Seventh Day Remnant Church Forum
Where The Truth Is Discussed

Today's Messages (off)  | Unanswered Messages (on)

Forum: Prophecy
 Topic: THE STORY OF THE SEER OF PATMOS (Part 4)
THE STORY OF THE SEER OF PATMOS (Part 4) [message #2794] Mon, 15 July 2019 04:50
Mel_SDR is currently offline  Mel_SDR
Messages: 123
Registered: September 2015
Location: TN
Member
THE STORY OF THE SEER OF PATMOS
{PART 4}



PIONEER AUTHOR
Haskell, Steven Nelson (1833-1922)
The Story of the Seer of Patmos



CHAPTER V. A GLIMPSE OF HEAVEN



THE THRONE SET IN HEAVEN
Revelation 4:1-5

After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. (2) And immediately I was in the Spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. (3) And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. (4) And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. (5) And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.

THE FOUR BEASTS FULL OF EYES
Revelation 4:6-11

And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. (7) And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. (8) And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. (9) And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, (10) The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, (11) Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.


A GLIMPSE OF HEAVEN


Soul communion with the Redeemer was sweet to the prophet John, as he lived alone on Patmos; and the actual meeting with Christ in that first vision, which opened before his mind the future history of the church, had drawn him very near to the object of his love. "After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven." Stephen, while men were killing the body, looked, and the heavens opened; and he said, "Behold, I see . . . the Son of man standing on the right hand of God." As Christ rose in sympathy with that suffering disciple, so the yearning felt by John, touched the heart of Christ, and the prophet heard again the trumpet tone saying, "Come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be hereafter."

Only the spiritual eye can gaze on things of God; and few mortals have allowed the spiritual side of their natures to be developed until it is possible to leave earthly scenes, and view the realms above. John was one, who, when God said "Come," could go. Ezekiel was another who had the privilege of visiting heaven; and he describes, as best the human language can portray, the glories of the throne of God. When Christ called, Gabriel conducted John into the sanctuary above, into the very presence of Jehovah. He says, "Immediately I was in the Spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and One sat on the throne." "A glorious high throne from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary." As Moses, before the burning bush, was commanded to take off his shoes; "for," said the Lord, "the place whereon thou standest is holy ground;" so one feels to step lightly when in the presence of the scenes which John portrays.

Heaven, from whatever standpoint it may be viewed, presents the plan of Redemption. This plan is the one all-absorbing theme of the universe of God; and heaven reflects it in all its works. Only the sinful heart of man, is unmindful of the work of God in overcoming the effects of the fall. The things presented to John show that the activity of the heavenly beings is spent in the service of man. "He that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald." The light of the glory of God, as it shines in the face of Jesus Christ, is a light of dazzling whiteness, its rays are unbroken.

The rainbow in the clouds is but a symbol of the rainbow which has encircled the throne from eternity. Back in the ages, which finite mind cannot fathom, the Father and Son were alone in the universe. Christ was the first begotten of the Father, and to Him Jehovah made known the divine plan of Creation. The plan of the creation of worlds was unfolded, together with the order of beings which should people them. Angels, as representatives of one order, would be ministers of the God of the universe. The creation of our own little world, was included in the deep-laid plans. The fall of Lucifer was foreseen; likewise the possibility of the introduction of sin, which would mar the perfection of the divine handiwork. It was then, in those early councils, that Christ's heart of love was touched; and the only begotten Son pledged His life to redeem man, should he yield and fall. Father and Son, surrounded by impenetrable glory, clasped hands. It was in appreciation of this offer, that upon Christ was bestowed creative power, and the everlasting covenant was made; and henceforth Father and Son, with one mind, worked together to complete the work of creation. Sacrifice of self for the good of others was the foundation of it all. As angels came into being at the command of Jehovah, heaven was so arranged that the plan of salvation could be read by them in everything. The arrangement of the angels in their work about the throne, is a picture of the redeeming love of God. Angelic beings know nothing different. Thus all heaven waits for the redemption of man. Even the stones which compose the foundation walls, have voices which speak of the atonement. The colors reflected from every object in the heavenly court speak louder of the power and infinite mercy of God than mortal tongue can speak. Human language cannot tell the story. It is beyond description. Throughout eternity, as one thing after another reveals the love of the Father, the redeemed, like the living creatures now about the throne, will sing, "Holy, holy, holy." Upon the face of our own world, is reflected this story; for nature is "the mirror of divinity;" but man is blind, and he misinterprets those things which point unmistakably to a God of love. The purpose of this revelation of Jesus Christ to the apostle John is to show men how near God is to the creatures of His hand; that Jehovah's voice may be heard explaining the plan of Redemption.

