith” (I John 5:4). Satan, his
emissaries and the world that lieth in him, must be overcome.
By faith the child of God goes on from victory to victory –
from grace to grace – from strength to strength – from glory
to glory.
Let us now look separately at the promises themselves:
1. Access to the Tree of Life in the Paradise of God. Here,
evidently, there is allusion to the Genesis story. The purpose of
the tree of life in the original garden was to eliminate the mor_
tality of the body. So that, in unfigurative terms, this promise
is the glorification of the body to be experienced without
death by all Christians living when our Lord comes, and by all
Christians who have died, after their resurrection. We may
count the glorification of the bodies of the two classes as practi_
cally simultaneous, since the righteous dead are raised before
the righteous living are changed, and together they are caught
up to the Lord (I Thess. 4:13_18).
The promise means everything set forth in Paul’s words
(I Corinthians 15:42_49, 51_58) : incorruption, glory, power, a
spiritual body in the image of the Second Adam; or in his other
words, „Who shall fashion anew the body of our humiliation,
that it may be like the body of his glory, according to the
working whereby he is able even to subject all things unto
himself” (Phil. 3:21). Or as John elsewhere puts it: „We know
that if he shall bemanifested, we shall be like him” (John 3:2).
Hence the psalmist: „I shall be satisfied when I awake with
thy likeness.” This title to access to the tree of life arises from
cleansing by the blood of the Lamb, effected in us when in re_
generation and sanctification the Spirit applies the blood. See
later reference in this book (v. 14; 22:14). After Adam’s fall he
was expelled from the garden lest he eat of this fruit and live
forever in a body of sin (Gen, 3:22), but a throne of grace and
mercy was established at the east of the garden where the
sword flame, or Shekinah, dwelt between the Cherubim to keep
open the way to the tree of life through vicarious sacrifices
(Gen. 3:24; 4:4; Heb. 11:4).
2. „Shall not be hurt of the second death.” The meaning
of the second death is the casting of both soul and risen body
into the lake of fire (Rev. 20: 14_15). It is the final decision
of our Lord at the general judgment, and fixes forever the
status of the lost. The lake of fire is a metaphor, of course,
but expresses a reality not less fearful than the figure. Into
this torment the soul of a lost sinner goes immediately after
the death of the body – see the parable of Dives and Lazarus,
Luke 16. But from this disembodied state of torment the soul
is called to the general judgment, where it is united to its
risen body – „Death and Hades gave up the dead which were
in them” (Rev. 20:13), i.e., the body came from the grave and
the soul from its place in torment. Then on the sentence of
the judge the lost man, soul and body, is cast into the lake of
fire, which is the second death.
While both memory and conscience will afflict the lost for_
ever, the lake of fire is punitive, and not the remorse of con_
science, which is only consequential. That this final sentence
is punitive appears from Matthew 25:41, 46, and 2 Thessa_
lonians 1:7_9. It is further described by our Lord as a de_
struction of soul and body in Gehenna, and directly contrasted
with the first death, or the death of the body: „And be not
afraid of them that kill the body, but are not able to kill the
soul: but rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul
and body in hell” (Greek Gehenna).
This promise was specially precious to the church at Smyrna,
at that time undergoing persecution unto death. The devil,
through his agents, might kill their bodies, the first death, but
these martyrs should not be hurt of the second death.
3. „I will give to him the hidden manna.” The „hidden
manna” is an allusion to the memorial pot of manna hidden in

the ark of the covenant. This represented Christ as the bread
of life, sent from heaven – see the great discussion, John 6:
27_59. Whosoever by faith appropriates the body and blood
of Christ has eaten food which nourishes unto eternal life.
An eater of the manna in the desert did not escape death, but
the believer in Jesus Christ, antitype of the memorial manna
hidden in the ark of the covenant, shall never die.
This promise is on a line with the preceding one, and par_
ticularly appropriate to Pergamos, whose heretics were eating
the meat offered to idols, following Balaam, which was a food
unto death, but whose faithful ones are promised the bread
of life.
4. „I will give him a white stone and on the stone a new
name written which no one knoweth but he that receiveth it.”
Observe that this is the second promise to the church at
Pergamos. To the same person is given both „the hidden
manna” and „the stone,” whose inscription is hidden to all
but the recipient. There appears to be a connection of thought
between the two promised which may be helpful toward an
interpretation of the white stone. Let us follow up this clue.
Satan’s throne was at Pergamos. That is, he completely
dominated the municipal government. This was a Greek city,
subject to Greek method of judicial procedure. A test of
loyalty to the government would be a participation in the
idolatrous feasts. We know from Paul’s letter to the Greek
city of Corinth that a Christian might not eat at both the
Lord’s table and the devil’s table, nor drink of both the Lord’s
cup and the cup of devils. So refraining from the heathen
idol feasts was a test of loyalty to Christ. And so the same
Satan who inspired Balaam to spring this test on the Israelites
inspired the later Balaamites to compromise on this open
communion between the two religions) and inspires the munic_
ipal government to demand like compromises of the other
members of the church. Fear may have prompted the tempted
to this compromise, and fear may have inspired the church

to refrain from disciplining the heretical and immoral mem_
bers, especially after their pastor, Antipas, was murdered for
his fidelity.
A Greek city expressed judgment on persons arraigned by a
kind of ballot, using shells as at Athens, or pebbles here whose
significance declared for acquittal or condemnation – white for
acquittal or black for guilty. Following this line of thought
the promise would mean: If the devil_prompted city condemns
your loyalty to Christ by a ballot of black pebbles, he will
acquit you by the white stone of justification. This view
gathers force from the title of our Lord when addressing the
church: „These things saith he that hath the sharp two_edged
sword.” In the vision, 1:16, this sword issues from his mouth,
and hence represents his word of judgment. It is a judge sym_
bol (Heb. 4:12_13). Moreover, the inscription on the white
stone can be made to harmonize with this interpretation. It
is a „new name” unknown to the heathen judges, but well
known to the recipient. If this be our Lord’s own new name
as later revealed in the book (Rev. 19:12_13, 16) it is intensely
significant in the connection: „Word of God,” „King of kings
and Lord of lords,” i.e., the earthly judgment condemns, the
divine judgment acquits, the condemnation is from earthly
lords – the justification from the Lord of lords. The expression
„known only to him who receives it” means the assurance of
divine acceptance, the witness of the Spirit, bearing witness
with his own spirit, which, being entirely a matter of personal
experience, cannot be known to any one except the recipient.
5. „And I will give him authority over nations, and he shall
rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of a potter are
broken into shivers.”
More than any one of the other promises does this one need
careful exposition. Its misinterpretation has been productive
of monstrous evils in the Christian centuries, and the end is
not yet. It is quoted to support the Romanist pretension that
all nations are under the absolute jurisdiction of the Papal

hierarchy, in the exercise of which continents have been be_
stowed upon favorite monarchs, kings have been dethroned
subjects absolved from allegiance, crusades preached, property
confiscated, cruel persecutions waged, marriages annulled
family ties dissolved. The record of these evils constitutes the
bloodiest volumes in the annals of time. Nor has its misuse
been limited to the Romanists. The evils are not less evil
when flowing from Protestant or Greek Catholic misapplica_
tion. They have prevailed whenever and wherever religious
sectaries of any name have usurped control over states. „The
mad men of Munster,” the Cameronians of Scotland, the Fifth
Monarchy men of Cromwell’s day, the Muggletonians and
Mormons of this country, all belong to the same category
In order to correct interpretation we must first understand
the terms employed and their biblical usage.
(a) First of all, the promise, whatever it means, is not to
any religious denomination or ecclesiastical organization, but
only to the individual Christian who overcomes: „To him that
overcometh I will give” – it is not a grant of power to any one
of the seven churches, nor to all of them combined. This is a
.capital, fundamental, crucial, vital fact, essential to correct
(b) The promise is not „power” – Greek dunamis – but
„authority” – Greek exousia.
(c) The verb „shall rule” is not basileuo, but poimaino,
which means „to shepherd” – „he shall shepherd them.”
(d) „The rod of iron,” Greek rabdos – rod of correction –
is the shepherd’s rod, iron_tipped at one end, and with a crook
at the other end. See the Septuagint for the Shepherd Psalm:
„Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” The shepherd does
not carry two things, one a rod, and the other a staff, but the
same thing is either rod or staff according to its use. See the
author’s sermon on Psalm 23:4.
(e) The „breaking into shivers as a potter’s vessel,” is not
necessarily for ultimate destruction, but may look to recon_
struction (see Jer. 18:4_10). It becomes destructive only
when impenitence becomes incorrigible (Jer. 19:1_11), and
even then applies not to all the nation but only to its hostile
elements. In other words, we miss the mark if we construe
all this rule as punitive. The primary intent looks to correc_
tion and salvation; as 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 crook at the other end, or
sets up the staff as an ensign for rallying the flock together in
time of danger, or with it counts them each morning and eve_
ning 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 offence against the enemies of the flock.
(f) This rule, or shepherding, so far as exercised mediately
in time by him that overcometh, is not executive, but instruc_
tive and declarative. When God, in time, „hews a nation by
a prophet,” the prophet simply declares, but does not execute
the divine threat. As Jonah was sent, not to overturn Nineveh,
but merely to declare „Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be
overthrown.” And the case of Nineveh will show the merciful
intent of Jeremiah’s illustration of the potter’s vessel: „At
what instant I shall speak concerning a nation or kingdom to
pluck up, and to break down, and to destroy it, if that nation
concerning which I have spoken turn from their evil, I will
repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them” (Jer. 19:
The overcoming Christian, like the ancient prophet, is God’s
mouthpiece to the nations: „Behold! I have put my words
into thy mouth: see this day I have put thee over the nations
and over the kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down and to
destroy, and to overthrow, to build and to plant.” (Jer. 1:
Even in the prototype of our passage (Psalm 2:8_12), where
the nations are given to our ascended Lord for an inheritance,
and where it is said: „Thou shalt break them with an iron
rod, and shalt dash them into pieces as a potter’s vessel,” the
verses which follow show the merciful and instructive intent
of the threat. Which passage naturally leads to our last thought
in this connection:
The authority promised is derivative and limited, and not
inherent and absolute, and arises from the overcoming Chris_
tian’s unity with Christ and his representative function of
acting mediately for Christ. This is evident from the modify_
ing clause: „even as I have received from my Father.”
Here it is quite important to understand the meritorious
ground of Christ’s own authority, how received and to what
end, since what he received is that which he imparts and cer_
tainly to the same end, and which so imparted must be exer_
cised as he himself used it. The authority in question does
not rise from his Sonship in eternity, but from his Sonship in
the flesh. It is expressly said to be derived from the voluntary
humiliation and vicarious expiation of sin in the flesh. See
particularly Philippians 2:6_11. Hence, historically, he was
invested with universal sovereignty after his resurrection. The
author insists that you carefully study this proof: Daniel 7:
13_14; Psalm 2:1_12; 110:1; Acts 2:33_36; 4:25_27; Revela_
tion 5:12_14. In times antecedent to his actual historical sacri_
fice for sin, when sin is remitted to a penitent believer or rule
exercised over a nation, it is by anticipation of that sacrifice,
God accepting his promise to die for man as if already it had
been done, so that as this book later puts it: „A Lamb slain
from the foundation of the world.”
In his exalted and glorified humanity he was made „head
over all things to his church.” It is to this he refers as the
predicate of his Great Commission: „All authority in heaven
and on earth is given unto me. Go ye, therefore, disciple all
the nations” (Matt. 28:18). And from this passage we gather
both the method and the end of „shepherding the nations.”
The method is not a carnal one, by fire and sword, as rule is
enforced by worldly kingdoms, but spiritual. The primary
end is not destruction, but salvation. The exercise of this
authority, whether by himself directly, or mediately through
his people, is to promote the interest of his spiritual kingdom.
Hence the proximate result of its exercise is expressed in Dan_
iel 2:44; Psalm 72:5_17; Revelation 11:15, and its ultimate
result in Revelation 21:23_27. The capital error of the Jews
throughout the ages has been an expectation of a Messiah who
would in a literal earthly sense occupy the throne of David in
Jerusalem and dominate the world. This idea, which he repu_
diated so emphatically at his first advent, he will not adopt
at his final advent. The premillennial contention to the con_
trary is the most notorious anticlimax in all the vagaries of
6. „And I will give him the morning star.” This is the
second promise to the faithful in Thyatira. The meaning of
this symbolism is obvious. As the morning star is the herald
of the coming day, so to the faithful our Lord will give a
premonition of the final glorious triumph. This, of course, is
the inward assurance by the Spirit realized in personal expe_
rience, just as the white stone symbol of acquittal bears an
inscription equal to internal assurance, known only to the
recipient. As Peter expresses it, we have the surer word of
prophecy shining as a lamp in the night: „until the day star
arise in your hearts.” Paul (I Thess. 5:3_4) declares that in
the day of our Lord, which comes as a thief in the night, the
destruction of the wicked is sudden, and adds by way of con_
trast: „But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day
should overtake you as a thief.” There is no question that
the final advent of our Lord to raise the dead and judge the
world will be personal, visible, audible, palpable, and that this
advent is the great event of the future, as his first advent was
until his incarnation. Nor is it questioned that this book, as
others of the New Testament, clearly discusses it. But it is
equally clear, in this and other New Testament books, that
signal time events, as the coming of the Spirit, and particular_
ly great judgments – as the destruction of Jerusalem, or the
removal of a candlestick, or death to an individual, are called
„a coming of the Lord.” In this sense he is always coming. He
is only a tyro in biblical interpretation who insists that every
scriptural reference to a coming of the Lord must be construed
as an allusion to his final advent. The promise of the gift of
the „morning star” applies as much to these time comings as to
his final advent, e.g., he gave to his elect a premonitory sign
which enabled them to escape the wrath of his coming in the
destruction of Jerusalem.
7. „He shall be arrayed in white garments.” This is the
first promise to the overcoming few in Sardis who „had not
defiled their garments.” In order to a correct interpretation
of this passage we must collate it with the following correlative
passages: The „wedding garment” of Matthew 22:12; the
„white robe” conferred on the souls of the martyrs, Revelation
7: 9, 13_14; the fine linen or wedding garment of the Bride at
the marriage of the Lamb, Revelation 19:7_8; and the „washed
robes” that entitle to the tree of life, Revelation 22:14.
Once in my early ministry, before preaching a sermon on the
„Wedding Garment” of Matthew 22:12, I read Dr. Broadus’
comment on the passage interpreting the wedding garment to
mean righteousness in character and life, adding: „But to
bring in the Pauline conception of imputed righteousness, and
understand the parable to teach that, we must put on the wed_
ding garment of Christ’s imputed righteousness, is altogether
out of place.” Then, I read Dr. Gill’s comment, taking the
opposite position, insisting that we must interpret the wedding
garment to mean the imputed righteousness of Christ. Where_
upon a lawyer of my congregation whispered to another law_
yer: „When Broadus points one way and Gill another way
this darky is gwine to take to the woods.” The other replied:
„Before taking to the woods, let’s hear the pastor.”
So I say now, before taking to the woods on this promise,
hear the author, for there is a middle road agreeing in part,
with both Broadus and Gill, and following neither altogether.
Both are right in interpreting the wedding garment to mean
righteousness, or holiness, rather, but this holiness is not
limited, as Gill would have it, to justification, nor to character
and life as Broadus has it. But Dr. Broadus is nearer right
than Gill in this that the wedding garment righteousness re_
fers not at all to the salvation done for us – that is to say, in
its legal aspects as accomplished by redemption, justification,
and adoption – but altogether to the salvation wrought in us
by both regeneration and sanctification. Every redeemed,
justified, and adopted man is at the same time internally
cleansed from the defilement of sin by the Spirit’s application
of Christ’s blood. This is the first and an essential part of
regeneration. Regeneration consists of (1) cleansing from the
defilement of sin by the Spirit’s application of the blood of
Christ, and (2) of renewing. Both of these integral parts of
regeneration come at justification. Then the work of internal
cleansing, begun in regeneration, is carried on through sancti_
fication, which is completed at the death of the body, so that
of these disembodied saints we may say with Hebrews 12:23,
„The spirits of just men (justified) made perfect,” or with
Revelation 6:11, „And there was given them to each one a
white robe” – i.e., to the soul of each martyr underneath the
altar, as revealed at the opening of the fifth seal.
The cleansing part of regeneration was typified by the
sprinkling with a bunch of hyssop, of the liquefied ashes of the
red heifer, or water of purification (Ezek. 36:25; Heb. 9:
13_14). This is „the washing of regeneration” in Titus 3:5,
referred to also in I Corinthians 6:11, „Such were some of you,
but ye were washed.” And, if you are able to bear it, this is
the „born of water” in John 3:5, which Nicodemus, a teacher
in Israel, was rebuked for not understanding, so clearly was
it taught in the Old Testament.
In the same way was the cleansing of sanctification applied
to the penitent backslider David (Psalm 51:2, 7), „Wash me
thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin;
purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I
shall be whiter than snow.” And to the cleansing of both
regeneration and sanctification does Paul refer in Ephesians
5:26_27, „That he might sanctify it, having cleansed it by the
washing of the water with the word, that he might present the
church to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle
or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without
blemish.” The grace of this cleansing, whether in regeneration
or sanctification, appears from its efficient cause, the blood of
Christ: „And one of the elders answered saying unto me:
These that are arrayed in the white robes, who are they, and
„whence come they? And I say unto him, My Lord, thou know_
est. And he said to me, These are they that come out of great
tribulation, and they washed their robes and made them white
in the blood of the Lamb.” „Blessed are they that wash their
robes, that they may have the right to come to the tree of life
and may enter in by the gates into the city.”
Now, this internal cleansing, this perfecting in personal
holiness, is symbolized by_the white robe, or wedding garment:
And it was given unto the Lamb’s wife that she should array
herself in fine linen, bright and pure; for the fine linen is the
righteousnesses of the saints.” Note the plural „righteous_
nesses,” which does not mean as the Revision puts it „the right_
eous acts of the saints.” This would flatly contradict the re_
generation part of this righteousness (see Titus 3:5). And so
it would contradict the many cleansings of sanctification –
„Christ being made unto us sanctifications,” every time as in
David’s case, the Spirit applies the same cleansing blood.
It is true enough that the regenerated man, progressing in
sanctification, acquires personal character, exhibited in life
and good works. But this is not what is meant by the wedding
garment of Matthew or the white robe of Revelation, which
is the same thing. The white robe means holiness, as God is
holy. The means of the cleansing is Christ’s atoning blood.
This is applied by the Spirit and apprehended by faith. The
whole of it is God’s work and is of grace from the first cleans_
ing in regeneration to the last cleansing of sanctification. That
it is not character on earth is evident from Revelation 6:2,
where it is bestowed after death. So with the teaching of
7:13_14, and 19:7. The glorious result is expressed in Ephe_
sians 5:27 – „that he might present the church to himself a
glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing,
but that it should be holy and without blemish.” It will also
be forever true that the elect are immune from any law charge
because wrapped in the righteousness of Christ imputed to us
when by faith we are espoused to Christ. And also forever
true that the white robe of the marriage is another thing, be_
ing personal holiness wrought in us by the Holy Spirit in re_
generation and sanctification. It is therefore respectfully sub_
mitted that Dr. Gill is in error when he expounds the wedding
garment to be Christ’s righteousness imputed to us, or any_
thing done for us in the legal acts of redemption, justification,
adoption, and equally so that Dr. Broadus is mistaken when
he interprets it to mean our character or life as the embodiment
of deeds done by us, no matter how much they may have been
the fruits of grace. But it means personal holiness wrought in
us by the Holy Spirit:
(1) By the cleansing of regeneration when the blood of
Christ is applied by the Spirit. Ezekiel 36:25; Hebrews 9:14;
first clause of 10:22; Titus 3:5, first clause; I Corinthians 6:11,
first clause.
(2) By the continued cleansing of sanctification until holi_
ness of spirit is perfected – as in the cleansing of backslidden
David (Psalm 2:2, 7); in the continual changes into Christ’s
image (2 Cor. 3:18).
That both the cleansing in regeneration and the subsequent
cleansing of sanctification are meant is evident from that one
supreme proof text, Ephesians 5:26, compared with Revela_
tion 6:11, first clause, and 7:13_14; 22:14.
The plural „righteousnesses” in Revelation 19:8, refers
therefore not to acts of the saints but to the Spirit’s acts in the
8. „7 will in no wise blot out his name out of the book of
life.” This is the second promise to the faithful at Sardis. Two
questions are: (1) What is the book of life, and (2) the exact
force of not blotting out the name?
What, then, is the book of life? By its very name it is a
register of immortals. „He that believeth in me shall never
die” – shall never come into condemnation – „but hath eternal
life.” The nature of this book may be considered from one of
two views:
(1) A list of all his elect as God saw them before the
foundation of the world. This would be the list of the original
divine purpose. This view has been supported largely by an
interpretation of Revelation 13:8; 17:8; but this interpreta_
tion is very doubtful, since it makes the phrase „from the
foundation of the world” modify „written in the book” rather
than the „Lamb slain.” Your Standard Revision supports
this view.
(2) A much safer view is that it is a register of judicial de_
cisions, each name written when the owner is justified (Isa. 4:
3). It has this meaning in Revelation 20:15:21:27, and Dan_
iel 12:1. And because this judicial decision is irrevocable, it
explains the ground of joy in our Saviour’s words to the seventy
(Luke 10:20), and the fact that no indictment can be drawn
against God’s elect, since it is God that justifies (Rom. 8:33).
See also Philippians 4:3, and Hebrews 12:23.
On the meaning of this book and its use at the judgment
(Rev. 20:15) is written this hymn:
When thou, my righteous judge, shalt come
To take thy ransomed people home,
Shall I among them stand?
Shall I, who sometimes am afraid to die,
Be found at thy right hand?
Oh, can I bear the piercing thought:
What if my name shall be left out?
What then is the exact force of not blotting out the name?
In all Greek cities, and later at Rome, there was an enrolment
of citizens as distinguished from the general population who
had no rights of citizenship. Citizenship could be forfeited
during life by adjudged infidelity to the city, decided by a
vote of the unaccused citizens, followed by erasure of the name.
Some of the best citizens were thus, by prejudice, ostracized,
as Greek history shows. A Christian citizen of Sardis might
thus lose citizenship on account of loyalty to Christ. Of
course, death ended this earthly citizenship. It is the object
of the promise to contrast the enrolled citizenship in the heav_
enly Jerusalem with the enrolled citizenship in Sardis. The
point of contrast lies between two citizenships, the two en_
rolments, and particularly in the fact that heavenly citizen_
ship, after once being enrolled, was never forfeited: „I will in
no wise blot his name out of the book of life.” Many com_
mentaries miss the point in supposing that the heavenly enrol_
ment is a probationary list, subject to erasure, and that this
implication inheres in the promise as well as in the threat of
Revelation 22:19. Your author is fully persuaded that this
position is untenable. He not only admits, but contends, that
citizenship was forfeitable not only in Greek cities and in
Rome, but also in the Jewish state, but utterly denies it of the
heavenly citizenship, and that this very fact is the essence of
the promise.
9. „I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God, and
he shall go out thence no more; and I will write upon him the
name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the
new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my
God, and my own new name.”
Perhaps the most imposing, most ornamental, if not the most
useful parts of a great edifice are its pillars. Only the wealth
of a king could supply even one of the pillars of the temple of
Diana at Ephesus. The surviving pillars in the ruins of ancient
temples and cities yet challenge the admiration of the world
as masterpieces of human skill and genius. It marked the
prominence and importance of James, Cephas, and John to be
„reputed as pillars” in the Jerusalem church (Gal. 2:29), and
glorified the church when called „the pillar of the truth” (I
Tim. 3:15). To be made, therefore, an everlasting pillar in
the heavenly temple is an expression of the highest honor.
This honor is enhanced by the inscriptions on it by the divine
architect himself – the name of God, the name of the new
Jerusalem, the new name of the architect himself, to wit:
„Faithful and True . . . KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS”
(Rev. 19:11,13,16).
10. „I will give to him to sit down with me in my throne,
as I also overcame and sat down with my Father in his throne.”
This is not the throne of ruling, expressed in a previous prom_
ise, but the throne of final judgment. On the last great day,
earth’s supreme assize, the faithful ones are placed at the
Lord’s right hand, i.e., on his judgment throne (Matt. 25:31,
33), and shall participate with him in passing judgment on
wicked men and angels. Jesus had already promised to his
apostles that in the world’s regeneration (palingenesia, i.e.) the
time of the restoration of all things), they should sit on the
twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Matt. 19:
29). And Paul had said: „Know ye not that the saints shall
judge the world? Know ye not that we shall judge angels?”
(I Cor. 6:23). What a reversal of earth condition when the
Sanhedrin that tried Peter and John shall be judged by them!
When Gallic, Festus, Agrippa, and Nero shall stand before
Paul’s tribunal. What poetic justice when Job and Peter
shall judge the devil.
Note: The questions on this chapter consist of the meaning of each
promise, or part of a promise.

Revelation 4_5

In the preceding chapters on Revelation 2_3, we have con_
sidered an earth scene of „the things that are” – a most dis_
couraging view. Now we consider a heaven scene of „the
things that are” – a most encouraging view.
The first thought is „the heavens opened.” Many people
live and die without a vision of heaven. To them heaven is
vague and far away, exercising no influence on their lives.
Others, by faith, see things invisible. The Old Testament ex_
amples of the vision of heaven are worthy of study. The ex_
amples are many but I cite only three:
Jacob left home for the first time – to be gone many years
and never to see his mother again. Camping one night – all
alone – with a stone for his pillow – he dreamed that he saw
a stairway reaching from earth to heaven – on which angels
descended and ascended. According to the New Testament
this stairway was our Lord Jesus Christ restoring communica_
tion between heaven and earth. The vision converted Jacob
and revolutionized his life. He called that place „the house
of God and the Gate of Heaven.” That one experience of the
sensible presence of God – of heaven’s interest in the pilgrims
of earth – dissipated his loneliness and fear and never lost its
Again, in the discouraging year when King Uzziah died,
Isaiah was cheered by a vision of the King who never dies.
He saw heaven opened and the throne of eternal mercy – the
ministering angels – all aflame with interest in earth’s, affairs.
Yet again, Ezekiel, in the more discouraging times of the exile,
had a glorious vision of the throne of grace and its circle of
flaming – wide_awake – ministering angels. In the light of the
vision exile changed to restoration and restoration to the
spiritual eternal kingdom of God.
So here, chapters 4_5, the heavens are opened to John, the
exile on Patmos, and in the light of its vision, the discouraging
earth view of the imperfect churches and pastors is swept away
forever and in its stead, through panorama after panorama,
he sees the ultimate triumph and universal prevalence of the
kingdom of God.
At the outset let me assure you there is no reason for you to
be dismayed at the symbolism of these chapters. The book
is a revelation, not a hiding. It is not difficult to understand
the leading thoughts and central facts underlying the imagery.
What, then, are the particulars of the vision? First of all
he saw a throne. We know it to be the throne of grace by the
rainbow arch above it.
On that throne, whether described by Isaiah, Ezekiel, or
John, the Almighty is presented in an exceedingly reticent way.
No man has seen God directly at any time, nor can see him.
He said to Moses: „You. saw no image.” So here the Father
appears without form or shape – vaguely seen as the brilliance
of a jewel. But the thought is clear „The Lord God omnipotent
reigneth – let the earth rejoice.” Before the throne is a sea.
In this and other apocalyptic books – the sea represents the
peoples or nations of the earth – with this difference: As seen
on earth Satan appears dominant over the sea of peoples. It
is there storm_tossed (Dan. 7:2_3), one beast (or nation) ris_
ing up after another. But before God in heaven, who over_
rules, that sea (of nations) becomes placid as a mirror. To
him the nations are but drops of water in a bucket. He sees a
representation of the third person of the Trinity, the Holy
Spirit: „Seven lamps of fire – which are the seven Spirits of
God.” Seven is a perfect number meaning any number neces_
sary, but here just seven to show that the Omnipresent Spirit
is with each of the seven churches named in the preceding

chapters. If a hundred churches on earth had been named, the
symbolisms here would have been „one hundred lamps of fire
which are the hundred Spirits of God.”
He saw the second person of the Trinity, the Son of God,
not as he was before the creation of the world, but as a Lamb
that had been slain now alive to die no more.
So he saw all the Holy Trinity and each in a way to identify
the throne as a throne of grace – the Father and the rainbow –
a Spirit for every church – the Son as a Lamb once slain but
now alive.
He sees the Cherubim or „four living ones.” Do not follow
the common version „four beasts” as if the Greek word were
„therion” as in Rev. 13:1, but „zoa,” living ones. Now, as
there is more confusion of mind concerning the Cherubim
than perhaps any other thing it is my purpose to give you a
clear conception of them gathered from the Scriptures alone.
1. The Cherubim of Ezekiel 10:1_20, are the same as „living
ones” of Ezekiel 1:5, and Revelation 4:6, (Greek zoa), and
the same as the Seraphim of Isaiah 6:2. Seraphim expresses
merely the glowing flames or luminous quality of the Cheru_
bim. It is human rhetoric or poetic license that makes them
distinct orders of beings.
2. Their number is always and only four (Ezek. 1:5; 10:
10; Rev. 4:6). But as from an east, west, north, or south
angle of vision only two can be seen, so on the mercy seat –
an east view – only two can be made visible. Hence the direc_
tions to Moses to make two (Ex. 25:18).
3. The Cherubim are Angels, but angels of high honor and
princely character always nearest the throne of God, as seen
by Isaiah, Ezekiel, and John. That they are angels is evident
from Psalm 104:4, correctly interpreted by Hebrews 1:7. It
is more evident from I Peter 1:12, referring to the posture of
the Cherubim bending over and gazing down upon the mercy
seat: „Which things angels desire to look into.” Hence also
Cherubim were placed on a great veil that shrouded the most
holy place as if endeavoring to peep through that veil and
comprehend the mystery of Redemption.
4. They are not angels of wrath but always associated with,
the throne of grace, as you may see by tracing the word through
a concordance. Every manifestation of mercy exhibits them.
God, intervening for fallen men, is always represented as sit_
ting, or dwelling, or appearing, or speaking between or amonn”
the Cherubim. As the Shekinah, or sword_flame, he dwelt
between the Cherubim, to keep open the way to the tree of
life, when the throne of grace was established at the east of
the district of Eden when man was expelled from paradise
(Gen. 3:24; see rendering in Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown),
and there Abel found him and through atoning sacrifice and
faith found his way back to the tree of life (Gen. 4:4, and
Heb. 11:4).
This precise idea of Genesis was embodied by divine direc_
tions to Moses in the construction of the mercy seat of the
tabernacle (Ex. 25:18_22; 26:31; 37:8).
Here, between the Cherubim, God’s voice was heard (Num.
7:89). Here God dwelt (I Sam. 1:24; 2 Sam. 6:2; Psalm 80:
1; 99:1; Isa. 37:16; Heb.’9:5). And so in the Temple of Solo_
mon (I Kings 6:23; 2 Kings 19:15; I Chron. 13:6). And just
so in Ezekiel’s ideal temple (Ezek. 41:18).
5. The four Cherubim, combined, constitute the chariot of
God, moving on purposes of mercy (I Chron. 28:18; Psalm
18:10). In this chariot of fire Elijah ascended to heaven (2
Kings 2:11). Compare the sarcasm of Isaiah 27:18, on the
death of Shebna. Doubtless also it was this angel chariot
that met the beggar Lazarus at the depot of death and carried
him away to banquet with Abraham in the kingdom of heaven
(Luke 16:22). Hence, not without power, and certainly with
instructed piety, the happy camp meeting Negroes of the
South are accustomed to sing, „Swing Low, Sweet Chariot!”
If ever that fire chariot goes on a mission of wrath it is always,
like the wrath of the Lamb, because of mercy despised (Isa.
65:15). The heavenly realities which forecast these symbols
for tabernacle and Temple in the visions of Isaiah, Ezekiel,
and John certainly indicate the angelic interest and activity
of the Cherubim in the plan, method, and work of salvation.
6. Each Cherub is symbolically represented with four faces,
fronting east, south, west, and ‘north, to indicate their power
to see, and their readiness to move in any direction without
turning around. So, in the description of Ezekiel. To illus_
trate, the camp of Israel fronted four ways, three tribes on
each of the four sides. In military maneuvers a battalion
may form a hollow square, facing and fighting in four direc_
7. The different faces expressed the qualities of the Cheru_
bim. The face of the man indicated intelligence, and sym_
pathy with man; the face of the eagle indicated great powers
of vision and flight; the face of the ox indicated endurance
and strength; the face of the lion indicated courage. Thus,
facing east you see the face of a man, and on one side you see
the face of an eagle, and on the other side the face of an ox,
and on the back view the face of a lion.
8. The highest number of wings actually named as in use at
one time is six (Isa. 6:2; Rev. 4:8), yet there must have been
two wings for each face – eight altogether. The idea conveyed
is that they are always ready to fly in the direction any face
fronted without turning around. The number of wings seen at
any time depended on circumstances, particularly on the angle
of vision. Seen over the mercy seat, from an east front, only
two faces and four wings are visible; seen at rest every wing
is folded and none is visible (Ezek. 1:25)
9. The wheels represent the means of movement on earth,
as the wings represent the means of movement in the air.
There was a wheel for each face (Ezek. 1:15). Now, as a pair
of wings for each face indicated capacity and readiness to fly
in the direction that face fronted, so the same idea is expressed
in the earth motion by „a. wheel within a wheel.” To grasp
this thought, conceive of one tire of a wagon wheel pressed
into another at right angles. Such a double wheel would not
only stand of itself, but without turning could be rolled in
four directions. With the exercise of a little ingenuity, you
can make a double pasteboard wheel that embodies the idea._
That is a wheel within a wheel. It can roll any one of four
ways without turning. The same thought may be seen in the
rollers to the legs of a table that enables you to push or pull
in any direction without turning the table.
Ezekiel repeatedly presents this thought, that whether the
Cherubim fly with wings, or glide on wheels, they never turn
around. They always move straight forward, whether it be
one Cherub or four. If the four be together, two faces and
four wings and two wheels front every cardinal point of the
compass, being ever ready to see, fly or glide north, east, south,
or west without turning. In any element, land, sea, or air
they are ever ready for sight or movement in four directions.
An auto must turn round for a new direction, but the Cheru_
bim moves straight forward – the chariot of God never made a
turn. Dr. J. R. Graves borrowed from Ezekiel’s Cherubim,
i.e., „A wheel within a wheel,” his idea of Methodism, as set
forth in his „Great Iron Wheel” – but he utterly missed Eze_
kiel’s idea of the number of wheels and their relative size and
position. Ezekiel’s wheel was double, each of the same size,
and interfitted at right angles. Dr. Graves’ idea was one big
wheel, a smaller one in that, and a still smaller in that, all
fitted in laterally, and not at right angles and connected by
spokes jointed into a central hub, the hub representing the bish_
ops, the innermost wheel representing the presiding elders,
the next wheel the preachers in charge and the outer wheel the
class leaders – and the whole wheel rolling over the members.
This symbolical idea of the Cherubim fitted for motion in
any element is embodied somewhat in the airplane – in the
air it is a bird, in the water it is a boat, on land it is a wheeled
10. The leg of the Cherub had no knee and the foot no
joints, to indicate that movement was purely volitional, no
bending of knee or foot, no labored steps, but a gliding motion,
like roller skates or other skates on ice. I have dreamed, more
than once in my life, of possessing this volitional gliding move_
ment either on the earth or in the air – the will only acted.
That is, I dreamed that Just by willing I could lift myself
up and, without exertion or fatigue, could glide. Doubtless
we will all possess this volitional power of movement in the
better world. Our autos must carry an oil supply, and a
crank for ignition, but in Ezekiel’s Cherubim „the Spirit” or
motor power resided in the wheel (Ezek. 1:12, 20), the power
turned off or on by will, not mechanism.
11. Their swiftness of movement, whether on the land, or
through the air, is compared to a flash of lightning (Ezek.
1:14). For instance, combined, the four Cherubim into a char_
iot which could go east to west and back again just by a
mental movement. They could go forward and back again
as quick as a flash of lightning appears and disappears.
12. The rims, or felloes, of the wheel, Ezekiel says, were
very high and dreadful, and like the wings full of eyes – to in_
dicate vision in every direction, power of perception incalcul_
ably great. No man_made wheel was ever like this. The Ferris
wheel at the Chicago Fair was a toy in comparison.
13. The appearance of the Cherubim in motion was exceed_
ingly luminous – Ezekiel says like coals of fire, or torches. The
fire was exceedingly bright, radiating flashes of lightning
(Ezek. 1:13). They constituted indeed a „chariot of fire.”
And he says that the noise of their wings was like the roaring
of an ocean storm – like the voice of the Almighty – or like
the tumult of great armies.
14. Under each wing was the hand of a man (Ezek. 1:3).
That is, each Cherub had two hands for each of the four faces.
Hence the hand of one of the Cherubim touched the lips of
Isaiah with a coal from the altar, cleansing and inspiring him
to speak for God. And in the same way a hand of one of the
Cherubim extended to Ezekiel a book of Revelation. These
various organs of sight, motion, and touch expressed in a sym_
bolic way the capacity of the Cherubim for varied activity, in
the highest conception of motion, sight, touch, and light.
Heathen mythology sought to express these extraordinary
powers in the hundred eyes of Argus, the hundred hands of
Briareus, the seven heads of the Hydra and the varied shapes
of Proteus and the man_horse Centaur. Parables and symbols
are far more expressive than literal speech.
15. The last thought: In the light of these scriptures con_
cerning these Cherubim we confront some surprises in the way
of interpretation. First, that art paints a cherub with the
winged face of a baby. Second, that even such a theologian
as Dr. Strong should deny any real existence to the Cherubim,
making them only a symbolic representation of glorified hu_
manity. See his article on the Cherubim in his „Philosophy
and Religion.” This idea of the Cherubim representing glori_
fied humanity is based on the doubtful reading in our lesson,
the word „us,” Greek hemas, in Revelation 5:9, which makes
the Cherubim sing a song declaring „Thou hast redeemed us
with thy blood,” – that is the way the Common Version reads.
Of course, if the Cherubim are redeemed with the blood of
Christ they cannot be angels. But the best manuscript au_
thority leaves out that us – so does your American Standard
Revision of that verse. A still wilder interpretation makes
the four Cherubim stand for animate creation as represented
by man, ox, eagle, lion. Yet the wildest of all makes them
mean the four continents – Asia, Africa, Europe, and America.
The Cherubim that John saw in this vision are represented
as saying tirelessly, continuously: „Holy, Holy, Lord God
John saw twenty_four elders in priestly garb, seated on
twenty_four thrones, each with a crown, a harp, and a bowl
of incense (see 4:4. 10: 5:8). The crown and throne indicate
their royalty, the harp signifies their praise and the incense
their prayers. The white robes and the offering of incense
represent their priestly office. The number twenty_four repre_
sents the perpetuity of their service. David divided the priest_
hood into twenty_four courses, or reliefs, so that by successive
rotation in service, the temple worship should be perpetual
(see reference to Zacharias in Luke 1:8_9, 23). The antitype
is the universal priesthood of all Christians under the New
Covenant: „Ye are to be a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual
sacrifices – a royal priesthood” (I Peter 2:5, 9). Or, as John
has already expressed it in this book: „He made us to be a
kingdom, to be priests unto God” (1:6).
You must be careful to note that the adoration, praise, and_
prayers of Christ’s royal, New Testament priests are offered
on earth. But John’s symbolism here is to show how these
earth offerings reach heaven, and avail there. We know by
experience, the adoring, praising, and praying down here, but
we could not know without revelation the other end of the line,
the reception accorded to and the profit arising from this earth
service. The vision means: „I will show you your song and
prayer entering heaven.” The adoration of the King_Christian
on earth, when it gets to heaven, casts the crown of earthly
royalty before God’s throne of grace and sings: „Thou art
worthy, 0 Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for
thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and
were created.”
The next thing that he sees is a sealed book, which the
Father holds in his right hand. You are not to think of a book
like the printed Bible. The books of that time were manu_
scripts of parchment and rolled around a staff. Suppose I had
a long piece of parchment, each end fastened to a staff or roller,
interspaced into seven sections, each section sealed up when
rolled around the staff. Then there would be the other staff to
which the last part of the roll would be attached, and when
you read it you unroll it from one staff and roll it after reading
around the other staff. What you have read would keep get_
ting larger and larger, and what you had to read would keep
getting smaller and smaller, and when you have emptied
one staff and the other would be full.
John saw that this roll, or book, was written on both sides,
every space covered, which signified that nothing more is to be
added to it. It is complete. Now, the question is: What does
that seven sealed roll mean? The rest of the book will show
you that it is a disclosure of future events concerning the
kingdom of God. God knew its contents, but it was sealed
from human and angelic sight, and when the question was
asked: „Who can break the seals and open this book?” neither
man nor angel could respond. John wept at the thought. Then
one of the Cherubim comforted him: „You need not weep,
the Lion of Judah, the root of David, the Lamb slain from
the foundation of the world, Jesus Christ in his glory, can
break these seals and open that roll.”
Now, it is the object of the book, from chapter 5 on, to fore_
cast in symbolic imagery the salient points of our Lord’s king_
dom. Both sides of the roll were covered with writing, every
space was filled to indicate, as I suppose, the completeness of
the revelation, so that at the end of the book it could be said
that no man should add to it or take from it; it was complete.
When it was announced that this Revelator would unseal that
book, both Cherubim and Elders unite in singing this new song:
„Worthy art thou to take the book and open the seals; for
thou wast slain and died to purchase unto God with thy blood
[not „us,” but] – men of every tribe, and tongue, and people,
and nation, and madest them to be unto our God a kingdom
and priests, and they reign upon the earth.” That is, while
he reigns in heaven, they reign on earth.
Now, when the twenty_four Elders, representing the per_
petual priesthood of God’s people, and the four Cherubim
sang that song, then the countless host of angels took it up.
The number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand
of thousands. „Worthy is the Lamb that has been slain to
receive the power, and riches, and wisdom, and might, and
honour, and glory.” Now, when the uncountable angels of
God sang that song, there came an echo to the song (v. 13),
„and every created thing which is in the heaven and on the
earth, and in the earth and on the sea, and all things that are
in them, heard I saying: Unto him that sitteth on the throne,
and unto the Lamb, be the blessing and the honour and the
glory and the dominion forever and ever.” This must be the
thought of Paul: „For I reckon that the sufferings of this
present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory
which shall be revealed to us_ward. For the earnest expecta_
tion of the creation waiteth for the revealing of the sons of God.
For the creation was subjected to vanity, and not of its own
will, but by reason of him who subjected it, in hope that\he
creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of cor_
ruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God.
For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth
in pain togther until now.” Which means that the earth,
man’s habitat, cursed when man sinned (Gen. 3:17), shall
partake of man’s redemption, so that from the great flood of
fire attending our Lord’s final advent, there shall emerge 
new heaven and a new earth (2 Peter 3:13; Rev. 21:1).

1. What is the first thought of this revelation?
2. Cite Old Testament examples of the thought.
3. To most Christians how does heaven appear, and the consequent
effect on their happiness, usefulness and life?
4. What was the power of hearing heavenly voices and seeing heavenly visions? Illustrate by Stephen.
5. What throne revealed in this vision, and what symbol indicates it?
6. In what_way is the Father revealed? – The Spirit? – The Son?
7. What do the Elders represent – the meaning of the twenty_four –
meaning of „harp” – of „incense” – and is it a picture of adoration,
praise, and prayer as offered on earth, or as reaching heaven?
8. The difference, if any, between Seraphim and Cherubim?
9. Prove from Ezekiel 10, that Cherubim and „living creatures” are
the same.
10. Prove that the Cherubim are angels.
11. What was their number always?
12. Explain the symbolism of four faces, eight hands, eight wings,
four wheels.
13. Illustrate a „wheel within a wheel.”
14. What use did J. R. Graves make of „a wheel within a wheel” and
how did he misapply the imagery?
15. Meaning of the form of the several faces – man., eagle, ox, lion?
16. Cite the passages proving that the four Cherubim combined con_
stitute the chariot of God, and give instances of use.
17. Where the spirit or motor power, of the chariot, and compare
with auto and airplane?
18. With what are the Cherubim always associated, and cite proof
from the tabernacle – the temple, and Ezekiel’s ideal temple?
19. What is the sealed book, and explain how the seven seals are
applied, and how each seal in succession when broken would reveal only a part of the book?
20. What is the meaning of „sea” in this book, and explain why this
sea seen in heaven is placid, and on earth disturbed?
21. Who governs the earth sea, and cite proof? (See Rev. 12:17;13:1).

