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The Last Reformation by F. G. [Frederick George] Smith

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"And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron
breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh
all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise" (verse 40). This
corresponds to the "legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of
clay," in the dream itself. The reference is to the Roman Empire,
which succeeded the Grecian. Whether or not the two legs had any
special significance is not stated, but commentators frequently refer
us to the two divisions into which the empire of Rome was afterwards
divided--East and West. So also the ten toes of the image are often
explained as signifying the ten minor kingdoms which grew out of the
empire. But we should bear in mind that this is not stated either
in the vision itself or in its inspired interpretation. Only four
kingdoms are referred to as such. The fourth division, representing
Rome (in both its strong and its weak condition), is described simply
as "the kingdom," "the fourth kingdom." The Roman Kingdom was at first
"as strong as iron." No other people have ever made such extensive
conquests through a long period of time as did the Romans.

If Nebuchadnezzar's dream brought a man into prominence as a symbolic
object, we should think that, in accordance with the nature of
symbols, a religious power or powers only were intended; but the
symbol is not a man, but only the _image_ of a man, and that image is
composed of inanimate materials, which, drawn from the department
of nature, refer to something political. We therefore have political
kingdoms set forth. The very fact that they are represented as
appearing in the form of a man, however, may at least allude to
their being political powers combined with religious systems. But the
combination is not such a one as would naturally lead us to conclude
that reference is made to God's church.

The description of Nebuchadnezzar's dream represented "a stone cut out
without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron
and clay, and brake them to pieces" (verse 34). The interpretation of
this event is given as follows: "And in the days of these kings shall
the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed:
and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break
in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever"
(verse 44).

The kingdom of God appears as the fifth universal kingdom, destined
to survive and surpass all others. It is of divine origin, cut out
"without hands." The other kingdoms are similar in their nature and
closely connected, in the single image of a man; but the kingdom of
God is altogether different and antagonistic. The prophecy refers
to the establishment of the kingdom of God in the early days of
Christianity; for, _be it observed_, this stone struck the image _when
all its four divisions were yet standing_. Not, only was the iron and
the clay broken by the impact, but "the iron, the clay, _the brass,
the silver, and the gold_" were "_broken to pieces_ TOGETHER, and
became like the chaff of the summer threshing-floors" (verse 35).

Here is a most important fact wholly unnoticed by those millennialists
who look to the future of our day for the establishment of the kingdom
of Christ. If the stone has not yet struck the image, then the chief
part of the prophetic description _never can be fulfilled_; for there
is no sense in which the advent of the divine kingdom in this late age
of the world can break in pieces the entire image of Nebuchadnezzar's
dream, there being no way in which it can truthfully be said that its
four divisions are yet standing. All these facts were true in the days
of Rome, however, when Christ appeared. The Roman Kingdom possessed
all the distinguishing marks and characteristics of the preceding
empires. This is true not only of their territorial possession but of
their distinctive characteristics. The opulence of the Babylonians,
the splendor of the Persians, the strength and discipline of the
Greeks, were all merged into the Roman Empire. And more than
this, these kingdoms were all idolatrous, and the religion of
the Babylonians was merely absorbed in the Persian Kingdom (not
destroyed); that of the Persian was perpetuated under the Greek
reign; and all these found recognition in the divers forms of paganism
existing under Rome. _In this sense_ the image, as opposed to the
divine kingdom of Christ, was all standing at the time of the
first advent of the Messiah, and the overthrow of paganism by early
Christianity corresponds with the stroke given by the little stone of
Daniel 2.

Notice how this fulfilment is parallel with the prophecies of the
Revelation. In chapter 12 the Roman Empire under its pagan form is
represented by the dragon. Christianity waged warfare with this huge
system of false religion and overthrew it. "And I heard a loud voice
saying in heaven, _Now_ is come salvation, and strength, _and the
kingdom of our God_, and the power of his Christ" (chap. 12:10).

The kingdom represented in Nebuchadnezzar's dream came in the day
of incarnation and soon smote the kingdoms of heathen darkness as
existing in the embrace of Rome, and broke them in pieces. It was
then in the stage represented by a _stone_. At a later time we shall
observe the kingdom in its _mountain_ epoch, when it becomes a great
mountain and fills the whole earth.

[Sidenote: Vision of four beasts]

The four constituent parts of Nebuchadnezzar's visionary image were
interpreted to signify four successive monarchies, the Babylonian
being the first. In the seventh chapter Daniel records his own vision
of four great beasts that arose out of the violently agitated sea, and
these represent the same four kingdoms described in Nebuchadnezzar's
dream. "These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which
shall arise out of the earth" (verse 17). To the worldly, carnal mind
of Nebuchadnezzar, empires possessed a show of grandeur and glory, and
they were therefore represented accordingly in his vision; but to the
spiritual-minded Daniel they would appear odious and terrible, and
they were therefore represented to him under the symbol of devouring

The kingdoms symbolized by the first three beasts of this vision
have no particular bearing on our subject, aside from assisting us in
fixing the chronology of certain events. The first beast signifies
the Babylonian Empire, corresponding to the head of the image in
Nebuchadnezzar's vision; the second, the Medo-Persian, corresponding
to the breast and arms of silver; the third, the Grecian,
corresponding to the belly and thighs of brass. The description
of these beasts shows that in one sense they are successive and in
another sense simultaneous.

I have already shown that the entire image of Nebuchadnezzar's dream
was standing in the days of Roman ascendency, when the kingdom of
God came. The same fact is brought out in the chapter now under
consideration. After mentioning particularly the fourth beast, Daniel
says, "As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion
taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time"
(verse 12). When these kingdoms lost their independent sovereignty,
they still continued as provinces, ruled by another similar power.

[Sidenote: The fourth beast]

The description of the fourth beast directly concerns our subject:
"After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast,
dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron
teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with
the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were
before it; and it had ten horns. I considered the horns, and, behold,
there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were
three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in
this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great
things" (verses 7, 8).

The interpretation of this beast given by the angel possesses unusual
interest. "Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom
upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour
the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.
And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise"
(verses 23, 24). Since the interpretation given by Daniel identifies
the first kingdom with the Babylonian Empire, we have an infallible
starting-stake. Therefore the "fourth" kingdom represented by the
terrible nondescript beast of chapter 7 is none other than the Roman.
The ten horns of this beast are interpreted to signify ten kings,
or kingdoms, thus representing the ten minor kingdoms into which the
Roman Empire was finally subdivided.

The description given of the tyrannical reign of this fourth beast
aptly portrays the history of Rome. By wars and conquests the Roman
power broke down all opposition and reduced almost every kingdom in
the then-known world to a state of dependence. She drew the spoils of
their capitals to enlarge her own proud metropolis and thus tyrannized
over all who did not quietly yield to her unquestioned obedience.

The beast considered as a beast, could signify nothing more than a
political power, and the ten horns temporal kingdoms. But in this
connection I wish to call attention to a singular fact; namely,
that, associated with the animal propensities, there are certain
characteristics drawn from human life. "I considered the horns, and,
behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom
there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and,
behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth
speaking great things" (verse 8).

[Sidenote: The marvelous horn]

A horn with the eyes and mouth of a man is a most unusual thing, and
yet it is just such a combination as we might expect when we possess
a correct understanding of the nature of symbols. These closely united
symbols drawn from two departments--human and animal life--point
us with absolute certainty to a temporal power combined with an
ecclesiastical power. The chronology of the event is fixed by the
fact that this eleventh horn came up among the ten horns, three of the
original ten being removed in order to give it room. The ten kingdoms
all arose within two centuries after 356 A.D.; therefore the facts
brought out in the symbol direct us to the period of the downfall of
Western Rome for the rise into prominence of the little horn.

In giving Daniel the interpretation of the fourth beast, the angel
also described more particularly this little horn and the nature of
its work. First Daniel said: "I would know the truth of the fourth
beast ... and of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other
which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had
eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more
stout than his fellows. I beheld, and the same horn made war with
the saints, and prevailed against them" (verses 19-21). And the angel
explained: "The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth
... and the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall
arise: another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the
first, and he shall subdue three kings. And he shall speak great words
against the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they
shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing
of time. But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his
dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end" (verses 23-26).

With the explanation that the fourth beast signified the fourth
kingdom, it is impossible to evade the conclusion that the
politico-religious power symbolized by the little horn that came up
among the ten horns refers directly to the papacy. There is no other
object that can fulfil the prophecy. The papacy was just beginning
to make itself strongly felt among the divisions of the Western Roman
Empire, and it is a fact of history that three of the original
ten divisions _in the territory of Italy_ were actually plucked
up successively before the rising papacy as if to give it room for

When the Western Empire was overthrown in A.D. 476, the kingdom of
the Heruli was established in Italy. In 493 this was succeeded by
the Ostrogoths, which continued for sixty years and was afterwards
succeeded by the Lombards. The Lombard Kingdom was overthrown by Pepin
and Charlemagne, who gave a large part of the conquered territory to
the pope, thus favoring the papacy with her _first temporal power_.
This grant completed the symbol of Daniel's vision by constituting the
papacy a temporal as well as an ecclesiastical power.