As a token of the covenant between Father and Son, the bow was placed about the throne. "Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face," for "mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other." After the flood, the rainbow in the cloud was but a faint reflection of the constant reminder in heaven of the everlasting covenant made for the salvation of man before the foundation of the world.

Sin hides God's love from us, shutting out from the soul the rays of light from the throne of mercy. As the cloud gives forth the rain, and the sun, shining through the drops, produces the rainbow, so "the tears of the penitent are only the rain drops that precede the sunshine of holiness." The Sun of Righteousness, shining upon the tears of the penitent, makes manifest the glory of God, of which "the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain" is a likeness. When God looks upon the bow, He remembers the everlasting covenant. In our own storm clouds, God and man look upon the same bow; to man it is a promise of forgiveness; to God a reminder of mercy.

Turning from the Father, who sat upon the throne, John saw four and twenty seats round about the throne. These seats were occupied by four and twenty elders, "clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold." These also represent the atoning work of Christ. They represent men from every kindred, tongue, and people, redeemed by the blood of Christ, clothed with the white raiment of His righteousness, and wearing on their heads the crowns of victory, which are promised to every overcomer. They were of that company who arose from the grave when Christ came from the tomb, and who are spoken of by Paul as a "multitude of captives," offered to the Father as the first fruits from the dead. The work of these four and twenty elders is described in the fifth chapter, and for that reason, they are but mentioned in this connection as sitting near the throne.

The throne of God is a throne of life; not an inanimate throne of stones, but a living and moving throne. As John looked, he saw lightnings and heard thunderings and voices. He is viewing the center of creation,-the throne of God. It is the great body of life, the source of all law. By the power which centers there, worlds are held in space, and suns complete their circuits. The power which holds the universe in space, and binds atoms together, emanates from this throne of life. Angels are the ministers sent forth to do the will of Him who sits as King. Some are light-bearers to worlds, others are guardian angels for little children upon earth; but whatever the mission, whether great or small, as measured in humanity's scales, there is the same obedience to the mandates of Jehovah Issuing from the presence of the Father, clothed in the reflection of His own light, those messengers disappear like flashes of lightning. The commands given, when spoken in an unknown tongue, sounded like the roar of the sea, or like deep and distant thunder. Other men have heard God speak when His voice sounded like thunder. This was so at Sinai, and also, when, near the close of His ministry, men gathered about Christ in the temple court. To the Son it was the voice of God; to men it was thunder. John heard other voices which he understood. He saw also the seven spirits of God, which, in the earthly tabernacle, were typified by the seven lamps upon the golden candlestick. These stood before the throne. This was the ever present, all-pervading Spirit of Jehovah, in which all life has its origin.

The throne was high and lifted up, as Jeremiah saw it. Ezekiel describes the throne as above a firmament, having the appearance of "terrible crystal." And this crystal firmament, or expanse, rested above the heads of four living creatures, which were full of eyes. John was accustomed to the placid waters of the Mediterranean, and the space about the throne is described by him as "a sea of glass like unto crystal." "And in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts [or living creatures] full of eyes before and behind."

These four living creatures represent four phases of the character of God. The first was like a lion, the second like a calf, or an ox, as Ezekiel says, the third had the face of a man, and the fourth was like a flying eagle. This again establishes the fact that when the plan of redemption was laid, all heaven was in unison with the plan. Ezekiel and John, one before Christ's advent, the other after, describe the same thing, showing that the New Testament is but the unfolding of the Old.

Christ in His life upon earth combined these four natures. He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah, of whom it was prophesied, "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come." As lawgiver and governor, Christ represented the kingly nature of the Father. When the tribes were given their places about the sanctuary, Judah was located on the east; and as they journeyed, the standard of Judah went before them. In the Gospels, Matthew begins with the genealogy, showing the right of Christ to the throne of David. There was, in the life of Emmanuel, a union of divinity with humanity. Christ was the firstborn in heaven; He was likewise the firstborn of God upon earth, and heir to the Father's throne. Christ, the firstborn, though the Son of God, was clothed in humanity, and was made perfect through suffering. He took the form of man, and through eternity, He will remain a man. Every firstborn into human families is a type of the offering made by Christ. Mark, in his life of Christ, gives the servant side. The second face was that of the calf, or the ox, the servant of men. This represents the priesthood,-the Levites who were chosen for service. Christ is both the slain lamb, and the priest who ministers in the sanctuary on high. He bore the sins of the world in His own body on the cross, and the burden crushed Him to death. The most exalted position, and the most lowly position are here represented,-God in the heavens, and God on the cross. As Levites always accompanied the tabernacle, so Christ ministers constantly to man. Heaven will know no other story till man is redeemed from the earth. Every beast of burden beneath its load, every overworked child of God, is a reminder of the Christ who became the servant of men. Although He stepped into the lowliest place, yet He was still the giver of the law, and He is judge of all. The Gospel of Luke describes the man side of the Son, giving that part of His life work, which appeals most forcibly to the mind of man. As God took the form of man, there is, in the gift, a promise that man may have the nature of his God. The keen eye of the flying eagle is taken to represent the searching gaze of Him whose eyes, as a flame of fire, "run to and fro throughout the whole earth, strongly to hold with them whose heart is perfect toward Him." Among the different writers, it was John, the beloved disciple, who saw the character of Christ portrayed as the glorious Word, One equal with the Father in might, power, and glory, and his gospel completes the inspired record of the Saviour's life. He portrayed the divine character more fully than any other writer. This is represented by the eagle flying heavenward.

