Sinning Against the Holy Ghost
In the first place we must know what is the Holy Ghost. Some suppose the Holy Ghost is one thing, and the Holy Spirit another. But the same word is translated as "Spirit." and "Ghost." The Holy Spirit is the better term, and is more easily understood. We find the Holy Spirit in existence before creation. "The spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters," Genesis 1:2. And again we find that if we are not born of the water and the spirit, we cannot enter the kingdom of God, John 3:5.
We are told to pray to the Father and the Son, but we have nothing in the Scriptures regarding prayer to the Spirit. We can pray to the Father through the Son, and He will send the Spirit, and is more willing to give it than earthly parents are to give good gifts to their children. The Holy Spirit is our regenerator, and the companion of every soul that believes in Jesus Christ, Matthew 12:31. We are told: "Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men." To blaspheme is sin. We may speak against the Son, and it shall be forgiven us, but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world neither in the world to come," verse 32. In Mark 3:29 we read: "But he that shall sin against the Holy Spirit hath never forgiveness." The 30th verse tells us why: "Because they said He had an unclean spirit." They knew that His miracles were of God and that His words and teaching were of the Bible.
Other Bible texts on the Unpardonable Sin are: Genesis 6:3; Ephesians 4:30; I John 5:16; Hebrews 6:4 to 6; also 10:26 to 29. Last step is Matthew 18:16 to 18. The devil makes people who have been wicked believe they have sinned against the Holy Spirit, and therefore are without hope. This is his business, but there are very few who have ever been sufficiently enlightened in the word of God, or who have received the Holy Spirit to the extent to be in this condition.
If God is calling you to repentance there is hope, and dear one, do not give up, but call upon God, study His word, and have His saints pray for you. Drop a line to the publishers of this book, if you are concerned about this, and there will be a band of God's people pray for you, and you will be given further instructions how to be received of God. Our special work is praying for, and helping sinners to be relieved of the burden of sin, to get nearer to God, and to know that God has received them. We are glad, willing and anxious to help you.
Danger in Rejecting Light
1 How does God regard sins of ignorance?
"And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent," Acts 17:30.
2. To whom is sin imputed?
"Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin," James 4:17.
3. In what words did Christ teach the same truth?
"Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see: therefore your sin remaineth." "If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak [Margin: excuse] for their sin," John 9:41; 15:22. See John 3:19.
4. In view of this, what instruction does He give?
"Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you . . . . While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be children of light," John 12:35, 36.
5. Who courts the light?
"Every one that doeth evil hateth the light . . . . But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God," John 3:20, 21.
Promises to the Overcomers
1. What are we admonished to overcome?
"Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good," Romans 12:21.
2. What makes it possible for one to overcome the world?
"Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world," I John 4:4.
3. Is faith necessary in order for one to be an overcomer?
"For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith," I John 5:4.
4. In the Revelation of Christ what promises are made to the overcomers?
"To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God," Revelation 2:7.
"He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death," verse 11.
"To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it," verse 17.
"And he that overcometh, and keepeth My works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations," verse 26.
"He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels," Revelation 3:5.
"Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go no more out. And I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, which is New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from My God: and I will write upon him My new name," verse 12.
"To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne," verse 21.
5. In what one promise are all these summed up?
"He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be My Son," Revelation 21:7.
6. In days of old were all of these things understood?
"For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen. O God, beside Thee, what He hath prepared for him that waiteth for Him," Isaiah 64:4; see I Corinthians 2:9.
7. How were they revealed to the apostles?
"But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God," I Corinthians 2:10.
Israel, Origin and Significance
1. Upon one occasion in what do we find Jacob engaged?
"And Jacob was left alone; And there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day," Genesis 32:24.
2. In what way did Jacob prevail upon this man (or angel)?
"And he [the angel] said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he [Jacob] said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me," Genesis 32:26.
3. After prevailing upon the angel for a blessing, was he successful in receiving it?
"And he [the angel] said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel," Genesis 32:28.
4. Why was he given the name Israel?
"For as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed," Genesis 32:28.
5. What is the meaning of the word Israel?
Soldier of God, or overcomer.
NOTE: Here, we find, originated the word Israel, and it was given to Jacob, after he had proved to the angel that he had power as an overcomer. The word Israel itself, signifies an overcomer, or one who is the seed of Abraham through Christ. When Christ was on the earth, the Jewish people seemed to think, or believe, that they were the only people who had a right to be called Abraham's children. But Christ gave them to understand, that though they were the literal seed of Abraham, they were not the children, or true Israelites, unless they did the works of Abraham. In other words, by their fruits they would be known. If their fruits were good, they would be accounted for the seed. But if their fruits were bad, they were servants of Satan.
6. How did Christ answer the unbelieving Jews when they claimed to be the children of Abraham?
"Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham," John 8:39.
7. Upon one occasion how did John the Baptist talk to the literal Jew?
"And think not to say within yourselves, we have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham," Matthew 3:9.
8. And how did he compare them to an unfruitful tree?
"And now also the ax is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire," Matthew 3:10.
9. In what light did Paul understand this subject?
"Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel. Neither because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but in Isaac shall thy seed be called," Romans 9:6, 7.
10. Are the children of the flesh counted for the seed?
"That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed," Romans 9:8.
11. In fact, who are the real seed of Abraham?
"Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, and to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed which is Christ," Galatians 3:16.
12. If we be Christ's, then whose seed are we, and to what do we fall heir?
"And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise," Galatians 3:29.
13. Who is the real Jew?
"For he is not a Jew which is one outwardly: . . . but he is a Jew which is one inwardly: and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God," Romans 2:28, 29.
14. Is it possible for flesh and blood to inherit the kingdom of God?
"Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption," I Corinthians 15:50.
15. How does Isaiah express himself concerning those to be saved with an everlasting salvation?
"But Israel shall be saved in the Lord with everlasting salvation: Ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end," Isaiah 45:17.
16. What determines whether one is a child of Abraham?
"Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham," Galatians 3:7.
17. In what scripture are Christians recognized as Israel?
"And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God," Galatians 6:16.
I saw a wayworn pilgrim
In tattered garments clad,
A struggling up a mountain
It seemed that he was sad.
Upon his back a burden,
His strength was almost gone,
And praying as he journeyed,
Deliverance to come.
I saw him in the evening
The sun was wending low,
He'd overtopped the mountain,
And in the vale below,
His eyes were looking forward
As onward still he run,
He shouted as he journeyed.
By faith the victory's won.
I saw him in the morning
When all the saints did raise,
Still shouting out hosanna,
To God in loudest praise.
And then he glancing backward
As o'er the path he'd come
He shouted out more loudly,
I see the victory won.
L. O. Van Nostrand
The Prophecy of Revelation 12
1. What was the great wonder seen in heaven at the opening of this vision?
"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," Revelation 12:1.
2. What other wonder next appeared antagonistical to the woman?
"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," verse 3.
3. What terrible deed did the dragon attempt to commit?
"And the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born," verse 4.
4. What was the next event to transpire, and was the dragon successful in his attempt?
"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," verse 5.
NOTE: The woman brought to view here represents the church in the dispensation of the birth of Christ. The church is spoken of as a woman in several places in the Bible, for instance in Matthew 25th chapter, in the parable of the ten virgins which represent the church, which is spoken of as the bride and Christ as the bridegroom. In Revelation 21:9, the church is again spoken of as a woman, calling it the bride, the Lamb's wife."
As the sun is the ruler of the day and the expeller of all darkness, the woman being clothed with the sun symbolized the church which in this dispensation was clothed with light and truth, with all darkness and error eliminated and expelled. The symbol of the moon under the feet of the woman, or church, means that in this age the church had the moon, the ruler of night or darkness, entirely subdued and under control. The crown of twelve stars symbolize the twelve apostles of the gospel age which crowned the church. The child born to the woman or church was Jesus Christ, who was caught up to God and to His throne.
The dragon represented here is a type of pagan Rome, which held power with Herod as king of the territory in which Jesus was born. He made an effort to destroy Christ while He was a babe. Read the second chapter of Matthew where a history of this is found, and how Herod issued the command to slay all the children under two years of age. He is represented here by the Dragon. That a beast in symbolic prophecy represents a king or kingdom see the lesson on the "Four Beasts" found on another page. See index.
Study it carefully,
Think of it prayerfully,
Deep in thy heart let its pure precepts dwell.
Slight not its history,
Ponder its mystery,
None can e'er prize it too fondly or well.
Accept the glad tidings,
The warnings and chidings,
Found in this volume of heavenly lore;
With faith that's unfailing
And love all-prevailing,
Trust in its promise of life evermore.
The Beast With Seven Heads and Ten Horns
1. What did John see in vision?
"And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy," Revelation 13:1.
2. What was the descriptive characteristic of this beast?
"And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion," Revelation 13:2.
NOTE: We see that this beast partakes of all the characteristics of the four beasts of Daniel the seventh chapter, viz., the lion, bear, leopard, and the beast with ten horns, amalgamated into one beast. The lion having one head, the bear one, the leopard four, and the other beast one, making the seven heads, and the last beast was the only one with horns, and it had ten, making upon this beast the seven heads and ten horns. See lesson, The Four Beasts on another page.