Revelation 6:1 to 8:1

The theme of this chapter is the opening of the seals, or the
gospel as preached from John’s time to the final advent of our
Lord. As you observe, this study concludes with 8:1, sep_
arated from its context by artificial chapter division – it should
be 7:17. The study introduces the prophetic element of the
book, which extends to the end. From the standpoint of the
writer, it is the first revelation of „the things which shall come
to pass hereafter.”
We will consider first the Revelator. In the gospel, our Lord
is himself the revelation of God the Father: here he is the
Revelator. He is presented in 5:6 thus: „A Lamb standing
as though he had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes,
which are the seven Spirits of God.” The seven horns indicate
fulness of authority and power in each of the seven churches.
The seven eyes, explained as the seven Spirits of God, indi_
cate his sending of the Holy Spirit, who on earth is his vicar
and bears witness to him alone, and through whom he is pres_
ent with and controls the seven churches. His worthiness to be
the Revelator, and to constitute his people a kingdom and
priests, and to receive all power, riches, wisdom, might, honor,
glory, blessings, and dominion, is expressly ascribed to his
vicarious expiation of sin as the Lamb slain. This appears in
5:9_10, 12_13, and his worthiness on this ground is recognized
by the united voices of Cherubim, Elders, all the Holy Angels
and by the whole creation. So qualified, he opens the seals
and reveals in sublime imagery the future of the kingdom of
God. And so this revelation is prophecy.
The seven disclosures which follow the opening of the seven
seals are divided into two distinct groups: a group of four
and a group of three. The four are introduced, one after an_
other, by the four Cherubim in succession, and in response to
their „Come,” „Come,” „Come,” appear horses varying in
color. With the group of three the Cherubim appear to have
no direct connection. The fifth seal disclosure reveals the im_
patient martyr cry for vengeance, uttered on earth indeed,
but here presented as it reaches heaven, and the sixth seal
discloses portents which herald the long delayed vengeance for
which the martyrs prayed. The opening of the seventh seal
is followed by these words: „There was silence in heaven for
half an hour.” That is to say, temporarily there is no dis_
closure of what followed the opening of the seventh seal – the
climax for a while is suppressed. We do not get to what that
seventh seal would have disclosed until we reach the climax in
chapter 20, and in every other synchronous view there is a
pause, or a suppression of the climax which, when it comes,
fits all four of the synchronous views. We have already seen
the agency of the Cherubim in giving revelations to Isaiah and
Ezekiel. Now, let us take up this study in order. The First
Seal: When our glorified Lord opened the first seal, one of the
Cherubim shouted like thunder: „Come” – not „come and
see” as the King James Version has it, as if spoken to John;
not „come Lord Jesus, in thy final advent” as the premillennial
interpreter would have it. The Cherub says „Come,” and he
is not calling either John or Jesus – they are both there with
him. We know what each Cherub called for by what appeared
in answer to the call. There appeared in succession, following
the „Come,” „Come,” „Come,” „Come,” four horses with their
riders. This imagery of different colored horses is borrowed
from the book of Zechariah. In a paragraph of chapter I and
in the whole of chapter 6, we have Zechariah’s vision of the
different colored horses and the chariots, which are explained
as the four spirits which stand before the throne of God, and

go forth unto all the earth at the bidding of God, and by whom
all the earth is quieted. Here in our lesson we see these horses
all going forth at the bidding of the four living creatures. In
Zechariah the result of the going forth is the crowning of Josh_
ua the high priest, followed by these words: „Behold the man
whose name is the Branch, and he shall grow up out of his
place; and he shall build a temple of Jehovah, and he shall be
a priest upon his throne, and the counsel of peace shall be
between them both” – that is, between the king and the priest
– „and the crowns shall be distributed among his followers.”
Here in our study the result is somewhat the same – the
crowning of Christ the royal priest is followed by the crowning
of all his followers. In Zechariah we have the type of the suc_
cessful issue of the rebuilding of the Temple through Joshua
and Zerubbabel, or high priest and civil government, and that
in spite of all opposition. Here in Revelation, through these
opened seals, we see the antitype, Christ’s successful building
of his spiritual temple and the crowning of all his followers. In
Zechariah all the chariots, no matter what the color of horses,
contribute an appropriate part toward the glorious result, so
here the work imaged by all these horses, whether apparently
good or bad in individual result, conspired together to one
glorious result. We cannot rightly interpret Revelation without
antecedent understanding of these horses and chariots of
Zechariah. But more particularly:
When one of the Cherubim said, „Come,” the record states
that there appeared a white horse and a rider who had a crown
on his head, and carried a bow, and he went forth conquering
and to conquer. This imagery shows the saving power of the
gospel preached, to those who lovingly receive it, even unto
the end of time. We shall see this same white horse and his
rider reappear in the last synchronous view, (19:11), but in a
somewhat different role. The Old Testament prophecies throw
much light on this royal rider and conqueror. In this connec_
tion turn to the Psalm 45:1_8:
My heart overfloweth with a goodly matter;
I speak the things which I have made touching the king:
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
Thou art fairer than the children of men;
Grace is poured into thy lips:
Therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.
Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, 0 mighty One,
Thy glory and thy majesty.
And in thy majesty ride on prosperously,
Because of truth and meekness and righteousness:
And thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things.
Thine arrows are sharp;
The peoples fall under thee;
They are in the heart of the king’s enemies.
Thy throne, 0 God, is for ever and ever:
A sceptre of equity is the sceptre of thy kingdom.
Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated wickedness:
Therefore God, thy God, bath anointed thee
With the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia;
Out of palaces stringed instruments have made thee glad.
Now, that tribute to the king in Psalm 45, going forth con-quering, shooting his arrows, is very similar in meaning to this
rider on the white horse that goes forth conquering and to con-quer. So to interpret our vision, we must conceive of the risen, ascended, and glorified Christ receiving the kingdom, as it is set forth in Daniel 7:13_14: „I saw in the night visions, and, behold, there came with the clouds of heaven one like unto Son of man, and he came even to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all the people, nations, and languages should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass. away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroy-ed.” In v. 18 it says: „But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even for ever and ever.”
That passage in chapter 7 tells of Christ’s ascension, and of
his reception of the kingly power, and the manner in which he
enlarged the kingdom here upon earth. It is in line with this
rider on the white horse, going forth conquering and to conquer.
Again we have a similar thought in Psalm 2. „Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision, Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion,” and it concludes by saying: „Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little,” and „all the uttermost parts of the earth are given unto him for his possession.” Psalm 2 is in line with Psalm 45, arid with Daniel 7, and portrays substantially what is accomplished by the rider on the white horse going forth conquering and to conquer.
Again, in Psalm 110 it is said: „The Lord said unto my Lord,
sit thou at my right hand until I make thine enemies thy foot_
stool.” That is spoken to Christ when he ascended into heaven
after his resurrection. And then it goes on to show that from his throne in heaven Christ reigns here on earth, and that in the day he leads out his armies his young men shall be volunteers – not conscripts. And they shall go forth in the beauty of holiness and be as multitudinous as the drops of the dew in the dawn of the morning. Christ in heaven, having received his kingdom, is dispensing his word on earth through the Spirit, the churches, and the preachers. So the going forth of the white horse with its rider, who is the King of kings and Lord of lords, signifies the gospel preached in its triumph. It brings life and peace to those who receive it and love it. It is so presented in Matthew 10:13: „When you go into a city or unto a house, say, Peace be on this house, and if there be in that house a son of peace, this peace shall rest on him.”
This is the signification of the opening of the first seal, and
we see the agency of the Cherubim in bringing it about.
The Second Seal (6:4): „And another horse came forth, a
red horse, and to him that sat thereon it was given to take
peace from the earth, that they should slay one another. And
there was given unto him a great sword.” That means, in plain
English, this: The divisive effect of the gospel preached to
the end of time, in harmony with these words in Matthew_
10:34_36: „I came not to send peace, but a sword, for I came
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, and a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.”
This red horse shows the same gospel preached, but having
a different effect, according to the words of our Lord, as I have
just read them. Now while the gospel is intended for love and
peace, as presented in the imagery of the first horse and his rider, and while that effect follows when the gospel is lovingly receiv-ed, yet on account of its high demands many reject it, and so it becomes the occasion of bitterness, contention, and strife. You can easily see why this is true, because the gospel wars against all selfishness, all impiety, all social evils, all idolatry, and every wicked business. Those following these evils array themselves against the gospel as its bitterest enemies when its preaching disturbs them. Take the case presented in Acts 16. Paul in the city of Philippi finds a poor girl possessed with a demon, ‘owned by a syndicate of men, who count her money value in proportion to her subjection to the demon that possesses her, and they make their money out of the prostitution of this woman’s soul to Satan. Now the gospel comes there in the mouth of Paul and casts out that evil spirit. The result is that this syndicate, when they saw that the hope of their gain was gone, arrested Paul and Silas.
It had precisely this effect at Ephesus. It went forth conquer_
ing and to conquer, like the white horse. After a while it strikes
the business of Demetrius, a silversmith, and other silver_smiths, who were making a big pile of money out of selling silver shrines representing the goddess Diana, and as Paul preached that „these be no gods that are made with hands,” Demetrius said: „This man is breaking up our business,” and he raised a row, with the result that Paul finally left the city. Now, every-where that the gospel is preached some will receive it lovingly, and some will reject its high claims and make for division, bitterness, and strife.
If any one of you go to a place and preach, and a mother of
a family is converted, the unconverted father gets mad – or
the daughter is converted and the son gets mad. There the
gospel seems to have been the occasion of strife.
The Third Seal: „The third cherub said, Come, and I saw,
and behold, a black horse, and he that sat thereon had a balance [that is, a pair of scales] in his hands. And I heard, as it were, a voice in the midst of the four living creatures, saying: A measure of wheat for a shilling; and three measures of barley for a shil-ling.” What does that imagery represent? It represents the gospel in the hands of the hireling and apostate church, doling it out in tiny bits at high famine prices. The Bible is locked up in the Latin Version, the people are shut out from it only as it is vouchsafed in corrupt fragments, and a charge is made for every religious service from the cradle to the grave. The house of God has scales in it, and when the weary soul comes up the minister weighs out a fragment of consolation for so much. „If I baptize your baby, so much; if I marry you, so much; if I visit you in sickness, so much; if I attend your funeral, so much; if I pray for your dead, so much; for an indulgence, so much.” It was Tetzel’s sale of indulgences that provoked the Reformation. Its blessings are beyond the reach of the poor. For example, in Mexico, as a distinguished Mexican general told me some years ago when I was in Mexico: „The multitude of our people cannot marry – they cannot pay the price that our priest charges; hence concu-binage all over the land. They cannot read the Bible; the priest doles out to them such parts as he judges to be good for them and that must be accepted as the priests interpret it.” The famine as it is represented by this horse, is not of food for the body, but of
food for the soul. As Amos says (8:11): „Behold the day is
come, saith the Lord Jehovah, when I will send a famine on the
land, not a famine for bread, nor a thirst for water, but of
hearing the words of Jehovah.” Now, that is the kind of a
famine that this black horse indicates. Through many centuries
since Christ died some ecclesiastics have thus doled out, not
only God’s word, but have put a price on every religious favor.
The Fourth Seal (6:7): „And when he opened the fourth seal I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying: Come, and I saw, and behold, a pale horse, and he that sat upon him his name was Death, and Hades followed with him.” Hades is the state of being disembodied. When the body is killed the spirit goes into the spirit world. „And there was given unto him the fourth part of the earth to kill with the sword, and famine, and death, and the wild beasts of the earth.” Now, what does that mean? This ima-gery represents the lovers of the true gospel as persecuted unto death – sword, hunger, death, and the wild beasts are all literal. Some Christians are put to death by the sword, some die of starvation, some put to death by torture or the martyr’s stake, and some cast to the wild beasts. The application is to all persecutions for conscience’ sake at any time, whether Pagan, Papal, or Protestant. Our Lord foretold that as they went forth to preach they would be persecuted, and told them to fear not them that killed the body only, but rather to fear him that was able to destroy both soul and body in hell. It refers to the persecution then going on in John’s time, and to the ten years’ tribulation that followed in Smyrna, the death of their pastor and all the other persecutions until the apostate church becomes enthroned at Rome. Then all the Roman Catholic persecutions, the Waldenses, the Albigenses, the Lollards, Huss, Jerome, Luther, the horrible persecution in Spain and in Holland and all the Low Country under the Duke of Alva and his soldiers; and it also refers to the persecution by the Protestants when they were in power, and the persecution of the Baptists by Luther, the persecution of Servants by John Calvin, the persecution of the Baptists in England and the United States.
The idea of the four horses is not necessarily successive. In
any age all four results of the gospel preached may appear.
That is not the thought, but these are four different views of
the gospel as it is preached. You may find all of them illus_
trated in two persons. A sermon may be preached, two men
sitting side by side. One of them receives it and he is at peace;
the other, his brother, hates it, and there is a strife between
the two brothers. Finally, the brother that hates gets so far
away from the word of God that in his soul there is a famine
of the word of God. Then his hate becomes so intense that he
kills his brother.
In the parable of our Lord, called „the sower,” or the four
kinds of soil, you have a thought very similar. The sower went
forth so sow, and the seed fell in four different places, and
what became of the seed as it fell in these four different places
is explained by our Lord in his interpretation of the parable.
The Fifth Seal (6:9): „And when he opened the fifth seal I
saw underneath the altar the souls of them who had been slain
for the word of God, for this testimony which they held, and
they cried with a great voice, saying, How long, 0 Master,
holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on
them that dwell on the earth? And there was given unto each
of them a white robe, and it was said unto them that they
should rest yet a little while that their fellow_servants also,
and their brethren, who should be killed even as they were,
should have fulfilled their course.”
In all persecutions under the fourth seal, each impatient
martyr, while yet suffering, was crying out for God’s vindica_
tion. In effect the complaint against God’s delay of vengeance
was an impeachment of divine justice. On earth these prayers
seemed vain. But the object of the disclosure of the fifth seal
is to show you heaven’s reception of the martyr cry for ven_
geance uttered on earth. The idea is similar in Genesis 4:10_11;
God’s words to Cain: „The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth
unto me from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive
it.” Spurgeon, in glowing imagery, pictures Abel’s spirit,
evicted from its clay tenement by murder, rushing into
heaven’s court and crying: „Vengeance on my murderer,” and
happily contrasts it with Christ’s blood, „which speaketh
better things for us than the blood of Abel, even crying:
Father, forgive them, they know what they do.” A good ex_
position of the fifth seal may be found in our Lord’s parable
(Luke 18:1_8). The Lord is exhorting men to pray all the time
for vindication, and not to faint, illustrating it by the widow
and the unjust judge, and concluding by saying: „And shall
not God avenge his own elect that cry to him day and night,
and yet he is long_suffering over them.” Then he adds: „Never_
theless, when the Son of man cometh shall he find that faith
on the earth?” What faith? The faith that God will untimately
avenge the injuries done to his people. It does not mean, shall
he find saving faith on the earth? There are hundreds of people – thousands of them – who have saving faith, but yet seem to have little or no faith that God will vindicate all their wrongs.
I want to present that more particularly, as it is very impor-tant. In Bulwer’s drama of „Richelieu,” the Queen of France – Anne of Austria – said to the sceptical cardinal, who was her enemy: „The Almighty, my Lord Cardinal, does not pay every week, but at the last he pays.” The things occurring here in which for the time. being evil triumphs, give the saints great discour-agement, and they cry out because God does not speedily execute judgment on their oppressors. So the object of the fifth seal is not to show us the prayers as they are uttered here on earth, but what becomes of them when they get to heaven. He saw, under the altar, the souls of them that were beheaded for the testimony of the Lord, and they cried out „how long?” That cry was uttered on earth, but is here shown as heaven received it. His reply is: „I will clothe you in white now, but rest a while, wait until the time of vengeance comes; wait until all other martyrs fulfil their course, and then all at once God will fully avenge you.”
Motley’s Rise of the Dutch Republic and his History of the
United Netherlands tell how the Spaniards capture city
after city. No mercy is shown; the men are killed, the women
are subjected to shameful indignities; the children are impaled
on spears or their heads cut off and fastened to spikes, and
every conceivable evil and horror is visited upon them, until
the question rises: „Where is God?” We need to recall the
words of the German poet, Von Logau,
The mills of God grind slowly,
But they grind exceeding small;
Though with patience He stands waiting,
With exactness grinds He all.
Law writers tell us that laws restrain crime only as punish_
ment is speedy and certain. An Old Testament writer antici_
pated their wisdom: „Because sentence against an evil deed is
not speedily executed, the hearts of evil_doers are fully set in
them to do mischief.” Shakespeare, in Hamlet, makes „the
law’s delay provocation for suicide. So the lesson of Paul is
hard: „Avenge not yourself – give place to God’s wrath; if
thine enemy hunger feed him, if he thirst give him drink, and
by doing so heap coals of fire on his head.”
God’s delay in avenging is explicable by the facts:
1. No criminal can escape.
2. No bribery, perjury, or technicality can avail.
3. The sufferer is trained in patience by tribulation.
4. No witness can abscond.
5. The punishment will be complete and exactly propor_
tioned to the heinousness of the offense.
6. God delays to punish that there may be space for repent_
ing. (See Acts 3:14, 19; Rom. 2:4; 2 Peter 3:8, 9, 15)
John Milton quotes our very passage (Rev. 6:10), and ap_
plies it to the evils perpetrated on the Albigenses by the Roman
Catholic Church. He says: „‘Avenge, 0 Lord, Thy slaughter’d
saints, whose bones lie scatter’d on the Alpine mountains cold.”
The Sixth Seal: „And I saw when he opened the sixth seal,
that there was a great earthquake of hair, and the whole moon
became as blood, and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth,
as a fig tree casteth her unripe figs when she is shaken by a
great wind, and the heaven was removed as a scroll as it is
rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of
their places, and the kings of the earth and the princes, and the
chief captains, and the rich and the strong and every bond_
man and freeman, hid themselves in the caves, and the rocks
of the mountains, and they say to the mountians and to the
rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth
on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great
day of his wrath is come, and who is able to stand?” The open_
ing of this seal reveals the portents that herald God’s final
Now, you see that that sixth seal brings you to the end of
time. Our Lord also says in his great prophecy in Matthew
24: „After the tribulation of those days the sun shall be dark_
ened as by an eclipse, and the moon will not give her light,
and the stars shall fall.” It is certain that there comes a time
when God does answer the long_deferred petition of his people
for vengeance upon their oppressors.
Chapter 7 presents this great thought: That God’s imminent
wrath, just about to fall, is suspended until all the righteous are
sealed and so safeguarded. And then follows the sealing of the
144,000 of the Jews; a ‘symbolic number representing 12,000
or a complete number from each tribe, and then a great multi_
tude that no man can number, out of every nation and tribe
and tongue and country. Every one of them must be saved
before those terrible convulsions that attend the advent of our
Lord, when the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll,
when the whole world shall be wrapped in fire. It cannot take
place as long as a righteous man is living on the earth, or a
righteous man’s dead body is sleeping in a grave. These must
get out of the way first. As when Abraham said to God: „You
are about to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. Shall not the Judge
of all the earth do right? It may be there are fifty good men in
that city; will you destroy them?” He said, „If there be fifty,
no” – perhaps forty – perhaps thirty – perhaps twenty – per_
haps ten. And when not ten could be found, the angel grasped
hold of the only righteous man, Lot, and said to him: „We can_
not visit God’s wrath upon this place until you get out,” and
they dragged him out. So the vengeance that comes with this
advent does not reach this earth until each child of God is se_
The Seventh Seal: It says that when the seventh seal was
opened „there was a silence in heaven for half an hour.” Which
means) that there is no disclosure just yet. The silence will be
broken when the climax of all the synchronous arrives. That
climax is Revelation 20:11_15, which agrees with the climax
of our Lord’s great prophecy – Matthew 25:31_46, and with
Paul’s climax, 2 Thessalonians 2:6_11. In the same way and
for the same purpose, the disclosure of the seven thunders is
sealed up for awhile. That is, that silence will be broken after
a while, and you will be told what would have happened right
there – it is just a temporary suspension of the climax, which
will be clearly stated when you come to it. Every one of the
parallel views before you: the seals, the trumpets, the two
women, the great holy war, every one of them will stop just
before the climax. And then in 20:11 we have the climax that
fits every one of them. He means to say that there must be
silence and no record of what the seventh seal would disclose
for awhile; so when the seven thunders were about to sound,
he says: „Do not record that; wait.”

1. In a word, what do the disclosures following the opening of the
seals represent?
2. What is the symbol of the Revelator, and meaning of seven horns
and seven eyes?
3. On what meritorious ground is all the worthiness of this Revelator based?
4. Name, and discriminate between, the two groups of these seven
5. State negatively and affirmatively to whom the Cherubim say
6. From what Old Testament book is the imagery of the colored
horses borrowed, and what is the meaning and result in this lesson?
7. Describe the first horse and his rider – what is the meaning and
where again in this book do this horse and rider appear?
8. Cite at least four Old Testament prophecies whose forecast is
similar to the meaning here.
9. In a word, what phase of the gospel preached is expressed in the
imagery of the red horse and his rider, and what saying of our Lord
expressed the same thing?
10. Why is this divisive effect of the gospel preached, and illustrate
by two notable instances in the Acts?
11. In a few words explain the imagery of the black horse and his
rider, holding a pair of scales, and illustrate historically,
12. Meaning of the imagery of Death riding the pale horse, following
by Hades?
13. What parable of our Lord exhibits some likeness to these four
14. Explain the disclosure under the fifth seal, citing Genesis case and
Spurgeon’s use of it.
15. What parable of our Lord expounds the fifth seal, and the mean_
ing of „that faith”?
16. Cite the passage from Bulwer’s „Richelieu.” From Von Logau.
17. What things help to explain the delay in God’s vengeance?
18 How does Milton apply the cry of the martyrs in 6:10?
19 What does the opening of the sixth seal reveal?
20 Where in our Lord’s great prophecy are they similarly presented?
21. What is the great thought of the seventh chapter?
22. Explain the silence after the seventh seal.

Revelation 8:2 to 10:1

We now take up that section of the book of Revelation that
relates to the sounding of the seven trumpets, which com_
mences at 8:2, and extends to the end of chapter II. But I shall
not be able to expound the entire section in one chapter; I will
try, however, to cover so much of it as extends to 10:8, leaving
for the next study the most of chapter 10 and the whole of II.
You will observe that, as in the seals, here there are two groups,
four and three. There was quite a distinction between the first
group of seals and the three that followed; and so there will
be quite a distinction between the group of four trumpets and
the three that follow.
The general meaning of the sounding of the trumpets is the
gospel as prayed from John’s time to the second coming of
Christ. The seals, you will remember, were the gospel as
preached from John’s time to the second advent. Every sound_
ing of a trumpet comes as a response, not to a sermon, but to
a prayer. We make a great mistake when we limit the power
of the gospel to its preaching, for a very large part of its power
is dependent upon its praying. The preaching is more con_
spicuous, and oftentimes a preacher takes credit to himself for
the power of his sermons, when perhaps the power came from
some obscure member of the church who prayed while he
preached. Realizing this, I made it a habit of my pastoral life
to engage a number of the most spiritually minded members
of my church to enter into a covenant to pray for me every
Sunday while I preached. Even the apostle Paul felt his great
dependence upon the prayers of his brethren and sisters, and
earnestly solicited their prayers. Just so I would count the
friends of the seminary who prayed for its endowment as upon

the agents who worked for its endowment. It is an old saying
that „Satan trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his
The key passage of this section is as follows (8:3_5) : „And
another angel came and stood over the altar” – that means
not the brazen altar of sacrifice, but the golden altar of incense
ù”having a golden censer, and there was given unto him much
incense that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints
upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the
smoke of the incense which came with the prayers of the saints
ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand. And the angel
taketh censer and he filled it with the fire of the altar and cast
it upon the earth: and there followed thunders and voices and
lightnings and an earthquake.”
A Bible student should understand the relative positions and
distinctive purposes of the brazen altar and the golden altar.
The first was in the outer court and for sacrifices. The other
was in the holy place, and was for prayer based on the pre_
ceding sacrifice. Hence, the prayer „for Christ’s sake” – that
is because he died for us. Prayer without expiation has no
It is evident from this key passage that what the trumpets
will tell us about comes as a response to prayers offered to God,
and when that censer is emptied upon the earth, then the
trumpets begin to sound, each trumpet a response to prayers.
Let the reader note that this angel standing over the golden
altar with the golden censer, which holds the incense, repre_
senting prayers on earth coming up before God in heaven, is
the great high priest Jesus Christ himself, the angel of the
covenant. Throughout the Old Testament the offering of in_
cense before the mercy seat symbolizes prayers offered in the
outer court. David says: „Let the lifting up of my hands be as
the incense.” And when the high priest entered into the holy of
holies he carried that golden censer filled with frankincense,
and kindled it with a coal from the brazen altar, and as it_
kindled the smoke went up in a fragrant cloud; it represented

the prayers ascending to God. You are to understand that the
prayers are uttered on earth, but this is a picture of their
presentation in heaven – the reception accorded these petitions
and the responses given, and you must distinquish between the
martyr cry of the last lesson and these prayers here. That
martyr cry was for a single thing – it came from martyrs only.
These are the prayers of all God’s people continually going up.
Now, seven angels stood, each with a trumpet, prepared to
sound just as the high priest, having offered these prayers
poured out on the earth coals of fire from the altar. The first
angel sounded (v. 7): „And there followed hail and fire,
mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth, and a
third part of the earth was burned up, and a third part of the
trees was burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.”
In telling you what I conceive to be the meaning of these
seven trumpets I speak with great diffidence – 1 will not be as
dogmatic about it as I am about some of my interpretations.
The wisest men and the greatest scholars on the earth may
well differ in interpreting some .of the imagery of this wonder_
ful book. I am satisfied in my own mind, however, that I am
giving you the true meaning.
In order, then, to get at the meaning of this first trumpet you
are to ask: What, or who, was the great enemy in John’s time
oppressing the church? It was pagan Rome – that fourth great
world empire that Daniel saw, and that was terrible. At this
particular time, Rome had commenced a worldwide perse_
cution of the Christians; John himself was in exile on account
of it, and not a church in the empire was safe from its cruel
hands. Now, of course, the Christians prayed about that; they
could not help it. And the first trumpet sounded. I understand
that first trumpet to mean the judgment upon the Roman
Empire – the pagan Roman Empire – that caused its decline.
And thus judgment means the invasion of nations from the
North; Scandinavia, Germany, and beyond the Danube even
from the shores of the Baltic – out of their forests came the
untamed Germans and Goths, and across the Danube came
the Vandals and Huns. Gibbon, in his Decline and Fall of the
Roman Empire, shows how 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. That is the
meaning of the first trumpet.
Verse 8: „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, and there died a third part
of the creatures that were in the sea, even them that had life,
and a third part of the ships were destroyed.” Now, a mountai~
in Revelation means a city, and near to the city of Rome wa~
that great volcano, Vesuvius, whose eruptions, when they
poured into the sea have attracted the attention of the world.
Pompeii and Herculaneum, two cities, were buried under one
of these eruptions (A.D. 79). So this second trumpet signifies
the downfall of the state of Rome itself. The first trumpet
prepared for it; the second trumpet strikes at the Roman
Empire in its heart and center. Dr. Lyman Beecher says it
took Rome 300 years to die, and Gibbon, as he writes about
the decline, writes also a’bout the fall – the Decline and Fall of
the Roman Empire. I shall not attempt here to give the num_
ber or order of the irruptions of Northern barbarians that first
shattered and then completely wrecked imperial Rome. That
empire, according to the prophecy of Daniel, divided into ten
kingdoms. But, anyhow, this great civilization that built roads
that are good today, and walls that stand today, and whose
iron organization held the whole civilized world in its sway,
went down at last because poor women and children and
fathers, Christians, prayed.
The third angel sounded, „and there fell from heaven a great
star, burning as a torch, and it fell upon a third part of the
rivers and of the fountains of waters, and the name of the star
is called Wormwood; a third part of the waters became worm_
wood and many men died of the waters because they were
made bitter.” That word „torch” really means a lamp – „There
fell from heaven a great star, burning as a lamp.” A lamp in
this book stands for a church, and hence the meaning of this
passage is that one of the luminaries that God intended for
enlightening the world became apostateùthis is the symbol of
the paganized church, which succeeded pagan Rome, and
hence after that it was called the „Holy Roman Empire.” In
a later revelation we will find similar reference (13:3) where,
when the pagan head of the empire was wounded unto death,
it was healed by an ecclesiastical head.
You will notice its effect upon the fountains and the rivers,
that this apostasy poisoned the sources of life – the very
sources of thought and reason and life among the people. The
imagery of casting wormwood into water which all must drink
is very striking. It reverses the miracle of Moses, who cast a
tree into the bitter waters and made them sweet (Ex. 15:23_
25). There was great glorification when Constantine, the
Roman emperor, united the church and state, and gradually
the state became subordinate to the church. And when the
state perished, the church survived, claiming that it held both
ecclesiastical and civil swords. The Pope today demands that
nations send their ambassadors to him, because of his claim
to be a civil as well as ecclesiastical ruler. For quite a while
there were many papal states – that is, states under the Pope,
who was as much their ruler as the English king is the ruler
over England; Lombardy, Venice, Tuscany, and quite a num_
ber of others, and that civil power was exercised more or less
until Garibaldi arose, and until Victor Emmanuel established
a free church in a free state – that is, he separated the civil
from the ecclesiastical power.
The fourth angel sounded, „and a third part of the sun was
smitten, and a third part of the moon, and a third part of the
stars, and that a third part of them should be darkened, and
the day should not shine for a third part of it, and the night in
like manner.” What does that mean? That following the
establishment of the apostasy of the Romish church, the
sources of light were eclipsed and the dark ages followed. Our
book commences with luminaries – sun, stars, lamps, appointed
to lighten the world. But apostate churches and preachers lose.
their shining power. Here he is not referring to the material
sun, moon, and starsùthey are symbols. The dark ages, so
thoroughly known in history, followed the establishment of
the papacy as a Holy Roman Empire. There were hundreds
and thousands of nominal churches and nominal preachers,
but the preachers did not preach the gospel, and these so_
called churches did not shine; the light that was in them was
darkness. The virgin Mary supplanted Christ, and so the sun
of chapter I was darkened. Ordinances were fearfully per_
verted and sacraments added. The saddest volumes of the
annals of time that I read today are the volumes that tell about
the dark ages following this assumption of power by the
I read verse 13: „And I saw and heard an eagle” – or as
some versions, and better ones, have it, an „angel” – flying in
mid_heaven, saying with a great voice: Woe, Woe, Woe” – that
is, three woes – „for them that dwell on the earth by reason of
the voice of the trumpet of the three angels that are yet to
sound.” This is a prelude to the second group – a group of three,
– distinguished by a „woe” for each trumpet. It means that
when a perverted ecclesiasticism, such as the papacy was,
dominates the world, woes of incalculable horror are sure to
follow. So we note the next (9:1): „And the fifth angel
sounded, and I saw a star from heaven fallen unto earth”ù
now,’ don’t read that: „I saw a star falling unto the earth,”
that is not what it says; that star used to belong to heaven, but
it was already fallen when seen here. Satan was once called
Lucifer – that means brightness of the morning, and he is so
styled in the Old Testament before his downfall. He is the
fallen star here, and as the church lights are eclipsed through
apostasy, so this apostate angel. He will get in a subtle,
malicious piece of work here, as we will see, „And there was
given to him the key of the pit of the abyss” – you might say
the key to hell itself – „and he opened the pit of the abyss,
and there went up smoke out of the pit as the smoke of a great
furnace, and the sun was darkened by reason of the smoke of
the pit. And out of the smoke of the pit came forth locusts upon
the earth, and power was given them as scorpions of the earth
have power, and it was said unto them that they should not
hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any
tree, but only [notice whom they are to hurt] but only such
men as have not the seal of God on their foreheads; and it was
given them that they should not kill them, but that they should
be tormented five months.” Any one who has studied the
history of the locusts knows that the locust period is five
months. But if we follow the numbers of Revelation we will
find that every day represents a year. The five months, there_
fore, would represent about 150 years, though the five months
are put in here because they correspond to the locust period.
„And their torment was as the torment of scorpions when it
striketh a man. And in these days men would seek death but
should in no wise find it, and they shall desire to die and death
fleeth from them. And the shapes of the locusts were like unto
a horse prepared for war, and upon their heads crowns like
unto gold; their faces were as man’s face; they had hair as the
hair of a woman; their teeth were as the teeth of lions; and
they had breastplates, as it were, of iron, and the sound of
their wings was as of the sound of chariots of many horses
rushing to war, and they had tails like unto the scorpion and
stung, and in their tails was their power to hurt men five
months. They had over them as a king the angel of the abyss;
his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in the Greek Apollyon,
which means destroyer” – which also means the devil.
The special points to note here are:
1. This hell smoke darkened the sun and the air. That is,
by darkening the atmosphere, the medium through which sun_
light shines on the earth, the sun could not be seen. See ac_
count in Genesis I, where the heavenly luminaries, though
existing, do not appear until the atmosphere is created. As
in this book, the spiritual lights are Christ, the churches, and
the pastors. Any smoke the devil may send will prevent the
earth from being illumined by them.
2. That the haze of this smoke generates tormentors, com_
pared to locusts.
3. That those tormented are not the children of light, but
the children of darkness. They hurt not Christians, but tor_
ment infidels and atheists.
4. The connection between a corrupt ecclesiasticism and
atheism. The latter follows the former as a natural result.
5. The meaning of the locusts. When we were in the Old
Testament, in the prophecy of Joel, under the imagery of
locusts a great evil was symbolically presented. And in this
symbolic language you should not look for real locusts, but
what they symbolize. The devil is their king; they come out
of hell itself. It is not their purpose to kill men, but to torment
them. They are not allowed to torment a Christian, for he has
light; but only those who by the smoke are hindered from
seeing the light; those that have not the seal of God on their
foreheads. Whatever these tormentors are, they trouble only
infidels and atheists.
Some interpreters very foolishly construed these locusts to
represent the Saracens or Mohammedans, but when the Sara_
cens struck they killed and the chief objects of their vengeance
were the Christian nations. They did not seek so much to
torment as to kill, and so that interpretation fails to fit the
case. What, then, is the thought symbolically presented in
this cloud of locusts that torment men who were not Chris_
tians? My answer is, a corrupt ecclesiasticism, especially
when united with the state, breeds atheism and theism breeds
restlessness and torment. It looses the tiger. The Jews have
a proverb: When the tale of brick is doubled then comes
Moses. It is also a proverb: Given the ecclesiastical corrup_
tion in France – then comes Voltaire. Given Voltaire and then
the tiger is loosed. The testimony is abundant that the
Romanist hierarchy became corrupt from Pope to priest.
Monasteries and nunneries were as cages of unclean birds. In
the interest of morality nations suppressed them. See the his_
tory of them in England. The priests had no gospel. The
churches and cathedrals were full of idolatry. When men go
to church to find Christ and see only the virgin Mary; when
preachers are substituted by priests; the gospel exchanged for
ritualism; there comes in a revulsion of public sentiment from
the Christian religion, embodied in the only form they see it.
Infidelity in France, voiced by Voltaire; rationalism in Ger_
many, or in England led by Bolingbroke, Hume, and Taylor,
in America by Paine and Ingersoll – all of it is a rebound from
corrupt ecclesiasticism. All sacred things become profane;
they are without God and hope in the world.
Now we are coming to the locusts. Take God away from
man – power away from prayer, no church to visit, no sermons
to hear, turned away from all supernaturalism, the ship of
life hails from no port and is bound to none, drifts on uncharted
seas without helm or compass, at the mercy of winds and tides
and sunken reefs; when all standards of authority are lost,
when no solution of life’s problems can be found in the con_
flicting vagaries of philosophy – the mind preys on itself. Rest_
lessness and discontent pervade the masses. Then swarm
those tormenting locusts of atheism. There were certainly in
dark ages, and even later, periods of awful horror. Maniacs
filled the forests. All law was gone. Freebooters, banditti,
free companies, roved at their own will and nowhere were
peace and safety. It was a time of torment. The devil de_
lighted to torment the very people he had beguiled. He agreed
with them that their church was bad, and suggested that they
follow him. Such was the first woe.
The author adds: „Behold, there come yet two woes here_
after,” but it gives only one of them, as the woe of the seventh
trumpet is reserved for the latter part of the book. Verse 13:
„And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the
horns of the golden altar which is before God, and one saying
to the sixth angel that had the trumpet: Loose the four angels
that are bound at the great river Euphrates. And the four
angels were loosed, that had been prepared for the hour, the
day, the month and the year, that they should kill the third
part of men. And the number of the armies of the horsemen
was twice ten thousand times ten thousand: I heard the num_
ber of them [that means two hundred million]. And thus I
saw the horses in the vision, and they that sat on them, hav_
ing breastplates of fire and hyacinth and of brimstone: and
the heads of the horses are as the heads of lions, and out of
their mouths proceeded fire and smoke and brimstone. By
these three plagues was the third part of man killed, by the
fire, and the smoke and the brimstone, which proceeded out of
their mouths. For the power of the horses was in their mouths,
and in their tails, for their tails are like unto serpents and
have heads, and with them they hurt. And the rest of man_
kind, who were not killed by these plagues, repented not of
the works of their hands, that they should not worship de_
mons and idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone
and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk; and
they repented not of their murders and their sorceries, nor of
their fornication, nor of their thefts.”
Now, I have twice in my life changed my own mind as to
what is symbolized by that great army of horsemen, coming
from the Euphrates, from over the east. I once thought that
it symbolized the European wars commencing with Napoleon
Bonaparte and lasting to the present time. But I do not now
think that is right. There was a power in history that did
come from the East, and it was an army of cavalry of un_
counted numbers, and they did sweep over the fairest part of
the earth, and particularly did they strike hard against apos_
tate churches, both the Roman and the Greek Catholics. They
were the Saracens. Mohammed, who was the founder of their
religion, arose in the sixth century. As it grew in power it
swept over all Asia from the Euphrates to Constantinople,
captured the Holy Land, all Asia Minor, including the terri_
tory of these seven churches, crossed the Bosphorus and the
Balkan mountains to thunder at the gate of Vienna. They
captured Greece and the eastern Mediterranean islands, cap_
tured North Africa, crossed the Straits of Gibraltar, and
founded a kingdom in Spain, entered France and would have
swept all Europe but for the disastrous defeat at Tours by
Charles Martel. Against their strongholds in the Holy Land
the Crusades of confederated Europe were broken. It is yet
a great power, kindling today its fires of war in the Balkans.
God used the Mohammedans to strike the apostate Greek
Catholic and Roman Catholic churches. These, as I think,
were the horses of the sixth trumpet, the second great woe.
1. What is the general meaning of the trumpets? And what is the
key passage disclosing this meaning?
2.. Where in tabernacle and Temple was the golden altar and what its relation to the brazen altar of sacrifice, and what did incense symbolize?
3. Who was the angel with the censer?
4. What great enemy at this time, by cruel and worldwide persecution, was driving Christians to prayer?
5. What, then, probably, the meaning of the first trumpet?
6. In this book what does a mountain symbolize?
7. What natural prodigy in Italy probably suggested the imagery of
a volcano overturned in the sea?
8. What is, probably, the meaning of the second trumpet?
9. What is the meaning of a torch in 8:10?
10. When, a fallen luminary like a burning lamp, poisons the fountains and rivers, sources of life, making the waters bitter, and causing the death of many – what probably is meant by the third trumpet?
11. What miracle of Moses reversed the thought here?
12. What probably is the meaning of the fourth trumpet?
13. What is the meaning of the prelude to the second group of trump_
ets (8:13)?
14. Who is the fallen star of 9:1? Cite his Old Testament name and
two names here.
15. What effect on the luminaries by this hell smoke? And how
brought about?
16. What then, probably, the locusts?
17. What is probably the meaning of the sixth trumpet and second woe?

Revelation 10_11

We have seen under the first trumpet the decline of the
pagan Roman Empire, brought about by the barbaric nations
from the German forests and the lower Danube. We have
seen under the second trumpet the complete overthrow of
pagan Rome as a volcano is erupted, turned over into the sea.
We have seen under the third trumpet the apostasy of the
Roman church, resulting in papal Rome poisoning all the
sources of life. We have seen under the fourth trumpet the
dark ages resulting from this apostasy, dimming the light of
the luminaries appointed to lighten the world. This was the
first group of trumpets, four in number.
In the succeeding group of three an emphasis is added –
each trumpet is followed by a woe, the second woe worse than
the first, and the third to be more direful than the second.
The fifth trumpet, we have found, introduces the first woe,
which is directly attributed to Satan. Resulting from the
apostasy and its corruption comes a revolt against all sacred
things, taking the direction of infidelity, rationalism, and athe_
ism. Satan’s hell smoke increases the darkness by thickening
the atmosphere through which light would shine, breeding
restlessness of spirit and torment of soul in all who are thus
without God and without hope in the world. The torments
are compared to locusts with scorpion stings.
Under the sixth trumpet, sounding the second woe, we have
seen the rise and conquest of Mohammedan power, sweeping
with fire and sword from the Euphrates to Vienna in one di_
rection, and in another direction from northern Africa into

Spain and France. For its idolatries and corruptions we have
seen the Greek Catholic apostasy lose all its territory to the
Saracen, including the Holy Land, Syria, Asia Minor, and
Constantinople; and the Roman Catholic apostasy smitten
in the Mediterranean and in southwestern Europe, and all its
crusades buried back as waves repulsed by a mountain coast.
The seven thunders are merely announced, what they mean is
sealed up for the present (10:4), but to be given in a later
revelation from a different angle of vision, to wit: the seven
plagues inflicted on the apostate church under the symbol of
the harlot woman in purple and scarlet (chapters 15_16). It
is also announced that when the seventh trumpet does sound
then will be finished the mystery of the kingdom of God
(10:7), but before this conclusion is reached the Revelator will
answer certain questions, to wit: in all this record of apos_
tasies, and the consequent dark ages and persecutions and
judgments on the apostasies, what becomes of the true church
and the pure gospel? Does the Spirit dispensation fail? Are
all the candlesticks removed? Do all preachers abandon the
gospel and become priests of heresy?
Chapters 10_11 answer these questions, and bring us to the
glorious triumph of the seventh trumpet, omitting only for
the time being the last woe, to be given in chapter 18, from an_
other synchronous view. We take up, therefore, the interpre_
tation of these glorious chapters.
„And I saw another angel coming down out of heaven, ar_
rayed with a cloud; and the rainbow was upon his head, and
his face was as the sun, and his feet were as pillars of fire.”
This evidently, from the description, is the angel of the Cove_
nant) our glorified Lord himself. „And he had in his hand
a little open book.” This little book is not the sealed book
of 5:1. That was the book of future events concerning the
kingdom. This little book, named again in w. 8_10, signi_
fies the restored gospel, which had been shut up by the apos_

