Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

The Revelation Explained by F. Smith

Part 3 out of 7

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.8 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

Thus, under the symbols of these four trumpets we have developed the
wondrous history of the downfall of imperial Rome, in order to give
opportunity for the scenes of the drama yet to follow. The "man of sin"
could not be fully revealed in all his terrible features until this
hindrance was removed out of the way. Imperial Rome for three centuries
stood as the great opposer of God's people and slaughtered thousands,
perhaps millions, of the Lord's innocent servants, and the hand of
retributive Justice was finally extended to humble her to the dust.
Singularly, the persons whom God made choice of to effect her downfall
have either regarded themselves as special instruments whose mission it
was to punish the world or else have received such designations by
historians because of their awful work. Contemporary historians
distinguish Alaric by the epithets "The Scourge of God," "The Destroyer
of Nations"; while the great Vandal leader is designated "The Terrible
Genseric." Attila claimed the title "The Scourge of God."

13. And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of
heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the
inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the
trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!

The later editions of the Greek New Testament give the word _eagle_
instead of _angel_--denoting a messenger or angel flying with the
swiftness of an eagle. This messenger doubtless is not intended to be
symbolic; for it is not one of the seven angels, but a messenger
possessing a warning, and that warning is given "to the inhabitants of
the earth," as if they were addressed directly. It simply announces that
the three trumpets yet to sound will possess greater calamities to the
people of earth than those that have preceded, by reason of which they
are called woes. The manner, also, in which the woe trumpets are spoken
of afterwards confirm the statement that the announcement is literal and
not symbolical. "One woe is past, and, behold, there come two more woes
hereafter." Chap. 9:12. "The second woe it past: and, behold, the third
woe cometh quickly." Chap. 11:14. These announcements are evidently
literal, and serve to explain the passage before us. Accordingly, the
last three trumpets are generally referred to as the woe trumpets.


And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven
unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless

2. And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out
of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the
air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.

3. And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and
unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have

4. And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass
of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but
only those men which have not the seal of God in their

5. And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but
that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was
as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.

6. And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find
it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.

7. And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared
unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like
gold, and their faces were as the faces of men.

8. And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were
as the teeth of lions.

9. And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron;
and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of
many horses running to battle.

10. And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were
stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five

11. And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the
bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but
in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.

The symbols of this trumpet are of a very peculiar character and
peculiarly combined. They are not drawn entirely from the natural world,
showing that we are not to look for their fulfilment in political events
alone; neither are they drawn from human life in any such way as to
indicate events in the religious history of the church. The leading
characters in it, however, are living, active agents of such a
destructive nature as to entitle them to the designation of a woe.

The first object presented in the vision is a "star" fallen to the
earth. Our translation conveys the idea that this star was in the act of
falling; but in the original it is different, being there represented as
having fallen, its dejection from heaven to earth being complete. The
only place that it appeared in view was on the earth, and there it is
described as fallen. A star is a symbol either of a civil ruler or of a
religious teacher, the symbols in connection deciding whether it is set
in the political or the ecclesiastical firmament. But this was not such
a star as He who walketh in the midst of the golden candle-sticks
holdeth in his right hand, but it was a _fallen_ star, indicating that
it was the propagator of a false faith.

To this star was given a key. In the Gospels the same figure is
employed, where the ministers of Christ are represented as possessing
the keys of the kingdom of heaven, showing that they acted in his name
and by his authority. How appropriate, then, is this symbol as applied
to a false teacher, who possesses, not the keys of the kingdom of
heaven, but, instead, "the key of the bottomless pit"! Thus, under the
symbol of the star and the key, we have the teacher and his authority
set forth. Armed with this authority, this false teacher "opened the
bottomless pit; and there rose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a
great furnace; and the sun and air were darkened by reason of the smoke
of the pit." In the Scriptures Jesus is represented as the Sun of
righteousness, while "the light of the _glorious gospel_ of Christ"
illuminates the world. But here we have something of the opposite
character--a dense smoke eclipsing the sun and darkening the heavens.
Have we not here a fit representation of a delusive faith proceeding
from its true source, "the bottomless pit"? And is not a fallen star an
appropriate symbol of its propagator?

In representing a system of religion by these objects from nature we
depart from the general rule first laid down--that objects of nature
symbolize political affairs, while the department of human and angelic
life is chosen to represent religious affairs. But the reader should
bear in mind one important exception to this rule--that things
prominently connected with the history of the people of God in former
ages are frequently employed (regardless of the department to which they
belong) to represent spiritual things, their interpretation being easily
seen; such as candle-sticks, altar, temple, incense, etc. When the
plague of "thick darkness" covered the land of Egypt for three days,
"the children of Israel had light in their dwellings." In the exodus the
Lord went before them "by night in a pillar of fire, to give them
light." After the erection of the tabernacle the holy place was
constantly illuminated. This natural light in the Jewish age constitutes
a beautiful type of the spiritual "light of the glorious gospel of
Christ" that has "shined in our hearts" in the Christian dispensation.
This spiritual light comes from Christ, the "Sun of righteousness," the
"true Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world"; and
proceeds, also, from his people, who "shine as lights in the world." But
it is the "light of the _gospel_." This light proceeds in a special
sense from God's ministers, who are represented as "stars" (chap. 1:20)
and who possess "the keys of the kingdom of heaven." Mat. 16:19; 18:18.
How appropriate, then, that a _fallen_ "star," possessing "the key of
the bottomless pit," should be a symbol of a religious impostor, and
that the smoke which darkened the heavens, eclipsing the sun, the source
of light, should represent a prominent delusive faith! I have already
mentioned the fact that the symbols of this vision lead to a series of
events entirely separate in their nature from the spiritual history of
the church as developed under other symbols. We find its fulfilment in
Mohammed and the delusive system he promulgated. In the year 606 Mahomet
retired to a cave in Hera, near Mecca, and there received his pretended
revelations, although it was not until six years later that he began to
teach his doctrines publicly and to gain followers outside of the circle
of his own family and personal friends. Gibbon, Vol. V., p. 121.

The next object in the vision is the locusts that came out of the smoke,
to which was given power like scorpions, or power to inflict a deadly
sting like scorpions. To what living agents, then, did the delusion of
Mohammedanism give birth--agents of a destructive nature like scorpion
locust? Evidently, the Saracens,[6] those warrior followers of Mohammed
who flocked to his standard. These locusts received the express command
that "they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green
thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of
God in their foreheads." The successor of Mohammed, Abubeker, gave the
Saracens a command that they should "destroy no palm-trees, nor burn any
fields of grain; cut down no fruit-trees, nor do any mischief to cattle,
only such as you kill to eat." This command was singular, yet it
doubtless is not the fulfilment of the command to the locusts; for that
would be adopting a literal meaning instead of a symbolic one, and to
complete the picture we should have had literal Saracens instead of
locusts. We can not consistently make a part literal and the remainder
symbolical. In the explanation of the first trumpet (chap. 8:6, 7), we
showed that grass and trees symbolized the inhabitants of a kingdom,
grass representing the feebler and trees the stronger portions of
society. The fact, then, that these locusts were not to destroy the
green grass and trees show that they were not sent as a scourge upon the
political empire only, as was the storm of hail and fire under the first
trumpet. Had their mission been like that of natural locusts, to destroy
every green thing, we should then conclude that they were sent as a
scourge upon the empire alone, having nothing whatever to do with a
system of religion. These locusts, however, were commanded not to do
what natural locusts always do--eat green grass and trees--and were
commissioned to do what locusts never do--"hurt men," but only those who
have not the seal of God in their foreheads; that is, the worshipers of
a false, idolatrous church, who are not known unto God as his true
people. This is positive proof that the design of this vision is to set
forth some awful religious imposture; for the "men" that they were to
hurt are found in the department which by analogy represents religious

[Footnote 6: "In earlier times the name of Saraceni was applied by
Greeks and Romans to the troublesome Nomad Arabs of the Syro-Arabian
desert."--_Encyclopaedia Britannica_. In the Middle Ages, however,
Europeans began to call all their Moslem enemies Saracens. It is in the
limited sense that it is here applied, designating the first followers
of Mohammed before the rise of the Ottoman empire.]

The fact that their commission was to torment those "men which have not
the seal of God in their foreheads," is a proof also of the wide-spread
apostasies that had already taken place. This was the time when the pale
horseman was careering over the world carrying desolation everywhere by
his instruments of oppression--sword, pestilences, famine, and the wild
beasts of the earth. "The churches both in the Western and Eastern
empire were in the most deplorable condition, being corrupted with the
grossest ignorance and idolatry; the virgin Mary, the saints, and
miserable relics of every description being worshiped in the place of
Jehovah, and superstition reigning with sovereign power over all minds."
The Saracen warriors of Mohammed were sent as a scourge upon apostate
Christendom, overrunning the very territory where the gospel was first
preached, and were commissioned to "torment" the false professors of

In regard to the kind and the extent of the injury they were to inflict,
it is said that "to them it was given that they should not kill them,
but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as
the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. And in those days
shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die,
and death shall flee from them." The Saracens, as here described under
the symbol of the locusts, sustained a two-fold relation, and the
careful and perfect manner in which the symbols are selected to set it
forth is worthy of particular notice. In the first place, the Saracens
were a political body. As such, locusts would fitly represent them. But
they were also a religious body, and how could that fact be symbolically
combined with the other? It is done by the locusts' being forbidden to
act out their own nature in eating grass and trees, and their being
commanded instead to "hurt men," thus changing the field of their
operations into the department of human life--the department that is
chosen to symbolically set forth religious events. Thus the
politico-religious system of the Saracens is accurately set forth. This,
also, is nearly as clear as a demonstration that the position already
taken concerning the nature and the use of symbolic language is correct.

