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out of thine hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of my fury; thou shalt drink it no more again. But I will put it into the hand of them that afflict thee, which have said to thy soul, Bow down that we may go over, and thou hast laid thy body as the ground, and as the street to them that went over." These things are set forth in the Book of the Revelation in visions, by signs, similitudes and figures and plain language, as will appear as we progress with the interpretation.
THE PREFACE (REV. 1:1-3) “The revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John.”
This book, therefore, is the composition and revelation of the Father himself, which he gave to his Son Jesus Christ, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass. The very fact that this revelation was given to Jesus for the express purpose of showing to his servants the things which were soon to come to pass, is proof positive that the servants of Christ would be able to understand it; and for any man to deny it, is to charge the author of it with folly. A man may say indeed that he himself does not understand it, and speak the truth, but a man should never set up his own ignorance as the measure of other people's knowledge. The book is intended to be understood by the true servants of Christ, and is therefore a good criterion for a man to measure himself by, to know whether he is a servant of Jesus Christ or not. And as the book was intended to reveal and make known certain things to the servants of Jesus Christ, it is properly and correctly styled " The Revelation."
It is said, moreover, that Jesus Christ sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John. That is, he sent his angel to reveal and make known to John the things contained in this book, which he did by visions, signs, similitudes and plain language. The visions are indicated by John when he says, “And I saw.” When the visions were displayed before the eyes of John, he saw, and then wrote and described them. And the signs also are indicated by John, sometimes in language like the following, “ And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues." And again, “And there appeared another sign in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars”: and again, “And there appeared another wonder, or sign, in heaven, and behold a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns."
The similitudes also are those things which are employed to represent something else because of the similarity existing between them. For instance, Jerusalem in her idolatrous condition is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt. That is, she is so called by the spirit in the prophets, long before the Book of the Revelation was given to the churches. The Lord says of Jerusalem and her rulers by Isaiah, “ Hear the word of the Lord, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah.” And by the hand of Ezekiel also she is called Egypt, when she has embraced and set up the Egyptian form of idolatry in her land, as was done of old.
While a large proportion of the things contained in this book are shown by signs and similitudes copied chiefly from the writings of the prophets (for this book is the spirit of prophecy), yet very much of it is couched in plain language. It therefore requires the exercise of our senses to be able to distinguish between those things that are plain, and those things which are symbolical. When these things were revealed to John, it is said of him, “Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.” This furnishes us with two more titles by which this book is known, namely, “ The word of God," and again “ The testimony of Jesus Christ.” “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein, for the time is at hand.” This blessing is for those who read and understand and keep the words of this prophecy, but how can a person keep these things without understanding them?
THE PROPHECY OF CHRIST This book is also called "the book of this prophecy." It is the prophecy of the great prophet like unto Moses, and it is worthy of the prophet by whose hand it was given to the churches. Its importance is seen by the fact that the penalty for adding to, or taking from the words of the book of this prophecy is death; and if that be so, where will those appear who render it void by a spurious interpretation? This book therefore may be known by the following titles. First, The Revelation.
1:2 and 19:10 Fourth, The Prophecy of Christ.
1:3 and 22:18-19 Fifth, The Spirit of Prophecy.
19:10 This book is well placed at the end of the sacred writings and serves as an excellent test of the heed and attention that has been given to the foregoing Scriptures. For if a man understands the things contained in this book, he must needs understand the things contained in Moses and the prophets, and if he understands not the things contained in Moses and the prophets and the foregoing Scriptures, neither can he understand the sayings contained in the words of the book of this prophecy. They go together, and the one is explanatory of the other.
TO WHAT AGE DOES “REVELATION" REFER? Before proceeding further with the interpretation of the things contained in this book, it becomes necessary to announce the age of the world wherein the things set forth in this prophecy are to be manifested in the earth. That time, or period, is subsequent to the resurrection of the body of Christ from the dead, and not before it, as commonly supposed. The plagues that are written in this book, and the judgments set forth therein that are to be executed upon the Jew or Israel, first, and afterwards upon the Gentile, are called in the Scriptures, "The judgments written." They were written in the law of Moses long before David gave the one hundred and forty-ninth Psalm to Israel, wherein this important declaration is made. And that the judgments written in the law by the prophet Moses, and the judgments
written in the Book of the Revelation by John at the command of the prophet like unto Moses, are one and the same series of judgments and to be executed upon the same people, is easily shown in the following manner.
Moses, when nearly completing the second law (or we might say, the second part of the law) called the Book of Deuteronomy, was commanded to write a song and teach it to the children of Israel, to be a witness against them in the latter days when they should forget God and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they would go to be among them. This remarkable song which is a synopsis of the curses contained in the second law,- this song and the circumstances connected with the giving of it to Israel and the period in their history to which it applies, and the time when it was to be sung, namely, at the very time when the judgments written therein were in process of fulfillment, are clearly set forth in the preface and preliminaries to this song. These preliminaries and the song itself are written in the thirty-first and thirty-second chapters of the Book of Deuteronomy.
Now what are the facts ? They are these: when the latter days of the house of Israel, which were so far away in the distant future when this song was given to the children of Israel, have at length arrived, then this song of witness will be sung when the judgments contained therein are in process of fulfillment. Accordingly, we find that when the plagues and judgments written in the Book of the Revelation are in process of being executed upon the people of Israel, who are brought to view under so many different names and symbols but who are in reality and in plain language the identical people to whom Moses gave this song, then it is that this song is sung, as it is written in the fifteenth chapter of the Revelation, “And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou king of saints; who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name for thou only art holy, for all nations shall come and worship before thee, for thy judgments are made manifest."