The description of the great things spoken by the mouth of the little
horn and of the persecution of the true saints of God by this power
corresponds so minutely with the characteristics of the first beast
of Revelation 13 that no further description is here necessary. It is
said that he would also "think to change times and laws." The language
is spoken as if this were a most extraordinary thing to do. Surely it
is no extraordinary thing for a king to alter _secular_ laws in his
own dominion; and so far as heathen kingdoms are concerned, it would
be no sacrilegious act for them to alter their _religious_ laws and
customs. But the little horn was to set himself up against the Most
High and think to change _His_ times and laws--an act of unparalleled
audacity, impiety, and blasphemy. This description the papacy has
consistently and constantly fulfilled. The pope has assumed the power
to make time holy or unholy as he sees fit; to command men to abstain
from meat and to cease work, contrary to the demands of God. He has
claimed the power to dispense with God's laws or obedience to them,
"forbidding to marry," and through his indulgences to remit the
penalty due to sin.

The student of prophecy can not fail to see the striking similarity
between the description of the little horn in Daniel 7 and that of
the ten-horned leopard-beast of Revelation 13. The following parallels
prove their identity:

1. Both are blasphemous powers (Dan. 7:25; Rev. 13:6).

2. They speak great things and blasphemies (Dan. 7:8, 20; Rev. 13:5).

3. Both are persecuting powers making war on the saints (Dan. 7:21;
Rev. 13:7).

4. The chronology of each shows that the power rose to prominence
about the time of the cessation of the pagan Roman Empire.

5. The length of time during which they were to continue is the
same--forty-two months, or twelve hundred and sixty days.

6. Both are to be gradually but finally destroyed (Dan. 7:26; Rev.

These powers, then, appear at the same time, in the same territory,
have the same character, do the same work, continue the same length of
time, and meet the same fate. _These facts prove identity._ We have,
therefore, positive proof drawn from the parallel prophecies in Daniel
that the first beast of Revelation 13 signifies the politico-religious
system of Rome.

[Sidenote: Length of papal reign]

The identification of the little horn of Daniel 7 with the
leopard-beast of Revelation 13 is now complete. That both apply to the
papacy has been conclusively shown. We shall now turn our attention
to the length of time that this power was to reign. Daniel limits the
triumph of the little horn to "a time and times and the dividing of
time" (Dan. 7:25). "Time," in the singular, of course, signifies one
time. "Times," plural, without a designating number, signifies two
times. "The dividing of time" is rendered in chapter 12:7, also in
both texts in the Revised Version, "a half." So the entire period is
three and a half times.

The seven-year period of Nebuchadnezzar's insanity is described as
seven _times_ (chap. 4:25). We therefore conclude that the period of
three and a half times signifies three and a half years. This agrees
with the reign of the leopard beast of Revelation 13, namely, "forty
and two months" (verse 5), or according to the Jewish method of
computing time--thirty days to the month--twelve hundred and sixty
days. Notice that this also agrees both in the manner of statement and
in point of duration with the flight of the woman into the wilderness,
as described in Revelation 12. She was to be nourished for "a time,
and times, and half a time" (verse 14), which period is spoken of in
verse 6 of the same chapter as "a thousand two hundred and threescore

The terms ordinarily used to measure the duration of time may be and
often are used in a symbolic sense; for time, as well as anything
else, can be symbolized. Thus days may properly symbolize years; for
they are analogous periods of time, the diurnal revolution of the
earth being taken to represent the earth's annual movement. Other
standards of reckoning may also be employed symbolically, but the one
here referred to is doubtless most frequently employed. Such a system
of reckoning time was known anciently. The Mosaic law recognized two
kinds of weeks, the first of seven days' duration, the last day of
which was a Sabbath; another week of seven years' duration, the last
year being a Sabbath of rest for the land. This fact explains such
expressions as "forty days, _each day for a year_" (Num. 14:34), and
"I have appointed thee each day for a year" (Ezek. 4:6).

There is no doubt that the year-day method of computing time is used
in the prophecy of Daniel 9, the sixty-nine _weeks_ reaching from the
time of the decree of Artaxerxes in 457 B.C. until A.D. 26, the year
when Christ was baptized and entered on his personal ministry.

[Sidenote: The correct starting-point]

Applying the year-day standard to the period of twelve hundred and
sixty days, we have twelve hundred and sixty years. The next question
to arise is, What date shall we select as the proper time from which
to measure this 1,260-year period? It is important that we correctly
solve this question. Expositors have selected different dates. They
usually point out some particular historical date having an important
bearing on Rome's development; as, for example, A.D. 606, when Phocas,
Emperor of the East, accorded the Church of Rome special recognition.
But the papacy grew up in the _West_. If we are to regard as of
unusual importance political recognition of the claims of the papacy,
why not give preference to imperial recognition in the very section
that constituted the home of the papacy?

Before considering further the relation of the growing papacy to the
imperial power in the Western Empire, I must call attention to an
important fact generally overlooked or disregarded by expositors.
The 1,260-year period not only marks the time of triumph by the
beast-power, but also _measures the period during which the woman, or
true church, was to be secluded in the wilderness_. Two parallel lines
of prophetic truth--respecting the true church and a false church--are
therefore set forth as coexistent and in contrast with each other.
The correct starting-stake can not, therefore, be when the papacy
had obtained complete ascendency, for this would be too late to
consistently begin to measure the decayed state of the true church.
The date selected must be consistent with both lines of prophecy.
The apostasy did not take place suddenly, however, but was a gradual
decline, a "falling away"; and the papacy, on the other hand, did not
rise to great power suddenly, but grew up by degrees. It was at
first "a little horn," but finally his "look was more stout than
his fellows." Paul says that the "mystery of iniquity"--the seed of
apostasy--was already working in his day and that later "that Wicked"
should be revealed in all its terrible features (see 2 Thess. 2:3-8).
We therefore have to deal with a sliding-scale, a gradual decline on
the part of the true church, and a constant increase of that false,
apostate power which finally culminated in the full-grown papacy.

Bearing in mind that the 1,260-year period measures both phases, we
are obliged to select for our beginning a time about half way between
both extremes, a time when, we might say, the "falling away" from the
pure apostolic truth and standard was about half completed and when
the papacy was about half developed. While the woman was secluded in
the wilderness, the beast-power occupied the public view; and this
was exactly the reverse of apostolic times, when the woman was exalted
above all and before all, "clothed with the sun and with the moon
under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars." In other
words, the extreme of darkest night succeeded the light of glorious

The period of the first apostles was the period of the church's purity
and triumph. In their hands the cause was safe and the pure truth
shown forth in beauty and power. But with the close of the apostolic
era, the apostasy came on at a rapid rate, as the extant writings of
the early church fathers show.

By the middle of the fifth century the light of the gospel was
eclipsed in the darkness of Romanism. During this century the papacy
secured political recognition of its claims to direct jurisdiction
over all churches. This occurred during the pontificate of Leo I, who,
because of his success in furthering the interests of the popedom,
shares alone with Pope Gregory the title of "the Great." To quote from
the New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia, Leo "entered upon a pontificate
which was to be epoch-making for the centralization of the government
of the church." Political causes combined to advance the claims of the
papacy to universal recognition. Attila, with his fierce barbarians,
invaded Italy and laid waste many of her fairest provinces and then
advanced boldly on Rome, whereupon Pope Leo went out to the camp of
the invaders and secured the evacuation of Italy. The pope obtained
the full support of Valentinian III. In 445 Leo enforced authority in
the distant patriarchate of Alexandria. In 444-446 he was in conflict
with the Illyrian bishops. During this time in a letter addressed
to them he laid down the principle that St. Peter had received the
primacy and oversight of the whole church and that hence all important
matters must be referred to and decided by Rome. He also proceeded
to extend his authority over Gaul. In this effort he obtained from
Valentinian III the famous decree of June 6, 445, which "recognized
the primacy of the Pope of Rome based on the merits of Peter, the
dignity of the city, and the decrees of Nice (in their interpolated
form); ordained that any opposition to this rulings, which were to
_have the force of law_, should be treated as treason; and provided
for the forcible extradition by provincial governors of any one who
refused to answer a summons to Rome."

The apostle John was banished to the Isle of Patmos in 95. Regarding
that date as the close of the pure apostolic era, and 445, when the
pope received from the emperor of the West official recognition of his
claims to universal supremacy in the church, as representing one other
extreme, we have but to calculate the time half way between these
extremes to find the consistent starting-stake for the beginning of
that time prophecy which is to measure both lines of prophetic truth.
From 95 to 445 is a period of 350 years. Half of this period is
175 years. Therefore 175 years after 95, or 270, is the correct

Protestant church historians recognize the decline that came in the
early church. Many of them, as D'Aubigne, Marsh, Rutter, Waddington,
and others, point to the third century, or the latter half of the
third century, as marking an unusual epoch in this declension. Others,
however, who view things almost wholly from the external point of
view, regard the accession of Constantine in the early part of the
following century as marking the important epoch. With reference
to this subject, I quote Joseph Milner, the English ecclesiastical
historian: "I know it is common for authors to represent the
declension of Christianity to have taken place only after its external
establishment under Constantine. But the events of history have
compelled me to dissent from this view of things."--Ch. Hist., Cent.
IV, Chap. I.

It is also evident from the facts of history that, in addition to
the corruption of evangelical faith, that other phase of the
apostasy--human ecclesiasticism--was also highly developed before the
end of the third century. George P. Fisher says, "The accession of
Constantine [A.D. 312] found the church so firmly organized under
the hierarchy that it could not lose its identity by being absolutely
merged in the state."--History of the Christian Church, p. 99.