It was given that they should "not kill" men. We have already shown that
killing men when used symbolically signifies the destruction of the
political or ecclesiastical organizations and institutions of society.
We could not consistently interpret it as literal slaughter, but as some
analagous destruction. Now, the Saracen power was, as already stated, a
politico-religious system, and its warriors were an infatuated set of
religious fanatics, described by historians as "carrying the sword in
one hand, and the Koran in the other." Thus, they had it in their power
to kill either religiously or politically--destroy either the church or
the empire--but they did neither, for their mission was not to kill, but
to "torment." "They made extensive conquests and gained immense numbers
of converts. But they did not overthrow the Eastern empire, although
they repeatedly attacked and besieged Constantinople, suffering,
however, uniform defeat in the attempt. Neither did they destroy the
church, corrupt and apostate as it was. To idolators and infidels they
put the alternative of the Koran or death; but allowed the Christians to
retain their church organization, laying them, however, under severe
contributions, and treating them to the ignominious appellation of
Christian dogs." Concerning the character of Mohammed, Gibbon informs us
that "he seldom trampled on a prostrate enemy, and he seems to promise,
that on the payment of a tribute, the least guilty of his unbelieving
subjects might be indulged in their worship, or at least in their
imperfect faith" (Vol. V, p. 129), and this, of course, would be the
natural tendency of his followers. The Armenian and the Greek churches
survived, and still exist in that portion of the world, but they have
indeed been greviously tormented. "The proud Moslem, glorying in his
prophet and religion, has heaped every possible insult and injury upon
the Christians," yet he suffered them to live, but live only for him to
torment. Surely the oppressions thus experienced are appropriately
described by the words, "as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh
a man." Under such torments the professed Christians might court death,
but such is not granted; and still they survive, but only to be
"tormented." The Moslem had "the Christian dog" completely under his

We now turn our attention to the period of time during which these
Saracen locusts were to continue their ravages. It is given as "five
months," or one hundred and fifty days. As this description is entirely
symbolic, we must consider the time symbolic also, for time certainly
can be symbolized as well as anything else. It is very appropriate for
days to symbolize years, for they are analagous periods of time; the
diurnal revolution of the earth being taken to represent the earth's
annual movement. Such a system of reckoning time was known centuries
ago. When Jacob complained to Laban because he had been given Leah
instead of Rachel, "Laban said, It must not be so done in our country,
to give the younger before the first-born. Fulfil her _week_, and we
will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve me yet
_seven other years_. And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week ... seven
other years." Gen. 29:26-30. In this case it will be seen that a day was
used to represent a year, since seven days, or one week, represented
seven years. When the law was given, Moses recognized the week of seven
natural days, the last day of which was constituted a Sabbath of rest
for Israel; but he also instituted a week of seven years, the last year
of which was a sabbatical year of rest unto the land. This last fact
will explain such expressions as "forty days, _each day for a year_"
(Num. 14:34), and "I have appointed thee each day for a year." Ezek.

This period, then, of "five months," or one hundred and fifty days,
would represent symbolically one hundred and fifty years. As before
stated, it was in the year A.D. 612 that Mohammed began to expound his
doctrines publicly and to gather adherents around his standard, from
which point the locusts commenced, although the smoke had been let out
of the pit a little previously. For a period of one hundred and fifty
years from this date, they continued their ravages, until A.D. 762. Then
they "built Bagdad, which became their settled seat of empire; and
henceforth they became a settled nation, making no further conquests."
From that date their power began to decline. But during this one hundred
and fifty years they spread over the country like swarms of devouring
locusts. According to the well-known facts of history, "they overran
Arabia, Palestine, Persia, Egypt, and the northern shores of Africa,
from which they passed to the conquest of Portugal and Spain." These
were the countries that had been the most oppressed by a priest-ridden
church and where especially were to be found those "men which have not
the seal of God in their foreheads." Europe was trembling and filled
with apprehension at what her fate might be at the hands of these
fanatic warriors who fought with savage fury, under the promise of their
prophet that, if slain in battle, they should be immediately transported
to Paradise. At the zenith of their power, and confident of success,
they passed from Spain into France four hundred thousand strong. But
here they exceeded their mission. The southern provinces of France
contained many Christians who had the "seal of God" upon them, and this
country became the seat of the Waldenses and Albigenses, of which
interesting people we shall learn more hereafter. The invading host was
met at Tours by Charles, grandfather of Charlemagne, who dealt them such
a crushing blow that he was ever afterward designated by the surname
Martel--the Hammer. This battle was one of the fiercest recorded in
history. The Saracens who had scarcely ever experienced defeat fought
with the fury of despair, until, according to the accounts of that age,
three hundred and seventy-five thousand of their number lay upon the
field of battle with their general. This decisive victory saved Europe
from her threatened subjection to the Mohammedan faith.

The next point in the vision to claim our attention is the particular
description of these locusts. Some of the points mentioned might find a
literal fulfilment in the personal appearance of the Saracens--such as
the crowns signifying the turbans they wore, etc., but we must adhere
strictly to the symbolic mode of interpretation and look for their
fulfilment in Saracen character. Their being like war-horses denotes
their warlike disposition. The crowns on their heads signify their great
success and triumphs. Their faces of men and hair like women doubtless
signify their boldness on the one hand and their effeminateness on the
other. Their teeth as the teeth of lions show their ferocity of
character. Their breastplates of iron indicate their invincibility or
else their insensibility to injuries inflicted upon them. The sound of
their wings like horses and chariots running to battle denotes the
multitude and rapidity of their conquests. Their tails like scorpions,
containing stings with which to "hurt men"--operating in the religious
world--symbolize their position as propagators of a false faith. Thus
they are set forth in their two-fold character--as invincible warriors
and as the zealous professors of a delusion, whose sting was like that
of a scorpion when he strikes a man.

"And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless
pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue
hath his name Apollyon." The following fact of history will explain
this: "The Saracens had their Caliphs, the successors of Mohammed, who
united in themselves the supreme civil, military and ecclesiastical
powers. They were the high-priests of their religion, the commanders of
their armies, and the emperors of the nation." This king over them
signifies a succession of rulers, and they are well described as "the
angel of the bottomless pit," for that is the very place where the
delusion is said to have originated. Mahomet, as a fallen star, opened
the pit and let out the smoke, and his successors, who grasped his power
and authority, are fitly characterized as angels from the same place,
bearing the name Abaddon or Apollyon, which terms both signify

Is not this a wonderful combination of symbols which can be carried out
with surprising accuracy? What human ingenuity could have ever contrived
such a marvelous series of events, and described them under such
appropriate symbols? Finally, let me ask, Where in the whole compass of
universal history can be found another series of events so perfectly
meeting every requirement of the symbols? In this we must acknowledge
the hand of God.

12. One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more

This announcement, that one woe is past, meaning that the period of one
hundred and fifty years during which the Saracens were to continue their
conquests has ended, serves an important purpose in enabling us to fix
the chronology of the events described. It proves that they succeed each

13. And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the
four horns of the golden altar which is before God,

14. Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the
four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.

15. And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an
hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third
part of men.

16. And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred
thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them.

17. And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat
on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and
brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of
lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and

18. By these three was the third part of men killed, by the
fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out
of their mouths.

19. For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for
their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with
them they do hurt.

20. And the rest of the men which were not killed by these
plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they
should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and
brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear,
nor walk:

21. Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their
sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.

At the sounding of the sixth trumpet, or the second woe trumpet, a voice
is heard from the four horns (all the horns) of the golden altar. This
probably denotes that the very same altar where incense was offered up
to God with the prayers of all saints was now crying out to him for
vengeance upon an apostate church. That church had reached the summit of
apostasy and iniquity, the virgin Mary, the saints, and thousands of
idols in the form of miserable relics being worshiped more than God.
Because of these abominable idolatries, a voice is heard crying from the
golden altar for the avenging judgments of Heaven, which were the
loosing of the four angels bound in the river Euphrates. The symbols of
this vision are also of peculiar character and drawn from different
departments. We have four angels bound in the Euphrates, an immense army
of horsemen, then a large number of horses with heads as of lions, and
fire, smoke, and brimstone issuing from their mouths. The horses thus
particularly described are evidently intended to have a definite
symbolical signification, and being objects of nature, they would
indicate a political or military power. The horsemen, being objects from
human life, would point us to some religious body; while the angels
signify the leaders that have control of these agencies. Their being
commissioned "to slay the third part of men" show that they will
overthrow some of the established institutions of society. We are to
look, therefore, for some politico-religious power that should invade
and overthrow the empire. We are, of course, directed to the Eastern
empire; for the Western division was subverted under the symbols of the
first four trumpets. With these specifications before us, we shall have
no difficulty in identifying the power intended--_the Turkish, or
Ottoman, empire_. Its agreement with the symbolic representations of the
vision will be manifest from a statement of the facts of history.

"The Turks were of Tartar or Scythian origin, from the northern regions
of Asia, whence also the Huns hived upon Europe during the fourth and
fifth centuries. The latter passed to the north of the Black sea from
Russia, and swept the regions of the Danube and the Rhine. The Turks,
passing to the east of the same, fell upon the empire from that quarter.
They took possession of Armenia Major in the ninth century, where they
increased, and in the space of two hundred years became a formidable
power, being at the end of this period combined into four Sultanies, the
heads of which were at Bagdad, Damascus, Aleppo, and Iconium. The first
of these was erected A.D. 1055; the two next A.D. 1079, and the last
A.D. 1080--all of them within twenty-five years, and the three last
within two."

These four Sultanies are doubtless signified by "the four angels" that
were bound in the river Euphrates. The Euphrates here is employed as a
symbol, not of the Turks themselves--for the horsemen are their symbol,
as we shall see--but of the binding of the angels. The use of this word
as a symbol is derived from a fact of history, being the object,
according to Herodotus, that kept Cyrus back from entering the city of
Babylon. While the Persian monarch surrounded the walls of that ancient
metropolis of the Babylonian empire, with his army, he was held in
restraint by the river Euphrates; and it was not until he had diverted
its waters into an artificial channel that he gained an entrance. So,
also, these Sultanies, or leaders of the Turks, were held under
restraint as if bound by the river Euphrates, until the time appointed
for them to go forth on their mission of conquest. Different causes held
them back. For a long time they were involved in fierce and almost
continuous wars with the neighboring Tartar tribes on the east and the
north, and at the same time the Crusaders of Europe were carrying on a
determined war with the Saracens for the possession of the Holy Land.
For two centuries the armies of Christendom poured into Syria and
Palestine to recover from the hands of the "infidels," as they were
called, the holy sepulchre and the country that gave birth to
Christianity; but when Europe finally abandoned the project, then went
forth the command to loose the four angels, "which were prepared for an
hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of
man." To kill men symbolically, I have already shown, signifies the
destruction either of an empire as a political body or of the church
(that is, the so-called church) as a religious body. The locusts under
the fifth trumpet were to do neither; but the symbolic characters of
this vision are "to slay the third part of men," by which is set forth
the fall and subjugation of the Eastern empire and church; just as,
under the fifth trumpet, the fall of the Western empire was described by
the darkening of a third part of the sun, moon, and stars.

Before considering the time-prophecy in this vision, we will pass on to
notice a few particulars respecting the horses and their riders. The
horsemen possessed breastplates of fire, jacinth, and brimstone; while
out of the mouths of the horses proceeded fire, smoke, and brimstone.
There is evidently a special design in distinguishing between the horses
and their riders. These symbols, being drawn from different sources--the
former from the natural world and the latter from human life--point out
the two characteristics of the Turks as a politico-religious power. The
symbolic description of the two is almost identical. The horsemen had
breastplates of fire, jacinth (purplish or reddish blue), and brimstone.
This describes the character of the Turks as a religious system. Out of
the horses' mouths proceeded fire, smoke, and brimstone, which
represents the Moslems as a political power. The only difference is that
the smoke is substituted for the jacinth, but they very nearly agree in
color. We are thus brought to the conclusion that the political and the
religious power of the Turks is in harmony and agreement with each
other--united in the closest manner possible, like a horse and its
rider, and both animated by the same spirit. That spirit is perhaps
their fierce, fanatical, aggressive, intolerant character.

