Study of The Book of Revelation
W. T. Russel (Tape #7)
If I am not right in what I have
taught in this book, I hate to face it at the judgment. I want you to know that
I am sincere, honest, and not trying to put over something just because I want
it to be that way. A preacher told me that once he held to a certain position
but finally gave it up. He said, "I don't know why I believed and preached that
unless I just wanted it to be that way." That's a pretty bad excuse. I want
things to be like God has it fixed. I have tried with the help of God to present
this exposure in a way which I hope you are able to understand and see what is
coming in the future. Most of what we have written about thus far is the fight,
persecution, and hardships of the church in the years gone by and the agencies
by which it has happened. Of course the Devil has been the one who has used
those agencies. We've come to the conclusion that the opening of the seals was
the revelation of the effects of the gospel, as preached, from the time it
started in the beginning of this dispensation to the end of the world. The
sounding of the trumpets showed response to prayers that had been around the
throne of God maybe for years and years. There are prayers still unanswered
around the throne. They are waiting for God's own good time. We should be
willing for God's will to be done, and things done in his time when he will get
the most honor and glory. We don't take that into consideration too much. When
we want God to do something, we want him to do it now. But now he might not get
the honor and glory that he could get later. We need to be patient. We will see
something about that a little later in this book.
Chapter 13:1 "And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy." The personal pronoun "I" is a mistranslation. It should have been the second person "he" instead of the first person since it is not John standing on the sands of the sea. We are going to read it as it is found in the original. The Revised Version says, "And he stood upon the sands of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea ...” He has reference to the dragon, Satan. The word "beast" in Revelation, as well as in Daniel and other books of the Old Testament, has symbolic usage. It has reference to a kingdom or a government. The word "sea" alludes to people. And the sand of the sea represents multitudes of people. A beast rising up out of the sea, out from among that multitude of people. This beast had seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns, ten crowns, upon his heads the name of blasphemy this is another order of government. Chapter 13:2 “And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority." The dragon gave him his power and his seat (or his throne) and great authority. This new government coming into being is out of hell with it's power given by the Devil. The "beast" or kingdom represented by a leopard, a spotted beast, has reference to the political and ecclesiastical connection in one government which is referred to as the Holy Roman Empire following the Pagan Roman Empire. I'd like to call your attention to the fact that the Devil had failed in his efforts to destroy the church through Pagan Rome for we see Pagan Rome coming to an end. I'd like for you to go back, and we'll tie it in regarding chapter 12:14 where the church fled into the wilderness, and she was "given two wings of a great eagle." As we said before, this eagle is still having reference to the Cherubim which are God's agents who carry out his purposes on earth. The church was carried into the wilderness, and the Devil was wroth or maddened because he failed. He cast out of his mouth waters as a flood after the woman or the church, but the earth helped the woman. We mentioned previously that the earth helping the woman simply meant that governments sympathetic to liberty enacted laws that were executed by them, which protected the church. Of course, that was through God's providence. 12:17 "And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." As I said earlier almost all of what we have studied except what we've received in panorama of an opening of things in heaven gives us little glimpse once in a while of heaven's agencies. Most of what we've studied has been dark for the church even the seven churches of Asia with the weaknesses that were seen in them. We are traveling in this book toward the time when God is going to answer the prayers that have been prayed. He is going to reward his gospel that has been preached, and we are going to see the victory over the devil and all of his combined forces before we reach the end of this book. When thinking about the Book of Revelation, many people start at the twentieth chapter. They try to make it the key to the entire book. I'm not doing that because no book in the Bible has ever been written in that manner. The context of every subject in every book of the Bible comes first, and then the consequences follow. We will get to the twentieth chapter, but we are going to study what happened before the twentieth chapter. The leopard beast is the Holy Roman Empire which is the union of church and state. Constantine was the one who united the Roman church and state. Part of the time the state had the authority, but every time there is a union of church and state, you'll find problems existing between them. The problem is which one is the boss. Of course the two went along that way for a time. There was much rejoicing when they were united and became a Holy Roman Empire and took the place of the Pagan Roman Empire. See the transfer in verse three.