„And he set his right foot upon the sea and his left upon
the earth; and he cried with a great voice, as a lion roareth,
and when he cried the seven thunders uttered their voices,
and when the seven thunders uttered their voices I was about
to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying, Seal up the
things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.
And the angel that I saw standing upon the sea and upon
the earth lifted up his right hand to heaven, and sware by
him that liveth for ever and ever, who created the heavens
and the things that are therein, and the earth and the things
that are therein, and the sea and the things that are therein,
that there shall be delay no longer.”
We note first the posture of the angel – one foot on the land
and one on the sea, to signify that all the earth, land’ and sea,
is under his authority. We note second the mere announce_
ment now of the seven thunders, not recorded now, but to be
given as the seven vials of wrath in a subsequent vision (chap_
ters 15_16). We note third the oath of the angel (v. 6) „that
there shall be delay no longer” – the King James Version ob_
scures the meaning of this glorious promise.
The promise directly responds to the martyr cry of the
fifth seal: „How long, 0 Master, the Holy and True, dost
thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on
the earth?” (6:10). The answer given them was: „Rest yet
for a little time, until thy fellow_servants also, and thy breth_
ren, who shall be killed even as ye were, shall have fulfilled
their course”ùbut now the answer is: „There shall be delay
no longer.”
Verse 7 further assures, what will be stated more particu_
larly at the end of chapter II, that the mystery of the kingdom
of God will be finished when the seventh trumpet sounds. We
find all that in 11:15_19.
We must connect with the reply to the martyr cry in 6:10,
and the different reply here: „There shall be delay no longer,”
the great lesson in 2 Peter 3:3_13. The „little time” of wait_
ing for vengeance is little in God’s sight, not ours: „But for_
get not this one thing, beloved, that one day is with the Lord
as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day. The
Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slack_
ness, but is long_suffering to you_ward, not wishing that any
should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
Thus in w. 3_7, having anticipated for assurance’ sake
later things, the Revelator resumes the story of the little open
book in w. 8_11. Let us read them: „And the voice which
I heard from heaven, I heard it again speaking with me and
saying: Go, take the book which is open in the hand of the
angel that standeth upon the sea and upon the earth. And I
went unto the angel, saying unto him that he should give me
the little book. And be saith unto me: take it, and eat it up,
and it shall make thy belly bitter, but in thy mouth it shall
be sweet as honey. 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 when I had eaten it my belly was made bitter. And they
say unto me: Thou must prophesy again over many peoples
and tongues and nations and kings.”
We repeat that this book differs in important particulars
from the book of 5:1. That was sealed – this is open; that was
written on both sides – not this one. This one is expressly
called the little book, Greek bibliridion. That book remained
in the Revelator’s hands – this one is given to John and eaten
by him. Being eaten it was sweet; after eaten it was bitter.
After eating it he should prophesy again over many peoples
and nations and tongues and kings.
Just here I commend again the very able and judicious com_
ments of Dr. Justin A. Smith on this passage, but I give you
briefly my own interpretation:
1. The result of the great apostasy was to pervert and shut
up the true gospel, until the Reformation of the sixteenth cen_
tury. It was a typical event when Luther found a chained
Bible. An ecclesiasticism combining defunct Old Testament
elements with many pagan superstitions offered as a gospel
that which was another gospel, and contrary to the true gospel.
2. The little open book, therefore, represents the restored
gospel of the Reformation. When Victor Emmanuel entered
Rome, breaking down the civil power of the Pope, he carried
at the head of his army an open Bible, that Rome had not
known for centuries.
3. When that restored gospel is eaten, appropriated, and
assimilated by faith, a new era of missions to many new na_
tions would dawn. An open Bible in the hands of the people
scatters the superstitious rubbish of the false ecclesiasticism
and propagation of the recovered gospel extends to earth’s re_
motest bounds. The idea of 10:11, is thus repeated in a sub_
sequent vision (14:6): „And I saw another angel flying in
mid_heaven, having eternal good tidings to proclaim to them
that dwell on the earth; and unto every nation and tribe and
tongue and people.” It is a noticeable fact that missionary
operations commenced with the rescue of the Bible; it was
translated into the tongues of the people, and preachers began
to carry it to the ends of the earth, and ever since that day
missions to all nations have taken colossal strides.
Having thus in chapter 10 seen the restored gospel, we con_
sider in chapter II the questions: What about the true church
in the dark ages of the apostasy? Measured by man, the
church in the West, that is, in Europe, is the Roman Catholic
apostasy; and the church in the East is the Greek Catholic
apostasy, and man will tell you that within that time there
were no other churches. Your average church historian will
tell you that. But we will let God answer that question
(11:1) : „And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and
one said, Rise and measure the temple of God, and the altar
and them that worship therein. And the court which is with_
out the temple leave without and measure it not; for it hath
been given unto the nations) and the holy city shall they tread
under foot forty and two months.” Under this unique measure_
ment only the true temple with its altar of sacrifice and its few
worshippers are counted. The outer court and all the holy city
are left out. These are trodden under foot by the nations forty_
two months, which equals one thousand two hundred and sixty
days of the next verse. And in this book a prophetic day
represents a year; as in its Old Testament analogue, Ezekiel.
The forty_two months and their equivalent, 1,260 days, sym_
bolizing 1,260 years, date the dark ages of the apostasy – be_
ginning in the third century and extending to the Reformation
of the sixteenth century. The true church in this period is an
inner circle determined by divine spiritual measurement. When
in Zechariah a young man attempts to measure the poor little
Jerusalem of the restoration, a voice from heaven says: „Stop
that young man,” and announces that Jerusalem shall become
immeasurable, overflowing into the villages and country round
about, a forecast of the Jerusalem in Revelation 21:22.
Now let us read again: „And I will give unto my two wit_
nesses and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and
threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two
olive trees and the two candlesticks, standing before the Lord
of the earth.” Note that during all this dark period of 1,260
years, two witnesses never cease to testify, though in sackcloth.
Their testimony is costly to them – it is testimony as at a
funeral, mourning for the apostasy of Zion, and for the slain
of the true people of God.
Here the important question arises: Who are these wit_
nesses? The Old Testament analogue, in the third and fourth
chapters of Zechariah, suggests the clue to the right answer.
In the dark ages when Israel was restored after exile in Baby_
lon, there were two anointed witnesses accused of the devil,
despised of menùnamely, Joshua, the high priest, and Zerub_
babel, the civil ruler. In themselves was no power. Consider_
ing the mountain of difficulty which obstructed their work
they were contemptible agencies of success. But considering
the divine help, it was said: „Who art thou, 0 great moun_
tain? Before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he
shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shouting: Grace,
Grace unto it.” Truly in that case it was „Not by might, nor
by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts.” So in
this case, as in that case, are two witnesses, but the question.
recurs: Who are they in this case? My answer is that the
key passage of this book, 1:12_16, tells us plainly: „The
candlestick and the star are the light_bearers” – i.e., the church
and the preacher; they are the lower lights to illumine the
world. The gates of hell shall not prevail against Christ’s
church: the testimony of true ministers shall never cease. It
has always been a surprise to me that commentators should
be in doubt about these two witnesses. The true church and
the true minister should testify in sackcloth for 1,260 years.
They should be in mourning for the apostasy, for the slain of
its persecution.
In the next synchronous vision the true church symbolized
as a glorious woman of 12:1, shall be driven into the wilder_
ness, hidden but not lost, for this precise periodù1,260 years
(12:6). The power ascribed to these two witnesses is set forth
under the imagery of verses 5 and 6: „And if any man desire
to hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth and devoureth
their enemies; and if any man desire to hurt them in this
manner must he be killed. These have the power to shut the
heaven, that it rain not during the days of their prophecy and
they have power over the waters to turn them into blood and
to smite the earth with every plague, as often as they shall
desire.” This imagery applies to their use of the conquering
word of God in denouncing judgment on their enemies, or
else in the power of their prayers, as in the case of Elijah shut_
ting up the heavens that it rain not.
Again counting a day for a year, we will see in what I soon
quote that for three and a half days (or three and a half
years), both of these witnesses seemed to be dead: „And when
they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that cometh
out of the abyss [beast always signifies government, and the
abyss signifies that it is a hell government, and we will find all
about it in chapter 17] shall make war with them, and over_
come them and kill them. And their bodies shall lie in the
street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and
Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. And from among
the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations do men look
upon their dead bodies three days and a half, and suffer not
their dead bodies to be laid in a tomb [not that]. And they
that dwell on the earth rejoice over them and make merry;
and they shall send gifts to one another, because these two
prophets tormented them that dwell on the earth.”
That faithful churches – and faithful preachers – would point
out their sins, cry out against their backsliding, was a torment
to the apostasy through all the 1,260 years. „And after the
three days and a half the breath of life from God entered into
them and they stood upon their feet, and great fear fell upon
them that beheld them.”
We may well ask just here what event of history corresponds
to this prophecy. Here I cannot do better than to cite a re_
markable passage from Dr. Justin A. Smith’s commentary.:
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 its behalf, and through chosen instruments causes it to be once more declared, as here represented in the little book, in primeval 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 under foot 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 whom an undesecrated altar is preserved, a true worship offered, and that truth which embodies the substance of ancient types maintained. 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 worst. These witnesses do, indeed, testify – „prophesy” – „in sackcloth” – the garment of distress and mourning. Such of the Lord’s true people as survive in such times are 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 splendours of that apostasy 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. And there comes a time when the triumph of evil seems complete. It is the deeper gloom that precedes the dawn. All 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 upon their feet. They rise into vigour of life like the glory that shone in the person and face of the risen Lord. Their enemies behold them with consternation, and the 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 where the historical counterpart shall be sought. There is one point of crisis in modern times which fulfils in a remarkable degree the conditions of an adequate historical parallel to the Apocalyptic picture here sketched. Not as fulfilments of the prophecy in exact detail, but as indicating some general aspects of the period as having this significance, we note
the following:
In A.D. 1512_17, a council was held in Rome, called from the
place of its assembly – the Church of St. John Lateran – the Fifth Lateran Council. At the eighth session of this council, held in December, 1513, a papal bull was issued, in which was a summons to all dissidents from the papal authority 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 any one could have imagined that opportunity for a free protest before the Council would have been allowed; not because, joined with the impossibility of a response under such condi_
tions, it was a fact that just at that time there actually was no one ready, like the Wyckliffe and the Huss of a former age, or the 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. The orator of the session ascended the pulpit, and, amidst the applause of the assembled Council, uttered that memorable exclamation of
triumph – an exclamation which, notwithstanding the long multiplied anti_heretical decrees of popes and councils, notwithstanding the more multiplied anti_heretical crusade and inquisitorial fires, was never, I believe, pronounced before, and certainly never since: „Jam nemoreclamat, nullus obsistit!” – „There is an end of resistance to the papal rule and religion; opposers exist no morel” And again, „The whole body of Christendom is now seen to be subjected to its head, that is, to thee.” Three years and a half later, October 31, 1517,
Luther nailed his theses to the Wittenberg church door!
It is undoubtedly true that for some time previous to the meeting of this Fifth Lateran Council, as described, the murderers of God’s people had 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 the Inquisition in various parts of Europe had succeeded to the utmost wish of those by whom they were carried on. A threatening schism in the papal body itself was healed during the session of this Council.
So fully, in view of all, did the members of the Council sympathize in the exultant confidence of their orator that upon the final adjournment they celebrated the triumph which Popery seemed to have achieved in a feast, whose splendour had never in Rome been equalled. It was like the rejoicing, the merry_ making and the sending of gifts of which our prophecy speaks. It is also 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 fulfilment of
the words: „Do not suffer their bodies to be put in graves.” These conspicuous examples of the application of this law in the exhuming and burning of the bones of Wickliffe, 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 Arno, 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.
Just three and a half years from that time all Europe was
ablaze with the Reformation, and the Romanist power has
never recovered from the shock it received.
Three things are said in our lesson of the effect of the revival
of the witnesses:
1. „Great fear fell on all those who saw the revival” – which
means that all the Romanist hierarchy trembled when the Ref_
ormation fires began to break out in so many places and
among so many peoples of Europe.
2. The Romanist hierarchy heard the voice calling the wit_
nesses up to heaven (11:12). Heaven here is not the final
abode of the blest, but the apocalyptic heaven, the scene of
the vision, and means simply that their enemies witnessed
honor and open exaltation conferred of God on these long
despised witnesses.
3. Chapter 11:13, means the convulsions which followed
the Reformation in which Rome lost and Protestantism won
most of France, Switzerland, Germany, Holland, Denmark,
Norway, Sweden, England, and Scotland.
We come now to the last of the chapter:
Having thus disposed of the question: What about the true
gospel and what about the true church during the dark ages,
the last angel will sound, and will omit only the last woe, we
will get to that in chapter 18, and we will see that woe as it
strikes the Papacy.
„And the seventh angel sounded: and there followed great
voices in heaven, and they said: The kingdom of the world is be-come the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders re-presenting the eternal priesthood of Christ’s people], who sat before God on their throne, fell upon their faces and worshipped God, saying: We give thee thanks, 0 Lord God Almighty, who art and who wast, because thou hast taken thy great power and didst reign. And the nations were wroth, and thy wrath came, and the time of the dead to be judged, and the time to give thy rewards to thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and to them that fear thy name, the small and the great, and to destroy them that destroy the earth. And there was opened the temple of God that is in heaven, and there was seen in this temple the ark of the covenant, and there followed lightnings and voices and thunders, and earthquake, and a great hail.”
I showed you that the seals gave one panoramic view of the
gospel as preached to the end of time, and that the trumpets gave you another panoramic view parallel with it, of the gospel as prayed to the end of time, and so this passage here: „The king-dom of the world is become the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ,” shows that the recovered gospel in the Reformation times will never be silenced any more – Rome will never be able to shut again that open book! she will never be able to chain that Bible again; she will never be able to stop the onward march of missions that is today reaching the utmost parts of the world, and I would very solemnly impress upon you that it is the Spirit dispensation, and the dispensation of a true church, and the dispensation of a true ministry that will bring about this glorious consummation, which will be more fully discussed when we come to the Millennium in chapter 20 of this book. I want to make this very impressive, because when you talk missions you must talk in faith of their triumph. It is the open restored gospel, and under its power you must preach confidently to any nation, to any king, to any people, and your heart must be assured that by this gospel preached, will every man be saved that is ever to be saved in this world. I will .tell you that that is one of the key passages in Revelation: „The kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ.” The candlesticks were lighted to illumine the world, and though when in chapters 2 and 3 we showed the pitiful imperfections of the churches, we
wondered if such instrumentalities could ever enlighten the
world, and when we saw the deficiencies of the preachers, we
wondered if by men like these the kingdom of this world
should ever become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ;
yet when we saw the heavens opened and what powers were
employed there to help the churches and preachers, we no long_
er wondered. As they preached they conquered; as they prayed
they conquered; stricken down as if dead, they revived again
and the fire broke out into a greater blaze, and was more wide_
ly spread than before. That is the crowd I belong to.

1. Give briefly a review of the seals & trumpets, and then tell what questions chapter 10 answers, and what other questions chapter 11 answers.
2. Who is the radiant angel of 10:1?
3. The meaning of his posture – one foot on the sea and the other on the land?
4. Why the temporary sealing up of the voices of the seven thunders? When and how do they reappear and find record? Where and for similar reasons have we found a temporary silence in a preceding section?
5. State the oath of the angel as wrongly rendered in the common
version, and then as better rendered in the Standard Version.
6. (a) To what previous question is the oath a final answer, and (b) compare it with the answer then given, and (c) with what parable is it in agreement, and (d) give Peter’s reason for the delay, and (e) why does this delay seem long to us and only „a little while” to God?
7. Discriminate between the book of 5:1, and the book of 10:2, and
then (a) tell what this book means, (b) the meaning of eating it, and
(c) explain its application to 10:11.
8. What is measured in 11:1_2, and what does it mean?
9. (a) In the Old Testament are two measurements somewhat similar
to the one in 11:1_2ùwhere are they, and (b) where in this book is an_
other one? (c) Explain their relation to each other, and (d) what is the
meaning of this one?
10. (a) How long will this small measure last, and (b) explain the
symbolic numbers, forty_two months (11:2), 1,260 days (11:3), and by
comparison of 11:2_3, with 12_6, prove that „temple” in 11:1, and the
woman in 12:1, mean the same thing.
11. (a) What is the Old Testament analogue of 11:3_4, and (b) the
two witnesses there, and (c) who are the two witnesses here?
12. Meaning of „prophesying in sackcloth”?
13. Give the historic fulfilment of the death and revival of the wit_
nesses and all the attendant circumstances of 11:7_11.
14. What is the meaning of 11:12?
15. What historical correspondence to 11:13, showing the effect of
the revival of the witnesses?
16. Where will we find the third woe named but not given in 11:14?
17. What glorious consummation follows the seventh trumpet, and
what parallel in the last synchronous view?

Revelation 12

This is by far the longest section in the book, extending
from 12:1 to 19:10. Its interpretation will call for several
chapters. It will be, or at least has proved to be, exceedingly
difficult of interpretation, and before attempting the detailed
exposition we must first consider the general purpose of the
whole section. The entire section gives a prophetic forecast of
the history of two opposing religious institutions. Each in_
stitution is symbolized by a woman who glides into a city;
that is, the symbol changes from a woman to a city. The idea,
as elsewhere throughout the book, comes from the Old Testa_
ment imagery, the general convocation of ancient Israel as
represented by the prophets is a woman betrothed to Jehovah.
Marital infidelity, or harlotry, on the part of this woman is
defined to be a turning away from Jehovah to worship idols.
That is, spiritual fornication means idolatry. Paul, in a
measure, adopts this imagery in his letter to the Galatians (4:
21_31), where in the form of an allegory he makes Hagar and
Sarah represent the two covenants: Hagar, the bond woman,
answering to the earthly Jerusalem, and Sarah, the true wife,
answering to the heavenly Jerusalem.
We need not be surprised, therefore, to find in this sym_
bolical, apocalyptic prophecy two women representing two
opposing institutions, nor to find each woman, by a change of
figure, becoming a city. Nor need we to stumble in the ex_
position if, bearing in mind the law of interpreting symbols,
we be careful not to construe a symbol literally. A symbolic
woman is not a real woman. As there was a real Hagar and

a real Sarah, so there is some historical background which will
be the analogue of every symbol in this book. For example,
there was the historic Jezebel, the wife of Ahab, who led Israel
to worship idols, else there would be no force in calling the
temptress Jezebel who led the church at Thyatira astray in
Let us, therefore, look at the two women in this section. The
first is thus described: „And a great sign was seen in heaven,
a woman arrayed with the sun, and the moon under her feet,
and upon her head was a crown of twelve stars” – heaven here
must not be understood as the final abode of the blest, but is
the scene of the vision. The word „sign” (Greek „semeion”)
is further proof that the woman is not real. „Woman” sym_
bolizes the church as an institution. „Arrayed with the sun”
means that Christ is her light. The „moon under her feet”
means that the Christ light is not direct but reflected, as the
moon shines when the sun is absent. Note that her crown is
not a symbol of sovereignty. It is a garland given as a reward
to victors – Greek „stephanos,” not „diadema,” a diadem worn
by sovereigns. The twelve stars probably allude to the twelve
apostles, in a teaching sense the foundation, as the twelve
foundations of the Holy City (21:14), which itself helps to
prove that the woman is the church – she radiating with
Christ’s light and the light of the apostles. In the second chap_
ter of Ephesians we have the thought somewhat expressed
(20th verse) : „Being built upon the foundation of the apostles,
Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom each
several building, fitly framed together, groweth into a holy
temple in the Lord.” This woman, then, stands before us as
pre_eminently a light_bearer – of the light of Christ, of the
light of the Apostles, and of the New Testament prophets. The
fact that she has a garland on her head rather than a crown
shows that when she appears she has won a victory. The pic_
ture reminds us of the description of the woman in Solomon’s
Sons (6:10): „Who is she that looketh forth as the morning,

fair as the moon, clear as the sun, terrible as an army with
banners?” That is the woman.
The second woman is thus described (17:1_6): „And there
came one of the seven angels that had the seven bowls, and
spake with me, saying, Come hither, I will show you the judg_
ment of the great harlot that sitteth upon many waters; with
whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and they
that dwell in the earth were made drunken with the wine of
her fornication; and he carried me away in the Spirit into the
wilderness: and I saw a woman sitting upon a scarlet_coloured
beast, full of the names of blasphemy, having seven heads and
ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet,
and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having
in her hand a golden cup full of abominations, even the un_
clean things of her fornication, and upon her forehead a name
written: Mystery, Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots
and the abominations of the earth. 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 a
great wonder.” The explanation of the terms here will be
given when we reach the seventeenth chapter.
Did you ever see two pictures standing over against each
other more in contrast than these two? Now, the question is:
who are these women? Is either one of them a real woman,
and when the second one glides into a city called Babylon is it
the real Babylon which in ancient times led Israel into captiv_
ity? When the first one, now only betrothed to Christ, be_
comes the wife of the Lamb at the close of this section (19:
7_8), can we, with the Romanists, interpret this wife of the
Lamb to be his mother, the Virgin Mary, and worship her as
the Queen of Heaven? And when later this wife, by a change
of figure, becomes a city, Jerusalem (21:9_12), shall we call
it the earthly Jerusalem?
We are safe, therefore, in a general interpretation that the
first woman represents the true church of Christ as an institu_
tion, and that the second woman represents the apostate
church as an institution, originated by Satan to counterfeit the
true. In our chapter on Matthew 16 and 18, where Christ
says: „On this rock I will build my church” we have already
learned that the term church may be used abstractly if con_
sidered as an institution, or concretely when applied to a par_
ticular congregation, or prospectively when it is applied to the
future church in glory. In chapter 12, under the symbol of a
radiant woman, the church is represented as an institution.
I read the second verse: „And she was with child, and she
crieth out travailing in birth and in pain to be delivered.”
This spiritual travail is a familiar figure of speech in both
Testaments. For example, Isaiah, foreseeing the regeneration
or new birth of the Jewish nation in one day, says: „Who hath
heard of such a thing – who hath ever seen such a thing? Shall
a land be born in one day? Shall a nation be brought forth
at once? For as soon as Zion travailed she brought forth her
children.” Now, the church is represented as being in travail
to bring forth children; as when in a revival meeting we say:
This church, this Zion, must travail in order that new converts
may be born unto God.
Continuing the quotation (v. 3) : „And there was seen an_
other sign in heaven, and behold! a great red dragon having
seven heads and ten horns, and upon his heads seven diadems”
– not „stephanos,” a garland but diadems, the symbols of au_
thority. What is the meaning of this great red dragon? A
horrible thing as seen in that vision. What does it mean?
Verse 9 tells you exactly: „The old serpent, he that is called
the devil, Satan, the deceiver of the world.” That is what that
sign represents. What is meant by „having seven heads”?
That refers us to his diverse sources of vitality, and his per_
sistence in life after it seems you have killed him – seven being
the symbolic number of perfection or fulness. You have heard
that a cat has nine lives; well, the symbolic seven means more
than nine – means any number of heads, any number of seats of
intelligences, diverse forms of intelligence, diverse forms of vi_
tality, diverse capacity of biting and striking. Just here those
of you who have studied the classics will recall the famous
battle between Hercules and Hydra. Hydra was the many_
headed snake. You have little trouble in killing a snake with
one head; with stick or stone you crush that one head. But sup_
pose that when you strike at one head, the one you see, the
other six in ambush strike at you.
The devil struck with three heads of temptation at Christ in
the wilderness – and each in succession was crushed. But the
record says the devil left him for a little while; he came back
again – he had another way to try him; he came back at him
in another form. He will the same way approach you. You
need not think, because you have overcome the evil one in one
form, that you have won a final victory. He takes as many
shapes as Proteus, he has as many heads as Hydra, as many
hands as Briareus, as many eyes as Argus, and he always falls
on his feet.
What is meant by diadem? It means that it is unlike that
woman’s garland who had no sovereignty. The woman is not
sovereign, for Christ is the Sovereign. But the devil is a real
king; he is the king of the pit; he was the king of that swarm
of locusts we talked about; he is the king of all the fallen
angels; he is the prince of the world. As Paul says, „We
wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities
and powers”; he is the prince of this world.
What is meant by his ten horns? Always in this book a
horn is a symbol of power, and ten is one of the prophetic
numbers to represent any number of powers. The unicorn
mentioned in the Bible, which I suppose is the one_horned
rhinoceros, has only one horn, and if you can get away from
that one horn, you are all right for awhile; if a wild bull comes
after you he can gore you with only two horns; but the devil
can hook you in any direction. The ten horns represent the
diversity and multitude of his powers.
We will read again (v. 4): „And his tail draweth a third
part of the stars of heaven and did cast them to the earth.”
The tail here is but carrying out the idea of a dragon. Every
serpent has a tail, and many of the crocodile class have their
greatest power in their tails. If you are walking along a
Louisiana bayou, thinking you are passing an old rotten log,
which is an alligator, he will knock you into the water with
his tail and then go in after you and devour you. Now, while
the tail is an essential part of a reptile, it symbolizes here the
pagan power he will use against the church. The stars drawn
by the tail represent the pastors he leads astray by fear of
persecution, by immorality, or by heresy. Note the tense „draw_
eth,” not „has drawn,” which by anticipation shows how in
the conflict with the woman he will try to destroy her by cor_
rupting her ministry. The „third part” signifies that in this
particular conflict he will only partially succeed in corrupting
the ministry. The majority will remain faithful. It is an
outrage on interpretation to make the stars here refer to the
fallen angels who were seduced by Satan before Adam was
created. That is indeed the historic background which fur_
nishes the imagery of this future event – see Jude 6 and 2 Peter
I therefore repeat the question: Who are the stars? In this
book they are preachers, and it means that in the coming per_
secution a relatively large number of preachers will fall.
Walking carelessly along the bayou of sin they have been
knocked by the tail of this alligator into its mouth. Hence_
forward they become preachers of the devil rather than of
Jesus Christ. I once saw a preacher as drunk as a fool; a
bystander said: „He is so drunk he could not hit the ground
with his hat.” A friend also standing by me, who was a
student of this book, said: „The alligator’s tail has drawn
down that star – he has that preacher.” What an awful thing
when one commissioned of heaven to outshine the real stars
shall fall from his high estate and become a servant of the
devil rather than a leader of the hosts of the true God. When_
ever a preacher tells lies, whenever he is two_faced and double_
tongued, whenever he is a strifemaker and not a peacemaker,
the devil’s tail has hit him.
We continue to read: „And the dragon sitteth before the
woman that is about to be delivered, that when she is de_
livered he may devour her child. And she was delivered of a
son, a man_child, who is to rule the nations with a rod of iron,
and the child was caught up to God unto his throne.” The
devil got that child’s body; when you see the woman a little
later the child is not with her. But the devil did not get the
soul – that was caught up to heaven. But he did destroy the
body of that child and thought he was winning & great fight.
Now, the question is: Who is that man_child? In the verse
I have just read it states that he is to rule all the nations with
a rod of iron, and here the child was caught up unto his throne.
On that statement Alford and nearly all commentators say
that the child was Jesus Christ, and that it could not possibly
apply to anybody else. If that be true, I would like to ask
Mr. Alford who then is this woman, the mother of the child.
Some commentators try to get out of that difficulty by saying
that the woman is indeed the church, but that the church
here is an Old Testament church, continued in the New Testa_
ment, and about equivalent to the kingdom. I fail to see how
the kingdom gives birth to its founder, and totally dissent
from such a mixed interpretation of the word „church.” When
Jesus said, „I will build my church . . .” He had before him
the Old Testament Jewish church, the convocation of national
Israel, and he had before him the Greek church, the civil body
governing in every city, yet in contradistinction to both of
them he says, „I will build my church,” and if this woman
represents the church, she represents the New Testament
church, not a mixed Old Testament and New Testament
church. Moreover, this whole vision is a part of the things
„that shall come to pass hereafter,” and we are now in that
section of Revelation. We have seen the things that John
„saw,” we have seen the things „that are” in the seven church_
es on earth and the things „that are” in heaven, but ever since
that we have been in the things that shall take place hereafter.
Whoever this man_child is, he was not born before or in John’s
time, and the fact that he is to be caught up to the throne of
God and rule the nations with a rod of iron cannot necessarily
prove that it was Jesus Christ, for in this very book, and in
the parts we have gone over, Christ said: „To him that over_
cometh will I give to sit down on my throne, and I will give
him authority over nations, and he shall rule them with a rod
of iron.” Therefore, it is not at all necessary to violate the
symbolism by making this child to mean Jesus Christ, born
away back yonder in the past from John’s time, nor to make
this woman represent something that existed away back yon_
der in the Old Testament. In John’s time the church as an in_
stitution seems beaten by her adversaries. John is cheered by
a vision of this apparently beaten institution, crowned with a
garland of victory and radiant with light. When John writes
he is under the persecution of Domitian, a very discouraging
time, and the church as an institution does not seem to be in
a prosperous condition. But he sees in the future ahead of
him this glorious church about to be marvelously prosperous.
She wears the garland of victory. The church goes on con_
quering and to conquer up to the time of the Emperor Decius,
A.D. 248, when, according to Gibbon, the greatest persecution
ever known to history, or that paganism ever waged against
the church, was in his administration. The church, from John’s
time, wears the garland wreath of victory on her brow up to
the time of the Decian persecution. The dragon in that per_
secution devours her converts and drives her into the wilder_
ness. It is true that the history in Matthew 2:13_16, when the
devil through Herod seeks the life of the child Jesus, is the
historic background suggesting the imagery of this vision of
a future event. And it is true that after his crucifixion our

Lord ascended to a heavenly throne.
Who, then, is the man_child? My answer is that one is taken
to represent a class, that is, the man_child represents the
martyrs that are to be put to death in this coming persecution.
They are converts just as you are.
Verse 17 says: „And the dragon waxed wroth with the
woman, and went away to make war with the rest of her seed
that keep the commandments of God and hold the testimony
of Jesus Christ.” He did not succeed with that first seed,
but purposes to assail the rest of them and by a new kind of
power – he will use different means, as we will see in the next
lesson. The head he is using right now in devouring the con_
verts is the pagan persecution of Decius.
Now, as a further proof that I am right in saying this man_
child represents a whole class, later on in the chapter (v. 11),
he is spoken of as plural: „And they overcame him because
of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their
testimony, and they loved not their lives unto death.” Now
all of verses 7_11, are parenthetical and epexegetical of the
killing of the man_child. It is a parenthesis. For instance, in
John 3 we have: „Except a man be born from above he cannot
see the kingdom of God,” and further down in the chapter we
have: „Except a man be born of water and Spirit, he cannot
enter the kingdom of heaven.” That second statement is epexe_
getical of the first one. That is, it elaborates by giving the
constituent elements of the new birth – cleansing by applica_
tion of Christ’s blood and renewing of mind by the Holy Spirit.
I want you to reflect most solemnly upon my position, taken
by no commentary in the world, and on the correctness of
which I will risk my reputation; that from verse 7_11 the
whole paragraph is parenthetical, and is simply explanatory
of the devouring of the man_child. As soon as that parenthesis
is interposed, you go right on about the woman in the wilder_

ness; you resume the story that was interrupted by the par_
How, then, does the devil propose to destroy the converts
of the church? In this verse you see a class represented by a
man_child – the class of the martyrs that you saw in the fifth
seal of the preceding lecture – how does he propose to devour
that man_child? By using a pagan government to kill them in
various ways: cut their heads off, burn them at the stake, de_
stroy them root and branch. He lost the fight, though he
thought he had won it. He lost the fight because the blood of
the martyrs is the seed of the church. Wickliffe’s ashes were
cast into the river Severn after his body was burned. They
cast his ashes into the river, but the river carried them to the
sea, and the sea carried them around the shores of the world,
and so Wickliffe’s soul goes marching on. You will see in the
next chapter how the devil will employ a more formidable
means of persecution. You cannot understand the next lesson
unless you note this change: his first means to destroy the
churches was to put their members to death by persecution of
pagan Rome. His next expedient will be papal Rome.
Let us now expound that parenthesisù1 have told you that
verses 7_11 is a parenthesis explanatory of the devouring of
that child. There was war in heaven (whenever the devil
seeks to destroy the saints, that always means war). Michael
and his angels go forth to war with the dragon and his angels,
and they prevail not. The man_child was killed, but Satan
prevailed not – the martyr testimony makes other seed. The
old serpent was cast down to the earth, and his angels were
cast down with him.
„And I heard a great voice in heaven saying: Now is come
the salvation and the power and the kingdom of God, and the
authority of his Christ; for the accuser of our brethren is cast
down, who accuses them before God day and night, and they
[see the plural of that man_child] overcame him because of
the blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their testi_
mony, and they loved not their life even unto death.” John
Milton takes „the heaven” here to mean the home of God and
not the scene of this symbolic vision, and, forgetting that this
imagery foretells a thing to occur in the future, made this war
in heaven take place before the world was created – a real fight
between the good and the bad angels. The finest part of his
Paradise Lost is his description of the war between the angels.
Just what means were employed in expelling the fallen angels
originally I do not know, but Michael here is our Lord Jesus
Christ himself; his angels are the angels we saw in chapter 4ù
ten thousand times ten thousand of thousands, and they are
helping the church here on earth. The devil is trying to de_
stroy the church, and he has the power to kill their bodies, but
not their souls, and God’s angels from heaven help the saints
in their fight to stand firm and shout and sing and pray as they
die, so that their martyr testimony will be more powerful in
making new converts to God than if they had not been mar_
tyred. Now, as I said, the devil got the bodies of the martyrs,
but not their souls, and he lost the fight.
Let us see what becomes of the woman. Verse 6 says that
the woman fled into the wilderness, where she had a place pre_
pared of God, where she remained a thousand two hundred and
threescore days, each day a year. That is the same as forty_
two symbolic months. Note again particularly that w. 13_17
are epexegetical of v. 6. It says that she was given the two
wings of a great eagle that she might fly into the wilderness.
The great eagle here is one of the Cherubim. We know that
every Cherub had one eagle face. This statement recalls two
Old Testament passages: God says to Moses: „Ye have seen
what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’
wings, and brought you unto myself.” And again we have
these glorious words: „Hast thou not known? Hast thou
not heard? The everlasting God, Jehovah, the Creator of the
ends of the earth, fainteth not; neither is weary; there is no
searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint;
and to him that hath no might he increaseth strength. Even
the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall
utterly fail; but they that wait for Jehovah shall renew their
strength; they mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run
and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isa. 40:
28_31). Cherubim, eagle_faced, bore the woman into the wil_
derness, where she was nourished for twelve hundred and sixty
Verse 15: „And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a
river, that he might cause her to be carried away with the
stream.” That is a familiar Old Testament image, where great
wrath is compared to a flushed river, an overflowing torrent.
The record says the earth helped the woman by swallowing up
the water. Imagine what would become of a river turned loose
in a desert. It would soon vanish. But what it means by the
earth helping the woman is that secular governments some_
times intervene to protect the rights of the saints and of the
churches. For instance, in the Catholic part of Germany it
was easy to destroy a martyr, but they could not get to him
over in the Protestant part of Germany. The earth over there
helped the woman. The Savoy king would say: „You cannot
persecute here.” Like the grim old Black Douglas, when he
started to the borders of England and Scotland to defend the
frontier, and the Catholic Church was just starting a perse_
cution, said: „I go, but the smell of one burning fagot on the
Tay will bring me back from the borders.” That is the earth
helping the woman. „And the dragon waxed wroth with the
woman, and he went away to make war with the rest of her
seed, those that keep the commandments of God and the testi_
mony of Jesus.”
1. What is the extent of this section?
2. What part of it is our present lesson?
3. What is the general purpose of the whole section?
4. Whence is the imagery?
5. Cite Paul’s use of similar imagery.
6. What is the first law of interpreting symbols? Illustrate.
7. What is the description of the first woman?
8. Explain separately the words: „sign,” „heaven,” „woman,” „arrayed
with the sun,” „the moon under her feet,” „crown,” „twelve stars.”
9. What Old Testament passage does this vision recall?
10. Where and what is the description of the second woman?
11. What does she represent, who established, and why?
12. What uses of the word „church” were given in the lecture on
Matthew 16:18?
13. Explain 12:2 – „the woman in travail,” and cite illustration from
14. Verse 3: (a) Who is the dragon; (b) meaning of seven heads, and cite classic allusion; (c) meaning of „diadem” – Greek „diadema” – and distinguish between it and the woman’s crown „stephanos,” and prove his real sovereignty; (d) meaning of ten horns?
15. Verse 4: (a) Meaning of tail; (b) illustrate the power and use
of the tail of a certain class of reptiles; (c) the symbolic meaning of
tail in this connection; (d) meaning of stars here; (e) prove that the
drawing down of these stars is not a past event.
16. Verse 5: (a) What is the historic analogue which suggests the
imagery of this future event; (b) what part of the verse led Alford
and most other commentators to make this man_child our Lord
himself; (c) what preceding passages in this book disprove the necessity of confining the application to our Lord; (d) what is the difficulty of referring the passage to our Lord; (e) how do some commentators seek to evade this difficulty, and your reply to them; (f) who is the man_child and the proof?
17. What great poet misinterpreted the war of v. 7?
18. What was this war? And wherein does Satan fail?
19. What verses of the chapter are epexegetical of v. 6?
20. What is the Old Testament analogue of the church in wilderness?
21. Who bore the woman in the wilderness, and what two Old Testa_
ment passages are recalled?
22. To what are the outgoings of Satan’s wrath against the woman
23. Literally, what becomes of a river in the desert?
24. Symbolically, what is meant by „the earth helped the woman,”
and illustrate?


In the preceding chapter, commencing the exposition of this
section, we considered only chapter 12. A brief review of the
leading lines of thought on that chapter will help us now to see
clearly its connection with our present study) chapter 13.
We found the radiant woman of 12:1, to be the true church
established by our Lord, in the sense of an institution, ap_
pointed to enlighten the world. We found the adversary of
this institution to be the devil, de facto (not de jure) king of
this world and prince of all powers of darkness. We found
that the war he waged against the church consisted of three
distinct campaigns:
1. An assault on the pastors, in which „his tail draweth
down a third part of the stars” – i.e., a great proportion of
the pastors were led astray into either heresy or a corrupt
life, Satan counting that as are the pastors so will be the
churches. In this campaign, Satan is defeated because he
could not corrupt all the preachers; the majority remained
faithful to the Lord.
2. An assault by persecution unto death on the progeny of
the church, i.e., her true spiritual children (12:5), the man_
child ..meaning not a particular person, but standing for the
martyr class in that greatest of all Pagan persecutions in the
first half of the third century; a class and not a single person
being evident from the more elaborate statement in verse II,
„And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb,
and because of the word of their testimony, and they loved not
their life, even unto death.” In this terrible conflict the
heavenly powers, Christ and his holy angels, assisted the
martyrs against Satan and his demons assisted the persecutor
pagan Rome (12:7). In this campaign Satan was defeated,
for he could kill the body only but not the soul (latter clause
of verse 5), and because „the blood of the martyrs became the
seed of the church.”
3. His attempt to destroy the church is an institution
worldwide prescriptive legislation, making its assembling a
capital penal offense – notably by the Roman Emperor Decius
and his successor in first half of third century. In this cam_
paign he was also defeated because, although the church was
driven into the obscurity of the wilderness, even there she was
divinely kept alive and nourished (w. 6, 13_14), and children
of faith were born unto her there. Even some secular powers
defended the persecuted institutions against the swollen river
of his wrath, „the earth helped the woman” (w. 15_16), and
so always when the enemy comes in like a flood the Spirit of
the Lord shall lift up a standard against him. (See Isa. 59:19.)
Failing to destroy the church by a partial corruption of the
ministry, failing to destroy it by martyring its children of
faith, since the martyrs’ dying testimony made other believers,
failing to destroy the church as an institution by making its
assemblies a penal offense under imperial pagan law, the wrath
of Satan was exceedingly great and his purpose confirmed to
wage war against her other seed, i.e., wilderness seed, but by
employing a different expedient, just what, this lesson, chapter
13 will disclose.
To further clarify this brief review of chapter 12 these ad_
ditional observations are submitted, though but repetitions:
1. While conceding and even insisting that there was a fall
of the angels, led by Satan, before man was created (Jude 6;
2 Peter 2:4), this interpretation of „things to come to pass
hereafter,” i.e., after John’s time, A.D. 96, has no other allusion
to that ancient event than this, that all of his visions of the
future are clothed in the imagery of past historical events.
Hence these „stars” drawn down by the dragon’s tail (v. 4)
mean not the fallen angels seduced by him before Adam was
created, but mean fallen pastors seduced by him in this conflict
with the church, following our interpretation of the first
chapter of this book. And so the war in 12:7, was not, as
Milton interpreted it in his Paradise Lost, the war which re_
sulted in casting down Satan and his demons before Adam’s
creation, as v. II of that context shows. But as there is a
historical background which furnishes the drapery of every
vision of the future, poetic license may extenuate, if not
justify, Milton’s misinterpretation. Just so, when the seventy
returned with joy, saying „Lord, even the demons are subject
unto us through thy name,” and the Lord replies, „I beheld
Satan fallen as lightning from heaven” (Luke 10:17_18). He
does not refer to Satan’s original fall, but to his fall through
the testimony of the seventy. So here he falls from his
usurped place_by the testimony of the martyrs (v. II). You
have only to compare the great lesson in Matthew 12:28_29,
where our Lord casts out Satan and spoils him of his goods,
referring not to Satan’s original overthrow, but to his over_
throw from his place of usurpation.
2. Similarly we have not followed Alford and most com_
mentators in making the man_child (v. 5) mean our Lord
himself. We can see how Romanists would enjoy this, since
it would make the radiant woman of 12:1, to be the virgin
Mary and queen of heaven. The way Satan sought to destroy
our Lord when a child, through Herod’s massacre at Bethlehem,
is indeed the historic analogue which suggests the imagery of
this vision of a future event. The authority given to the „man_
child” in latter clause of v. 5, need not stagger us when we
consider the promises already expounded at 2:26_27; 3:21,
and many later passages in this book. Nor have we accepted
the weak evasions of other commentators, who, to avoid a
difficulty, make the woman of 12:1, mean the church, but a
blended Old and New Testament church, so as to permit our
Lord to be born of the church. There is no such church. And
our Lord is the founder and head of the church, not its son.
3. Our interpretation makes 7_12 epexegetical of the war
on the man_child, latter clause of v. 4 and v. 5; and vv. 13_17
epexegetical of v. 6.
4. Our interpretation makes the numbers „forty_two
months” in 11:2, and 13:5, and the 1,260 days of 11:3, 12:6,
and the „time, times and half_time” of 12:14, all mean the
same thing – i.e., 1,260 years, which delimits the wilderness
period of the church, commencing about A.D. 250, and extend_
ing to A.D. 1510.
With this clarifying view of chapter 12, we are now prepared
to undertake the exposition of chapter 13, and particularly
to see the connection between them. Chapter 12 left the
church in the wilderness, A.D. 250, to remain there 1,260 years
bearing „other seed,” and left Satan exceedingly angry at his
failure to destroy it by the persecution of pagan Rome, and
devising in his wrath some other method of continuing the
war. This chapter, our present lesson, gives his new device,
which, in a few words, is the establishment of a counterfeit
church. This counterfeit church, while changing the names of
its objects of worship, will have more of them than heathen
polytheism ever assembled on Mount Olympus, and whose
images are more numerous than all ever placed in a heathen
pantheon. It will have more persecuting powers than pagan
Rome, and the power this time will extend beyond the grave.
Out of the ruins of the pagan Roman Empire it will construct
a more formidable „Holy Roman Empire,” whose boundaries
will be pushed far beyond the limits of pagan Roman territory.
While the Caesar head of pagan Rome was wounded unto
death, the wound will be healed by a papal head. There
were only twelve Caesars – there will be a multitude of Popes,
among them a Pope and his son Caesar Borgia worse than
Nero. By using pagan Rome as his tail the great red dragon
was able to draw down to earth only a third of the stars, i.e.,
to corrupt only one_third of the ministry, but with papal Rome

as his tail this scriptural crocodile will sweep down into his
Nile for devouring the overwhelming majority of the ministry.
This device of Satan, in its ultimate proportions, will not be
a mushroom product, nor an Aladdin palace springing up in
a night, but a steady development of the centuries, a ceaseless
evolution by accretion of the ages. All the seven wonders of
the classic world will pale into insignificance before this
prodigy – Satan’s great masterpiece. The statue of its Pope
will cast a longer shadow than Jupiter’s on Mount Olympus;
its temple will surpass Diana’s at Ephesus. This colossus will
outstraddle the bronze pigmy at Rhodes. Its pyramid will
exceed that of Cheops on the Nile, and its Sphinx will not be
dumb; the lighthouse at Pharos, near Alexandria, revealed a
port of entry to storm_tossed little Mediterranean ships – but
this in the name of a lighthouse, will diffuse darkness on a
thousand rock_bound ocean shores, that mighty liners may
grind their keels and ribs of steel into the fine powder of total
shipwreck. In the days of Pericles classic art embellished the
Acropolis at Athens, but this acropolis will exhaust for cen_
turies the skill of subservient architects, painters, and sculp_
tors. The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus held the dust of only
one honored king; this mausoleum will hold the dust of many
dishonored kings and statesmen.
But, let us turn from rhetoric to detailed exposition:
13:1 – the Common Version reads: „And I stood upon the
sand of the sea.” Our revision corrects the misleading pro_
noun: „And he stood upon the sands of the sea” – he, the
dragon of the preceding verse, mad at his failure in employing
pagan persecution. Why stood he at the sea? „Sea” in this
book means the peoples, or confluent materials of nations
(17:15). Satan is contemplating the heterogeneous national
material disintegrated by the fall of pagan Rome, and calcu_
lating a reconstruction more efficient for his purpose than pa_
gan Rome. He is the usurping de facto king of the nations. He
recalls a temptation once offered to our Lord: „All the king_
doms of the world, and the glory of them, will I give thee if
thou wilt fall dawn and worship me.” (Matt. 4:8_10.) Our
Lord rejected it. Satan knew also that the radiant woman of
12:1, the true church, would reject it, even to escape the
wilderness. But he argues: Why not I establish a counterfeit
church that will accept it on my conditions? And so John the
seer is enabled to witness the method of his work.
„And I saw a beast coming up out of the sea.” „Beast”
in this book, as in Daniel 7:1_8 (which see), means a king or
government. And follows a description of this sea beast,
which wars against the saints and has authority for 1,260
years – all the wilderness period of the church, i.e., up to the
Reformation, when its power wanes until reanimated by the
earth beast (vv. 11_12). We may not attempt to interpret
this vision except in the light of Daniel 7:19_25, and Revela_
tion 17:7_18. The whole passage seems to teach the transition
from a pagan Roman Empire to a so_called „Holy Roman
Empire.” That is, commencing with the Emperor Constantine,
there came about first a union of church and state, with the
state at first on top, followed later by the church on top.
Constantine might claim that he was the head of the church,
but gradually the Pope became the head of both state and
church. In the order of history the spotted beast – church and
state – would precede the earth beast, looking like a lamb, but
having the voice of a dragon, representing the papacy. The
idea of the Pope’s universal supremacy would be a gradual
development, which in all its fulness was not attained until
the Vatican Council in 1870. A universal visible church,
united with the state and dominant over the state, naturally
receives its consummation in an earthly, visible, and infallible
head. So the leopard sea beast would represent a political_
religious world empire, and the earth beast of v. II would
represent the papal head of this empire, galvanizing it into at
least a semblance of life after its political life was broken, by
his infallible ipse dixit.
In a union of church and state two results always follow: A.
quarrel concerning ultimate authority: shall the state dominate
the church, or the church dominate the state? No matter which
dominates, there is sure to be persecution of those who claim
liberty to worship God according to the dictates of the indi_
vidual. Where a church claims to be universal, with ultimate
jurisdiction over all states, there will certainly be a revolt of
states against the church.
Chapter 13; first clause of verse 1: „And I saw a beast
coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads,
and on his horns ten diadems, and upon his heads names of
blasphemy.” If you turn to the description of the dragon in
your last lesson, you will see both a likeness and an unlike_
ness: „I saw a great red dragon having seven heads and ten
horns, and upon his heads seven diadems.” Here the diadems
on this beast are on his horns. The likeness arises from the
fact that the government created by the dragon will resemble
the dragon; and the unlikeness will arise from the fact that the
horns, signifying power, will be different because the first was
wholly spiritual, and the second will be secular.
What do the seven heads mean? „I saw a beast come up
out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads” – suppose
you turn with me to chapter 17, it will give us God’s explana_
tion. Verse 9: „The seven heads are seven mountains on
which the woman sitteth” – that looks like it means the seven
hills on which Rome was built, to which there may be a remote
allusion; but let us go on and read a little further: „And
they are [that is, they represent] seven kings [or better, seven
kingdoms], five are fallen, one is, and the other is yet to come,
and when he cometh he must continue a little while.” Now,
when we take Daniel and Revelation together, we understand
these seven world empires – the kingdoms that oppose the
kingdom of God in every age. First, the Egyptians; they
wanted to destroy Israel or keep it in bondage. The second
was Assyria, with its capital at Nineveh, that destroyed the
ten tribes. These two had passed away before Daniel wrote,
and hence he does not discuss them. When John comes to
write five are fallen, so we must add three more to the two
that had fallen when Daniel wrote. These three were Baby_
lon, which captured Judah; Persia, which, at Haman’s sug_
gestion, was about to destroy the Jewish exiles; and Greece,
which, particularly under Antiochus Epiphanes, sought to
destroy utterly the religion of the Jews. Daniel saw four:
Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome. Now, when John wrote,
five of these world empires had passed away, and the sixth,
the Roman Empire, is the one which will destroy Jerusalem
and is now persecuting under Domitian. When John wrote
it was still in great power. The seventh would be this spotted
beast that this lesson is discussing – the Holy Roman Empire,
and hence we can understand how the eighth (13:11) is not
a nation, but is of the seventh. The eighth is the papacy, not
a nation, but is of the seventh and has the power of the
seventh. Now, do you get that point clear? That there is a
likeness in every great world empire that wars against the
kingdom of God – persecuting likeness and a blaspheming
likeness. Every one of these assumed divine as well as human
power, from Egypt to Rome. The emperor claimed to be
Pontifex Maximus – that is, high priest of the religion of the
nation, and also claimed to be God, demanding to be wor_
shiped. The image of Caesar was put up on their standards,
and when the legions would wake up in the morning the first
thing to do would be to bow down and worship the image of
Caesar on the standard.
Now, this last beast is represented as having seven heads.
That is, it blends all the evils of the six preceding world
powers, and itself will be the seventh. What are the ten horns?
„And the ten horns that thou seest are the ten kings that
have received no kingdoms yet” (17:12). That is, the ten
kingdoms that were to be built up out of pagan Rome were
not yet established; he is looking into the future and sees
them, but they are not yet. I ask you particularly to notice
these ten horns and t$e ten kingdoms. They support the
woman in purple and scarlet (17:13) and these ten kingdoms
give their power and authority unto the beast – every one of
the ten kingdoms that were established out of the ruins of the
pagan Roman Empire and constitute the Holy Roman Em_
pire championed the Roman Catholic religion.
But look at verse 16: „And the ten horns which thou seest
on the beast, these shall hate the harlot and make her desolate
and naked, and shall eat her flesh and burn her with fire.”
That means that in later history these ten governments in
succession would become the oppressors of the Roman Catholic
Church, as France threw off its allegiance, and as did Germany,
and later Holland, Switzerland, all Scandinavia – i.e., Den_
mark, Norway, Sweden – and England, Scotland, and Wales,
and turned their powers against this great whore that rep_
resents the Roman Catholic Church, and finally Italy itself,
when Victor Emmanuel led his army into Rome and destroyed
the temporal power of the Pope, and carried an open Bible at
the head of his entrance column. You thus see what the ten
kings, or ten horns, mean.
We now come to the description of this beast (v. 2): „And
the beast that I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were
as the feet of a bear, and his mouth was as the mouth of a
lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and
great authority.” If you turn back to that seventh chapter
of Daniel, you will notice that this beast combines the ele_
ments of the four beasts of his vision. The predominating
quality here is the leopard; i.e., the beast had the leopard’s
form. Which means it was a spotted government, a mixed
government, it was a politico_religious government. That is
the reason the leopard predominates – it is a spotted beast.
Verse 3: „And I saw one of his heads as though it had been
smitten unto death” – that is, the pagan Roman head, yet
further when John writes – „and I saw that one head was
smitten to death and his death stroke was healed.” In other
words, succeeding pagan Rome came papal Rome. The center
of authority is still in the city of Rome, the governing power
still goes out from that center, but the Caesar head dies in the
destruction of pagan Rome, and the Pope head comes in the
place of it.
Last of verse 3: „And the whole earth wondered after the
beast” – well, it was a prodigy; there had never been any_
thing just like it. It was not like pagan Rome in this, that
there were ten kingdoms united on their religion, but divided
in their civil authority, until the Pope usurped the civil as well
as the religious authority. So it was the strangest beast ever
seen. „And they worshipped the dragon because he gave his au_
thority unto the beast, and they worshipped the beast, saying:
Who is like unto the beast, who is able to war with him?” For
many centuries of the 1,260 years no nation in Europe was
able to war with the power represented by the Pope.
„And there was given to him a mouth, speaking great
things and blasphemies, and there was given to him authority
to continue forty_two months” (rather, to do his work; the
Greek word shows not so much the idea of continuance as abil_
ity to do his work. He continued after the 1,260 years, but
without ability to do as before). He still claims the same
authority, but he cannot do his work like he did up to that
time. „And he opened his mouth for blasphemies against God,
to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle [that is, his church],
even they that dwell in heaven [that is, the true saints], and
it was given to him to make war with the saints to overcome
them. And it was given him authority over every tribe and
people and tongue and nation [he was permitted to make
such claim], and all that dwell on the earth shall worship
him [not the exception], every one whose name hath not been
written on the Lamb’s book of life.” These, the true people
of God, did not worship him – all over Europe there were peo_
ple who refused to submit, even unto death. They were true
candlesticks, but shining in the wilderness. Human history
does not take much notice of them. There were true preachers,
though by using this new kind of tail the dragon swept down
the most of the stars.
Verse 10, last clause: „Here is the patience and faith of
the saints.” In 14:12, we have this language repeated in an_
other sense: „Here is the patience of the saints,” Here it
means the patience of the saints in enduring the trials by faith.
The next time it means the fruition of patience: I will call
your attention to it again in a subsequent chapter.
We now come to a description which shows that the papacy
does not come out of the sea – that is, it is not a nation: „And
I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and it had
two horns like a lamb but spoke as a dragon.” It claimed to
be a lamb but it was a dragon. Now, when you turn to Daniel
7, he says: „I saw a little horn come up that destroyed three
of the other horns” – so the Pope usurped the civil jurisdic_
tion of several of the states) and claimed them as papal states
and was king over them. That little horn in Daniel’s fourth
beast and this two_horned beast here that has the voice of the
dragon and that claimed to be a lamb, and the false prophet
in chapter 19 as being cast into the abyss with the beast, all
mean the same thing; the little horn, the lamb_dragon beast,
and the false prophet all mean the papacy: Pope comes from
„papa,” or father, hence papacy. It is not a nation and hence
is represented as coming up out of the earth, and yet he is the
eighth government, rising out of the seven governments, or
beasts. We see that he is the one that heals the death stroke
of the sixth head; when the Caesar head dies, the Pope head
succeeds. There is attributed to him, in the rest of this lesson,
great miracle_working power. John does not affirm that these
were real miracles – he reports as he sees; he saw a vision of
the Pope giving the beast the power of miracles of different
kinds. It is characteristic of Roman Catholcism that from the
beginning of its history down to the present time it is brimful
of so_called miracles; its images are made to speak, or weep,
or bleed.
Verse 16: „And he causeth all, the small and the great, and
the rich and the poor, the free and the bond, that they be given
a mark on their right hand, and upon their forehead.” Many
have tried to explain what is the mark of the beast given by
this Pope. One old Baptist preacher insists that it was infant
baptism, followed by a sign of the cross made on the fore_
head. Your lesson tells you (v. 17) that „the mark is the name
of the beast or the number of his name.” And adds: „Here is
wisdom. He that hath understanding let him count the number
of the beast; for it is the number of a man; and his number is
six hundred and sixty_six.” Whoever can interpret this knows
what is „the mark.” No better explanation of this passage
has been given than that of Irenaeus. The first Roman ruler
was Latinus. His name spelled in Greek is Lateinos. Greek
letters are numerals, each letter standing for a certain number.
Thus: L_a_t_e_i_n_o_s. I give you English letters correspond_
ing to the Greek because some of you do not know Greek.
L (Greek, Lamda) == 30 n (Greek, Nu) == 50
o (Greek, Alpha) == I o (Greek, Omikron) = 70
t (Greek, Tau) == 300 s (Greek, Sigma) == 200
e (Greek, Epsilon) == 5
i (Greek, lota) = 10 Total……….. ……666

These Greek letters when used as numerals are equal to the
numbers opposite and their added total is 666. Here, then, is
the number of the beast and it is the number of a man, and
it is 666.
The mark of the beast then is the word „Latin.” On which
Alford observes: „The Latin Empire, the Latin church, Latin
Christianity, have ever been its commonly current appella_
tions; its language, civil and ecclesiastical, has ever been
Latin; its public services, in defiance of the most obvious re_
quisite for public worship, have ever been throughout the
world conducted in Latin; there is no other one word which
could so completely describe its character, and at the same
time unite the ancient and modern attributes of the two
beasts.” [Alford might have added: No version of the scrip_
tures considered authoritative except the Latin Version and
that only as interpreted by the Latin Church. Irenaeus had in
mind the pagan Latin Empire, Alford more wisely its transi_
tion into the papal Latin Empire. – Editor]

1. State the three distinct assaults of Satan in trying to destroy the
church as an institution, and wherein he failed in each case.
2. Was there a real fall of Satan and his angels before the fall of
Adam? If so, prove it scripturally and then show the relation of that
ancient history to the imagery of the future events in chapter 12.
3. Show the relation of Satan’s assaults on the infant Jesus to the
imagery of the man_child in chapter 12.
4. Show what verses of chapter 12 are epexegetical of other verses.
5. What symbolical numbers of II, 12, 13 are equal to each other?
6. About what date did the church enter the wilderness, on account
of what persecution, and about what date did it emerge?