In the heavenly court, there is such an overpowering sense of the infinite work of God that the four living creatures cry constantly, 'Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come." And in the song of heaven, those redeemed from among men, take up the response; and casting their crowns before the throne, they sing, "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created."







STUDY HELPS


Although the author explains a great many of the prophetic symbols, I highly recommend using these study helps to get a broader and deeper understanding of the symbols used in prophecy as well as prophecy itself.

SYMBOLS OF REVELATION
http://www.remnantofgod.org/books/docs/REV/Revelation.htm

STUDYING PROPHECY
http://www.remnantofgod.org/2studyproph.htm

PRESENTS OF GOD MANUSCRIPTS
http://www.remnantofgod.org/manuscripts.htm



Your brother in Christ
Mel

[Updated on: Mon, 15 July 2019 04:50]

Report message to a moderator

 Topic: THE STORY OF THE SEER OF PATMOS (Part 3)
THE STORY OF THE SEER OF PATMOS (Part 3) [message #2792] Sat, 13 July 2019 02:14
Mel_SDR is currently offline  Mel_SDR
Messages: 123
Registered: September 2015
Location: TN
Member
THE STORY OF THE SEER OF PATMOS
{PART 3
}



PIONEER AUTHOR
Haskell, Steven Nelson (1833-1922)
The Story of the Seer of Patmos



CHAPTER IV. THE MESSAGE TO THE CHURCHES.--Continued



THE CHURCH IN SARDIS
Revelation 3:1-6

And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. (2) Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. (3) Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. (4) Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. (5) 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. (6) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.


sardis


The message to Sardis is addressed to Protestantism. The period covered by Thyatira was the era of papal persecution. This church was once the church of God, one of the candlesticks among which the Son of man was seen to walk, but when that organization prostituted itself by joining hands with the state, when, in other words, it followed the example of Balaam and worked the works of Jezebel, the oil was withheld from the candlestick, and given to those who were willing to obey God in preference to the head of the church. God regards character, not name; and the faithful few to whom the light was entrusted, were mentioned in a part of the message to Thyatira. They were the ones who knew not the works of Jezebel. These became the forerunners of Protestantism. The darkness was first broken when Wycliffe, "the morning star of the Reformation," translated the Bible into the English language. The first streaks of dawn lighted up the sky, and in the course of two hundred years, the sun had arisen in its splendor. The church came out of the wilderness, leaning on the arm of her Beloved. The twelve hundred and sixty years of darkness ended. It was like the return of spring after a severe winter. Life of every kind sprang into existence. Energy, long dormant, seemed suddenly imbued with a hitherto unknown activity. Discovery followed discovery; inventions were multiplied; men, accustomed to spending a lifetime in one village, now found the world opening before them through publications and increased facilities for travel. Every branch of science was explored, governments bestirred themselves, and the dust of the Middle Ages was shaken off. America was discovered and settled. Men knew not why it happened at such a time and under such circumstances; but God was preparing a cradle for the new-born cause of Protestantism. Germany might have nourished it; England had an opportunity to cherish it; but it was in America that the new church found congenial environments for growth: and while all nations receive the Sardis message, it is particularly applicable in the United States, or at least, the United States becomes the center for the movement therein mentioned.

Sardis means "prince of joy"; and the name is most appropriate for those who received the light of the eighteenth century, and the first half of the nineteenth century. Protestantism is an active, living principle, based upon eternal truths. It came as the result of the opening of the Scriptures to the common people. The doctrine of justification by faith makes every man responsible to God alone, and necessitates freedom of conscience. When it is once made known that every man is equal in the sight of God, a deathblow is struck to all tyranny in government; and with freedom of conscience, comes also a government by the people and for the people. In the days of Luther, Germany and the other countries of Europe, had an opportunity to develop this twofold nature of Protestantism. For a time it seemed that all Europe would be transformed; but gradually, there was a return to papal principles in Germany, and nearly all of the other countries, which had espoused the cause of Protestantism, followed her example. The return was largely due to the educational work of the Jesuits, who arose to counteract the teachings of the Reformers.