In the year A.D. 270 Anthony, an Egyptian, the father of monasticism,
fixed his abode in the deserts of Egypt and formed monks into
organized bodies. Dowling, describing the extravagance of monkery and
the false standard of piety and holiness it created, declares that
monkery "_actually affected the church universal_." See History of
Romanism, pp. 88, 89. Very few marks of genuine piety remained. With
the decline of evangelical knowledge came a reign of superstition
and ignorance. Milner, adverting to the institution of monkery in the
_third century_, expresses his "regret that the faith and love of
the gospel received toward the close of it a dreadful blow from the
encouragement of this unchristian practise."--Century III, Chap. XX.

In another place the same historian, speaking of the absence of truth
and the prevalence of error in the third century, says: "It is vain to
expect Christian faith to abound without Christian doctrine. Moral and
philosophical and monastical instructions will not effect for men
what is to be expected from evangelical doctrine. And if the faith of
Christ was so much declined (and its decayed state _ought to be dated
from about the year 270_,) we need not wonder that such scenes as
Eusebius hints at without any circumstantial details, took place in
the Christian world."--Century IV, Chap. I. (Parenthetical clause is
Milner's; italicizing, mine.) In addition to this quotation, and as if
to give emphasis, the historian places prominently in a side-head the
words, "_Decay of pure Christianity, A.D. 270_."

Measuring forward from A.D. 270 the alloted period of twelve hundred
and sixty years brings us to A.D. 1530, a year which marked the
beginning of Protestantism in its organized form. The first Protestant
creed, the Confession of Augsburg, was made that year.

The description of the papal power under the symbol of the ten-horned
beast of Revelation 13 and the little horn of Daniel 7 presents a
melancholy picture of world-events during the long period of twelve
hundred and sixty years ending with the sixteenth century reformation.

[Sidenote: Principle of parallelism]

Before proceeding to give in chronological order a description of
events following the reign of the beast, I wish to call attention to
an important plan followed in the Biblical presentation of prophetic
truth; namely, that the events are taken up by parallel series
covering the same period of time. But in addition to this point, we
observe the principle of _contrast_. When the history of political
events is described, we have in contrast therewith a description of
ecclesiastical events; and with the representation of a false church
or an apostate state of Christianity, we have in immediate contrast
the history of God's chosen people. Or perhaps the order is reversed,
but the principle remains the same. While, in the nature of things,
these distinct lines can not always be well represented symbolically
as occurring at the same time, they are presented in parallel series,
thus proving that they were to be fulfilled simultaneously.

In direct contrast with the power of apostate Christendom represented
by the papacy, which for certain reasons I have presented first, we
have in chapter 11 of the Revelation a brief history of God's true
people that existed during the papal reign. In this case, however, a
description of the apostasy and of the true church are presented in
the same series and in such a way as to give special emphasis to the
point of contrast as well as to prove their simultaneous fulfilment.
Thus we read: "And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and
the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the
altar, and them that worship therein. 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. And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall
prophecy a thousand two hundred and three score days, clothed in
sackcloth" (chap. 11:1-3).

It is clear that two powers in the Christian era are here represented,
the one continuing "forty and two months" and the other twelve hundred
and sixty days, or years, heretofore explained as measuring the length
of the beast's reign, also of the woman's seclusion in the wilderness.
This similarity naturally suggests that we have here the same general
facts set forth under other symbols. Jerusalem, the holy city, the
temple, and the two witnesses therefore correspond to the woman of
chapter 12. The crowd of uncircumcised Gentiles and their profanation
of the city of God for twelve hundred and sixty years correspond to
the beast-power of chapter 13.

Wonderful truth is represented in the vision of this chapter. The
symbols are drawn from Old Testament history, from the religious life
of the Jews--God's chosen people in contrast with the uncircumcised
Gentiles. It is evident, therefore, that the true church and the false
church of the gospel era are represented.

Notice carefully the symbols: holy city, temple, altar, worshipers,
and living witnesses, or prophets. These represent the sum and
substance of all divine revelation in the Mosaic age: holy city,
Jerusalem--_the place where God set his name_; the temple--_divinely
authorised, holy, acceptable worship_ based on careful adherence to
God's commandments formerly given; the altar--_the great symbol of
atonement, the reconciliation of humanity with the divinity_;
the worshipers in one temple--_all of God's people in unity_; the
prophets--_the divinely commissioned representatives of God bearing
a living message for the people of their time_. These conditions
represent the Judaic ideal. Whether they were ever able to reach their
ideal or not, it is evident that the Jews had the conception of a
unified, holy, acceptable service (see Isa. 4:3; 52:1; 62:1-7). The
two witnesses referred to are clearly represented as prophets; for
the work ascribed to them as attesting their divine commission is a
repetition of the miraculous works of Moses and Elijah by which
they established their claims to be prophetic leaders authorized by
Jehovah. The witnesses seem to be distinguished from the worshipers
simply on account of their power and message.

[Sidenote: The two witnesses]

These symbols represent the true apostolic church. It is the holy
city, Jerusalem, his temple, whose holy, united worshipers obey the
commands of God. The application of the "witnesses" particularly
specified as they are in the description, requires further
explanation. It is said, "These are the two olive trees and the
two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth" (Rev. 11:4).
Whatever these two witnesses signify in particular, they are the
same as the olive trees and candlesticks spoken of. It appears that
allusion is made to Zechariah 4, where two olive trees are represented
as standing, one on each side of a golden candlestick, distilling into
it their oil for light. When the angel was asked for an explanation of
these two olive trees and the candlestick, he answered, "This is the
_Word_ of the Lord ... by my _Spirit_ saith the Lord" (verse 6). We
are to understand, therefore, that God's Word and Spirit are the "two
witnesses" in his church; that is, they signify the divine element
operating in his church. Just as the mediation of the prophets was
necessary in the olden times to maintain constant contact with God,
without which the religious exercises degenerated to mere formalism,
so the living _Word_ and _Spirit_ of God were present in the apostolic
church to elevate its service above mere human systems and forms
of worship. That the Word of God and the Spirit of God are special
witnesses is proved by many texts. Jesus said, "Search the scriptures
... they are they which _testify_ of me" (John 5:39). "This gospel of
the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a _witness_ unto
all nations" (Matt. 24:14). "The Holy Ghost also is a _witness_" (Heb.
10:15). "The Spirit itself beareth _witness_" (Rom. 8:16). "It is the
Spirit that beareth _witness_" (1 John 5:6).

Of the uncircumcised Gentiles it is said, "The holy city shall they
tread under foot forty and two months." This signifies the great
apostasy that overspread the earth, defiling and perverting the true
worship of God. The burden of this series, however, is not to describe
the foreign element thus introduced, but to set forth in greater
fulness the fact that during the same time that the idolatrous
multitude of Gentiles trod down the holy city God preserved his own
people. _The temple still remained_, and it had devout worshipers;
_the two witnesses still prophesied_, although clothed in sackcloth,
an emblem of melancholy and mourning. While the visions of the
Revelator describe particularly the power of apostasy and iniquity
reigning during the Dark Ages, they do not fail to give us the
assurance that at the same time God had a people whose names were
written in the book of life (chap. 13:8)--"saints" (chap. 13;10).
And these were made the object of the most violent persecution (chap.
13:17; 17:6).

It is rather difficult to trace the true work of God during those
times; for his "saints" were either ignored by the professed multitude
or else regarded as heretics. But there existed in different countries
bands of people who opposed the doctrines and ecclesiastical tyranny
of Rome and who claimed adherence to the simple, primitive faith
of Christ as expressed in the gospel. Among these were the Cathari,
Lombards, Albigenses, Waldenses, and Vaudois. I will not say that all
these so-called heretics are to be regarded as the true people of God,
but from the few records that we have of them, derived chiefly from
their enemies, it seems clear that there were among them many who were
truly "saints" and who clung tenaciously to the true faith of Christ.
God's Word and Spirit were therefore prophesying, although in
an unnatural condition, symbolized by the sackcloth state of the
witnesses. We must also remember that even among the Catholic party
were to be found noble persons whose hearts were true to whatever
truth they had and whose emotions and aspirations at times broke over
the bounds of traditional theology and gave expression to sentiments
Scriptural and sublime.

The time period first specified in this special scene is the same
twelve hundred and sixty years that marks the reign of the beast and
therefore closes with the reformation of the sixteenth century. We
shall have occasion to return to this series later and trace its
predictions down to our own times.



[Sidenote: Another epoch predicted]

We have seen that the 1,260-year universal reign of the first beast
of Revelation 13 ends with the period of the Reformation. The exact
manner in which this should be accomplished is not definitely given
in the prophecy, aside from the statement, "He that leadeth into
captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must
be killed with the sword" (verse 10). This description would seem to
indicate a period of captivity in which the papacy would be deprived
of its great power, after which it would be finally destroyed; and
this agrees with Paul's description of the papacy in 2 Thessalonians
2, where he speaks of that Wicked "whom the Lord shall consume with
the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his
coming" (verse 8). And Daniel, speaking of the end of the 1,260-year
reign of the same papal beast, points out a reformation time when
"they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto
the end" (Dan. 7:26).