7. Verse I: meaning „He stood on the sand and the sea”?
8. In a few words, tell what the new device of Satan as an instrument
of war against the church.
9. Show how this new device will have more idolatry than pagan
Rome, more persecuting power, a more formidable head than the
Caesar of Rome, and corrupt more preachers.
10. Show how it will be more wonderful than each of the seven won_
ders of the classical world.
11. What passage of Scripture enables us to interpret the leopard of
13:1; the lamb dragon beast of 13 II, and the harlot woman of 17:1_6?
12. In the light of these scriptures what the leopard beast? And the
nature of it?
13. What is the lamb dragon beast?
14. What is the harlot?
15. What is the expression in Daniel 7, and what other expression
in chapter 19 of this book, mean the same thing as the lamb dragon.
16. What two results always follow a union of church and state?
17. Explain in verse 2 the wounding of one head unto death, and
healing of the wound.
18. What is the real meaning of the Greek word rendered „continue”
in verse 5?
19. (a) What is the difference between Common Version and the
Revised Version rendering of verse 8? (b) if Common Version is right, What is the meaning? (c) if Revised Version is right? Which do you prefer?
20. What is the meaning of v. 17?
21. What is „the mark of the beast,” v. 16, as explained in v. 18, and
the exposition thereof by Irenaeus and Alford?

Revelation 14

The preceding chapter will be reviewed only this much:
1. Satan, considering the chaotic and disintegrated national
material of the fallen pagan Roman Empire, reconstructed
another Roman Empire, composed of many states, each with
its own national government, but united in its religion. This
was a union of church and state – sometimes the state exercis_
ing jurisdiction over the church, demanding universal con_
formity in religion as the ruler of the state understood it;
and sometimes the church dominating the state with a ten_
dency toward absolute church supremacy in both civil and
ecclesiastical matters. Until the church pressed the state too
far in local state affairs, they gave their power and authority
to the church; but when the pressure became intolerable the
state would rend the church.
As the states succeeded in their revolt against the assump_
tion of the church authority over state matters, their maxim
would yet be: „Whose is the government his is the religion” –
i.e., the head of each state will become the head of the church
in his own domain, proscribing all dissent from his own re_
ligion. This maxim was later maintained by Protestant states
as well as by papal states; by Geneva and Henry VIII, as well
as by Philip of Spain and Louis XIV of France.
2. This strange empire, called later „The Holy Roman Em_
pire,” is symbolized by the leopard beast of 13:1_2.
3. The ecclesiastical head, which ultimately assumed ab_
solute Jurisdiction over all states and all religions – in other
words, the papacy or succession of Popes – is symbolized by
the earth beast that looked like a lamb but had the voice of
the dragon (13:11).
4. The counterfeit church as an institution of which the
Pope was the head is symbolized by the harlot sitting on or
riding the leopard beast (17:6).
5. The scriptural passages governing this interpretation
are Daniel 7:7_25, and Revelation 17:7_18.
6. This interpretation identifies the papal beast of 17:11,
with „the little horn” of Daniel 7:8, and with the false prophet
of Revelation 19:20.
7. The reader must understand that the transition from
pagan Rome to „The Holy Roman Empire” was gradual,
marked by successive changes, and that the papacy developed.
from small beginnings to its culmination at the Vatican Coun_
cil in 1870 in the declaration of papal infallibility. And that
the Roman Catholic hierarchy, imagined by the harlot of 17:
1_6, was also a development of the centuries.
Having thus considered Satan’s new device for destroying
Christ’s luminous institution, and for corrupting the ministry,
and for perverting the gospel, we will in chapter 14 consider
the spiritual forces aligned on the other side.
Chapter 14 is divided into four parts:
Part I – The Lamb, his true church, the holy angels and his
people – (14:1_5).
Part II – The proclamation of the three angels – (14:6_13).
Part III – The harvest of the good – (14:14_16).
Part IV – The vintage of the evil – (14:17_20).
The chief purpose of chapter 14 is to give a summary of
Christ’s victory over Satan, and of the final and complete
victory of the true church over the counterfeit. I say a sum_
mary – a bare outline – whose methods and details are set
forth elaborately in all the rest of the section – i.e., from 15:1,
to 19:10.

Then from another viewpoint other details of chapter 14
outline will be given in the last synchronous view from 19:11
to 20:6, though in this case the view extends somewhat beyond
anything clearly suggested in this outline. It is important to
note this relation of chapter 14 to subsequent chapters – a rela_
tion of outline to details.

(14:1_5) „And I saw, and behold, the Lamb standing on
Mount Zion and with him an hundred forty and four thousand,
having his name and the name of his Father written on their
foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of
many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder; and the
voice which I heard was as the voice of harpers harping on
their harps: And they sing as it were a new song before the
throne and before the four living creatures and the elders,
and no man could learn the song save the hundred and forty
and four thousand, even they that had been purchased out of
the earth. These are they that were not defiled of women;
for they are virgins. These are they that follow the Lamb
whithersoever he goeth. These were purchased from among
men, to be the firstfruits unto God and unto the Lamb. And
in their mouth was found no lie; they were without blemish.”
As chapter 13 gave us a view of Satan, his beasts, his seat
of empire the counterfeit church, his counterfeit gospel, his
worshipers and the character of their worship, this vision opens
with a view of our Lord, as the „Lamb,” his seat of power
„Mount Zion” – i.e., the true church – his worshipers, their
secure redemption, their character, and the nature of their
It is of great importance that we interpret these symbols
not literally, but according _to the law of symbols, what they
represent. „The Lamb” is not a real sheep, but symbolizes
our Lord as the expiating sacrifice for sin. Without expiation
and atonement for sin Satan’s power over sinners cannot be
broken, nor can these sinners otherwise be redeemed or made
secure in their redemption, nor appear clean in God’s sight.
„Mount Zion” here is not the real mountain in Jerusalem, nor
the heavenly Jerusalem of chapters 21_22, but the militant
Mount Zion – that is, the true church on earth considered as
an institution – in other words, the radiant woman of 12:1.
So the hundred and forty_four thousand numbers his people
symbolically, not literally, but representatively. It is a per_
fect multiple of the sacred 12, many times appearing in this
book – twelve tribes, twelve stars, twelve apostles, twelve
foundations, twenty_four elders – i.e., twice twelve. There is,
however, this difference between the application of the hundred
and forty_four thousand here (14:1) and its appearance in 17:
4_8. Here it represents the spiritual Israel without regard to
nationality; there it represents the elect Jews as contradis_
tinguished from the saved of other nations, as the context
As Satan’s followers bore on their forehead and hand a sym_
bolic brand, so here on the forehead of Christ’s people are
symbolically written the names of the Lamb and of his Fa_
ther. In both cases the marks are symbols not of character,
as many commentators would have it, but of ownership. One
class the devil owns – the other class belongs to God. West
Texans will understand, for they, in riding the range, recog_
nize that the different brands on cattle do not refer to the
quality of the cattle – i.e., whether Longhorns, Shorthorns,
Durhams, Jerseys, Holsteins, or Herefords – but indicate the
The singers and harpers of the new song, in verses 2_3 seem
to be the ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of
thousands of holy angels of 5:11. They are in that chapter,
and here, distinguished from the throne, the Cherubim, and
the Elders, because they sing before them, and they are dis_
tinguished from the saints on earth, for the saints learn the
song after these sing it. The idea is that high up and far
away, around the throne of God, the angels, with harp and
voice, are praising the Lamb for his work of redemption, as in
5:12 – „Worthy is the Lamb that hath been slain to receive
the power, and riches, and wisdom, and might, and honor,
and glory, and blessing.” You read a similar song at the
birth of our Lord by the same singers, in Luke 2:13_14 –
„Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men
in whom he is well pleased.” Had it been a hymn of creation
or providence, as when all these angelic „sons shouted for joy,”
or as Psalm 104, it would not have been a new song. But as
it relates to the Redeemer and to redemption only, it is new.
Again, had it been a song of creation, any deist like Tom
Paine, admiring Addison’s paraphrase of Psalm 19, or any
admirer of Pope’s „Universal Prayer” addressed to „Jehovah,
Jove, or Lord,” might learn it. But, being a song of redemp_
tion, only the redeemed on earth – blood_washed – would have
their hearts attuned to its harmony. They could learn it.
Again, the idea is that praise, all the time, in loudest melody
is filling the courts of heaven and echoing through the universe,
but on earth only those whose spiritual ears have been opened
can hear the music, and only hearts purified by the cleansing
blood can take up the response, and thus constitute a grand
antiphony – earthly choirs responding to heavenly choirs in
one blended sublime symphony. Bunyan’s man with the muck_
rake, eyes downcast, never saw or heard the angel above him
offering an eternal crown.
We need particularly to understand the characteristics of
the hundred and forty_four thousand in verses 4_5:
1. „They were not defiled with women; for they are virgins.”
The word „virgins” is common gender, i.e., may apply, and
does here apply, to both sexes. But it is a gross perversion of
the interpretation of symbolic language to make this char_
acteristic apply to celibacy and thereby commend monks and
nuns. Spiritual incontinence was the worship of idols. The
symbolic „virgins” here means that these saints had not wor_
shiped Satan, nor his leopard beast, nor his lamb dragon beast,
nor the image of the beast.
2. „They follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth.” This is
the characteristic of obedience. As our Lord had said: „If
any man would be my disciple, let him deny himself and take
up his cross daily and follow me,” and when he said: „If ye
love me, keep my commandments,” and yet again: „Ye are
my friends if ye do whatsoever I command you.” The em_
phasis on the „withersoever” implies that we should not
merely follow in the days of loaves and fishes, nor merely as
the „hosanna” crowd on his entrance into Jerusalem, but fol_
low him to the cross. His leadership should be paramount
even when to follow means prisons, chains, confiscation or
3. They were „purchased” men, bought with his own pre_
cious blood of redemption, and hence a property „peculiar” to
him. His ownership was absolute.
4. „Firstfruits” – The idea again is one of ownership. Under
the law firstfruits were not for common use, but belonged to
God only and must be offered to him alone. This applies to
the first_born of families and all cattle. The thought differs
from ownership by purchase. It affirms an original owner_
ship, as the first_born son or the first_born male of cattle or
other stock, and the firstfruits of all harvests belonged to God.
This is the thought in Hebrews 12:23ù”Church of the first_
5. „In their mouth was found no lie.” Here again the verac_
ity commended was a spiritual quality, meaning that they
neither preached, taught, nor testified to a doctrinal lie. Theirs
was no dragon, no beast message; but the real gospel of Jesus
Christ. They perverted not his ordinances; they deluded not
by pointing to a false hope. There is no reference to lying in
general. Of course, Christianity condemns that.
6. „They are without blemish.” Here again the reference is
not to a freedom from faults or infirmities, physical or mental,
and I say not even – or at least not exclusively – to a freedom
from immorality in the ordinary sense. A comparison of all
the parallel passages shows: (a) There is no blemish in their
external righteousness before the law, for it is in Christ’s per_
fect imputed righteousness, (b) There is no blemish on their
internal righteousness, for it is a holiness commenced in re_
generation and carried on and consummated in sanctification.
(See Ephesians 5:27.)
The logical, not the chronological order of these six char_
acteristics expressed in plain English is this:
1. They are Christ’s because he created them.
2. They are Christ’s because when sold into bondage to
Satan through sin he bought them back with his own precious
3. They are not idolaters – not guilty of spiritual fornica_
4. They obey Christ, not Satan nor his beasts, nor the har_
lot, nor the world.
5. They preach and teach the gospel, not the „doctrines of
6. They are without blemish because justified, regenerated,
sanctified. These are the righteousnesses which are spotless.
Having now considered part one of our chapter, describing
our Lord, his church, his holy angels, his people, we turn to –


The proclamations of the three angels: (w. 6_13).
First angel: „And I saw another angel flying in midheaven,
having eternal good tidings to proclaim unto them that dwell
on the earth, and unto every nation, and tribe, and tongue, and
people; and he saith with a great voice: Fear God and give
him glory, for the hour of his judgment is come; and worship
him that made the heaven and the earth and the sea and foun_
tains of waters.”
Under the imagery of this flying angel is set forth the means
by which the saints on earth win their victory over Satan, his
„Holy Roman Empire,” its papal head and counterfeit church.
That means the worldwide diffusion of the true gospel. Where_
soever that gospel is preached in its purity and accepted by
faith, there God is feared and not the Pope: there the glory
is given to the Lamb and not to the virgin Mary. Kings and
secular governments, offended at papal usurpation, may and
do resort to carnal means for the suppression of this unholy
power. They may and do, by legal enactment, abolish monas_
teries and nunneries, banish the Jesuits, sever the connection
between their state religions and the papal. They may and
do both prescribe and proscribe by way of restraint. But aa
the kingdom of our Lord is not of this world, his servants fight
with different weapons. Their offensive weapon is the Word
of God – the Sword of the Spirit. They preach the Word;
placard the skies with it; fill the earth with it; translate it
into every tongue, tell its saving story by preacher and lay_
man to all nations, relying on the Spirit’s convicting, regener_
ating, and sanctifying power.
It is verse 6 that gave rise to the missionary hymn „Fly
Abroad, Thou Mighty Gospel.” It is called an everlasting be_
cause it will never become obsolete. An atheistic president of
a great university may vainly try to supersede it with „a new
religion.” It is everlasting and confers life everlasting upon
its loving recipients. What a pity when Christians lay aside
this tempered, two_edged, sharp_pointed New Jerusalem blade
for a carnal weapon.
Second angel: „And another, a second angel, followed, say_
ing: Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, that hath made all the
nations to drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”
This is God’s preannouncement of the doom of the counter_
feit church, with the indictment that she had made all nations
participate in her spiritual fornication – that is, substitution
of worship of the creature for the worship of the Creator and
Redeemer. The verdict of history sustains the indictment.
They have made a man the head of the church instead of our
Lord, and called him „My Lord God the Pope.” They have
vested him with infallibility, when speaking „ex_cathedra.”
They have made him Christ’s vicar instead of the Holy Spirit,
and have vested him with the two keys and the two swords,
usurping Christ’s authority to open and shut, both ecclesiasti_
cal and secular authority to punish the whole world. They
have made a woman „the queen of heaven,” declared her „the
fountain of all grace,” and interposed her as mediator between
the saint and his Saviour – the only mediator between God and
man. This is not Mariology, but Mariolatry. They confer
on the consecrating priest the authority to „create God,” and
when the wafer is consecrated it is worshiped as God, thus
multiplying the passion of our Lord, who „suffered once for
all.” They have caused the world to adore images and relics,
attributing to them many lying miracles. They have claimed
jurisdiction over the Spirit world, and lengthened probation
beyond the grave. In imitation of the heathen demigods, they
have filled the calendar with saints whose help is invoked in
prayer. They have changed ordinances, added to them, and
attributed to them saving power. No wonder this device of
Satan is said to be „full of the names of blasphemies” and her
cup „full of fornications.”
Third angel: „And another angel, a third, followed them,
saying with a great voice: If any man worshippeth the beast
and his image, and receiveth a mark on his forehead or upon
his hand, he also shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God,
which is prepared unmixed [that is, undiluted] in the cup of
his anger; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone
in t he presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb, and the smoke of their torment goeth up for ever and
ever and they have no rest day and night, they that worship
the beast and his image, and whoso receiveth the mark of
his name.”
The simple meaning of this paragraph is that those who
incorrigibly persist in drinking from the harlot’s cup of mixed
abominations, shall be made to drink of the cup of God’s un_
mixed wrath, i.e., undiluted wrath. As a later detail (18:4)
distinctly shows, it does not mean that God has no real chil_
dren among the papists. It would be an outrage on common
sense and history to make such a sweeping accusation.
This part two closes with two verses somewhat difficult to
expound with confidence: „Here is the patience of the saints,
they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of
Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven saying, Write, Blessed
are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth: yea, saith
the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; for their
works follow with them.” I give you my best judgment of the
meaning both negatively and positively: Your attention has
already been called to the difference in meaning between
„Here is the patience of the saints” as expressed in 13:10, and
as expressed here 14:12. You notice in 13:10, the phrase is
modified by „and the faith,” but not so modified here, which
as I think means that in the first case the saints in their en_
durance are consoled only by faith that God will ultimately
vindicate them. In the latter case the fruition of faith is at
hand. They are vindicated; there is no delay any longer, which
suggests the clue to the meaning of verse 13. Which does not
mean that those who die at another time are not blessed. But
it does mean that there is a sense in which those dying in the
Lord after the fall of the papal Rome are blessed, which mar_
tyrs who died in the Lord in the hour of papal triumph did not
share. And the precise sense is defined in the concluding
clause: „For their works do follow them.” It was a long time
before the works of the martyrs followed them into glory, i.e.,
until the wisdom and righteousness of their course was dem_
onstrated. In the eyes of their companions their bloody death
seemed to be a failure. But now, when the persecuting power
is destroyed and popular sentiment is with the saints, his death
is not regarded as a tragedy but a glorious consummation of a
happy life. Paul, in a measure, expresses the thought when
he charges Timothy not to be hasty in ordaining men, because
while in some men their character is evident at first sight, in
others it is not evident. As he expresses it: „Lay hands hastily
on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins . . . Some
men’s sins are evident, going before unto judgment; and some
men also they follow after. In like manner also there are good
works that are evident; and such as are cannot be hid.”
Now that the persecuting power is destroyed, Write: „Bless_
ed are the dead who die in the Lord henceforth, for their works
do follow them.”

The Great Harvest
Verse 14: „And I saw, and behold, a white cloud, and on the
cloud I saw one sitting, having on his head a golden crown,
and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out
of the temple crying with great voice to him that sat on the
cloud: Send forth thy sickle and reap; for the hour to reap is
come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on
the cloud cast his sickle on the earth and the earth was reaped.”
Now, that is the harvest of the good.

The Great Vintage
Verse 17: „And another angel came out of the temple
which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another
angel came out from the altar, he that hath power over fire;
and he called with a great voice to him that had the sharp
sickle, saying: Send forth thy sharp sickle and gather the
clusters of the vines of the earth, for her grapes are fully ripe.
And the angel cast his sickle into the earth and gathered the

vintage of the earth, and cast it into the winepress, the great
winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was without
the city, and there came out blood from the winepress, even
unto the bridle of the horses, as far as a thousand and six
hundred furlongs.”
That is the harvest of the bad. The director of both the har_
vest and the vintage is our Lord himself. The agents employed
are the angels. The general import of these two parts of the
chapter is much the same as that of the parable of the tares as
expounded by our Lord himself: „He that soweth the good
seed is the Son of man; and the field is the world; and the
good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom, and the tares are
the sons of the evil one and the enemy that sowed them is the
devil, and the harvest is the end of the world, and the reapers
are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered up and
burned with fire; so shall it be in the end of the world. The
Son of man shall send forth his angels and they shall gather
out of his kingdom all things that cause stumbling and them
that do iniquity and shall cast them into the flames of fire;
there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the
righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Fa_
ther. He that hath ears, let him hear.” And much the same
is that of the parable of the dragnet: „And again, the kingdom
of heaven is like unto a net that was cast into the sea and
gathered every kind; which when it was filled they drew up
on the beach, and they sat down and gathered the good into
vessels, but the bad they cast away. So shall it be in the end
of the world; the angels shall come forth and sever the wicked
from among the righteous and shall cast them into the furnace
of fire: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
The only difference in the exact import lies in this: That
the parables of the tares and dragnet represent the final judg_
ment scene, whereas the harvest and the vintage here repre_
sent that era of judgments which precedes even the millennium
and introduces it. There is a triumph of the true church, more
elaborately set forth later, and the downfall of the counterfeit
church, also set forth later with elaborate details. There is a
complete reversal of the relative positions of the two institu_
tions. In 12:6, the true church is in the obscurity of the
wilderness for 1,260 years. In 17:3, the counterfeit church is
in the wilderness, about to receive her final doom. Particularly
the vintage will reappear in the great war of Harmageddon
(16:16) and in the winepress of the wrath (19:15), as it had
already been forecast by Isaiah (63:1_6).

1. What is the symbol of the „Holy Roman Empire” which suc_
ceeded to pagan Rome?
2. What is the symbol of its ecclesiastical head?
3. What is the symbol of the counterfeit church?
4, What are the scriptures which govern the interpretation?
5. With what expression in Daniel, and a later one in this book, is
the lamb dragon beast identified?
6. Were the „Holy Roman Empire,” and the papacy, and the
Romanish hierarchy instantaneous products, or all gradual develop_
ments from email beginnings?
7. What are the four parts of this chapter?
8. What is its general purpose and relation to succeeding chapters?
9. What caution in. interpreting the symbolism of this chapter?
Part One – 14:1_5
10. Under what symbol does our Lord appear, and its meaning?
11. Under what symbol does the church appear, and its meaning
negatively and positively?
12. Who are symbolized by the 144,000, and what distinction in
meaning between that symbolic number here and in 17:4_8?
13. Illustrate in a way familiar to West Texans that the Satan brand
on forehead and hand, and the divine inscription on the foreheads of the saints, do not represent character or quality, but ownership.
14. Who were the singers and harpers of v. 2?

15. Explain the „new song” they sing, and cite two similar preceding
16. Cite instances of an „Old Song,” and who could learn to sing
that; and why only the redeemed can learn the new song.
17. Explain negatively where necessary, and positively, each one of the
six characteristics of the saints.
18. Repeat in logical order, and without symbols, these six character_

19. State briefly the meaning of the „flying angel.”
20. Distinguish between the means of victory over the counterfeit
church employed by the saints and by secular governments, and why?
21. Why is this gospel called „everlasting,” and how does it rebuke
a certain president emeritus of a great university?
22. What hymn suggested by this verse?
23. What is the meaning of the second proclamation; and what is the
indictment of the counterfeit church?
24, Show how history sustains the indictment.
25. Meaning of the third angelic proclamation. Prove from subsequent
passage that this destruction does not overtake all Romanists.
26. What is the difference between the „patience of the saints” in
13:10, and 14:12?
27. Explain the „henceforth” in 14:13.
28. In general terms what is the meaning of the harvest and what is
the vintage of 14:14_20?
29. In general terms wherein is this paragraph like two parables of
our Lord, but wherein does it differ from those parables?
30. In what subsequent passages of this book does the vintage re_
appear in more details, and what prophet forecasts this vintage?

Revelation 15_16

We shall consider in this study the seven plagues and the
seven bowls of wrath, or the divine judgment on the leopard
beast, and the harlot woman, and the consequent triumph of
the true church through the gospel. Chapters 17_19 will con_
tinue the same theme.

Preliminary Observations
1. 15:1: by anticipation, presents the plagues as if inflicted,
though the details of the infliction are given in chapter 16.
2. 15:2_4: in like manner – i.e., by anticipation – presents
the triumph of the saints when the plagues shall have been in_
flicted, and is given in more detail in 19:1_10, in its proper
historical connection.
3. 15:5_8, also by anticipation, gives the agencies through
which the plagues in chapter 16 will be inflicted and the
triumph achieved.
4. The Old Testament analogue which constitutes most of
the imagery of chapters 15_16 is Exodus 1_15. We cannot suc_
cessfully interpret this lesson without an understanding of the
ancient history which suggests its imagery.
5. Another historical analogue, Babylon, and the Euphrates
which constituted both its defense and its weakness, suggests
the imagery in 16:12. Here our historical background is Xeno_
phon’s account of the capture of Babylon by the armies of
Cyrus, through diversion of the waters of the Euphrates, and
consequent drying up of its channel in the city, confirmed both
by the prophecy of Jeremiah (50:38) and by this passage in
Revelation. The Babylon downfall as foretold by the ancient
prophets, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel, will suggest much of
the imagery of chapters 17_18, which will be more particularly
considered in the exposition of those chapters.
6. Our interpretation will make the „seven thunders” of 10:
4, uttered then but temporarily sealed up, i.e., not written, and
„the seven plagues” of chapter 15, and „the seven bowls of
wrath” of chapter 16, substantially the same, though the logi_
cal order would be this: The seven thunders called, the seven
bowls of wrath responded to the call, and the seven bowls of
wrath when outpoured constitute the seven plagues.
These six preliminary observations underlie the exegesis now
given in detail.

Chapter 15
„And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous,
seven angels having seven plagues, which are the last, for in
them is finished the wrath of God.”
The reader must note that when these plagues are called
„the last,” for in them is finished the „wrath of God,” the im_
port of the term „last” and „finished” must not be stretched
beyond their connection. It is a relative „last” and „finished.”
It is the last of the divine judgment on the organized apostasy
in its triple form of a „Holy Roman Empire,” a papal head
and an idolatrous and persecuting counterfeit church, but it
cannot refer to the wrath exercised after the millennium in
20:7_10, nor the wrath of the final judgment (20:11_15). Note
next on this first verse the „seven plagues” repeated in w. 6,
8 and named in 16:8_21. Their number „seven” indicates
their completeness, as will appear when the bowls of wrath
which produce them are poured out in succession on the earth,
the sea, the rivers and fountains, the sun, the Euphrates and
the air. When the lightning strikes in all these places, it touches
the whole circumference of environment. There is no escape

from such diverse wrath. It is done. It is finished. The
measure is filled up to overflowing.
We now look back to the historical analogue. We have in
Exodus 1_15 the great war between Jehovah and the gods of
Egypt for the redemption of his national Israel, or between
Moses, the mouthpiece of God,, and Pharaoh, king of Egypt,
or between the miracles wrought by Moses and the lying won_
ders of the magicians, Jannes and Jambres. Jehovah speaks,
Moses acts, the ten plagues follow, just as here the seven thun_
ders are God’s voices, the bowls of wrath respond and the
plagues are the result. Whoever has studied the ten plagues of
Egypt will see their completeness touching all the environ_
ment and degrading every god in Egypt, and all their minis_
ters, whether king, magician, or priest. All these discriminated
between Israel and Egypt; on one they fell, the other was ex_
empt. The very form of some of these plagues is repeated
here, as will appear in our exegesis of chapter 16. The conflict
terminated with the complete overthrow of Pharaoh and his
hosts in the Red Sea, and „Thus Jehovah saved Israel that day
out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyp_
tians dead upon the sea shore, and Israel saw the great work
which Jehovah did upon the Egyptians; and the people feared
Jehovah; and they believed in Jehovah and in his servant
Moses” (Ex. 14:30_31).
„And I saw, as it were, a sea of glass mingled with fire; and
them that came off victorious from the beast, and from his
image and from the number of his name, standing by the sea
of glass, having harps of God. And they sing the song of
Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying:
Great and marvellous are thy works, 0 Lord God Almighty;
righteous and true are thy ways, thou king of the ages. Who
shall not fear, 0 Lord, and glorify thy name? For thou only
art holy; for all the nations shall come and worship before
thee, for thy righteous acts have been made manifest.”

This is almost an exact parallel of the analogue at Exodus
14:19_22, and the triumph song at Exodus 15:1_18, and Mir_
iam’s response at Exodus 15:20_21. The Old Testament ana_
logue alone enables us to explain „the sea of glass mingled
with fire” which so unnecessarily perplexed commentators. You
need only to conceive of the Red Sea divided standing up in
walls on either side, and as Exodus 15:8, expresses it: „The
floods stood upright as an heap; the deeps were congealed in
the heart of the sea,” then conceive Israel marching in triumph
between and the pillar of fire between them and Pharaoh,
shining on those ice walls which, as mirrors, reflected its light,
it indeed seemed a „sea of glass mingled with fire,” and so
„they were baptized in the cloud [pillar of cloud overshadow_
ing] and in the sea” (her walls on two sides encompassing
them). Hence it might be called a baptism, so overwhelmed
and enwrapped were they, but it was a baptism in light. So
here, after the plagues have overthrown their long_time en_
emies with a complete overthrow, the saints, bathed in radi_
ance, sing their song of triumph which, on account of the
analogue, is called „The song of Moses, the servant of God,
and of the Lamb.”
The study is profitable to compare the Moses song (Ex. 15)
with the song here (Rev. 15), and its more elaborate form
(Rev. 19).
On the closing paragraph of 15:5_8, it is necessary now to
note only the following points:
1. „The temple of the tabernacle of testimony,” or the sanc_
tuary of the tent, means here the church as an institution,
through which as an agent the plagues are to be inflicted.
2. The priestly garb of the angels carrying the plague also
indicates human agency.
3. The „smoke” in temple or sanctuary indicates the Divine
Presence, as in Exodus 40:34; Numbers 9:15; I Kings 8:10_11;
Isaiah 6:4. While Moses nor the priests of Solomon could for
a while enter the holy house, filled by the cloud, there seems to
be an additional idea in the Isaiah case that as God entered for
fully ripened judgments there could be no intercession allowed
while the judgments were being inflicted, since probation was
ended and the space for repentance was withdrawn. Such also
appears to be the idea here, as we repeatedly note in chapter
16 that no repentance followed these plagues. (See 16:9_11.)
The plagues, therefore, were not chastisements designed to
lead to repentance, but altogether punitive.

Chapter 16
The Bowls of Wrath, and the Consequent Plagues
General Observations
1. I restate the general idea of interpretation already sug_
gested by the Old Testament analogue (Ex. 1_15). Before
Pharaoh and his people could be induced to liberate God’s
ancient Israel, all the supports of their power must be swept
away by successive divine judgments. These judgments were
like the flood in the days of Noah: „The windows of heaven
were opened; the fountains of the deep were broken up; the
waters increased; the waters prevailed and increased mightily;
the waters prevailed mightily, mightily upon the earth, and
all the high mountains that are under the whole heavens were
covered. Fifteen cubits did the waters prevail; and the moun_
tains were covered.” As the waters of the flood wiped off from
the face of the earth every living being, so the ten plagues
swept away all the props of Egypt, and just so here, by suc_
cessive judgments, God completely sweeps away all the props
of Satan’s usurped kingdom. Whatever the meaning of the
symbols, „the earth, sea, rivers and fountains, sun, the throne
of the beast, the great river Euphrates, the air,” on which in
succession the bowls of wrath were poured, they represent ex_
haustively the whole resources of Satan’s kingdom under its
apostate forms of a Holy Roman Empire, its papal head, and
its harlot counterfeit church. While we may not be dogmatic

in the interpretation of these symbols, the meanings given
are the expression of sincere and thoughtful judgment.
2. Any student must be struck with the correspondence, in
part, between the events under the trumpets and under the
bowls of wrath, particularly where the apostasy poisoned the
fountains and dimmed the sun. So in just the same place
here the lightning will strike.
3. „Har_Magedon” (v. 16). Literally, this compound word
means „the hill of Megiddo.”
Geographically, it overlooks the great plain of Esdraelon,
near the middle of the Mediterranean coast of Palestine.
Historically, on account of its strategic position, it has been
the decisive battleground of the ages for the fate of that coun_
try. Here Joshua conquered. Here, in the times of the Judges,
Barak, and Deborah won their decisive victory over Sisera
(Judges 4_5), and Gideon his signal triumph over the Midian_
ites (Judges 7). Here Saul lost his life and kingdom (I Sam.
31:8), and here good Josiah lost his life in battle with the
Egyptians, which called forth an ordinance for lamentation
by Jeremiah and the people (2 Chron. 35:24_25). And this
great mourning for Josiah suggested to Zechariah the greater
penitential mourning of the Jewish people which will lead to
their salvation in a later day (Zech. 12:10 to 13:1). This
same valley was the battlefield of the Ptolemies of Egypt and
Seleucids of Antioch for the supremacy of the Holy Land, and
for Saracen and Crusader after their day, and the scene of
many struggles since.
Prophetically, in the Old Testament is it equivalent to Joel’s
great battle in the valley of Jehoshaphat: „Multitudes, multi_
tudes, in the valley of decision” (Joel 3:1_17), and Zechariah’s
great war for the recovery of Spiritual Jerusalem (Zech. 14:
2_15), and Daniel’s great battlefield (Dan. 11:45 to 12:1),
and Isaiah’s blood_stained hero (Isa. 63:1_6)?
Prophetically in this book are the parallel passages, the
greatvintage (14:17_20), the war of Har_Magedon (16:14_16),
and the great victory preceding and introducing the millen_
nium (19:10_21)? With the literal, geographical and histori_
cal backgrounds we have no concern except to find the sym_
bolic imagery. The prophetic meaning from the symbols we
must gather from the four Old Testament passages and the
three New Testament passages, cited. For the answers to
these last two questions see chapters 15 and 17 respectively.

Exegesis of Chapter 16
„And I heard a great voice out of the temple, saying to the
seven angels, Go ye and pour out the seven bowls of the wrath
of God into the earth. And the first went and poured out his
bowl into the earth; and it became a noisome and grievous
sore upon the men that had the mark of the beast and that
worshipped his image.”
Note first that this judgment finds its symbol in the sixth
plague on Egypt, the plague of the boils and ulcers. And also
note that, as here, the wrath was poured on the „earth,” and
the victims are those who worshiped the beast and wore his
mark. So from 13:11_17, we have learned that the earth beast
with the voice of a dragon caused men to worship the image of
the leopard beast and to receive his mark. In the Egyptian
plague, the body was afflicted, but what means it here? Here
it must mean some ulceration of mind and soul, a spiritual in_
flammation causing exquisite torment. One may not define
too confidently just what state of mind fulfils this prophecy.
But we will not be far afield if we refer it to that mental dis_
quietude and spiritual unrest which come to all idolaters
when their delusions are scattered by exposure of the false
objects of worship, and the torments of remorse when seeing
that they have been blinded and enslaved in turning away
from the service and worship of the true God. Intense despair
of spirit follows such disenchantment when the mind at last
beholds the entire system of counterfeit religion to be earthly,
sensual devilish. The best illustration I know is the ruined
Zelica’s shriek of despair when Mokanna lifted his veil and
let her see what a foul, hideous demon he was.
„And the second poured out his bowl into the sea, and it
became blood as of a dead man; and every living soul died,
even the things that were in the sea.”
Out of the „sea” came the leopard beast (13:2). „The many
waters” upon which the harlot sat are defined as „peoples,
multitudes, nations, and tongues” (17:1_15). Wrath poured on
the sea then must mean God’s judgment on a politico_religious
government, a union of church and state whose ecclesiastical
head dominates the many subject nations. That kind of a
government is Satan’s masterpiece. It .is essential to the prev_
alence of the papal power. It is the water of life in the papal
garden; turn it into blood and the garden becomes a desert.
If this line of thought be correct, the interpretation may be
applied to the action of all nations that finally repel the su_
premacy of the Romanist hierarchy over either their national
or ecclesiastical affairs. For example, one emperor of Ger_
many went, on Papal demand, to Canossa and put his neck
under the foot of the Pope, but Bismarck, referring to William
III, said, „This emperor will not go to Canossa.” Or, it would
apply to the weakening of the nations strictly Romanist, as
Spain is and France was, compared with the increase in power
and influence of non_Romanist nations.
In other words, as expressed in 17:13, 16, the ten kingdoms
which at first had „one mind,” to give their power and author_
ity unto the beast, „to make war on the Lamb,” these later
„shall hate the harlot and shall make her desolate and naked,
and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.”
John Bunyan, in Pilgrim’s Progress, represents his pil_
grims as passing by the mouth of a cave from which two old,
decrepit giants, „Pagan and Pope,” glared at them in impotent
rage, saying, „You will never stop this going on a pilgrimage
until more of you be burned,” but their powers to burn bad

passed away. The nations now refused to be the executors of
ecclesiastical anathemas.
As in the analogue the turning of the Nile – the very life
of Egypt – into blood broke for the time being the power of
Pharaoh, so when this unholy alliance of church and state be_
comes as a dead man’s blood, blood that would DO longer flow,
governmental persecution for conscience’ sake received a shock
from which it has never fully recovered. The ecclesiastical
disposition to burn „heretics” still remains, but the states are
no longer subservient. So far as the principle is involved,
this applies to all persecuting states, whether Pagan, Papal,
Greek, Protestant, or Mohammedan. The divine judgment is
on the whole business, no matter under what name. The class
will note the power of the expression, „the blood of a dead
man”; the outward form remains, but the inward arterial cur_
rent has congealed.”
And the third poured out his bowl into the rivers and the
fountains of the waters, and it became blood. And I heard the
angel of the waters saying: Righteous art thou who art and
who wert, thou Holy One, because thou didst thus judge; for
they poured out the blood of saints and prophets, and blood
thou hast given them to drink: they are worthy. And I heard
the altar saying: Yea, 0 Lord God, the Almighty, true and
righteous are thy judgments.”
Here we must recall, from 8:10_11, that the second effect of
the apostasy, under the symbol of a star called wormwood,
representing an apostate clergy, yet burning as a lamp, repre_
senting an apostate church, was the poisoning of a third part
of the rivers and fountains, which was there interpreted to
mean the sources of thought and life. The judgment now fol_
lows the poison. The imagery again comes, but in a different
direction, from the first plague on Egypt. That miracle worked
in two directions: (1) The Nile, worshiped as a god, became
corrupt and death_breeding through conversion to blood; (2)

All drinking water in the canals, reservoirs and house vessels
became unusable.
The thought of this bowl of wrath, following the second
direction of the miracle, is that as by corruption of religious
thought, the minds of men have been turned to persecutions,
then by so much as they have shed blood shall they be made to
drink blood. The punishment comes in kind.
„And the fourth poured out his bowl upon the sun, and it
was given unto it to scorch men with fire. And men were
scorched with great heat, and they blasphemed the name of
God who hath the power over these plagues, and they repented
not to give him glory.”
Recalling the fourth trumpet (8:12) we there found the
third effect of the apostasy was to dim the sources of light,
particularly the third part of the sun. We there interpreted
the sun to be the symbol of Christ, and the dimming of the
light to be a substitution for Christ in his expiation (by the
mass) and in his mediation (by the virgin Mary), and in his
vicar (by the Pope). Now again the judgment follows the
form of the apostasy. God in Christ is salvation. God out of
Christ is a consuming fire. If his light be rejected, his heat
scorches. Moses very vividly presents the thought in his fare_
well address to Israel. If you turn away from Jehovah, every_
thing intended for a blessing will become a curse: „Jehovah
will smite thee with consumption and with fever and with
inflammation and with fiery heat and with the sword, and with
blasting, and with mildew: and they shall pursue thee until
thou perish. And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be
brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron. Jehovah
shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust; from heaven
shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed. . .
And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt
fear night and day and shalt have no assurance of thy life. In
the morning thou shalt say, Would it were even, and at even
thou shalt say it, Would it were morning; for the fear of thy
heart which thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes
which thou shalt see.” (Deut. 28:22_24, 66_67.) Indeed, all of
that great chapter of Deuteronomy from v. 15 to the end makes
good collateral reading for this sixteenth chapter.
„And the fifth poured out his bowl upon the throne of the
beast, and his kingdom was darkened, and they gnawed their
tongues for pain and blasphemed the God of heaven because
of their pains and their sores; and they repented not of their
As Christ reigns from Mount Zion symbolic of the true
church, so Satan reigns from Babylon, symbolic of the counter_
feit church. We see in the next chapter the harlot woman
riding the beast, and her mystic name is Babylon. The judg_
ment here falls on the hierarchy resting on a union of church
and state. Its ancient power is stripped away; confidence in
its holiness is lost; the world marvels that it was once so
glorified and its blasphemous pretensions recognized.
„And the sixth poured out his bowl upon the great river, the
river Euphrates, and the water thereof was dried up, that the
way might be made ready for the kings that come from the
Here we must recall the historical background which sug_
gests imagery. There was a real Babylon, ancient foe to na_
tional Israel. It was situated on both sides of the Euphrates,
which constituted its reliance for defense. Your attention has
been called in the preliminary observations to the method
employed by the armies of Cyrus in diverting the waters
through canals reaching around the city on both sides, so that
through its empty channel they might enter the city and cap_
ture it. Both Jeremiah and Revelation confirm the disputed
account of Xenophon. But our concern just now is to interpret
the mystic Euphrates.
The author believes it to signify all that mighty conflux of
sentiment, superstition and false doctrine erected to support
the Romanist pretensions. Through many centuries by schools,
monasteries, nunneries, diplomacies, and other means, this
sentiment had been created and had supported the mystic city.
It was the counter_teaching, culminating in the Reformation,
which dried up this Euphrates.
„And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon, and out
of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false
prophet three unclean spirits, as it were frogs; for they are
spirits of demons, working signs; which go forth to the kings
of the whole world, to gather them together unto the war of
the great day of God the Almighty.”
If we have been correct in our interpretation in the drying
up of the Euphrates by the Reformation teaching, then those
symbolic frogs represent in some way the expedients adopted
by the Romanist hierarchy to counteract the Reformation
and enable it once more to make a world fight for the suprem_
acy. From history we will know what these expedients have
There was first of all the pretended ecumenical Council of
Trent for a definite statement of the Romanist faith. Ecumeni_
cal and Catholic mean literally about the same thing, that is,
universal as opposed to local. This council was not ecumenical
in fact or in spirit. The vast Greek ecclesiasticism, nor Protes_
tant denominations, nor any of the age_long dissidents from
the Romanist idea of the church, were represented. Over those
actually present and participating, the Italian representa_
tives of the Pope completely dominated. This Tridentine con_
fession of faith, while divisive in some respects, was yet
consolidating in another direction. It drew a distinct line of
cleaveage and set up a definite standard around which its
followers might rally, and did, with its attendant catechism,
erect a strong barrier against further Protestant conquest. This
was followed up later by papal encyclicals, resulting in a com_
plete system of Mariolatry, and in 1870 by the Vatican
Council declaring the absolute supremacy and infallibility of
the Pope.
Now, we might fairly identify as the three frogs: (1) The
declaration of the Council of Trent; (2) the declarations of the
Vatican Council; (3) the papal encyclicals and syllabuses,
particularly those completing the system of Mariolatry. To
those doctrinal declarations we may add as enforcers of the
decrees two mighty factors:
1. The Inquisition, which long preceded the Reformation
as a heresy court, tending to prevent the very spirit of the
Reformation, became afterward in some countries, parti_
cularly Belgium and Holland, the bloodiest tribunal known in
the annals of history. The tools of the Inquisition have be_
come rusty now.
2. But by far the most persistent and aggressive factor of
Romanism, defined above, was the organization, under Papal
sanction, of the Jesuits, founded by Ignatius Loyola. This
compact, secret, iron organization, obeying only the Pope and
its general, followed the outbreak of the Reformation, and has
not only proved to be the strongest buttress of Romanism, but
its most potential propagandist. Its greatest fields of operation
have been: (1) missions; (2) diplomacy; (3) tutoring the
children of the great. I repeat that modern Romanism, defined
in three particulars above, and led by the Jesuits, has aligned
its forces for a worldwide conflict, here symbolically called the
„war of Har_Magedon,” the consideration of which must be
left to a subsequent chapter.