3. From what source did this beast receive its power and authority?
"And the dragon gave him power, and his seat and great authority," verse 2, last part.
NOTE: The dragon of the preceding chapter was the power that stood before the woman ready to devour her child as soon as it was born, and this was shown to be Pagan Rome that gave power and great authority to Papal Rome represented by this beast, with the seven heads and ten horns. It will be noted that the dragon could not have given something away that it did not possess, therefore in order for Pagan Rome or the dragon to give to this beast its seat, and power and great authority the dragon, beast, or Pagan Rome, would have to possess great power. By consulting the history of the world, we find that about the fourth century A.D. Pagan Rome gave to Papal Rome, its seat, power and authority, therefore we have here the transaction brought to view. And as Daniel in chapter seven said the fourth beast was the fourth kingdom to rule the whole world, and as it embraced all the territory occupied by the three beasts or empires preceding it, so here we have this beast symbolizing all of the territory controlled by the fourth world kingdom, the Roman kingdom. The seven heads, however, symbolize powers and events of a different and far reaching character.
4. What further was given unto this beast, or kingdom?
"And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things, and blasphemies, and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months," verse 5.
NOTE: This was the same period of time allotted to the fourth beast in Daniel seventh chapter. Forty two months at 30 days to the month (See Bible reading on Little Horn Power) equals 1260 days, or 1260 years. In Ezekiel 4:6 and other places in the word we have the instruction and example given to take each day for a year in reckoning prophetic time.
5. During the period of 1260 years what did this power do to the saints of God?
"And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them, and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues and nations," verse 7.
6. Everybody living on earth were going to worship him, except what people?
"And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world," verse 8. Those whose names are written in the book of life therefore will not worship the beast.
NOTE: Papal Rome is spoken of in all histories as the great persecuting power which continued to rule the whole earth for exactly 1260 years just as this prophecy said it should. The beast represents Papal Rome, which after church and state were united in the year 538 persecuted and put to death the true Christians by the millions. Some histories state that fifty millions suffered death as martyrs in almost every conceivable form, other historians put the number who were killed under the rule of this power to one hundred million. See Buck's Theological Dictionary, Encyclopaedia Britannica, the old family Bible, or any history of the middle ages, which will tell in detail of these facts. After the Catholic Church became united to the civil power, and the Pope was world pastor, the kings of the different nations made strict religious restrictions, and anyone not fully conforming to them was classed and punished as a heretic. This resulted in wholesale martyrdom, bringing to pass the prophetic prediction above, continuing the exact period of 1260 years until 1798 when, under Napoleon, Berthier captured and made the pope prisoner, unfurling the banners of Protestantism in the city of Rome and declaring Catholicism down forever.
The Woman Riding the Beast Revelation 17th Chapter
1. Through whom did Jesus reveal this vision to John the revelator?
"And there came one of the seven angels, which had the seven vials, and talked with me saying unto me, Come hither," verse 1, first part.
2. After instructing him to come hither, what did the angel say he would reveal?
"I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore, that sitteth upon many waters," verse 1, last part of verse.
3. When he was carried away in vision, what was seen?
"So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness; and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy having seven heads and ten horns," verse 3.
4. What was the character and apparel of this woman?
"And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations, and filthiness of her fornication," verse 4.
5. What inscription was written upon the forehead of the woman?
"And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY BABYLON, THE GREAT; THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS; AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH."
NOTE: As this woman is contrasted with the woman of chapter twelve, we can easily recognize the symbolical application. The woman described in the lesson a few pages back symbolized the pure and Holy church, so in like comparison a vile and corrupt woman represents an apostate church.
As the beast brought to view in this chapter upon which this woman was riding, represents Papal Rome, as has already been shown, then to identify this church symbolized by the woman, we would be obliged to inquire after some church which had ridden upon the Roman Empire, controlling and forcing it into subjection. Only a very short research into history will reveal the fact that the Roman Catholic church is the only one mentioned, which has been thus united with the state and ruled the world. And it truly sat upon the affairs of the fourth universal kingdom which was Rome, and ruling her, caused to come to pass all that is spoken in the prophet's words related in the forepart of this chapter.
In the last part of verse 1, it is said that this "woman was riding upon many waters." Then in verse 15 we are told as follows, "The waters which thou sawest where the whore sitteth, are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues," So the woman ruled great multitudes, nations and tongues.
6. Was this woman or church guilty of the blood of the saints, and what is said in this connection?
"And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus," verse 6.
NOTE: In the lesson preceding this one it was noted that the beast having the characteristics of the four beasts of Daniel 7th chapter, arose in the earth, made war with the saints and prevailed against them for 1260 years. And notice in particular that the dragon gave this beast his seat and authority. Going back to the lesson on chapter twelve of the woman which is a representative of the true church, we locate the great red dragon. This dragon attempted to destroy Christ as soon as He was born, but failed to accomplish his desire, and later gave up his seat and power and great authority to the beast brought to view in the next chapter (13). The dragon, and the beast here mentioned represent Pagan Rome and Papal Rome, and history records the transaction here referred to by the dragon giving up its power to the beast, as Pagan Rome surrendered and united fully with Papal Rome. Constantine with his many thousands of Pagan followers united with the Papal system. After this transaction was made, we have the same beast brought to view, with only minor changes, save that his color had changed from that of a leopard to scarlet or red. The amalgamation of Pagan Rome into Papal Rome changed the color to that of Pagan Rome, and likewise were false doctrines brought over from Paganism and thoroughly grafted into the practices of the Papal system, which at this time was beginning to enforce her power universally. Then the vision could be properly given of this time 538 A.D., represented by the corrupt woman riding upon this Papal Beast, or the Catholic church riding and controlling the Roman world, which is a stern fact of history that cannot be dispensed.
Time and space forbids the balance of this chapter to be handled here, but in it are set forth some solemn facts of past history as well as signal warnings for the future. Truly, prophecy is a light that shines in a dark place, radiating the pathway of the Christian as nothing else can do outside of the assurance that he is firmly grounded on the Rock of His salvation, patiently awaiting the fulfillment of all that is promised. By Him shall we forever enjoy a haven of rest beyond the trials and turmoils of the present age.
Not by one portal, or one path alone,
God's holy message to man is known,
The storms beneath and the rainbow hues above.
Herald His anger and proclaim His love,
The still small voice of the summer day,
The red sirocco, and the breath of May,
The rolling thunder and the raging sea,
Speak the stern purpose of the Deity.
The Third Angel's Message
1. How many angels with special messages were seen in prophetic vision, before the coming of the Lord?
"And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead or in his hand," Revelation 14:8, 9.
NOTE: The book of Revelation contains many symbols and types, and we cannot expect that these were actual angels flying in heaven, but an angel represents a messenger, or a message. Many angels were shown to John when this wonderful book of Revelation was given, which gives rise to the expression, "And I saw another angel," (verse 9) when speaking of the first angel's message. It is a fact, however, that these three were special and verse nine speaks definitely of the last one saying, "the third angel followed them."
2. What is especially said regarding the voice proclaiming the warning message, which just precedes the end of the age?
"And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice . . ." Revelation 14:9, first part of verse.
3. What will be the fate of those who worship the beast, and disregard this special message sent of the Lord?
"The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb," Revelation 14:10.
4. What certain doctrinal belief distinguishes the ones who heed the warning from those who do not?
"Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus," Revelation 14:12.
NOTE: The church that carries the last message to the world must be one that teaches the binding force of the ten commandments of God, together with the faith and testimonies of Jesus. It is utterly impossible for any church which teaches that the commandments of God are abolished and nailed to the cross, to carry the last message to the world. The Church of God is the body of people called to carry forth this wonderful work, and there is no other church in the world with the special message of the Commandments of God and the testimonies of Jesus, which is sounding forth the warning against the beast power, taking up the prophecies and fully explaining their nature, and teaching people what the beast represents.
The commandments of God and the testimonies of Jesus, and not the testimonies of any common man or woman, make up the message, that goes to the world just preceding the coming of the Lord. This message must also carry with it the gospel of the kingdom, according to Daniel the prophet, that "In the days of these kings" the God of heaven would set up His kingdom.
5. When the last message is finished, which is a warning to the world against receiving the mark of the beast and his image, what is the first of the series of scourging plagues that torment the ones who disregard it?
"And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth. And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshiped his image," Revelation 16:1, 2.
NOTE: It will be noted that the last plagues cannot fall until after the Third Angel's Message is finished, as the first plague falls on the people who have heard, but refused to heed the warning of this messenger.
6. During this time, will not the ones keeping the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, having the victory over the beast and his image, be protected and cared for under the power of the Almighty?
"And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God. And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty, just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints," Revelation 15:1, 2, 3.