The tails of the horses were like serpents with heads, their power being
in their mouth and in their tails--the one a lion, the other a serpent.
It was by the fire, the smoke, and the brimstone that came from their
lion-heads that the third part of men was killed, or their conquests
were made; then with their serpent-like tails would they torment or
"hurt" all those who would not adopt the Moslem faith, being in this
respect like the scorpion locusts. Their lion-heads would denote their
invincible strength and courage; and their serpent-tails, the tormenting
sting inflicted upon those whom they subdued but who would not accept
their religion. It is not said that the riders were the direct agents of
destruction--not the Moslem faith as a religion--but it was the horses
that accomplished the deadly work--the Ottomans as a political body.
This was the power that extended conquests and established their empire,
although it was accompanied by the religious system, working in perfect

It is said that the "rest of the men which were not killed by these
plagues" repented not. This expression doubtless signifies the Western,
or Latin, church. They saw these judgments of the Euphratean horsemen on
the Eastern empire, and the triumph of the Moslem sword and faith (the
woe fell as a judgment upon the Eastern church); still, they continued
as before in their abominable idolatries, by which is probably meant
their worship of the virgin Mary, saints, relics, and images. There was
no reformation. Error, superstition, and ecclesiastical usurpation
prevailed as before.

The Turks obtained their first victory over the Christians of the
Eastern, or Greek, empire in A.D. 1281. Within ten years the Latins who
inhabited Palestine were entirely overthrown (see Gibbon, Vol. VI, p.
47), and the way was now clear for Turkish aggression against the Greek
empire. Before the end of the century the four Sultanies mentioned were
combined into one consolidated empire under Osman (corrupted by
Europeans into Ottoman) and from him took the name which it still
retains--the Ottoman empire. From the time they were let loose, the
Turks continued their aggressions until A.D. 1453, when Constantinople
fell before their victorious arms, and the Eastern empire, with the last
of the Constantines, sunk to rise no more. "The Turkish sword and the
religion of the Koran were enthroned in the Christian metropolis of the
Roman emperors; and the proud Moslem had the Christian dog completely
under his foot." The Ottoman power, however, continued to grow and make
new conquests until the year A.D. 1672, when they conducted a successful
campaign against Poland, in which forty-eight towns and villages were
ceded to the Sultan, with promise of an annual tribute of two hundred
and twenty thousand ducats. See Encyclopaedia Britannica, Art. Turkey.
This was the last victory they ever gained wherein the Ottoman empire
obtained any advantage. A little later they marched against Vienna, but
sustained a miserable defeat. "Venice and Russia now declared war
against Turkey; misfortune followed misfortune; city after city was rent
away from the empire; the Austrians were in possession of almost the
whole of Hungary, the Italians of almost all the Morea." Encyclopaedia
Britannica, Art. Turkey. So the power of the Ottomans to extend their
conquests and to add to their empire, ended with the victory over the
Poles in A.D. 1672. This fact is even admitted by Demetrius Cantemir,
prince of Moldavia, one of their historians, in the following language:
"This was the _last_ victory by which any advantage accrued to the
Othman state, or any city or province was annexed to the ancient bounds
of the empire." In accordance with this statement, the same historian
entitles the first part of his history up to the victory over the Poles
in 1672 the History of _the Growth of the Othman Empire_, and the
remaining portion, _The Decay of the Othman Empire_.

Calculating now the time during which these horsemen were prepared to
extend their conquests--"an hour, and a day, and a month, and a
year"--we find according to prophetic, or symbolic, time--thirty days in
a month, three hundred and sixty in a year--that it signifies three
hundred and ninety-one years and fifteen days. This is exactly the
period of time that elapsed between their first victory in A.D. 1281 and
their last conquest in A.D. 1672. I can not verify the fifteen days,
because no history at my command states the exact days of the month on
which these victories occurred.

One more point of importance must be considered before we conclude this
chapter, and that is the continuance of the Ottoman power. The first, or
Saracen, woe had power to torment men "five months," or one hundred and
fifty years, during which time they continued their ravages. The second
woe began when the command was given to loose the four angels, or the
beginning of the Ottoman conquests. "An hour, and a day, and a month,
and a year," or three hundred and ninety-one years, marked the time
during which they were "prepared" to extend their conquests. But it is
not stated that the woe itself, or the Ottoman power, would then cease;
for it is not represented as ending until after the death and the
resurrection of the witnesses (chap. 11:14), immediately following which
the coming of Christ and the general judgment, or the third woe, is
described. Verses 15-18. The Turkish power has made no advance for
centuries, but has been on the decline; yet it will endure for its
allotted time. It furnishes us a way-mark by which we can determine our
position along the pathway of time; for when it falls, we may rest
assured that the coming of Christ is imminent.

For nearly two centuries it has been the wonder of civilized nations how
that corrupt, tyrannical government, which has been described as a
"despotism tempered by assassination," could exist in the increased
light and onward advance of modern civilization. Concerning its position
in Europe, Judson, in his recent history of Europe in the Nineteenth
Century, says: "The Turkish empire has been an element of unrest in
Europe. It has long been plain to all that it is not permanent. It has
taken no root. The Turks are merely encamped in Europe; and it is merely
a question of time when the last of them must return across the
Bosphorus." Pp. 269, 270. But Turkey will continue to hold this
territory of the old Greek empire until the time appointed by the Father
for her overthrow. The nations of Europe have often conspired for her
overthrow. This is what is known as the great Eastern Question, which
has been described by one writer as "the expulsion of the Turk from
Europe, and the scramble for his territory." But it has not yet been
accomplished, for the very reason doubtless, that it _could not_ take
place before the resurrection of the witnesses, of which we will speak
later. Judson thus continues his account of the matter: "As soon as this
idea was realized [that Turkish power in Europe must fall] by the
Western nations, in place of the dread of the Turk which had so long
been part and parcel of European thinking, the question of the disposal
to be made of the Turkish possessions became matter of live interest.
And this is the Eastern Question. The Greek empire vanished forever when
the last Constantine fell in 1453. The only problem is one of partition.
And the heart of it all is the disposal to be made of Constantinople.
That imperial city is a site that, in strong hands, means power and
wealth. What shall become of it? Russia early formed designs of
conquest.... The empress Catherine ... had a grand scheme for a
restoration of the Greek empire under a Russian prince. Alexander I., at
Tilsit, planned a partition of the Ottoman empire with Napoleon, but the
latter declined to see Constantinople in Russian hands.
'Constantinople,' said he, 'is the empire of the world.' In 1844
Nicholas visited England and made guarded suggestions to the
prime-minister about the Turkish lands. The Ottoman empire, said he, was
a sick man, nearly at the last extremity.... England declined to plan
for a share of the inheritance, and nothing was done. In 1853 Nicholas
resumed the subject with the British ambassador at St. Petersburg. The
sick man, he now held, was at the point of death.... But again England
declined and, indeed, the next year went to war with Russia to save the
sick man from a premature end at the hands of the would-be administrator
of the estate. Another power doubly interested in the future of the
Turkish dominions is Austria. That empire has been the traditional enemy
of the Turk, and at the end of the seventeenth century was the actual
bulwark of Europe against Mohammedan conquest. When the tide of war
rolled the other way, Austria was ready to share in the spoils. Twice
near the end of the eighteenth century, was an alliance made between
Russia and Austria for the partition of Turkey," etc. Pp. 270, 271.
Thus, we find that these designs of nations for the overthrow of Turkey
have so far been overruled; for God will not allow that power to come to
"a _premature end_."


And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed
with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was
as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire:

2. And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his
right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth,

3. And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when
he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices.

4. And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was
about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me,
Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write
them not.

5. And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the
earth lifted up his hand to heaven,

6. And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created
heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the
things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are
therein, that there should be time no longer:

7. But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he
shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as
he hath declared to his servants the prophets.

8. And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again,
and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand
of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth.

9. And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the
little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it
shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet
as honey.

10. And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate
it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I
had eaten it, my belly was bitter.

11. And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many
peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.

In the preceding chapter we had a history of the two great woes that
befell apostate Christendom. In this chapter we have in contrast a
portion of the history of God's true church, to show us that all was not
lost even though the Eastern church was greviously tormented by the
serpent-tails of the horses and the Western church still continued as
before in her sorceries, fornications, and abominable idolatries.

The symbol is that of an angel from heaven. This is not the seventh, or
the third woe angel, who ushers in the general judgment (chap.
11:15-18), but it is a special messenger appearing on earth with the
awful message that the end of time is near and that when the seventh
angel soon begins to sound the mystery of God shall be finished and
there shall be time no longer. This mighty angel is symbolical of some
human agencies of distinguished character; for it stands in striking
contrast with the destructive powers described under the preceding
trumpets. When angels appear on the panoramic scene only in the temple
above, they themselves are not symbolic characters, but only the
conductors of the Revelation; but whenever they appear on earth, they
represent distinguished agencies among men. In the present vision the
symbol is drawn, not from the natural world, but from the heavenly, and
the scene is laid upon earth; therefore we must look to the history of
the church to find its fulfilment in some distinguished agencies
appearing for the defence of Christ and his truth. The cloud, rainbow,
face as the sun, and feet as pillars of fire, are doubtless intended to
set forth their beautiful, benignant character, and to show that the
angel is not such an one as those that were bound in the river
Euphrates. This one has the bow of covenant promise upon his head, and
his face shines as the sun.

Where, then, in the history of God's true church do we find the agencies
corresponding to the symbol? We find them in the _holy ministry_ that he
has raised up and is now sending forth to preach the pure gospel and to
declare the speedy sounding of the seventh trumpet and the coming of the
Lord Jesus Christ to earth again.

"Lo, the angel now is standing on the sea and on the land;
How his voice the air is rending as to God he lifts his hand!
What an awful, awful message! Help us, Lord, this truth to see:
When the seventh trumpet thunders, then shall time no longer be.

"One more trumpet yet to summon us before the judgment seat,
Then the time of our frail planet will be said to be complete.
How the wicked will be wailing and the righteous overjoyed
When with fire the heav'ns are burning and the earth shall be destroyed!"

This angel "set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the
earth," that his lion-like voice might be heard over all the world. This
shows that the earth (the Apocalyptic earth--the territory of the Roman
empire) was not the only place where the message was to be borne; it was
to be sounded upon the sea, which would indicate its promulgation among
all nations.