Since the days of Wycliffe, there had been in England followers of God, walking in all the light which they had received. Upon these God placed "none other burden"; but as the light increased, Protestantism in its broadest sense, was offered to England. The history of England was, for a time, a struggle between the papacy, and Protestantism under the name of Puritanism. The Commonwealth was Puritanism in power; and it was then demonstrated that there was not yet strength enough to resist the crown of tyranny when it lay within the grasp of man. England returned allegiance to her own royal family; but so strong were the principles of Protestantism that her government has been, since the days of the Commonwealth, a government by the people. It was in England that the first Anglo-Saxon branches of Protestantism had birth, and it was because of lack of freedom in the mother country, that separatists from the English church sought homes in America.

The messages to the seven churches cover the period from the beginning of Christ's ministry to His second coming. This line of prophecy follows the church from the purity of the first century, until it unites with the state and persecutes the true people of God, and finally emerges from the Dark Ages and separating from the world prepares to meet its Lord and Master in the clouds of heaven.

The history of the first period is found in the New Testament, the second was plainly foretold by Christ. During the Pergamos and Thyatira periods the darkness was so dense that the historians of this period are unreliable, therefore the Lord gives the parallel history of the times of Balaam and Jezebel as guides for these periods. The history of the fifth and sixth periods can be received from the preceding generation, while the last period is present time.

It is true that freedom was not always granted in those early days; for the very ones who crossed the ocean because of oppression at home, oppressed, in America, those who did not worship God in the prescribed way. Nevertheless, America was destined to be the home of Protestantism; and gradually, the shackles of the Dark Ages were dropped off, and the equal rights of mankind were acknowledged. The Constitution of the United States was the first document ever granting complete freedom of worship, and placing in the hands of the people the sole power of the government. It was a world-wide wonder, not the work of any man, but the culmination of those principles born in Germany in the sixteenth century. The Constitution was adopted in 1789; the sun was darkened in 1780. These events, taking place as they did, were as if God saw the end hastening on, and as a source of encouragement to His followers, placed the sign of His approval in the heavens. A few years later the papal power was completely broken, and then the countries of southern Europe, France, Spain, Italy, and others, were free to choose between the principles of the papacy and those of Protestantism. America responded with its free government. During the fifty years following the adoption of the principles of Protestantism in America, the various branches of the Protestant church had their period of probation. One by one the denominations arose, separating farther and farther from t1he physical, intellectual, and spiritual tyranny of the papacy. To each denomination was offered the law of God and the faith of Jesus. The time came when each had an opportunity to accept or reject, as seemed good to them; but the decision then made, decided their eternal destiny.

In the early days of the nineteenth century God took a man, hitherto unacquainted with the Bible, and opened to him the beauties of the prophecies. As Luther found in Christ a Saviour, and with the light that entered his mind, attacked the papacy, so William Miller, in 1818, saw light in the books of Daniel and Revelation. He studied with care the twenty-three hundred days, spoken of by Daniel, and became convinced that the second coming of Christ was near at hand. He applied every test, but all pointed forward to the year 1843 as the time when the world must welcome its Saviour. The condition of the people at the first advent of Christ, was now repeated; when the time approached for the message of His second coming, the world lay in ignorance: and not the world only, but the church which bore the name of Christian. Nay, more! the very churches which in their zeal for truth had faced hardship and persecution, in protesting against the errors of the papacy,-these churches were quiet when great changes were right upon them. But unto the church of Sardis, John was bidden write: "These things saith He that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead."

He, who walked among His churches, and who sought diligently for signs of life, searching among the seven stars,-the leaders of the churches,-found that, although Sardis claimed to have life, it was dead. Strange condition! So quietly had this life been lost, that, looking back upon the activity of the past, and priding itself upon what great things had been done by Protestantism, this church had allowed the very principles of the papacy to twine about it until its life was choked.

There was a time in the history of Pergamos, when Christianity thought Paganism was dead; but in reality, the religion which was apparently vanquished, had conquered. Paganism baptized, stepped into the church. In the days of Sardis this history was repeated. Protestantism thought itself free from the principles of the Dark Ages; but the plant was sturdy and long lived, and although Protestantism reared itself aloft like a mighty oak, the rootlets of the papacy were planted with the oak, and soon the vine encircled the tree, and sapped its very life. Protestantism reared the structure, and the papacy is supported by it. "Be watchful," says the divine message to Sardis, "and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God." There was, at the time this message came, some life still in the oak, but unless haste was made to "strengthen the things which remain," death would follow.