Chapter 13:3 "And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast." We see pagan Rome dying in this verse. It is dead and never to rise again. The deadly wound which brought death to pagan Rome was healed by another head. What was that head? It was the Roman head--the Roman Empire--taking the place of the pagan empire. The entire world wondered after the beast.
Chapter 13:4 “And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?" This is Rome who had the whole world under its dominion at that time. Now I want to go back right here. In Daniel's time, he saw four kingdoms. Three of those kingdoms had fallen, and only one remained. He saw a stone cut out of the mountain without hands which crushed all these kingdoms, and they became as the chaff of the summer threshing floor. In the image seen by Daniel was a head of gold representing the Babylonian Kingdom with the kingdom of the Medes and Persians seen as silver? Daniel saw in that same form the Greeks or the Macedonians, and the Roman Kingdom. The king saw that image completely destroyed in his dream. Daniel told him what it represented. This image was a type or a shadow which is exactly what we are studying in the book of Revelation. So we notice this, the whole world wondered after the beast. "And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?" That is the government, who is able to stand up and battle against Rome which had the whole world under her sway at that time.
Chapter 13:5 "And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months." This is the wilderness period. How long was he given? It was “forty and two months" or twelve hundred and sixty years. When you count each day for a year, the very same length of time that we have studied heretofore.
Chapter 13:6 "And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven."...his tabernacle," is his church.
Chapter 13:7 "And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindred’s, and tongues, and nations."
Chapter 13:8 “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." This was a sad scene. This beast, this political, ecclesiastical government--the union of church and state--and every unsaved person living at the time followed after and worshipped the beast. I'm thinking of this as being in the past, because it is. It's long past. There was a time when everyone wandered after that beast that was not saved. The Lamb's book of life here does not mean their names were written in the book from the foundation of the world but rather the Lamb being slain from the foundation of the world. However, some people take the position that he's talking about having the names written in the Lambs book of life from the beginning. I think God could have written those names in the book if he had wanted to, but the Bible doesn't uphold it. We just can't interpret without tying in some other scriptures which we will get to shortly.
Chapter 13:9 "If any men have an ear, let him hear." It's one thing for a person to have an ear, and it's another thing for him not to use that ear. He's making an appeal here. If you have a spiritual ear of understanding, heed what you are hearing. What are we supposed to hear? We are supposed to hear when the Devil failed in pagan Rome; he organized and placed in operation a counterfeit church. It was a counterfeit church from the beginning, and it continues to be a counterfeit church today. I want to call your attention to seven nations. Daniel saw four of these nations in the image which we have discussed previously. The Babylonians were in power, but they were to decline until replaced by the Medes and Persians. The Greeks finally replaced them until the Roman Kingdom came to power. The Roman Kingdom was depicted by the legs and feet which were of iron mixed with miry clay. Thus the world depreciated in greatness from gold to iron mixed with miry clay. Rome actually, as Gibbons says, began to decline and fell under the hammer of the truth of the gospel of the Son of God. Daniel saw that. There are seven nations which we are going to study. One of them was Egypt who had the children of Israel in bondage four hundred years. They tried everything possible to keep them in slavery in Egypt, but God delivered them by a mighty hand. Assyria, the capital of which was Nineveh, was the second nation and Babylon the third. The fourth nation is the Medes and Persians with the fifth being the Macedonian or Greek nation. The Roman Empire is the sixth we are to study, and the Holy Roman Catholic Empire is the seventh. Finally, there was one who was not a nation, but he was of the seventh. He is the pope. The instrument introduced in Revelation which the Devil began with is getting weaker all the time. We will finally see the fall--the complete overthrow--of the Roman Catholic Church before the end. We will finally see the Devil, the false prophet and all of his agencies cast into the lake of fire with the rest of the wicked of the world. Then we will see total and complete victory to the church that Jesus set up almost two thousand years ago. This should give us courage and more zeal to move out knowing that we are not fighting alone, that God has agencies in heaven, and we are just laborers together with him. May God help us to move out and tell the world the truth?