1. How does 15:1, present the plagues, and 15:2_4, present the
triumph of the saints; and 15:5_8, present the agencies employed?
2. What Old Testament analogue suggests most of the imagery in
15 and 16?
3. What Old Testament analogue of 16:12, and what historian gives
the account of using the Euphrates for conquests of Babylon? And what Old Testament prophecy had forecast the history?

4. What is the relation between the „seven thunders” (10:4); the
„seven plagues” of chapter 15, and the „seven bowls of wrath” of
15:7, and 16?

5. At 15:1, in what sense are these plagues „the last,” and in them
„the wrath of God finished”?
6. Give briefly the Old Testament history which furnishes the sym_
bols of these plagues.
7. Explain from Old Testament history the imagery of the „sea of
glass mingled with fire,” at 15:2.
8. As this triumph of the saints, at 15:2_4, is here given by anticipa_
tion, where does it appear in detail?
9. Explain the collection of the Song of Moses with the Song of the
Lamb at 15:3, What the resemblance between the Song of Moses, Exodus 15, the song here and the later song in chapter 19?
10. At 15:5, explain the words „temple” and „testimony,” and then tell
what they symbolize and what the relation to the seven plagues.
11. How does it appear that angels carrying the plagues and bowls of
wrath indicate human agency?
12. Explain the „smoke” that filled the sanctuary, and why in this
particular case none might enter the sanctuary until the plagues were finished, and prove this from the next chapter, and thereby show the plagues are punitive and not chastisements.

13. Repeat the general idea of interpretation suggested by the ana_
logue Exodus 1:15.
14. Show how a great preceding judgment is like in its completeness
to the Egyptian plagues, and apply both to the case in hand.
15. What symbolic words in 16 show that these plagues strike the
whole circle of environment?
16. What correspondence, in part, do you find between the trumpets of
chapter 8 and the bowls of wrath in 16, and why?
17. The Har_Magedon of 16:16ùexplain it literally, geographically,
historically, and prophetically.
18. With what part of this have we present concern?
(N. B. – The exegesis of the war of Har_Magedon reserved till next
19. Verses 1_2, what plague of Egypt the symbol here?
20. Explain pouring this bowl of wrath on the earth.
21. The Egyptian plague afflicted the body: give the meaning here
and illustrate from Tom Moore’s „Lalla Rookh,”
22. Verse 3: Explain at some length the pouring of this bowl of wrath
on the sea: apply and illustrate the interpretation.
23. Quote and show application of passage from John Bunyan.
24. What Egyptian plague the analogue here? Apply the meaning
broadly and explain the significance of „the blood of a dead man.”
25. What the first effect of the apostasy smitten by this plague?
26. Verses 4_7: What the second effect on the apostasy given in 8:10_
11, and show how the judgment here corresponds.
27. In what two directions did the first Egyptian plague work, and
which one considered here in the meaning of the symbol?
28. Verses 8_9: Recalling the fourth trumpet (8:10), what the third
effect of the apostasy, the meaning of the symbol there, and the nature and fitness of the corresponding judgment here?
29. Illustrate from farewell address of Moses.
30. Verses 10_11: Explain the throne of the beast.
31. Verse 12: What is the historic background furnishing this sym_
bolism, and what is the meaning of the Euphrates here, and how
brought about, and how long unshaken, and then by what dried up?
32. Verses 13_14: In general terms the meaning of the three frogs? And
the purpose?
33. In specific terms?
34. What two factors greatly helped to enforce these decrees?
36. In what ways have the Jesuits most helped Rome?

Revelation 16:14_21, with a Brief Survey of Chapter 17

Ordinarily it would be out of proportion to devote a whole
chapter to a few verses, but occasionally we find a single
paragraph so pregnant with meaning that it cannot be un_
folded in a few words. Particularly is there a call for careful
and extended treatment when the imagery of the paragraph
makes such an appeal to the imagination that the ignorant
and unwary, without helm, chart, or compass, drift away into
seas of fanciful interpretation, losing all practical benefit in
the sonorous roll of words, or in the highly wrought figures of
speech. Many a preacher, beguiled by the sound of words, has
made shipwreck of a sermon and bewildered his congregation
by attempting to expound, without understanding them, texts
like these: „Garments rolled in blood,” „Blood up to the
bridles of the horses,” „War of the great day of the Almighty
God at Har_Magedon,” „Multitudes, multitudes in the Valley
of Decision,” and certain people like to hear sermons on these
blood and thunder texts. I am quite sure that none of Creasy’s
Decisive Battles of the World, nor all of them put together,
have taken such a hold upon the imagination of the people
as the battle at Har_Magedon. Even Theodore Roosevelt, in
a presidential campaign, insisted that he was fighting the
battle of Har_Magedon.
2. My second observation is that, whatever the passage
means, the context limits the application to the final struggle
between the true church and the counterfeit church. It has no
other application.
3. Whatever the passage means, it must precede the mil_
lennium, and prepare the way for it, and consequently it has

no reference to Satan’s last struggle for supremacy as set forth
after the millennium in Revelation 20:7_10. Nor is it a refer_
ence to the great judgment day described in Revelation 20:11_
4. Particularly I would have you know that this gathering
of the nations together in the war of the great day of God the
Almighty, at the place called Har_Magedon, results, as ex_
pressly stated, from the three unclean spirits that went forth
out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the
beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. It is a gath_
ering under their influence; another gathering under some
other influence is not to be considered.
5. You must know, if there be any truth in the interpreta_
tion given in a preceding chapter, that the general purpose of
sending forth of these three unclean spirits was to rally and
solidify the Romanist hosts after they were shattered by the
outbreak of the Reformation, and to establish a bar to the
further progress of that Reformation, and to supply means of
war with which to regain for Rome absolute supremacy over
all states and all religions. That was the purpose. It is not, in_
deed, the last battle between Satan’s kingdom and the king_
dom of our Lord, as we shall see later, but it is the last war
between the true church and the counterfeit church. So stated
and limited, it is a fight to the finish. And when this war is
over, never more will the woman in purple and scarlet re_
appear in the history of mankind. Satan will come again in
two more wars, but that harlot, drunk with the blood of the
saints, will disappear forever.
6. The next observation is that while the imagery of war
supplies the symbols, we must be careful not to interpret the
symbol literally. It is a spiritual conflict, figuratively set forth
in the terms of war and blood, as when Paul uses the terms of
the Isthmian games and conflicts in the arenas of the Greek
and Roman amphitheaters to set forth spiritual conflicts. No
sane expositor would interpret Paul’s language literally.
The interpretation of the preceding chapters give us the
wilderness period of the church, from A.D. 250 to 1510, and
that the outbreak of the Reformation commencing early in
the sixteenth century gave a severe and lasting shock to the
papal hierarchy. And the sending out of these three unclean
spirits now is to recover from that shock of the Reformation.
If the nations are to be gathered together for that purpose, and
if you lose sight of the end in view, you fail to interpret the
three unclean spirits. We found in that chapter that three ex_
pedients were adopted by the Romanists to rally and solidify
their own people, to bar the further progress of the Reforma_
tion and to re_establish their former claims to absolute suprem_
acy over civil governments and all religions, and when we
look in history to find some fulfilment of the work done by
these unclean spirits, we find just three things; I confess I am
able to find no other things as the result of their work.
First, the declaration of the Council of Trent, with its at_
tendant 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 Protes_
tantism that broke out earlier in the century. Now 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 ex_cathedra utterances of the so_called infallible
Pope, particularly in the various utterances concerning the
virgin Mary, who is 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.”
Fourth, another one of these documents, issued by the Pope
in 1863, entitled the „Syllabus of Errors,” that which he called
errors in the teaching of science) errors in statesmanship, errors
in doctrines, enumerating them and denouncing them with
anathemas. Then, again in 1885, he sent out another encylical
letter concerning the Christian constitution of states, making
all states and all governments subordinate to the Pope. Then
another encyclical letter in 1888, in which he expressly con_
demns what he calls „modern Liberties”: liberty of worship_
ing according to the dictates of the conscience, liberty of
speech, liberty of the press, the liberty of teaching by the
states – for instance, having a free school system – the
liberty of conscience – that your conscience must be put under
the guidance of the Pope and the confessors. These are the
distinguishing characteristics of modern Romanism, commenc_
ing in that Council of Trent held in 1563 and culminating in
1888, I say, that make modern Romanism, to wit: Papal infal_
libility, Mariolatry, supremacy over nations.
Fifth, the worship of Mary, making her, instead of the
Holy Spirit, the mediator between the sinner and the Saviour.
They have drawn pictures of Christ in the background, angry,
with Mary standing between him and the sinner, and softening
his wrath toward the sinner. I repeat: The decrees of the
Council of Trent, the dogmatic decrees of the Vatican Council,
and the various papal encyclical letters whose authority rests
on his own declared infallibility, these did rally the Roman
forces; they did bar, in certain states, the progress of the
Reformation; they did make the battle line upon which Rome
seeks to regain absolute supremacy over all states, religions,
and all consciences.
We have seen in a previous chapter that for quite a while
the Inquisition, established long before this time, was a mighty
factor in enforcing these decisions. And we have found that the
Society of Jesus, or the Jesuits, was the next mightiest factor
in the propagandism of this new declineation of doctrines.
Now, I say that the object of all these expedients was to gather
the nations in hostile array against what has been set forth as
the true church and the pure gospel, and the result is a con_
flict, not a single battle, but a war. The Greek word is not
„battle,” but is „war,” called here the war of the great day of
God the Almighty, at the place called in Hebrew Har_Mage_
The interposition of God is said here in our lesson to be a
coming of the Lord: „Behold, I come as a thief in the night”
(v. 15). It is not his final advent, but it is his coming in judg_
ment upon this counterfeit church. Now, your lesson shows
that the expression of his judgment in this outpouring of this
seventh bowl of wrath, and the symbols which set forth the
decree of the wrath are various: Lightnings, voices, and thun_
ders, a great earthquake such as was not since there were men
upon the earth; a great hail, every hailstone weighing about a
talent (a hundred pounds). Maybe some of you think that is
too big for a hailstone, but I will tell you that hailstones have
fallen as big as a small house) weighing many tons. Hail_
stones fell near Lisbon, one of which would sink a ship in the
harbor. So you need not get scared at a hundred pound hail_
Now, the results of the wrath are said to be:
First, the utter overthrow of the mystic city of Babylon the
Great. When the Reformation broke out it received a shock,
that was the earthquake, and a tenth part of the city was
destroyed. But here ah the parts fell away from each other;
that is total destruction.
Second, the downfall of the cities of the states of the sup_
porting nations.
Third, the falling away of every island and mountain
I am just giving you the symbols here. The completeness
of the overthrow is expressed in a voice from the throne: „It
is done.” „He said: Let there be light, and there was light.”
Or they recall the words of Christ on the cross: „It is
finished”; the expiation is finished; nothing more to be done to
it throughout eternity. So, when this last bowl of wrath is
poured out on this mystic city of Babylon, it is done; that
lightning never has to strike again. Our paragraph puts into
compact sentence the downfall of the mystic city of Babylon,
but both of the following chapters, 17_18, are employed to
identify this great city, what it is, and then to give the detail
of its destruction. We may look to the exposition of these chap_
ters for many things omitted here, and content ourselves for
the present with this observation:
First, the lightning, the thunders, the earthquake, the hail,
are all natural phenomena used figuratively to express the
overpowering spiritual forces.
Second, the weapons of warfare are not carnal, but mighty
through God to the pulling down of the strongholds.
Third, the blood and carnage are symbols of spiritual
results; it is a war of light against darkness, of truth against
error, of a pure gospel against a false gospel.
Fourth, the inner meaning of the whole paragraph is that no
millennial triumph can ever come to this earth until that great
apostasy, in its persecuting union of church and state, in its
persecuting idolatrous hierarchy) in its blasphemous assump_
tion, has passed away.
The confusion among the commentators in their interpreta_
tion of the war of the great day of God the Almighty, arises
largely from a disregard of the context. Our interpretation
puts into one section everything from 12:1 to 19:10, and the
theme of that entire section is the conflict between the true
church of our Lord, regarded as an institution, and Satan’s
counterfeit church, regarded as an institution. This conflict
does not last until the end of the world, but its culmination
does prepare the way for the introduction of the millennium.
The wrath of God poured out on the apostate church, while
complete in itself, is not the wrath which falls on Satan and
his followers after the millennium (20:7_10), nor is it the final
wrath of the general judgment (20:11_15).
In general terms this book discusses four wars conducted by
Satan against the kingdom of God. First, he uses the pagan
Roman Empire by its persecutions to drive the true church
into the wilderness, culminating about A.D. 250; and he was
defeated because, as you will recall, the pagan Roman Empire
like a burning volcano was turned over into the sea. His
second war was from the same center, the city of Rome. He
constructs a so_called Holy Roman Empire, a politico_
religious persecuting empire, with a Pope instead of a Caesar
as the head, and with the woman in purple and scarlet as the
counterfeit church.
Now, we followed that war in the first campaign, up to the
Reformation in the beginning of the sixteenth century, and
the second campaign commences with our lesson here with the
sending forth of the three unclean spirits to break the force of
the Reformation and to gather together the nations against the
true church. By looking into history as I have told you, we are
unable to find but three expedients that those three unclean
spirits or demons could have devised for that purpose. These
three I have described to you as the so_called ecumenical
Council of Trent, the dogmatic decrees of the so_called
ecumenical Vatican Council, and the several papal utterances
whose authority rested on the claimed papal infallibility.
These are the three things in history that constitute modern
Romanism; nothing else in history can be found to fulfil
16:13_14 about the three unclean spirits going forth.
What, then, is the war of the great day of God the Almighty
culminating at „the place called in Hebrew Har_Magedon”?
Laying aside all figures of speech, it is the war against the
declarations of the Council of Trent, against the dogmatic
decrees of the Vatican Council, against the various papal
utterances embodied in various encyclial letters, and in the
Syllabus of Errors.
In Schaff’s „Creeds of Christendom,” partly in Vol. I, but
mainly in Vol. II, you may find both the history, the exposi_
tion, and the text of all these documents, and they do define
modern Romanism. They draw the line of cleavage, and states_
men of Europe and America recognize them today &a the
hardest problems of statecraft. Bismarck found it so; Glad_
stone found it so, and wrote one of the most remarkable books
of the age, to wit: „Vaticanism.” Our presidents find it so, and
in my opinion our last two presidents tripped right on that
point, as I think I could prove. These United States, with all
their territorial possessions, are today at the place „called in
Hebrew Har_Magedon.”
The war is now on, in the press, in the schools, in the munic_
ipal, county, state, and national elections, in the pulpits, in
the Congress and before the courts. There can be, I repeat, no
millennium until the war, on these definite lines drawn by
Romanism, is fought to a finish. The preacher, the politician,
the statesman, who has not these books that I have named
should sell his coat, if need be, and buy them, and when he
has bought them should study them profoundly, should study
Vol. I of Schaff’s „Creeds of Christendom” from page 83 to
191, and Vol. II from page 96 to 271, and then from page 555
to 602. It would take up twenty chapters to go over and give
you the details of it, and you will never understand Har_
Magedon, you will not even know the nature of the war, you
will not know the chief obstruction in the way of the coming
of the millennium, unless you study them.
The issue of that war closes up the second war of Satan. I
told you that our book treated of four wars; that is the close
of the second war. The third one will be found to commence
with 19:11, and going on through that chapter. And in that
war there will be fulfilled the remarkable prophecy of Isaiah
63: 1_6; Ezekiel 36_37; Daniel 11:45 to 12:1; Joel 3:1_21;
Zechariah 12:1 to 13:1; Romans 11:11_31. And we must have
a chapter on that because in it is involved the conversation of
the whole Jewish nation in one day, which must come before
the millennium.
Now, the fourth and last war of Satan in this book is the one
described in 20:7_10. Will you keep those wars distinct in
your mind? First, the war using pagan Rome as a persecutor;
second, the war using papal Rome as a persecutor; third, the
war culminating in the salvation of the Jews; fourth, the war
after the millennium. They are all in this book.
As the whole of the following chapter simply identifies and
defines the scarlet woman, and the next chapter gives the
details of the downfall, I will put the questions:
1. Who is the woman in purple and scarlet riding upon the
beast in this chapter? That is the Roman hierarchy, the
counterfeit church as an institution.
2. What is meant by the many waters upon which she sits?
The last of the chapter tells you that the waters mean many
nations, tongues, kindred, and people.
3. What is the meaning of this woman being found in the
wilderness? We found that radiant woman in the wilderness
several chapters back, and this woman was not in the wilder_
ness. It is the scarlet woman that is in the wilderness now.
That means that her power is taken away, and she is ready
to receive her doom.
4. What is meant by being full of the names of blasphemy?
In a previous chapter I described them: It is blasphemy for a
man to assume to be infallible; it is blasphemy for a man to
claim to be the head of the church; it is blasphemy for a man
to claim to be Christ’s vicar on earth; it is blasphemy to say
that the prayers and manipulations of the officiating priest
actually create God in changing the bread and wine into the
real flesh and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ; it is blasphemy
to worship the wafer as it is carried along in a procession,
called the „Procession of the Host”; it is blasphemy to address
a woman as the „fountain of all grace and the only hope of
salvation,” and so I could go on for hours telling you the blas_
5. What is meant by the cup of abomination, the unclean
things of her fornication? I have told you that fornication,
spiritual fornication or adultery, means idolatry. It was idola_
try for the national Israel, claiming to be the wife of Jehovah,
to worship idols. Now this woman mixes in her cup various
abominations, and she makes the kings of the earth drink out
of this cup.
6. What is the mystic name of this woman? „Mystery,
Babylon the Great, the mother of the harlots and the abomina_
tions of the earth.” As there was a historic Babylon on the
Euphrates, here this woman in the last verse of the chapter is
expressly declared to be a city. There is a mystic Babylon,
this woman in purple and scarlet, who is also a city.
7. What is meant by her being drunk with the blood of the
saints and the blood of the martyrs? It means that from the
constitution of that hierarchy to the present time she has used
the thumbscrew, the rack, the dungeon, and the ax, and other
forms of torture in putting to death the people who worship
God according to the dictates of their consciences. The
bloodiest pages in the annals of time record the martyrdoms
done under the directions of this church. When on St. Barthol_
omew’s Eve, Admiral Coligny of France and so many thou_
sands of other Huguenots were put to death in the city of
Paris, as soon as the news got to Rome the bells of the Cathe_
dral were set to ringing, and the whole city was full of the
chimes because the streets of Paris were reeking with red
blood of the martyrs. They sang a „Te Deum Laudamus” to
celebrate this atrocious wholesale murder.
8. What is the beast upon which she sits? I told you that
beast was the new government that Satan caused to rise up
to take the place of Pagan Rome, the Holy Empire. That is
the beast.
9. What is meant by saying that the beast had seven heads?
The explanation is this, as you will see lower down, that five
of these heads have fallen, one is, and another is to be, and the
eighth will be of the seventh. Now, what are these seven heads?
I have already given them to you, Egypt and Assyria, that
had passed away before Daniel’s time, and then four, Baby_
Ion, Persia, Greece and Rome. As he saw them, that makes
six. Five of them had passed away, but in John’s time the
sixth had not passed away. When it did soon pass away came
the seventh, the union of church and state in the Holy Roman
Empire, and the eighth was of the seventh, that was the papal
head, which was part of the seventh.
10. What is meant by the ten horns? The chapter tells you
that the ten horns are ten kingdoms that had not yet risen in
John’s time. Pagan Rome was not yet disintegrated, but it will
be disintegrated in a few centuries, and out of its ruins will
come up the ten kingdoms. And these kingdoms for quite a
while will support the woman in purple and scarlet and then
these kingdoms will turn and rend the woman in purple and
All the latter half of this chapter tells exactly what the first
half means and in the next discussion we will take up the de_
tails of the fall of Babylon.

1. Why devote a chapter to the paragraph 16:14_217
2. Does the paragraph describe a war or a battle?
3. What is the name of the war?
4. What was the cause of the war? (Read vv. 13_14.)
5. What was the date and occasion of the beginning of the war?
6. What the expedients devised by the three unclean spirits to re_
store Romanist supremacy, and in what books do you find the history, exposition, and text of these documents, giving volume and pages?
7. What, then, is this war?
8. How do you account for the confusion of commentators in inter_
preting the paragraph?
9. What the symbolic name of the place of the conflict, and why that
name chosen as a symbol?
10. Is it on in this country, and if so in what arenas?
12. What, then, the real place of conflict symbolized by Har_Magedon?
Answer: Anywhere in the world where the battle rages.
13. Are the weapons carnal or spiritual?
14. Between what two institutions the war, and to what must the
interpretation of the paragraph, whatever ita meaning, be strictly
15. How is the divine interposition represented, and does that refer to
our Lord’s final advent? (See v. 15.)
16. What symbol represents the divine wrath?
17. What is meant by „the air” on which the wrath is poured?
Answer: The air represents general public opinion and thought con_
cerning the expedients devised by the unclean spirits, and implies that the judgment of the world condemns and rejects them.
18. What symbols express results of pouring out the bowl of wrath on
the air? Answer: (1) Lightnings, voices and thunders; (2) a great earthquake such as the men of earth never saw before; (3) a great hail_storm.
19. What one symbol expresses the wrath on the mystic Babylon, or
counterfeit church? Answer: „The cup of the wine of God’s wrath.”
20. In the first campaign of the war between the two ecclesiastical in_
stitutions, what the result of the earthquake to the counterfeit church occasioned by the Reformation, and the result of this earthquake? Answer: (For answer compare 11:13 and 14:13, first clause 14:20.)
21. Concerning the hailstones, how much avoirdupois weight each
22. What the largest hailstones known to history?
23. Where the true church when the counterfeit church commences
the war on it, and where the counterfeit church at the close of the war, just before the final judgment falls? And what does this imply? (For answer consult 12:6 and 17:3, which imply a complete reversal of public opinion concerning the two institutions.)
24. Describe the counterfeit church.
Answer: A great harlot (17:1 and all of 17:4_6).
25. What the meaning of the symbol „a harlot”?
Answer: One claiming to be the spouse of the Lamb, who turns to the worship of idols.
26. What the meaning of „mother of harlots”?
Answer: Her children also worship idols.
27. What the meaning of „abominations”? Answer: Another name for the perversions of the true worship of God.
28. What the meaning of the „golden cup in her hand”?
29. What the meaning of her gorgeous array in 17:4? Answer: This implies the great wealth occurred from the world, by Peter’s pence, gifts of the states, bequests of the dying, sale of indulgences, charges exacted for services at birth, marriage, death, and purgatorial intercession, etc., and her pompous state and imposing ritual.
30. Relate a pertinent and illustrative incident. Answer: It is related that one of the popes, after exhibiting his treasures to a friend, remarked: „Great change this from Peter’s day, who said, ‘Silver and gold have I none’ „; to whom the friend replied: „We have the gold which Peter had not, but have we Peter’s power to make the lame walk?” (See Acts 3:6_7.)
31. What the meaning of „many waters” on which the harlot of 17:1,
sitteth? (For answer see 17:15.)
32. What the meaning of the beast on which the woman rides in 17:3?
Answer: The governmental union of church and state, with the church on top.
33. Cite historical proof of the blasphemies of the names of which this
beast (17:3) is full.
34. Explain the historical seven heads of the beast (17:3), why Daniel mentions only four, how five had fallen before John’s time, what the seventh and what the eighth, and how the eighth is one of the seventh.
35. Explain the first clause of 17:8. Answer: Pagan Rome, the sixth, was but will soon cease with its Caesar head, but will re_appear as the Holy Roman Empire with a Papal head, and it too will go into perdition.
36. Explain the „ten horns,” 17:3. (See 17:12.) Answer: These are the ten kingdoms formed out of the disintegrated elements of Pagan Rome, but all united in. supporting the union of church and state.
37. How do you account for the change of attitude in these kingdoms
toward the counterfeit church aa set forth in 17:3, 13, 16? Answer: Kings are willing to support the beast, i.e., the union of church and state with the king on top as head of church and state in his own realm, but will resist a Papal head of state and church in his realm.
38. What the mystic name of the harlot?
39. What the real meaning of the woman? (See 17:18.)
40. What classic authors refer to Rome as the „seven_hilled city”?
41. These historic seven hills on which Rome is built symbolize, ac_
cording to the interpretation, seven world_empires: Egypt, Assyria,
Babylon, Medo_Persia, Greece, Pagan Rome, Papal Rome. Why connect so far back in interpretation?
Answer: Because all fought the kingdom of God and the underlying
principles were the same in every case; because our lesson tells us that in John’s time five had fallen.

Revelation 18:1 to 19:10

This chapter closes up the longest section in the book, the
war between the true church and the counterfeit church. In the
preceding study I gave you but a little exposition of chapter
17, because that chapter only identifies the woman in purple
and scarlet, and because it is self_explanatory. The latter half
tells the meaning of the first half.
We now consider, with more detail, the effect of the out_
pouring of the last bowl of wrath upon the woman in purple
and scarlet, that is the final destruction of Romanism as the
counterfeit church. Note carefully the change from a woman
to a city. „I saw another angel coming down out of heaven,
having great authority, and the earth was lightened with
his glory, and he cried with a mighty voice, saying: Fallen,
fallen, is Babylon the great, and is become the habitation
of demons, a prison of every unclean spirit, and a cage
of every unclean and hateful bird.” That is the an_
nouncement sent from heaven, in the brilliance of glory and
the highest extent of authority, of the doom of the mystic
Babylon. The imagery of this chapter is borrowed, even to the
very words, from the following prophecies of the Old Testa_
ment: Isaiah 13:19_22, which describes the downfall of the
historic Babylon on the Euphrates. Then in Isaiah 34:9_15, is
described the utter destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Then
Jeremiah, (50_51) describes the destruction of the historic
Babylon. Zephaniah, (2:13ff) describes the destruction of
Nineveh. Ezekiel, (26_28) describes the destruction of Tyre,
and from these prophecies we get the very word employed in
this chapter, as imagery transferred to the mystic Babylon. I
have the space to recall to you but one of them, the first one
And Babylon, the glory of the kingdoms, the beauty of the
Chaldean’s pride, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and
Gomorrah. It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt
in from generation to generation, neither shall the Arabian pitch
tent there. But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there, and their
houses shall be full of doleful creatures, and ostriches shall dwell
there; and wild goats [or demons] shall dance there. And wolves
shall cry in. their castles, and jackals in the pleasant palaces; and
her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged.
– ISAIAH 13:19.
The same language is employed by the other prophets to
whom I refer, and exactly corresponding to the language which
I have Just read, „is become a habitation of demons, and the
hold of every unclean spirit, and the hold of every unclean
and hateful bird.” That simply means, that as the ancient
Babylon, after its destruction, was never more inhabited, and
wild beasts whelped in its palaces, so when God smites the
mystic Babylon, the counterfeit church of Romanism, it will
be wiped off the face of the earth.
Read again, now from verse 3: „For by the wine of the wrath of her fornication all the nations are fallen, and the kings of the earth committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth waxed rich by the power of her wantonness.” That is the cause or reason of the destruction of the mystic Babylon; that her influence was so corrupt with the nations of the earth that she caused its kings to join in her idolatries and blasphemies, and through the merchandise of her wantonness, that is, all that part of the commerce which relates to the things employed in her service, on that account it is to be swept away.
Read verse 4: „And I heard another voice from heaven
saying, Come forth, my people, out of her, that you have no
fellowship with her sins, and that ye receive not of her
plagues.” That is to me a very precious verse. It shows that
God never destroys the righteous’; that if the righteous have
been associating with the evil, before the judgment falls on the
evil the righteous are called out. We saw that in the case of Sodom: the angels took hold of Lot and dragged him out of the city, saying, „We cannot destroy this city while you are in it.” We saw the same thing when Korah and his family were about to be swallowed up by an earthquake on account of great sin. Everybody was required to move away from him, to get away from the dangerous place where they stood, because the ground on which their feet rested would yawn, crack open, and they would be engulfed. We find precisely these words addressed to the old Babylon. Jeremiah uses the words precisely. A great many of the Israelites and people of Judah were in captivity in Babylon, and the prophet says: „Come forth out of her, my people, that ye receive not her plagues.”
We see the same language when Jerusalem was destroyed.
Jesus said to his disciples: „When you see the abomination of
desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, then you flee to
the mountains, and share not in the doom that is coming upon
Jerusalem,” through the armies of Titus. You still see the
same thing, on a much grander scale, at the end of the world.
The earth cannot be destroyed by fire while any Christian is on it; their bodies are raised, they are caught up in the clouds, and when no living Christian and the dust of no dead Christian is left on the earth, then the earth will be wrapped in fire.
Another pertinent paragraph is found in 2 Corinthians:
Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers, for what fellowship
hath righteousness and iniquity? or what communion hath light
with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial? or
what portion hath a believer with an unbeliever? and what
agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for we are „ft
temple of the living God; even as God said: I dwell in them and
walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my
people. Wherefore, come ye out from among them, and be ye
separate, saith the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; and I will
receive you, and will be to you a father, and you shall be to me
sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. – 2 CORINTHIANS
Notwithstanding the evil of the system of Romanism, not_
withstanding the heresy of its doctrines, there are multitudes
of truly converted children of God on its church rolls. Some
of the finest religious hymns, some of the sweetest and most
precious expressions of the love of Christ, have come from the
pens of individual Roman Catholics; they are God’s children.
Now, before this destruction falls on that counterfeit church,
God will call out from it all of his true children. Every now
and then there are secessions. Millions went out in the days
of the Reformation; great multitudes of the old_fashioned
Catholics went out after the Council of Trent; they could not
accept those decrees. All through history they have been go_
ing out. Some never were in, and I think we belong to that
crowd. But I am speaking of those who were in, and I am glad
when any of them come out.
In verse 5 we read the reasons of this final sweeping judg_
ment: „For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath
remembered her iniquities.” The language of the Bible on that
point is very impressive. God does not strike until the measure
of iniquity is full; but when it is full he strikes. The sins of
the Canaanites got so rank that they smelt unto heaven, then
God destroyed them root and branch; when Sodom’s sin cried
unto heaven, God swept it away without pity and without
mercy. We get impatient, oftentimes, at God’s patience, his
long_suffering with evil, and we say: Why doesn’t he hurl his
lightning; why doesn’t he strike down the wicked? God says:
„Wait, I am giving everybody an opportunity for repentance.
At the right time I will strike, and when I strike there will be
no need to strike again. It will be complete.” Whenever that
time comes, God remembereth iniquities.
I preached a sermon once on this text: „When he maketh
inquisition for sin, he remembereth.” Men do evil because
judgment is not speedily executed. But after a while God will
make inquisition, that means a search like a sheriff with a
search warrant The day I preached that sermon I described
God’s coming to the sinner and entering into his heart and
shining with the light of his truth into the most secret cham_
bers of his soul, and unmasking, and revealing, and bringing
out into the white light of infinite holiness every foul thing
that man ever did: „When he maketh inquisition for sin, be
remembereth.” That great sermon of Jonathan Edwards that
started a series of meetings in which a quarter of a million peo_
ple were converted, „Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,”
from the text: „Their feet shall slide in due time,” applied this
Verse 6: „Render unto her even as she rendered, and double
unto her the double according to her works; in the cup which
she mingled, mingle unto her double.” Now, I do not think
the „double” there means twice as much. It is according to
the old law of retaliation: „Like for like: an eye for an eye,
and a tooth for a tooth; as ye judge ye shall be judged; as ye
measured to others it shall be measured unto you.” The pun_
ishment shall correspond to the sin. And now, as that in_
iquitous counterfeit church was drunk with the blood of the
saints; as she filled her cup with idolatries, God gives her a
cup to drink with his undiluted wrath. The punishment shall
correspond to the sin. The same principle of righteousness is
expressed in the next two verses.
„How much soever she glorified herself and waxed wanton,
so much give her of torment and mourning; for she saith in
her heart: I sit a queen and am not a widow, and shall in no
wise see mourning. Therefore, in one day shall her plagues
come, death and mourning and famine, and she shall be utter_
ly burned with fire; for strong is the Lord God who judged
her.” In other words, as led by her pride, she took the high
seat and spoke great swelling words of blasphemy, and put her
foot on the neck of kings and oppressed the saints, and relied
upon her infallibility, saying: „I am a queen, I am not sub_
ject to the law, and no mourning shall come to me,” so shall

be the depth of her fall. It shall be as deep as her presump_
tion was high.
Verses 9_10: „And the kings of the earth who committed
fornication and lived wantonly with her, when they look upon
the smoke of her burning, standing afar off for the fear of her
torment, saying: Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong
city I For in one hour is thy judgment come.” This is copied
directly from the prophets; in fact, nearly every word in this
chapter is.
They had an agreement, the kings and the Romanist church:
„You buttress me in my kingly authority, and I will buttress
you in your papal chair.” There was a trade, a very convenient
arrangement. Just like a municipal sin is committed by a
grafter who offers? to support a certain man for mayor or alder_
man, or chief of police, or some other civil office, on the condi_
tion: „You let me put my finger into the pie and take out my
plum, and I don’t care how many plums you take out.”
And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more; [and this is her merchandise] merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious atones, and pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet; and all thyine wood [or sweet scented wood], and every vessel of ivory, and every vessel made of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble; and cinnamon, and spice, and incense, and ointment, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and cattle, and sheep and merchandise of horses and chariots and slaves; and the souls of men. – REVELATION 18:11_13.
Ezekiel 26_28, foretelling the downfall of Tyre, represents all who lived by her merchandise as bewailing her. Understand that this merchandise here is not to be considered as merchandise in general, but is that part of the merchandise past for so much; then there were fees for officiating at birth, which was used up in supporting this counterfeit church, or in its ceremonies, or vestments; there would be „Peter’s pence” enough to build a cathedral; there would be the profit from the sale of indulgences, as when Tetzel traveled over Germany and sold the privilege of sins in the future as well as in the marriage fees, and the fees to get your father or mother out of purgatory, fees for everything. Then there were the great donations given by the conscience-stricken dying, donations of lands, and large sums of money. It is related that on one occasion a Pope led a visiting friend into the treasure house of the Vatican, and showed him the silks and purple and laces and fine linen, opened the coffers and showed him the jewels diamonds, pearls and rubies, the gold and silver; and said: „There has been a great change since the first Pope, Peter, for he said: ‘Silver and gold have I none,”‘ and the friend re
marked: „We have what Peter had not, and we have not what
Peter had, for he could make the lame man walk without
the silver and gold, and we cannot.”
Of course, the commercial spirit will always „hurrah” for anything that makes trade. They will if it be whiskey; they
will if it be prostitution; they will if it be idolatry, if you can
only sell the images of the great goddess Diana and make a
big pile of money by it. But when all that is broken up they
will stand off and wail: „Alas, Babylon is fallen, and all of
our trade is broken up.”
But look at that last item, will you? „And merchandise in the bodies and in the souls of men.” What was Luther when he went to Rome, and on bended knees climbed the stairway to find expi-ation of sin, but a slave? Slaves and the souls of men! And how joyously he leaped to his feet when he saw that man is justified in the sight of God by faith and not by works from condemnation forever, without dependence on any priest’s „I absolve thee”; God does the absolving. Slaves and the souls of men! Millions and millions have been slaves, slaves to the blindest superstitions, treasuring up the cut_off toe nails of some so_called saint, or put-ting in a vial or bottle the tears of some other saint, or preserving an image that seems to wink the eye. You might as well imitate the Negro, who puts a rabbit’s foot in his pocket for luck, or nails up a horseshoe to keep off the witches; it is the same principle, exactly. It is slavery, the worst form of slavery. Mental slavery
is much worse than body slavery.
Verse 14: „And the fruits which thy soul lusted after are
gone from thee, and all things that were dainty and sumptuous
are perished from thee, and men shall find them no more at
all.” Now, when a man works hard and lives hard, it does
not hurt if occasionally he eats short rations, but if one be
pampered, feeding at a banquet every day, having every
luxury in the world, then if God sweeps all of it away, and
turns out that glutton barefooted and bankrupt, oh, how he
feels ill Whenever that is the prop you lean on, and it breaks,
then you are in a hard case. But if the spirit of happiness be
in you, and not in the things about you, and you rest in the
eternal joy of hope and peace and love, then the devil cannot
bankrupt you; no money panic can make you a pauper. But
notice the crowd that is weeping over the downfall, those who
had shared in the profits of the idolatrous business.
Then look at verse 20, and see who rejoice: „Rejoice over
her, thou heaven and ye saints, and ye apostles, and ye proph_
ets; for God hath judged your judgment on her.” She has
passed her judgment on you, she imprisoned you, burnt you
at the stake; through flames your soul took its exodus to heav_
en. Now, up in heaven, look down and see your judgment,
that they put on you, see it put on her. That is the crowd that
rejoices every time an evil power is put down. The good peo_
ple are glad; it is the evil people who are sad. Every nation
that doeth righteousness maketh the righteous glad.
Verse 21: „And a strong angel took up a stone, as it were a
great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with a
mighty fall shall Babylon, the great city, be cast down, and
shall be found no more at all.” Now, that is borrowed out_
right from Jeremiah. When he pronounced the doom on the
ancient Babylon, he wrote it and said to one of his friends:
„Go to Babylon and tie this writing to a great stone, and hurl
it into the Euphrates. and as it sinks out of sight you say:
Thus shall Babylon disappear forever.” It is a very significant
And the voice of harpers and minstrels and flute players and
trumpeters shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no crafts_
man, of whatsoever craft, shall be found any more in thee; and
the voice of a mill shall be heard no more at all in thee; and the
light of a lamp shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice
of the bridegroom and the bride shall be heard no more at all in
thee. – REVELATION 18:22_23.
What a description of ruin! If you were to walk amidst the
ruins of Palmyra or Karnac, or stand in the ruins of Nineveh
or ancient Babylon, never hearing the laughter of a child,
never seeing a friendly light shine in a window, never hearing
a strain of music) but all desolation, and the only voice the
voice of a wild beast, or the hoot of an owl, you would get a
conception of the judgment that God sends upon that counter_
feit church.
Last verse of the chapter, v. 24: „And in her was found the
blood of the prophets, and of saints, and of all that have been
slain upon the earth.” That used to puzzle me, just like it
puzzled me in Matthew 23 when Jerusalem was destroyed:
„That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed on the
earth from Abel the righteous, unto the blood of Zachariah,
son of Barachiah, whom ye slew between the sanctuary and
the altar.” Now, that apostate church did not kill all the
people of the Old Testament days, for it did not exist. Then,
what is meant by saying that upon it shall come all the right_
eous blood? The idea is this: That the principle of persecu_
tion is the same, and that you may pursue that principle until
you have identified yourself with every persecution that ever
has been, you get in you the spirit of all past persecutions. It
is the solidarity of sin.
After these things I heard, as it were, a great voice of a great
multitude in heaven. [We have heard the earth voices, howling
and complaining now, let us listen to heaven] „Hallelujah; sal_
vation and glory and power belong to our God; for true and
righteous are his judgments; for be has judged the great harlot,
her that corrupted the earth with her fornication, and he hath
avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. – REVELATION
Think about that, will you? To which song is your soul
attuned? Will you weep with the wicked, or rejoice with the
saints? In the book of the Psalms there is a division called
the „Hallelujah Psalms,” and on Passover occasions what is
called the „Great Hallel” is sung; Jesus and his apostles sang
it at the observance of the Lord’s Supper. That is one of the
most striking portions of the Psalms; it denotes the highest
expression of joy and praise.
„And a second time they say, Hallelujah.” Notice right after
that: „And her smoke goeth up for ever and for ever.” Hal_
lelujah up yonder, smoke down here; the burning of the coun_
terfeit church and the glory of the saints in heaven over its
disappearance as a persecuting agency.
Notice who participate in the Hallel: „And the four and
twenty elders,” those who represent the continuous priesthood
of God’s people on earth. „And the four living creatures,”
that is, the four Cherubim that constitute the chariot of God
on his messages of mercy. „They fell down and worshiped
God, saying, Hallelujah, amen.” That is not all of it: „And
a voice came forth from the throne, saying: Give praise to
our God, all ye his servants, ye that fear him, the small and
the great,” not only the Cherubim and the elders, but Jet
everybody rejoice. Now, let us see what response was made
to that:
And I heard it as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as
the voice of mighty thunders, saying: Hallelujah; for the Lord,
our God, the Almighty, reigneth. Let us rejoice and be exceed_
ingly glad, and let us give the glory unto him; for the marriage
of the lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready, and
it was given unto her that she should array herself in fine linen
bright and pure; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
Back in chapter 12, we saw that radiant woman driven into
the wilderness, the world despised her, pagan power persecuted
her, papal power persecuted her. Here we have seen the pur_
ple woman go down in smoke. I told you that this whole
section was a war between these two women. The radiant
woman not only comes out of the wilderness, but arrays herself
for marriage to the Lamb. There are two pertinent parables
in Matthew: (1) the parable Of the marriage of the King’s
Son, which relates to the time of the espousal (Matt. 22);
(2) the wise and foolish virgins which relates to the consum_
mation of the espousal: „Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go
ye out to meet him” (Matt. 25).
The church, conceived of as an institution, a time institu_
tion, now becomes the glory church, wedded to the Lamb in
heaven. I have explained what the righteousnesses of the
eaints mean, in the chapter on the promises, and I will not
discuss it now.
Verse 9: „And he saith unto me: Write, Blessed are they
that are bidden to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” Blessed
are they, I give you a general question: What are the beati_
tudes of the book of Revelation? Everything that commences
with „Blessed” is a beatitude. Compare them with the beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount. I will call them off to you: The first beatitude is chapter 1:3, then 14:13, then 20:6, then 22:7. You write out all of these, take each one of them into your heart, and you will see that our Lord did not get through speaking beatitudes when he delivered his Sermon on the Mount.
And he said unto me [that is, the interpreting angel]: These
are the true words of God; and J fell down before his feet to
worship him. And he said unto me: See thou do it not; I am a
fellow servant with thee and with thy brethren that hold the
testimony of Jesus: Worship God, for the testimony of Jesus
is the spirit of prophecy.
What a glorious thing the fellowship of the different servants
of God I We do not worship the church, we do not worship any
one of these ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of
thousands of shining angels of God; they are servants of God;
you are a servant of God. „See thou do, it not.” They are
working for the same cause for which you are working. Their
lot, for the present, is higher than yours, but don’t forget that
it is only for a little season, and then you will be higher than
they. So do not worship any one that one day you will be
above. The biggest preacher in the world ought to be glad to
join in the fellowship of worship with the poorest ragged little
street urchin that ever found peace in believing in Jesus Christ.
They stand together on a plane of equality before an impartial
God. And, brethren, it has been one of the joys of my life
that I have not despised any one of the little ones that be_
lieve on Jesus Christ. I would not turn on my heel for the
difference between the poor dying beggar that loved Jesus
Christ, and the fellowship of John D. Rockefeller. They stand
exactly even, the rich and the poor, for in Christ Jesus there
are no rich and no poor. We are all one, and we are all one
with the angels in service.
1. From what Old Testament prophecies is the imagery of Rev. 18 borrowed?
2. What is the chief sin of the counterfeit church, causing her downfall?
3. Are there true children of God among the Romanists?
4. How do they escape her doom?
5. Give historic instances of God’s people leaving the counterfeit church.
6. Show from both Old Testament and New Testament analogues
that God does not destroy the righteous with the wicked.
7. Cite Paul’s pertinent exhortation to the Corinthians,
8. What is the meaning in verse 6 of „rendering double”?
9. Cite some of the merchandise of the counterfeit church.
10. Who will bewail the downfall of the counterfeit church? And who rejoice?
11. How do you account for the expression in the last verse of the chapter that „in her was found the blood of all that had been slain upon the earth,” and what parallel expression in Matthew concerning Jerusalem?
12. What distinction do you make between the parable of the marriage of the king’s son in Matthew 22 and the parable of the wise and foolish virgins in Matthew 25, and on what Jewish custom are both founded?
13. Which of these parables is parallel with Revelation 19:6_9?
14. What the beatitudes in Revelation?
15. Why is angelolatry a sin?

