Study of The Book of Revelation
W. T. Russel (Tape #10)
Before going into the eighteenth chapter, I would
like to review the seventeenth chapter. Remember in chapter 17:3 the scene has
changed. In Revelation 12:14 the woman was given the wings of a great eagle.
(The eagle represents the cherubim or agency of God. It is the agency used by
God in effecting his purpose on earth and in heaven. Read again about this
agency in chapter 4:6-8. They are the four beasts (living creatures) who, I
believe, carried Elijah and Enoch to heaven. The angels who carried Lazarus to
heaven mentioned in Luke 16:22, I also believe, are that agency.) The woman fled
into the wilderness where she was nourished for a time, times and half a time.
(Time=one day times=two days and one half a time=one half a day. The total of
this is three and one half days and translated into year days totals 1,260
years. Daniel says, and we also have a thousand two hundred and three score days
which being year days would be 1260 years.) I do not know anyone of any
reputation in writing who has taken the 1260 days literally. It is interpreted
as year days. In approximately the year 250, the woman or the true church of the
Lord went into seclusion. We use that word seclusion because that's what the
wilderness means. In about 1510, 1512, and 1513 or along there, we find her
coming out of that seclusion. It happened about the time when the reformation
fires spread throughout the world starting with Germany by Martin Luther. The
main subject of our study in this book has been the conflict between good and
evil represented by the true church of our Lord as the good and the counterfeit
church as the evil. It has to do with the struggles that the church has had down
through the centuries. There may be some things in this prophecy, this symbolic
imagery which in part can be recognized in some things existing today for I
recognize the fact in certain parts of the world there are state and church
united. We all would have to recognize that as the Church of England for
instance. Of course it is not a state church here, but it is the Episcopalian
Church in this country. Bear in mind that the persecutions existing when John
wrote the Book of Revelation have passed away. The civil powers no longer have
the liberty through any church group to persecute as they did in the dark ages.
I want it understood that the Dark Ages have already passed. The true church is
out of the wilderness, and now in the seventeenth chapter the counterfeit church
is in the wilderness. The Devil can't use her to deceive the nations anymore.
The counterfeit church has gone into seclusion but is still in existence. We can
harmonize this with the twentieth chapter when we get to it. The counterfeit
church is the woman sitting upon the scarlet colored beast full of names of
blasphemy. The scarlet beast has seven heads and ten horns which represent
authority and power. She is arrayed in purple and scarlet color and decked with
gold and precious stones and a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and
filthiness of her fornication. And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY
BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. John
said I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints. There is no
interpretation for this to be found in any century of this age except that Roman
persecution which came about through the political and civil Holy Roman Empire
and pagan Roman Empire as well. The pagan preceded the Holy Roman Empire and, of
course, later, the pope became the head. As we studied in the last chapter, he
was the eighth but he wasn't a nation. He was just of the seventh which was the
Holy Roman Empire
Chapter 18:1 “And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory." Continue to keep in mind that John is seeing these things in a vision. God is showing things to him in a symbolic way.
Chapter 18:2 "And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird." Now, what do we have here in this eighteenth chapter? It has become the cage of every unclean and hateful bird--not the true bird, not the heritage of God. But it is the heritage of the Devil and it is witnessed in pictorial language. See Jeremiah 12:9 "Mine heritage is unto me as a speckled bird, the birds round about are against her;” This is the true church and God's heritage. Below he is referring to other birds. (Organizations) "...and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird." In Isaiah 13:19 19 And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' Excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. Also in Isaiah 21:9 "And, behold, here cometh a chariot of men, with a couple of horsemen. And he answered and said, Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground." Listen to Jeremiah 51:8 "Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: howl for her; take balm for her pain, if so be she may be healed." These scriptures say almost exactly the same thing regarding the real city of Babylon in their prophecy. In Jeremiah 51:8 the prophets were talking about the city of Babylon that actually existed and was built on both sides of the Euphrates River. The Euphrates River was the means of transportation by boat to bring merchandise into the city of Babylon.