There is no doubt that these references point out the work of the
Reformation which broke the power of Rome's universal supremacy and
her long reign of tyranny over the earth. Humanism, discovery of the
art of printing, the revival of learning, and other causes contributed
to this result. But the real revolt came in 1517, when Luther in
Saxony nailed to the church door in Wittenberg his ninety five theses
against the papal traffic in indulgences. The Reformers made their
appeal from the decisions of Councils to the inspired Word of God,
and this was the secret of their success. With wonderful power and
boldness they proclaimed truth that had been neglected or discredited
for ages. The holy fire spread over Western Europe. Men became
agitated as if moved by a mighty unseen power, until the papacy was
shaken from end to end.

[Sidenote: Protestantism in prophecy]

We regret that the true work of reformation did not long continue.
A.D. 1530 marks a new epoch--the rise of organized Protestantism;
marks the end of the 1,260-year period, and the introduction of
another ecclesiastical power. The historian D'Aubigne recognizes
the distinction between the Reformation as such and organized
Protestantism. In his well-known work, History of the Reformation, he
says: "The first two books of this volume contained the most important
epochs of the Reformation--the Protest of Spires and the Confession of
Augsburg.... I determined on bringing the reformation of Germany and
German-Switzerland to the _decisive epochs_ of 1530 and 1531. The
History of the Reformation, properly so-called, is then in my opinion
almost complete in those countries. The work of faith has there
attained its apogee: that of conferences, of interims, of diplomacy
begins.... The movement of the sixteenth century has there made
its effort. I said from the very first, It is the History of the
Reformation, and not of Protestantism, that I am relating."--Preface
to Volume IV.

Protestantism, then, is to be distinguished from the Reformation.
Considering its prominence in the ecclesiastical world, we should
naturally expect to find it represented in the symbols of the
Revelation. Strangely enough, few commentators ever make the least
effort to identify Protestantism with any of the symbols of this book.
Mohammedanism is there; Paganism is there; _the true church_ is
there, and, it is universally admitted, _the false church_ is there.
Therefore, whether Protestantism be true or false, _it_ must be there,
but where?

The application of the first beast of Revelation 13 to the papacy has
been so clearly established that the point is well-nigh indisputable.
The period of its universal supremacy is clearly limited to the
1,260 years. And everyone knows that it was the sixteenth century
reformation that ended that period of tyranny. We have shown that
that period ends with A.D. 1530. The prophecy immediately following
describes Protestantism in these words:

[Sidenote: The two-horned beast]

"And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two
horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the
power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them
which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was
healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down
from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceiveth them that
dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power
to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the
earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the
wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the
image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and
cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should
be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor,
free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their
foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the
mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is
wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the
beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred
threescore and six" (Rev. 13: 11-18).

Protestant commentators generally apply both the ten-horned beast and
the two-horned beast to Rome, the first representing the political
power, and the second the ecclesiastical power. But this position,
while clearing Protestantism of any moral stigma, is such a manifest
violation of the laws of symbolic language and the general principles
of Scriptural interpretation that I marvel that any critical thinker
could decide to adopt it. The two beasts are especially distinguished,
and in each case the symbol is complete. The first beast combines with
its beastly characteristics the qualities of the human, as did the
little horn of Daniel 7, thus clearly and positively representing
_both the political and the ecclesiastical dominion_ of Rome. It is
the human characteristics that constitute the leading feature of the
terrible work ascribed to the first beast; therefore, the papacy _as a
religious power_ is particularly intended. Hence the second beast can
not be intended to represent the ecclesiastical phase of Rome. Notice,
also, that the symbol of the second beast is likewise complete in
itself--animal and human--thus embracing both the political and the
ecclesiastical. _Another system totally distinct from the first is
therefore represented._

I call attention to certain distinct points proving that these two
beasts are not identical or simultaneous:

1. The first is spoken of as "a beast"; the second is called "another

2. The first came up from the sea; the second came out of the earth.

3. The first was like a leopard; the second was like a lamb.

4. The first had ten horns signifying ten temporal kingdoms; the
second had two horns, referring to but two temporal powers that
supported it.

5. The first blasphemed God and his tabernacle, and was therefore
antichrist; the second claimed to be the true prophet of God and
brought down "fire from heaven" to attest his claim, but he was in
reality a "false prophet" (chap. 16:13; 19:20).

6. The first obtained his power and authority from the dragon which
preceded him; while the second derived his power from the ten-horned
beast "before him."

7. The first caused people to worship the preceding power styled "the
dragon"; while the second caused people to "worship the first beast."

8. The first was to continue 1,260 years; while the reign of the
second is not here stated, but is covered in a parallel prophecy to
which we shall refer later.

The first beast came up out of the sea, which signifies the empire in
an agitated state; and it is a fact of history that the ten kingdoms
came up through great political convulsions. The empire was in a state
of comparative quiet, however, when the second beast "_came up out
of the earth_." This beast stands as the symbol of Protestantism in
Europe, although his power and influence was afterwards to extend to
"the whole world" (chap. 16:14). But this beast existed first on
the same territory occupied by the papacy; therefore the two horns
doubtless signify temporal kingdoms also, and two of the original
ten. The two nations first to turn violently against the papacy and
to become the chief supporters and defenders of Protestantism were
Germany and England.

It is evident that the second beast of Revelation 13 was not to be
such a terrible power politically as was the first beast, for it is
described merely as having "two horns _like a lamb_." But as soon as
we enter the department to which _speaking_ by analogy refers us, we
find him to be a great religious power, and it is in this character
alone that he is delineated in the remainder of the chapter. That his
religious power is his leading characteristic is further proved by
the fact that in every subsequent reference he is styled the "false
prophet" (chap. 16:13; 19:20; 20:10). Every reference which I give
to the second beast must therefore be understood as signifying the
religious system known as Protestantism.

This beast was to exercise great power--"all the power of the first
beast before him." By this expression we are to understand that
Protestantism was to exert a universal influence; that it was to
become a leading factor in the world's history, as was Romanism before
it. This has already been fulfilled. The leading nations of the world
today, the nations that have contributed most to the development of
modern civilization and to the light and progress of the age, are
Protestant nations. Those countries that have retained the yoke of
Romanism are still withering under its blighting influence.

It is said that this beast causes people to "worship the first beast."
This is parallel to the statement that during the reign of the first
beast the people "worshiped the dragon," which in reality preceded
it. I have shown that the devotees of Romanism worshiped the dragon by
perpetuating in their religious ceremonies and worship the practises
of paganism. Likewise Protestants have brought over and incorporated
in their religious system doctrines, rites, and ceremonies that
originated in Romanism; and in this respect they worship the first
beast, even in the very act of rendering service to their own system.
Such doctrines as infantile damnation, sprinkling for baptism, the
eternal destruction of all those who are outside the pales of the
church, infant baptism, and other things are all children of the
apostasy originating in Rome. The Romish Church possesses a human
ecclesiastical headship and an earthly government ruling in the place
of Christ, and Protestants make an "image" to this beast by building
their sects in imitation--sects made and ruled by men. To these they
attach their own names and the distinctive creeds and doctrines of
men, and thus their devotees receive the "mark" and "name" of the

At this point we must make a distinction which, being true in the
facts of history, must necessarily be intended in the symbolic
representation. This beast was to bring down "fire from heaven."
According to the symbols of chapter 12, the woman, or true church,
"fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God,
that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore
days." The time prophecy is the same, and covers the same period, as
the reign of the papal beast. Therefore, just as an important change
in the papacy occurred at the expiration of that prophetic period,
so also a radical change must be expected with reference to the true
church: it must be no longer completely obscured in the wilderness.
Now, as the Reformation and Protestantism as a religion were the means
of ending Rome's universal spiritual supremacy, so also they must
be regarded as possessing sufficient light and truth to bring into
prominence once more the work of the Spirit and the true people of
God. "Fire from heaven" may therefore be regarded as describing the
divine work of reformation, the unfolding of truth accompanied by the
saving power of God. Such spiritual work has accompanied the origin of
various religious movements during the Protestant era.

The general description of the two-horned beast, however, makes
prominent an evil characteristic--the disposition to lead the people
into deception by making an image to the beast and then worshiping it.
The evil is not located in the ability to bring down fire from heaven,
but in the deceptive work of image-making and image-worship, for which
the spiritual work simply furnished an occasion. The spiritual work of
reformation is, therefore, to be distinguished from the later work
of creed-and sect-making; and since the beast takes advantage of the
manifestation of spiritual power and deceives men, he becomes a sort
of apostate and is denominated "the false prophet" (see chap. 16:13;

The beast, ecclesiastically considered, stands as the symbol of the
religious system and practise of Protestantism as a whole--a peculiar
combination of truth and error, of good and bad, of "fire from heaven"
and false miracle-working power (chap. 16:14); while the "image to
the beast" signifies the sectarian institution--the man-made and
man-controlled unscriptural sect machinery constructed in imitation
of the papal original. To construct such earth-born churches and lead
people to adore and worship them is but a species of idolatry and the
rankest deception. It is a sad fact, in Protestantism as well as in
Catholicism, that vast multitudes of people are more devoted to their
respective churches than to the Lord Jesus Christ. They can witness
the open rejection of God's precious Word and the vilest profanation
of his holy name without uttering a word of protest; but let any one
say a word against _their church_, and instantly they are aroused to
the highest pitch of indignation. _Beast-worshipers!_

The Protestant era has witnessed many wonderful reformations in which
the true fire of God fell upon waiting souls, but this initial work of
the Spirit has in each instance been employed as an excuse for taking
the next step--making an image; and thousands of honest souls, lacking
better light, have been induced to submit to such human organization.
Those of this number who were truly saved, however, always loved
and adored their Lord more than the human church to which they
were attached, and consequently they should not be regarded as
beast-worshipers. They are the ones whom the Lord denominates _his
people_ when the voice calls them out of Babylon (chap. 18:4).