Revelation 19:11 to 20:10

This is the last synchronous view in this book. The first one
was from chapter 6:1 to 8:1, the gospel as preached to the end
of time; the second one was from 8:2 to 11:19, the gospel as
prayed to the end of time; the third one was from 12:1 to 19:
10, the conflict between the true church and the counterfeit
church. Now, we have the fourth and last synchronous view;
that is to say, the triumphant holy war that introduces the
millennium. I am going to put this study in the form of a
1. Who is the hero of this war?
ANSWER. – Our Lord himself, as the chief captain of our
salvation. Your lesson says: „And I saw the heavens open, and
behold! a white horse; and he that sat thereon called Faithful
and True; and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.”
The other references to him we will note later.
2. What are his titles?
ANSWER. – With reference to his covenant_keeping with his
people he is called Faithful and True. Whatever he says to
his people is true, and to whatever promise he makes he is
faithful: Faithful and True is his name, that refers to his
people. With reference to the Father, his name is „Logos,” or
the word of God (see v. 13 of your lesson). With reference
to the nations he is „King of kings and Lord of lords” (see
v. 16 of your lesson). With reference to the angels he is
Michael, the Prince. (See Revelation 12:7.) Now these are
his titles in four directions: with reference to his people; with
reference to the Father; with reference to the nations; with
reference to the angels.
3. In the exercise of what office is he here represented?
ANSWER. – In his kingly office as a royal conqueror, judging
and making war, on his head many crowns.
4. What is the distinction between his appearance on the
white horse here, and his appearance on the white horse in
chapter 6:2; both times there comes forth a white horse and
ANSWER. – There, on the white horse (chapter 6), his weapon
was a bow, shooting arrows of conviction into individual
hearts, as the gospel was preached, and that record says that a
crown was given him. But here, on his head are many crowns,
and his weapon is a sword of judgment, smiting nations and
governments, not individuals. There the bow was used for the
salvation of the hearer of the gospel. Here the sword is to
make all nations bow to his supremacy as Lord.
5. Who constitute his armies, and how are they described?
ANSWER. – His armies are the saints, and they are described
as clothed in fine linen, pure and white. I will ask you to re_
call that great war song, Psalm 110:
The Lord saith unto my Lord, sit thou at my right hand until
I make thine enemies thy footstool; the law shall go forth from
Zion, and in the day that thou leadest forth thine armies, thy
young men shall be volunteers, going forth in the beauties of
holiness and as multitudinous as the drops of the dew at the
dawn of morning. – PSALM 110.
How aptly that applies here. I do not mean to say that
Christ, in his body, is present on earth in this war; he is con_
ducting the campaign from heaven, and his armies are to wage
war here on this earth. I call your attention again to another
pertinent Psalm: „The kings of the earth set themselves and
take counsel together against the Lord and his anointed! Yet
have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion” (Psalm 2:2, 6),
and Just exactly what he does here is ascribed to him in Psalm

2. The fine linen, pure and white, as I have explained to you
in the lecture on the promises, expresses the righteousnesses of
the saints, which they receive in justification, regeneration,
and sanctification.
Now, here comes an important question: His people had a
very active part in the overthrow of the counterfeit church, but
6. What part has his people in this war of judgment that
we are now reading about?
ANSWER. – They have no executive part. We notice they
carry no weapons; they have no part except declarative, and
to be witnesses of his might.
7. How does this appear?
ANSWER. – From the Old Testament analogues and proto_
types; for example: Israel bore no active part in the plagues
of judgment sent upon Egypt; no part in the overthrow of
Pharaoh’s host at the Red Sea. They were witnesses and the
Lord fought the battle. They had no part in the overthrow of
Sennacherib as set forth in 2 Kings 19:35. Now, in order that
you may understand this war, and what part God’s people
have in it, I will read you a description by George Noel Gor_
don, Lord Byron:
The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold,
And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;
And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea,
When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.
Like the leaves of the forest when the Summer is green,
That host with their banners at sunset was seen:
Like leaves of the forest when Autumn hath blown,
That host on the morrow lay withered and strown.
For the angel of death spread his wings on the blast,
And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed;
And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill,
And their hearts but once heaved, and forever grew still.
And there lay the steed with his nostril all wide,
But through it there roli’d not the breath of his pride:
And the foam of his gasping lay white on the turf,
And cold as the spray of the rock_beating surf.
And there lay the rider distorted and pale,
With the dew on his brow and the rust on his mail;
And the tents were all silent, the banners alone,
The lances unlifted, the trumpets unblown.
And the widows of Ashur are loud in their wail
And the idols are broke in the temple of Baal;
And the might of the Gentile, unsmote by the sword,
Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord I
– BYRON, „The Destruction of Sennacherib”
We are now studying one of the most important lessons in
the book, a day in which God himself intervenes by ex_
traordinary judgment. It appears also from the description of
this very battle given in Isaiah 63; listen at this:
Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from.
Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, marching in the
greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness. Mighty
to save. Wherefore art thou red .in thine apparel, and thy gar_
ments like him that treadeth in the winevat? I have trodden
the winepress alone; and of the peoples there was no man with
me; yea, I trod them in mine anger, and trampled them in my
wrath, and their lifeblood is sprinkled upon my garments, and I
have stained all my raiment. For the days of vengeance was in
my heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. And I looked,
and there was none to help. And I wondered that there was
none to uphold; therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto
me; and my wrath it upheld me. And I trod down the peoples in
mine anger, and made them drunk in my wrath, and I poured
out their lifeblood upon the earth. – ISAIAH 63:1_6.
Now, this is an exact prophetic description of the hero in
this war as set forth in this chapter; the references are to
precisely the same event. We notice that he is just as much
alone in the sending of the judgment in this terrible war as he
was alone when he sent the angel of death to pass over the
hosts of Sennacherib, the king of Assyria.
8. What, then, the supreme lesson of our passage?
ANSWER. – God’s government of the nations and judgments
on them to enforce their acknowledgment of his supremacy.
9. How did he once enforce this lesson on Nebuchadnezzar
and Belshazzar?
ANSWER. – 1 think I had better quote that for you; it is an
old lesson that he is giving. I will quote from Daniel 5 (Dan_
iel is interpreting to Belshazzar the handwriting on the wall) :
0 thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar, thy
father, the kingdom and greatness and glory and majesty; and
because of the greatness that he gave him, all the peoples,
nations and languages trembled and feared before him; whom
he slew, and whom he would he kept alive; whom he would he
raised up, and whom he would he put down. But when his heart
was lifted up and his spirit was hardened so that he dealt
proudly, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took
his glory from him; and he wag driven from the sons of men,
and his heart was made like the beast, and his dwelling was with
the wild asses; he was fed with grass like oxen, and his body was
wet with the dew of heaven; until he knew that the most high
God ruleth in the kingdom of men, and that he setteth up over
it whomsoever he will, and thou, Belshazzar, hast seen that
lesson and hast not regarded it, and thou hast despised the God
of heaven and of law. This handwriting comes out over thy wall:
MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. It means that thy kingdom is
divided; it is measured to the Medes and Persians; thou art
weighed in the balance and found wanting. – DANIEL 5:18_27.
Now, what he did in that case to Nebuchadnezzar and Bel_
shazzar he is about to assert in this great battle of the nations.
10. Under whose leadership have human governments de_
nied the supremacy of God?
ANSWER. – Under the leadership of the devil, who usurped
the kingdom of this world, and who shapes the policies of
worldly governments and municipalities.
11. Since the preceding chapter disposes of the counterfeit
church forever, why do the beast and the false prophet appear
in this lesson? This is a very important question.
ANSWER. – The beast is that upon which the counterfeit
church rode, and it was the false prophet that made the peo_
ple worship the image of the beast. Now, as the counterfeit
church is disposed of before this event here, how is it that the
beast and the false prophet appear here, and are taken and
are cast into the lake of fire?
My answer is that, as was explained to you repeatedly, the
beast is a politico_religious government, a union of church and
state, and as such was not confined to Romanism; many Protes-tant kingdoms are just that way. Germany is that way now, Austria is that way now, England is that way now. There is a union of church and state, and that is the beast here. The woman in purple and scarlet is not riding him, but some other ecclesi-asticism is riding him. Now, the one thing that goes down in this war, that never re_appears again in human history, is the union of church and state, and the consequent persecution of the saints. That kind of government God does not favor, unless it is his own theocracy, with him as the king, and the the sole judge of what is religion.
It is impossible for me to make you understand, in so brief
a space, what a tremendous impediment to the progress of the
kingdom of Jesus Christ has been the union of church and
state. We had it even here in this country in Colonial times.
Within a few miles of where the battle of Lexington was fought,
and near the time of that battle, the sheriff came and sold the
choice acres out of the garden, or the fields of the Baptists in
that community, put it up at auction at forced sale, in order
to obtain funds to build a church for another denomination,
that had few members in the community. And even John
Adams said to Isaac Backus, the great Baptist historian, when
he went to him and asked him to urge Massachusetts to allow
freedom of conscience: „You might as well expect to see the
sun rise in the west and set in the east, as to expect Massa_
chusetts to tolerate anything but state religion.”
We had it in Virginia: Some of the most distinguished Bap_
tists were imprisoned, their property confiscated, and Patrick
Henry, when defending one of them, read the indictment: „In_
dicted for preaching the glorious gospel of the blessed God.”
The way he said that shook the union of church and state in
Now, in this war, the war that we are now studying, that

beast of the union of church and state is taken and cast into
hell forever never to reappear. In the same way the false
prophet is taken, and false prophets are not limited to Papacy.
The Archbishop of Canterbury may be a false prophet just
as well as the Pope. When he was over here some months
ago, visiting the United States, a number of distinguished
ladies and gentlemen called upon him and asked him when he
got back home to let the people alone to worship God accord_
ing to the dictates of their own consciences; he gave slight heed
to their petitions. The Greek church, in Russia and the Balkan
States, is also a national religion. They fill the world with
protest against the Turk for oppressing their religion, but show
no toleration to people more evangelical than themselves. Now,
that is why the beast and the false prophet appear here.
12. What is the occasion of this gathering of the nations to
battle with the Lamb, and distinguish between this conflict and the war of Har_Magedon, which we have recently diseased?
ANSWER. – In the war of Har_Magedon the Romanist church, as an institution, was destroyed, many kings and govern-ments assisting in her destruction; but the prelude of this war is the return of the Jews into the Holy Land from every nation where th”y have been dispersed, and the nations are just as jealous Oi their restoration to and possession of that land, as they were jealous of the Romanist supremacy, and they gather their
armies together for the destruction of the Jews and the re_
taking of the Holy Land.
That man is blind who cannot see the march of modern events: the railroad that Germany is building into the Holy
Land; the eye of England and every other nation is fixed upon
that most strategic position in all the East, to wit: The eastern
coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Those thundering Bulgarian
guns that are today shaking the foundations of Constantinople
are but a step toward Jerusalem, and the time will come when
God’s many ancient prophecies will be fulfilled: He will gather
his people out of all the nations whither they have been
dispersed; he will assemble them in their own land; and when

assembled there, with their unprecedented wealth, holding the
strategical position of the East, the nations will remember
their enmity to the Jews. This is the only country in the world
that has not persecuted the Jew, this United States. And there
will be a gathering of the powers to destroy the Jew and re_
capture that land. The Jews are unable to withstand the
armies of the nations, then comes the rider on the white horse.
Then comes Jehovah where these nations are assembled in
the valley of Jehoshaphat, and by divine interposition two
things happen: The Jews are converted in one day, the whole
nation is born in a day, and the judgment of God, just as it
fell upon the hosts of Sennacherib, falls upon the gathered
armies of the nations, and destroys them.
13. Why, in a previous chapter, were certain Old Testa_
ment and New Testament prophecies grouped with the Har_
Magedon war, and here applied differently?
ANSWER. – 1 thought some of you understood me by this
time; frequently I put in a catch question. I designedly mixed
up the grouping of those passages to provoke independent in_
vestigation. You have only to turn back to chapter 14 for that
mixed grouping of Har_Magedon. I wanted you to see for
yourselves the difference on the issues between the conflict of
the counterfeit church with the true church at Har_Magedon,
and this great battle for the salvation of the Jews.
14. What passages, then, in both Testaments, are now
grouped as belonging to the holy war of this lesson?
ANSWER. – There is no catch in the question this time. I
will give you the passages that bear upon your lesson: Isaiah
63:1_6: „Who is this that cometh out of Edom with dyed gar_
ments?” etc. I will quote the other passage from Isaiah, a con_
tinuation of the same subject all through the rest of the book
of Isaiah. I quote from Isaiah 66, following that war (I
preached on this at the Convention in Houston): „Whoever
heard of such a thing; who hath ever seen such a thing: shall
a land be born in one day? shall a nation be brought forth at
once? for as soon as Zion travailed she brought forth her chil_
dren.” That connects with this battle, in which the hero has
the dyed garments sprinkled with blood.
Then, in Ezekiel 36:22_25; 37, I will quote, substantially,
the pertinent part:
Not for your sakes will I do this, but for my own name sake
will I do it, which name you have profaned among nations where
you have been dispersed; I will gather you out of all the nations
where you have profaned my name, into your own land, and
then I will sprinkle the water of purification upon you, and
you shall be clean, from all your idols and all your filthiness
will I cleanse you; and I will take away your stony heart and
give you a heart of flesh, I will put my spirit within you, and
then you will keep my commandments and do them.
Ezekiel 37 shows a great valley full of dry bones, represent_
ing all the dispersed fragments of Israel, and the question is
propounded: „Can these dry bones live?” And the prophet
says: „Thou knowest”; and God says: „Prophecy over these
dry bones.” „What shall I prophesy?” „Prophesy this: Come,
Oh Spirit, from the four ends of the earth, and breathe upon.
these slain,” and the Spirit came, and they lived and stood
up, a mighty army. And this, says the prophet, is the restora_
tion of the whole house of Israel.
All of Joel 3 refers to this war. He says:
I will gather all the nations together against you, when I have
assembled you in my own land, I will gather them in the valley
of Jehoshaphat; multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision.
And I will say: Put in the sickle and reap the vintage; and fill
up the winevat, and I will tread out the winevat until all my
garments are stained with blood.
Then in Zechariah 12 it is said:
I will gather my people in the last day out of all the nations,
and in that day I will pour out upon them the spirit of grace and
supplication, and they shall look upon him whom they pierced,
and they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for his firstborn
son; it shall be a great mourning, every family apart. And in
that day a fountain shall be opened for sin, and for uncleanness,
in Jerusalem.
And then in chapter 14 he goes on to describe the battle of
the nations gathered against the Jews restored and converted,
and all at once the lights go out. „Never was there such a
day,” says the prophet. „The sun is darkened, the moon is
darkened, but at even time there shall be light, and there shall
be an earthquake such as the earth never felt before, and
Mount Olivet shall split wide open, and half shall go to the
west and half to the east,” and then he goes on to describe the
millennium that follows.
And then (Rom. 11) Paul says that the Jews did not
stumble that they might fall forever. You Gentiles were saved
by their fall. Their coming back will be as the life from the
dead, and so all Israel shall be saved when they look to their
15. Now comes this question: Why are the vintage of Reve_
lation 14:19, and the war of Revelation 19 classed with the
prophecies promising the restoration of the Jews to their land,
the war of the nations on them and the conversion of the Jews
in one day?
ANSWER. – Because the prophet Joel predicts in express
words that very vintage that we described in chapter 14 of this
book. And the prophet Isaiah draws the very picture of this
hero conquering with his garments stained with blood, and
commences it with the battle against the nations and tells of
the salvation of the Jews; and because Peter says, speaking
to the Jews: „Repent ye, so that your sins may be blotted out,
and so that refreshings may come from his presence, and so
that he may send Jesus whom the heavens must receive until
the time of the restitution of all things.” That shows that
Peter makes the repentance and conversion of the Jews a con_
dition precedent to the final advent of our Lord and his restor_
ation of all things. I told you that there never could be a
millennium until the Romanist church had passed away; and
I now tell you that there never can be a millennium until the

Jews are converted, and it will be the quickest, widest entrance
into the gate of salvation that this world has ever seen, a whole
nation in a day. Three thousand on the day of Pentecost were
converted; that was only the offering of the first sheaf, the
firstfruits, and if three thousand be one sheaf, what will the
harvest be? Therefore, I say that the Christian ought not to
long for Pentecostal times; keep your back turned on Pente_
cost, and look to the harvest ten thousand times bigger than
Pentecost that is ahead of you.
16. What is meant by the binding of Satan?
ANSWER. – God’s power is exercised over this usurper that
has held the earth six thousand years, or nearly all of that
time, and he is determined that the earth shall have a sabbath,
a thousand_year sabbath. As Satan has held it six thousand
years, there shall be a thousand years of peace and salvation;
the devil shall not cast a shadow over any man’s soul, nor
press his cloven foot on any breaking heart, nor come with
terrors to any dying man or woman, and shall not weave his
spells of enchantment, and shall not beguile the nations, but
he shall be chained and cast into the pit, and a rock placed
over the mouth and sealed up for a thousand years. I will be
glad when it comes. I want to tell you about the millennium;
I want you to understand; you will be able to understand a
great many strange scriptures when you comprehend the mil_
What, then, is this war? It is a war of Jesus Christ against
human governments, based on Satan’s power. Governments
coming to thwart the promises of God by the destruction of
òthe Jewish nation, in which the beast government goes down
forever, and the false prophet forever, and Satan is bound for
a thousand years, and all the kingdoms of this world become
the kingdom of our Lord and his Christ. And it is not so very
far off. The world was four thousand years old when Christ
came, and it is nearly two thousand years since he came. The

devil’s time is nearly out; events are moving rapidly, ocean
and air are navigated, telegraph wires long rusted with com_
mercial and political lies shall shine with the transmission of
messages of mercy and salvation.
The questions on this chapter are embodied in the text, as it was prepared in the form of a catechism.

Revelation 20:4_6

This particular study contains just three verses, Revelation
20:4_6. The theme is the millennium, but before defining it
Jet us consider its precursors, the things that precede it and
bring it about.
The first one we have found to be the downfall of the Ro_
manist counterfeit church, symbolized first by the woman in
purple and scarlet and second by the mystic Babylon. We
found that, instrumentally, the downfall of this Romanist
church was brought about by two agencies: First, the gov_
ernments of the earth „shall hate the harlot and make her
desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh and burn her with
fire” (Rev. 17:16). The second agency: The saints, bypreach_
ing, teaching, and publishing the pure gospel, shall expose all
of her heresies and idolatries (Rev. 12:11), and by their
prayers they shall bring on her the judgment of God (Rev.
6:10; 8:3_5). That is the first precursor – the forerunner – of
the millennium.
The second precursor: „The days of the Gentiles being ful_
filled” (see Luke 22 and 24), the Jews shall be gathered to_
gether out of all the nations where they have been dispersed,
into their own land, and the nations shall gather together to
make war on them, and then shall come the Jewish harvest of
which Pentecost is only the firstfruits; the whole nation to be
converted in one day. This conversion of the Jews occurs in
the dispensation of the Holy Spirit, of the gospel, and is ac_
complished through their conviction, repentance, faith, and
regeneration, just exactly as our conversion was brought about,
and if you have any doubt about it read carefully Ezekiel
36:22_27; 37:1_14, and you will see that the Jews are to be
regenerated; that is, their souls cleansed by the application of
the blood of Christ, and their spirits renewed within them
just as yours are. And by reading Zechariah 12:9 to 13:1, you
will see that the Spirit was poured out on them – the spirit of
grace and supplication. They have mourning, or godly sor_
row, they have their repentance, their faith in the one they
pierced, and the fountain of cleansing is opened to them for
sin and uncleanness, just as in your case. And then, if you
will read Romans 11:15_31, you will see that the conversion
of the Jews is brought about just like your own conversion.
Let it be clear in your minds that when the Jews look upon
him whom they have pierced, they see him not by sight in his
final advent, but by faith on the cross as lifted up in preaching
(see John 3:14_15; 12:32; 19:37). And being saved, they be_
come the greatest of all missionaries.
What the Gentiles are doing for the spread of the gospel is
nothing to what the Jews will do when they turn to the Lord.
As Paul says, if their falling caused the Gentiles to be saved,
their salvation will be as life from death. In Romans II he.
goes into ecstasy – sublime ecstasy – over the result of the
conversion of the Jews.
Now, in the conversion of the Jews, we see no coming of the
Messiah. On the contrary, Peter, in preaching to the Jews
(Acts 3), says to them: „Repent and turn away [first] so
that your sins may be blotted out; [second] so that refreshing
may come from the presence of the Lord; [third] so that he
may send Jesus, whom the heavens must receive until the time
of the restoration of all things.” In other words, the salvation
of the Jews must take place before Christ can come – that is
one of the antecedent things – and as the salvation of the Jews
was the last thing he discussed, bringing us up to the millen_
nium, I am sure that we had not come to any final advent of
our Lord.

Following their conversion, we saw that Jehovah smote the
nations that had gathered to destroy them, and in his judgment
on the nations the beast and the false prophet perished, and
all governments contrary to God perished – swept away from
the face of the earth. I do not very well see how the millen_
nium could come with human governments constituted and run
as they now areù1 mean municipal governments like Fort
Worth, New York City, New Orleans, San Antonio, Galveston,
Houston, state governments, national governmentsù1 do not
see how it could come under such governments. Then there
is a persecuting union of church and state in nearly all the
governments of the world at the present time. Now, all these
opposing elements to the kingdom of God must be broken
down before the millennium can come; so that the kingdoms
of the world become the kingdom of God (Rev. 11:15), and as
Daniel puts it: „The stone that Nebuchadnezzar saw come
out of the mountain without hands” (and that was the fifth
great world_empire) „and that stone [says Daniel] became a
great mountain and filled the whole earth.” Now, in this great
war, in the conquest of the world from Satan, you are not to
understand that our Lord on the white horse, the hero of the
war, has come in his final advent, personally, visibly, palpably,
tangibly, audibly. You may just as well say that when he first
appeared on the white horse in Revelation 6 that that was his
final advent. He is reigning in heaven, but his armies are
fighting on the earth, as Psalm 110 explains to you.
We saw, as the last precursor of the millennium, the chaining
and shutting up of Satan. You understand that this is a book
of symbols. What is the symbolic meaning of the chaining of
Satan? I do not suppose that a literal angel will put a literal
chain on Satan, who is a spirit. But he is chained when all
of his agencies are swept away. The church, and the faithful
ministers in the preaching of this book, are to illuminate the
world, and when the churches are faithful and multiply and
fill the earth, and when the ministers preach only the true
gospel, until, as Isaiah says, „the whole earth is filled with the
knowledge of the Lord,” the very prevalence of light dispels
the darkness. So we have something to do in the chaining of
Satan. As Paul says in Romans 16, „The God of peace shall
bruise Satan under your feet shortly,” according to the first
promise in Genesis 3:15, that the seed of the woman should
bruise the serpent’s head. His people must triumph over Sa_
tan; „they must [says Paul] put on the whole armour of God,
that they may resist and overcome the devil” – the helmet of
salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the girdle of truth,
their feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, the
shield of faith, the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of
God – and thus they bruise Satan under their feet. Or, as
Peter puts it in his letter (I Peter 8:10) : „Be sober, be vigi_
lant, your adversary the devil goeth about as a roaring lion,
seeking whom he may devour, whom resist steadfast in the
faith.” I repeat that Christ’s victory over Satan is empty
unless we share it. The earth was made for man, the dominion
was given to man (Gen. 1:26_28), but Satan, through man’s
sin, usurped the sovereignty of the world and made it his king_
dom, and now it must be rescued from him. „The saints [says
Daniel] must possess the kingdom.” The fulness of the Gen_
tiles and the conversion of the Jews accomplish this object.
Keeping in mind these precursors to the millennium, we will
now consider the millennium itself.
What, then, is the millennium? It is a Latin word which
means a period of a thousand years, employed first to delimit
the period of time that Satan is chained and sealed up so that
he cannot come out to deceive the nations. That is, the saints
shall possess the earth just as long as Satan is bound and shut
up. It is a victory of the Spirit dispensation through the
churches, the ministers and the gospel. It means that Satan
has usurped the kingdom of the world for six millenniums, and
that the earth shall have in time, and through the gospel, her
sabbath millennium – that is, the seventh one – her thousand
years of peace and rest and joy and gospel triumph, with no
devil to tempt, seduce, beguile. He has been the author of
every evil human government, whether municipal, state, or
national. He is the author of every evil religion, all idolatries,
all lying, all prostitution, all necromancy and witchcraft, all
evil philosophies, all evil theories of life, all immoralities of
conduct and life. From him have come strifes, wars, famines,
pestilences, slavery of bodies and souls, disease, and death.
From him all the monopolies and grinding of the poor for
selfish greed. Now, imagine, if you can, what will be the in_
creased population of the world in a thousand years under
such conditions – no wars to kill off the people and eat up their
substance; no pestilences like cholera, smallpox, the bubonic
plague, no grinding poverty, and the churches all shining, and
the preachers all shining, not a false note in their preaching;
the whole earth subdued, the obstacles of nature overcome,
every part of the earth brought under the dominion of man
until one may live as comfortably at the North Pole as in the
temperate zone or the tropics, with the air subdued so one may
navigate it as safely as the seas below it – of course I mean by
human inventions.
Under such conditions, with every latent force of nature de_
veloped and paying tribute, Texas alone could support a popu_
lation of 250 millions easily. All the earth swept with revival
power from continent to continent, many fold more people
would be converted in that thousand years than ever lived on
the earth, in the preceding six thousand years. Indeed, so great
will be the majority of the saved over the lost, when you come
to make up the totals, that the relative proportion of the lost
will be about as those now in the jails and penitentiaries when
compared to the outside population. Do not ever deceive
yourself with the fear that the devil will get the majority of
the human race. And all of this world illumination will be
through the Holy Spirit, through the churches, the ministers,
and the gospels, while Jesus reigns in heaven, and before his
final advent. If you ever supposed that the Holy Spirit,
Christ’s vicar on earth, would fail, then give up that supposi_
tion. If you ever entertained the notion that the gates of hell
would prevail against the church which Jesus Christ estab_
lished, give that up. If you ever supposed that a true ministry
would altogether perish, and a pure gospel cease in the land,
then give that up. This book of Revelation was given to teach
one great truth – as shown in the first revelation in the book –
that the whole world is to be lighted by the candlesticks and
the stars, and Christ in walking among the candlesticks does
not walk among them in person, but every time he speaks he
says: „Hear ye what the Spirit says unto the churches.” It
is a ministration of the Spirit that accomplishes all these
things. There will be a final, personal, glorious advent of our
Lord – only let us wait until we get to it. We will come to it
very soon now, but we must not look for it in connection with
the millennium. There are just three verses on the millen_
nium in the whole Bible, and not one of those three verses says
a solitary word about the advent of Christ or about the resur_
rection of the body – not a syllable. If you think so, let us
test you on it as we take it up.
Revelation 20:4, first clause. We want to find out about
the living Christians, and that first clause gives it to us: „And
I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was
given unto them.” Who sat upon thrones? What is the ante_
cedent of that pronoun „they”? If you will look back to chap_
ter 19, you will find who it is. It is that crowd of saints, in
fine linen pure and white, who followed the Lord in his great
campaign. What is the meaning of „they sat on these thrones”?
It means that the good people are on top in every kind of gov_
ernment during the millennium – they are the mayors, the
police, the sheriffs, the judges: they are the presidents, and
if there are any kings, they are the kings. The rule has passed
into the hands of the saints. The testimony of the prophets
on that subject is express. I do not know anything more
sublime, or more beautiful, than the testimony of the prophets
to the sway in public matters of the saints in that time. I
quote just two or three of these in order to show you what
conditions prevail. Isaiah II has one of the finest passages in
the Bible on the millennium. The whole chapter is devoted
to our Lord:
And the wolf shall dwell with the lamb; and the leopard shall
lie down with the goat; 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 oxen. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in my holy mountain, for the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters cover the sea. – ISAIAH 11 :6_9.
Following the conversion of the Jews in one day in Isaiah
65 this language is used:
But ye be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create, for
behold I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people, and there shall be heard in her no more the voice of weeping and the voice of crying. There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days; for the child shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner being a hundred years old shall be accursed. And they shall build houses and inhabit them ; and they shall plant vineyards and eat the fruits of them, not build for somebody else to inhabit, or plant for somebody else to eat, for as the days of a tree shall be the days of my people, and my chosen, shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labour in vain,
nor bring forth to calamity, for they are the seed of the blessed
of Jehovah. – ISAIAH 65:18_23.
Then notice v. 24: „And it shall come to pass that before
they call I will answer, and while they are yet speaking I will
hear.” And he closes the book with: „And it shall come to
pass that from one new moon to another, and from one sab_
bath to another, all flesh shall come to worship before me,
saith Jehovah, and they shall go forth and look upon the dead
bodies of the men that have transgressed against me” – they
shall contemplate the passing away of the destroying things.
Now you see that in this earth condition – an earth condi_
tion under a very favorable environment – life is prolonged.
He takes away the diseases that come from the devil and that
result through evil government, and the infant shall live to be
a hundred years old, when no man shall cease to fill out his
days; the sanitary conditions during the millennium will be
such as this world has never before witnessed. They marry,
they give in marriage; they do die – through that thousand
years, the people are not immortal – but the conditions of life
are very widely different. And the main thing is that the
saints are on top – they are filling the offices; the earth is under
their jurisdiction.
Now read the other half of that verse, and see the condition
of the dead during the millennium. That is the next thing we
want to find out. „And I saw the souls” – mark you, not the
bodies, as some people would have it – „of them that had been
beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God
[that is, the martyrs], and such as worshiped not the beast,
neither the image of the beast, and received not the mark upon
their foreheads nor upon their hands” – that is, I saw the souls
of the righteous dead, and „they lived and reigned with Christ
a thousand years.” Where is Christ? He is in heaven reign_
ing, and these souls of the righteous dead live with him and
reign with him. That has been promised all through the book.
We find out about the wicked dead directly, but just now we
are on the righteous dead. What is their condition during the
millennium days? Their state is called the first resurrection:
„Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection.”
Why is that changed condition of the righteous dead called
a resurrection? Let me make one thing very plain to you: the word „resurrection” is not limited to the body. In Ezekiel 37, the conversion of the Jews, their regeneration, is set forth in the imagery of a physical resurrection, and yet it is a conversion that is discussed. But the symbolism is as if the bones of the dead were coming together, but the meaning of it is, as expressly given, the salvation of the Jews, as we have just discussed.
Now (in 2:1) Paul uses the same symbolism. He says that their very conversation is brought about by the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead: „you hath he quickened,” – to quicken means to make alive, and yet that making alive does not refer to the body; it refers to our conversion. In John 5, 25_29, our Lord speaks of two resurrections: one spiritual, meaning regeneration; and one physical, referring to the body. Spurgeon has a great sermon on the spiritual resurrection. Indeed, so common was the idea of counting regeneration a resurrection that certain heretics at Corinth and Ephesus maintained that it was the only resurrection, denying altogether the resurrection of the body (see I Cor. 15:12; 2 Tim. 2:18).
I am simply proving to you from these examples that there
may be a resurrection that is spiritual, and not physical. But
what is here called the „first resurrection” is not regeneration.
While spiritual, it is another kind. Now, it is my business and
duty to show you the meaning of the first resurrection in this
passage – whatever it means, it has no reference to the body –
and I know exactly how to do it. The correct interpretation of
the two passages in this book will clarify the whole matter.
Both refer to the souls of the saints; the second presents such
a happy change from the condition of the first it may well be
called a resurrection. The first passage is:
And when he opened the fifth seal I saw underneath the altar
the souls of them that had been slain for the word of God, and
the testimony which they held, and they cried with a great
voice, saying: How long, 0 Master, the holy and true, dost thou
not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the
earth? And there was given them to each one a white robe; and
it was said unto them that they should rest yet for a little time,
and their fellow_servants also and their brethren, who should be
killed even as they were, should have fulfilled their course.–
My contention is that in this state of the righteous dead
they are, in a figurative sense, not living. That is, (1) their
martyrdom seems to be a failure. Their lives go out in dark_
ness, and the enemy triumphs over the tragedy. (2) Their
works do not follow them. It is not apparent and demonstrable
that they have won a victory, because they are not avenged.
God’s justice seems to be sleeping. The victorious malice of
their enemies seems to be accepted by the world as the will of
God. They pass into history as convicted and executed felons.
Now consider the next passage (14:8_13). Here the mystic
Babylon, the Romanist counterfeit church, which put them to
death, is judged. She drinks the cup of God’s undiluted wrath;
the martyrs are avenged and vindicated. The reproach is lifted
from the tragic ending of their lives. They become the heroes
instead of the felons of history. Hence v. 13: „And I heard a
voice from heaven saying, Write, Blessed are the dead who die
in the Lord from henceforth: yea, saith the Spirit, that they
may rest from their labours; for their works follow with them.”
That is, when God has avenged them and their enemies are
fallen, there is a great change in public opinion, in the historic
judgment, as to their place in the house of fame. To die in the
Lord now is not to pass under a cloud – it is a triumphant as_
cension into glory and light. The change is so great it is called
a resurrection. „They live and reign with Christ a thousand
years.” The principles for which they died are now triumphant.
Judgment upon those who put them to death is to them as life
from the dead; it is represented as a resurrection, and this is
the only place in the Bible where the term „first resurrection”
is used, and it is expressly declared to be a resurrection of souls
and not of the body. The principles that they advocated are
triumphant – they have swept over the world.
„The rest of the dead” – the rest of the dead means the
wicked dead. They do not so live in that time. They are under
no such favorable conditions; their works do not follow them
in the millennium. Their day is now. The wicked man is yet
on top; it looks like he has accomplished his purposes, the
righteous are trampled under foot; the methods of the wicked
seem to be wise now because they prevail. But not so in the
millennium. The millennium time must pass away before the rest of the dead shall be alive. If, then, „the first resurrection” is this triumphant vindication of God, what is „the second resurrec-tion”? It must be in kind like the first. It comes at the end of the millennium, when the thousand years are finished and Satan is loosed. The wicked dead now live and reign with Satan. During his „little season” of triumph, they appear to come from under the cloud of adverse judgment. It is a common figure of speech. We speak of the dark ages of ignorance, and the subsequent revival of letters, arts) and the sciences. This revival is called „Renaissance” or new birth, or revival of anything which has long been in decay or desuetude. So in millennium times the souls of the righteous have their Renaissance, but when Satan is loosed again the wicked dead have their Renaissance.
Evidently, then, the second resurrection is when the rest of
the dead live – referring to their souls and not their bodies, and
it is distinctly stated that they will live just as soon as this
thousand years ends, and they do live just as soon as Satan is
loosed and goes forth to deceive the nations again. Now, you
see there are two resurrections – both of them souls – one a
resurrection of the souls of the righteous dead, and the other of
the souls of the wicked.
Alford, in his commentary, refers to the passage „This is the
first resurrection,” and classifies it with the resurrection of
bodies in 20:12_13, and adds in a triumphant way, that we
cannot by any sound rules of interpretation make the first
spiritual and the second physical. His error is in classification.
The resurrection in 20:12_13, is not the correspondent to the
„first resurrection” in 20:6. The correspondent to the first
resurrection must come immediately after the thousand years
are finished, when Satan is loosed. That, like the first, will be
a spiritual resurrection. The resurrection of bodies in 20:12_13,
comes not when Satan is loosed, but after his last war cam_
paign is ended. His logic would be good if he did not make a
mix_up in his premises. I am willing to risk whatever reputa_
tion I have on the soundness of my interpretation of this
difficult passage. I say to Mr. Alford that neither the first nor
the second resurrection is of the body – they are both of souls.
There is not a word in these three verses about the millennium
that tells about the coming of Christ, or about the bodily resur_
rection of anybody.
Commencing at least in the latter part of the second century,
and particularly in the third century, there were a number of
people called Chiliasts – that means the same in Greek that
millennium means in Latin – thousand_year people. These
Chiliasts taught that the first resurrection here was a physical
resurrection, and that Christ came to bring about the millen_
nium in his final advent, and that the millennium was to be
Christ’s kingdom on earth, with Christ personally and visibly
reigning over the Jews in Jerusalem, and through the Jews
ruling the entire Gentile world. Christ rejected that view in his
lifetime. The Jews would have made him king at that time joy_
fully, and so triumphed over the Romans and the rest of the
world. He refused that view: „My kingdom is not of this world.”
It would be a tremendous anticlimax, if the view of the king_
dom that Christ rejected in his lifetime as unworthy, be ac_
cepted as the culmination, renewing all the old temple worship
and the old types of ceremonies that were nailed to the cross of
Christ and taken out of the way. On account of this teaching
of the Chiliasts in the latter part of the second century and in
the third century, a great many people began to reject the book
of Revelation. And even now, if you accept that view, people
will reject the book. Some of the best men living in the third
and fourth centuries rejected the book because of the view the
Chiliasts had put upon the millennium.
And what was their view? Their view was that Christ had no
kingdom at all on the earth until the millennium came, and
then he would come and set up his kingdom here upon this
earth. They virtually taught that the Spirit dispensation would
fail – the churches would fail – the gospel would fail – and the
world would get worse and worse, until there would be just a
handful living when Christ came, and that he would by his
coming in the millennium convert the most of the people that
are to be converted in this world, and by a different instru_
Now, you may rest assured that whenever he does come the
vicarship of the Holy Spirit ceases; you may rest assured that
when he does come the administration of the churches ceases;
you may rest assured that when he does leave heaven, inter_
cession ceases. Whenever the High Priest comes out of the holy
of holies, never to return again, there can be no more inter_
cession for man. In other words, not a man, woman, or child can
be converted after Christ’s return. The only people ever saved
will be converted during the dispensation of the Spirit, the ad_
ministration of the churches and the preaching of the glorious
gospel – and these instrumentalities of salvation will never be
changed. The plan of salvation is one plan and not two or
three plans – not a few people saved through the churches and
the Holy Spirit, and then a great body of people saved through
some other instrumentality after Christ comes. When we come
to the final advent, I will submit to your judgment the scrip_
tures that support my view as to why he comes, when he comes,
what he is to do when he comes – but we have not come to that
yet. We know that he has not come yet because the man of sin,
that Paul speaks about, is to be destroyed by his advent. We
have not come to that man of sin yet, but we will get to him in
the next chapter.

1. What the precursors to the millennium?
2. What the meaning of the word?
3. How much space does the Bible give to the millennium?
4. Is this small account in literal or symbolic language?
5. In interpreting these three verses of symbolism, should they dom_
inate the general trend of a plain literal teaching concerning our Lord’s advent, or should the trend of literal teaching interpret them?
6. What the meaning of the first clause of 20:4, particularly the
7. Cite three passages from Isaiah bearing on this time.
8. Is this result brought about ill the dispensation of the Holy Spirit,
while our Lord is yet in heaven, and through the churches, ministry,
and gospel?
9. Will the saints in millennial times be marrying and producing
10. Will these children be subject to inherited depravity, and needing
11. What the advantages to children born in millennial times?
12. What distinction is drawn between righteous dead and the
wicked dead during the millennial period?
13. Is there any reference in these three verses to Christ’s final ad_
vent, or to a resurrection of bodies?
14. If „the first resurrection” denotes a change in the status of the
souls of the righteous dead, show from this book what the change is.
15. Illustrate from history how this change may be called a revival or
16. When, according to these three verses, comes the „second resur_
rection,” or the revival of the souls of the wicked, and what does that mean?
17. What capital mistake does Alford make in interpreting this pas_
18. According to this book of Revelation, does the ministry of the
Holy Spirit fail, the churches fail, the gospel fail, and the world get worse and worse till Christ’s final advent?
19. How, probably, will the millennium affect the world population
and the relative number of the saved and lost?

Revelation 20:7_10

The text we are to study is as follows:
And when the thousand years are finished, Satan shall be
loosed out of his prison and shall come forth to deceive the
nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Ma_
gog, to gather them together for the war: the number of whom
is as the sands of the sea. And they went up over the breadth of
the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the
beloved city, and fire came down out of heaven and de_
voured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into
the lake of fire and brimstone, where are also the beast and the
false prophet, and they shall be tormented day and night for_
1. What is the loosing of Satan? We have seen the part in
the binding of Satan borne by the saints, which suggests some_
thing of the meaning of the loosing of Satan. We are not deny_
ing the overruling divine power in the binding or loosing, but
God works through agencies. If the churches and the ministers
by their evangelical preaching be the agencies to restrict and
shut up Satan, it is certain that carelessness, deterioration in
piety, abating of revival power, will tend to loose him again.
Toward the end of the thousand years the Christians may be_
come slack in their exercise of power, may take things for
granted, the workers and the evangelists grow cold, which gives
Satan his long sought opportunity to renew the war.
2. After the thousand years of supremacy, the earth full of
knowledge of the Lord, how does Satan find material on which
to work?
ANSWER. – This question would not need to be answered if
everybody understood just what the millennium is. It is not a
period of absolute sinlessness, there is no cessation of the power
of inherited depravity in the millennium period; all people are
not converted, but the Christian spirit is dominant, they are
on the throne. Moreover, generation is not regeneration, nor is
piety hereditary. If every adult in the world were converted at
one time, their children would not thereby be regenerated, and
so in twenty years, half the population of the world would not
be converted. Yet again, while the saints had the power and in_
fluence, evil would not dare to lift its head, yet it might hold
itself in readiness for revolt. It is the outside rows of corn, next
to the woods, that are squirrel_eaten. Our lesson tells that it is
in four distant corners of the world that Satan begins his work
after he is loosed. The advantage of the millennium consists
largely in freedom from external solicitation to evil, tempta_
tion from Satan. In the last chapter I called your attention to
what he had done from the outside to seduce unto evil, that is
removed. The unrenewed nature of the unconverted is there,
every child born during the millennium is born in sin. A man
being a Christian does not make his children children of grace,
but the environment will increase the probabilities of conver_
sion. Suppose, for instance, every civil officer in Fort Worth
a Christian, and every officer’s duties performed with a view to
the glory of God, and there were no saloons, no gambling houses, no houses of ill_fame, it certainly would be a much more favor-able condition in which to lead souls to Christ thanit is now.
3. What the historical meaning of Gog and Magog?
ANSWER. – We find in Genesis 10 that Magog was a
descendant of Japhet, and from Ezekiel that Gog of the land of Magog settled in Central Asia, and his people lived around the
Caspian Sea. They became known to history as Scythians,
Tartars, or Parthians, the most turbulent of all the nations. In
Ezekiel 38_39 it is predicted at length that, after the conver_
sion of the Jews described in chapters 31_37, Gog, from the
land of Magog, will lead a countless host against Jerusalem,
the Christian camp. Two whole chapters are devoted to it, and

that he shall be overthrown by the power of God. It is this
Ezekiel prophecy which furnishes the symbolism of our lesson.
In their inaccessible territory, the people of the land of Ma_
gog would be the last to come under the influence of the mil_
lennial power, and they would be tlie first to revolt against that
power. Europe and America would most feel the millennial
power; certain interior Oriental nations, most remote from
travel, traffic, and from the power of civilization and the cen_
ters of Christian influence, if we adhere to the strict terms here,
will furnish Satan with the material for his last revolt. There
has always been hanging over Europe and its civilization a
yellow peril. Tamerlane once came very near destroying
European civilization. He captured the Sultan of Turkey, who
sought to withstand him, and asked him: „What would you
have done with me if you had captured me?” The Sultan said:
„I would have put you in a cage and exhibited you alive.”
„Then that is what I will do with you,” said Tamerlane. But
as Ezekiel and Revelation prophetically refer to the same
event, using symbolic language, it may well be that both use
the terms „Gog and Magog” to image the character of the last
human opponents to the kingdom of God without intent to fix
geographical boundaries. The real Babylon of ancient history
was on the Euphrates) but the mystic Babylon was on the Tiber. So historically „Gog and Magog” were in Central Asia, but the mystical Gog and Magog may come from some other locality.
4. What takes place among the dead at the loosening of
ANSWER. – As when the Christian was supreme, and all persecutions were avenged, the righteous dead were, in a figure,
said to be made alive, and to live and reign with Christ during
that thousand years, and as this revival is called a resurrection,
so when Satan returns to power the rest of the dead, that is, the
wicked dead, in the same figurative sense, shall live and reign
with Satan until his final overthrow, and this is the second
spiritual resurrection of the lesson, and this will follow im_
mediately after the close of the thousand years; the rest of the
dead shall not live until the thousand years are over.
5. What, probably, the last device of Satan for the conquest
of the world?
ANSWER. – He has tried heathen persecution by a counterfeit church; he has tried to destroy national Israel ever since to them were given the covenants and promises, but God has preserved them throughout history, and he has now converted them and merged them into a spiritual Israel. Satan has tried to palm off on the people, the Jewish people, false Christs in the place of the true Christ who was born at Bethlehem. Our Saviour, in his great prophecy recorded in Matthew 24_25, tells about these false Christs. Now, there remains only one more possible impostor. He will admit that Jesus was the historical Messiah and that he ascended into heaven, but he will find a person, incarnate himself in that person, and claim that this person is the long_expected Messiah, who ascended unto heaven and promised to return, and for whose final advent the whole world is looking. He will accredit this impostor with many lying signs and wonders, and in the name of the returning Messiah he will make his last effort to destroy the people of the Messiah. Our Lord himself foretold that many false Christs would appear to divert attention from his first coming in the flesh, but it is Paul who clearly foretold this last impostor claiming to be the returning Messiah in his last advent.
Read what Paul says:
Now, we beseech you, brethren, touching the coming of our

Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together unto him; to the end that ye be not quickly shaken from your mind, nor yet be troubled either by spirit or by word, or by epistle as from us [purporting to come from us] as that the day of the Lord is just at hand; let no man beguile you in any wise; for it will not be except the falling away come first, and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; he that opposeth and exalteth himself against all that is called God or that is worshipped; so that he sitteth in the temple of God, setting himself forth as God. Remember ye not that when I was yet with you I told you these things? And now ye know that which restraineth, to the end that he may be revealed in his own season. For the mystery of law-
lessness doth already work; only there is one that restraineth now, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall be revealed the Jawless one, whom the Lord Jesus shall slay with the breath of his mouth and bring to naught by the manifestation of his coming [this man of sin will be alive and on the field when Jesus comes], even he whose coming is according to the working of Satan with all powers of signs and lying wonders, and with all deceit and unrighteousness for them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God sendeth them a working of error, that they should believe a lie; that they all might be judged who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness, – 2 THESSALONIAUS 2:1_12.
It is impossible to locate that man of sin in any period that
does not touch the last coming of Christ; nobody else in history fills that picture. There may have been many antichrists, but this man of sin is the last; he will be on the field with false miracles and delusions when our Lord himself returns and destroys him. You are to understand that in the millennial atmosphere no other impostor could have a following; he could not go among those Oriental nations and try to revive Confucianism or Mohamme-danism, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord. He could not put on them any imposition that does not seem to be what they are looking for. He comes in the church „and sitteth in the temple of God,” which is the church; he claims to be God, and seeks to be worshiped as God himself. That is an incarnation of the devil, claiming to be God, not only God the incarnate, as Christ was at his first advent, but God in glory in his second advent. It is only among professing Christians, professing, but not possessing, that he can do this work. The whole world at this time professes Christianity; the whole world is waiting and praying and expecting the return of the Lord, and it is upon that expectation that he relies for the acceptance of his imposture.
The readiness of the Oriental mind to accept such imposture
is immortalized in Tom Moore’s Veiled Prophet of the Koras_
san and illustrated in the various Mahdis which appear as the
one defeated by Kitchener at Kartourn when he went to avenge
the death of Gordon.