This quotation in Revelation is from the song of Moses, the servant of God. It is not a full quotation of all the song, but of some of the principal features of it, as it is said (Deut. 32:3-4), “ Ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is the rock, his work is perfect; for all his ways are judgment, a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he." And again in the concluding part of the song it is said, "If I whet my glittering sword, and mine hand take hold on judgment, I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me." And after these judgments are manifest, it is added, “Rejoice, O ye nations with his people, for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people," even as it is said in the Revelation, "All nations shall come and worship before thee, for thy judgments are made manifest."
Now who are the people that sing this song in the latter days? It is the hundred and forty and four thousand who have been redeemed out of all the tribes of the children of Israel. These have been purified, made white, and tried; they have obtained the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, and they stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God, and they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, before the seven last plagues are poured out upon the rebellious house which is symbolized by so many different figures and terms.
Therefore as the judgments written in the law, and the judgments written in the Book of the Revelation are the same, the next important question to settle is this, Who are the persons that God intends to employ to execute these judgments? David informs us that the persons who are to do this are the saints, that is, the righteous of former and past ages who have died in the faith and in the Lord, who have been raised from the dead, and as David says, are joyful in glory,” that is, “having been sown in dishonour, they are now raised in glory.” David continues saying, “ Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand, to execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishment upon the people" (the people of Israel, for so is the meaning thereof, as may be seen by comparing what is said in the second Psalm, and interpreted in the fourth chapter of Acts), “ to bind their kings with chains (the kings of Israel and Judah, as is done with the great red dragon, the king of Israel (Rev. 20: 1-2]) and their nobles with fetters of iron, to execute upon them the judgments written, this honour have all his saints."
Paul also confirms what David says, in his second letter to the Corinthians saying, “Know ye not that the saints shall judge the world?” Paul appeals to their knowledge of these things for he, being their instructor, had taught
Therefore as the saints are to execute the judgments written in the law and in the Book of the Revelation, it follows that before these judgments are executed, the saints must be raised from the dead. It is surprising that students of the prophecies who have gone far enough in their investigations to see that the four beasts and four and twenty elders represent the body of Christ redeemed from among all nations, kindred, tongues and people raised from the dead to reign with Christ on the earth, and to execute the judgments written (Rev. 5:9-10), do not appear to discern their presence in the visions of John when the seals are opened, nor throughout this book, and especially when the seven vials which contain the seven last plagues are poured out, in which is filled up the wrath of God. For instance when the first seal is opened John says, “I heard as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts (one of the grand divisions of the body of Christ) saying, Come and see. . . . And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. . . . And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. . . And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the fourth beast say, Come and see.” Thus the four grand divisions of the body of Christ, the saints, are all present when these seals are opened.
Therefore if it be true, as the great body of theological writers affirm, that these seals of judgment have been opened in the past, commencing soon after the days of Christ and his apostles, and that the judgments have been executed that are set forth in this book as the seals are opened ; then the resurrection is past already, for the testimony of Jesus shows that the saints of God are present when these things are done, and are participants in the execution
of the judgments that are proclaimed when the seals are opened, as David said they would be, " This honour have all his saints” (Ps. 149: 5-9).
And again, without adducing all the proofs of this nature that are to be found in the prophecy of Christ, we will refer to one more, which will suffice. When the seven angels come out of the Temple having the seven last plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles, then John says that he saw one of the four beasts give unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth forever and ever. And John also says that he 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.” Thus one of the four beasts puts into the hands of the seven angels these seven vials which are full of the wrath of God, before they are poured out. Therefore the four beasts are present at the time that the vials are placed into the hands of the seven angels and during the time that these judgments are poured out and executed.
What further evidence need we adduce to show that the things set forth in the Book of the Revelation transpire subsequent to the resurrection of the body of Christ? But as to the length of time that will elapse between the time that Christ comes to gather together his saints, the living and dead, by translation and resurrection, and the time when he and his brethren after that come to execute the judgments written, we are not informed. But the coming of Christ to gather his saints, and the coming of Christ and his saints to execute the judgments written, are two entirely different events and removed one from the other.
The resurrection of those who, incorruptible, sleep in Jesus, and the translation of the righteous living from mortality to immortality, we are informed by Paul (which, he says, was not of himself, but by the word of the Lord) is done in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. This wonderful event, therefore, will be too sudden and instantaneous to be seen by the inhabitants of the earth who will be left behind. The examples given us by which we may be guided in studying this matter are the cases of Enoch, Elijah and Christ, and those who were raised from the dead after his resurrection. Paul says, “ By faith Enoch was translated, and was not found,” thus indicating that they sought for him, but found him not, for he had suddenly disappeared from among them.
Elijah also was translated suddenly, and went up in the twinkling of an eye by a whirlwind into heaven, and was seen by no one save Elisha, although others, the sons of the prophets, knew of it, and stood afar off to view it. Elisha, through the greatest persistency and determination, saw just a glimpse of it, when there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder, and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. When Christ arose from the dead, no mortal man witnessed the operation, nor were the saints seen who rose after Christ's resurrection until they went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.
These lessons teach us the manner of the resurrection and translation of the righteous. Therefore when it is said in the Revelation, “Behold he cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see him," and when it is said by Jesus himself, " Then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven, and then shall all