Chapter 13:10 "He that leaded into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killed with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints." Here is the promise. "Here is the patience and the faith of the saints." What is he talking about? He's talking about those saints of God who patiently, through faith, endured the persecutions that came upon them—through faith and patience--not just patience. Chapter 13:11 "And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke as a dragon." Chapter 13:12 "And he exercised all the power of the first beast before him, and caused the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed." In other words, he exercises the power of the pagan empire. The pagan head of Rome was wounded to death. But that deadly wound was healed by the Catholic head, the head of the papacy. There is where it was bought back to life, but it exercised all of the power of the first beast or pagan empire.
Chapter 13:13 "And he doeth great wonders, so that he make fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,"
Chapter 13:14 "And deceived them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live." The Catholic institution is based in Italy, but wherever you find it, you'll find many images and claims of miracles. It's not uncommon to pick up your paper and read of a new miracle that happened in Catholic ranks, and many people believe it. They claim their images weep, and some that shed blood drop after drop. Their claims have deceived millions of people for there are millions and millions of people connected with and members of the Catholic Church. They have more images than the heather. It's another type of idolatry used in their worship. Verse fourteen simply says they were given power to do this by the one who gave him his seat and his authority, which was the Devil. So whatever they have ever claimed in the world of miracles, it's like the fortune tellers of today. Nobody disputes the fact that there are fortune tellers. There are fortune tellers, but every last of one them do and see what they see in the future by the power of the Devil who gives them the same authority that he gave this leopard beast. They are in the same category as far as I'm concerned.
Chapter 13:15 "And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed." He had power to give life or breathe unto the image of the beast. This means the beast, government, or empire that had fallen by the sword was dead as an empire but was rejuvenated and brought back to life by another head. That head was the Catholic head. The little beast who had two horns like a lamb which spoke as a dragon was the pope.
Chapter 13:16 "And he caused all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:"
Chapter 13:17 "And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name."
Chapter 13:18 "Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six." After we discuss the beast of verses sixteen, seventeen and eighteen, we will get into these kingdoms and the beasts of these kingdoms. Who is this man? Verse eighteen says that it is the number of a man. Well, if it is a number of a man, then it has to be taken from his name. The Catholics from the very beginning have used in their services, worship, all their ceremonies and their mass the Latin language. The Latin language has been used until recently which is another thing they are giving up. Today they are allowing the priests in their dioceses, the churches if you want to call them that, to say their ceremonies and carry out their ordinances in any language they wish to use. No longer are they confined to the Latin language. They've given back that much. However, there is much more the Catholics have given up. I've done a lot of searching regarding verse eighteen. I do not pick up things from others without investigation and have gone as far as I am able to determine whether this is right or wrong. These letters which make up a name have a numerical value. Every Greek letter has a numerical value. Verse eighteen says this man has a number, and it is the number of his name. That number is six hundred threescore and six. The first ruler of Rome was Latinas. In Greek, his name is Latinos. When you add the numerical value of the letters of Latinos, they total 666 Greek Luanda L = 30 Alpha A = 1 Tau T = 300 Epsilon E = 5 Iota I = 10 Nu N = 50 Omikron O = 70 Sigma S = *** Total 666 I am convinced beyond any shadow of doubt that it was the basis of the Latin language that has been used down through the centuries by the Roman Catholics because of the name from which this number comes - Six Hundred Threescore and six. I would like now to tie some things together here. I want us to understand in the seventeenth chapter of Revelation some of these things that we have written about in reference to this beast. Notice in chapter 17:7 that the beast which carried the woman had seven heads and ten horns. In that same chapter he tells us exactly what that is. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sat. Now that woman was riding a scarlet colored beast. She was on top of the beast and supported by the beast. And he said, "And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sat." (In other words, seven governments.) In 17:10 it says "And there are seven kings: five are fallen," (Five had gone down in John's time, and one was then in power. So that makes six.) Let's look a little bit further at, “and the other has not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space." That makes seven. 17:11 says "And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition." 