Chapter 18:3 "For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies." In this verse it is speaking of spiritual fornication. I want also to say this about the third verse. You only have to visit the Vatican and to go through that great building to realize exactly how much wealth is stored away by the Catholics. You can't even imagine it without seeing it. There you'll see many great monuments overlaid with gold which have been presented to them from different nations. Locked in the archives of the Vatican, there are some of the most valuable books in the world today. Some of the oldest manuscripts of the scriptures are in the hands of the Vatican in Rome. There is no way to estimate the value of their delicacies in their little kingdom. They do have a kingdom for they count themselves a nation just as the United States. The pope is the head of that nation. They demand that the ambassadors of other nations recognize him as head of a nation. If he had the power, he'd exercise the same power today as in the past. He'd make all nations bow down to him as not only the ecclesiastical head of the church but as the king of the world. Chapter 18:4 "And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues."
There are Christian people in the Catholic Church, people that have been saved in spite of false practice. There was a young man who was Catholic that came to Fairview Memorial where I was a pastor. He married a member of that church, and they had twin girls. For a long time there was an argument about where the children would go to church. Finally, the husband agreed to alternate taking the girls one Sunday to the Catholic Church with him and the next Sunday to Fairview Memorial Baptist Church with their mother. The mother of the girls spoke to me about it, and I told her she was going to have the most confused girls in the world. However, I told her to go along with it because it wouldn't last. It only lasted about 6 weeks. He stopped taking one of them to his church, and he too stopped going. His wife then started bringing them both to Fairview Memorial since he had stopped going to the Catholic Church. However, when she and the girls started to church each Sunday, he would complain because he didn't want her to take them with her. She said, if I'm going to church, I'm taking them. She continued to carry them to church with her. One particular Sunday morning after having their usual argument, she made up her mind on the way to church to leave the twins with her mother. She would go back home and settle it once and for all. As she walked into the door of their home, her husband wanted to know where the daughters were. After telling her husband where they were, he started. "What would you say if I took those girls and had them confirmed in the Catholic Church?" She said, "I hope I'm dead before that happens." Well, that cut him to the heart, and he went in the bathroom while she was out in the living room crying. She said he stayed and stayed. "I didn't know what he was going to say or do when he came out. All I could do was just sit there and pray." He came out in a little while and said, "Martha, I'm not going to open my mouth again about you taking the girls to your church. That's the only church they know. Your pastor comes out here and visits us, and they love him. My pastor or my priest doesn't even come around. You can take them on." Early one morning after Christmas I got a telephone call from one of those twins. She said, "Brother Russell, the Lord saved me last night." I said, "Where?" She said, "Right down beside of my bed." I said, "I'll be out there to see you." I got in my car and went out. Of course, we had a good meeting out there. She said, "I got sick, and it was all down here. I didn't want anything to eat, and I was afraid to go to bed at night, and I couldn't sleep. And Christmas night, I lay there, and I lay there and tossed and rolled. Finally I just got up and got down on the floor, and asked God to save me. And he did, he did." I baptized that little girl. Everyone had hugged and shook hands with the child. Then after making such a fuss about their coming to church, I saw her daddy walk down the isle, take her in his arms, hugging her and crying for the longest time. I said, old boy you are not a Catholic. You may be identified with the Catholic Church, but no Catholic could do that. Something had gotten hold of him. I long to see the day when he will come out. I hope it will be soon. I believe he will. His mother who raised him has already joined the Baptist Church. She was saved at a prayer meeting among her neighbors. Her sister also wanted her priest to marry her to a Baptist, and he said no. She said she wouldn't go back there again. They were married in a Baptist Church, and kept going to an old time Baptist Church with him out in the country from Lexington, Kentucky. She was saved out there, joined the church with her husband. The daddy of the twins was told about it. He was almost ready because he had taken all he could handle. Pray for that man that he could have a Christian home, and a Baptist family. Also in looking again at verse four, we only have to go back to an experience in Sodom. We read about where three men came to Abraham's tent door. One of those men called Abraham aside and talked to him about Sodom as her sins had come up before God. They had come to see how bad it was for God was going to destroy that city. The sins of Sodom and Gomorrah were the cause of her utter destruction. Abraham pleaded, and that person called an angel who stayed behind to talk with Abraham never did enter Sodom. I believe it was none other than Jesus Christ himself. Abraham and he talked, and Abraham bargained with him as we might call it. If fifty righteous should be found in the city, would he destroy it? Abraham finally came right on down to ten. God said if even ten could be found he wouldn't destroy the city. That is the same principle here. The sins of this mystery Babylon, this Catholic counterfeit religion which has been spread all over the world are the very thing we are talking about. The plagues and the wrath of God are being poured out upon her because of her sins.