The second beast also exhibits the characteristics of a persecuting
power, and in this respect it is similar to the ten-horned beast. The
early history of Protestantism shows that at that time the principle
of religious intolerance brought over from Romanism manifested itself
in the actual putting to death of numerous dissenters. Thus, we find
Calvin, at Geneva, consenting to the burning of Servetus because of a
difference in religious views. At a convention in Torgau, in 1574, the
Lutherans established the real presence of Christ in the eucharist and
then instigated the Elector of Saxony to seize, imprison, and banish
those who differed from them in sentiment, as a result of which Peucer
suffered ten years of the severest imprisonment and Crellius was put
to death. The Protestant Council of Zurich condemned Felix Mantz to be
drowned because he insisted that infant sprinkling was not baptism. In
England the "Bloody Six Articles" of Henry VIII are a silent testimony
to the intolerant spirit of that age, when the royal reformer
dragged dissenters forth to execution. Witness also the twelve years'
imprisonment of John Bunyan and hundreds of others confined in jails
throughout the country; the persecution of the Quakers; the relentless
opposition to the Covenanters of Scotland, who were hunted and
destroyed like beasts because they insisted on their right to worship
God in their own way. It was this intolerant spirit that drove the
Puritans to the inhospitable shores of America, where they might have
the free privilege of worshiping God according to the dictates of
their own conscience.

It is possible that the persecuting principle ascribed to the
two-horned beast may include both the literal and the ecclesiastical
cutting off, reference being made directly to the spirit of
intolerance which manifested itself first in literal slaughter and
later in an unwarranted ecclesiastical exclusiveness.

The "number of the beast" alludes to his pretentious claims and is
probably a symbol of division. The definite number 666 is said to be
also the number of a man, and since the pope is the most important man
connected with the papal system, it is natural to identify him with
the individual referred to. Paul doubtless pointed out the pope
particularly as the "_man of sin_," "the son of perdition" (2 Thess.
2:3). In former ages, before the modern system of notation was
introduced, the only method of denoting numbers was by employing the
letters of the alphabet, certain letters having the power of number
as well as of sound. We still employ the same system for certain
purposes. The number of a name was simply the number denoted by the
several letters of that name.

The pope has a special title. He wears in jeweled letters upon his
mitre the inscription, _Vicarius Filii Dei_--Vicar of the Son of
God. Taking from his name all the letters that the Latins used for
numerals, we have just 666.

The era of modern sects is also covered in other places in Revelation,
for the ecclesiastical history of the Christian dispensation is
described under different parallel series of symbolism. In the other
series, however, the symbols representing Protestantism stand so
closely connected with predictions of the last reformation that
I shall not attempt to enumerate them in this chapter, but shall
consider them briefly in connection with those symbols describing the
great final religious movement toward which all the prophetic lines
of truth converge and which forms the special subject of the present



The scene changes, and again we have the picture of God's chosen
people set in bright relief against the dark background of
Protestantism and the still darker shades of papal apostasy.

[Sidenote: The 144,000 on Mount Zion]

"And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on Mount Sion, and with him an
hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in
their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many
waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of
harpers harping with their harps: and they sung as it were a new song
before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no
man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand,
which were redeemed from the earth. These are they which were not
defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow
the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men,
being the first-fruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth
was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of
God" (Rev. 14:1-5).

What a contrast with the beast powers described in the preceding
chapter of the Revelation! This redeemed company is on Mount Zion, not
hidden in the darkness of the wilderness. They are with the Lamb, not
wandering after the beast. Instead of being oppressed and overcome by
opposers, they are singing the joyful song of redemption and harping
with their harps; and instead of having the "mark of the beast," they
have their "_Father's name written in their foreheads_." The manner in
which this joyful, redeemed company is distinguished from the host
of beast-worshipers brought to light under the preceding symbols,
proclaims unmistakably the fact that we have here a description of
the true people of God who have obtained victory over the apostasy. In
other words, a distinct reformation is predicted.

This sublime scene is not a description of heaven, for the context
shows its direct contact with the forms of apostate Christianity with
which it is placed in contrast on earth. Certain leading figures in
the scene, as Christ the Lamb and a number of angels, are heavenly
beings; but their presence simply shows the divine character of the
work in contrast with those other religious powers, one of which came
up out of the sea and the other out of the earth. Besides, we have
already shown that whenever angels figure in the symbolic scene _on
earth_, they represent distinguished agencies among men, and the
message of good angels, being obviously from heaven, is therefore the
message of God. When different angels, bearing different messages,
appear in the same general symbolic scene, they represent not isolated
or independent movements, but different phases of the same work.

The Revelator introduces another phase of the religious movement under
consideration with these words: "And I saw another angel fly in the
midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them
that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue,
and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to
him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made
heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters" (verses
6, 7).

In the message of the angel there are set forth a number of distinct
truths. Prominence is given to the call to worship the one true God.
This stands in contrast with the apostasy preceding; for under the
papacy its adherents "worshiped the dragon" and "they worshiped the
beast," while the second beast caused people to "worship the first
beast" and to "worship the image of the beast." The message of this
angel is universal and indicates a world-wide missionary effort in
which the true God and his holy worship alone will be exalted, and
that before the end of time, for the judgment is set forth as an
impending event for which men must speedily prepare.

But the description does not end here. An awful revelation, falling
like hail-stones or coals of fire upon the heads of the devotees of
modern churchianity, is proclaimed by divine authority: "And there
followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that
great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the
wrath of her fornication. And the third angel followed them, saying
with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and
receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink
of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture
into the cup of his indignation" (verses 8-10).

Here we are brought face to face with some of the most solemn truths
contained in the Book of God. The very powers of apostate Christianity
just described under the symbols of two beasts are now represented
_by the angel_ as Babylon; for, be it observed, the divine message
is against those who worship the beast _and his image_. The image was
made by the second beast. Therefore Babylon includes both Romanism
and Protestantism--the whole realm of formal churchianity; and
beast-worship is here condemned in one of the most terrible
denunciations found in all the Word of God. All the evils inherent
in the false, unscriptural systems of so-called Christianity are here
summed up under the one word _Babylon_, of which we shall have more to
say later.

Two things prominently brought out in these symbols should be
remembered, however--first, that even during the reign of the beast
and his image, God had true people who were carefully distinguished in
the prophecy as those whose names were written in the book of life and
who would not "worship the image of the beast"; and second, that the
symbolic scene now being considered represents these saved individuals
as gathered out into one company with the Lamb on Mount Zion, before
the end of time. The illustration is that of the joyful Israelites
who made their return to Zion after the fall of literal Babylon, where
they were long held in captivity. This is the illustration and the
prophetic description; therefore we may rest assured that just as
truly as time revealed the rise of the papal and Protestant systems,
as set forth in the symbols of the Revelation, just so surely will
there come _before the end of time_ a revival of pure, apostolic
Christianity, a reformation in which the true people of God will take
their stand outside of all forms of the apostasy and carry the full
gospel of the Son of God to "every nation, and kindred, and tongue,
and people."

We have traced in prophetic symbolism the four epochs of the Christian
dispensation represented respectively by the star-crowned woman, the
leopard-beast, the two-horned beast, and the redeemed company gathered
together with the Lamb on Mount Zion. The papal period, represented
by the leopard-beast, continued for 1,260 years, its universal sway
terminating with the sixteenth century reformation. The length of the
Protestant reign following is not stated in this series.

[Sidenote: The two witnesses]

Let us now return to the description of the two witnesses given in
Revelation 11. We have already considered the first part of that
symbolic description pertaining to the 1,260 years during which the
holy city was to be trodden under foot and the two witnesses were
to prophesy in sackcloth; and we have shown that this description is
exactly parallel with the prophecy that set forth the period of the
papal supremacy. But the description continues, covering the era of
modern sects and leading up to the work of a final reformation.

After describing the 1,260-year prophecy of the two witnesses,
the narrative continues: "And when they shall have finished their
testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall
make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And
their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which
spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was
crucified. And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations
shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not
suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. And they that dwell
upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send
gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that
dwelt on the earth" (Rev. 11:7-10).

[Sidenote: The witnesses slain]

This intricate picture of symbolical imagery is placed chronologically
just after the 1,260-year reign of Romanism and hence it was to meet
its fulfilment during the Protestant era. It describes in the most
graphic and realistic manner the evil characteristics and tendencies
of the sect-system. I have already shown that in the primitive church
the two witnesses--the Word and the Spirit of God--were the real
vicars of Christ, giving both character and government to the
universal church of God on earth. We have also seen that with the rise
of human ecclesiasticism the reign of the Word and Spirit ended in
so far as the Church of Rome was concerned. The same is true also
of Protestantism. The establishment of man-made creeds and the
concentration and centralization of church power and governmental
authority in human hands--a church-rule patterned after the kingdoms
of this world--is a _rejection of the divine government of God_
just as the appointment of a king in the Old Testament times was a
rejection of God's plan of governing Israel. In this sense God's two
witnesses have been openly ignored and rejected in Protestantism as
well as in Romanism and the ancient churches of the East, and man-made
creeds and systems of government substituted in their stead. They are,
therefore, represented as slain, although of course a certain amount
of respect is still shown them in that they are not suffered to be
wholly put out of sight.

