Study of The Book of Revelation
W. T. Russel (Tape #9)
Chapter 16:1 "And I heard a great
voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out
the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth."
Chapter 16:2 "And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image." What is the analogue to this? It is the plague of sores poured out on the people of Egypt because of Pharaoh's refusal to release the children of Israel from bondage. I'd like to add that the sores came upon the magicians also. Someone asked me if I believe there are actually magicians and fortune tellers, etc. The Bible teaches there are such. Remember, I said their power is not from God but is of the Devil. In the first miracle wrought by Moses and Aaron before Pharaoh, God told Aaron to cast a rod down upon the ground, and it became a serpent. The magicians were called, and they did the same with their enchantments. This can be found in Exodus 7:9-11. The waters of the Nile River were worshipped by the Egyptians as a god. God, by the hand of Moses and Aaron, turned the river into blood. The fountains of waters throughout the land of Egypt and in every house were turned to blood and were undrinkable. The magicians were called, and they did the same by their enchantments. Another miracle wrought by God through Moses and Aaron was frogs covering the land of Egypt. The magicians were called, and they did exactly the same. The next miracle was the casting of the dust of Egypt which brought about lice all over the people and animals. The magicians tried unsuccessfully to perform this miracle. They said these men are of God, and their work is of the hand of God; thereby, they virtually admitted their miracles were of the Devil. We find the analogue of these sores in verse two goes back to the literal plague sent upon Egypt. The sores talked about in Revelation are those sores and painful afflictions that come as a result of false doctrines, teachings, and heresies that have been spread throughout all the country. It is still being spread today by the Roman Catholic Church as in that time. It has not been put down yet, but its power has been curtailed and limited.
Chapter 16:3 "And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea." As we said, the sea represents peoples. We notice that this beast came up out of the sea. One came up out of the earth, but John stood on the sands of the sea, and the beast came up out of the sea which meant he came from among the people. It says the sea became as the blood of a dead man. How is the blood of a dead man? We know that the blood is the life of man. In the Old Testament the Israelites were commanded not to eat the blood of animals. The animal's blood was to be shed. The reason God gave for this commandment was, "For the blood is the life thereof." You are not to eat of the blood. The blood of a dead man ceases to flow. It coagulates. What is this? When this vial is poured out in a spiritual sense, it is meant to teach the sea (people) are still there, but the people (sea) become as the blood of a dead man. In other words, it ceases to flow. Every living soul died in the sea. What does he mean by that? It simply meant that every living soul became as the blood of a dead man causing them to cease activity. The people are still there but not active. John viewed a time when the Devil was bound, and when his power would be so limited and there would be a millennium of peace. We will study about it later. Again, the church is still in the wilderness. These plagues are being poured out upon the counterfeit church. This is the conflict between the true and the false religion.
Chapter 16:4 "And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood." In Egypt the Nile River and the fountains of that country flowed in blood which happened literally. In verse four, however, this is a symbol representing spiritual things--not literal. What do the rivers and fountains of waters refer to? We read about the waters becoming as wormwood in another chapter. They were unfit to drink. Also in the time of Moses when he was leading the children of Israel from the bondage of Egypt, they came to the waters of Marah in Exodus 15:23. They might have carried water from Egypt, but it could not have lasted very long. When they came to the waters of Marah, there was plenty of water, but it was bitter and unfit to drink. I want to tell you today that their theories and their so-called principles which are called the gospel of the Son of God are unfit for anyone to receive. These rivers of waters becoming as blood means that the theories of Catholicism which were to be advanced through the years are unfit for anyone to accept and build their lives upon. Chapter 16:5 "And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and was, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus." God's judgment is just. Chapter 16:6 "For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy." Who has shed the blood of saints? They are pagan Rome until the pagan head was wounded to death, since the Catholics have held sway. Today they don't have the power to take the lives of saints as they once did. You might include every false church that's ever come on the face of the earth. However, I won't say this is referring to every one of them. Mohammedism is in Iran which is ancient Persia. When the Ayatollah Khomeini took over, what happened there? There were great numbers put before firing squads and killed. Religion and force on the part of Mohammedism was behind all of it. They have died by the millions at the hands of false churches and doctrines that have infiltrated the world.