Chapter 18:5 "For her sins have reached unto heaven and God hath remembered her iniquities." Notice this woman riding that scarlet colored beast is the church supported by Rome, being the Holy Roman Empire.
Chapter 18:6 "Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double."
Chapter 18:7 "How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow." In other words, the queen is beyond judgment. I'm not to be judged for I'm above judgment. I'm sitting without the scrutiny of any people or any nation. I'm above all that and am no widow and shall see no sorrow.
Chapter 18:8 "Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judged her." Now this is the pouring out of God's judgment upon this counterfeit church. She's in the wilderness because of the fact that God has had servants who preached the truth. Now we are going right back where we started in the first part of the book in the opening of the seals, it was the gospel and the effects of the gospel as it was preached. The sounding of the trumpets was the answer to prayers of God's people. These plagues to be poured upon the wicked being told about in this verse are the beginning of the answer to the prayers of God's people especially the martyrs. In the sixth chapter we read about the martyrs crying unto God as they were seen under the altar of God in 6:10 "And they cried with a loud voice, saying, how long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?" 6:11 “And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled." Also victory is being won over the heresies of the Catholic Church all through the centuries. These plagues are the judgments that are called down upon those false leaders and teachers of that time.
Chapter 18:9 "And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning," The word "fornication" means spiritual fornication. This is figurative language. It is destructive, and I wouldn't say that they will literally be burned. It is just a symbol of utter destruction.
Chapter 18:10 “Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour is thy judgment come."
Chapter 18:11 "And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyout their merchandise any more:" Some wonder why we interpret Mystery Babylon to mean the civil and ecclesial Rome or the Holy Roman Catholic Church. The reason is simple. She answers to the spotted beast, and the pope to the little horn. Not only so, but she is that woman riding on the scarlet colored beast, and the scarlet colored beast is Rome.
Chapter 18:12 "The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble,"
Chapter 18:13 "And cinnamon, and odors, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men." In those two or three verses there, we find just about everything of commercial value. The main thing, however, is they have made slaves out of men, and not only that, but they have become robbers of their souls. It is a crime to be involved in the trade of slaves-- the selling and buying of human beings to toil, be whipped like a beast, and be used like any other instrument of service. God made of one flesh all mankind to dwell on earth. It is worse, however, for a person to be a mental slave because his mind is absolutely enslaved by error and heresy. He lives his life as a slave in mind and in the end loses his soul. This is the charge against this counterfeit church in the judgments that are sent against her.
Chapter 18:14 “And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all."
Chapter 18:15 "The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing,"
Chapter 18:16 "And saying, Alas, alas that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!" This just shows you the aftermath. It shows you what the effect is going to be in the world when this thing has taken place.
Chapter 18:17 "For in one hour so great riches is come to naught. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off,"
Chapter 18:18 “And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying what city is like unto this great city!"
Chapter 18:19 "And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! For in one hour is she made desolate?"
Chapter 18:20 "Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her." I want you to get that now. The apostles are called upon by John to rejoice over her ye holy apostles and prophets. Now we don't have any apostles today. They passed away during the first century or shortly after in the next century to say the least. What does it mean? The answer has come to their prayers back when they gave their lives for their faith rather than submit to the demands of the Catholic doctrines and teachings. You and I have the liberty enjoying this truth that has been paid for with the blood of many of the saints of God.
Chapter 18:21 “And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all."
Chapter 18:22 "And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee;"
Chapter 18:23 "And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived." Now I want you to hold that. I want you to hold that verse of scripture in mind till we get to the twentieth chapter. For by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.