When his mighty voice sounded, "seven thunders uttered their voices";
and when about to record what they said, John was commanded to "seal up
those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not." The
fact that they were not to be recorded shows that they were to
constitute no part of this Revelation. John evidently thought so at
first; for they had the appearance of revelation, something clothed with
divine authority, but they were not to be delivered to the church. What,
then, were they? The most probable supposition is, that they were things
that God for some reason did not choose to have revealed. Their sayings
may have described events just prior to the end so perfectly as to leave
the world in no doubt respecting the nearness of Christ's second coming;
whereas it appears in the Scriptures that God has designed that it
should be a matter of considerable uncertainty, especially to the
unsaved. However, we can obtain no satisfactory explanation of the
things uttered by the seven thunders; for we can not identify positively
what John was commanded to "seal up."

This angel had in his hand a little book that John was required to take
and eat. In advancing and taking the book, John himself becomes an actor
in the symbolic scene, the same as was the book and the angel from whose
hand he took it. Therefore we must now consider John a symbol of
something in this vision. Some of the commentators have supposed that
this book signified the remainder of the book of Revelation. But John
was commanded to _write_ the Revelations, not to _eat_ them. And if he
ate them, how, then, could they constitute the remainder of the book?
Its true signification is undoubtedly the word of God. In making such an
application we do not necessarily make one book merely a symbol of a
larger one, as the Bible is, but of God's _revealed will_, just the same
as the sealed book of chapter V was the symbol of the divine purposes.
When we come to explain the resurrection of the witnesses in chapter XI,
it will be found that this is the time when the word of God is again
taught in all its purity, being restored for the first time, in its
perfect sense, since the morning time of this dispensation. A great
spiritual famine has for centuries overspread the earth. Since the time
the black horse of the third seal entered on his career, the people have
been starving for spiritual food. The few crumbs that have been dropped
during the reign of Protestantism have been eagerly gathered up by the
spiritually-minded; but, thank God! the time has now arrived when the
messengers appear with food from heaven, and the multitudes of earth's
starving millions can "eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the
name of the Lord God." Joel 2:26. Halleluiah!

In taking the book from the hand of the angel and eating it, John became
a symbol of the church, or people of God, who receive the Word from the
hand of his ministers. The sweetness of its taste signifies the
eagerness with which people receive it and the gladness experienced when
they first partake of the heavenly manna; while the bitterness resulting
therefrom probably symbolizes the bitter persecutions and oppositions of
which it is the occasion. "Yea, and _all_ that will live godly in Christ
Jesus shall suffer persecution." 2 Tim. 3:12.

John was told to "prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and
tongues, and kings," which signifies that the people of God must again
be witnesses of his saving grace throughout all the world. In the
beginning of this dispensation all his people prophesied among the
nations; for Christ had said unto them, "Ye shall be _witnesses_ unto
me, both in Jerusalem, and in Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the
uttermost parts of the earth." Acts 1:8. So, also, in this evening time
we go forth again on the same mission, inspired by the soon-coming of
our Savior.

"Even so come, Lord Jesus."


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.

2. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and
measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy
city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.

3. And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall
prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in

4. These are the two olive-trees, and the two candlesticks
standing before the God of the earth.

5. And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their
mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt
them, he must in this manner be killed.

6. These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days
of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to
blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they

The two principal objects of this vision is the city of Jerusalem with
its holy temple and worshipers, and two witnesses prophesying for twelve
hundred and sixty days. These are not objects from the natural world;
therefore we may conclude that we have not here to do with political
events, while the character of the symbols point us with certainty to
the history of the church.

There is a possibility that the speaker here is not the angel of the
preceding chapter; for the words in verse 1 "and the angel stood" may be
an interpolation, they being found in very few manuscripts. See the
Revised Version and the Emphatic Diaglott, Greek and English. If not,
then he must be the angel through whom the Revelation was given. Chap.
1:1; 22:8. Whether the angel is the same as the one in the preceding
chapter or not, it is evident that that series of prophecy ends with
chapter 10, and that he here introduces a new line of events running
over the entire gospel dispensation[7], in which John as an active agent
in the panoramic vision still stands as a symbol of the people of God,
who, in striking contrast with the blind devotees of an apostate church,
are commanded to "measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them
that worship therein." The temple with its altar and court and the holy
city itself, here used as symbols, are representative of something
analagous, and refer to no other than the outward, visible church of God
with its doctrines and worshipers. Its measurement is designed to show
how far it conforms to the true church; while the rod is a symbol of the
revealed will of God, by which the measurement is brought as to a true

[Footnote 7: This statement may seem to conflict with the classification
of events in the "Diagram of the Revelation," where this prophecy is
treated, not as an independent series, but as part of a compound series
beginning with chapter 8 and ending with chapter 11. For thus
classifying it my reason is, that the line of prophecy beginning with
chapter 8 introduces the seven trumpets, and therefore the series is not
complete until the seventh trumpet is given, which event concludes the
line of truth given in the present chapter.]

By noticing briefly the arrangement of the temple and the purposes to
which the different apartments were put, we shall be able to understand
better the design of this vision. The temple proper consisted of two
apartments. In the first stood the altar of incense and other things; in
the second, the ark of the covenant, etc. The priests officiated in the
first apartment regularly, while into the second went the high-priest
alone once every year. This, Paul informs us, was a shadow of a greater
and more perfect tabernacle. Heb. 9:1-11; 8:2. The altar that is
mentioned and that John was to measure is a symbol of the great cardinal
doctrine of the church--the atonement and mediation of Christ. He was
the sacrifice made for sin, through whom we have redemption and access
unto God. John was also told to measure those who worshiped therein--the
officiating ministers in the sanctuary--who were thus made symbols of
the ministers and the teachers in the church. To measure the temple of
God, then, was to ascertain the great doctrines taught in the Scriptures
and symbolized by the sanctuary, the altar, and the priests; namely, the
doctrines of the New Testament concerning God as the supreme lawgiver,
the atonement of Jesus Christ as the only ground for justification, and
the ministers whom he appointed to officiate in his church.

These are the great principles corrupted by the Papacy. Instead of the
one supreme God, we find another in the temple of God, "showing himself
that _he_ is God." Christ was not recognized as the supreme and only
head of the church; but instead the Pope claimed the title of universal
head and legislated supreme, while his decrees and anathemas were
accepted as from Jehovah himself. Christ was not regarded as the only
mediator between God and man, but the virgin Mary and the saints were
exalted to share the mediatorial throne, the mother being more honored
than the Son. Penance, counting of beads, works of supererogation, were
believed to be more effectual in obtaining forgiveness of sin than
living faith in our only Redeemer. Finally, in place of the humble
ministers of Christ whom he appointed to officiate in his church, there
were haughty lords and rulers, making the most extravagant claims to
power and authority over the minds and consciences of men. The court of
the temple was the space outside of the sanctuary occupied by the
congregation while the worship within was conducted by the priests. John
was told to leave this out and measure it not; for it was given to the
Gentiles to tread under foot, or profane, for the space of forty and two
months, or twelve hundred and sixty days. In the estimation of a Jew,
the Gentiles were all idolaters and outside of God's covenant favor. As
a symbol, then, we are to understand that the great body of worshipers
thus brought to view are not the true children of God at all, but are,
as it were, uncircumcised, idolatrous Gentiles, having no connection
whatever with the great head of the church and no part in the covenant
of his mercy. The whole city of Jerusalem was to be given over to this
profane multitude and by them desecrated for forty-two months, denoting
that this great company of worshipers was to constitute the visible,
external church during the period specified. It is as though the city of
Jerusalem were occupied by the idolatrous heathen, and the Jews driven
out as aliens. These Gentiles, then, were to constitute the one great
(so-called) universal church--the Church of Rome.

Forty and two months, or twelve hundred and sixty days, are symbolic
time, signifying twelve hundred and sixty years, during which time the
power of apostasy was to reign supreme over the minds of men. The same
period is also referred to frequently in subsequent chapters. It is
necessary, then, for us to ascertain at what period of time the church
was given over to a profane multitude that was not the true people of
God. Some have supposed that this must refer to the time when Popery
became fully established. Such, however, could not be the case (although
the time-period includes that important event); for the power of
apostasy was greatly developed centuries before the final supremacy of
the Popes was established, and was necessary in order to prepare the way
for their exaltation. The Popes obtained their authority by degrees. In
A.D. 606 the emperor Phocas conferred the title "Universal Bishop" upon
the Pope of Rome. In A.D. 756 the Pope became a temporal sovereign. Yet
the power of Papal usurpation did not reach the summit until the reign
of the impious Hildebrand, who succeeded to the Popedom in A.D. 1073,
under the title of Gregory VII. But according to the symbols before us,
we must look for a period not so much when the Popes were enabled to
definitely enforce their arrogant claims, as when the ministry became
corrupted and when the inhabitants of the city, or the devotees of the
visible church, became a profane multitude entirely estranged from the
covenant of promise. The usurpations of the ministry that accompanied
this great change in the external church have been considered already
under the symbols of chapter VI. This mighty transformation to a church
containing nothing but uncircumcised Gentiles was fully accomplished
during the latter half of the third century, from which date we must
look for the true disciples of the Lord as entirely separate from the
hierarchy. A few quotations from standard and ecclesiastical histories
will show this important epoch in the rise of the Papacy that plunged
the world into almost universal apostasy.

"The living church retiring gradually within the lonely sanctuary of a
few solitary hearts, an external church was substituted in its place,
and all its forms were declared to be of divine appointment. Salvation
no longer flowing from the Word, which was henceforward put out of
sight, the priests affirmed that it was conveyed by means of the forms
they had themselves invented, and that no one could obtain it but by
these channels.... The doctrine of the church and the necessity of its
visible unity, which had begun to gain ground in the _third century_,
favored the pretensions of Rome." D'Aubigne's History of the
Reformation, Book I, Chap. 1.

"At the end of the third century almost half the inhabitants of the
Roman empire, and of several neighboring countries, professed the faith
of Christ. About this time endeavors to preserve a unity of belief, and
of church discipline, occasioned numberless disputes among those of
different opinions, and led to the establishment of an ecclesiastical
tyranny." Encyclopaedia of Religious Knowledge.

Concerning the Roman diocese, the Encyclopaedia Britannica says, "Before
the termination of the third century the office was held to be of such
importance that its succession was a matter of interest to ecclesiastics
living in distant sees." Vol. XIX, p. 488.

"Almost proportionate with the extension of Christianity was the
decrease in the church of vital piety. A philosophizing spirit among the
higher, and a wild monkish superstition among the lower orders, fast
took the place in the third century of the faith and humility of the
first Christians. Many of the clergy became very corrupt, and
excessively ambitious. In consequence of this there was an awful
defection of Christianity." Marsh's Church History, p. 185.