"Remember, therefore, how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent." The truths already received were indeed life; but a church, as well as an individual, must make constant progress, or they will suffer spiritual death.

For nine years William Miller was convinced that he ought to give his message to the churches; but he waited, hoping that some recognized authority would proclaim the glad news of a soon-coming Saviour. In thus waiting, he but proved the truth of the message; there was a name that they lived, but they were fast dying. In 1831 Miller gave his first discourse on the prophecies. He was a member of the Baptist church, and in 1833, he received from this church, license to preach. This was the very year in which appeared another sign in the heavens,-the third spoken of by the Saviour in Matthew 24:29. In November, 1833, "the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind." God was calling to the dying church of Sardis by the voice of man and by signs in the heavens. "If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee."

As the time, which was supposed to be the time of the second advent approached, men of learning and position helped spread the message. The light of this message flashed throughout the world. "Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments." Three years after Miller was convinced of the near coming of Christ, that is, in 1821, Joseph Wolff, known as the "missionary to Asia," began to give the same message. He visited Egypt, Abyssinia, Palestine, Syria, Persia, Bokhara, and India,-everywhere proclaiming the soon coming of the Messiah. In 1837 he was in America; and after preaching in several large cities, he visited Washington, where, in the presence of all the members of the Congress of the United States, he preached on the personal reign of Christ.

In England the same message was given by Edward Irving, a minister of the Church of England. South America heard of Christ's soon coming from the pen of Lacunza, formerly a Spanish Jesuit. Gaussen, finding that many mature minds claimed that prophecy could not be interpreted, gave the message of the soon coming of Christ to the children of Geneva. In Scandinavia, the truth was proclaimed by children; for God used child-preachers, when older persons were restricted by law.

In 1838 Josiah Litch and William Miller published an exposition of the ninth chapter of Revelation, in which it was predicted that the Ottoman Empire would fall in 1840. The exact fulfillment of this prophecy on August 11, 1840, when the Turkish government surrendered its independence, and has since been known as "the sick man of the East," was a startling proof to many that prophecy could be understood, and that men were living in the end of time.

This message of the personal appearance of Christ was one of the most world-wide proclamations ever given. Every kindred, nation, and people were suddenly aroused from their lethargy by the cry,-"Behold the Bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet Him." This truth is inseparably connected with the wording of the message to Sardis. "Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white: for they are worthy." The very sins of idolatry and fornication, which characterized the mother church in the days of Thyatira, were staining the garments of her daughters during the Sardis period. But "he that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment." The white raiment is the righteousness of Christ,-"the fine linen clean and white." "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." A most precious promise, and a most solemn warning, are combined in these closing words of the message to Sardis. The second coming of the Son of man had been proclaimed to all the world. To him that accepted truth, it was promised that his name should remain in the book of life, and should be confessed in the presence of God. The books of heaven are opened. Christ promises to witness for all who are true to His cause on earth. The church of Sardis lived in the period when Daniel saw "One like the Son of man [who] came . . . to the Ancient of Days." It was at the end of the twenty-three hundred days of Daniel 8:14, that Christ was brought in before the Father. He entered the Holy of Holies in the sanctuary above. "The judgment was set, and the books were opened." Then there came before Him all who had ever named the name of Christ, and to those whose garments were unspotted, was given the fine linen of Christ's righteousness.

This great change in the heavenly sanctuary, corresponding to the entering in of the high priest in the earthly, or typical service, on the day of atonement, was made known to the church of Sardis. Those who opened the prophecies where this truth is made known, misinterpreted the cleansing of the sanctuary to be the second coming of Christ. Nevertheless, while mistaken in the event which transpired, they were not mistaken in the time; and the heart cleansing necessary to prepare a people for the beginning of the investigative judgment, which has been going on in heaven since 1844, is the same preparation necessary to welcome the Son of God in the clouds of heaven. Although Christ did not then come to the earth,-the outer court of the heavenly sanctuary,-but entered within the most holy place before the Ancient of Days, to act as mediator in the investigative judgment, the message to prepare for His coming, will continue to the end of time. Some of those who witnessed the signs given to Sardis and listened to the advent message, will see Him when He comes in the clouds of heaven. So near is Sardis to the end.



THE CHURCH IN PHILADELPHIA
Revelation 3:7-13

And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; (8) I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. (9) Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. (10) Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. (11) Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. (12) 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. (13) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.


philadelphia


The Saviour, walking in the church of Sardis, found a few whose garments were undefiled. They were those in whom life remained after the body was dead; and to these the call came to separate from the lifeless form, that their own life might be saved. The message of the soon coming of Christ was a universal message. It offered an opportunity to all to repent, and as many as believed, took up the cry with the enthusiasm which characterized the Apostolic Church. They were experiencing their "first love," and those who welcomed Christ were bound together with a love surpassing that of Jonathan for David. The oneness of spirit which Christ prayed might be found among His followers was more perfectly developed among those who heeded the closing message to Sardis, than among any others since the day of Pentecost; and to this company of believers scattered every where, yet united in heart and purpose, the name Philadelphia signifying "brotherly love" is applicable.

Some who heard the advent message, accepted it through fear; others were attracted by the forcible arguments; but whatever may have been the motive, all were tested, and those who accepted because of real love for the Saviour, composed the Philadelphia church. Of this church no complaint is made; and as love is the ruling power of the throne of God, the Saviour appears to recognize the Philadelphian church as a par of His own being,-heirs with Christ of the everlasting promises made to David. "These things saith He that is holy, He that is true, He that hath the key of David."

When the call was made, saying, "the Bridegroom cometh," Christ, the Heavenly Bridegroom, passed into the presence of His Father, there to receive dominion and power; and a door in heaven was opened to the faithful and true ones on earth. This door was the entrance into the most holy place in the temple, where Jehovah sat enthroned over the mercy seat. He is surrounded by His angels, and the law of God is the foundation of His throne. This was shown in type and shadow in the tabernacle, built by Moses. To Israel in the wilderness, the glory of God appeared in the shekinah above the mercy seat. The attention of the Philadelphian church is directed to the heavenly sanctuary. It was opened by the Saviour Himself, as He entered the most holy place at the close of the twenty-three hundred days. He sends the message to all, "I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it." The door stands open to all, who by faith, will enter, and no combination of circumstances, instigated by men or demons, can shut out the soul that keeps the eye of faith centered upon the Saviour within that shining portal. The time of test for those who were looking for their Lord, came in the autumn of 1844. At first the expiration of the twenty-three hundred days was thought to be in the spring of 1844. On further investigation, it was found that the decree of Artaxerxes, from which the prophetic period is reckoned, went into effect in the autumn of the year 457 b. c.; hence, this reckoning would cause those days to expire in the autumn of 1844 a. d. Here was a waiting time, in which those who loved the Lord, prepared, by deep heart searching, to receive Him. Many inquired, "What must I do to be saved?" Those who were looking upward received the light of the investigative judgment, when, in the autumn of 1844, the door in heaven opened, and Christ approached the Father. But many who had only professed to believe in the advent, changed when the time passed and He did not come, and now scoffed at those who still clung to the message, "Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come." The heavenly door opened, but those who turned back to the world were left in darkness; while those who sought earnestly for their mistake in interpreting prophecy, received a flood of light, straight from the throne. Through this open door in the heavenly temple, there was seen "the ark of His testament," containing the ten commandments: and from that time, the Sabbath of the Fourth Commandment became a test to the people of God. The God who had led His people thus far, was still leading them by His Word. Many precious rays of light that had been hidden by tradition during the Dark Ages, now opened up to their understanding. The Sabbath reform now became the message to the world. The traditions which connected the Philadelphian church with the Dark Ages, were portrayed in vivid colors; and man was called to exalt the law of God, and remove his foot from desecrating the Sabbath of Jehovah. Hitherto, all the Protestant churches opened their doors to receive the message; but when the Sabbath truth was proclaimed, the churches closed their doors against those who accepted the new doctrine. When the door in heaven opened, the doors of the Protestant churches closed. Every open door should be a reminder of the heavenly door opened by Christ, which no man can close, from whose portals shines forth a stream of light upon the pathway of all whose minds are staid upon Him. Those who forsook the new light, that came with the "open door," are referred to as those "of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not."

As the Jewish nation, at the first advent, turned from the Saviour, and rejected the Son of God, so many in 1844 crucified the Son of man afresh. But He will one day be lifted up in the eyes of all men; and those who have followed close beside Him, entering by faith, within the second veil, will be seated on thrones and will reign with Him. To the disciples in Gethsemane, was given an opportunity to drink of the cup of which He drank. To the faithful ones in 1844, it was, likewise, given to drink of the cup of the world's scorn. To such is the promise, "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth." Before His second coming, there will be such a time as the world has never seen. God's people will be saved from this; for He will hide them in His "pavilion." "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." Patience will be developed by keeping the commandments and by clinging to the faith of Jesus. If He tarry, wait for Him; for He says to Philadelphia, "Behold, I come quickly."

To the faithful in Thyatira, the angel said, "That which ye have already, hold fast till I come." To Philadelphia came the words, "Hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown." The people in Thyatira may have had but a few rays of light, compared with those living in the later period; for the light was but dawning in Thyatira, while its midday rays shone in Philadelphia; but the crown is the reward of character, and he who receives one, will have been faithful to all the light which shone upon his pathway. Heaven can be enjoyed by those only, who have developed a character in harmony with the truth. Every man is a candidate, but only he who striveth lawfully, will inherit the crown. It belongs to him who receives a white stone with a new name. For six thousand years the angelic hosts have been watching for the circle of perfection to be completed, and when the last character mold is filled, time will cease to be.

Some from the Philadelphian church will become pillars in the temple of God,-living pillars, holding up a structure of life. The most wonderful promises are made to those living in this period; for heaven itself was spread out before the overcomer; and yet this is true for all who overcome. The message to the Philadelphian period reaches to the end of time, and all who receive the crown will have passed through its experiences. The patience, faith, and love of Jesus, will characterize those who sit at last on the left, and on the right, of the throne in heaven. "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches."



THE CHURCH IN LAODICEA
Revelation 3:14-22

And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; (15) I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. (16) So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. (17) Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: (18) I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. (19) As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. (20) Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. (21) 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. (22) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.


laodicea


The last church to which John was bidden to send a message was Laodicea. The messages to Sardis and to Philadelphia, separately cover a period extending to the second coming of Christ; but in addition to the experiences portrayed in the fifth and sixth messages, that which is directed to Laodicea is also applicable. It is given by the Amen, the One with whom yea is yea, and nay is nay,-the One who changeth not. He is also "the faithful and true Witness"; for the Laodicean message is given to the people at the time when the investigative judgment is in progress; and while the message is going forth, the names of the very ones who receive it, will be called in the court of heaven, and Christ will stand as the faithful and true Witness; but Satan as the accuser of the brethren. "The Beginning of the Creation of God," who gave His life at the foundation of the world, is watching His people in the closing hours of probationary time. The cry, "Babylon is fallen," was proclaimed when the churches rejected the advent message; and as in the Thyatira period, the true separated from those who turned from the light; so in the days when the principles of Protestantism are again disregarded, this time by the daughters of Babylon, a separation is necessary. The light of the sixteenth century came from an opened Bible. Justification by faith was made known as opposed to justification by works. Later the temple in heaven was opened, and the true Sabbath was made known. This had long been trampled in the dust; but its observance was a cross too heavy for many to lift, and they turned back toward the Dark Ages. The principles of Protestantism were repudiated by the churches, and the principles of Republicanism by the state; while the nominally Protestant denominations returned to the days of Pergamos. But some went forward to proclaim the third angel's message, as given in the fourteenth chapter of Revelation.

Upon this last church-the remnant,-shine the accumulated rays of all past ages. It is a church highly favored, and one of which heaven and earth have a right to expect great things. But like the churches of the past, it has disappointed heaven, and Christ sorrowfully says of them, 'I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot. "Spiritual pride is the worst of evils, and the hardest to reach. Heaven and earth are waiting for the closing up of history. The climax has been reached in the controversy. Satan is preparing for the final struggle. The armory of heaven awaits the signal of its Leader. The church of God on earth, is the only object which can retard the progress of events. It becomes the center of interest for the universe. The Saviour still bids the hosts hold till the servants of God are sealed. Angels are hurrying to and fro between heaven and earth, but God will go no faster than His church. For centuries He has walked with it, holding its star in His right hand. Every encouragement has been offered to speed the work; but when the church hesitates, He goes no faster than it can go, lest the light be so far in advance that His followers will lose their way.

A spirit of lukewarmness rests upon God's people. Says the Witness, "I would thou wert cold or hot." If very cold, something could warm them, or if too hot, their ardor could be controlled; but "because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of My mouth." There is danger that those who have seen the signs of His coming; those who have heard the advent message, and have followed in the light which shone from the open door; and those who have sacrificed for the cause in many ways, will, near the close, when just about ready to receive the crown, rest satisfied in their past experiences. They say they are "rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing;" and forget that he who receives most, is accountable for the most. "And knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." Think of it. He who prides himself on his wealth is, in the eyes of heaven, poverty-stricken, blind and naked. Heaven pities such a church, and the true Witness, who longs to plead for, and not against them, in the presence of the angels, counsels them, "Buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich." Faith and love is the wealth offered by Christ, and with these the possessor can purchase the treasures of heaven. "Buy of Me white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear." The raiment offered is the righteousness of Christ. It is a garment of light, which will attract the world to Christ. This will clothe all the redeemed who are living on the earth when Christ appears. It is a reflection of the holiness of God, and comes to him only, who lives in constant communication with the Lord of Life. The life of him who is in touch with heaven, is like the glow of the incandescent light. When this counsel is heeded, the "loud cry" of Revelation 18:1 will sound throughout the world.