Satan’s defeat is final; his impostor is slain even while he
is working his false miracles, every kind of lying sign and won_
der; suddenly a great cry is heard: „Behold the bridegroom!
Go ye out to meet him,” and the real returning Lord appears
on the scene, and that impostor shrivels up like a piece of
parchment exposed to a seven times heated furnace.
One more humiliation awaits Satan, however, which will be
considered in the next chapter. I will close this chapter with
the promised discussion on the historical antichrists.
In John 2:22, he says: „Who is the liar but he that denieth
that Jesus is the Christ? that is the antichrist, even he that
denieth the father and the Son.” In 4:2_3 he adds: „Hereby
know ye the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesseth that
Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God; and every spirit that
confesseth not Jesus is not of God; and this is the spirit of the
antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it cometh, and now it is
in the world already.” Those two passages from John show you
the general meaning of the word „antichrist.” An „antilocal_
optionist” is one who opposes local option, and in this book
we have found that seven great world empires have had the
antichrist spirit. Moses accepted the reproach of Christ, but
Jannes and Jambres, the magicians of Pharaoh, withstood him.
Egypt was the first world power to oppose teaching concerning
the coming Messiah, who was to bruise the serpent’s head.
Following Egypt came Assyria, through whose kings the ten
tribes were led into bondage and much harm done to Judah.
The next was Babylon, whose king destroyed Jerusalem and
led her people into captivity. Next to Babylon came Persia,
and it was while Xerxes the Great, the husband of Esther, was
ruling, that an effort was made under the leadership of Haman
to entirely destroy the Jewish people, but it was defeated by
the providence of God and the instrumentality of Mordecai
and Esther herself. After the Persians came the Greek power.
And while Alexander himself was very kind in his dealings
with the Jews, after his death came the division of his empire
into four separate states. Two of these separate governments,
the Ptolemies of Egypt and the Seleucids in Antioch, contin_
ually fought over the Holy Land lying between them, and one
of them particularly, Antiochus Epiphanes, sought to blot out
the religion of the Jews. Then came the Pagan Roman Empire,
the Caesars were its antichrist heads, and some of the Caesars
throughout Christian history are particularly called anti_
christs : Nero was one of them. He is the man who, after he had
burned Rome, charged the arson upon the Christians, and had
a long avenue fitted up on each side with stakes, and to each
stake a Christian was tied and inflammable material poured
over him and then set on fire. And Nero, in his chariot, drove
down that path of fire, lighted by burning Christians. Hence all
the early fathers referred to Nero as the antichrist. But Domi_
tian, a younger brother of Titus, the son of Vespasian, was a
worse persecutor than Nero; that is, his persecution was more
widely spread, and a later emperor, Decius, led the conflict
which drove the church into the wilderness. His persecution
was the worst of all.
Now, it was the custom among the Christians where the
antichrist spirit embodied itself in a person to refer to him as
the antichrist. So when the Roman power passed away, and
out of the disintegrated elements of that heathen empire was
constructed what is called the Holy Roman Empire, that Holy
Roman Empire had a head which in this book is called the
earth beast) which looked like a lamb, but had the mouth of a
dragon, and we have identified him as the papacy, and so the
papacy, like the Caesars, becomes an antichrist worse than all
others. As some Caesars were worse than others, so some popes
were worse than others, but the papacy as a succession of
popes became the embodiment of antichrist to Christian
people, whom they persecuted. Ask the dying Waldenses, or
Albigenses, or ask Huss while he was burning, or Jerome of
Prague, who is the antichrist, and they say: „The Pope of
Rome is the antichrist.”Daniel foretells three antichrists: (1)
The „little horn” (Dan. 8:9), which all interpreters of note
recognize as Antiochus Epiphanes. (2) The Pagan Roman Em_
pire (Dan. 7:7), passing into the Holy Roman Empire. (3) The
„little horn” which is the papacy (Dan. 7:8; 7:19_27).
But our lesson in this chapter gives the last antichrist, Paul’s
man of sin, the most stupendous impostor that Satan ever
sought to palm off on the gullible nations. He is a person; Satan
takes possession of him just as demons took possession of
people in the days of Christ; Satan speaks through him; Satan
gives him the power to work lying signs and wonders. In effect
he says: „0 thou Christian world, looking for your Messiah to
return, I am the Messiah returning.” Now, in Daniel 8, in de_
scribing the conflict between the Grecian and Persian power,
he sees a ram with two horns (that is Medo_Persia), and he
sees a goat with one horn come up (that is the Grecian Empire,
Alexander the Great), that one horn breaking off and the four
horns coming up, the division of his power into four govern_
ments. And he says there came up a little horn on that goat,
and a great part of the book of Daniel is devoted to the discus_
sion of that little horn on the goat. That was Antiochus Epip_
hanes, one of the vilest men that ever lived. He enacted it as a
decree that no offering should be presented to the God of the
Jews. He himself had a hog, which the Jews despise, brought
in and sacrificed on the brazen altar. He demanded that all the
Old Testament Scriptures be surrendered and burnt publicly;
he put anybody to death that circumcised a child; he estab_
lished heathen altars in the very center of Jerusalem. If you
ask the Jew who was the antichrist, he will say: „Antiochus
Epiphanes.” And if you want to read the most thrilling account
of him that I know anything about, read the book of Macca_
bees on Antiochus Epiphanes. You will find an account in
Josephus, but it is more thrilling in the book of Maccabees.
Daniel 7, after describing the four world empires, Rome, the
last which divided into the ten kingdoms, and was recon_
structed into an empire with one religion but ten political
heads, from the reconstruction came a „little horn,” the pa_
pacy, which absorbed three of the other horns, and it spoke
great swelling words of blasphemy, and made war against the
saints. We have identified in this discussion that antichrist.
with the papacy, that is the little horn that overthrew three
of the kingdoms into which the Roman Empire was divided,
papal states, of which he was the political head, as well as the
ecclesiastical head, and held the power over them until the days
of Victor Emmanuel; we have seen him as the antichrist. I give
you this general discussion of antichrists in order that you may
see that the term expresses either the principle of opposition to
the Messiah, or its embodiment in a person or succession of
persons, as the Caesars or the popes.
„Who is the liar,” says John – the „boss liar” – „but he that
denieth that God was manifest in the flesh?” – he is the anti_
christ, and he says there are many antichrists. I repeat, then,
that antichrist may represent a principle, and it may be em_
bodied in a person as it was embodied in Antiochus Epiphanes
and in Nero and in Domitian and Decius, in the papacy, and
last and most important is this man of sin. I want to say to the
reader that I was thirty years in disposing of Paul’s man of sin.
All the Protestant commentaries say that the pope is the man
of sin but I have already shown you that the Romanist
counterfeit church passes away before the coming of Christ,
and that the beast – the politico_religious government, the
union of church and state – passes away, and that the false
prophet passes away. But Paul’s man of sin is the most blas_
phemous of all the incarnations of evil that ever took place on
the earth. And the part that bothered me is that he is living
and holding the fort following the millennium. He is coming,
with lying wonders and signs, and with unabashed front sits
in the temple (that is, in the churches), claiming to be God,
up to the very time that the cry is heard: „Behold, the bride_
groom cometh.” You cannot put him anywhere else but after
the millennium period, nor can you conceive of any other kind
of impostor, filled by Satan, that would fit into the period. I
once said that the devil had very few original ideas, but he has
many suits of clothes for each side. He is a past master on re_
producing an idea in a different costume and fooling you with
a change of clothes. Mark Twain’s Innocents Abroad tells of
an American traveler in Europe going into an inn and calling
for a special brand of very rare wine, of which only a few
thousand bottles are made each crop. When they brought the
wine, the traveler protested that is was not the kind ordered,
as evident from the label and taste. The head waiter looked at
it and said, „I see, it has the wrong label.” And he reached into
a drawer and got another label which he put on it and then
handed it to him as the right kind. It was merely a change of
label. There had been no change in the wine. So the devil is a
past master in labels and costumes, but scant in original ideas.
The idea is the same, the principle the same, whether Egypt,
Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Pagan Rome, or papal
Rome; whether the Pharaohs, the Seleucids, or the popes are
the leaders.
Now, so far as the wars coming from the devil are concerned,
we are done with them in this book. We have his man of sin on
the scene, in the arena, telling his lies, working his miracles,
who is to be stricken down by the second coming of Christ.
The questions on this chapter are embodied in the text itself, as it was prepared in the form of a catechism.

Revelation 20:11_15

The passages we will study are as follows:
And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat upon it,
from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there
was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, the great
and the small, standing before the throne; and the books were
opened; and another book was opened which is the book
of life; and the dead were judged out of the things which were
written in the books, according to their works. And the sea
gave up the dead that were in it; and death and Hades gave
up the dead that were in them; and they were judged every man
according to their works. And death and Hades were cast into
the lake of fire. This is the second death, even the lake of fire.
And if any man was not found written in the book of life, he
was cast into the lake. – REVELATION 20:11_15.
I will reserve the seriatim and verbatim explanation of this
passage, sentence by sentence, for the next chapter. The ob_
ject of the present study is to lead up to it in a way that you
will never again misunderstand, for the theme of this lesson is
the second advent of our Lord, the general resurrection of the
dead, and the general and final judgment. I will put this chap_
ter before you in a catechetical form:
1. Why was the first advent necessary?
ANSWER. – (1) To set up a visible kingdom here upon the
earth, which would absorb all other kingdoms, and to appoint
the executive bodies, the churches, in that kingdom, with min_
isters and ordinances. (2) To make expiation for the sin of the
world, to come as the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the
world. (3) To destroy the works of the devil. Now, those are
the three great reasons of his first advent; you could put in a
number of others, but I ask you to notice particularly the ob_
ject to set up here on this earth a visible kingdom.
2. What the sign of that first advent?
ANSWER. – The angels who announced to the shepherds that a Prince and Saviour was born unto Israel, said unto them:
„This shall be a sign unto you, you will find a babe wrapped in
swaddling clothes, and lying in a manger.” He prepared that
lowly sign for his first coming because he stooped to come,
emptied himself of his glory, and took upon him the form of a
servant. The sign of his first advent was to be a baby in a
horse trough.
3. When was that first advent? was the date of it fixed?
ANSWER. – Paul says, in Galatians 4:4, that in the fulness
of time God sent forth his own Son, made of a woman. The
time had to be ripe. That was four thousand years since the
devil usurped the kingdom of this world by the fall of man, and
how many people wore out their eyes watching for that com_
ing! Eve thought when Cain was born that the promise was
fulfilled. She said: „I have gotten the man from Jehovah” – i.e.,
the promised seed. And every mother in Israel had the hope
that she would be the one through whom the promise would be
fulfilled; and as the ages passed away in waiting, prophecies
became clearer, more definite, until, the world being prepared,
Christ came.
4. How long did he remain?
ANSWER. – About thirty_three years.
5. What office did he complete in that time?
ANSWER. – The office of sacrifice. His offices are Prophet,
Sacrifice, Priest, King, and Judge. But while he was on earth
the first time, he absolutely and forever fulfilled and completed
the office of sacrifice, as we will learn in Hebrews 9_10, that he
made one offering for sin, once for all, never to be repeated.
That office work was finished.
6. What office work was partly completed? The office of
prophet. As prophet he is the teacher, the revelator, and a great
part of his teaching is revelation given in his lifetime.

7. What part of his high_priest office was completed between
his death and his resurrection? Just as soon as his body died
his spirit went to the Father: „Father, into thy hands I com_
mit my spirit.” According to Leviticus 16 on the great day of
atonement, it was necessary for the high priest to take the
sacrificial blood, while it was fresh and hot and smoking, and
carry it into the most holy place, and offer it at the mercy
seat, and on the basis of it to make atonement. There could be
no delay. Now, we learn from Hebrews 9_10, that he did,
through the veil of his flesh, the rent veil of his flesh, pass up
into the true holy of holies, and by the sprinkling of his blood
sanctified that pattern of earth’s most holy place.
8. Where, when, and why does his soul return to earth? He_
brews I tells us that his soul that had made the offering in the
most holy of holies, returned for his body, „when he again
bringeth in the firstborn into the world,” referring to his
resurrection as the reason.
9. Where is he now?
ANSWER. – I will not quote all the passages, but I want you
to have a .scriptural foundation for every thought. Acts 1:2:
„Until the day in which he was received up, after that he had
given commandment through the Holy Spirit unto the apostles
whom he had chosen”; and again in v. II: „Ye men of Galilee,
why stand ye here looking into the heavens? This Jesus who
was received up from you into heaven shall so come in like
manner as ye have seen him going into heaven.” And as Paul,
in Timothy 3:16, gives a summary of the truth as follows:
„First, God was manifest in the flesh, and so manifested he
was justified by the Spirit; so manifested, he was recognized
by the angels; so manifested, he was preached unto the na_
tions; he was believed on where preached; and finally, he was
received up into glory.” So one of the fundamental articles
of the truth is that our Lord Jesus Christ, having finished the
work of his first advent, has now been received into glory. I
want to give you some Old Testament passages on it, on his
reception into heaven. I read from Psalm 24: „Lift up your
heads, 0 ye gates, and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors,
and the King of glory will come in. Who is the King of glory?
Jehovah, strong and mighty; Jehovah, mighty in battle.”
Notice this passage from Daniel 7; Daniel tells us (Dan. 2)
that in the days of the Roman kings God himself would set up
a visible kingdom which would become a mountain and fill the
world. He tells where he went after setting up his kingdom, and
And I saw in the night visions; and behold, there came with
the clouds of heaven, one like unto the Son of man, and he came
even to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before
them, and there was given him dominion, and glory, and a king_
dom, that all peoples, nations and languages should serve him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion which shall not pass
away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. –
DANIEL 7:13_14.
You see there one of the objects of his being received up into
glory when he had established his earthly kingdom, for en_
thronement and coronation.
I now quote a part of Psalm 2, which Peter quotes in direct
Why do the heathen nations rage, and the peoples meditate
a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the
rulers take counsel against Jehovah, and against his anointed,
saying: Let us break their bonds asunder, and cast away their
cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens will laugh; the
Lord will have them in derision. Then will he speak unto them
in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure: Yet have I
set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
I say, Peter quotes that very message, showing how Pontius
Pilate and Herod conspired together; but that God set Jesus
upon the throne of Zion, and gave to him all the uttermost
parts of the earth for a possession.
Now, Acts 7:55: „But Stephen, being full of the Holy Spirit,
looked up steadfastly into the heavens and saw the glory of
God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and he said:
Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of man standing
on the right hand of God.
10. For what purpose is he so received into glory?
ANSWER. – If you do not know that, you stand little chance to become a theologian. (1) He went up there to be crowned king
over the kingdom he had set up here upon earth, and indeed to
be the King of kings and the Lord of lords. In Acts 2:36, Peter,
on the day of Pentecost, says’ to the Jews: „You killed the
Prince of life, but God hath made him both Lord and Christ.”
In Acts 5:31, he repeats again that the one whom they rejected
and betrayed, God had made king. In Philippians 2:9_11,
Paul tells us what the meritorious ground of his being made
king. He said: „Because he had emptied himself of his glory,
and taken upon himself the form of a servant, therefore God
had rightly exalted him and had given him a name which is
above every other name, that before him every knee should
bow and every tongue confess him.” So that is one reason he is
there: he is there to reign, using all authority in heaven and on
earth to spread the kingdom which he established, to aid the
churches and the preachers, and through the Holy Spirit to
empower them to make the kingdoms of this world become the
kingdom of our Lord. That is one reason he is there. To this
end, when he was made king, he sent down the other Paraclete,
his vicar, his vicegerent, his alter ego, the Holy Spirit, to be
with his church and in his church, and to accredit that church.
And so, on the day of Pentecost, the church was baptized in
the Holy Spirit and in power.
(2) He is there to complete the office of prophet. After he
ascended to heaven he called Paul and gave him his gospel,
and here in this book that we are studying, Revelation, he
completes his prophetic office. There will not be anything more
of his prophetic work; you cannot add to what he has taught;
you cannot take anything from it. When he comes back next
time, he does not come in a teaching capacity.
Last, he is there to complete the high priest office. I told you
that one part of his priestly office was completed between his
death and resurrection. The other part of it is to ever live to
make intercession for his people. So Jesus is there reigning,
making all things work together for good to them that love
God, using every power of heaven and earth to help the
churches that are carrying out his missions here on earth. He
is there to intercede and offering the prayers that earth sends
up. When he comes away the high priest office is ended, be_
cause he vacates the holy of holies. And concerning the New
Jerusalem of the next chapter it is said: „I saw no temple
therein,” that is, no place to offer sacrifices, no place for
priestly manifestations. That work is ended.
11. How long will he remain up there? We know that some
people insist that from the day he left he might come back any
minute; that his second coming is always imminent. Imminent
means liable to happen any moment. Now, we come to the
question: How long will he remain up there? I give you some
scriptures on it: First, the testimony of David, which Christ
himself quoted and applied to himself, Psalm 110: „The Lord
said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand until I make
thine enemies thy footstool”; he must stay there in heaven
until his enemies have been conquered. Taking Paul as a
witness (Cor. 15:26) : „He must reign until all of his enemies
are put under his feet.” We do not see everything put under his
feet, says Paul, but his reign must last until this is accom_
plished. Now, take Peter as a witness (Acts 3): „Repent ye
and turn, so that your sins may be blotted out, and so that
refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and so that
he may send Jesus whom the heavens must receive until the
time of the restoration of all things.” You cannot get the force
of that unless you understand „the restoration of all things”;
he says: „which all of the prophets from the beginning of the
world have spoken,” not a thing in any Old Testament proph_
ecy foretold as preceding his advent but must be fulfilled
before he comes, and particularly is that true of the restoration
of the Jews. Now, when we come to the New Testament
prophecies we will find the same thing, whom the heavens must
receive until every antecedent thing the New Testament
prophecies have foretold is fulfilled. I want to get that idea of
imminency out of your mind. The first witness is the Lord him_
self, and I quote from his great prophecy. There the question
is propounded to Jesus: „When will Jerusalem be destroyed,
and what is the sign of it, and what is the sign of thy coming
and of the end of the world?” – these are the questions he is
answering. Now, listen at him talk on that: „Take heed that no
man lead you astray; many shall come in my name, saying, I
am the Christ, and shall lead many astray. Ye shall hear
of wars and rumors of wars; see that ye be not troubled, for
these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. Nations
shall rise against nations and kingdoms against kingdoms, and
there shall be famines and earthquakes in divers places.” Then
he goes on to state: „Jerusalem shall be trodden under foot
until the time of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled, and that after
the long Jewish tribulation has ended by their salvation, then
will appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven.” I heard one
man say that he looked for him every day. I heard a pre_
millennialist say that when he got up every morning he looked
out of the window to see his Lord coming. I asked him what
right he had to expect that; if the times of the Gentiles had
been fulfilled; if he saw indication that the fulness of the Gen_
tiles had come. They are yet sweeping the earth with the power
of the gospel, and the Jew’s salvation has not come yet. King_
doms have fallen, pestilences have come, but this is not the
sign: „the end is not yet.”
Now suppose we take Paul as a witness (2 Thess. 2): „Do
not be deceived; do not let any man lead you astray, either as
reporting what I have said, or as quoting a letter purporting
to come from me to the effect that the day of the Lord is at
hand. That day cannot come until there first be the great
apostasy; it cannot come until the man of sin be revealed”; and
he will be living when Christ comes. Suppose we take Peter
as a witness: In 2 Peter 3 he tells us that „The delay in the
coming of the Lord will be so great that men will be saying:
Where is the promise of his coming? Ever since the fathers
fell asleep everything continues just as it was since the days
of our Lord.” That is the testimony of Peter.
12. What is the testimony of John?
ANSWER. – We have just been over it in this book. He shows
you four synchronous views of things that must happen before
the final advent, whom the heavens must receive until every_
thing spoken of by the ancient prophets has been fulfilled: until
everything spoken by the New Testament prophets has been
fulfilled. I once asked a man this question: „Do you suppose
Peter expected the Lord Jesus Christ to come in his lifetime?”
He says: „Certainly he did.” „Why, then, did he write that the
Lord had shown him how he was to die?” He knew he would
not live until the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and that is
why Christ, and Paul, and Peter, and John, all hedge so care_
fully, take so many pains, to prevent a delusion upon this
13. Will it be a long time till he comes?
ANSWER. – 1 will read you what he himself says; it is at the
beginning of the parable of the talents, as given in Matthew
25: „As when a man going into another country, calls in his
servants and delivers unto them his goods. Now, after a long
time, the lord of these servants cometh and reckoning with
them” – after a long time. Why, then, is it said He is „coming
quickly”? „Behold, I come quickly.” In God’s sight a thousand
years are as a day, or a watch in the night, but to man it will
not be too quickly, not to the human race.
14. Then, is it liable to happen at any moment?
ANSWER. – Nineteen hundred years have passed away, and
in the march of events some of the prophesied things have
taken place: The Roman Empire has passed away; the Holy
Roman Empire has passed away, and the counterfeit church
is badly shattered, though on its feet yet. But you know it
is not liable to happen just at any moment
15. Why, then, does our Lord say, „Because ye know not the
hour when he cometh, and as he cometh like a thief in the
night, watch, be ye ready: what I say unto you I say unto all,
Watch, be ready”? How do you explain that?
ANSWER. – 1 can make it so plain to you that a Sunday
school child can see it. There is NOT a long time between YOU
as an individual and the second coming of Christ. The only
time between YOU and the second coming of Christ is the time
between the present and your death. I mean to say that just as
soon as you die you strike eternity; you are out of time, and
your only time to watch and make yourself ready is while you
are living. John’s time to get ready was while he was living;
when he died he went into eternity, and in eternity there is no
measurement of time. We have to prepare for that advent
while we are still living. If we put it off until the historical
event of the advent, then we never will be ready.
16. What construction, then, do we put on the long time
between his ascension into heaven and his second coming?
ANSWER. – Peter explains it in 2 Peter 3: „We must con_
strue that the long_suffering of God meaneth salvation”; „not
wishing that any should perish,” but that all should come to
the knowledge of the truth and be repentant. Look at that.
„Lord, why do you stay away so long?” „Because I want
everybody to repent.”
17. What doctrine is involved in that?
ANSWER. – That after he comes nobody can repent. Let me
prove it to you; I will let him prove it to you: Here in sub_
stance is Matthew 25:1_14: „Then shall the kingdom of
heaven be like unto ten virgins: five wise and five foolish; and
while they wait for the bridegroom they slept. Five of them
had oil in their lamps, and five did not.” At last the cry is
heard: „Behold the bridegroom; come ye forth to meet him.”
And the five foolish ones said, „Give us of your oil – let me
borrow.” You cannot borrow. „And while they were gone off to
get it, he came. And they came up and knocked and said, Lord,
Lord, open unto us; and he said, Depart from me, I never knew
you,” as our song has it: „Too late! Too late I You cannot
enter now.” No one who awaits until Christ comes can make
any preparation. He comes as a thief in the night, and as sud_
denly as the flood came in the days of Noah, and while they
were eating and drinking and giving in marriage, like a clap of
thunder from a cloudless sky, the Messiah is come, and those
who are ready go in, and those who are not ready stay out
18. Now, why is that true?
ANSWER. – Because the High Priest has left the place of in_
tercession; because the kingly government is at an end. (I Cor.
15:25.) When he comes he comes to turn over the kingdom to
the Father, and that is the end; and some people who are look_
ing for him to establish his kingdom after he comes, will Just
see him giving up the kingdom, for the kingdom will be over.
The Spirit dispensation is over. The Spirit is his vicar while
he is absent; when Christ comes back the Spirit work stops,
tiie church work stops, and the time institution is become the
bride in glory, and the bride, the elect, is complete; there is no
more to be added. The memorial of the church ends. „Ye show
forth his death until he comes; ye memorialize his burial and
resurrection in baptism until he comes,” but when he comes
those ordinances stop; every office of Jesus Christ ends, but
one, and I will tell you what that is in a minute.
19. Now, then, what are the purposes of his final coming?
What does he come for? Why did he come the first time? And
after ascending, why does he stay up yonder, and when he
comes back, what is he to do?
ANSWER. – First, in general terms, to wind up the affairs of
time and this world, to raise the dead, and to render his final
judgment. Not another thing has he before him when he comes;
the Lord who has gone into another country for a long time
comes back to reckon with his servants.
20. Is that day fixed?
ANSWER. – Some people who want it to happen any minute
would have it a sliding scale, maybe today, maybe tomorrow,
maybe next week. Let us ask Paul (Acts 17:31): God „hath
appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteous_
ness by the man whom he hath ordained: wherefore he hath
given assurance unto all men) in that he hath raised him from
the dead.” It is as unalterably fixed as was the day of his first
advent. I do not know the day nor the hour, nor do you, but
God does; the day is appointed.
21. What the sign of this second advent?
ANSWER. – Now, I told you the sign of his first advent: „You shall see a babe in swaddling clothes lying in a manger”; that is, Christ comes in his humiliation. Now, the next time, he is
to come in his glory, and you must expect a sign just as far
away from the manger as possible. What is that sign? He says:
„When the Son of man shall come in his glory, he shall sit upon
the throne of his glory.” „And I saw a great white throne”:
there is the sign. At the first coming I saw a babe in a manger;
at the second coming, from the manger to the throne, „I saw
a great white throne and him that sat on it,” and the sign will
be visible in the deepest darkness that ever fell upon the earth.
He says so himself. He says that after the tribulation of the
Jews and their salvation, the sun shall lose its light im_
mediately, not immediately after the tribulation, but lose it
suddenly, instantly, and the moon shall lose her light, and the
stars their light, and every light in the world goes out, and
against that background of total pitch darkness we see a white
throne coming, the white against the blackness. Nobody will
make a mistake in that; I tell you, whoever enters into that
darkness and whoever sees that white throne coming, a throne,
not of a king. but of a judge, the throne of final judgment, he
will not make any mistake about Christ’s coming.
Now, to make it clearer to you, Paul says in I Thessalonians
4: „He will come with a great sound of the trumpet.” The earth
never heard that trumpet sound but once before, when the law
was given on Mount Sinai. Then there was heard the sound of
a trumpet that waxed louder and louder, until the people were
terrified for their very lives. Do not adopt Negro theology,
which says that this is the trumpet of Gabriel to wake the
dead. It is the trumpet of Michael to summon the angels
when the son of man shall come in his glory and all the holy
angels with him. That trumpet blast in that blackness, herald_
ing that white throne, will be the loudest thing the earth ever
heard; ten thousand times ten thousand claps of thunder will
not equal the roll and reverberation of that last trumpet sound.
To keep you from being mistaken further, be says that „he will
come with a great shout,” and we know exactly what the shout
is, for he tells us; we know the very words of it: „Behold the
bridegroom, come ye forth to meet him.” Can you mistake
Now, notice, please, what I tell you about anybody being
saved after his second advent: „Two men shall be working in
the field, and one shall be taken and the other left; two women
shall be grinding at the mill, one shall be taken and the other
left. Two groups of virgins, five in each, shall be waiting, one
group shall be taken and the other left.” Just imagine those
men out in the field plowing, and all at once darkness hides
the horses and the plow handles, and then that white throne
comes, and then that trumpet sounds, and then that great
shout, and in a moment an angel swoops down and grabs one
of the men plowing and takes him home; the other is left.
The questions are embodied in the text of this chapter.

Revelation 20:11_15

We present this study in the form of a catechism:
1. Cite two distinct promises of the second advent.
ANSWER. – In Matthew 16:27, our Saviour says: „The Son
of man shall come in the glory of his father with his angels,
and then shall he render to every man according to his deeds.”
You see that is not only the promise, but it expresses the pur_
pose. The second promise is in Acts 1:11: „As they were look_
ing steadfastly into heaven as he went up, behold two men
stood by them in white apparel, who also said: Ye men of
Galilee, why stand ye looking into heaven? This Jesus who
was received up from you into heaven shall so come in like
manner as ye beheld him going into heaven.”
2. Cite three general passages on the resurrection.
ANSWER. – Daniel 12:2: „Many of them that slept in the
dust of the earth shall awake, some to eternal life, and some to
shame and everlasting contempt.” Daniel puts the resurrection
of both classes together. Next, John 5:28_29, which I quote:
„Marvel not at this, for the hour cometh which all that are in
the tombs shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that
have done good unto the resurrection of life; and they that
have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment.” And you
see John puts them together. The third passage is in Acts
24:15: „Having hope toward God, which these also themselves
look for, that there shall be a resurrection both of the_just and
the unjust.” The third passage also puts them .together.
3. Now comes an exceedingly important question: Cite
three striking passages apart from our present lesson to show
that the resurrection and the judgment of both the righteous
and the wicked are simultaneous, and not a thousand years
ANSWER. – (1) Matthew 12:41_42:
The men of Nineveh shall stand up in the judgment with this
generation, and shall condemn it; for they repented at the
preaching of Jonah; and behold a greater than Jonah is here.
ilif queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this
generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the ends of
the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, a greater
than Solomon is here.
The men of Nineveh repented and were saved. It is distinctly
declared that they shall rise up, there’s their resurrection, at
the judgment, showing that the resurrection and the judgment
come together; they shall rise up at the judgment with this
generation, the wicked people, the impenitent people, whom
Christ was addressing, are to stand, there’s their resurrection
from the dead, in the judgment with those ancient people of
Nineveh and the queen of the south; there you have the two
clashes, the penitent and the impenitent, the resurrection, the
judgment, the general judgment.
(2) Matthew 25:31_46, and as you read I want you to ask
yourselves these questions: Are these crowds together? Are
their resurrection and judgment simultaneous, or is there a
great interval of time between them?
But when the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the
angels with him, then shall he sit on the throne of his glory, and
before him shall be gathered all the nations; and he shall
separate them one from another, as the shepherd separated the
sheep from the goats; and he shall set the sheep on his right
hand, but the goats on the left. 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.
. . . Then shall he say also to them on the left hand, Depart from
me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the
devil and his angels. . . . And these shall go away into eternal
I once asked a premillennialist what he did with that pas_
sage, and he said, „That is simply the judgment of the
nations.” No, sir I That is an individual judgment, and nations,
as nations, are not sent into eternal fire, only individuals are.
(3) The other general passage, which is more conclusive than
these others, is 2 Thessalonians 1:6_10:
If so be that it is a righteous thing with God to recompense
affliction to them that afflict you, and to you that are afflicted
rest with us, at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven
with the angels of his power in flaming fire, rendering vengeance
to them that know not God, and to them that obey not the
gospel of our Lord Jesus: who shall suffer punishment, even eter_
nal destruction from the face of the Lord, and from the glory of
his might.
When are these wicked punished with everlasting destruc_
tion? The next verse tells us: „When he shall come to be glori_
fied in his saints, and to be marvelled at in all them that believe
[because our testimony among you was believed] in that day.”
I sat on the train once with a premillennialist and read that
passage to him, and asked him if he would hold the book and
answer questions according to the testimony. He said he would.
I said: „According to that passage, when does Jesus recom_
pense affliction to those who have afflicted his people?” He had
to read: „At the time he recompenses his rest to those who were
afflicted.” I then asked him when the wicked would be punished
with everlasting destruction; and he had to read: „When he
comes to be glorified in his saints.” Now, these are literal
passages. I could cite a great many more, but these are abso_
lutely conclusive that the resurrection and the judgment of
both the good and the bad will be simultaneous.
4. Cite three parables from our Lord to the same effect.
ANSWER. – (1) The parable of the tares, found in Matthew
13:24_30, and expounded by our Lord in 13:36_42. Let us read
it and see:
The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man that sowed
good seed in his field: but while men slept his enemy came and
sowed tares also among the wheat, and went away. But when
the blade sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the
tores also. And the servants of the household came and said
unto him: Sir, didst thou not BOW good seed in thy field T
Whence then hath it tares? And he said unto them, An
enemy hath done this. And the servants say unto him: Wilt
thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said: Nay,
lest haply while ye gather up the tares ye root up the wheat with
them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time
of the harvest I will say to the reapers, gather up first the tares
and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat
into my barn.
The disciples wanted that expounded to them, and here is
the exposition:
Explain unto us the parable of the tares of the field. He
answered and said unto them, he that soweth the good seed ia
the Son of man; the field is the world; the good seed are the
children of the kingdom, but the tares are the children of the
wicked one; the enemy that sowed them is the devil; the har_
vest ia the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As
therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so shall it
be at the end of the world. The Son of man shall send forth his
angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that
offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into
a furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Then shall the righteous shine forth aa the sun in the kingdom
of their father.
Now, that expresses the fact that the good and the evil
people are to grow up together in this world until the end of
the world, and then when the end of the world comes, the
angels will separate the good from the bad.
(2) The parable of the dragnet, Matthew 13:47_50:
Again the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net that was cast
into the sea, and gathered of every kind: which, when it was
full, they drew to the shore, and sat down and gathered the good
into vessels, but cast the bad away. So it shall be at the end of
the world: the angels shall come forth and sever the wicked
from among the just, and shall .cast them into the furnace of
fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
(3) The parable of the talents, Matthew 25:14_30:
For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man traveling in a
far country, who called his own servants and delivered unto
them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another
two, and to another one; to every man according to his several
ability, and straightway took his journey. . . . After a long time
the lord of these servants cometh, and reckoneth with them . . . [and then he goes on with the reckoning until he gets to the one with only one talent] . . . His lord said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knowest I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strewed: thou oughtest, therefore, have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming J would have received mine own. with usury. Take, therefore, the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance; but from him that hath not shall be taken away, even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Now, there are the three great parables. I could mention
others, but these three are sufficient to put beside the three
passages which show the simultaneousness of the resurrection
of the dead and the separation of the righteous from the
wicked, and the final judgment.
5. Cite and expound two great passages on the resurrection
of the righteous dead, and the glorification of the righteous
ANSWER. – In I Corinthians 15:42_55, is described the meaning of the resurrection of the righteous dead: „It was sown in weakness, it is raised in strength; it was sown in dishonour, it
is raised in honour; it was sown a mortal body and raised an
immortal body; it was sown a mortal body and raised a spirit_
ual body.” Then in the same connections he tells of the change
that takes place in the righteous who are living at the time
when Christ comes: „I show you a mystery: we shall not all
sleep.” That is, we shall not all die; some men will be living
when Christ comes, and then in a moment, in the twinkling of
an eye, they shall be changed without ever dying, and glori_
fication takes place. That is the meaning of all those words I
quoted you a while ago about honor, dishonor, etc.
Now, the second passage is in I Thessalonians 4, the
closing paragraph:
Brethren, I would not have you ignorant concerning them who are asleep, that ye sorrow now, even as the rest, who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also that have fallen asleep in Jesus will God bring with
him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we that are alive, that are left unto the coming of the Lord, shall in no wise precede them that are fallen asleep. . . . And the dead in Christ shall rise first, then we that are alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up into the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
6. What erroneous views were held concerning the resur_
rection of the body, and the objections thereto?
First, the Sadducees, who were materialists, and denied all
future life, whether of the soul or the body, and of course denied the resurrection of the body. In Matthew 22; Mark 12; Luke 20, we have an account of the Sadducees coming to the Lord with the question: Where a man married and died, and according to the Mosaic law his brother took his widow; and he died, and the second brother took her, and so on until seven brothers had her. Now who will be the husband of this woman in the resurrection, for they all had her? They thought they had sprung an insuper-able difficulty in the way of the resurrection of the dead. He replied to them: „In the state of the resurrection of the dead there is no marrying, nor giving in marriage, but all are as the angels of heaven,” that is, the multiplying and replenishing of the earth which so dominated men here on the earth, does not apply in heaven.
In Corinth some church members denied the resurrection of
the body, and based their objections on scientific deductions.
In I Corinthians 15:12_35, he says: „How say some among
you that there is no resurrection of the dead, and you ask:
With what bodies shall they rise?” – presenting that as an in_
superable difficulty, and all of that chapter is devoted to a dis_
cussion of the certainty of the resurrection of the body. There
were certain heretics at Ephesus who held that regeneration
was the resurrection, and hence it was past already. Paul men_
tions the names of two of these heretics, Hymeneus and Phile_
tus, in 2 Timothy 2:17_18. They held that the resurrection
took place when a man was converted; that it was past al_
ready. Paul counts them heretics, and says that their teaching
is exceedingly hurtful to many.
Then there are people (though I do not find this in the
Bible, but in history) who hold that the resurrection is simply
the escape of the soul from the limitations of the body at
death, and they compare it with the emergence of the butter_
fly from the chrysalis state, never having any more use for that
empty shell, and living in another element, or air instead of
upon the ground. A great many people believe that; it is dif_
ferent from the Sadducees. The Sadducees did not believe in
any future life, nor in angels, nor in spirits of any kind, as you
learn from Acts 23:8; they were utter materialists; they be_
lieved that this life is all; that when a man dies, all of him
dies, that he has no dual life now, and that there is no such
thing as a spiritual existence, good or bad.
7. If the righteous who are living when Christ comes are
changed without death, what becomes of the living wicked?
ANSWER. – My answer is that they perish, or die, in the
great worldwide fire that accompanies the coming of the Lord.
Malachi gives a glowing description of it in Malachi 4:1_3:
For behold, the day cometh, it burneth like a furnace, and all
the proud and all that work wickedness, shall be stubble, and
the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith Jehovah of hosts,
that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you
that fear my name shall the sun of righteousness arise with heal_
ings in its wings; and ye shall go forth and gambol as calves of
the stall. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be
ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I make, saith
Jehovah of hosts.
Now read a passage from Peter:
And in the last days men will say: Where is the promise of his
coming? for since the fathers fell asleep all things continue as
they were from the beginning of creation. For this they wilfully
forget, that there were heavens from of old, and an earth com_
pacted out of water and amidst water, by the word of God, by
which means the world that then was, being overflowed with
water, perished; but the heavens that now are, and the earth, by
the same word, have been stored up for fire, being reserved
against the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men’. . . .
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief, in the which the
heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall
be dissolved with a fervent heat, and the earth and the works
therein shall be burned up. Seeing that these thinga are all thus
to be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all
holy living and godliness, looking for and earnestly desiring the
coming of the day of God, by reason of which the heavena being
on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements ahall melt with a fer_
vent heat?
No wicked man can escape physical death; there never has
been one that escaped. Elijah and Enoch did; they were good
men. And all the saints living at the coming of Christ will,
but the wicked living when Christ comes will burn up in the
fire, just as now when one living in a house which catches on
fire is burned up before he can escape. That world fire will
be as quick as a lightning flash; there is no element of time in
it; in one moment the atmosphere shall become an ocean of
fire, and the ocean itself, by one elemental change, shall be_
come an ocean of fire, and the fire will sweep from mountain
to mountain, and from continent to continent, until the whole
world is afire. And in that fire every living wicked person dies,
and it happens in a moment, and their resurrection immedi_
ately follows. They are so close together that one may call
them simultaneous.
8. What the ground of their resurrection? Why should the
wicked be raised at all?
ANSWER. – The normal man, as God created him, was a dual
being – soul and body. The death of the body, or rather the
separation of the soul from the body, is the result of sin. The
soul in a disembodied state is unclothed, and hence Hades, as
a state, gains a victory so long as it holds a disembodied spirit.
But when God raises the bodies of the dead, good and bad,
then shall be brought to pass the saying: 0 death, where is
thy sting; 0 Hades, where is thy victory? You had a victory
so long as you could hold one soul in a disembodied state.
Hence this book (6:8) says that Hades followed after death.
Death came, and the soul went into a disembodied state.
Moreover, the only deeds of which the final judgment takes
cognizance are the deeds done in the body. A man who died
when Christ died, in eternity ever since, will never be judged
for anything that he does in eternity; the judgment takes
cognizance of only the deeds done in the body. Therefore, the
whole man, soul and body, must be present at the judgment,
and if condemned must be punished in both body and soul.
It is not enough that the rich man, at his death, should be
tormented as to his soul. „He lifted up his eyes in hell [or
Hades], being in torment.” That is not enough. But, as our
Lord says, „Be ye not afraid of them which kill the body but
cannot kill the soul, but rather fear him who is able to destroy
both soul and body in hell [Gehenna].”
9. In what capacity, or office, did our Lord appear in his
first advent, and contrast it with his office in his second ad_
ANSWER. – Paul says in the letter to the Hebrews: „Inas_
much as it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this
cometh judgment; so Christ also, having been once offered
to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time, apart
from a sin offering, to them that wait for him, unto salvation”
(Heb. 9:27_28). Which means that his second advent is not
to offer a sacrifice – that is all ended – but as judge, to bring
his people into the fruition of salvation, and the salvation of
fruition, which, as Peter says, is ready to be revealed at the
last time (I Peter 1:4_5).
Now we will take up the study word by word:
10. „And I saw a great white throne” (Rev. 20:11). What
is the distinction between this throne and the one in Revela_
tion 4:2_7?
ANSWER. – That was the throne of grace, the mediatorial
throne, Christ reigning as king and interceding as priest. This
is the white throne of final judgment. That throne at 4:2,
might be approached by prayer, as we learned in Hebrews
4:16: „Let us therefore draw near with boldness unto the
throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and find grace to
help us in time of need.” And as we learned in chapter 8 of
this book: the prayers of the saints, mingled with incense,
came up to that throne. But no prayers are offered at this
white throne; praying days are over forever. This our Lord
himself describes in his great prophecy, which I quote: (24:
The sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her
light, and the stars shall fall from heavens, and the powers of
the heavens shall be shaken, 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 on the
clouds of heaven with power and great glory. – MATTHEW
Our Lord said at the conclusion of that prophecy: „But
when the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the angels
with him, then shall he sit on the throne of his glory” (Matt.
25:31). Or, as this book expresses it, when he came to the
sixth seal:
And I saw when he opened the sixth seal, and there was a
great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair
and the whole moon became as blood, and the stars of heaven
fell unto the earth as a fig tree casteth her unripe figs, and the
heaven was removed as a scroll when rolled up, and every
mountain and island removed out of their place, and the kings
of the earth, and the princes, and the chief captains, and the rich
and strong, and every bondman and freeman, hid themselves in
the caves and the rocks of the mountains; and they say to the
mountains and to the rocks: Fall on us and hide us from the
face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of
the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath is come, and who is
able to stand? – REVELATION 6:12_17.
11. Who is the judge, and what is his suitableness?
ANSWER. – In John 5:22_27, it is said: „The Father hath
given all judgment unto the Son . . .” and he goes on to say
that he is given this judgment because he is also the Son of
man. He is suitable, for he is God, and knows all the holiness
of God’s law; he is suitable because he is man, and as man was
tempted as we are, and with an infinite knowledge of our in_
firmities, and our failings, and our environment. Even for
the devil, he is the best judge.
12. We read on in Revelation: „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.”
What does it mean by the disappearance of the heaven and
the earth?
ANSWER. – Annihilation is not meant; the flood that swept
the earth did not annihilate it; neither does this fire, but it
purges it. Peter describes it (2 Peter 3:7, 10_12). That fire
will come, and in that fire heaven and earth scenes will dis_
appear, but he says that we will have a new heaven and a new
13. We read again in the study: „And I saw the dead, the
great and the small, standing before the throne. . . . And the
sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades
gave up the dead that were in them.” What is meant by the
sea and death giving up the dead in them?
ANSWER. – It means the resurrection of the bodies of all the
dead, whether buried on land or in the sea, just as our Lord
said: „The hour cometh when all that are in the tomb shall
hear his voice and shall come forth,” or as Daniel put it:
„They that sleep in the dust of the earth, some to eternal life
and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”
14. What is meant by Hades giving up the dead that are in
ANSWER. – It means the coming forth of all the disembodied
souls, reunited to their raised bodies. „Hades” means the
spirit world. David, inspired by the Holy Spirit, said: „More_
over, my flesh shall rest in hope, for thou wilt not leave my
soul in Hades.” The flesh is raised when the time is come for
Hades to give up its dead, and the soul and body shall be re_
15. While Hades, as a state of being disembodied, applies
equally to all souls, is there not some distinction of place and
ANSWER. – Yes, the souls of both the rich man and Lazarus
went into Hades, but between the places in Hades where they
were is a great gulf fixed, so that one may not cross to the
other. Lazarus, starved on earth, is feasting at the banquet
of God with Abraham, while the rich man, faring sumptuously
on earth, is starving and parching with the thirst in the flames.
The Greeks held that in Hades there were two widely sepa_
rate compartments, one of joy and one of woe, the first called
„paradise,” and the second called „Tartarus,” and New Testa_
ment writers accept this distinction. Jesus said to the dying
robber on the cross: „Today thou shalt be with me in para_
dise.” The man left his body behind, but his soul went with
the soul of Jesus into paradise. Paul says: „I was caught up
into the third heaven, into the paradise of God.” Peter says:
„God spared not the angels when they sinned, but cast them
down to Tartarus, and committed them to a pit of darkness
to be reserved unto the judgment” (2 Peter 2:4). In some re_
spects the Greek word hades is like the Hebrew word sheol,
the underworld or abode of disembodied spirits. The souls of
both good and bad went into Sheol, but not the same place
or condition of Sheol. Isaiah, in his own sublime imagery,
compares the king of Babylon to Lucifer, cast down to Sheol,
the torment part of the pit, and represents all Sheol, from
underneath, as moved to meet him at his coming; it stirs up
its dead for him. The soul of the king of Babylon is entering
Sheol, the part where the wicked are, and here is what they
say to him: „Art thou also become weak as we? Art thou
become like us? . . . Is this the man that made the earth
tremble, that did shake kingdoms; that made the world a
wilderness, and overthrew the cities thereof; that let not loose
his prisoners to their homes?” (Isa. 14:9_17). This is a sub_
lime conception of the greeting to the lost soul on entering
Tartarus. Just imagine that rich man in hell, who said: „Tell
Lazarus to go and tell my brothers who live in yonder world
not to come here where I am,” but when he sees his brothers
coming he will say: „Are you become as weak as I am?”
The paradise part of Hades is just the same as heaven
itself, as appears from Hebrews 12:22_24, where „the spirits
of the just made perfect are with the Father, with Jesus the
Mediator of the new covenant, with the angels on the heaven_
ly Mount Zion, in the heavenly Jerusalem.” And it also ap_
pears from what Paul says to the Corinthians (2 Cor. 5:1_2;
12:2_3) : „For we know that if the earthly house of our taber_
nacle be dissolved [this body], we have a building from God,
a house not made with hands, eternal, in the heavens,” and
goes on to say that as long as I am in this body I am absent
from the Lord, and when I am out of this body I am present
with the Lord.
In I Thessalonians 4:14, it is said: „For if we believe that
Jesus died and rose again, even so them also that are fallen
asleep in Jesus will God bring with him.” Now, in the same
way, Tartarus is equal to what we call hell, the place of eternal
fire and torment, the only difference being the absence of the
body until the resurrection. Tartarus is hell now, just the
same hell it will be when a lake of fire, but the body is not in
it yet. When the saint’s body is raised, the whole man, soul
and body, goes back to paradise, where his soul has been since
death (see Rev. 22:1_2, 14) ; they re_enter the paradise of God.
When the wicked man’s body is raised, the whole man, soul
and body, goes back into the same Tartarus where his soul had
been. It is now called Gehenna, or in this lesson it is called
a lake of fire.
16. If paradise be heaven) and Tartarus be hell, except for
the absence of the body, why are the righteous, in their souls,
already enjoying heaven, to which they went at death, and
why are the wicked, already tormented in the flames of hell,
to which their souls went at death, brought from those condi_
tions to be judged, seeing that they are already enjoying or
suffering the final verdict or sentence?
ANSWER. – (1) The day of judgment is not so much a day
of actual trial, but as Paul describes it, it is a day of the revela_
tion of the righteous judgments of God, judgments already
rendered. The unbeliever is already condemned, says John;
he does not wait to come to the judgment to be condemned; he
is already condemned for not believing on Jesus Christ. The
book of life, which determines the case of both classes, is not
a docket for trial that day, but it is a register of judicial de_
cisions already rendered. The object of the general judgment
is to make all who have been previously condemned or acquit_
ted, see, understand, and approve the past verdict which ac_
quits or condemns. The acquitted up to that day never fully
understood the grounds of their acquittal (see Matt. 25:
37_40) : „Lord, when did we see thee naked and clothed thee,
or sick and visited thee, or a stranger and entertained thee?”
They do not understand, and the same chapter shows that the
wicked do not understand. The rich man in hell did not un_
derstand, but when the revelation of the judgment which put
him there comes in white light and illumines, he will then
understand and confess the righteousness of the judgment of
God that sent him to that place of torment. Now, when the
records of past judgments are opened, both classes comprehend
and recognize the righteousness of the past judgment which
sent the soul of one to heaven and the soul of the other to
hell. They now approve and acquiesce in God’s judgment,
though it had gone against them. „Therefore,” says Paul,
„before Jesus, the Judge, every knee shall bow, and every
tongue shall confess his name” – the lost as well as the saved.
(2) Not only does each man at the judgment see the justice
of the verdict in his own case, but also in the cases of the
others. He will be as much surprised and enlightened on this
point as any other: some will be first that he counted last,
and some will be last that he counted first.
17. Is it largely on this account that all angels, good and
bad, and the human race, are all brought together in one great
ANSWER. – Yes; the contrast of the cases constitutes much of the light. The penitent men of Nineveh, saved by hearing
only one sermon, and the vision_seeking queen of Sheba, at the
judgment will throw their brilliant cross light on the wicked
generation of Christ’s day, who had much more light and did
not act on it. „Sodom and Gomorrah,” says our Lord, „Tyre
and Sidon, shall suffer a more tolerable judgment than the
cities of Chorazin and Bethsaida,” and this cross light will
furnish abundant lessons.
18. Why could not this light have been given sooner to the
ANSWER. – The revelation is put off until the last day be_
cause the influence of human thought, desire, and deeds does
not cease until they strike the shores of eternity. The influ_
ence of Tom Paine’s Age of Reason and Ingersoll’s speeches
will go on until the final harvest, and it will not be known how
much evil each one has done until we come to the end of the
influence. And so Abel, though dead, yet speaketh. All our
lives will throw light or shadows on the pathway of others until
the end of the world. John Bunyan’s Pilgrim will go march_
ing on till Jesus comes; Keith’s great hymn, „How Firm a
Foundation,” and Cowper’s sweet hymn, „There Is a Fountain
Filled with Blood,” have not yet reached their final harvest.
Edgar Allan Poe brings out the thought in his flight with an
angel, who shows him a volcanic island, barren and desolate,
and said: „That is an idle, evil word, spoken once and then
forgot; but it went on sounding until the end of time, and
God crystallized it into the volcanic island.” Again the angel
showed him another island of springs and fountains, green
with the verdure of grass and the foliage of fruit_bearing trees,
in whose boughs a choir of singing birds were praising God.
„This,” said the angel, „is a good word you spoke once, and
forgot, but it went on in power until it struck the shores of
eternity, and God crystallized it into this blessed island.”
19. What are the books out of which men are judged?
ANSWER. – We may not name them all, but these are some of them:
(1) The book of remembrance; you will find the account of
it in Malachi 3:16_18. In a time of great spiritual tribulations
some of the good people will get together and deplore the
absence of a revival, and God will command the Recording
Angel to put down in the book of remembrance what they said.
(2) The book of curses:
„Then again I lifted up mine eyes and saw, and behold a flying
roll, and he said unto me. What seeth thou? and I answered: I
see a flying roll, the length thereof is twenty cubits, and the
breadth ten cubits. Then he said unto me: This is the curse that
goeth forth over the whole land, for every one that stealeth shall
be cut off on the one side according to it and every one that
sweareth shall be cut off on the other side according to it. I will
cause it to go forth, saith Jehovah of hosts, and it shall enter
into the house of the thief, and into the house of him that
sweareth falsely by name, and it shall abide in the midst of his
house, and shall consume the timber thereof and the stones
thereof. – ZECHARIAH 5:1_2.
(3) Then there is a book of tears: „Put thou my tears into
thy bottle; are they not in thy book?” (Psalm 61:8) I tell
you that will be a marvelous book at the judgment; when on
the judgment throne a book is opened, with nothing but
splotches on it where tears fell: Who made the widow weep?
who made the orphan cry? who brought sorrow into the house
of the sick? I tell you that God keeps every tear that falls
from a sufferer’s eye, and at the judgment that book will be
opened. There will be the tears that Jesus wept over Jeru_
salem. It will be an awful book.
(4) Then there is the book of the covenant. You remember
when the covenant was made with Moses, the book was put
in the ark, to be held as an everlasting witness. At the day
of judgment the Lord will say: „I need not judge you; Moses
will judge you. Just bring out that covenant and read it to
him. Did you abide by it?”
(5) Finally, there is the book of life: „Another book was
opened, which is the book of life.”
20. What is this book of life?
ANSWER. – It is a register of judicial decisions. Whenever a
man is converted, justified, or acquitted, his name is written
in that book. It holds the record of all the saved from the
beginning to the end of time.
21. Which is the decisive book?
ANSWER. – That book of life, because this lesson shows that whosoever is not found written in that book shall be cast into the lake of fire. You remember that Baptist song: „When
thou my righteous judge shall come to take thy ransomed peo_
ple home, shall I among them stand; shall I, who sometimes
am afraid to die, be found at thy right hand? 0 can I bear
the piercing thought: what if my name should be left out?”
Whosoever is not found written in that book – well, that is all
you need.
I will suppose there is a man – Mr. A – , say – in Fort
Worth, County of Tarrant, State of Texas, United States of
America, living in such a period; open the book of life to that
name. Do you see his name there? No. That is sufficient;
pass him into the lake of fire. Do you see his name on the
book of remembrance? No. Do you see his name in the book
of curses? Yes.
22. What is the great principle of this judgment?
ANSWER. – Each man is judged according to his light,
privileges, opportunities, and environment.
23. What is the only thing of which this judgment takes
ANSWER. – One’s attitude toward Christ in his gospel, his
cause and his people. The bad angels will have to say: We
opposed; the good angels will say: We ministered unto the
heirs of salvation. The wicked will say: Salvation came right
to my door, the stream of life lapped against my doorsill, and
I said no, no.
24. Apply this to good angels, and show what advantage
it is to them.
ANSWER. – They did not sin before, and now they have stood for Christ’s cause and his people, and they will become
confirmed, for after the judgment no angel can ever fall.
25. What proof have we that on that day the acquitted
participate with Christ in judging the world and the angels?
ANSWER. – „Ye who have followed me, in the regeneration
when the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory, ye
also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of
Israel” (Matt. 14:28). „Know ye not that the saints shall
judge the world? and if the world is judged by you, are ye
unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that
the saints shall judge the angels?” It will be fine poetic jus_
tice when Job and Peter pass judgment on the devil, who tried
them so much; it will be a great sight to see Agrippa, Festus,
and Nero judged by Paul; they judged him on earth; he will
judge them in eternity. It will be a fine thing to see those
who are despised in this world, sit with Christ on his throne,
passing judgment upon demons and the wicked lost.
26. On what score are the saints judged that day, and the
proof, and the reasons?
ANSWER. – The saints are not put on trial for their lives that
day; all that was ended when they were justified: they will
not have to come into the judgment on that score; they have
passed out of death into eternal life, and none can bring a
charge against God’s elect, but they are judged on their fidel_
ity, on their lives as Christians, and shall receive the last re_
ward. The salvation of all the saved is the same, but the
rewards of the saints are different. They all get into salva_
tion alike, through one door, Christ; but their rank and posi_
tion in heaven is determined by their Christian fidelty.
27. Are there also degrees in hell?
Jesus said: „It shall be more tolerable in the day of judg_
ment for Tyre and Sidon than the cities of Chorazin and Beth_
28. What do you understand by the lake of fire?
ANSWER. – First, it is a place; all finite things must be
posited. Second, it is a prepared place, originally prepared
for the devil and his demons, but there is room enough in it
for those who follow the devil. It is a prison; Peter says:
„The spirits in prison”; Jude says: „The demons cast down in
chains and bondage.” It is a place of torment, weeping, wail_
ing, and gnashing of teeth. It is a place of companionship
without friendship: you will have the company of liars, thieves,
murderers, idolaters; you will have the company of the devil
and his demons, but it will not be a happy crowd. It is a
place of conscience, memory, and despair; the mind does not
quit thinking, the conscience does not quit aching, but hope
never comes. It is eternal: „These shall go away into ever_
lasting fire” – that is the same word used when it says ever_
lasting life – thus when you shorten hell you shorten heaven;
the same word applies to both. Pollok, in the „Course of
Time,” vainly tried to describe hell. He says: „Wide was the
place, and deep as wide, and ruinous as deep, while overhead
and all around winds war with winds, and thunders roll, and
lightnings, forked lightnings, flash.” God pity the man who
dares come into the pulpit and preach against his eternal judg_
The questions are embodied in the text of this chapter, it being pre_
sented in the form of a catechism.