Chapter 16:7 "And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments."
Chapter 16:8 "And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire."
Chapter 16:9 "And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory." This shows these plagues came from God, and they were in answer to prayer. We are living in a hardened world today. The hearts of people are getting harder and harder and harder. One reason for that is there are so many confusing ideas, false doctrines, and theories that are being advanced through every means that is available--radio, television, and newspapers. The people are confused, and there is so much sin in the world right beside of this confusion that is so enticing to a world of sinners that they are hardened against God and religion. This is exactly what the Bible teaches would come to pass. Chapter 16:10 "And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain,” What kingdom and what beast is this referring to? It is the Roman kingdom and Roman Catholic hierarchy. They are the ones visited with these plagues. I want to say again these plagues are in answer to the prayers of God's people.
Chapter 16:11 "And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds."
Chapter 16:12 "And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared." There is an analogue to the twelfth verse. The Euphrates River is spoken of a number of times in the Old Testament days and also in the New Testament. When it's used as a symbol, it represents the superstition, sentiment, and the false doctrines that are supported by the Romans or the Roman pretension. All of that came about through monasteries, nunneries, and schools, and were by-products really of the Roman government as connected with church and state. It was the counter teaching of the Catholics after the reformation that I think of as introducing and carrying forth the battle of Armageddon. Armageddon is actually also a symbol. It was in the Valley of Megiddo of which many major battles of the Old Testament days were fought, and there was a lot of blood shed. In the Book of Revelation in Greek, it's Armageddon. In the Old Testament, it is Har-Magedon, and Har means mountain. That's the meaning of the prefix Har-Magedon. We should not take literally the Mountain of Megiddo. The wars talked about in the Book of Revelation are not fought with guns and ammunition. The whole Book of Revelation is the warfare between the counterfeit and the true church. We must interpret it that way to get the true meaning of it. Since the Valley of Megiddo was outstanding in history for a place of many battles, it was a valley of warfare. Gideon won his battle over the Midianites there. Many other battles were fought and won in that valley. So this Har-Magedon introduces a mountain we’ve already referred to a mountain in the scriptures as being symbolically a government. I wanted to mention that so we could get a better understanding of the thirteenth verse.
Chapter 16:13 "And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet." Notice where these unclean spirits came from. They came out of the mouth of the dragon which is the Devil, out of the mouth of the beast which is that government and out of the mouth of the false prophet which is none other than the pope. So these three were the supporters or behind what was done. Here is what B. H. Carroll says. "When we look in history to find some fulfillment of the work done by these unclean spirits, we find just three things. I confess I'm able to find no other things as result of their work. First, the declaration of the council of Trent with its attendant profession of faith drawn up by the pope and its catechism on the doctrines drawn up under his direction. That is the first thing they did to bar the further progress of Protestantism that broke out early in the fifteenth century. In 1563 the first unclean spirit, the first frog brought out his work. Second, the dogmatic decrees of the Vatican council held in A.D. 1870 setting forth the infallibility of the pope. Third, the excathedra utterances of the so-called infallible pope, particularly in the various utterances concerning the Virgin Mary who was declared to be free from the taint of original sin, and second from actual sin. Third her assumption in heaven, and fourth her being made the queen of heaven as the pope expressed in one of his encyclical letters, Mary is the fountain of all grace and the only hope of salvation." Do you think the Catholics are teaching truth? They have just enough to flavor it, and that's all. We are going into the unclean spirits like frogs and their work and what happened as a result of their work. Remember, the church is still in the wilderness. It will get out before we get to the end of this great study.
Chapter 16:14 "For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty." The fourteenth verse tells that the three unclean spirits like frogs are spirits of devils working miracles.
Chapter 16:15 "Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watched, and kept his garments, lest he walks naked, and they see his shame." This statement of verse fifteen inserted here is parenthetical because it is taken from the main subject and context. It is a warning that something which is about to happen, and it is a warning to Christians, God's people.
Chapter 16:16 “And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon." The sixteenth verse returns to where it left off in the fourteen verses. John is still seeing this in a vision. He didn't see it actually happen as said previously, but it is associated with a dream, while not being a dream. Rather it is actually a God given revelation in a vision. John viewed in this vision that he gathered them together in the place called Armageddon. We are not to interpret this literally. The war is not fought literally in that Valley of Megiddo where Gideon won his victory over the Midianites and others fought and won battles there. This is a war which is a spiritual affair.
Chapter 16:17 “And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done."
Chapter 16:18 "And there were voices, and thunders, and lightning’s; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great."
Chapter 16:19 "And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness and governments. Regardless if these governments are small or large, he's still dealing with them.
Chapter 16:21 "And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great." This is just simply God pouring out his plagues upon the counterfeit church. Also the counterfeit church through its mediums makes a final effort to counteract the effect upon the Roman Catholic Church in the reformation. No more is said about the battle of Armageddon. We were brought up to the reformation in our last lesson. In the thirteenth verse of this chapter, the three unclean spirits like frogs came out of the mouth of the dragon, of the beast, and of the false prophet. It was a threefold action on the part of the Devil and the united kingdom of Rome, that is ecclesiastical and civil, as well as the effort of the false prophet which is the pope. What three things were done by these three unclean spirits like frogs to counteract the reformation of the sixteenth century? The Church of Rome suffered a great blow in the reformation. The Bible talks about it as an earthquake. It says such an earthquake hadn't been, and he's still talking from a religious standpoint. When we mix up the mountains, hills, roads, and things of the world while trying to interpret it after that manner, we find ourselves lost out in the woods. The reformation was beginning among the catholic people a long time before Luther had the grit to nail his thesis to the church door. There was dissatisfaction and unbelief in the teaching of the Catholic Church a long time before Luther ever did this. Certain things were enacted in the Council of Trent which happened in about 1563. There were decrees drawn up by the pope. Of course he was the one who had the last word, but it was also endorsed by the government. All of this originated with the Devil. I want to say that I'm glad I'm living in a free country. There has been a time I would have lost my head if I had made the statement that God shows in the Bible that there is just one true church which is a divine institution here on earth. All the rest of the existing institutions had their origin as protesting the dogmas and doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church. She is the mother of all the heretical movements that have taken place and of all the Protestants in the world. There were many things that were introduced in the Council of Trent. I want to read a few things here by looking into history as Dr. B. H. Carroll tells it. "We are unable to find but three things that those three unclean spirits or demons could have devised for that purpose. These three I described to you as the so called ecumenical council of Trent which was in 1563, the dogmatic decrees of the so-called ecumenical Vatican council, and the several papal utterances whose authority rested on the claim of papal infallibility. These are the three things in history which constitute modern Romanism. Nothing else in history can be found to fulfill 16, 13, and 14 about the unclean spirits like frogs. Just as to say the least, they had the right to say what they felt. There was much persecution as a result of this institution known as the Jesuits. They did hold the reformation movement back and interfere in some areas. As I see it today, this is the real war or Armageddon. The reformers were trying to reform the Catholic Church. The reformation was not to reform the true church, but it protested the doctrines and principles of the Catholics; therefore, they are called protestant. The Baptists never did protest. They were separate and apart from that Catholic movement and every reformatory movement against Catholicism. It is portrayed as a literal battle, of course. But it is a spiritual conflict.
Chapter 17:1 "And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sat upon many waters:"
Chapter 17:2 “With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication." Who is this sitting on many waters? In chapter twelve we read the Pagan Roman Empire has persecuted and driven the true church into the wilderness. God had given unto her the wings of a great eagle that she went into her place. She was nourished there a thousand two hundred three-score days. "Days" in this verse are year days. A thousand two hundred threescore years was the period in which the church was in the wilderness. Now we find the counterfeit church in the wilderness. It is switched. Here is where we are coming out. I have been pointing out periodically during the study that the church is still in the wilderness. The reformation of the sixteen century with it's affect on the Roman Catholic movement and everything they used to counteract the reformation, gave the true church of the Lord Jesus Christ greater opportunities to teach and to preach the gospel of the Son of God.
Chapter 17:3 "So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns." At this time we do not find the true church, the radiant woman in the wilderness, but let's read it again. "So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns."
Chapter 17:4 "And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:" "Fornication" in this verse is spiritual fornication. Chapter 17:5 “And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH." If she is the mother of harlots, she must have children. As said before in our study, all of the Protestants of our day are organized by a man and were pulled out of Rome; therefore, they are called daughters of the harlot. The harlot herself is none other than the Roman Catholic Church. If we didn't have religious liberty today, they'd have me in jail in just a few minutes. Thank God that we do have a revelation from God as to how God looks upon the true church and how he looks upon the counterfeit. Not only that, but a revelation in his word that the day is coming through some medium that this Roman Catholic movement which started a long time ago, together with her daughters, will no longer be recognized even as she is during this study. I have a history of "The Glories and Triumphs of the Catholic Church" that was printed in 1902, 89 years ago. If you read that, and then look at the Catholic Church today, you'll see she isn't what she used to be by far. Much has been given up and backtracked because of the educational position of people in families who affiliate with her. The Roman Catholic Church movement and teachings are not accepted as in the past. To gain back the influence she once had, many doctrines have been given up. As the years go by, it's going to cease to look as it once looked. There is an ecumenical movement today in action working as a world council. We will wait and see what the outcome is later on. Keep in mind it is the Catholic Church, the counterfeit church in the wilderness, as we read about it here. Let's now discuss the blasphemy of the Roman Catholic Church. What is meant by the names of blasphemy? Look at the following list of things which are blasphemy. 1. A man assuming to be infallible. 2. A man claiming to be the head of the church when Christ is the head of the church. 3. The prayers and manipulations of the officiating priest actually creating God in changing the bread and the wine to the literal body and the literal blood of Jesus Christ. 4. To worship the wafer as it is carried along in a procession called the procession of the host. 5. To address a woman as the fountain of all grace and the only hope of salvation. 6. The Catholics put emphasis on Mary, the mother of Jesus. She is considered the fountain of all grace leaving out Jesus. They teach you can only get the attention of Jesus Christ through Mary. 7. Jesus Christ, to them, is not the mediator between God and man. Instead it's Mary. Jesus Christ is not the advocate standing between us and God, but its Mary. Many, many more things could be named regarding the teachings of the Catholic Church which are blasphemy against God. This woman is that person. "And upon her forehead was the name written MYSTERY, BABYLON” It is not referring to the city of Babylon. The real city of Babylon was built on each side of the Euphrates River. The Euphrates River came through the center of Babylon. In the days of Cirrus, the King of Persia, and their invasion of Babylon, they dug canals around Babylon on either side and diverted the waters of the Euphrates River around the city. The Persians used the bed of the river to move in and capture Babylon. This is the reason it's used as a type or symbol in the Revelation Letter as the drying up of the River Euphrates and making ready for the kings of the east. We need to look at the spiritual interpretation and learn that through the reformation, this Mystery Babylon, the antitype of the true City of Babylon, is now in the wilderness and in captivity.
Chapter 17:6 "And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration." Here she is, drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. The translator sure did miss the point when he translated it to "admiration. The word should be consternation, not admiration. John was the one doing the speaking. He said, when I saw this I wondered with great consternation, not admiration. How could he admire what he had just seen? I want you to get another look at that woman, that city or that counterfeit church. I read an article in the history "The Glories and Triumphs of the Catholic Church." They were trying to make excuses for the martyrdom of saints, and this is the excuse they made. It said this never came from the head of the church, but it was from those in the outskirts and could not be blamed upon the church. However, when it comes to authority, they'll cling to the pope of Rome and what he says, but anything done on the outside is without authority. This is their excuse. I don't blame them; I'd try to get out of it too, even in print or any other way, because it is a tragedy that has never been equaled in the world. Many millions were killed by the Catholics, together with Rome and paganism, because they believed in God and kept the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ. "Foxes Book of Martyrs" said fifty million. That is a lot of people, isn't it? Chapter 17:7 "And the angel said unto me, wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carried her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns."
Chapter 17:8 "The beast that you saw was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is." Even though this verse sounds like contradictory language, it just takes harmony to understand it. To get that harmony, go to the language of Daniel to the great image which stood up in Nebuchadnezzar's dream. It was a huge image representing four nations. The first one was the Babylonian nation, the second the Medes and Persians, the third the Greeks, and the fourth pagan Rome. There were two kingdoms before the time of John and Nebuchadnezzar. They were Egypt and Assyria. These make six nations. "The beast that thou sawest was..." This was the pagan empire. It was, but at the time John wrote it, it was not.
Chapter 17:9 "And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sat." The seven mountains are seven governments or kingdoms that were supporting this Catholic movement.
Chapter 17:10 "And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space." This makes six. Chapter 17:11 "And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and get into perdition." What was the seventh? It was the Roman Empire. Counting from Egypt, Assyria, and on down to the Roman Empire, we have this seven. Then he said, "... even he is the eighth, and is of the seven..." So he is not a nation within himself, but he is affiliated with the seven. What is the seventh? The Roman Empire changed from the pagan empire to Holy Roman Empire. He that is of the seven but yet is counted as the eighth is the pope. He is not a nation, but is of the seven and get into perdition. Now this tells he that is of the seven get into perdition which is hell. It was said of Judas that he was a son of perdition. In other words, a child of hell. This verse gives us the final windup of this fellow.
Chapter 17:12 "And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast." This had not happened when John wrote Revelation.
I'm unable to identify those ten kings. From what I have studied and learned from others, I believe the number ten is to be taken figuratively because there have been more than ten kings who have ruled under the authority of the beast. This says they receive one hour with the beast. One hour with the beast meant a short time. There are some things or symbols where we are more or less left without any answer. Some of it is pointed out very clearly. But as long as we are on the right course in the purpose and object of this book, we have gained by its study.
Chapter 17:13 "These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast." Their power and strength was given to the government.
Chapter 17:14 "These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful." We have had some dark pictures, haven't we? We've had some gloomy days and gloomy years in the past in this book of Revelation. Now, though, the spiritual war of Christ and his Church is winning over the heretical and counterfeit of the ages. Those that are with him are called "chosen and faithful." Who are the "chosen and faithful?" We learned by the scriptures that God calls people from sin to salvation by the gospel. The pure, unadulterated gospel of the Son of God as it has been preached by the church through its ordained preachers is going to finally win out. People get terribly downhearted sometimes, and I've been there myself. So this fourteenth verse must have been good news to John since he had seen so much. All his brothers, the apostles, had been martyred. John had even been put in a caldron of oil, but God let him live miraculously to write Revelation while in exile on the Isle of Patmos. Why was he exiled? He was exiled for preaching the gospel of the Son of God. In the early history of our country the Presbyterian Church was the state church. It was a governmentally operated church of the Thirteen Colonies. This church was supported by the taxation of the population of this country. Some people say, "Oh I'm a Presbyterian, and there's not much difference between us." I'll tell you the difference. They are just as counterfeit as the Church of Rome, because they are a daughter of it. Calvin was a persecutor. If he was living today, and we didn't have the Constitution of our country with its guarantees, he'd be one in the number to kill every one of us. So the Presbyterian Church which was a state church of this country was supported by the rest of the people, including the Baptist. They had to pay taxes from which the Presbyterians were supported. Those taxes went to pay the Presbyterian preacher. This is in history. This did not just happen one time, but the land Baptist families had cleared with their homes and gardens were taken from them and sold to support the same church which was the Presbyterian Church. They will be numbered as daughters of Rome, and we need to remember it. It nauseates the Lord for his children to be in fellowship with everything that comes along. I also get nauseated when I see those who I thought were strong in the faith and stood for the truth of the Son of God to venture off and be comrades and in fellowship with those who were against us in the past. Those people would have rid the earth of us had it not been for the liberty by our government and the God of heaven watching over his church.
Chapter 17:15 "And he saith unto me, the waters which thou sawest, where the whore sat, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues." We studied in another chapter that the waters represented nations of people, and that is a symbolic reference.
Chapter 17:16 "And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire." In other words, they are going to turn against her.
Chapter 17:17 “For God hath put in their hearts to fulfill his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled."
Chapter 17:18 "And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigned over the kings of the earth." Who was it in John's time? That's all you need to know. In 96 A.D. who was it that reigned over the entire world? It was Rome. She had the whole world under her sway. No nation dared for three hundred years to make war with Rome.