17:12 "And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast." 17:13 "These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast." 17:14 "These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful." (Brother Russell: Is the 13th Chapter correct? I put it in to make it clearer.) In the Thirteenth chapter we read where the saints were overcome by the beast, driven into the wilderness and into obscurity. But here we find the freeing of the church from the wilderness, and the church winning the victory over the beast that had been developed and given authority and power by him to overcome the church. I want to study more about this beast, but we'll have to go back to Daniel. As you will remember, Daniel interpreted Nebuchadnezzar's dream. A great image stood up before Nebuchadnezzar in his dream, and that great image had a head of gold, and his breast was of silver, his belly was of brass, and his legs were of iron. Notice how the kingdoms depreciated. Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar, "Thou art this head of gold." In other words, this head of gold represents the Babylonian Empire. The breast of that image was silver which represented Persia and Meadia because they were together. The next one we see in that image was Greece. The iron mixed with miry clay represented the Roman Kingdom. While John was writing the Revelation on the Isle of Patmos, the Pagan Roman Kingdom was in power. John was suffering persecution while all of the other apostles had died at the hands of Pagan Rome, and the church had been driven into the wilderness by Pagan Rome. There were two more nations before Daniel's time. One of them was Egypt; the other was Assyria which was before Daniel's interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream. Egypt held captive the children of Israel in slavery. God had made a promise together with the prophecy that they'd be strangers in a strange land, and serve them for four hundred years. He also said he would deliver them with a mighty hand which he did. Egypt then went down to Assyria. Assyria held sway throughout the earth, and from Assyria the Babylonian Empire was founded. Here are the seven nations: 1. Egypt 2. Assyria 3. Babylon 4. Persia
5. Greeks 6. Romans 7. Holy Roman Empire Notice 17:11 "And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition." This eighth fellow is not a nation, but he is of the seventh. There is no eighth nation because there are just seven nations. But this pope which is the eighth is of the seven, and this says, he'll go into perdition. That just simply means, he's going to be destroyed. His destruction is going to come. I don't know when, but it's going to happen. And all because God has had true churches in this world that have not been afraid to stand up against heresies advocated by the Catholics and the Protestants which are the daughters of that Roman hierarchy. Fathers and mothers and other children of God have prayed for the truth to reach the hearts of people and for overcoming faith which every believer has. So we see we are going right back and picking up the gospel and its effects. We are going back and picking up the response to the prayers of the people who have prayed down through the centuries of time. God may not have answered when we asked him to answer, but they linger around the throne. There may be martyrs in heaven now that prayed before they left this world. Their prayers still unanswered. Yet as surely as we live today, they will be answered. We are going to get to that. So that eighth which is of the seventh, is the pope head. What is he the head of? He is the head of the Catholic Hierarchy. The Roman Empire has been gone a long time. It fell never to be brought back. But there is a nation so-called and so-claimed and accepted by the other nations of this world. It is the Roman Catholic hierarchy with the pope as the head of that nation. He demands all nations send their ambassadors to him recognizing him as the head of state as well as the head of the Roman Catholic Church. He is of the seventh. Might need to put the following paragraph at the beginning in the Thank You Section or the Introduction Section. Chapter 14 to see this prevailing interest in our Bible Study. I think a lot of prayers have been answered in that respect. I'm hoping, trusting, and praying that those who have read this may have gained something from these lessons, at least to give them a little toehold to study more deeply the things we haven't had time to even touch upon. I want to call attention to this one thing lest we lose sight of it let’s remember in this study this far, the church is still in the wilderness in John's vision. Another thing I want you to remember is that it's impossible for anyone to understand the basic purposes of the book of Revelation if they study it chronologically. By that I mean that each chapter does not follow the other in time order. God gave to John in his visions, first of all, God revealed Jesus Christ. And that is what the book said to begin with. The Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave unto him and sent and signified it by his servant John. Then John got a vision of the state of the churches at that time which was a dark scene indeed and discouraging from an earthly standpoint. A chapter is given next with a heaven scene. John is permitted to look into heaven and see the agencies used by God to carry out his purposes. Those agencies are used with the churches here on earth. They have the same interest and the same purpose which is to honor and glorify God. Again we get another picture of some bad things coming into the world. We see Pagan Rome with all of its ungodliness and persecutions of the churches. The churches are shown being driven into the wilderness by the civil powers and authorities. Here deaths of the saints of God are seen. Following this chapter, God reveals that victory is ahead. Even in the face of all of the power and the forces that the devil has to use against the church, God shows his power and his ability to overcome those things that are hurled against the church. He shows that he is protecting the church even in the wilderness through the dark ages. The Bible said he nourished her and took care of her through all of that period while every conceivable thing imaginable was used by the devil to destroy the church that Jesus left on earth when he went back to heaven.