"We have found it almost necessary to separate, and indeed widely to
distinguish the events of the two first, from those of the third
century, for nearly at this point we are disposed to place the FIRST
CRISIS in the internal history of the church." Waddington's Church

"This season of external prosperity was improved by the ministers of the
church for the exertion of new claims, and the assumption of powers with
which they had not been previously invested. At first these claims were
modestly urged, and gradually allowed; but they laid a foundation for
the encroachments which were afterwards made upon the rights of the
whole Christian community, and for lofty pretensions to the right of
supremacy and spiritual dominion.... Several alterations in the form of
church government appear to have been introduced during the third
century. Some degree of pomp was thought necessary.... The external
dignity of the ministers of religion was accompanied by a still greater
change in its discipline.... Many of the Jewish and Pagan proselytes ...
languished in the absence of ceremonies which were naturally adapted to
the taste of the unreflecting multitude, while the insolent infidel
haughtily insisted upon the inanity of a religion which was not
manifested by an external symbol or decoration. In order to accommodate
Christianity to these prejudices, a number of rites were instituted; and
while the dignified titles of the Jewish priesthood were through a
compliance with the prejudices of that people, conferred upon the
Christian teachers, many ceremonies were introduced which coincided with
the genius of Paganism. The true gospels were taught by sensible images,
and many of the ceremonies employed in celebrating the heathen mysteries
were observed in the institutions of Christ, which soon in their turn
obtained the name of mysteries, and served as a melancholy precedent for
future innovations, and as a foundation for that structure of absurdity
and superstition which deformed and disgraced the church." Rutter's
History of the Church, pp. 52-56.

This "season of external prosperity" mentioned by Rutter began with the
accession of Gallienus to the imperial throne in A.D. 260. Up to this
time the hand of persecution had been raised against the church almost
incessantly; but from 260 until the reign of Diocletian persecution
almost ceased, during this space of about forty years. But this period
also marked the greatest decline in spiritual things and a marvelous
development of the hierarchy. Speaking of the bishop of Rome in these
times, Dowling says, "He far surpassed all his brethren in the
magnificence and splendor of the church over which he presided; in the
riches of his revenues and possessions; in the number and variety of his
ministers; in his credit with the people; and in his sumptuous and
splendid manner of living." History of Romanism, p. 34.

Ammianus Marcellinus, a Roman historian, who lived during these times,
adverting to this subject, says: "It was no wonder to see those who were
ambitious of human greatness, contending with so much heat and animosity
for that dignity, because when they had obtained it, they were sure to
be enriched by the offerings of the matrons, and of appearing abroad in
great splendor, of being admired for their costly coaches, and sumptuous
feasts, outdoing sovereign princes in the expenses of their table." This
led Proetextatus, a heathen, who was praefect of the city, to say, "Make
me bishop of Rome, and I'll be a Christian too!"

Speaking of the period now under consideration, Eusebius, "the father of
church history," "mentions one Paul, who was at this time bishop of
Antioch; who lived in luxury and licentiousness, and who was a teacher
of erroneous doctrines, and usurped so great authority that the people
feared to venture to accuse him. In the conclusion of the same chapter
in which this is found, he shows that after a general council was held
at Antioch, this Paul was excommunicated and robbed of his bishopric by
the bishops of Rome and Italy; from this it appears that they possessed
an authority still greater than that usurped by Paul." The following are
his words: "Paul, therefore, having thus fallen from the episcopate,
together with the true faith as already said, Domnus succeeded in
administration of the church at Antioch. But Paul being unwilling to
leave the building of the church, an appeal was made to the emperor
Aurelian, who decided most equitably on the business, ordering the
building to be given up to those whom the Christian bishops of Italy and
Rome should write." Eccl. History, Book VII, Chap. 30. The Encyclopaedia
Britannica says that this council at which Paul was excommunicated was
held "probably in the year 268," and that "Paul continued in his office
until the year 272, when the city was taken by the emperor Aurelian, who
decided in person that the church-building belonged to the bishop who
was in epistolary communication with the bishops of Rome and Italy."
Vol. XVIII, p. 429.

The above extracts show not only the development of error in the church,
but also the great power already obtained by the hierarchy. Geo. 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 founder of the monastic
institution, fixed his abode in the deserts of Egypt and formed monks
into organized bodies. "Influenced by these eminent examples [Anthony,
Hilarion, et al.] immense multitudes betook themselves to the desert,
and innumerable monasteries were fixed in Egypt, Ethiopia, Lybia and
Syria. Some of the Egyptian abbots are spoken of as having had five,
seven, or even ten thousand monks under their personal direction; and
the Thebias, as well as certain spots in Arabia, are reported to have
been literally crowded with solitaries. Nearly a hundred thousand of all
classes, it is said, were at one time to be found in Egypt.... Although
the enthusiasm might be at a lower ebb in one country than in another,
it _actually affected the church universal_, so far as the extant
materials of ecclesiastical history enables us to trace its rise and
progress.... The more rigid and heroic of the Christian anchorets
dispensed with all clothing except a rug, or a few palm leaves round the
loins. Most of them abstained from the use of water for ablution; nor
did they usually wash or change the garments they had once put on; thus
_St. Anthony_ [the founder of this order] bequeathed to Athanasius a
skin in which his sacred person had been wrapped for half a century.
They also allowed their beards and nails to grow, and sometimes became
so hirsute, as to be actually mistaken for hyaenas or bears." Hist. of
Romanism, pp. 88, 89. Reader, what was the condition of the so-called
church in A.D. 270 that could make the introduction of such abominations
possible? Although many more historical quotations on this point might
be added, I will conclude with the two following extracts from Joseph

"We shall, for the present, leave Anthony propagating the monastic
dispositions, and extending its influence not only into the next
century, but for many ages after, and conclude this view of the state of
the _third century_, with expressing our 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." Cen. III, Chap. 20.

"Moral, and philosophical, and monastic 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." Cent. IV, Chap. 1.

After reading the foregoing statements of historians, the reader will, I
believe, agree with me that the year 270 is a consistent date to mark
the time when the visible external church was wholly given over to the
profane multitude of uncircumcised, idolatrous Gentiles to tread under
foot. Measuring forward the allotted period of twelve hundred and sixty
years brings us to the exact date of the first Protestant creed (_the
Augsburg Confession_) in A.D. 1530. We must point to this date both for
the end of Rome's universal spiritual supremacy and for the rise of
Protestantism. D'Aubigne, in his History of the Reformation, when he
comes to this period, says: "The conflicts hitherto described have been
only partial; we are entering upon a new period, that of general
battles. Spires (1529) and Ausburg (1530) are names that shine forth
with more immortal glory than Marathon, Pavia, or Marengo. Forces that
up to the present time were separate, are now uniting into one energetic
band." Book XVIII, Chap. 1. "The first two books of this volume contain
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." D'Aubigne, Preface to Vol.

The next important object in the vision is the "two witnesses" that
prophecied in sackcloth. From the description given, it would appear at
first that these witnesses were active intelligent agents; and as such,
belonging to the department of human life, they would symbolize the
church, the number two denoting the ministry and the people of God. But
the church is already symbolized in this chapter, the angel representing
the ministry, as in the preceding chapter, and John, who is clearly one
of the symbolic agents in this vision, representing the church;
therefore the two witnesses must be representative of something else.
Since the actions ascribed to them are drawn from the department of
human life, it is evident that their interpretation is to be found in
connection with the affairs of the church. By way of explanation, verse
4 represents them to be "the two olive-trees, and the two candle-sticks
standing before the God of the earth," although it is not stated that
any olive-trees and candle-sticks were shown in this prophetic vision.
In this reference is made to the fourth chapter of Zechariah, where two
olive-trees are represented as standing one on each side of a golden
candle-stick, distilling into it their oil for light. When asked for the
signification of the two olive-trees and the candlestick, the angel
answered, "This is the _Word_ of the Lord ... by my _Spirit_, saith the
Lord." Ver. 6. 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 6:39. "This gospel of the
kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a _witness_ unto all
nations." Mat. 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. It is the Spirit acting in conjunction
with the Word of God that gives spiritual life, through regeneration,
unto men, and which opens their understanding that they may know the
things of God. 2 Cor. 2:9-15.

God may have given us the explanation that these two witnesses were the
same as the olive-trees and the candle-sticks to prevent our being led
astray with the supposition that they were actually intelligent agents.
(I speak humanly.) Accepting this statement, the actions of these
witnesses here described can be explained only by the figure of speech
known as Personification, by which it is proper, under certain
conditions, to attribute life, action, and intelligence to inanimate
objects. Thus, the blood of Abel is said to have cried from the ground.
Gen. 4:9, 10. "The stone shall cry out of the wall, and the beam out of
the timber shall answer it." Hab. 2:11. "The hire of the laborers ...
which is of you kept back by fraud crieth: and the cries ... are entered
into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth." Jas. 5:4. "The mountains and the
hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of
the field shall clap their hands." Isa. 55:12. I would not attempt to
vary from the general order and explain these two witnesses by the
figure of personification, were it not for the fact that the two
olive-trees and the two candle-sticks are here given as a means of
explanation; and trees and candle-sticks, we know, are not active,
intelligent agents, and consequently do not necessarily symbolize such.

To "hurt" the Word and Spirit of God is to oppose, corrupt, or pervert
their testimony and to turn people away from them; and the judgments of
Heaven are pronounced in that Word and by that Spirit against such as
turn away from the truth unto fables. They shall have their part in the
lake that burns with fire and brimstone. Rev. 20:15; 22:8. It is also
said of them: "These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the
days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to
blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will."
This indicates the fact that these were God's own special witnesses sent
in his name and by his authority, as were the prophets of old. Elijah
shut up heaven by prayer; Moses called down the plagues upon Egypt; and
these were God's attestations that they were his divinely commissioned
servants. So these two witnesses had power to shut heaven and to smite
the earth with plagues, not literally, but herein is symbolically set
forth the fact that they were God's appointed agents, even though
despised and rejected, like Elijah in the midst of apostate Israel and
Moses amid idolatrous Egypt, yet, like them, with the seal of Heaven
upon their ministry.