[Sidenote: The witnesses resurrected]

"And after three days and an half the spirit of life from God entered
into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon
them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying
unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud;
and their enemies beheld them. And the same hour was there a great
earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake
were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and
gave glory to the God of heaven. The second woe is past; and, behold,
the third woe cometh quickly" (verses 11-14).

The resurrection of the witnesses doubtless signifies a time of
reformation and implies its true character. If the death of the
witnesses was the result of ecclesiasticism and false teaching, their
resurrection must signify a final triumph over ecclesiasticism and the
restoration of primitive Christianity under the direct authority
and government of God. Even omitting all details in this complex
description, we can scarcely avoid the conclusion that if the general
description given in this chapter means anything, it means the
restoration of Christianity before the end of time to the condition in
which it existed before the apostasy.

[Sidenote: The time prophecy]

The time prophecy "three days and a half" is difficult to explain
except in the light of clearly ascertained historical facts. The term
"day" is of itself very indefinite, being used in the Scriptures
to designate periods of different length. In the description under
consideration it evidently can not signify the ordinary 24-hour day
nor yet the year-day; for it covers the Protestant period
following the 1,260-year reign of Romanism and preceding the Last
Reformation--the same period of time covered by the second beast of
Revelation 13.

The events of the Protestant period naturally divide it into shorter
epochs of about a century each in length. The historian D'Aubigne, who
wrote about 1835, noticed this distinction and referred to it in his
famous History of the Reformation. These are his words: "It has been
said that the three last centuries, the sixteenth, the seventeenth,
and the eighteenth may be conceived as an immense battle of _three
days_' duration. We willingly adopt this beautiful comparison ... the
first day was the battle of God, the second the battle of the priest,
the third the battle of Reason. What will be the fourth? In our
opinion the confused strife, the deadly contest of all these powers
XI, Chap. 9.

"Three days and a half," or three hundred and fifty years, after the
formation of the first Protestant creed, in 1530, God began to reveal
special light and truth on his Word and to cause a great awakening,
which is gradually resulting in the rejection of human ecclesiastical
rule, the recognition of the primitive government of God, and the
restoration of all the pure truths of the Word of God.

Another point in the prophecy under consideration assists us in fixing
the chronology of the reformation predicted. The "great earthquake"
stands closely associated with the time of the resurrection and
exaltation of the witnesses. The principles of interpreting symbols
would lead us to identify this earthquake as a mighty political
convulsion destructive in its nature, and yet one that would be
overruled for the furtherance of Christ's kingdom--a convulsion that
would also terminate the destructive reign of the "second woe." I can
not here digress to give proofs, but there is no doubt that the
second woe of Revelation (see chap. 9:13-20) signifies the political
dominancy of the Ottoman Empire. This power, constituting the
political backbone of Mohammedanism, has indeed been a most serious
woe upon the inhabitants of the earth and an obstacle in the path of
true missionary progress. With these facts before us, we can clearly
see that the earthquake was the great European War and that we are now
living in the time when a special reformation is due.

[Sidenote: Another important series]

Another parallel series of prophecies covering the same ground and
terminating at the same point will bring the subject of the Last
Reformation to a grand climax. I have shown that the religious powers
described in Revelation 13 as two beasts were also termed Babylon. We
shall now give a more particular description of this antitype of
the Old Testament Babylon. The Euphratean city--Babylon--the
proud metropolis of the Chaldean monarchy, combined in itself the
corruptions and wickedness of the world and then filled up the measure
of its sins by destroying the temple in Jerusalem and leading into
captivity the chosen people of God. When John wrote, however, this
ancient city was no more. It had long since been destroyed, and it
has never been rebuilt to this day. Even the Arab refuses to pitch his
tent among its lonely, serpent-infested ruins. The city to which
the apostle alludes in these prophecies must therefore refer, not to
ancient Babylon, but to some other analogous power which was yet to
arise and of which the old Babylon was a type.


The Apostolic | The Medieval Period | Era of Modern | The Last
Period | | Sects | Reformation
Rev. 12:3, 4, | Rev. 13:1-10 | BEAST | BABYLON
7-17 | | Rev. 13:11-18 | Rev. 14:1-9
| Rev. 12:6 | | Rev. 14:1-6
Rev. 11:1 | Rev. 11:2 | Rev. 11:7-10 | Rev. 11:11-14
| Rev. 17:1-6 | DAUGHTERS | CALLED OUT
| | Rev. 17:5 | Rev. 18:1-4
Dan. 9:7, 23, | Dan. 7:8, 20-25 | | Dan. 7:26, 27;
24 | | | 2:34, 35

[Sidenote: Great Babylon]

A more particular description of the antitypical Babylon is given by
the Revelator in the seventeenth chapter, as follows: "And there came
one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me,
saying unto me, Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment of the
great whore that sitteth upon many waters: 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. 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. 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: and upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY,
EARTH. And I saw a 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" (verses 1-6).

The careful student will immediately perceive that we have here
another representation of the same apostate powers already described
under other symbols. The leading figures--a woman and a beast--combine
symbols from human life and animal life, thus representing clearly the
union of civil and ecclesiastical power. The combination is exactly
the same in its essential characteristics as that presented by the
first beast of Revelation 13. And since it is the same seven-headed
and ten-horned beast, representing the same political power, we
conclude that the human characteristics exhibited in this connection
symbolize the same religious power--the Church of Rome. In the
present vision, however, the ecclesiastical phase is singled out
and particularly distinguished and described, thus placing special
emphasis on the papal church itself in contradistinction to the
temporal power of the empire. The political phase of Rome's history
has already been sufficiently described for our present purpose. We
shall, therefore, devote our attention to the ecclesiastical phase as
developed under this particular symbol of the woman.

The nature of the symbol itself fixes the interpretation. A woman
must of necessity symbolize a church, but we must determine by the
character of the woman whether or not the true church or a false
church is represented. The woman of the vision was splendidly attired
and evidently occupied a prominent place; for she is represented as
riding on the beast, the political empire, thus directing its course;
and she is also represented as sitting upon many waters, interpreted
as "peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues" (verse 15),
denoting her wide influence over distant nations. She is not
simply represented as a prominent person, however, but _as a vile
character_. She is "a great whore," "with whom the kings of the
earth have committed fornication." It is clear that in Scripture
false, idolatrous worship is represented as _whoredom_ (see 1 Chron.
5: 25; Ezekiel 16 and 23). Hence a false church is represented.

[Sidenote: Mother and daughters]

There is only one church that can fulfil the description, and that
is the Church of Rome. Long has she delighted in calling herself the
"mother church," but centuries before she made this claim, the pen
of inspiration affixed to her indelibly the title of
She bore upon her forehead this inscription, together with the title
"Mystery, Babylon the Great." Other false apostate churches there are,
but she heads the list and is the mother of them all. No wonder the
apostle marveled when he saw this professed church of Jesus Christ
defiled by the most abominable wickedness, in league with all the
evil powers of earth, and, above all, "drunken with the blood of the
saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus." That Rome from
the date she became firmly established in power has ever been a
constant persecutor of the saints, the pages of all history abundantly
attest. Even Rome's ecclesiastical writers and historians themselves
admit her use of force in destroying those whom she denominated

Revelation 17 covers the same period chronologically and ends at
the same point of time as did chapter 13. Hence we should naturally
suppose that it would also describe in some manner the power
symbolized by the two-horned beast--Protestantism--as well as
duplicate the description of the ten-horned beast--Catholicism. That
the papacy is symbolized in chapter 17 by the corrupt whore sitting
on the ten-horned beast, is too plain to need any particular
demonstration. The other division of the apostasy is included under
the term "harlots," the daughters of the "mother" church. In our
interpretation of chapter 14 we showed that the angel clearly
applied the term Babylon to the worshipers of the second
beast--Protestantism--as well as to those of the first beast.
Therefore we must regard Babylon as a general term denoting the whole
city of religious confusion, the mother and her harlot daughters being
simply specific divisions.

[Sidenote: Testimony of commentators]

Many commentators, even Protestant commentators, have been frank
enough to admit the real application and force of these symbols of
Revelation as applying to both Catholicism and Protestantism. Auberlen
asserts that "'harlot' means, in the Old and New Testaments, the
apostate church of God."--Prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation,
p. 278. Again, he says, "Not simply Rome, but Christendom as a whole,
even as Israel as a whole, has become a harlot. The true believers are
hidden and dispersed."--Ibid., p. 290. While it may not be exactly in
accordance with the Scriptures to speak of the true church of God as
being apostate, yet in a sense it is true, for a large part of those
who originally constituted the church of God actually did apostatize,
until a false church assumed almost universal sway and divers forms
of error prevailed, practically eclipsing, for a long period, the true
church of God on earth. Auberlen stated his conclusion in these words:
"Notwithstanding the universal character of the harlot, it remains
true that the Roman and Greek churches are in a more peculiar sense
the harlot than the Evangelical Protestant."--P. 294.