Revelation .21.:l to 22:5

I want to say, as impressively as I know how to say it, that
the reason Christian people are no happier than they are, the
reason they have so little power, is that they have such a misty
conception of heaven, of the world to come. And whatever ia
misty, is painful. It is only those who, with a clear under_
standing of God’s word as to the outcome of human life, those
who by faith see eternal things, and feel the powers of the
world to come, who can make any lasting impression for good
in this world. I do not care how much learning a preacher may
have, if he has not a clear conception of heaven and its eter_
nity, of hell and its eternity, he cannot be a man of spiritual
power. I wish I could make everybody feel on this subject as
I feel, and not occasionally only, but all the time. So far as I
am concerned, the question of the death of the body does not
concern me in the least, and it has not for a great many years.
All the time before me is the glorious light and the blessed
state of the world to come. I have never gotten away from
the influence of my first apprehension of it.
With reference to the world to come, you understand that
heaven is a place) „I go to prepare a place for you,” and hell is
a place. All finite beings must be posited; they must have
locality. Only the Infinite One can be everywhere, but all
finite beings must always be somewhere. I want you to get
clearly in your mind the idea of a place, then of the condition
of that place, then of the companionship of that place, then
of the eternity of that condition, place, and companionship.
1. What is meant by a new heaven and a new earth?
ANSWER. – Before answering this question we must
determine the meaning of certain words and statements. First, the word „new.” There are two Greek words that may be rendered into the English „new”: one neos, which simply means new in ap
pearance ; the other is kainos, and that means new in kind. It
is kainos, or new in kind, that is employed here, and that you
may get the true conception of the word, I will quote it as it
is elsewhere used in some of the passages of the New Testa_
ment. For instance, our Lord said: „The instructed scribe
shall bring forth out of his treasure things new and old”; there
is the new contrasted with the old (Matt. 13:52). The Lord
said: „This cup is the new covenant in my blood.” (Luke 22:
20.) There is not only a difference between the old and new
covenant in appearance, but there is a difference in kind. Jesus
was buried in a new tomb (kainos), as distinguished from an
old sepulchre, which had been used for a place of burial.
The next word that we need to understand is the word „re_
generation.” When it is applied to conversion it means a new
birth. You were once born according to the flesh, but now you
are born according to the spirit. This word „regeneration”
(Greek palingenesia) applied to the spiritual birth in Titus
3:5, is thus used in Matthew: „You who have followed me,
shall in the regeneration sit on twelve thrones judging the
twelve tribes of Israel.” This regeneration does not refer to
man, but to the earth. This regeneration of the earth is ac_
complished by the worldwide fire, as the new earth occupied
by Noah was accomplished by the worldwide flood. It is to
this event that Paul refers in Romans 8:
The creation was made subject to vanity, not of its own will,
but by reason of him who subjected it, in hope that creation it_
self also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into
the liberty of glory of the children of God. For we know that the
whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain until now. And
not only so, but ourselves also, who have the firstfruits of the
Spirit, even we ourselves, groan within ourselves, waiting for
our adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. – ROMANS

Now, at the resurrection of the dead there will be a new
birth of the earth – a birth that comes by fire.
The next word is apokatastaseos, and it means „restoration.”
Peter says to the Jews: „Repent that your sins may be blotted
out, and so that the times of refreshing may come from the
presence of the Lord, and so that he may send Jesus, whom the
heavens must receive until the time of apokatastaseos, the re_
storation of all things.” Whatever, then, this word kainos
(new), and this word palingenesia (regeneration), and this
word apokatastaseos (restoration) mean, they describe the
earth and the heaven after the resurrection.
It will be recalled that in bringing the earth material out of
chaos, the firmament, or atmosphere, was created – that is,
the heavens in the ordinary sense; the sky above us – and
that atmosphere by its specific gravity, its weight, separated
the waters above from the waters below. That is, the waters
converted into vapours until lighter than air would go up,
but when in clouds it became heavier than air, it would be
precipitated to the earth again in fog, rain, hail, or snow. It
is the atmosphere and its weight that brings about that sepa_
ration. Hence when the earth was about to be destroyed by
the flood, God reversed that process, „and the windows of
heaven were opened”; the atmosphere was broken open; it
lost its specific gravity; the fountains of the deep were broken
up, and that division of the waters above from the waters be_
low, and the land from the sea, was all done away with in the
flood. But after a while that flood subsides, and coming out
of it there is a new atmosphere – new heaven, new firmament,
new earth – which Noah occupies. Tremendous changes were
wrought in the physical surface of the earth by the flood – the
evidences of it are to be found in the highest mountain ranges,
and you need not pay attention to those who tell you that a
universal flood was impossible. It was as universal as the fire
will be.

Now, that flood did not annihilate the earth, but it changed
it so that it is called a new earth. So that fire, which leaps out
at the resurrection of the dead, will not annihilate the earth,
but will change it, and out of that flood of fire a new earth
appears. That is the meaning of those terms.
We will also recall that when man sinned, that earth which
God had pronounced good when he made it, was cursed – it
was made subject to vanity, but subjected in the hope of re_
storation in the redemption of our bodies in resurrection. So
we may conclude that that destruction by fire does not anni_
hilate, but changes, and as God pronounced the creation good
until marred by sin, so the removal of sin and all evil agencies
will bring restoration. At any rate, our next chapter shows
that paradise is regained – the paradise in which Adam and
Eve lived is regained in all its spiritual power. This new
creation will be here for occupation – and occupation by man
– but occupation under new conditions adapted to his glori_
fied body, which brings us to the next question:
2. What is the meaning of „And the sea is no more”?
ANSWER. – 1 am not sure that I can satisfy myself, much
less you, as to what that means. It may be literally true that
after the fire there will be no more ocean. In the convulsions
of that great upheaval the bottom of the sea may upheave. As
it now stands, three_fourths of the earth’s surface is covered
by water. I say we may consider it that way, because we have
construed the earth literally, and the firmament literally, and
if so, why not consider the sea literally? Or it may mean that
there is no more sea in the sense of a barrier between nations.
Under present conditions it is a barrier. For many centuries
the Atlantic Ocean barred the approach to this Western con_
tinent; we had to wait nearly fifteen centuries after Christ
to discover this continent. The sea was in the way.
by laboured action, but by volition. He wills to move, and so
But, under the new conditions of spiritual bodies, we would
not need any ships, because the glorified man does not move
moves, through the air easier than a bird can fly, and more
swiftly than a flash of lightning. He will be as the angels of
heaven. While Daniel was yet praying, an angel swooped
and touched him; who can measure the swiftness of his flight?
There will be no barrier between the nations, because nation_
ality will have perished; there is a unity of race into one great
family of God. There are no longer linguistic barriers, as
Babel when tongues were confused so that they could not un_
derstand each other. And as at Pentecost, tongues were given
that they might understand each other, this was a forecast of
that heavenly condition when every man and woman and child
in glory not only can understand each other’s speech, but also
the tongues of angels: „Now we know in part; then we shall
know even as we are known.”
3. What is the meaning of the Holy City, the New Jeru_
salem? Your lesson goes on to say: „And I saw the Holy
City, the New Jerusalem.” What is the meaning of that?
ANSWER. – As there was an earthly capital of earthly Israel,
called Jerusalem, so there shall be a heavenly capital of spir_
itual Israel. Paul, to the Galatians, says: „Jerusalem that
is above is free,” and to the Hebrews he says: „Ye are come
unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the
heavenly Jerusalem.” One of the promises of this book, al_
ready considered, says: „I will write upon him the name of
the city of my God, the New Jerusalem, which cometh down
out of heaven from my God.” Our Lord himself has stated:
„Let not your hearts be troubled. . . . In my Father’s house are
many mansions. . . . I go to prepare a place for you, and if
I go to prepare a place for you I will come again and receive
you unto myself, that where I am there ye may be also” (John
14:1). Of Abraham it is said that the reason he was a so_
journer on earth, was that „he looked for the city that hath
foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” And of the
other pilgrims on earth it is said, in Hebrews 11: „They de_
sire a better country that is a heavenly: wherefore God is not
ashamed of them to be called their God, for he hath prepared
for them a city.”
Now, let us note the measure of that city: the passage
measures it for you. You will recall that when Jerusalem of
the restoration after the captivity was about to be measured,
and a young man with tapeline started out to measure it, an
angel said: Stop that young man; do not let him put that
measurement on Jerusalem; for Jerusalem will extend into
the country, and take in the villages and the whole outlying
territory. What a pity that we cannot speak to all the young
men who go out with their narrow and restricted tapelines to
measure the city and government of God!
4. What are the dimensions of the city?
ANSWER. – Now, the text says the circuit of this city was
12,000 furlongs – 1 am giving you the symbolical numbers;
that would be 1,500 miles, and as it was square, that means
that each side was 375 miles. Suppose we take 375 miles as
the side of a square city: 375 times 375 miles is 140,625 square
miles. That gives you its surface area. But the city is as high
as it is long or broad, so we have to go up 375 miles, and make
a cube, or hexagon, with six sides. Now, multiply your 140,_
625 by the 375 miles high, and you get over fifty_two million
cubic miles. Suppose you put it into stories, each story a
mile high and with 140,625 square miles surface, and then
another story on top of that, and so on up. Talk about your
modern skyscrapers! Elevators? You won’t need any eleva_
tors! If you are down on the street of that city, and you
want to go to the top story, you will to be there, and there you
are. You do not need any machinery to pull you up in your
glorified body.
5. How does it compare with ancient Jerusalem, and what
is the meaning of these symbolic numbers?
ANSWER. – Just think of the circuit of ancient Jerusalem –
four miles. You could ride around ancient Jerusalem in an
hour – all around it. Whatever these symbolic numbers mean,
they certainly mean that there will be a great many people
saved to occupy so great a city – and that is only the capital.
Multiply the square miles in London or New York a thousand_
fold, and it would not even approximate the dimensions of this
New Jerusalem: „In my Father’s house are many mansions.”
6. Describe its wall and give its boundaries; what symbols
show the richness of the city?
ANSWER. – Now, in addition to the size of the city thus ex_
pressed, there is a wall that enclosed the city, how close to it
the record does not say – it may be the boundaries of the earth.
That wall, if you use the sacred cubit of 22 inches as a measure,
is 260 feet high; if you use the 18_inch cubit measure, it is
216 feet high. It is a higher wall than this earth ever saw –
higher by far than the walls of ancient Babylon. The great
Chinese wall, built as a barrier to Tartar invasion, may start
you on the idea. This wall goes all around the city, and the
twelve foundations of the wall have on them the names of the
twelve apostles of the Lamb. The city is four_sided, just as
the ancient court around the tabernacle, looking north, south,
east, and west, around which the twelve tribes camped, three
on each side. The richness of the city cannot be conceived:
the streets are of gold, and every one of the twelve gates is
solid pearl. That is symbolical language, but the idea of the
symbolism is to convey to you a richness that passes beyond
the realization of any man having knowledge of only such
things as we see here. „Oh when, thou city of my God, shall
I thy courts ascend?” Those gates, however, are never shut –
they are always open, because there is no evil to shut out.
The devil and his demons and every evil man is in prison
forever in the lake of fire, and as your lesson says, all the na_
tions of the saved pour through the gates of that city to wor_
ship God.
7. What are not found there and what things are abiding?
ANSWER. – The light of the city is God himself – nothing
that the mind of man has ever conceived of in the way of bril_
liancy can even approximate the white light and eternal radi_
ance of that God who is light, and in whom there is no dark_
ness. He is the light of it; the black wing of night never flaps
over it; there is no night there. There is no pain there; there
is no weeping and mourning for the dead, for none die; there
is no death there; tongues have ceased and prophecies have
ceased, but abiding forever are hope, love, faith – these three.
There is only love to God, and love to the fellow man, a high
and holy love, and faith and hope; those are the conditions.
It is an eternal condition of inexpressible felicity and joy.
No wonder Dr. Chalmers, in the greatest sermon he ever
preached on the expulsive power of a new affection, used
somewhat this language: „Oh, if some island of the blessed
could be loosed from its heavenly moorings and glide down
the stream of time and pass by in our sight just one time, so
that we might see the unflecked serenity of its skies, and in_
hale the fragrance of its flowers, and be ravished by the melo_
dious strains of its music, and catch just one time the sheen
of the apparel of its inhabitants – never again would we be
satisfied with this world.” I was once literally swept off my
feet by hearing four thousand Methodists in a tent meeting
sing that song,
Have you heard, have you heard of that sun_bright clime,
Undimmed by sorrow and unhurt by time;
Where age hath no power o’er fadeless frame:
Where the eye is fire, and the heart is flame;
Have you heard of that sun_bright clime?
When the thoughts of heaven sweep down on us, when the
glory of that heavenly city comes into the mind, I tell you, we
have a revival – power rests on the feeblest saint.
8. What three figures are used in presenting this heavenly
ANSWER. – You are to understand that this heavenly city is
presented in three figures: First, this city; second, the Lamb’s
wife; third, by Paradise. Right in the center of the city is
the throne of God, and bubbling up from under that throne is
a water system that branches into four heads, as an ancient
paradise, running in four directions – the water of life, flowing
freely. And on either side of it is the tree of life, bearing
twelve manner of fruits, and yielding its fruit every month –
the flowers never cease to bloom, the fruit never ceases to
ripen, the stream never hushes its music as it outflows, and
every ripple of it says, „Life, life, eternal life.”
9. What, then) the object of the book?
ANSWER. – So, whether we consider heaven as a glorious
city, or the city as an image of the church in glory, or as
paradise regained, we see „the restoration of all things.” God
knew, when he made this world, how he wanted it, but the
devil thought to thwart him; he did take possession of it for a
time. The object of this great book of the New Testament,
this closing book, this last flash of revelation, is to show you
preachers, you women workers, that all of this earth shall be
redeemed from the power of the devil, and that the gospel of
our Lord Jesus Christ will „never lose its power till all the
ransomed church of God be saved to sin no more,” and you
ought to live on that thought. You may stumble occasional_
ly ; you may fall occasionally, but always get up facing heav_
en. I always said, when I was a wicked sinner, that if I was
ever converted the first thing I would do after being con_
verted would be to read Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, or the
sojourner’s travel to the heavenly city. And when I got back
home, lying down, happy in my conversion, my hands over
my face, my mother came and pulled my hands away, and
said: „My son, you have found the Saviour.” That night I
sat by her bedside and read John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress.
And I tell you, when I got to that part of the book where
Beulah Land is described, or where, from the mountains de_
lectable, one might see the glory of the heavenly city, with
only the river of death between, and the shining ones coming

down to the river and beckoning you to come over and waiting
to receive you when you crossed, I got my great conception of
heaven right then, and have never lost it since.
There was a lady schoolmate of mine, a brilliant girl and
a very dear friend. We went different ways when we left
school. One day I received a note written on the margin of
a newspaper, saying: „If you are my old schoolmate, as I
think you are, come to see me before I die, and bring your
church choir with you.” I went, and found her heartbroken
and dying. When I entered the room she said: „I did not
send for you to tell me how to die: I know, I know. But I tell
you what I wish you would do; get your singers to sing a hymn.
I want to be upborne on the wings of melody as I ascend to
heaven.” I asked: „What do you want us to sing?” „Sing this
song: ‘Oh, sing to me of heaven when I am called to die;
sing songs of holy ecstasy to waft my soul on high.’ ” We sang
it, in tears, and when we got through, in the sweetest, faintest
voice, she repeated the last verse and ended with a sigh. She
was dead. So music cheered her last breath on earth, and
greeted her first taste of heaven.
It may sound fanciful, but I sometimes am carried away
with the thought that if I could get together the preachers and
the working forces of the churches, and keep them studying
for a few days on the Bible teachings of heaven, until the
clearness, and certainty, and eternity of heaven and hell got
hold on them, they would know how to work.
10. Who are the inhabitants of this city?
ANSWER. – You have learned in our study about heaven as
a place, heaven as a state, and now I close with a reference to
its companionship. Paul says: „But ye are come unto Mount
Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jeru_
salem, and to innumerable hosts of angels, to the general as_
sembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven,
and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made
perfect, and to Jesus, the Mediator of a new covenant, and to
the blood of sprinkling that speaketh better than that of
Abel” (Heb. 12:22_24). That is companionship divine, an_
gelic, and human. But the greatest of all the joys will be
when we come to Jesus and, taking off the crowns his gracious
hands placed on our brows, lay them down at his pierced feet,
and say: „Not unto us, 0 Lord, not unto us; but unto thy
name be honour and power and glory and dominion for ever.”
Yes, we are coming to Jesus; we are coming to the innumerable
host of angels, ten thousand times ten thousands of thousands
and thousands of the shining ones we have heard so much
about in this book; we are coming to the general assembly,
the church of the firstborn who are written in heaven, and
who, standing on the walls of everlasting deliverance, and look_
ing down toward the earth once ruled by the devil, all of its
mountainsides scarred with battle, all of its valleys crimson
with blood, all of its caves filled with the bones of the mur_
dered, all of its seas filled with the wrecks of those who
perished in battle and storm, we shall look down on it, and
we will see all of it washed whiter than snow. I do not say
that we shall be limited to the earth in the world to come;
I do not suppose there will be any barrier to our going to any
part of the universe. But God intended that man should have
dominion over the earth.
11. Who are forbidden to enter this city?
ANSWER. – Before we leave the subject I ought to say this
sad thing: „On the outside are the fearful,” those who lacked
moral courage, those who were ashamed to say: „I am for
Christ,” that were ashamed to stand by him, ashamed to con_
fess him in public. „On the outside are all liars, and all whore_
mongers, and all idolaters.” That is the crowd that is on the
outside forever. They, too, have a place, prepared for the
devil and his angels; they, too, have companionship: but what
a crowd! What a crowd! Who wants to be with them forever?
If it chill your heart to be associated now with one unclean,
foul, slimy soul, what will it be to company with all the lost
The questions are in the body of the text, it being presented ill the
form of a catechism.

Revelation 22:6_21

The exposition of this marvelous and delightful book closes
with this chapter. As the first chapter is the prologue of the
book, this study of Revelation 22:6_21 is the epilogue of the
book. Most of the terms of the first chapter are here repeated
to show that the purpose of the revelation there announced
is here consummated. No other Bible book has more striking
marks of unity. The first sentence: „These words are faithful
and true,” authenticates the whole book. The second sen_
tence connects it in unity and authority with all the preceding
books of the sacred history. That sentence: „The Lord, the
God of the spirits of the prophets, sent his angel to show unto
his servants the things which must shortly come to pass,” means
that the Lord who bestowed upon each of the Old Testament
prophets, and on each of the preceding New Testament proph_
ets, that measure of the gift of the Holy Spirit to qualify him
to write his part of the sacred canon, inspired this closing
book also, making it the capstone and the climax of all revela_
tion. It follows that the whole library has one author, all
the parts are correlated into one complete system of revelation.
In every case, from Moses to John, „The testimony of Jesus is
the spirit of prophecy.” Paul had said collectively of the Old
Testament Scriptures: „They are the sacred scriptures,” dis_
tinguishing them from all secular and profane writings; and
then said of them distributively, pasgraphe theopneustos, „ev_
ery one of the writings is God_inspired.”
This second sentence of our study not only virtually affirms
the same thing of the New Testament books, but links both
Testaments into one inspired unity.

Read the next two verses: „And I, John, am he who heard
and saw these things, and when I heard and saw, I fell down to
worship before the feet of the angel that showed me these
things. And he saith unto me, See thou do it not: I am a
fellow servant with thee and with thy brethren the prophets,
and with them that keep the words of this book: worship God.”
Here are two great lessons: First, that angels are not to be
adored: Worship God. So Paul wrote to the Colossians:
„Let no man rob you of your prize by a voluntary humility
and worshipping of angels . . . which had indeed a show of
will worship.” That kind of worship, which the human
will has devised, has cursed all Christendom as well as
heathendom, worshiping the creature rather than the Creator.
Huge ecclesiasticisms, particularly the Romanist and Greek
churches, claiming to be the highest expressions of Christian_
ity, are in the main elaborate systems of idolatry, angelolatry,
Mariolatry, adoration of the mass, the images, saints, relics,
and a thousand other superstitions.
The second lesson: Not only do the words of the angel show
a fraternity of Old and New Testament prophets, but a fellow_
service of both with the angels: „I am a fellow servant with
thee and with the prophets, and with those who keep the
words of this book.” You see that sentence blends into one
great family of God the saints of all ages and the angels who
have been the ministering spirits to the heirs of salvation.
Read the next verse: „He saith unto me: Seal not up the
words of the prophecy of this book; for the time is at hand.”
Here, again, we gather two important lessons. First, while
more than once in this book we have seen the temporary seal_
ing up, or suppression of the outcome of the synchronous
views until the crowning climax of all of them arrives (see
8:1; 10:4), and yet at the end, the whole book is opened for_
ever; no man can ever seal up any part of this book. It is a
revelation; it is meant to be understood. A benediction is
pronounced on the hearer, the reader, and the keeper of the
words of the book, but if we do not understand the book, we
cannot keep its words.
The second lesson: In one respect there is a sharp contrast
between the prophecies of the two dispensations. For example,
the book of Daniel, which is the great prototype of this book.
To Daniel, at the close of his apocalypse, greatly troubled
because he did not understand his own visions, God said (and
you will notice the contrast): „But thou, 0 Daniel, shut up
the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end:
many shall run to and fro and knowledge shall be increased.
. . . And I heard but I understood not; then said 1:. 0 my
Lord, what shall be the issue of these things? And he said:
Go thy way, Daniel, for the words are shut up and sealed till
the time of the end. Many shall purify and make themselves
white, and be refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly, and
none of the wicked shall understand, but they that are wise
shall understand. . . . But go thou thy way till the end be; for
thou shalt rest and stand in thy lot, at the end of the days.”
Daniel is commanded to seal up his book; our verse says:
„Seal not up the words of this prophecy.” Speaking concern_
ing all the Old Testament prophecies, and also concerning the
angels, Peter uses this language: „Concerning which salva_
tion the prophets searched and sought diligently, who proph_
esied of the grace that should come unto you; searching what
time, or what manner of time the spirit of Christ which was in
them did point to, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of
Christ, and the glories that should follow them. To whom it
was revealed that not unto themselves, but unto you did they
minister these things, which now have been announced unto
you through them that preached the gospel unto you by the
Holy Spirit sent forth from heaven. Which things angels de_
sire to look into.” It is the church, in her victories, that in_
structs the angels in the manifold wisdom of God. As Paul
says to the Ephesians: „The manifold wisdom of God shall
be made known to principalities and powers in heavenly places
by the church.” The old dispensation, clouded in type and
shadow, left many things sealed up. The New Testament
sweeps all the mists away.
Read now two other verges of the lesson: „He that is un_
righteous, let him do unrighteousness still; and he that is filthy,
let him be made filthy still; and he that is righteous let him
do righteousness still; and he that is holy let him be made holy
still. Behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me, to
render to each man according as his work is.” Your author
does not understand verse II to refer to the fixity of the final
state after the judgment, to wit: that one then righteous will
be righteous forever. That is true, but it is not taught here.
This epilogue is not now considering the results of the judg_
ment and the future state; they have been disposed of in an_
other connection; this epilogue is not a vision, it is not a part of
the apocalypse. It simply tells of the application of all the les_
sons of the book to the present. A similar mode of expression
appears in Ezekiel 12:11 and Daniel 12:10. The meaning is
that, having now unveiled the future with it in reward and
punishment, the choice is left to man to be righteous or un_
righteous, holy or filthy; God will not coerce. Just so, some of
the exiles would not hear Ezekiel, and some who heard him
would not practice what he preached. He said: „I am to you
merely as the sound of a pleasant instrument; you sit before
me just as if you were the people of the Lord, but you go out
after hearing me and continue to do your abominations.”
It reminds me of the romantic legend of St. Anthony, who,
having no people to preach to, went and preached to the fishes,
and the record states that they were much edified. But the
eels went on eeling, and the stock fish went on stealing, each
one living in the same old way.
Notwithstanding Daniel’s visions, the wicked, as God said to
him, would continue to do wickedly. And so, notwithstanding
this book of Revelation, those who love unholiness will be
allowed to follow their bent, and those who prefer being filthy
will go on being made filthy. He is permitted to follow his
choice, but is warned that whatever each man chooses in
time will be his destiny in eternity, as the last clause of the
verse tells us: „Behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with
me, to render to every man according to his works.”
Read verses 14_15: „Blessed are they that wash their robes
that they may have the right to come to the tree of life and
may enter in by the gates of the city. Without are the dogs,
and the sorcerers, and the idolaters, and the fornicators, and
the murderers, and every one that loveth and maketh a lie.”
The reader will note the difference in the text of verse 14 be_
tween the Common Version and the Revised, from which I
quote. The King James Version reads this way: „Blessed are
they that do his commandments, that they may have the right
to the tree of life,” and this version reads: „Blessed are they
that have washed their robes, that they may have the right
to the tree of life.” That makes a marked difference in doc_
trine. The King James translators had not before them any
one of the three oldest manuscripts of the New Testament:
the Alexandrian manuscript, now in the British Museum, was
presented to Charles I, son of James. The Sinaitic manu_
script was discovered long after that translation by Tischen_
dorf, and it is now in the museum at St. Petersburg. The
Vatican manuscript is in the Vatican Library at Rome. All
these oldest and best manuscripts read: „Blessed are they that
have washed their robes, that they may have the right to the
tree of life.” I have facsimiles of all these oldest manuscripts
in my library. You may accept it without question that in
the best texts the reading is „Blessed are they who have washed
their robes.” This harmonizes expressly with the parallel
passage in 7:9_14, where those arrayed in white robes are de_
clared to be those who have washed their robes and made
them white in the blood of the lamb, and harmonizes with the
vital and fundamental truth that the blood of Christ cleanses
from all sin. The right to the tree of life comes by blood, not
by works; by faith, not by doing. The thought of the passage
follows strictly the preceding one. God will not coerce; the
choice is with men; if they by faith will accept the Saviour
and are cleansed in his blood, they have a right to the tree of
life, and to enter into the Holy City, the New Jerusalem. But
if they prefer to be dogs, sorcerers, fornicators, murderers,
idolaters, and liars, then their destiny is on the outside.
Read verse 16: „I, Jesus, have sent mine angel to testify
unto you these things for the churches. I am the root and the
offspring of David, the bright, the morning star.” How often
have I told you, since we commenced this book, that the God_
appointed agency for lighting the world is the churches. The
whole of this book, as a sacred deposit of revealed truth, is
given to the churches. That is why the church is said to be
the „pillar and ground of the truth.”
Here, again, the connection is close: This book of Revela_
tion is from the Lord. He sent his testimony by his angel. The
message is fully authenticated; it is a message for the churches.
They receive the deposit of truth for communication of all the
Read verse 17: „And the Spirit and the bride say, Come;
and he that heareth, let him say, Come; and he that is athirst,
let him come; and he that will, let him take of the water of life
freely.” The revelation of the way of life completed, and the
revelation of destiny at the judgment, and this revelation as a
sacred deposit having been given to the churches, what shall
they do with it? What are their duties in view of the fact that
they are the custodians of the truth? Verse 17, which I have
just read, answers that question.
But what does it mean? You are invited to come) and to come
to what? The premillennialists insist that all the „comes” in
this book refer to, or are spoken to, Jesus: „Come, Lord Jesus.”
I pointed out their error where the four Cherubim say, „Come,”
„Come,” „Come,” „Come.” They are speaking not to the Lord
Jesus, but are speaking to those horses that appear at their
command to come, and I now say to you that the Spirit does
not say to Jesus, „Come,” nor does the bride or the church, in
this connection at least, say to Jesus, „Come”; and the one
that hears does not say to Jesus, „Come.” The rest of the verse
will not make sense with such interpretation: „Let him that is
athirst come, and such as will, let him partake of the water of
life freely.” To put that premillennial interpretation on the
passage destroys the meaning of the greatest text in the Bible.
The revelation of the way of life and the judgment and eter_
nal destiny being made clear and complete and authenticated,
and that way of life shown to be by grace, through faith, in the
cleansing of the blood of Christ; and the choice of the decision
being left to man, and the complete revelation being deposited
with the churches, we come to our verse: The Holy Spirit,
Christ’s vicar on earth, abiding in the church till the judgment
day, in order to complete the cleansing by blood, says to all
men, „Come.” As if pointing to that picture of heaven, de_
scribed in the last chapter, with the throne of God, with the
water of life bubbling from under that throne and outflowing
through the city, the Holy Spirit says to every sinner, to every
lost man in the world: „Come to this water of life.” What the
Spirit says the church says: the Spirit and the church united
give the invitation, and the Spirit gives the power to the in_
vitation: „Come to the water of life.” Not only is that an
official invitation, but any man that hears the Spirit or the
church give that invitation is authorized to repeat it. As you
hear, you may turn at once to your nearest neighbor, your
dearest friend, the members of your family, and say, „Come.”
Not only that, but whether you hear the Spirit or the church
consciously, if you are athirst, if there be a craving in your
soul, that very thirst in you is your authority to come. As Je_
sus said: „Whosoever that drinketh of the water that I shall
give him shall never thirst.”
What a glorious thing it is that there is so little red tape in
the invitation of the gospel. You may be by yourself, you may
not be in reach of any church; you may just have a longing in
your soul for salvation: then come. Don’t wait for anybody or
anything. The thought even goes a step beyond. You may not
even have that thirst, your only conviction may be that you
cannot feel, yet if you are willing to come: „Whosoever will,
let him come,” without money and without price. How it falls
into line with all Bible invitations; particularly with Isaiah 55.
That chapter was my mother’s favorite. When I was a little
bit of a fellow wearing dresses, I had to kneel down before her
and repeat:
Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he
that hath no money, come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine
and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye
spend money for that which is not bread? And your labour for
that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat
ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.
Incline your ear and come unto me; hear, and your soul shall
live: And I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even
the sure mercies of David. . . . Seek ye Jehovah while he may
be found; call ye upon him while he is near; let the wicked
forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and
let him return unto Jehovah and he will have mercy upon him;
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. – ISAIAH 4:1_3,
Mark the glorious results: „For ye shall go out with joy and
be led forth with peace; the mountains and the hills shall
break forth before you into singing; and all the trees of the
field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up
the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle
tree; and it shall be to Jehovah for a name, for an everlasting
sign that shall not be cut off.” That is to say, in the joy of
your heart you interpret differently all external nature, the
sunlight is sweeter, the trees are more beautiful, the earth
takes on a new dignity and nature, and you see everything
through the rose colour of your faith.
I say, then, that while the choice is left to each man to be
righteous or unrighteous, no choice is left to the church or to
the Christian: you must invite. If he die, his blood must not
be on you; you must say to him, „Come.”
Read verse 18: „I testify unto every man that heareth the
words of the prophecy of this book, if any man shall add unto
them, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in
this book; and if any man shall take away from the words of
this prophecy, God shall take away his part of the tree of life
and out of the Holy City which are written in this book.” What_
a tremendous sentence! And in view of it, hear the ex_president
of Harvard University say: „We need a new religion.” He
wants to add to what this book says. Hear the former pro_
fessor of theology in the Divinity School of the University of
Chicago say only a little part of the Christian religion will be
final; you remember his book, The Finality of the Christian
Religion, which goes on whittling away on God’s revelation
until what is left, in his estimation, would rest without falling
off on the point of a cambric needle. And they promoted him
from a chair in the Divinity School to the University Chair of
Comparative Religions. At which I wondered in this fashion:
Since even he admits that the Christian religion is the best of
all extant religions, but since only an infinitesimal part of that
will abide, why waste money to pay a man to institute com_
parisons between them?
I, for one, think that verses 18_19 are not exclusively limited
to the book of Revelation. For, if I have correctly interpreted
the foregoing passages, showing that this book is bound up with
all the other prophecies into one unity, and as in this book
Christ’s prophetic office is closed henceforth, so then there will
never be another revelation, nor need for another, and as this
book is the climax revealing paradise regained to meet the
paradise lost of Genesis, then the warning applies to all the
inseparable library. Since this book makes known the way of
life to the lost, since the only way to the tree of life and
the holy New Jerusalem of God and the blessed society that
is described in the preceding chapter, since through the blood
of Jesus Christ is the only way to obtain the right to enter, how
heinous must be the offense of taking away a part of this book,
or adding a part!
There has always been in the sinner’s heart a prurient desire
to find some way to the secrets of the hereafter, and hence they
have resorted to magic and sorcery, fortunetelling, soothsaying,
necromancy, and ten thousand other ways. Even in hell the
rich man had that desire: „Father Abraham, send Lazarus
back to yonder world to tell my brothers not to come here.”
Abraham said: „They have Moses and the prophets; they
have the light.” He said: „No, Father Abraham, if one would
go unto them from the dead they will repent.” Abraham said:
„If they would not repent under Moses and the prophets, they
would not repent under one that came from the dead.” Who_
ever is not willing to be saved by this revelation, a stored up,
a precious treasure of life, deposited with the churches, then
liow can he be saved? That is why I told you, and probably
shocked some of you by saying, that whoever is not saved
through the shining of the candlesticks and stars, through the
ministry of the light of the churches and the preachers, cannot
be saved. Therefore no man can be saved after Christ comes;
all of the saving light is deposited with the churches. That
is why I prefer to take my conception of the churches from
Jesus Christ rather than from man’s idea of what is the
church. He established the church as an institution; he
calls the concrete expression of the institution, „the churches”:
He says, „These are the candlesticks and the stars that are
to illumine the world.” I count being a church member a
very great honor. Others prefer to run over the range as
mavericks – Texas cattlemen know what that means – wild
stock with no brand or mark on them. And there are quite a
lot of preachers who prefer to be „free lances,” independent
of the churches. Paul says that Jesus set the apostles, prophets,
evangelists, and teachers in the church: that is where he put
them; they are not turned out loose in the world like wander_
ing stars: they must have anchorage; they must hail from some
port and must be going to some port.

1. What part of this book the prologue, and what part the epilogue?
2. In what words is the whole book authenticated?
3. In what words is it connected in unity and authority with all pre_
ceding books of the sacred library?
4. What the meaning of „The Lord, the God of Spirits, sent his
angel to show unto his servants the things” of this book?
5. What follows from this meaning?
6. How does Paul speak of the Old Testament book, first collectively,
then distributively?
7. What the two great lessons from verses 8_9?
8. What the two lessons from verse 10?
9. What the meaning of verse II, negatively and positively?
10. Wherein does the rendering of the Common Version of verse 14
differ from the Revision, and why?
11. Expound verse 17.
12. Why may you not restrict the words of verses 18_19 to this book

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