In the beginning of this dispensation these two witnesses were the
vicars of Christ in his church upon earth. The word of God and the
Spirit of God were the Governors of his people. At that time they had
perfect freedom of action among the children of God; but when the
apostasy arose, the governing power of the Word and Spirit of God in the
church was gradually usurped by the rising hierarchy, until, finally,
men had entire authority in what was called the visible church. This was
brought about when, to quote Mosheim's words, the bishops grasped the
power and authority "to prescribe authoritative rules of faith and
manners." D'Aubigne explains it thus: "Salvation no longer flowing from
the _Word_, which was henceforward put out of sight, the priests
affirmed that it was conveyed by means of the forms they had themselves
invented, and that no one could attain it except by these channels....
Christ communicated to the apostles, and these to the bishops, the
unction of the _Holy Spirit_; and this Spirit is to be procured only in
that order of succession.... Faith in the heart no longer connected the
members of the church, and they were united by means of bishops,
archbishops, popes, mitres, canons and ceremonies." History of the
Reformation, Book I, Chap. 1. Thus, the Word and Spirit of God as the
true vicars of Christ in his church were finally expelled from what was
looked upon as the one visible church, and with them the true worshipers
also were driven out; and nothing remained in the public view except the
great company of profane idolaters already referred to. The same is
referred to in a subsequent chapter as the flight of the true church
into the wilderness, where, hidden from sight, she had a place prepared
of God for twelve hundred and sixty days. So after all, God had a true
church during the Dark Ages--a people that stood in opposition to the
abounding corruption and iniquity of the church of Rome; a people that
rejected the established hierarchy and gave heed to the Word and Spirit
of God. But their numbers were so few, comparatively, that the
operations of the two witnesses were greatly limited; hence they are
represented as being clothed in sackcloth, a symbol of melancholy and

Among those who opposed the teachings of that apostate church were the
Cathari, Poor Men of Lyons, Lombards, Albigenses, Waldenses, Vaudois,
etc. The name Waldenses and Albigenses have frequently been loosely
applied to all the bands of people that passed under various titles in
different countries and that opposed the doctrines and ecclesiastical
tyranny of Rome. Speaking of the twelfth century, Bowling says: "There
existed at that dark period, when 'all the world wondered after the
beast,' a numerous body of the disciples of Christ, who took the New
Testament for their guidance and direction in all the affairs of
religion, rejecting the doctrines and commandments of men. Their appeal
was from the decisions of councils, and the authority of popes,
cardinals, and prelates, to the law and the testimony--the words of
Christ and his holy apostles." History of Romanism, p. 272. Egbert, a
monkish writer of that age, speaking of them, says that he had often
disputed with these heretics, "a sort of people," he adds, "who are very
pernicious to the Catholic faith, which, like moths, they corrupt and
destroy. They are armed," says he, "_with the words of Scripture_ which
in any way seem to favor their sentiments, and with these they know how
to defend their errors, and to oppose the Catholic truth. They are
increased to great multitudes throughout all countries, to the great
danger of the church [of Rome]."

For lack of space, an extensive history of these interesting people can
not be given; but a few references to them by their most inveterate
enemies, the Papists themselves, are of such importance that I can not
pass them by unnoticed. The testimony given by Evervinus, a zealous
Catholic, in a letter he wrote to the celebrated Bernard, at the
beginning of the twelfth century, relative to the doctrine and manners
of these so-called _heretics_, is exceedingly valuable. Says he: "There
have lately been some heretics discovered among us, near Colonge [sic:
Cologne], of whom some have, with satisfaction returned again to the
church. One that was a bishop among them, and his companions, openly
opposed us, in the assembly of the clergy and laity, the lord-archbishop
himself being present, with many of the nobility, maintaining their
heresy from _the words of Christ and his apostles_. But, finding that
they made no impression, they desired that a day might be fixed, upon
which they might bring along with them men skilful in their faith,
promising to return to the church, provided their teachers were unable
to answer their opponents; but that otherwise, they would rather die
than depart from their judgment.

"Upon this declaration, having been admonished to repent, and three days
allowed them for that purpose, they were seized by the people, in their
excess of zeal, _and committed to the flames_! and, what is most
astonishing, they came to the stake and endured the torment not only
with patience, but even with joy. In this case, O holy father, were I
present with you, I should be glad to ask you, how these members of
Satan could persist in their heresy with such constancy and courage as
is rarely to be found among the most religious in the faith of Christ?"

He then proceeds: "Their heresy is this: They say that the church (of
Christ) is only among themselves, because they alone follow the ways of
Christ, and imitate the apostles, not seeking secular gains.... Whereas
they say to us, 'Ye join house to house, and field to field, seeking the
things of this world.'... They represent themselves as the poor of
Christ's flock, who have no certain abode, fleeing from one city to
another, like sheep in the midst of wolves, enduring persecution with
the apostles and martyrs: though strict in their manner of
life--_abstemious, laborious, devoted, and holy_ ... living as men who
are not of the world. But you, say they, lovers of the world, have peace
with the world, because ye are in it. False apostles, who adulterate the
word of God, seeking their own things, have misled you and your
ancestors. Whereas, we and our fathers, having been born and brought up
in the apostolic doctrine, have continued in the grace of Christ, and
shall continue so to the end.... They affirm that the apostolic dignity
is corrupted by indulging itself in secular affairs, while it sits
[professedly] in St Peter's chair. They do not hold with the baptism of
infants, alleging that passage of the gospel, 'He that believeth and is
baptized shall be saved.' They place no confidence in the intercession
of saints and all things observed in the church, which have not been
established by Christ himself, or his apostles, they pronounce to be
superstitious. They do not admit of any purgatory fire after death,
contending, that the souls of men, as soon as they depart out of the
bodies, do enter into rest or punishment ... by which means they make
void all the prayers and oblations of the faithful for the deceased....
I must inform you also, that those of them who have returned to our
church, tell us that they had great numbers of their persuasion,
scattered almost everywhere.... And as for those who were burnt, they,
in defense they made of themselves, told us that this heresy had been
_concealed from the time of the martyrs_ [by which is meant the early
period of Christianity] and that it had existed in Greece and other

Although Bernard began a strenuous opposition to these people, still he
testifies: "If you ask them of their faith, nothing can be more
Christian-like; and if you observe their conversation, nothing can be
more blameless, and what they speak they make good by their actions....
As to life and manners, he circumvents no man, overreaches no man, does
violence to no man. He fasts much and eats not the bread of idleness;
but works with his hands for his support."

Claudius, archbishop of Turin, who joined in hunting and persecuting
them to the death, writes, "Their heresy excepted, they generally live a
purer life than other Christians." Again, "In their lives they are
perfect, irreproachable, and without reproach among men, addicting
themselves with all their might to the service of God."

The sum and substance of their offense is mentioned by Cassini, a
Franciscan friar, where he says, "That ALL THE ERRORS of these Waldenses
consisted in this, that they denied the church of Rome to be the holy
mother church, and _would not obey her traditions_."

In conclusion I quote from the celebrated Roman Catholic historian
Thuanus. He states their tenets as follows: "That the church of Rome,
because it renounced the true faith of Christ, WAS THE WHORE OF BABYLON
... that consequently _no obedience was to be paid to the Pope_, or to
the bishops who maintain her errors; that a monastic life was the sink
and dungeon of the church, the vows of which [relating to celibacy] were
vain ... that the orders of the priesthood were marks of the great beast
mentioned in the Apocalypse; that the fire of purgatory, the solemn
mass, the consecration days of churches, the worship of saints, and
propitiations for the dead, were the devices of Satan." Lib. VI, Sec.
16, Lib. XXVII. The chief offense of these so-called heretics seems to
have been that they denounced the Pope as "Antichrist" and the apostate
church of Rome as "the Babylonish harlot."

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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.

11. 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.

12. 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.

At the expiration of the twelve hundred and sixty years the scene
changes. The prophecy of the witnesses in their sackcloth state, hidden
away from sight in the wilderness, ends, and they are now brought out
into public view--but only to be killed. Their slaughter takes place at
the hands of the beast. When we come to consider chapter XIII, we shall
see that the Papacy is described as a beast reigning for forty-two
months, or twelve hundred and sixty years, after which time another
beast possessing great power and authority appears on the scene. This
second beast is Protestantism, and through it the murder of the two
witnesses at the close of the Papal supremacy in the vision before us
was effected.

It would seem, by the similarity of statement that the beast "ascendeth
out of the bottomless pit," that the slaughter of the witnesses was
effected by the Papal beast (chap. 17:7, 8); but the Mohammedan delusion
also is said to have proceeded from "the bottomless pit." Chap. 9:1, 2.
The expression _bottomless pit_ is doubtless used merely to signify the
source of certain powers in contradistinction to the heavenly source
from which others proceeded. Although the Papal beast is said to have
originated in the bottomless pit, the second beast also doubtless
proceeded from the same source, for he possessed many of the
characteristics of the former, and caused the earth to worship the first
beast, as explained in chapter 13. That he was not of heavenly origin is
shown by the statement that he came up "out of the earth." Chap. 13:11.
But the direct proof that it was the Protestant beast, and not the Papal
beast--although the same expression as to its origin is used concerning
it--that slew the two witnesses, is found in the fact that the reign of
the first, or Papal, beast was limited to forty two months (chap. 13:5),
corresponding to the twelve hundred and sixty years in which the
witnesses prophesied in the vision before us; while it was after the
_close_ of this period, at the time when the second, or Protestant,
beast arose (chap. 13:11), that the witnesses were slain.

To many this may seem a hard saying; but I request that the matter be
given the most careful attention in the light of prophecy and divine
truth. It is true that the Sixteenth Century Reformation at first
brought the witnesses out of the wilderness of seclusion where they had
remained during the long night of Romanism and exhibited them to the
public view; but when thus placed upon exhibition, they were soon robbed
entirely of their position as the Vicars, or Governors, of God's church.
Since creed and sect-making first began, the Word and Spirit have not
possesed governing power and authority in Protestantism; but men have
usurped that place and prescribed authoritative rules of faith and
practise for the people. The principles of Higher Criticism have so far
pervaded the realm of sectarian theology that a vast number of the
clergy no longer regard the Bible as the inspired word of God to man,
but simply as a remarkable piece of religious literature recording the
natural development of the religious consciousness among a peculiarly
sensitive race of people. Protestantism certainly has placed the Bible
on the dissecting table and dismembered it in a manner wholly unknown
before. While Protestants will not for a moment allow the blessed Book
to be hidden out of sight--put "into graves"--still they will not grant
it that place it should occupy as the sole discipline of faith, so it is
a dead letter to them. That all-glorious doctrine of Bible _unity_,
which fills the whole New Testament, strikes a deathblow to all the
carnal divisions and institutions of sectarianism; and so with one
accord they unite in _fighting it_. "Oh, the good old blessed Bible! we
could not do without it," say they; yet, as everybody knows, they are
governed by the discipline and laws that they or their representatives
have formulated. Thus, the Word and Spirit of God are brought under the
public gaze, only to be treated with such indignity in God's sight, and
killed; while infidels look on, and tauntingly remark, "Either the
religion of to-day is no Christianity, or the Word of God is a lie."

In the beginning of this dispensation the church of God not only
consisted of all those who were spiritual, but constituted a visible,
organic body as well, made up of numerous local congregations that were
separate in the management of their internal affairs, yet interrelated
with each other, and were directed by humble pastors, who were, in
reference to each other, _equal_. The Word of God was their only
discipline, and the Spirit of God, their great Teacher and Guide. Thus,
the two witnesses were active in their official position, in the public
view, as the Vicars or Governors of the church of God on earth. When,
however, men usurped the place of these Vicars by ignoring the Spirit
and rejecting the Word and making their own rules of faith, the effect
was a national hierarchy--the church of Rome, which for twelve hundred
and sixty years stood in the public view. Yet the two witnesses were
still alive, though driven into obscurity and "clothed in sackcloth";
for they still acted in their official position in the congregations of
the medieval Christians already referred to, who resisted the doctrines
of men and clung tenaciously to the simple, primitive form of church
government and allowed the Spirit and Word authority supreme.