NOTE: We cannot take up one chapter of the Revelations after another as a series of events following in order, for they are not so arranged. Events follow in their order, always leading to the coming of the Lord and the judgment. This climax is often reached right in the middle of the chapter, and then other events are narrated that transpire along another line, but come in before the end is ushered in. It is this way with the 14th chapter. The 15th and 16th chapters, both narrate events that happen after the Third Angel's Message has gone forth, and then lead down to the battle of Armageddon, and the coming of the Lord.
7. What great event transpires following the Third Angel's Message, and also at the conclusion of the seven plagues?
"And I looked and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle," Revelation 14:14.
"Behold, I come as a thief, Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame," Revelation 16:15.
8. What similar events also follow in their order, found by comparing verses 19, 20 of each chapter?
"And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs," Revelation 14:19, 20.
"And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came into remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found," Revelation 16:19, 20.
9. Bible students agree that God has never sent destruction on the earth, or on any city without first preparing the people for it, by sending messengers and giving them warning. It was so with the flood, with the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and what does the prophet Nahum say will be seen in the streets, when God is likewise preparing the world for the pending judgment?
"The shield of his mighty men is made red, the valiant men are in scarlet: the chariots shall be with flaming torches in the day of his preparation, and the fir trees shall be terribly shaken," Nahum 2:3.
NOTE: Attention is particularly called to the statement in this verse that chariots will rage in the streets, at the time of God's preparation. Today the work of preparing the world for the coming of the Lord is speedily going forth. The last message of warning is being sent out, and a select company of meek, obedient people are being called out of all churches, preparing themselves for translation when Jesus comes in glory.
10. What will also be included in the Third Angel's message, concerning churches that are following after the beast power?
"Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues," Revelation 18:4.
11. By comparing verse 2 of this chapter with verse 8 of chapter 14, will it not be seen that these messages are identical, both describing the second and the third angels' message?
NOTE: There is no question; but, after a thorough consideration is given all texts concerned, that the First Angel's Message embraces the proclamation of the everlasting gospel in the apostolic age, which continues to the end. The Second Angel's message includes the great Protestant reformation which illuminated the earth with light and was a direct cry against the corruption of Babylon, while the Third Angel's Message sounds forth the final warning to the world, taking with it all accompanying light as yet unrevealed, preparing a people who will worship God "in spirit and in truth."
The Mark of the Beast
1. What is the special message of the gospel that goes to the whole world just before the coming of the Lord?
"And the Third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, if any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God," Revelation 14:9, 10.
2. How do we know that this is the last message of the gospel that goes to the world, and what happens immediately after this message goes forth?
"And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown and in his hand a sharp sickle . . . . And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth and the earth was reaped," verses 14 and 16.
3. As the Third Angel's Message is directed against the mark of the beast, what is the beast?
"Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is six hundred three score and six," Revelation 13:18. NOTE: one score is twenty, therefore this number would be 666.
NOTE: The number of the beast being the number of a man, and his number being six hundred and sixty-six, it is with care that we investigate first the man who was closely associated with the beast power, during the 1260-year period, namely, the pope of Rome. In doing so, our suspicion is not in vain, for we find from the following sources, the name six hundred and sixty-six applying to him, thus the identity of the beast clearly ascertained, we can easily learn what his mark is, against which the Third Angel's Message is particularly directed.
We find upon the triple crown of the Pope the inscription as follows:VICARIVS FILII DEI. The numerical values of the letters in these words are:
VICARIVS V is 5, I is 1, C is 100, A and R have no value in the Roman numerals, I is 1, V is 5, and S has no value, making a total from this word of 112.
FILII F has no value, I is 1, L is 50, II is 2, or a value of 53 in this word.
DEI D is 500, E has no value, I is 1, or a value of 501 in this word, making a total in the three words of exactly 666.
In the ancient Chaldean name of Italy, which was SATURNIA, Rome was called "The City of Saturn," The Chaldean numerals in the word Saturn give us the required number. See Chambers' Ency., p. 171.
SATURNIA S is 60, A has no value, T is 400; U is 6; R is 200, N, I and A have no values, making the total 666.
King Romulus built Rome 2,600 years ago, his name in Hebrew being ROMIITH.
ROMIITH R is 200, O is 6, M is 40, I is 10, T is 400 and H has no value, equaling 666.
LATEINOS (Latin man or church) L is 30, A is 1, T is 300, E is 5, I is 10, N is 50, O is 70, S is 200, equals 666.
The seventh day of the week stands as a monument of God's power, for it is repeatedly declared that He created the world in six days (Genesis 2:1-3, Exodus 20:8-10) and rested the seventh wherein He blessed and sanctified it. It is a memorial of His creation. He, therefore, says it is a sign between Him and His people forever, Exodus 31:17, 18.
His memorial continues through all generations, and stands fast forever and ever. As the 4th day of July is a memorial of the Declaration of Independence, so the seventh day of the week a memorial of God's creation. Keeping it shows obedience to God, and loyalty to Him, while disregarding it is sin and shows a lack of loyalty in our hearts. This is why it is a sign to God, and marks His people in the forehead which is the place of thought and memory, while the hand is what performs the labor, thus with our hands and minds we break or keep the true Sabbath.
The Sign That Marks His Power
The following questions and answers are taken from Catholic books and papers.
Question Does the Catholic church acknowledge that it has changed the Sabbath?
Answer It does.
Q. How do you prove that the church hath power to command feasts and holy days?
A. By the very fact of changing the Sabbath into Sunday which protestants allow of; therefore they fondly contradict themselves by keeping Sunday strictly, and breaking most other feast days commanded by the same church. Abridgment of Christian Doctrine, by Henry Tuberville, D.D., of Douay College, France (1649), page 58.
Q. Have you any other way of proving that the church has power to institute festivals of precept?
A. Had she not such power, she could not have done that in which modern religionists agree. She could not have substituted the observance of Sunday (the first day of the week) for the observance of Saturday (the seventh day) a change for which there is no scriptural authority. A Doctrinal Catechism, by Stephen Keenan, page 174, of Catholic doctrine.
The Catholic Church of its own infallible authority created Sunday a holy day to take the place of the Sabbath of the old law," Kansas City Catholic, Feb. 9, 1893.
The Catholic Church, . . . by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday," Catholic Mirror, official organ of Cardinal Gibbons, Sept. 23, 1893.
The above statements are taken from Catholic works printed and put out by that church, and they show plainly that the Catholics set Sunday up as a sign to mark their power and boast that they changed the day, which even exalts them above God Who blessed and set apart the seventh day of the week to commemorate His power in the creation of heaven and earth.
The first day of the week is nowhere mentioned in the entire Bible as a day of rest or worship. None of the patriarchs or prophets honored it in any way. The Catholic church keeps Sunday today, and they have always kept it since they commenced to do so, as they boast "Rome never changes." They compelled the whole world to keep it during the 1260 years of their rule, and killed everyone who would not do so, putting Sunday up in its place. This they boast of in their own books, and history also affirms it. (See Index of this book for subject on "The Change of the Sabbath.") Sunday stands, today, as a sign of their greatness. It is a mark everywhere apparent of the time when they ruled the world, and shows the extent of their rule and power, as the whole world honors Sunday. The Bible says the whole world wondered after the beast, Revelation 13:3, and this was true, for the light of the Third Angel's Message has not yet been heeded by many. As the true Sabbath is a memorial of God's great power in creating the world, so Sunday is a memorial to the world, of the past greatness of the beast and the church that sustained him and united with him. The Catholics boast of the fact that Sunday is a sign of their power. They say there is nothing in the scriptures for keeping it, but the Catholic church gave it to the world, and the world bows in obedience.
4. As chapters 12 to 18 inclusive, of Revelation are all devoted to this beast power, and of the consequences of worshipping him, or refraining from worshipping him, where is he especially mentioned further in these chapters?
The dragon in chapter 12 or Pagan Rome that tried to destroy Christ gives up its power and great authority to this beast (chap. 13:2, 4). In chapter 17 the beast is again brought to view with the woman (or church) riding it, wherein it is spoken of in verse 8 and 11 as the beast that was, and is not and yet is. The beast is a type of the Roman empire, and the woman (or church) symbolizing the Catholic church is riding upon and controlling it.
See index of book for topic "The Change of the Sabbath."
NOTE: The beast that was, as mentioned here, we can all see was the Roman Empire with the Catholic church riding upon it. The beast that is not, is the same. We are only now just coming out of the period when it was wounded, and was in the place of confinement or isolation. No nation or king has, during the past one hundred years until recently, honored the Pope in any way. We have been passing through the period when the beast was and is not. The eleventh verse of this chapter declares however, that the same beast that was and is not, is yet going to be. It is marvelous today how rapidly this power is again coming to the front and gaining supremacy over the nations. Thirteen countries of the world have begun sending ambassadors to the Pope at Rome, since the close of the World War, and England is one of this number. The reviving of this same court that was described in the prophecies of the Bible, as a beast, is now not only seen coming, but it is here. It has not yet gained the power that it is seeking and will yet usurp and hold for a brief period, but within a few years the remaining prophecies of this chapter will be just as apparently fulfilled as all others in the past.