Chapter 14:1 "And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads." We studied about that earlier in the seventh chapter. In other words, the angels held back the four winds of the earth. These four winds represented the forces or agencies that God would use in answering prayer. He would use these forces in visiting the wicked and the counterfeit church and her activities. They were commanded to hold back their forces which were not to be released until the servants of the living God were numbered in their foreheads. Then we go to the tenth chapter where John saw an angel with one foot on land and one foot on the sea. The angel had his right hand lifted up to heaven and swore by him that lives for ever and ever, that there should be delay no longer. In other words, some of the things that he had held back were going to be released. It would be revealed to John in symbolic form. We read where 144,000 were sealed with another company that no man could number--an innumerable company that was saved in the seventh chapter. However, because that innumerable company is not mentioned in 14:1, it doesn't mean they are not included. Many people think there will not be many people in heaven. There will not be many in comparison to the numbers who have populated this planet, but I read about an innumerable company that's going to be there. In spite of all the Devil has used to deceive and lead astray people to follow him, God has an innumerable company of people who are sealed and secured at this time. We talked a lot about numerals and their symbolic meaning in round figures. In fact, I believe the 144,000 in round figures represents the true church of the Lord Jesus Christ here in the world. I will tell you why I believe it.
Chapter 14:2 “And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps:” Chapter 14:3 "And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth."
Chapter 14:4 "These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb." This is not to teach celibacy as the Catholics take it which brought about the nunneries. The monks also isolated themselves from the world because of their interpretation. Verse four is simply talking about those who are made pure by the blood of Christ and the imputed righteousness of the Son of God. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits unto God and unto the Lamb. ".....which were redeemed from the earth?" This represents the redeemed host of God that will be in heaven whether or not it is an exact number. John saw those singing praises unto God in a song that no one knew except those that sang it. They were singing that song before the four and twenty elders and the cherubim. It was a new song, and no man could learn it but the 144,000 which were redeemed from the earth. The analogue of the song in verse three is taken from Deuteronomy in the song of Moses. When the children of Israel were safely delivered from Egyptian bondage and crossed the Red Sea, the song of Moses was sung. In fact he said in Rev. 14:4 "These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins." He is not talking about this from a natural standpoint. I want that understood. He is talking about true churches. All the denominations in the world except one are counterfeit, and the mother of the counterfeit churches is the Catholic Church which originated in Rome. The virgins talked about here are as Paul talking to the Corinthians when he said I'm jealous over you with a Godly jealously because I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. That's what he is talking about. These virgins seen in this vision were true and faithful churches that followed the Lord. "These are they which followed the Lamb whithersoever he goeth." In other words, they don't have a man or men as their leader. A man is the head of every other organization. The head of the church that Jesus built here in the world is Jesus himself. He is the one that gave the laws, the rules, the regulations, and the discipline to govern that church. These are the ones that follow him whithersoever he goeth “...being the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb." These first fruits are not having reference to something that might be bought. In the Old Testament God demanded the first fruits of everything be given to him. The first fruit unto God is every person that belongs to God in the general sense. In a special sense, though, this is having reference to those who have followed Christ in their lives and the faith for which they have stood. If it hadn't been for those people, we wouldn't be here today proclaiming the same doctrines as were proclaimed while Jesus lived here among men. There have been millions of people who laid down their lives for this gospel and truth to endure. A question comes up very often. Could I lay down my life for what I believe? Or if I were called upon to give up some of my principles and what I believe in, what would I give up first? There isn't one that I'd give up. The time is coming when people will have to hide somewhere in order to worship and serve God after the dictates of their own conscience. The law will be such that it will be an offence for them to do it, and they'll be punished just like they were in the dark ages. Others will give their lives just like those did in the dark ages before the Lord comes back. Some may be living today who will see that time. That is taught by the scriptures if I know anything at all about it. Revelation 6:7-11.