But during the Protestant era Christians the world over became
identified with the various sects, hence were representing to the world
the beast power instead of the true church. Thus, during the Protestant
period, the church of God, _in its organic form_, was not represented
anywhere on earth; for its members were scattered among those who were
"worshiping the beast and his image." Hence the two witnesses, during
this era, had no place to operate in their official capacity as the
Governors of God's church and are therefore represented as slain. The
government of Protestant sects is not effected by the Word and Spirit;
for the institutions themselves are of human origin, and men are their
law-makers and governors.

When the two witnesses are deprived of their governing power and the
rules and disciplines of men substituted in their place, a decline into
worldliness is the invariable result. This has been the case repeatedly
in sectarianism. In fact, Protestantism, as a component part of that
great city Babylon, has so given herself over to "revellings,
banquetings, and abominable idolatries," that a voice from heaven has
declared her to be "the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul
spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird." Chap. 18:2.
Witness the shows, festivals, frolics, grab-bag parties, kissing bees,
cake-walk lotteries, and other abominations unnumbered, that are carried
on without shame, under the guise of religion, in the high places of
this modern Babylon! If the Word of God with the full power and
authority of his Spirit could be turned in upon them, it would be like
the torment of fire; but no, it is dead to them, and they rejoice and
make merry and continue in "the same excess of riot."

In the description before us, this city of sectarianism in which the two
witnesses are slain is "spiritually [or mystically] called Sodom and
Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified." It is a mystical Sodom, Egypt
and Jerusalem--a Sodom for wickedness and lewdness, an Egypt for the
captivity and oppression of God's people, and a Jerusalem for the
crucifying of the Son of God afresh and putting him to an open shame.
Thus, this city mystically combines the wickedness of the three most
wicked places on earth--Sodom, Egypt, and Jerusalem. These facts we
shall notice more particularly hereafter.

But these two witnesses were not always to remain trampled under foot in
the streets of great Babylon; for a time came when "the spirit of life
from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great
fear fell upon them which saw them." In this is portrayed the
reformation which is now taking place in the world. About the year A.D.
1880 God began to raise up holy men and women whom he commissioned to
preach the everlasting gospel of the kingdom again; and they went forth
in his name calling upon God's people everywhere to come "out of all
places where they had been scattered in the cloudy and dark day" (Ezek.
34:12) and to take up their abode in the one true church of Jesus
Christ, his body, independent of all sectarianism and the creeds and
disciplines of men. In this assembly of the faithful, gathered out of
all nations, no man nor set of men attempts to form laws or regulations
for the supervision of spiritual affairs; but with one consent they
humbly bow before the only true Lawgiver (Jas. 4:12), and say, "The
government shall be upon his shoulder" (Isa. 9:6); and the Word and
Spirit of God have perfect control of his saints. Halleluiah! They can
preach, teach, and believe every word of truth placed in the Sacred
Volume, without a conference or discipline of men forbidding. Standing
upon this apostolic platform of eternal truth, they hurl the thunders of
divine judgment against the hidden works of darkness, causing the
graceless devotees of fallen Babylon to quake with fear and to "gnaw
their tongues for pain."

After the resurrection of these witnesses, a voice from heaven is heard,
saying, "Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and
their enemies beheld them." This ascension to heaven in the presence of
their enemies, which according to this chapter occurred before the end
of time, has reference undoubtedly to their great exaltation. "Thy
greatness is grown, and _reacheth unto heaven_." Dan. 4:22. We see that
in this text a similar expression signifies great exaltation. So this
work is destined to assume such proportions that the people of earth may
have the privilege of seeing the truth. In the preceding chapter John,
as a symbol of the church at this time, under the living ministry
symbolized by the rain-bow angel, was told that he "must prophesy again
before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings." Verse 11.

The signification of the time-period of three days and a half claims our
attention next. According to the foregoing explanation, it will be seen
that the writer applies it as three centuries and a half, or three
hundred and fifty years--from A.D. 1530 to A.D. 1880. It will be
necessary to adduce strong reasons for thus applying it. In the first
place, the time-prophecies of the Bible are by no means confined to the
year-day manner of interpretation. Many times in the Old Testament the
expression occurs, "And it shall come to pass _in that day_," which
expression is admitted by all to have reference to the gospel day, or
the entire gospel dispensation. When the church of Philadelphia was
promised deliverance from the _hour_ of temptation which was to come
upon all the world (chap. 3:10), no one supposes that a short period of
only one week is specified. The rulers of the ten kingdoms were to
"receive power as kings _one hour_ with the beast" (chap. 17:12), which
expression will be shown later to really cover many years. We might
point out many such exceptions were it necessary.

Again, it was the beast that came up at the expiration of the twelve
hundred and sixty years, or Protestantism, that slaughtered the
witnesses, and we could not expect their resurrection during the reign
of Protestantism, which every one will admit was longer than three and
one-half years, according to the year-day application. The events as
they have developed prove that it was just three and one-half centuries
before Protestantism was entirely ignored and the Spirit and Word
recognized as the sole Governors in the church of God. Besides, the
general trend of events following the formation of Protestantism
naturally divide the succeeding centuries into separate periods. The
first (sixteenth) was a fierce conflict for the establishment of
Protestantism; the second (seventeenth) was a violent reaction, wherein
the church of Rome nearly triumphed over her hated opposers; while the
third (eighteenth) is specially noted in history as the period of
infidelity or reason. This division of time was so noticable that
D'Aubigne, who wrote about A.D. 1835, in his famous History of the
Reformation, refers to it in the following remarkable language: "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? [1830-1930] In
our opinion, the confused strife, the deadly contest of all these powers
XI, Chap. 9.

The writer is thankful to God that he is permitted to see the fourth day
ending "in the victory of Him to whom triumph belongs." And may we, my
brethren, be grateful to our dear Lord that it is our privilege to have
part in this glorious reformation of divine truth that is now sweeping
over the world and gathering the elect together for the soon-coming of
the Savior.

13. 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.

14. The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh

At the time the witnesses reach their greatest exaltation, a great
earthquake takes place upon earth, and the tenth part of the city falls.
The nature of the symbol would point us to some political upheaval.
Since the great city of Babylon is composed of different divisions (as
will be seen hereafter), it is a matter of doubt as to which part of the
city is here referred to; but most probably that of the hierarchy as
embraced in one of the ten divisions or kingdoms. Since the fulfilment
of this prediction is yet future, I speak with hesitation and wait for
the event to make all clear. It is probable, however, that either in
this political revolution, or about that time, the Ottoman power will be
overthrown; for immediately the announcement is made, "The second woe is
past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly."

15. And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices
in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the
kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for
ever and ever.

16. And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on
their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,

17. Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art,
and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy
great power, and hast reigned.

18. And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the
time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou
shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the
saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and
shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.

19. And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was
seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were
lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and
great hail.

The seventh angel that here sounded is the third woe-angel, and
according to the description before us, ushers in the general judgment.
When the temple of God was opened that this mighty event might take
place on earth, there were "lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and
an earthquake, and great hail." Wondrous commotions took place in the
world, for kingdoms and empires were all overthrown, and Jesus Christ
was the only king remaining, and his mission was to raise the dead that
they might be judged, to give reward to the prophets and saints, and to
banish with everlasting destruction those that corrupted the earth. The
description itself is too plain to need further comment.

"The temple of God" that was opened in heaven is to be understood as
symbolical (as explained in chap. 6:9), and not literal. In other words,
the heavenly world appeared to John symbolized after the sanctuary of
the temple on earth. Chap. 15:5-8; 16:1, 7, 17, etc. This is proved
clearly by the fact that, when the real heaven, the future home of the
redeemed, is described, John says, "I saw _no temple_ therein." Chap.

Before dismissing the visions of this chapter, I wish to call attention
to one more point hitherto referred to--that of parallelism and
contrast. While we have the history of the church apostate described by
the treading down of the holy city, we have also, in immediate contrast
and running parallel therewith, a history of the true church existing
during the same period of twelve hundred and sixty years, although it
was in a sackcloth state. And while the reign of Protestantism is
described as a period during which the two witnesses were in one sense
dead, we have in immediate contrast a history of the last great
reformation, in which the spirit of life from God again enters these
same witnesses, and they stand upright on their feet, to the
consternation of all their adversaries. Amen.


And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed
with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a
crown of twelve stars:

2. And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and
pained to be delivered.

3. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a
great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven
crowns upon his heads.

4. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of Heaven, and
did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the
woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child
as soon as it was born.

5. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all
nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto
God, and to his throne.

6. And the woman 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 three principal objects of this vision are the woman clothed with
the sun, the man-child born of her, and a red dragon with seven heads
and ten horns. These, being drawn from nature and human life, would
point us both to the church and to the state for their fulfilment. The
symbols, also, are living agents, and we should expect the objects they
represent to be such.

This woman is an appropriate symbol of the church of God, which is
composed of living, intelligent beings; and that it is the true and not
an apostate one, is shown by the fact that upon her flight into the
wilderness she had a place prepared of God where she was nourished for
twelve hundred and sixty days. In a subsequent portion of the Apocalypse
a vile harlot is taken as the representative of the church apostate. In
this way a proper correspondence of character and quality is kept up.
This woman appeared, not in the temple above, but in the firmament of
heaven, where she was clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet, and
upon her head a crown of twelve stars. Thus the brightest luminaries of
heaven were gathered around her. Arrayed in this splendid manner, she is
easily distinguished from an apostate church, which would not be so
highly favored with such attire in this exalted position. Doubtless the
objects with which she is adorned have some special signification. The
moon is a fit symbol of the old covenant, above which the church had
just risen, only to be clothed in the superior brightness and glory of
the new covenant. And as the moon shines only with a borrowed light,
obtaining its illumination from the sun; so, also, the old covenant was
only a shadow of the good things to come and now stands eclipsed in the
brightness and transcendant glory of that new and better dispensation.
According to the explanation given of the seven stars in the right hand
of Jesus (chap. 1:19), we are authorized to regard stars as a symbol of
Christian ministers, and the twelve that appear most prominently in the
first history of the church are the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

The dragon, a beast from the natural world, would properly symbolize a
tyrannical, persecuting government. This was a red dragon with seven
heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. In the following
chapter we read that John saw a beast rising up out of the sea with the
same number of heads and horns, but ten crowns on his horns. And the
dragon gave him (the beast) "his power, and his seat, and great
authority." Verse 2. So far as the heads and horns are concerned, the
only difference between the two is that the crowns--a symbol of supreme
authority and power--have been transferred from the heads to the horns.
In chapter 17 John saw the same beast again and there received the
following explanation of the seven heads: "And there are seven kings:
five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he
cometh he must continue a short space." Verse 10. Concerning the horns
he was told, "The ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have
received no kingdom as yet." Verse 12. With this explanation before us
it will be easy to identify the dragon of chapter 12 and the beast of
chapters 13 and 17 as the Roman empire, the first under the Pagan and
the second under the Papal form. The seven heads signify the seven
distinct forms of supreme government that ruled successively in the
empire. The five that had already fallen when John received the vision
were the Regal power, the Consular, the Decemvirate, the Military
Tribunes and the Triumvirate. "One is"--the Imperial.[8] The
identification of its seventh and last head we shall leave until later.
The ten horns, or kingdoms, which had not yet arisen when the Revelation
was given, were the ten minor kingdoms that grew out of the Western
Roman empire during its decline and fall. The historian Machiard, in
giving an account of these nations, and without any reference to the
Bible or its prophecies, reckons ten kingdoms, as follows:

1. The Ostrogoths in Maesia;
2. The Visigoths in Pannonia;
3. Sueves and Alans in Gascoigne and Spain;
4. Vandals in Africa;
5. Franks in France;
6. Burgundians in Burgundy;
7. Heruli and Turings in Italy;
8. Saxons and Anglis in Britain;
9. Huns in Hungary;
10. Lombards, at first on the Danube, and afterwards
in Italy.