In the well-known Commentary by Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown, the Rev.
A.R. Fausset, writing on Rev. 17:2, says of the harlot: "It can not be
Pagan Rome but Papal Rome, if a particular seat of error be meant,
but I am inclined to think that the judgment (chap. 18:2) and the
spiritual fornication (chap. 18:3), though finding their culmination
in Rome, are not restricted to it, but comprise the whole apostate
church--Roman, Greek, and even Protestant, so far as it has been
seduced from its 'first love' to Christ, the heavenly Bridegroom, and
given its affections to worldly pomps and idols."

William Kincaid, in Bible Doctrine, p. 249, says: "I think Christ
has a true church on earth, but its members are scattered among the
various denominations, and are more or less under the influence of
mystery Babylon and her daughters."

Alexander Campbell said: "The worshiping establishments now in
operation throughout Christendom, increased and cemented by their
respective voluminous confessions of faith, and their ecclesiastical
constitutions, are not churches of Jesus Christ, but the legitimate
daughters of that mother of harlots, the Church of Rome."

Lorenzo Dow says of the Romish Church: "If she be the mother, who are
the daughters? It must be the corrupt, national, established churches
that came out of her."--Dow's Life, p. 542.

Again, Hahn in Auberlen says: "The harlot is not Rome alone (though
she is preeminently so), but every church that has not Christ's mind
and spirit. False Christendom, divided into very many sects, is truly
Babylon, i.e., confusion."

The description of the two forms of the apostasy, Papal and
Protestant, given in the thirteenth chapter of Revelation, was
conveyed under the symbols of two beasts, differing in external
appearance, but in certain respects similar in character. Immediately
following that representation there is, as we have already shown, a
description of a distinct reformatory work set forth by the 144,000
with the Lamb on Mount Zion, the fall of Babylon, and the promulgation
of the everlasting gospel in all the world. The term "Babylon" as used
in that scripture is applied to both the worshipers of the beast and
the worshipers of the image of the beast (made by the second beast);
therefore it embraces both forms of the apostasy.

We have just seen that the description of Babylon, given in Revelation
17 under the symbols of a corrupt woman and her harlot daughters,
represent the papal church and the divisions of Protestantism. We
shall now proceed to show that the two lines of prophecy (chaps. 13
and 17) are parallel chronologically, for they both end at the same
time and in the same manner.

[Sidenote: The last reformation]

As the first of these two series of prophecy ended with the fall of
Babylon and the deliverance therefrom of a people who were with the
Lamb, not wandering after the beast, and who had "the Father's name
written in their foreheads," not the name or the mark of the beast,
so also the second series ends in the same manner. After describing
Babylon under its twofold form, mother and daughters, the Revelator
says: "After these things I saw another angel come down from heaven,
having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. 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. 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. 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" (chap. 18:1-4).

A movement of mighty power is symbolized in these verses. The language
is based on the experience of the ancient Israelites in literal
Babylon, who, when the fall of the city occurred, obtained release
from their enforced captivity, and were permitted to return to their
own land. The real meaning in this case is clear: that apostate
Christianity has been a veritable Babylon in which the true people
of God have been held as in captivity, and that the time of their
deliverance would come, when they would, by divine authority, be
called out. Notice the parallelism in the two descriptions of the fall
of Babylon. In chapter 14 an angel declares "Babylon is fallen, is
fallen" (verse 8), and the next angel _with a loud voice_ warns that
those who "worship the beast and his _image_ ... shall drink of the
wine of the wrath of God" (verses 9, 10); while in chapter 18 the
first angel cries "mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon
the great is fallen, is fallen" (verse 2), and "_another voice_ from
heaven" says, "COME OUT OF HER, MY PEOPLE, that ye be not partakers of
her sins, and that ye _receive not of her plagues_" (verse 4).

That this symbolic picture represents a wonderful religious
reformation is almost too clear to need proof, for it succeeded
chronologically, and is placed in direct contrast with, the apostasy;
hence there can be but one logical conclusion, namely, that neither
Catholicism nor Protestantism is the last work and that God has
authorized a work that shall gather his true people out of the entire
babel of sect confusion. And that this movement is to be effected
before the end of time is also clearly shown. In the following
chapter, after describing God's judgment on Babylon, and the call of
his people out of her, "a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise
our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and
great" (verse 5). God's servants are called upon to rejoice on
account of their deliverance. Those who are at heart image-makers and
beast-worshipers will oppose this truth, and when they witness the
departure of the faithful followers of the Lord, leaving to Babylon
nothing but the godless, graceless professors, they will "weep and
mourn over her" (chap. 18:16) and cry, "Alas, alas that great city"
(verse 16). But the voice of heaven calls on the saints for a song
of thanksgiving, saying, "Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy
apostles and prophets" (verse 20). Yea, "praise our God, _all ye his
servants_, and ye that fear him, both small and great" (chap. 19:5).

Are we to expect such a response? Yes. It is true in the prophecy and
will therefore be true in fact before time ends. "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 thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord
God omnipotent reigneth. 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. 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" (chap. 19:6-8).

The scriptures just cited complete another line of symbolic truth.
The primitive church was represented as a pure woman, the bride (chap.
12:1). During the reign of the papacy a false, immoral woman reigned
over the kings of the earth, while the true woman, or church,
was hidden 'in the wilderness' (chap. 12: 6). Under the reign of
Protestantism her members were scattered in all parts of the city of
Babylon. But, thank God, they are to be called out of their scattered
condition, and as a company are represented in two forms--first, as a
redeemed host with the Lamb on Mount Zion, bearing the Father's name
only (chap. 14:1-5), and second, _as the bride of Christ_ preparing
herself for the soon coming of the Lord. This is proof positive that
the true church is to be brought out and placed on exhibition _before
the end of time_.

Others of the sacred writers describe this same prophetic movement.
Zechariah predicts it thus: "And it shall come to pass in that day,
that the light shall not be clear, nor dark: but it shall be one day
which shall be known to the Lord, not day, nor night: but it shall
come to pass, that _at evening_ _time it shall be light_" (Zech. 14:6,
7). These verses stand a little clearer in the Septuagint Version:
"And it shall come to pass in that day [the papal day] that there
shall be _no light_: and there shall be for one day [the Protestant
day] _cold and frost_: and that day shall be known to the Lord; it
shall not be day or night [a mixture of light and darkness]: but
_towards evening it shall be light_."

We have seen that Daniel predicted the long reign of darkness and
apostasy in the Christian dispensation. Desiring to understand
the matter, he made inquiry, and although the same thoughts
are beautifully expressed in the Authorized Version, I shall,
nevertheless, quote from the Septuagint, which makes the thought
still clearer: "_When will be the end_ of the wonders which thou hast
mentioned? And I heard the man clothed in linen ... swear by Him that
lives forever, that it should be for a time of times and half a time:
when the dispersion is ended they shall know all these things" (Dan.
12:6, 7).

"A time, and times, and the dividing of time" is the same prophetic
period of 1,260 years, the reign of the papacy. This was to be
followed by a period of "dispersion," and such Protestantism has been,
for the people of God have been scattered in hundreds of bodies. But
this dispersion was to be "_ended_" some time, and then the people of
God would "know all these things." "And I heard, but I understood not:
and said I, O Lord, _what will be the end_ of these things? And he
said, Go, Daniel: for the words are closed and sealed up _to the time
of the end_" (verse 9). At the "time of the end" the dispersal of God's
saints was to cease. This predicts the evening-time reformation, and
the nature of its work is shown in the following verse: "Many must
be CHOSEN OUT, _and thoroughly whitened, and tried with fire, and
sanctified_" (verse 10).

The same spiritual movement is also predicted by Ezekiel. In chapter
34 he describes the people of God as sheep (see verse 31). These
sheep are represented as abused, oppressed, and scattered by false
shepherds. Their gathering in this Last Reformation is predicted in
verses 11 and 12: "For thus saith the Lord God; Behold I, even I, will
both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his
flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; _so
will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places
where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day_."

Reader, this is the work of reformation that God is now accomplishing
in the world. Babylon is spiritually fallen, and God is calling his
people out. In the well-known Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary,
Rev. A.R. Fausset, commenting on Rev. 18:4, has well said: "Even in
the Romish Church, God has a people; but they are in great danger;
their only safety is in coming out of her at once. So also in every
apostate or world-conforming church, there are some of God's visible
and true church, who, if they would be safe, _must come out_."

When literal Babylon was overthrown, the Jews escaped to their own
land. Likewise God's people in spiritual Babylon are commanded to come
out, and with songs of rejoicing they are to make their way to Mount
Zion, and then lend all their efforts to the one work of restoring
primitive truth, thus making Jerusalem "the joy of the whole earth."
Like the Jews of old, "the ransomed of the Lord _shall return_ and
COME TO ZION with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they
shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away"
(Isa. 35:10).

The Psalmist informs us that in Babylon the Jews hung their harps on
the willows and wept when they remembered Zion. When their captors
demanded of them the songs of Zion, they answered despairingly, "How
shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?" (Psa. 137:1-4).
Zion's songs were _songs of deliverance_; hence the Jews could not
sing them in captivity. So also has it been in spiritual Babylon. But
when the ransomed of the Lord "return and come to Zion," "songs and
everlasting joy" break forth again.