The message that has come to the reader of this book is going to the whole world. It is the Third Angel's message, and God is expecting each one to heed and obey the warning. If they continue, however, worshipping the beast, receiving his mark in their foreheads and hands, God will pour out upon them the dregs of the cup of his indignation, as in verses 10 and 11 of chapter 14. This is the warning message of the time. This beast can now be seen, as he marches forward and onward, but the victory is going to be won this time by the saints of the Most High, who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. This mark is going to be forced upon people in the future, and those who do not understand the consequences will submit to their eternal doom. Those who do understand will refuse to thus honor the beast and the church, and will stand with the people of God, who will be delivered in the final struggle, when God will arise to shake terribly the earth. Jesus is coming at the darkest period, and the most critical hour, and deliverance all over the world is promised to the faithful, who are keeping the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. Chapters 14:12 and 17:12 to 14.
Reader be ready for that time by worshipping the only living and true God, and not the Pope of Rome.
The tragedy of death a world of strife
Each day the world baptised in blood, war arrayed
And man's mad passion with its toll of human life
Man's better nature into devils hands betrayed,
Such things must be before I come.
Each day brings something never known before,
Each morn brings sights the world has never known,
Each evening brings its terrors to deplore.
Man's mad strife comes into its own.
Such things must be before I come.
Kings do not rule there is a monster death
Who sits on earthly thrones and he
Counts human life as but a passing breath,
Until each nation reaches its appointed destiny.
With sights like visions of the seers of old the earth is filled
With agents of destruction the earth, the sea, the air,
By man's decree earth's rules, it is willed.
With greed each seeks to grasp the other's share,
Such things must be before I come.
The kingdoms of the world each in its place,
Its history, its life and destiny fulfills.
Seeks to its own, knows only its own race.
Not heeding that each exists only as God wills.
Under its load of sin the world will linger on
Until in time, God's plans shall be revealed.
Nations as great, forgotten, passed and gone.
The mightiest cities of ancient times by desert sands concealed.
The earth in God's own time shall know.
Abiding His time, its judgment sure to come
Awaits a morn of blessing God will bestow.
J. A. Nugent
The Battle of Armageddon
1. What did Jesus say of the conditions that would prevail on the earth after His ascension?
"And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet," Matthew 24:6.
2. What did He say further about war?
"For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines and pestilences and earthquakes in divers places," Matthew 24:7.
3. At the end of the present dispensation and just before Jesus is seen coming in the clouds of heaven, will there be peace on earth or distress of nations?
"And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity: the sea and the waves roaring. Men's hearts failing them for fear and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth; for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory," Luke 21:25-27.
4. From the last testimony of Jesus 96 A.D., what does He say of the earthly powers just before the time comes for the dead to be resurrected, and the prophets to be rewarded?
"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 shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth," Revelation 11:18.
5. As the above evidence from the witnesses of God who have spoken upon this subject all agree that the coming of Christ, and the end of this age will be at a time of war, when the nations are angry, what is further said of the name and location of the last battle?
"And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth, and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Behold, I come as a thief, blessed is he that watcheth . . . . And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon," Revelation 16:13-16.
NOTE: We note here the injunction, in the midst of these momentous events, "Behold, I come as a thief," so when this time is reached Christ is going to come quickly. It will be noted also in this account of the last battle, that the war is caused by the elimination of unclean spirits from the dragon, beast and false prophet. These are symbols of the three great false religious systems of the present time which will exist until Jesus comes: Paganism, Catholicism, and Mohammedanism.
6. Following the battle of Armageddon what are the next events in their order?
"And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air: and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. And there were voices and thunders and lightnings, and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth . . . . And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found," verses 17 to 20.
NOTE: The location of the last battle as given in verse 16 is at a place called "Armageddon." The only place of this name now known in Geography is about fifty miles north and a little west of Jerusalem, Palestine. It is on the plains of Esdralon overlooked by the hills of Megeddo. This has in Bible history been the scene of many bloody battles, and there is here a small stream by that name, and also a village. The name dates far back into the annals of history and is supposed to have originated from the battle fought at this place by the Lord in defense of the Army of Gideon, where only 300 select men won a victory over many thousand of their enemy through the intervention of the power of God.
From various scriptural readings as well as of the fact that the word "Gideon" means "the sword of God," the battle of Armageddon carries with it the significance of the presence of the power of God, with all His angelical hosts, in defense of His people. At this time the power of righteousness will triumph victoriously over the monster sin in all of its varied forms.
7. What does Zechariah say about the location of the last battle of this dispensation?
"Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle," Zechariah 14:1, 2.
8. In the next verse of this chapter what does the Lord do at this time?
"Then shall the Lord go forth and fight against those nations as when He fought in the days of battle," verse 3.
9. Will Christ come during the time of this great conflict of the nations?
"And His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives," verse 4, first part of verse.
NOTE: When Jesus ascended to the Father, the message of the angels to the apostles was, that this same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go. He ascended from the Mount of Olives, and when He returns this is the place where His feet will stand.
10. How do we know that this prophecy does not refer to the time of Christ's first coming, when He so often frequented the Mount of Olives?
NOTE: It will be seen from the following verse the first part of which is given above, that when the Lord's feet come upon the Mount of Olives, at His second coming, the mount divides asunder, and moves away. "And the Mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west . . . and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south," verse 4, last part.
11. Who will be king of the earth following this time?
"And the Lord shall be king over all the earth; in that day shall there be one Lord and His name one," verse 9.
12. What does God reveal to us through Ezekiel, regarding the location of the last battle, the nations involved in the struggle, and the victory?
"Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal," (See lesson on Russia in Bible prophecy). "After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them," Ezekiel 38:2, 8.
NOTE: It will be seen that the power above mentioned is to come against the mountains of Israel, which is the Holy Land and includes the mountains of Israel, which is the Holy Land and includes the mountains sacred to the Israelitish nations during their former history.
Notice particularly the statement, that it would be after many days, and in the latter years. Also this power is to come against a people that have been gathered out of many nations, and into a land that has been desolate but is now inhabited. This speaks in plain terms about the Jewish people, who are of the seed of Israel, and who have been scattered among all the nations of the earth, and are now being gathered back to the Holy Land, which had been truly desolated for many centuries. See previous lessons about Jerusalem, and also about the dispersion, and regathering of these people, to the mountains of Israel, where this battle will be fought.
13. What does God say He will do when Gog comes against the land of Israel?
"And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord God, that my fury shall come up in My face. For in My jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken. Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel. So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at My presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground. And I will call for a sword against him throughout all My mountains, saith the Lord God, every man's sword shall be against his brother. And I will plead against him with pestilence, and with blood, and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire and brimstone," Ezekiel 38:18 to 22.
14. What will God accomplish by this miracle, when He destroys the armies that come against the people that are gathered at Jerusalem, and the land of Israel?
"Thus will I magnify Myself, and sanctify Myself, and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the Lord," verse 23.
Universal and Age Lasting Peace
1. Will the cry of universal peace ever be a reality, and enduring peace be inaugurated permanently through peace conferences and a federation of earthly powers?
"For when they shall say, Peace and safety: then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape," I Thessalonians 5:3.
2. What does Isaiah say about the ambassadors of peace?
The ambassadors of peace shall weep bitterly," Isaiah 33:7.
3. What does the Bible say about a federation of nations and the final consequence?
"Associate yourselves, O ye people, and ye shall be broken in pieces . . . . Take counsel together and it shall come to nought," Isaiah 8:9, 10.
NOTE: We greatly realize that the efforts of man in the direction of perpetuating peace among nations is in this age a work commendable to the highest degree, and without which empires and kingdoms would be rent asunder, and anarchy would reign supreme. However, for persons to rely upon this as a means to a permanent end and to a full realization of all that God has promised, is wrong, and will sometime bring to them sorrow and disappointment. God has said in His Word that such will never be, until Jesus the Prince of Peace shall return to earth again to bring in lasting peace.
4. Are God's people to depend on the efforts of nations as a means of perfecting stable conditions on earth, or are they to be afraid in the evil day?
"Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid," Isaiah 8:12.
5. Is there a time of peace spoken of in the Bible, when war will cease for a stated period, and which will be inaugurated by the efforts of man?
"And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree," Revelation 7:1.
6. What was the purpose for this period when the winds (or wars) would not prevail, nor molest the inhabitants of the earth?
"And I saw another angel ascending from the east having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea. Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads," verses 2, 3.
NOTE: It will be seen from Revelation the eighth and ninth chapters that there were to be great political upheavals among the nations during the consecutive periods from the time of Christ's ascension until He is to come again. These trumpets are all war signals, and the events recorded are largely in the past. At the sounding of the seventh and the final trumpet, Revelation 11:15, voices are heard in heaven saying the "Kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever." According to revelation we must not look for enduring world peace until after the coming of Christ. See lesson on the Battle of Armageddon.
7. What does God reveal to us through the prophet Joel about the events of the last time, and the conditions of Judah and Jerusalem, just before the last great war?
"For behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehosaphat, and will plead with them there for My people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted My land," Joel 3:1, 2.
8. While the children of God's heritage are scattered among the nations, and His land is parted, what is the decree to the Gentiles?
"Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up; beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong. Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O Lord. Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about. Put ye in the sickle for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow: for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision . . . . The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake; but the Lord will be the hope of His people, and the strength of the children of Israel," Joel 3:9-16.
God reigns and rules the universe,
All other powers must cease.
Christ soon will sit on David's throne,
And He will bring us peace.
This great peace cry goes out to all,
But this is only man,
For it will never come I know
Till worked by God's own plan.
This great peace cry God said would come
Just in the darkest days;
And last till Christ would come again
And change man's wicked ways.
And in His own good time He'll send
His Son to David's throne;
With peace that spreads o'er all the earth,
And reigns from zone to zone.
Mrs. Andy Bennett
1. What two great events mark the beginning of the one thousand years of restitution?
"And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you; Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began," Acts 3:20, 21.
"And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years," Revelation 20:1, 2.
2. Will he be allowed to deceive the nations any more until the thousand years have expired?
"And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season," verse 3.
3. What particular reference is made to the martyrs among the dead, and their future work?
"And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years," verse 4.
4. Where will this reign be?
"And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth," Revelation 5:9, 10.
5. Have we other proof that this reign will be on the earth?
"And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him," Daniel 7:27.
6. What promise was given to Mary by the angel?
"He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord shall give unto Him the throne of His father David," Luke 1:32.
7. What condition will exist during the Millennium?
"And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more," Isaiah 2:4.
8. What is said of the knowledge of the Lord during this age?
"They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea," Isaiah 11:9.
9. Will houses be built, and vineyards planted during this age?
"And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them," Isaiah 65:21.
10. Will they build and another inhabit, or will they long enjoy the work of their hands?
They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of My people, and Mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands," Isaiah 65:22.
11. During this time, what will be the condition of the Holy Land?
"For the Lord shall comfort Zion: He will comfort all her waste places; and He will make her wilderness like Eden and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody," Isaiah 51:3. See also Ezekiel 36:35.
NOTE: Isaiah says of this time, "But with righteousness shall He judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and He shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins, and faithfulness the girdle of His reins. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea," Isaiah 11:4-9. See also Isaiah 65:18 to 25 and Psalm 110.
12. What event marks the closing of the Millennium?
"And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison," Revelation 20:7.
13. After he is turned loose what is his mission?
"And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea," verse 8.
14. What will be the mission of this great throng of wicked people?
"And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city," verse 9.
15. While they are thus engaged what great calamity befalls them?
And fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them," verse 9.
16. What classes of people are included in this great destruction?
"But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolators, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death," Revelation 21:8.
17. What class of people will escape this great destruction?
He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be My son," verse 7.
18. What event marks the completion of the millennial age?
"And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea," Revelation 21:1.
"The righteous shall never be removed: but the wicked shall not inhabit the earth," Proverbs 10:30.
19. And what great voice did he hear?
"And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes: and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things have passed away," verses 3, 4.
NOTE: How wonderful will be the great eternity, and how glorious will be the time when God shall dwell among men? Each one should do every thing in their power; they should be willing to make any sacrifice they are called upon to make in order to have part in the great eternity, when all tears shall be wiped away from our eyes. And as Isaiah has said, "The inhabitant shall not say, I am sick," Isaiah 33:24.
Be of good cheer, ye friends of Jesus;
Never succumb to doubts and fears,
Cherish the great and precious promise,
To reign with Christ a thousand years.
To reign a thousand years with Jesus
Free from all trials, toils and tears,
This is the Father's precious promise,
To reign with Christ a thousand years.
Tell the whole world these blessed tidings:
Speak of the time of bliss that nears:
Tell the oppressed of every nation,
Jubilee lasts through endless years.
Through endless years earth's coming glory,
Tis the glad day so long foretold:
Tis the bright morn of Zion's glory,
Prophets foresaw in times of old.
The Open Grave
The truth of the resurrection has been forcibly illustrated by the following incident:
In the city of Hanover, Germany, is a grave known as the open grave." It is that of a woman, an infidel German princess, who died over one hundred years ago, and who, on her death-bed, gave orders that her grave should be covered with a great marble slab, weighing perhaps a ton, surmounting solid blocks of stone firmly bound together with clasps of iron, with this inscription placed on the lowermost stone of the tomb: This grave, purchased for eternity, must never be opened."
But no human device can thwart the plans of God, or hinder the workings of life from Him. It happened, providentially no doubt, that a birch-tree seed was buried with the princess. Soon it began to sprout. Its tiny shoot, soft and pliable at first, found its way up through the ponderous stones of the massive masonry.
Slowly and imperceptibly, but with irresistible power, it grew, until at last, it burst the bands of iron asunder, and opened this never-to-be-opened grave, leaving not a single stone in its original position.
What a rebuke to infidelity! and what a mute but striking promise that, erelong, in God's own time, all graves shall be opened, and the sleeping ones awake from their dusty beds!
* * * * *
Then should the earth's old pillars shake,
And all the wheels of nature break,
My steadfast soul would fear no more
Than solid rocks when billows roar.
O for a strong, a lasting faith,
To rest on what the Almighty saith!
To heed the message of His Son,
And call the joys of heaven my own.
Daniel and His Trial
Daniel was forbidden by unjust laws which were contrary to what God had said, to ask a petition from anyone for thirty days except from king Darius. Knowing well his books, and being versed in the word of God, he heeded not the voice even of the king who spoke averse to his Heavenly Father, so he continued offering his prayers three times each day while the windows were open toward Jerusalem. He was reported, and arrested, but continued to trust his God, and was then put into the lion's den to be devoured, but God sent His angel and delivered him. See Daniel chapter 6.
Death in the Kitchen: The Clean and the Unclean Food
1. Were there some beasts on earth before the flood that were not clean for food?
"Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female," Genesis 7:2.
2. How did God specify the beasts that were for food, and those that were unclean?
"These are the beasts which ye shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth. Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat," Leviticus 11:2, 3.
3. Is there also a difference between the fish and the fowls as to their being clean and unclean?
"Whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat," Leviticus 11:9.
4. What does the Lord say specifically about the swine? Is it good for food, or is it unclean?
"And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you," Leviticus 11:7.
5. Does the Lord say anything about the unclean beasts being an abomination to those who eat them, or even touch them?
"They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcasses in abomination," verse 11.
6. What will happen to the abominable in the day of judgment?
"But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers . . . . and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death," Revelation 21:8.
7. When the Lord comes with fire to judge the world, what will happen to those who eat swine's flesh?
"For, behold, the Lord will come with fire, and with His chariots like a whirlwind, to render His anger with fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by His sword will the Lord plead with all flesh: and the slain of the Lord shall be many. They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens behind one tree in the midst, eating swine's flesh and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be CONSUMED together, SAITH the Lord," Isaiah 66:15-17.
NOTE: This plainly speaks of the future, when the Lord comes to judge the world. All who are found eating the swine's flesh are to be consumed. This plainly carries the law of the clean and the unclean through the gospel age, and it is found binding even at the day of judgment.
8. What does the Lord say about the priests (ministers) in the day when He consumes the wicked with the fire of His wrath?
"Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and the profane, neither have they showed difference between the clean and the unclean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them . . . . Therefore have I poured out my indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath," Ezekiel 22:26, 31.
9. Does the Lord make any distinction in the New Testament between the meats that were created to be received, and those that were not set apart by the Word?
"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith . . . . Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth," I Timothy 4:1, 3.
NOTE: Here we find a separation made between the meats. Some were created to be received for food, and the Lord speaks against those who command people not to eat the meat that was created to be received. He says it is "Sanctified by the word of God and prayer," verse 5. The word "sanctify" means set apart. Therefore, some meat is set apart by the Word of God and prayer, for food. Even before the flood, some beasts were unclean and some were clean.
10. Is it not a fact that the Lord showed Peter all manner of beasts and creeping things, and commanded him to arise and eat?
" . . . He fell into a trance, and saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat," Acts 10:10-13.
11. Had Peter been in the habit of eating the unclean meat up to this time, and what did he say in answer?
"Not so, Lord; for I HAVE NEVER eaten any thing that is common or unclean," verse 14.
12. Was this vision of all kinds of beasts, and creeping things given to show Peter that he should eat anything he wanted to? This is what many preachers will tell us, but what does the Bible actually say?
"Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; BUT GOD HATH SHOWN me that I should not call ANY MAN common or unclean," verse 28.
NOTE: The Lord speaks quite differently here from what men tell us. They say this vision was to show Peter that he should not call any meat unclean and that we could eat anything we want. Notice particularly just what the scriptures say about it. "God hath shown me that I should not call ANY MAN (not beast) common or unclean."
More people die from eating pork every year than from war. A serpent-like worm called "trichinae" is in every hog. None are free from it, says late investigation. Fifty years ago, the U. S. government spent more than a million dollars to propagate a breed of swine free from this worm, but it was in vain.
When once in the human body, it never can be eradicated, and the person's life is greatly shortened. Dr. James McNaught and Dr. Eugene Anderson report in the Journal of The American Medical Association that, "when once the meat is swallowed, each female worm begins to breed thousands of small worms, so little that for weeks they cannot be seen by the strongest microscope. They are so small that soon they work their way through into the bloodstream." These doctors secured portions of muscle from two hundred people who died in San Francisco. These separately they ground to a powder and artificially digested the powder into artificial gastric juice, just as is done in the stomach, until the young worms which will not digest could be counted. They counted from 20 to 3,800 in each of forty-eight dead people. That was, in just the portions of muscle they took for the experiment.
Dr. Hall, from the U. S. Department of Agriculture, and later in our national Public Health Service, says that post-mortem (after death) examinations prove that more than one fourth of all the people in Boston, Mass., are affected with these worms.
They all say that thousands of people die from trichinae (when it is supposed they die from most all common diseases), depending on where the worms lodge and begin their death work. Children and young people up to thirty are not so often dangerously affected, but above that age when glands do not function so strongly, trichinae win the battle and begin to increase.
Cooking, in many cases, does not kill the eggs or larva. Having the pork in the kitchen is extremely dangerous to the family. Dishes, knives, bread, and other things are often in contact with where it has been, and eggs and larva are smeared around and get into food or drink. Eating cheese from stores and meat counters where it is cut by the same knife that has been used in cutting pork, will bring the death worms in the home, and into our bodies.
Dear friend, let us believe God. The meats He declared unclean are unclean, and by believing and obeying we will escape much suffering and sorrow.
The Atomic Bomb and the World on Fire
1. Is the destruction of the two Japanese cities, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki, the first record we have of big cities being destroyed by fire and brimstone?
"Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven; and He overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground," Genesis 19:24, 25.
2. Why were these cities so completely destroyed by fire and brimstone?
"And the Lord said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come up unto me; and if not, I will know," Genesis 18:20, 21.
3. Had there been found many righteous people in these cities, would the Lord have destroyed them?
The Lord said, "I will not destroy it for twenty's sake . . . . I will not destroy it for ten sake," Genesis 18:31, 32.
4. What did the Lord say about Sodom and Gomorrah being set forth as examples to other cities that afterwards would live ungodly?
"And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly," II Peter 2:6.
"Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, and set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire," Jude 7.
NOTE: It is evident that we are now entering the period of destruction upon cities similar to that visited upon Sodom and Gomorrah. The world was shocked over the terrible destruction of two cities in Japan, which brought an abrupt close to World War II. Jewish scientists in the year 1932 were extracting this substance, or one very similar, from the Dead Sea, which they said at that time they believed was the fire and brimstone God rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah. It is a known fact that Sodom and Gomorrah, located in the valley on the bank of the Dead Sea, both sunk and were covered by the salty waters of that sea.
5. Has God a reserve supply of this unquenchable fire which He will use at the appointed time to again punish wicked men, and destroy evil power and ungodly cities?
"And I will rain upon him, and upon his bands . . . . an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone," Ezekiel 38:22.
"For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch," Malachi 4:1.
6. Is this burning day to be just one of twenty-four hours, or how long a time has the Lord appointed to do this purging and cleansing work with fire?
"But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. BUT, beloved, BE NOT IGNORANT of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day," II Peter 3:7, 8.
7. Where else do we find mention made of this one thousand year period to be given over to the judging of the world?
"And I saw thrones, and they that sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them . . . and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years," Revelation 20:4.
"Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years," verse 6.
8. Where will these kings and priests reign?
"And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth," Revelation 5:10.
NOTE: It will be during this one thousand year judgment day that the example of Sodom and Gomorrah will again be seen, for they are especially set forth as examples of other cities to suffer the same fate. Whole districts and cities will be visited with fire and brimstone during this burning day, and the world will be on fire in various countries and districts, while others will be about as usual. During this judgment period, known as the age of restitution (Acts 3:19-21), the entire world will be cleansed by fire.
9. Will it be possible during this time for the great steel works, iron engines, and metal construction by man to be burned up?
"But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works therein shall be burned up," II Peter 3:10.
NOTE: The substance they were extracting from the Dead Sea, as stated above, would burn steel and iron, turning it instantly into a gas.
The Holy Spirit, Gifts, and Manifestations
1. What did Jesus say concerning the divine power that He was going to send for His followers, and how long was it to remain with them?
"And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever," John 14:16.
2. Who would send this Comforter, and by what other name is it spoken of?
"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you," John 14:26.
3. Where does this Comforter, or Holy Spirit, from God dwell?
"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" I Corinthians 3:16.
4. To whom does God give the Holy Spirit?
"And we are His witnesses of these things, and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him," Acts 5:32.
5. How willing is the Lord to give us the Holy Spirit?
"If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? . . . If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" Luke 11:11, 13.
6. Did God's children in the Old Testament times also possess the Holy Spirit?
David prayed, "Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy Spirit from me," Psalm 51:11.
7. Was there a mysterious power that lingered in the bones of faithful Elisha after he was dead?
"And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet," II Kings 13:21.
8. In order to be resurrected from the dead, is it necessary for the Holy Spirit to dwell in our bodies?
"But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you," Romans 8:11.
9. How is it possible for any man or woman, boy or girl, to obtain this priceless virtue from above?
"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened," Luke 11:9-10.
10. What did the Lord promise His disciples that would give them power and wisdom for service in the gospel work?
"But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth," Acts 1:8.
NOTE: The words Holy Ghost and Holy Spirit are used synonymously. In the Greek we find the same words, and they are identical. In each case it refers to that divine anointing power from above, which God sends into the life of every person who hungers and thirsts for righteousness and earnestly calls upon Him for this power. Notice Matthew 5:6.
11. Are there different gifts of the Holy Spirit, and what are these gifts?
"But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues," I Corinthians 12:7-10.
12. Will all of these gifts be manifest in the same person, or will different individuals in the church possess different gifts?
"Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet I show unto you a more excellent way," I Corinthians 12:29-31.
13. Will the true Church of God possess all of these gifts in the last days while they await the coming of the Lord?
"That in every thing ye are enriched by Him in all utterance, and in all knowledge . . . . So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ," I Corinthians 1:5, 7.
"Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven," Matthew 7:20, 21.
"For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth," Ephesians 5:9.
"But the fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts," Galatians 5:22-24.
14. As love is mentioned as the first one of these manifestations, how is love associated in the gospel with obedience?
"For this is the LOVE of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous," I John 5:3.
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law . . . " Matthew 22:37-40.
NOTE: Jesus said that on these two commandments hung the whole law. How true this is. The first four of the ten commandments are expressly love to God, while the last six of them pertain to the relationship of love toward our neighbor. If we love our neighbor as ourself, we will not commit any of the offenses numerated in the last six of the ten commandments. But note that Jesus said the first and great command was to love God. Therefore, the first four commandments are of greater importance than the last six.
Church Organization and Government
1. As God is the author of nature in all her perfection, and has set the heavenly bodies in their perfect system of order, can we suppose that He has left His people in the earth without any instruction regarding system and order in the church?
"God is not the author of confusion," I Corinthians 14:33.
"Let all things be done decently and in order," I Corinthians 14:40.
2. When God set the church in order in the wilderness, what kind of an organization did He form? How many men were at the head of the church?
"There were the renowned of the congregation, princes of the tribes of their fathers, HEADS of thousands in Israel . . . These are those that were numbered, which Moses and Aaron numbered, and the princes of Israel, being twelve men: each one was for the house of his fathers," Numbers 1:16, 44.
3. Were there not also seventy men given appointment for special work in God's order for governing His people?
"And the Lord said unto Moses, Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the elders of the people, and officers over them; and bring them unto the tabernacle of the congregation, that they may stand there with thee," Numbers 11:16.
4. As the Lord established this system of government for His people through His servant Moses, did Moses prophesy that God would raise up another prophet like unto him?
"This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; Him shall ye hear," Acts 7:37.
5. Of whom did Moses speak, and was this fulfilled in Christ's birth and ministry?
"For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren . . . . Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers," Acts 23:22. 25.
6. When Jesus came and reorganized the church, what form of government did He also set in order?
"And it came to pass in those days, that He went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, He called unto Him His disciples: and of them He chose twelve, whom also He named apostles," Luke 6:12, 13.
7. Did He also choose seventy the same as Moses had done?
"After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before His face into every city and place, whither He Himself would come," Luke 10:1.
NOTE: We see from the above scripture that God has twice set His church in order here on the earth, once through Moses, and once through Christ.
In both cases God ordered twelve men placed over the spiritual affairs of his church, and also seventy others to assist in the government. Surely this is the best system of organization. It is divinely given and the only one found in the entire Bible. Instead of having one man as head of the church here on earth, God's order is to have twelve men, while Jesus is the head over all, and He directs from heaven.
8. How was the church further organized in the days of the apostles?
"Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business," Acts 6:2, 3; Philippians 4:15.
NOTE: There were also seven business stewards appointed in the Old Testament church organization.
9. Were there also overseers in the church organization under Moses, as well as under Christ?
"And Joel the son of Zichri was their overseer. . . . and their overseer was Zabdiel, the son of one of the great men . . . The overseer also of the Levites at Jerusalem was Uzzi," Nehemiah 11:9, 14, 22.
"Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the Church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood," Acts 20:28.
Paul says, "Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches," II Corinthians 11:28.
10. When there was a vacancy among the twelve apostles, was there an election held to vote for someone to fill the office, or did they simply cast lots in such cases?
"And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two Thou hast chosen, That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell," Acts 1:23-25.
11. In choosing by lot, who is it that makes the choice? Is it the people, or is it the Lord?
"The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord," Proverbs 16:33.
12. When men are thus chosen by lot instead of by a vote of the people, does it cause contention, or is it given to prevent strife in the church?
"The lot causeth contentions to cease, and parteth between the mighty," Proverbs 18:18.
The Passover and the Lord's Supper
1. When was the Lord's Supper instituted, and of what did it consist?
"For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which He was betrayed took bread . . . . After the same manner also He took the cup," I Corinthians 11:23, 25.
2. At what time of the year, and on what day of the month was the ancient Passover observed?
"Observe the month of Abib, and keep the passover unto the Lord thy God: for in the month of Abib the Lord thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night," Deuteronomy 16:1.
"And in the fourteenth day of the first month is the passover of the Lord," Numbers 28:16.
3. At what time of the day was the ancient passover observed?
"This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you . . . . In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb . . . . And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening," Exodus 12:2, 3, 6.
4. This lamb was a type of Jesus. When was He betrayed, and on what day of the month did He die?
"Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover . . . . Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed . . . . And He said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer," Luke 22:1, 7, 15.
5. Was not this the time that Jesus introduced the Lord's Supper?
"And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves . . . . And He took the bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is My body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of Me," verses 17, 19.
6. At what time of the year did the apostle Paul introduce the Lord's Supper to the church?
"For I have received of the Lord that which I also delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus, the SAME NIGHT in which He was betrayed took bread," I Corinthians 11:23.
7. As they killed the passover lamb on the fourteenth day of the first month, in the evening, what time of the day was this? Is the even according to the scriptures at the beginning or the end of the day?
"The evening and the morning were the first day," "The evening and the morning were the second day," Genesis 1:5, 8.
"From even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath," Leviticus 23:32.
NOTE: The passover lamb was kept up until the fourteenth day of the first month and killed "in the evening," Exodus 12:6. Hence, it was killed at the beginning of the day, which was sunset, or just after the sun had set on the thirteenth, or the beginning of the fourteenth.
"Thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun," Deuteronomy 16:6.
"And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto Him (Jesus) all that were diseased," Mark 1:32. Notice also Leviticus 22:6, 7.
8. Since there was some preparation made for the Passover in the Old Testament, and as the Lord's Supper takes its place in the New Testament, what preparations are people to make before partaking of the supper?
"Wherefore whosoever shall eat of this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup," I Corinthians 11:27, 28.
"Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened," I Corinthians 5:7.
9. Did the church in the apostles' time keep the Lord's Supper at the time of the ancient Jewish Passover, as Jesus instituted it?
"For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast," I Corinthians 5:7-8.
"For I have received of the Lord that which I also delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which He was betrayed took bread: And when He had given thanks, He brake it, and said, Take, eat, this is My body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of Me," I Corinthians 11:23, 24.
NOTE: The ancient passover was kept once a year, and so we have learned the Lord's Supper which took the place of the ancient passover was also kept once a year. According to all early church history, all professed followers of Christ kept the Lord's Supper on the fourteenth of Abib until the council of Nice in 321, when Constantine and others at this conference changed it to a certain Sunday which was the Sunday following the fourteenth of Abib.
The ordinance of humiliation wherein Christ taught His followers to be humble, and let the greatest be the servant is found in John 13. Jesus washed the apostles' feet and commanded us to do the same with one another. This was given as a step in preparation for the Lord's Supper.
History of the Waldenses Sabbath Observers
The elect, or true Christians, have existed under different names at different times, viz.: the Novatians, Donatists, and Paulicians in the Middle Ages. The Albigenses, Cathari, and Waldenses were the most prominent societies who separated from the Catholic Church. They resembled each other very much in their doctrine and life. They were all agreed about the principles of the gospel.
Peter Waldo gathered together a church in the year 1160. The Waldenses existed before the time of Waldo. Already in the year of 1120 they had published a work against the papal antichrist, in which they pointed out the false doctrines of the Catholic Church. They presented this as one reason why they had separated from the church. But Waldo did much to increase their number and activity. He was a rich merchant from Lyons, France. As he was reading the Holy Scriptures, he was seized with a holy longing after the apostolic church. He sold his property, distributed the money to the poor, and preached a pure practical Christianity. Many left their homes and became teachers. At first, they did not think of separating from the Roman Church, but they were at last compelled to do so, seeing they in no wise could agree with it.
In 1532 they separated themselves fully from the papal church, adopting a short confession of faith. This common faith contained, however, the same doctrines which they had believed and followed for four hundred years. They were subjected to persecutions in 1332, 1400, and 1478. But after this time during about two hundred years they suffered a series of the most bloody persecutions. They were, especially in the middle of the seventeenth century, tormented in the most cruel manner. Yet their enemies did not succeed in subduing these brave mountaineers. In their extreme distress they defended themselves, and resisted successfully the armies of the Duke of Savoy. But their resistance against the government never went farther than necessity drove them. At the close of the seventeenth century they had to flee from the country of their fathers, overwhelmed by the superior force of their enemies.
Some of them went to Switzerland and others to Germany, but the longing after the mountains of their own country caused them to return. In 1689 they gathered from all quarters in Switzerland under the leadership of Henry Arnold. After a bloody and adventurous campaign they again obtained possession of their native country. They are said to have fought not less than eighteen battles against the French, and to have lost only thirty men. It was, however, not before 1848 that they obtained the same rights as their Catholic fellow citizens.
As a consequence of their incredible activity, the gospel was proclaimed in Italy in most of their cities. They sent out evangelists, partly clergymen, partly intelligent laymen. They worked diligently, preaching the word, scattering tracts, and organizing Protestant churches.
Life and Doctrine of the Waldenses
Waldo rendered great service by translating the Bible into the French language. This he did by the help of two clerical friends. He spent a large share of his property for the writing of numerous copies, which he distributed. His preaching fell like a kindling spark into many hearts, and before long they would burn like himself to proclaim the precious gospel to those who had not yet tasted its sweet comfort. Thus many obtained a living knowledge of the true Saviour, and experienced a genuine change of heart. In 1184 Waldo and his followers were excommunicated by the pope. They had to flee from their country, but they proclaimed the word of God more freely and publicly, diffusing it in their travels to all parts of the world. Many of the Cathari and other scattered believers united with them, and soon Protestants who were ready to sacrifice their lives for the faith of the Waldenses were found in France, Switzerland, Italy, Holland, Bohemia, and Hungary.
Westermeyer says further of the Waldenses: "We rejoice to find in the doctrine of the Waldenses the purest evangelical profession, and before its clear light the errors and abuses of the ruling church disappeared. All the erroneous doctrines of the church originated from the fact that other writings were accepted besides the Scriptures. The Waldenses affirmed positively that the Scriptures contained everything necessary to salvation. Nothing but the revelation of God should be received as an article of faith. They found in the Scriptures only one God and one mediator, Jesus Christ. They would know nothing of the merits and worship of the saints. Christ, said they, is our advocate. He pleads for us before we give ourselves to Him. He wants every soul to seek refuge in Him alone.
They rejected most decidedly all those works by which the people burdened themselves in the established church, such as monastic vows, fasting, offering for the living and dead. Faith in Christ was the only way to obtain remission of sins and eternal life. Consequently the sale of indulgences looked to them as a terrible abuse.
If the true church was found anywhere, it was with the Waldenses. This not only their doctrine but also their life testifies. Their knowledge of the Holy Scriptures was admirable. Before their missionaries were admitted to office, they had to learn at least the gospels according to Matthew and John, and the epistles of the New Testament, besides many portions of the writings of David, Solomon, and the prophets."
The following are testimonies from their enemies: "They are mostly rude, uneducated people. They are often dressed in the skins of animals, and live in miserable huts and caves. Yet they can all read and write. We found peasants who could repeat the book of Job by heart. Others could repeat all of the New Testament, and every boy among them had a clear idea of their faith."
A friar who had been sent out to lead them back to the Roman Church came back much astonished, and acknowledged that in all his life he had not learned so much of the Scriptures as he had in those few days he had been conversing with the heretics.
The word of God brought forth blessed fruit in those simple hearted people. Even their enemies were compelled to bear excellent testimonies of their uprightness. One of the clerical ambassadors who had received the commission to search for them and persecute them said:
"The heretics are known by their manners. Their conduct is quiet and modest, and no pride is seen in their dress" Another says: "In their manners and life they are upright, truthful in their words, and of one accord in brotherly love, but their faith is obstinate and unsound."