[Footnote 8: The fact that commentators and historians differ in their
enumeration of the forms of government that ruled in Rome is often a
source of confusion to ordinary readers. Hence an explanation is
necessary. Rome was first ruled by kings, and therefore the first form
of government is designated by either the term _Kings_ or the term
_Regal Power_. Upon the expulsion of the kings and the formation of the
republic, the royal power was entrusted to two men who held it for a
year, and were called _consuls_. In times of great public danger the
consuls were superseded by a special officer called a _dictator_, who
had supreme power. As the early life of the republic was often
threatened with grave dangers, Rome was often governed by a dictator;
hence this form of government is sometimes called the Dictatorship. The
third form was the _Decemviri_, a government by ten men, who compiled
the twelve famous Tables of Laws. In 444 B.C. another change was made by
the appointment of _Military Tribunes_ (whose numbers varied) with
consular power. These were frequently called _Consuls_. The fifth form
was the _Triumvirate_, a government by three men. The sixth was the
_Imperial_. Hence the different forms can be enumerated thus: 1. The
Regal Power, or Kings. 2. Consula or Dictators. 3. Decemvirate. 4.
Military Tribunes, Tribunes, or Consuls. 5. Triumvirate. 6. Imperial.
The seventh form will be considered in another place. See remarks on
chap. 17:7-11.]

Other historians agree substantially with this. These kingdoms all arose
within one hundred and seventy years. The dragon is described with the
horns, although they were not now in existence and did not arise until
nearly the time when the dragon became the beast; likewise, he is
represented with seven heads, although he really possessed only one head
at a time, and five had already fallen and one being yet to come. He is
described with all the heads and horns he ever had or was to have.

The tail of this dragon "drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and
did cast them to the earth." Some people who have never learned the
nature of symbolic language try to imagine such a literal creature as
the one here described and picture in their minds what an awful thing it
would be to see the third part of the stars falling to the earth. But
real stars that are fixed or planetary never fall, and if they did, they
would be as apt to fall in an opposite direction as toward the earth.
Besides, if one should come tumbling down here, it would knock this
world into oblivion. But with a knowledge of the proper use of symbols
we can easily identify this dragon with the Roman empire under its Pagan
form; and the casting down of the stars, which were doubtless used as
symbols of ministers as in verse 1, signifies the warfare which this
awful beast power waged against the church of God, in which her
ministers were always a shining mark for the first persecution and
suffered terribly for the cause they represented.

The man-child is the next object that claims our attention. Some have
supposed that it represented Jesus Christ in his first advent to the
world. But this could not be; for Christ is never represented as being
the offspring of the church, but, on the other hand, is declared to be
its originator. Some, also, have supposed that it represented the church
bringing forth Christ to the world in a spiritual sense. This, however,
would be in direct conflict with the known laws of symbolic language. A
visible, living, intelligent agent, such as this man-child evidently
was, could not be the symbol of an invisible spiritual presence.
Besides, it has been clearly shown that Christ always appears in his own
person, unrepresented by another, from the fact that he can not be
symbolized. It is clear that this child can not signify a single
definite personage; for after he is caught up to God, there is still a
remnant of the woman's seed left upon earth. See verse 17.

What, then, does the man-child signify? It symbolizes the mighty host of
new converts or children that the early church by her earnest travail
brought forth. The seeming incongruity that the church, or mother, and
her children are alike only serves to establish the point in question
when rightly understood. A child is of the same substance as its mother
and is designed to perpetuate the race. So, also, the new-born babes in
the church are just the same spiritually as those who are older, and are
intended to perpetuate the church of God on earth. But this explanation
of itself is not sufficient to entirely satisfy an inquiring mind, and
the question is sure to be asked, Why was it necessary that the church
of God in this dispensation should be represented by two individuals--a
woman and her son? I also will ask a question--Why, on the other hand,
was it necessary that the great apostasy of this dispensation should be
represented by the double-figure of a woman and her daughters? The
answer to the latter question would readily be given--to symbolize two
distinct phases of apostasy. So, also, it was necessary that a
double-symbol, such as a woman and her son, should be chosen to set
forth _two phases_ of the church brought to view in this chapter. If but
a single symbol were used, how could the church be thereby represented
as continuing on earth and fleeing into the wilderness and at the same
time be represented as "overcome," persecuted to the death, and "caught
up unto God and to his throne"? This double-phase of the church--the
experience of the saints on earth and the reign of the martyrs in
Paradise--will be made very clear to the reader hereafter. But it would
be impossible to set forth these two phases under one symbol, and
therefore two are chosen.

There is also direct Scripture testimony on this point. "Before she
travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of
a _man-child._ Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things?
Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be
born at once? For as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her
children." Isa. 66:7, 8. According to Heb. 12:22, 23, this Zion, or
Sion, referred to is the New Testament church, and the man-child that
she is said to bring forth is interpreted by Isaiah as "a nation born at
once." Such language perfectly describes the rapid increase in the
Christian church on Pentecost and shortly afterward, when thousands were
added in one day. According to the apostle Paul, the host of Jews and
Gentiles reconciled unto God through Jesus Christ constituted "one new
man" in Christ. Eph. 2:15. See also Gal. 3:28. R.V. This man-child was
to rule all nations with a rod of iron. For an explanation of this rule
see remarks on chapter 2:26, 27. The twelve hundred and sixty days will
be referred to later.

7. And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought
against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,

8. And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in

9. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called
the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was
cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

10. 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: for the accuser of our brethren is cast
down, which accused them before our God day and night.

11. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the
word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the

12. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them.
Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil
is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth
that he hath but a short time.

13. And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he
persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.

14. And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that
she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is
nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face
of the serpent.

15. And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after
the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the

16. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her
mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon east out of
his mouth.

17. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make
war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of
God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

In this vision we have a series of events covering exactly the same
period of time as that of the preceeding one; namely, a history of the
church up to and including her flight into the wilderness, and of the
same opposing dragon. In this description, however, the events are more
perfectly detailed.

Because this dragon was called the Devil and Satan, many have been led
into the idea that it signified the Prince of darkness himself. But
surely we could not suppose that Beelzebub has any such appearance as
this dragon. The foregoing explanation concerning his heads and horns
shows conclusively that the Pagan Roman empire is meant, and not
Beelzebub. Why, then, was it called the Devil and Satan? Among the
Hebrews the term _Satan_ was frequently used in a very liberal sense and
applied to different objects, signifying merely an adversary or opposer.
According to Young's Analytical Concordance the Hebrew word for Satan is
translated _adversary_ in a number of texts, a few of which I will refer
to. Num. 22:22: "And the angel of the Lord stood in the way for an
_adversary_ [Satan, Heb.] against him." Here an angel of the Lord is
called a Satan to Balaam. In 1 Sam. 29:4 David is called an adversary
(Heb. Satan) to the Philistines. In 2 Sam. 19:22 certain opposers are
said to be adversaries (Satans, Heb.) unto David; while in 1 Kings 11:25
a certain man was said to be an adversary (Satan) to Israel all the days
of Solomon. A number of other instances could be given if necessary. In
the New Testament, also, the term _Satan_ is sometimes used to signify
merely an opposer. "But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind
me, Satan." Mat. 16:23. In 1 Cor. 10:20 Paul declares "that the things
which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to _devils_." Paganism
stood as the great opposer of Christianity, hence was a Satan
(adversary) unto it; while the apostle denominated its religious rites
as devil-worship. I do not question the fact that the spirit of
Beelzebub was manifested in the thing; but the dragon itself was the
empire, as is proved by the heads and the horns. However, the Devil and
the agency through which he works are often used interchangeably. Satan
and the serpent in Eden stand in the same relation as do Satan, or
Beelzebub, and Paganism in the New Testament; hence to bind Paganism was
to bind the Devil and Satan in one important sense.

The dragon would be a beast from the natural world (if such a creature
actually existed) and as such could represent nothing more than a civil
empire; but in the vision under consideration he is represented as
accompanied by _angels_ actuated by his spirit and defending his cause.
By this combination of symbols is set forth the politico-religious
system of the empire--a religion that denied the doctrine of the one
exclusive God and the divinity of Jesus Christ. It was the religion of
_infidelity_. It was the dragon as a false religious system that
Christianity attacked, and not the State itself. The following quotation
from Butler's Ecclesiastical History will show the relation of
Christians to the empire:

"The Romans were accustomed to tolerate all new religions if they took
their place by the side of those already existing, and if they did not
cast reproach upon them.... But Christianity, by its very nature
exclusive in its claims ... was offensive to the Romans and to the
State. A religion which cast contempt upon the religions and rites
sanctioned by the laws, and endeavored to draw men away from them,
seemed to express thereby contempt and hostility for the State itself.
Hence Christianity was branded as a malignant superstition, and
Christians spoken of as the enemies of the human race.... From the
letter of Pliny to Trajan, it was evidently recorded as an _religio
illicita_, and the mere fact of being a Christian was counted of itself
a crime.... The exclusiveness of Christianity seemed also to place its
disciples in a position of direct disloyalty to the emperors and the
State. 'The emperor was ex-officio _Pontifex Maximus_; the gods were
national. Cicero declares as a principle of legislation, that no one
should be allowed to worship foreign gods, unless they were recognized
by public statute. Maecenas thus counselled Augustas: Honor the gods
according to the customs of your ancestors, and compel others to worship
them. Hate and punish those who bring in strange gods.' As the Roman
empire was founded on the absolutism of the State, and made nothing of
personal rights, Christianity, which first taught and acknowledged them,

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest