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again at the command of God lifted up his rod upon the sea, so that the sea returned to its strength and buried the Egyptians, who sank as lead in the mighty waters,— even thus will the Lord destroy the Assyrian when his work upon Jerusalem and Mount Zion is finished.
Again what John saw touching Mount Zion is a further confirmation of the correctness of this view, for after the remnant are entrenched in Mount Zion, John says (Rev. 14:1), “And I looked and lo, a Lamb stood on the Mount Zion, and with him an hundred and forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads," thus proving that Mount Zion is the place where the remnant are lifted up as an ensign upon a hill.
DWELLERS ON THE EARTH
The dwellers on the earth at this time are what are called “ the remnant of the woman's seed which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 12:17). They are that portion of the righteous who dwell among the tribes of Israel. They are like the three Hebrew children in Babylon, who said to the king, “ If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king; but if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up
(Dan. 3:17-18). Even thus the wise and faithful among the people of Israel will not bow down nor worship the idols which the rebellious house have set up throughout the land, and in the streets of their cities. They are that portion of the righteous who are left out to be trodden under foot of the Gentiles forty and two months, which is during the time that the woman dwells in the wilderness.
DWELLERS IN THE SEA” These are they who have fled out of their own country to escape the persecutions of the kings, princes, priests and prophets of the rebellious house, and have taken refuge among the seas of nations, and when these nations confederate with the Assyrian and the dragon king of Israel, these refugees among them will be pursued unto strange cities and become the subjects of terrible persecution; therefore it may well be said
well be said of those who survive these troubles and finally return to their own land, “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (Rev. 7:14).
THE DRAGON'S FLOOD (REV. 12: 13-15) And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. . . . And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood, after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.” The flood that the dragon cast out of his mouth are the armies that he sends forth by the word of command that proceeds from his own mouth, to his own armies and those of his allies, to swallow up the army of the Lord. But it is contained in the Psalms (93:4; 77: 19), "The Lord on
high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of
He makes a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters; and through this path he leads his people as he led them through the deep waters of the Red Sea. These are times of trouble and great fear, wherefore the Lord speaks encouragingly to his people by the Prophet Isaiah saying (41:8), “But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend (verse 10). Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Behold all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish. Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought. For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the Lord, and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: thou shalt thresh the mountains and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff. Thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them: and thou shalt rejoice in the Lord, and shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel.”
Now to these good and comfortable words by the remnant, the true Israel of God responds, as it is set forth in the hundred and twenty-fourth Psalm, saying, “ If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, now may Israel say; if it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us; then they (the dragon and his floods) had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us; then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul: then the proud waters (of the dragon) had gone over our soul. Blessed be the Lord, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth. Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped. Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”
The Earth Helped the Woman (Rev. 12:16) That is to say, there will be a counteracting element raised up among the tribes of Israel in favor of the woman, so that the purposes of the dragon will be frustrated, and he will not be able to fully carry out his mischievous designs, even as the man clothed in linen spake to Daniel saying, “And they that understand among the people shall instruct many, yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, and by captivity, and by spoil many days. Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help ” (Dan. 11:34-35).
WAR UPON THE REMNANT OF THE WOMAN'S SEED (REV. 12:17) When the woman has found a safe retreat into the wilderness from the face of the serpent, then he turns his hand against those of like precious faith, who dwell in the earth and in the sea, as it is written (Rev. 12: 12), “Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time (verse 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.” This war will be waged for a term of three years and a half by the great red dragon and the beast that sustains him, and therefore it is said (11:2), "But the court which is without the temple, leave out and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months." This is the time that Jesus referred to when the abomination of desolation is set up in the Temple, when there shall be great tribulation such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. Therefore when Jesus was being led forth to execution, Luke says (23: 27-31), “There followed him a great company of people, and of women which also bewailed and lamented him. But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming in which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck. Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us: and to the hills, Cover
For if they do these things in the green tree, what shall be done in the dry?”
“ THAT OLD SERPENT, CALLED THE DEVIL AND SATAN” (REV. 12:9)
This saying contains a manifest reference to the beginning when the serpent which, in Eden, was the most subtile of all the beasts of the field which the Lord God had made, being endowed with the gift of speech, reasoned with the woman, denying that death would result from eating of the forbidden fruit as the Lord had said, and pointed out what they would attain to by eating thereof. This reasoning of the serpent first awakened into action in the woman the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life which lay dormant before. She accepted the lie as her own, laid aside the command of God, and obeyed the lusts of her own flesh when she saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise. Therefore she took of the fruit thereof and did eat, and gave also to her husband with her, and he did eat, and the eyes of them both were opened.