Still another says: "They do not try to gather riches but are satisfied with the necessities of life," "Their women are modest, not talebearers. They shun folly and levity." People that receive such testimonies from their bitterest enemies must indeed have lived very exemplary lives.
When they got up and when they went to bed, as well as before and after meals, they kneeled down before the Lord and offered up their supplication and thanksgiving. After each meal they instructed and exhorted one another. They showed faithfulness in all their affairs of life. Marriage was considered holy, and was never entered upon without the consent of the parents. They brought up their children in an excellent way. They understood how to leave their faith and uprightness as an inheritance to their posterity. "Keep your eyes on your daughters," they said; "keep them at home, and let them not wander about. Dinah, the daughter of Jacob, was seduced when she was seen of strangers. Those who decorate their daughters are like those who put dry wood on the fire that it may burn better."
For the rest they were very submissive, and took care of their everyday work with the greatest faithfulness. They were known as hardworking people, and their manner of living was exceedingly plain. They were enemies of all extravagance and debauchery. Consequently their men were sought for servants, and their women for nurses and servant girls.
The Waldenses believed that the Roman Church was the great harlot spoken of in Revelation 17. They rejected all the ordinances introduced since the ascension of Christ. They rejected the doctrine of purgatory and the feasts ordained by the church. Baptism was performed by immersion, which was used by the Catholics also at that time. They rejected infant baptism and maintained that it could be of no use for infant children because they could not believe.
The Waldenses were also called Insabbati. One writer says: "They would not observe the holy days. For this reason they were falsely accused of breaking the Sabbath and therefore were called Insabbati."
Another writer says: They were called Insabbati, not because they were circumcised, but because they kept the Jewish Sabbath."
The following paragraph from history shows plainly that they kept the seventh day:
"When the king of France, Louis XII, was informed of the terrible crime whereof the Waldenses were accused by their enemies, he sent his own confessor with another man to the province of Provence to look into the matter. When they returned, they said that they had visited all the parishes where they lived and examined their meeting houses, but they found no images or things pertaining to the mass nor any of the ceremonies belonging to the Roman Church. Much less could they discover any trace of those crimes wherefore they were accused. On the contrary, they kept the Sabbath, practiced baptism like the apostolic church, and instructed their children in the Christian articles of faith and the commandments of God. When the king heard this report he said: 'They are indeed better people than I and my people.'"
Pioneers of the Reformation
Among the forerunners of the Reformation, John Wycliffe deserves especially to be mentioned. He was born in the year 1324. He became a member of the University of Oxford, where he afterward was employed as teacher. In the last years of his life he became pastor of the church in Lutterworth. He was renowned for his learning and diligent study of the Scriptures. He wrote a great deal against the shameful conduct of the monks, and without mercy he pointed out their intrigues and sloth. By this he soon incurred the displeasure of the pope. But Wycliffe had rendered valuable services to the state, and the civil power protected him even until his death.
Wycliffe attacked the worship of saints and images very severely. He organized a society of God fearing men, who preached the gospel to the people all through the Country. He also translated the Bible into the English language so that all could have access to the Scriptures in their mother tongue. This is the first translation of the Scriptures into the English language, and is a work of great merit.
Wycliffe died in the year 1384 in the church, while he was conducting the services. It was not until after his death that his enemies succeeded in obtaining revenge. In obedience to the order of the council of Constance, the bones of this supposed heretic were dug up, and in the year 1428 they were publicly burned, together with his books.
Before his death Wycliffe made the following beautiful confession:
"God is my witness that above all other things I have sought the honor of God, to reverence His word, and obey His law. But if, with this intention, some impure desire for worldly renown or low gain or wicked revenge has crept in unknown to me, then I sincerely repent of it, and by the grace of God I will be on my guard against it."
Wycliffe left a great number of disciples, and their conduct was a beautiful seal of his divine calling. Even his enemies had to testify of them as follows:
"The followers of Wycliffe are men with sober and modest conduct. They avoid all finery in dress, and take but little part in worldly affairs. They earn their living exclusively by the work of their hands, and cherish the greatest contempt for riches. They are perfectly contented if they have only the most necessary things of life. They are chaste and temperate, and are never found in the inns or at the public pleasures. Yet they are always busy; they either teach themselves or they teach others. They are devotional and short in their prayers, and put great stress on charity in their sermons."
Marching on to the promised prize
We ever look upward with longing eyes;
The Lord is preparing our mansion on high,
And will bring our reward in the sweet by and by.
Yes, crowns of glory we soon shall wear,
And palms of victory we soon shall bear,
Robes of righteousness pure and white,
Walking the streets of refulgent light.
When the day of the Lord shall come,
And the Church of the living God at home,
We'll make the celestial city ring
With the sound of glory we shall sing,
Thou hast redeemed us dear Lamb of God;
Cleansed from all sin by thy precious blood;
All sorrow and sickness and death passed away,
When a nation was born to the Lord in a day.
The Bohemian reformer, John Huss, was born 1373. His father was a poor field laborer. He was educated at the University of Prague, where he began to lecture publicly in 1398. As a confessor to the queen, he had access to the court. By his great eloquence and Christian kindness toward all he gained the favor of the people, even among the poorest.
Of his conversion Huss says:
"Once I also was wrapped in the sweet slumber of carnal security until it pleased the Lord Jesus to deliver my wretched soul from my sensual desires, as once He saved Lot out of the fire of Sodom, and to bring me into the abode of suffering ignominy and contempt. Then for the first time I became poor and broken hearted, and as I with fear and trembling studied the word of God, I began to admire the treasures of wisdom therein. Then for the first time I understood how greatly Satan had blinded the eyes even of the wise and great of this world. My heart now was thrilled with a new, powerful, saving fire which still works in prayer to God and the crucified Jesus."
Afterward, when he read the writings of Wycliffe and became acquainted with his doctrine, his eyes were opened to the corruption of the Roman Church. He preached against the prevailing corruption but especially against selling indulgences, when this was introduced in Prague. He was now more and more involved in controversy with the papal church, and in the year 1413 he was excommunicated.
Huss was, however, so highly esteemed by the government and the people of Bohemia that the papal party was unable to injure him. A general council was therefore convened in Constance. Having received promise of protection and liberty to return, Huss went to Constance; but it was not long before he was seized and thrown into prison. The faithless emperor, who had given him a letter of safe conduct, was informed that it was not necessary to keep a promise given to a heretic, and he cared nothing for the complaints made by the friends of Huss.
Huss suffered greatly in his miserable prison. He arrived at Constance, Nov. 3, 1414, and was thrown into prison November 28. On account of the earnest appeals from the Bohemians, a public hearing was finally appointed to be held January 5th of the next year.
The council before which Huss had to appear was composed of the highest dignitaries of the church and the kingdom. It consisted of thirty-four cardinals, twenty archbishops, one hundred and sixty bishops, two hundred and fifty priests, four electors, twenty dukes, and eighty counts.
As soon as Huss opened his mouth to answer the many false accusations which were brought against him, the whole assembly cried out with such vehemence and fell upon him with such rage that one would sooner think they were a multitude of wild animals than an assembly of honorable men. June 8 and 9 there was a hearing where Huss finally had an opportunity to defend himself.
From prison he wrote to his Bohemian brethren:
"I exhort you to be faithful and hold fast the truth of the divine word in the manner in which I have preached it unto you. Yet if any one in public speech or private conversation should have heard, or in any writing should have read, anything which is contrary to the divine truth, then I pray that you will not act accordingly but ask God to forgive me."
He then exhorted all in words most tender to remember their duties, asked them to pray for their enemies, and comforted them with the fact that he had not yet been condemned to death, and he believed that the Lord even until the end would keep him from renouncing the truth. July 6, the sentence of death was read before him, and the same day he was executed.
At the place of execution he was not permitted to speak, but then he prayed to God with such earnestness that some of those who were present said aloud: "What this man may have done heretofore we know not, but we do now hear that he offers up most excellent prayers to God." The elector now ordered the executioners immediately to begin the bloody work while Huss prayed aloud: "Lord Jesus, I humbly suffer this terrible death for Thy sake. I pray Thee to forgive all my enemies."
When he had ascended the pile of wood, he once more took leave of his friends and one more thanked his jailers. Then the executioners tied him to a stake with five wet ropes above the feet, under the knees, above the knees around the waist, and around his arms, and with a rusty chain around his waist. When he saw the chain he smiled and said to the executioners: "My Lord Jesus Christ, our Redeemer and Saviour, has also been tied down with a heavy chain; therefore will I, a poor, sinful man, not be ashamed to bear this chain for His name's sake."
When the executioners kindled the fire, Huss sang with a loud voice once: "Christ, Thou living Son of God, have mercy upon me," And again: "Christ, Thou living Son of God, have mercy upon me," When he began to sing the third time, the wind threw the flame into his face so that he could not sing, but he prayed silently by himself, and moved his head as long as one could pray the Lord's prayer three times, whereupon he fell asleep about 11 p. m. July 6, 1415.
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