Chapter 18:24 "And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth." Did you know that Jesus made the statement while he was in the world that the blood of the prophets from righteous Able on down would be required of this generation. This Catholic movement that had its beginning about 250 A. D. usurped and took upon themselves the very character of all those that persecuted the prophets down through other ages. God is finally going to pour out his wrath upon this sin-cursed world, and included in that number is this group of people that have been an enemy of the church of Jesus Christ ever since 250 A. D. Actually it did start before that time. Now don't forget by their sorceries were all nations deceived. "And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth." Isn't that a horrible thing? Now this is the truth. This is by divine inspiration, by God's Spirit leading John to reveal to everyone in the world the identity of this woman charged with these things. The plagues will be poured out upon her in this age in which you and I now live.
Chapter 19:1 "And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honor, and power, unto the Lord our God:" Let's see if it has been done. Now, we are going to look into the heaven scene. We just read about what's taken place on earth. God's judgments against the great whore, the woman in scarlet, and the woman that was bedecked with pearls, and precious jewels, etc. of the earth.
Chapter 19:2 "For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand." This says judgments, not judgment as in the Day of Judgment. Each time you read about judgment and judgments in the Bible it doesn't mean the day of judgment of the entire world. God sends judgment upon nations and upon individuals today as he has in other days of the world. I want to point out a sacred truth. I hope we will never forget it. While Jesus was on earth during his personal ministry, called out a prepared people. He had sent a man to prepare and make ready those people, and he used that material to set up an institution in the world which is his church. He gave to the church and to that church only, the commission to go into the entire world and preach the gospel of salvation to every creature. Only his church had the authority to immerse the believers in water, to instruct those who had been made disciples, and to that church only the authority to administer and observe his supper, the communion with himself until he comes back on a cloud of glory. Every other institution in the world that is called a church is directly or indirectly affiliated with this counterfeit Church of Rome. To have any affiliation with them in carrying out the commission and ordinances that Jesus left with his church, is nothing more than spiritual adultery, and spiritual fornication. God thinks that much of his church. And may I say God expects that much of his church. He expects his people, his church to be so instructed that they will not affiliate with those so-called churches set up by man. We have some weak-kneed Baptists that say, "Ah, we are all going to the same place. We are headed in the same direction. We all are going to wind up in heaven one day after a while." I do not dispute it if you have been saved by God's grace. Yet Jesus has a bride that's going to be presented to him in that day, and he will be married to her. The rest, my friend, will not even be recognized and is not recognized today as a church. To have any association with them in the way of ordinances is no different than when the Christians in the days of the apostles wanted to partake of the meat that was offered to idols. Jesus told John to write the church that had the woman Jezebel. B. H Carroll said it might have been the pastor's wife. Of course he didn't know. The woman Jezebel was teaching the members of the Lord's Church to be friendly and partake of meats sacrificed to idols and affiliate with them in their services while inviting them to do the same with the members of the Lord's church. God wants us to be friendly and hospitable, but there is a place where we must draw the line. God is going to visit those who have tried to imitate what he has done, and tried to deceive the world by that imitation. This counterfeit church is nothing but an imitation of the one Jesus set up. It has been the source of all spiritual adultery and fornication that has taken place in this world aside and apart from idolatry. That is a broad statement, but I'm willing to face the judgment and leave it just like that.
Chapter 19:3 "And again they said, Alleluia and her smoke rose up for ever and ever." Chapter 19:4 "And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia." Here's another scene in heaven. The four and twenty elders represent the perpetual priesthood of God in the earth and in heaven. These beasts are the four living creatures that we read about in the early part of this book which is the cherubim in chapter four. We spoke about that song which the colored people sang so much, "Swing low sweet chariot coming for to carry me home." That is nothing but the cherubim. The glorious communication or transportation that was used when poor Lazarus died at the rich man's gate. He was carried by angels, that chariot, or the cherubim who came down from heaven and took Lazarus home to God and to glory. The cherubim fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia. What were they rejoicing about? They were rejoicing that the enemy of all righteousness had been put down.
Chapter 19:5 "And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great."
Chapter 19:6 “And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thundering, saying, alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reined." This voice of a great multitude is the voice of many peoples, nations of people. "...and as the voice of mighty thundering..." represents the powers of God. "...saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigned." Not going to reign, but is reigning, and is recognized in this chapter. Glory is given unto the God of heaven because of the fact the Lord God omnipotent reigned. I'm glad that he has reigned and will continue to do so until the end of the world.
Chapter 19:7 “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come and his wife hath made herself ready." It doesn't say the Lord made her ready or God made her ready. I'll tell you that God does make people ready for heaven. He supplies them when they believe in the Son of the living God, and their names are enrolled in the Lamb's book of life in glory. All the demons in hell and in the earth can't keep them out of heaven once redeemed by the precious blood of the Son of God. Yet the people who will be identified as the bride of the Son of God will be those who made themselves meet the standards God demanded. I'm not afraid to leave that statement in the study too for its left as the free agency of man to go his way. Many saved people have gone into error and heresy. Their works at the end will be totally burned up because they did not run the race according to the rules that were laid down. Paul talked about the ones in Corinthians who have run the race according to the rules God has laid down. See 2 Timothy 2:5. In 2 Corinthians 11:2 Paul said I am jealous over you with a Godly jealously. I wouldn't give a snap of my finger tonight for a pastor that isn't jealous over his flock in a godly way. I don't mean a natural way. That's evil for a person to be jealous of somebody else. I think sometimes some preachers get a little jealous and afraid somebody is going to get their warm place. That's not the jealousy I'm talking about. It is the jealousy of a Godly nature in the heart of the under Shepard guiding the flock according to the perfect rule of God. The perfect word of God is the Bible. All the miracles, faith healings, speaking in tongues, and all other things practiced during apostolic times passed away when that which is perfect came. He left us a perfect rule of faith and practice, and that is the word of God. Those who have lived by that word, and according to that rule have been followers of Jesus Christ as he went down to the River Jordan and was baptized at the hands of a Baptist preacher. There are some people who say," If you're buried in water you're baptized." Yes, you are buried. This is to be called but it's not scriptural baptism. A man may have a host of disciples, and in one sense a disciple is a follower. But in scriptural sense, it's not only a follower. In a scriptural sense, a disciple is one that has left all, has forsaken father and mother, wife and children, houses and land, and even his own life which just simply means taking up his cross and following Christ. They are the true disciples of the Lord. See Luke 14:26. You can remember these statements long after I'm dead and gone. There is only one way to be a true follower of Jesus Christ. That way is to be saved by the grace of God, know in your heart that you are redeemed and born again, and be baptized by a Baptist preacher by the authority of a Baptist Church. That person then is in the right condition to be taught the principles of doctrine which Jesus lay out in order to be truly in the bride of the Son of God. Paul said I'm jealous over you with a Godly jealousy for I have espoused you or engaged you to one husband that I may present you a chaste virgin unto Christ. See 2 Corinthians 7:2. Some say that Christ is already married to his bride. Well, how could Paul say that to the Corinthians if Christ were already married? The statement by Paul to the Corinthians is enough to knock that in the head forever. Paul was looking forward to the time when he'd make a presentation of that church to the Lord Jesus Christ as his bride and be married to her. That will come to pass after while.
Chapter 19:8 “And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints." "And to her"--This is the one that has made herself ready. "And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness” The revised version says the righteousness or acts of righteousness of the saints.
Chapter 19:9 "And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, these are the true sayings of God." The word "called" comes from a Greek word "kaleomai" and it just simply means invited. Now I never heard of a bride being invited to her wedding, did you? It's her wedding, and the guests will be those invited by the bride. Who are the invited? As said before, all the demons in hell can't keep a born again child of God out of heaven. I have more confidence in a lot of people's salvation than they do. However, I've never known a person yet to admit he believed he could lose his own salvation. Have you? But I have met a few who were afraid the other fellow would lose his. The invited to the wedding will be all of the saints from Adam that are not members of the bride if he was saved, and I think he was since someone had to tell Abel about it. They will be the guests at the wedding. That's the reason why I interpret the words of Paul's writing to the Ephesians when he said, "Unto God, Be glory in the church." In other words, the church is the fullness of Christ, and of the very purpose God had in eternity is fulfilled in Christ through the church. Let me finish that which Paul said, "Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all age’s world without end." Even if a person takes the position there's going to be a millennial age after this age, that would be singular, wouldn't it? But this says throughout all ages. So you'd have to say more than one. What ages was he having reference to? All the ages from here back. For we read in the eleventh chapter of the Hebrews that the old patriarchs of the long ago in another age looked for a city which had foundations whose builder and maker is God. What were they looking for? They were looking for the church made known unto them by inspiration and through prophecy. They died in faith seeing the promises afar off. They didn't attain those promises, but they confessed we are just pilgrims here on the earth. And all that say such things Paul said, declare plainly that they seek a country, another country, another city. See Hebrews 11:14. All the saved of all ages will be there, and I believe with all my heart that God will get glory by Christ Jesus through the church in that day from all the saved that have lived in all of the ages gone by. If not, someone tell me what Paul meant "in all ages." "And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." My only objective and purpose is to try to impart what I believe to be the truth of the word of God. And as I write, I feel my weakness and the weight of the responsibility. I will assure you that what is presented as it has been in the lessons previous to this; it will be the truth as I see it. And I'm not trying to hold up any pet theory. I'm not trying to get the scriptures to agree with me, but I'm trying my best to agree and harmonize the scriptures. That's the only way we can arrive at the truth.
Chapter 19:11 "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war." This is John now still viewing these things in a vision. To me it's like it happened to the Apostle Peter on the housetop. He fell into a trance, and he had a vision. John had many visions on the Isle of Patmos, and he recorded them for our learning. He recorded that for not only the people who lived in his day, but also for us in our day. We can't afford to be wrong about it because we will be misled if we are. I wouldn't want to teach something that would cause people to look forward to a happening that would never take place. However, there are many people who have advanced ideas, and many people have accepted those ideas. They are looking forward to something that they will never see. That's a vain thing, because it's based upon an unharmonized use of the scriptures. In the beginning of the nineteenth chapter, we read what John had to say about the rejoicing in heaven. The rejoicing was because they could see the victory over the beast and over the false prophet and the counterfeit church. Beginning with the eleventh verse, the Lord is revealing through John that heaven's and earth's forces were united. We don't have to go back very far in this book to find an earth scene of churches with their toils, persecutions and hardships. The next chapter you'd see heaven open and the agencies of heaven cooperating and working together with the churches on earth. It's been that way since the church came into existence. It will be until it comes to the end because Jesus said the Spirit would abide with her forever. See John 14:16-17. So we can be sure that it is not going to fail. The white horse in John's day was the method in which they went about war called a Calvary. The one who sat upon this white horse in John's vision was called "Faithful and True and in righteousness he doth judge and make war." The judgment he's talking about is righteous judgment which is brought against the evil and heretical forces of the world and not about the final judgment. I wouldn't want to confine that exclusively to the Roman Empire or the Roman Catholic hierarchy. But in every case wherever it might be that there has been persecution by civil powers in Rome or any where else; this is having reference to that.
Chapter 19:12 “His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself." The other time we saw this man on a white horse, it was Jesus Christ. It can't be anyone else. He had a crown given unto him. That was a crown of victory. He has on his head many crowns which are crowns of many peoples or nations. They are his because he has been given the opportunity through his servants to reach the nations of the earth. In the Dark Ages the church was not able to carry out the commission while she was in the wilderness. Their work was done secretly to stay away from the enforcement of the law of the Holy Roman Empire. "And he had a name written, that no man knew, but him himself." Well, if no one knew it but he himself, there's no point in speculating on it.
Chapter 19:13 “And he was clothed with vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God." This image is used symbolically to show us the journey of the church and Christians from beginning to end is a spiritual warfare. Let's not forget the book of Revelation is a book of symbols. It's God's picture book not to be interpreted literally. You'll get lost before you get started if you try. Verse thirteen is representative of a war of course, but the war is not against flesh and blood. Paul said it is against principalities and powers and spiritual wickedness in high places. He also said the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but are mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds. "...and his name is called The Word of God." This should settle with everyone as to who is on the white horse. It is The Word of God which is Jesus Christ, because The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.
Chapter 19:14 "And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean." It means purity.
Chapter 19:15 “And out of his mouth get a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treaded the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God." It's not hard for us to understand the preaching of the gospel and the use of the word of God as the sword of the spirit as warfare against the Devil. I'd like to call your attention to this scripture in Isaiah. God said "My word shall not return unto to me void. It shall accomplish that I please and prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." Now listen to this: "It may prove a savor of life unto life or death unto death." So when the weapon of the word of God is used, and it's referred to as a sword, but it is the sword of the Spirit. When it is used, it's been the case many times that it's a savor of death. To others it has been a savor of life. Some heard, met the conditions of the gospel and have been saved. Others have heard, turned a deaf ear, and went their own way. To those, it proved to be a savor of death unto death. Now then, "And out of his mouth get a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treaded the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God." Now this doesn't mean the man on the white horse will reign over all the nations of the earth, but it does mean that people of every nation would hear the gospel. I believe there are people in heaven of every race or nationality. There are nations today that have had the gospel and true old fashioned churches just as we do, but persecution drove them out of their countries. Their descendants for generations have been without the truth and the gospel.
Chapter 19:16 “And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS." This gives you and me the understanding when the world comes to an end and the nations of the earth fall, that the one spectacular king will be Jesus Christ, and him only, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. Then shall come to pass Isaiah 45:23 and Romans 14:11-12.
Chapter 19:17 "And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;" Some writers want to take this a literal battle fought with guns, swords and ammunition, etc. I would like for them to just literalize for me the angel standing in the sun, and also the cry that was made by that angel.
Chapter 19:18 "That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great." I'd like for them to literalize that for me. How would he get the fowls of the air to hear and understand any language he might utter to eat of the flesh of men, horses, etc. as it says in verse eighteen?
Chapter 19:19 “And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army." To give you a review this is still dealing with the battle of Armageddon and the opening up of the way whereby the truth was to be published to the entire world, just read this nineteenth verse. "And I saw the beast," (for he's still there) "and the kings of the earth, and their armies gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army." So the Holy Roman Empire which was the follow-up of Pagan Rome and the pope which is the eighth but is of the seventh kingdom is still right there. And he said I saw that beast in that vision, and his army was gathered together against the one that sat on the horse and against his army.
Chapter 19:20 "And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone." Now listen, here's where the climax comes. "And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire” Not the lake of fire, but a lake of fire. Now that has significance. We see as a result of this battle which was engaged in by earthly soldiers of the cross of Jesus Christ in cooperation with heavenly forces. Paul said we are laborers together with God. In the beginning of our study we found the cherubim around the throne of God in heaven. There were four faces to these cherubim which were angels, and it gives the character of God Almighty and the means by which he exercises his will and carries out his purpose in connection with earth forces that he has instituted and set up for that purpose. I think the Lord's purpose is going to be carried out through the church, and there won't be one thing left undone. A lot of people get disgusted, discouraged and think it's just about all over. It won't be over until all of God's purposes are fulfilled. I'm not teaching that every man that God has placed in position to carry out a part of his will do it. Every last one of us will fail in some points. The glorious thing about that is we are not the only ones God has to carry out his purpose. I may fail to do that which God had for me to do, but he's going to get it done. He'll just give it to someone else. The other person who carries out the purpose of God will win the reward for his labor, and the one that fails will lose it. That's just about as simple as I can make it. The beast and the false prophet were cast alive into a lake of fire, but they didn't die. They didn't die and go to a lake of fire, but they were cast alive in their human body, if you want to look at it from that angle. In words, they were just pitched in to a lake of burning sulpher that is brimstone. Now there is the judgment sent upon the beast and the false prophet.
Chapter 19:21 "And the remnant was slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh." This is still literal warfare in symbol. But it represents the consummation and bringing to an end of the false church and the false prophet. They are taken out of the scene of action never to rise again.