This transformation is what is afterwards spoken of as “Satan being transformed into an angel of light,” for the Lord said to his associates “Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil.” They were angels of light, and the man by transgression was transformed and had become like one of them to know good and evil. And now lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and be further transformed from mortality into immortality in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, as Enoch and Elijah afterwards were, that is, lest he take also of the tree of life and eat and live forever, the Lord God forcibly drove out the man, and placed guards over the tree of life, and thereby cut off all access to it, so that there was no recourse left for the man, but to fall under the threatened sentence of death and die and return to the dust whence he was taken.
But if the man had put forth his hand and had taken also of the tree of life and had eaten thereof, he would have been instantly translated from mortality to immortality, and would then have presented the terrible spectacle of the existence of an immortal sinner, a thing which never has been, for neither an immortal sinner nor an immortal Devil has ever existed in the past, nor will such a thing exist in the future. Immortality appertains only to God, to angels, and to righteous men. It is offered by the Lord as a reward to the righteous for good works, and for continuing in well doing to the end. The doctrine of the existence of immortal sinners and immortal devils is false, and comes from beneath and not from above; it is a doctrine that is taught and believed only by those who live under the veil that is spread over all nations.
THE LUSTS OF THE FLESH The lust of the flesh which existed in our first parents, and which has existed and will exist in all their posterity, and which is manifested in so many different ways and forms, and with more intensity and power in some than in others, is what Paul by one form of expression calls, “ The law of sin which is in our members” (Rom. 7:21-24), insomuch that he says again, “I find then a law, that when I would do good, evil is present with me.” Wherefore he exclaims, “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death!” Deliverance from this body of death comes only to the righteous at the resurrection of the dead. Again Paul says to the Galatians, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the Aesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things
would.” Then the apostle shows what the working of the lusts of the flesh produces, saying, "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do these things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another” (Gal. 5: 16-26).
The Lord said, speaking by the hand of Jeremiah (17:9), “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked: who can know it?” None but God. He knoweth the depths of the heart, and therefore he adds (verse 10), “I, the Lord, search the heart; I try the reins, even to give every
I man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings." Again Jesus said, “There is nothing from without a man that entering into him, can defile him, but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile a man. . . . For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and defile the man " (Mark 7: 15-23).
All this catalogue of evil things enumerated by Paul and Jesus are charged up against the lusts of the flesh. Therefore the lusts of the flesh are not only spoken of as the law of sin which is in our members but they are also personified and called the Devil. It is the Devil in his first and primary form. Therefore Paul spake to the Ephesians (2:2) who had been obedient to the faith, saying, “In time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience." This spirit and this prince he afterwards speaks of as the lusts of the flesh, saying, “ Also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of the flesh and of the mind." The lusts of the flesh therefore are not only called a spirit, a prince, the Devil, but Paul also calls him a god, saying to the Corinthians (4:3) in his second letter, " If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost, in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."
Jesus also said to the unbelieving Jews (John 8:44), “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do; he was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him; when he speaketh a lie, he speaks of his own, for he is a liar, and the father of it.” In these words of wisdom Jesus personifies the lusts of the flesh and calls them the Devil, which was a murderer from the beginning; for through the power of the lusts of the flesh operating in Cain he rose up and slew his brother. John also says (I. 4: 10),
of that wicked one, and slew his brother.” What the serpent said to Eve was a lie; therefore the serpent in the Scriptures is used as a symbol of sin and sinners. He abode not in the truth; that is, at the beginning, while lust lay dormant, before lust conceived and brought forth sin, the Devil was in the truth, but he abode not there, for as soon as lust began to operate and conceive, it brought forth sin by deeds of actual transgression. They, therefore, who obey the lusts of the flesh obey the Devil, and are the children of the Devil. The old liar is the father of all liars; consequently they who walk according to the lusts of the flesh and resist the truth are called devils in the Scriptures. Judas accordingly was a Devil, as Jesus said, “ Have I not chosen you twelve? and one of you is a devil.” He said to the Jews that resisted the truth, “Ye are of your father, the devil." Now the children of a devil are devils, and such were the rulers, chief priests, scribes and Pharisees in the days of Jesus; grouped together as a whole, and all alike animated by the spirit of evil within them to resist the truth they, as a body, are called the Devil.
THE TEMPTATION OF JESUS Now Jesus Christ was twice delivered by his Father into the hands of this Devil to be tried. The first time was immediately after he was baptized and before he entered upon his ministry. The second time was when he was delivered into their hands by (as Peter said) “the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God," to be tried and put to death, when his ministry was finished. When Jesus was baptized, a voice from heaven said, “Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” John also bare record saying, “This is the Son of God." Mark adds, “And immediately the Spirit driv