Chapter 14:5 “And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God." It didn't say they were without sin. They were without fault. "And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God." Now, what did he mean by that? The teaching and preaching from their mouths were not lies, but it was the truth. The Baptist down through the centuries of time have consistently preached and contended for seven distinct doctrines that no other denomination in the world will endorse. Let me say that if Baptist are wrong, they are further wrong than anyone. But they are not wrong. In all the doctrines and principles the Baptist advocates and preaches, the scriptures back it up. They don't use a penknife to cut out the scriptures they don't like but try to harmonize the scriptures and present to the people the whole truth and not just half truths. That is what he is talking about here. Their gospel and their preaching are not lies, but it is true.
Chapter 14:6 “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,"
Chapter 14:7 "Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters." This verse seven is the demand of the gospel in the past, present and future until the end of the world.
Chapter 14:8 "And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication." Do not read this as "is falling." When this vision was seen by John, Babylon had already gone down. This Babylon had given the church so much trouble. She still does today. So many have been persecuted by her efforts and millions have given their lives and shed the last drops of blood in their bodies because of the persecution of this mystery Babylon. "....she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication." Basically, spiritual fornication, and spiritual adultery is the affiliation with the worshippers of idols, and it is association with those that claimed idolatry. However, there is the same force and meaning applied to those after the beast because it is heresy. As such, it is the worshipping of an idol god. This verse says she made all nations to drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. All churches which began after Jesus set up his church are false. To associate with them in their teachings, practices, ordinances, and regard them with the same authority as Jesus’ church is spiritual adultery and spiritual fornication. This verse is talking about spiritual fornication, not natural fornication or adultery. It also says "she made all nations to drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication." Those nations who have promoted and supported this counterfeit church for centuries have been in existence for centuries. It had its beginning in a formative manner in about 250 or 251. They claimed to have a pope but didn't have until the year 606 or 610. All of the Protestant movements have come out of Catholicism. They came out in protest to the teachings of the Catholics. There are a lot of well educated people in our country who do not know this. They believe everyone who is not Catholic is Protestant. If you are going to have any dealings with legal documents respecting religion practices, you'll be listed as Protestant or Catholic. Our Baptist has never been Protestant because they did not protest. They were already here when the Catholics had their beginning. They never came out of anything. Jesus set up the true church while he was here in the world, and he said I'll be with you always even to the end of the world. I believe he's still with it now. If I didn't believe we were the true church, I'd be looking for it. This lesson is full of great truths that should give comfort and consolation even in this day in which we live. Those who associate and affiliate with this counterfeit movement of the Catholic Church, Protestants, or daughters of Catholicism are in the same class exactly. Yet here we have promise. I think there'll be preachers on earth after we are gone who will be proclaiming to the world that Babylon is gone down forever, never to rise again. She's falling now, but when this angel came preaching this gospel, she'd already fallen. She'd already gone down. This Babylon is none other than the counterfeit church that the Devil instituted in order to try to pull down the true one.
Chapter 14:9 "And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand," Chapter 14:10 "The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:" We talked before about the identification mark as not being a literal figure stamped in a person's hand or head, but rather ID. We'd think of it in a natural way as an ID card to identify who we are and various things concerning our lives. Those who receive this mark in verse nine shall have those things come upon them in verse ten. I'm sure someone is wondering if all of Rome, all of the daughters of Rome, and every person affiliated with them will suffer these consequences in the presence of God and angels. We will come shortly in this same book in John's vision where he sees a call being made to the true children of God in these organizations. This call tells them to come out of her my people that ye be not partakers of her plagues. This true gospel of the Son of God is that which will bring them out. It is the only thing that will bring them out of heresy. Chapter 14:11 "And the smoke of their torment ascended up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever received the mark of his name."
Chapter 14:12 "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." And that goes right back to this Lamb standing on mount Zion with 144,000. These are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, and here is the patience of the saints. What is that faith of Jesus? Keeping the faith of Jesus means keeping the principles of the doctrines of Jesus Christ. The only people on earth who have ever kept the faith of Jesus Christ are the church which he set up when he was on earth. It has been here for nearly 2000 years. It will be here when the Lord splits the clouds and comes back in his glory. Chapter 14:13 "And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea saith the Spirit that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them." This was given in connection with the rest of this as a form of encouragement to those who were dying in the Lord. They rest from their labors and their toils, and it wouldn't be the end of them. It would be a sad thing if it were the end of our forefathers who held so tenaciously to the doctrines we love and cherish. If the faith had died with them, it would have been a terrible time, wouldn't it? Their faith, works, and doctrines preached for the sake of truth in God's name did not end when they died. They left an example for their children and their children's children. It has been brought down from generation to generation until this time. Not one single act done for God will ever be lost. That is one of the most wonderful and encouraging things I have found in the work of God. Regardless of any forces raised against the truth and the true church of Jesus Christ, it shows us the Lord is watching over it constantly. We may not be able to see the outcome, but God knows when and what will happen. We just need to have faith that he'll take care of the situation when the time comes. He always has and always will. They are resting tonight from their labors, but their works are still living on. I'm sure you have sung that old song, "What shall I leave behind?" They have left plenty behind which is the greatest heritage the world has ever known in the principles of the doctrine of the church. These people died for them, and we should also be willing to die for them.
Chapter 14:14 "And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle." Reaping time, reaping time! This reverts to the wheat and tares which Jesus spoke of when he lived on earth. Man sowed good seed in his field. When the blade was up, there appeared tares among the wheat. His servants told him there were tares among the wheat, and he said an enemy has done this. When God made man, he made him holy thereby placing good seed in the Garden of Eden. But the Devil comes in and tempts Eve. As a result, Adam chose knowingly and willingly to follow his wife. He transgressed the law of God and brought sin and death upon the entire world. The whole nature of the human race was changed. Right there is where the tares were sown. In this world of ours today, there are growing up together wheat and tares. The wheat represents the children of God--the good seed, and the tares represent the bad seed which are the wicked ones or those that are lost in the world. And his servant said shall we pluck up or pull up the tares from among the wheat. He said no. Let them both grow together until the harvest. Then what did he do? He said I'll send my angels. I want you to note this. The angels will be the agents God will use in reaping the earth, both saint and sinner. In the parable of the wheat and tares, he said gather the tares in bundles to be burned but gather the wheat into my barn or unto the garner. This is the separation of the wheat from the tares, but it will take place at the harvest. Now then, that is the analogue for this that we read here in the fourteenth chapter.
Chapter 14:15 "And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reaps: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe." This brings us down to the end to harvest time. We can go out into revival meetings and preach the gospel to unsaved people today. Very few of them are interested enough to hear and be benefited thereby by leaving the wages of sin and get right with God. The day of reaping the wicked of the world is coming. This angel is told to thrust in his sickle "for the harvest of the earth is ripe." It is the harvest of the wicked world. As I said before, you can't take the book of Revelation chronologically. You must recognize the context and picture God is trying to show. As he shows bad in one part of Revelation and good in another, he gives encouragement to his people. He divides it where we can get the lesson in harmony with the other scriptures before the Book of Revelation.
Chapter 14:16 "And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped." Notice this first angel is none other than the angel that Christ summoned to reap the earth, and that was the good. Now look at the next.
Chapter 14:17 “And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.” Chapter 14:18 "And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe." The very mention of fire in that verse of scripture carries us right back to the parable mentioned by Jesus of the wheat and tares. The tares will be gathered in bundles to be burned.
Chapter 14:19 "And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God." He goes into another symbolic illustration here in the last two verses. "And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God." Let's look at some other scriptures to better understand these verses. Matthew 25:31 "When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:” 25:32 "And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divided his sheep from the goats:" To further tie these together, let's look in the writings of Paul to the Thessalonians Church in 1 Thessalonians. 4:13 "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope." 4:14 "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him." 4:15 "For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep." 4:16 "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:” 4:17 "Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." These scriptures from Revelation 14:19-20, Matthew and 1 Thessalonians say the same thing. There will be a resurrection, a reaping, and there will be the gathering in that last day. I like the song that has in it "We'll live forever in the air. I think it teaches exactly the truth. The man who wrote that song believes just like the Bible teaches. The Bible teaches us that in these scriptures just quoted from the Thessalonians Letter. I'll give anybody $50 if I have to borrow it, to get him back here on this earth with his saints. I never have read after any man that could do it. I never have heard any man preach that could do it. I do know the Bible teaches we shall be with him forever in the air. When we are caught up to meet him in the air, we're not going to be brought back to this sin cursed earth. We will not be brought back because he said those that obeyed not the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ would be punished with everlasting destruction in that very day. Fire and brimstone will be rained out upon this earth to be the source of their punishment. There will be no children of God here when that fire comes down as there was none of God's children left outside when Noah entered the ark, and none left in Sodom when God rained fire upon that city. God shut the door and saved them from the flood that came upon the world, and Lot whose righteous soul was vexed in Sodom. Now God's not going to visit this world in vengeance until every child of God is out of it. He said behold me make all things new. I'll make a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwells righteousness. Somebody might ask the question as to where the new earth will be. My answer is, "Where is this one?" We know we are living on it, but to tell where it is, is something else. The same God that created this earth and put it where it is will do as Peter said in chapter 3:10 of his writing. "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up." To burn up a thing is to leave nothing but the ashes. That's all that will be left. He said I'll create a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwelled righteousness. The same God that created this one says he will burn it up. He has the same power to create another wherever he chooses. My belief is that it will be where we go up to meet him for he said, "...so shall we ever be with the Lord." So I'm going to leave it right there. That satisfies me.
Chapter 14:20 "And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs." If you want to go at it literally, that would be 200 miles. What if you talk about Palestine? Palestine is the place, and it's not 200 miles from one end of Palestine to the other end. So we know that he is talking in figurative language. What's he talking about? He's speaking about war. He's speaking about the woes that are being poured out upon the wicked in that day, and he is speaking of it in symbolic tongue that we can see the fierceness of the wrath of God when he pours it out upon a wicked world. Eventually the prayers of those millions who died for the cause we love and that truth that is so deeply embedded within us will be answered. They prayed in death, O Lord how long until thou will judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth. That prayer has been lingering around the throne of God all this time. The promise is here that it is going to be answered. It will be answered when God pours out the vials of his wrath upon the children of disobedience, and this wicked world, and especially on the counterfeit church. Sometimes we reach the place where it seems there is no victory. It seems as if there's no one interested anymore. They've gone the way of the world. I'm glad, though; there is the laborer who toils by study trying with all of his ability to prepare himself to go before those who will hear the gospel of the Son of God knowing that God has promised the believer total and final victory without the loss of a single one.