The Revelator describes this glorious result after the period of the
apostasy in these words: "And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled
with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and
over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name,
stand on the sea of glass, _having the harps of God_. And they _sing
the song of Moses_ [a song of deliverance] the servant of God, and
the song of the Lamb [a song of redemption]" (Rev. 15:2, 3). Those who
have returned from Babylon have heavenly harps and can sing the songs
of Zion. Praise God!

"From Babel confusion most gladly I fled,
And came to the heights of fair Zion instead;
I'm feasting this moment on heavenly bread;
I'll never go back, I'll never go back.

"The beast and his image, his mark, and his name,
My love or allegiance no longer can claim,
Though men may exalt them to honor and fame;
I'll never go back again."

The prophecies already cited make clear a mighty religious movement
before the end of time, a movement designed to triumph over the
apostasy. Since the apostasy was twofold in its nature, comprehending
a corruption of evangelical faith and the development of
ecclesiasticism, it is evident that the Last Reformation must both
restore primitive truth and eliminate ecclesiasticism, thus bringing
back to the world the original conception of the church as embracing
the whole divine family under the direct moral and spiritual dominion
of Christ. It is also evident from the prophecies that this is to be
accomplished by literally forsaking the systems of man-rule just
as ancient Israel was restored after the captivity by God's people
leaving Babylon and coming home to Zion.

Zion represents the church in its primitive, unified condition under
the government and law of Christ alone. Babylon represents a foreign
rule and another law. The two systems are fundamentally different.
This difference was true in the type and must therefore be true in
the antitype. In the old days of Israel's glory foreigners visited
Jerusalem, but their presence in the city of God did not make them
Israelites. And at one time the people of God were carried into
captivity in Babylon, but their presence in that foreign, heathen city
_did not make them Babylonians_.

This distinction is also clear in the antitypical relation. We do not
have to go to prophetic symbols to find in the New Testament clear
predictions of the rise of a false Christianity in opposition to the
true. They stand out in marked contrast in the prophecy. On the one
side there is a false religious system described as a beast power
reigning. On the other side is placed in contrast a company that have
gotten the victory over the beast and over his image and over his
mark, and they stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. The
mother of harlots appears, but in contrast therewith is seen a pure
woman, the bride of Christ. In contrast with Babylon we have Zion.

The sect system, wherein ecclesiasticism reigns and where the full
truth in all its purity can not be taught and practised, does not
represent the true church, but Babylon. The system is foreign. It
contains, however, many _who are not Babylonians_ but children of
the divine family--Israelites indeed. The awful judgments of God
pronounced against Babylon are directed against the false system
itself and the real beast-worshipers it contains, not against the
true people of God, who love their Lord and are willing to walk in the
light of his Word as fast as they are able to understand it. When
we consider that this sect system has been the means of deceiving
millions--millions who will come up in that last day and plead their
religious profession, only to hear the awful words, "Depart from me,
I never knew you"--when we consider, I say, these evil results, we can
not but repeat the words of the prophecy concerning the overthrow of
Babylon, "True and righteous are His judgments." The commandment of
God is, "_Come out of her_, MY PEOPLE, that ye be not partakers of her

The movement to ignore sect lines and bring the true people of God
into unity is not based upon a mere interpretation of prophecy,
however. The necessity of such a work is being felt by the true
people of God everywhere, even those who make no particular claims
to knowledge of prophetic interpretation. Knowledge that the
ecclesiastical systems of the present day do not represent the
real church outlined in the New Testament is all that is absolutely
necessary in order to stir the heart for reformatory action. Departure
from the truth of God carries with it responsibility on the part of
all those who become awakened to that departure--_responsibility to
return to the Bible standard_. A final reformation there must and
would be even if it had never been predicted by the prophets of old;
for Christ, the great ever-living head of the church, would at the
proper time pour out upon his servants the spirit of judgment
against all unscriptural systems and forms of worship and demand the
restoration of the pure church of the morning time of our era.

[Sidenote: The future prospect]

The work of God in the latter days is to be more extensive, however,
than simply calling God's people together from their scattered
condition in sect Babylon. There are indications in the prophecy
already cited that the "everlasting gospel" is to be carried to
the ends of the earth. The movement is to be world-wide. In our
consideration of parallel prophecies in Daniel, we saw that the
kingdom is represented in two phases--first as a _stone_, under which
symbol it broke down the kingdoms of heathen darkness; and then as
a _mountain_, when it _is to fill the whole earth_. And again, after
describing the 1,260-year reign of the papacy, Daniel said: "But the
judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume
and to destroy it unto the end. And the kingdom and dominion, and the
greatness of the kingdom _under the whole heaven_, shall be given
to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an
everlasting kingdom, and _all dominions shall serve and obey_ HIM"
(Dan. 7: 26, 27).

There is abundant evidence to be seen by the careful observer that
there are now at work in the Christian world forces that are preparing
for great changes. Christian charity is refusing to be confined by
sectarian barriers. The Christian consciousness is becoming aroused to
the evils of sectarianism and sectarian systems as it has never been
aroused in any past age. There is a longing among spiritual
people everywhere to escape from the blighting effect of a divided
Christianity. Evangelism is becoming more and more detached from
organized denominations, and the denominational lines are being
ignored in a way that would have astonished the people of a
century ago. Numerous attempts are being made to unite the various
denominations on the mission fields and in the homeland. While many
of these efforts are mere blind groping for a way out of the fogs of
sectarianism, they show unmistakably that back of and underlying all
these efforts is a mighty force slowly but surely gathering power
that (so far as God's true people are concerned) shall in time rise
to break once for all the rigorous reign of human ecclesiasticism and
reestablish in power and glory the simple, primitive theocracy, where
Christ shall be exalted as the true and only ruler of his people.

Ecclesiasticism, however, dies hard. In fact, it is scarcely correct
to say that it will die at all. The churches of men are largely made
up of worldly-minded professors who know not the birth and life of
the Spirit. To such the church will never appear as anything different
from an institution organized and governed after the pattern of the
kingdoms of this world. According to the prophecy, God's true saints
will die to ecclesiasticism by forsaking the sect system, but the
rule of human churchly power will go right on until the end of time.
Furthermore, we may expect the contrast and the conflict between these
two forces to become more pronounced as the years go by. While the
Revelation represents the call of God's people out of Babylon as
the movement that again brings into prominence the "bride," the true
church (chap. 19:1-9), it also reveals the fact that there will be
another great movement in opposition to the truth.

"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. 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"
(chap. 16:13, 14). The nature and purpose of this gathering is
described in another place. "Satan ... shall go out to deceive the
nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to
gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of
the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and _compassed
the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city_: and fire came
down from God out of heaven, and devoured them" (chap. 20:7-9).

Let this be a solemn warning to all, that God's people may discern
between the false and the true. The movement that brings together
in one the real saints of the Lord is effected by the Spirit of
God, while "unclean spirits" operating in the apostate powers of
the ecclesiastical world will effect a totally different union. The
distinction is clear in the prophecy and must therefore become true in

The final reformation is on. "Final," I say, because it leaves nothing
to be restored as regards either doctrine, practise, or spirit.
It stands committed to the restoration of the whole truth and
the harmonious unity of all true Christians in one Christ-ruled,
Spirit-filled body. In short, it stands committed to the restoration
of apostolic Christianity in its entirety--its doctrines, its
ordinances, its personal regenerating and sanctifying experiences, its
spiritual life, its holiness, its power, its purity, its gifts of the
Spirit, its unity of believers, and its fruits. This reformation will
continue until it becomes a great mountain and fills the whole earth,
until "the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom
under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of
the Most High."

Nor is this picture of events a mere dream of fanciful idealists; for
it is already true in part, and the "more sure word of prophecy" to
which we have appealed sustains our hope. The actual fulfilment of so
many predicted events assures us that there shall not fail one word
of all his good promises. Already multiplied thousands of the Lord's
redeemed people have discerned God's plan of effecting unity and have
completely ignored all the lines of sect and human ecclesiasticism,
recognizing as the church nothing else than the entire brotherhood in
Christ, and recognizing as ecclesiastical authority nothing else than
that moral and spiritual dominion of Christ by which alone he governed
his people in primitive times.

This reformation is the movement of God. It is not a humanly organized
movement depending for its success on the ability of men to persuade
people to leave other churches and join them. God himself is breaking
down the barriers that divide, and in response to his call the
redeemed are forsaking human sects and creeds, and their hearts are
flowing together. The center of this movement is not a particular
geographical location, nor is its nucleus a particular set of fallible
men: the center and nucleus of this world-wide movement is OUR LORD
JESUS CHRIST, and its operative force is the SPIRIT OF THE LIVING
GOD, which draws the faithful together in bonds of holy love and
fellowship. Multitudes already recognize no other bonds of union than
that moral and spiritual affinity which is the common heritage of
all the disciples of Jesus that know the blessed experience of the
heavenly birth. Multitudes more are beginning to see the light of this
glorious truth, and in due time Christ, the Light, will illuminate the
hearts of all the saved ones. All hail the day that lies just ahead!

"Back to the one foundation, from sects and creeds made free,
Come saints of every nation to blessed unity.
Once more the ancient glory shines as in days of old,
And tells the wondrous story--one God, one faith, one fold."

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