"I counsel thee to anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see." The oil for anointing, is the oil of His grace, which will give spiritual eyesight to the soul in blindness and darkness, that he may distinguish between the workings of the Spirit of God and those of the spirit of the enemy. The way which these souls must travel, is a narrow way. Satan, as his time grows short, uses every device to deceive, if possible, the very elect; and as his deceptions become more delusive, only those eyes which are anointed with the oil of grace, can discern the spirits. The heavenly Merchantman opens His wares, and counsels us to buy of Him. He addresses those who have lost their first love, those who have lost their zeal and interest in spiritual things, and urges them to buy of the heavenly store. Many will be reproved for the sins mentioned in the Laodicean message, and such reproofs, unheeded, will cause those to be shaken out who are unwilling to receive the reproof of the Spirit.

Eternal interests are at stake; the time of probation is almost over; and Christ, as if loath to lose one single soul, reproves and rebukes, that sin may be discarded. There is no other time for preparation, for the Laodicean message covers ecclesiastical history to the very end of time. "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent."

To those hearts that have not yet admitted Christ as the one Ruler in the soul-temple, He says, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock." He does not force Himself in, although His own heart is breaking over our hardness. He pleads in gentleness, and if allowed to enter, in the capacity of an intimate friend, He will sup with us. The very closest relationship is seen to exist between God and His remnant church. It is as a brand plucked from the burning. Weak, trembling, and sinladen, this remnant of the race, is taken by the Saviour to sit with Him on His throne, even as He overcame, and sat down on the throne of the Father. Angels see the place, made vacant by the fall of Lucifer, filled by those whom sin had marred and defaced more than any other race. The Majesty of heaven reaches to the lowest depths of earth, and exalts man to the highest place in heaven,-a seat beside the King on His throne. The redeemed occupy a position nearer the Creator than they could have occupied, had there been no sin. Such is the wondrous love of Christ! To-day angels and inhabitants of unfallen worlds are watching the consummation of the plan. We who live to-day are the objects of their interest. "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches."







STUDY HELPS

Although the author explains a great many of the prophetic symbols, I highly recommend using these study helps to get a broader and deeper understanding of the symbols used in prophecy as well as prophecy itself.

SYMBOLS OF REVELATION

http://www.remnantofgod.org/books/docs/REV/Revelation.htm

STUDYING PROPHECY
http://www.remnantofgod.org/2studyproph.htm

PRESENTS OF GOD MANUSCRIPTS
http://www.remnantofgod.org/manuscripts.htm



Your brother in Christ
Mel

[Updated on: Sat, 13 July 2019 02:33]

Report message to a moderator

 Topic: THE STORY OF THE SEER OF PATMOS (Part 2)
THE STORY OF THE SEER OF PATMOS (Part 2) [message #2790] Tue, 09 July 2019 06:32
Mel_SDR is currently offline  Mel_SDR
Messages: 123
Registered: September 2015
Location: TN
Member
THE STORY OF THE SEER OF PATMOS
{PART 2}



PIONEER AUTHOR
Haskell, Steven Nelson (1833-1922)
The Story of the Seer of Patmos



CHAPTER III. THE MESSAGE TO THE CHURCHES



THE CHURCH IN EPHESUS
Revelation 2:1-7

Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; (2) I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: (3) And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. (4) Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. (5) Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. (6) But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. (7) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.


ephesus


The message to the seven churches covers a period in ecclesiastical history, extending from the time of Christ's first advent to His second coming. To John, Christ appeared walking in the midst of the churches,-the candlesticks; and it is a most beautiful truth that the Divine Presence has never been withdrawn from the earth. One of the last promises made by Christ to His disciples was, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world," and it matters not how torn or scattered His people may have been, that promise, reverberating from age to age, has been the comfort and solace of each individual Christian, and of the church as a body. Heaven looks upon the earth as one vast mission field, and the church is a beacon light in the midst of darkness. The incarnation of Christ drew the sympathies of all the universe earthward, and "the whole creation groaneth," waiting for our adoption. Christ, attended by the host of heaven-His ministering spirits-is always found in the midst of the church, and he that toucheth the church, toucheth the apple of the eye of Christ.

The first message which John was bidden to deliver was to the church of Ephesus. There were other churches in Asia Minor, but there were reasons why Ephesus was first addressed, and why it should be taken to represent the church in general during the first years of its existence. The word "Ephesus" means "first," or "desirable." In the first century, Ephesus was capital of Asia Minor, and the center of trade from both the east and the west. It was strongly under Greek influence, and in position, corresponded to Corinth in Greece, and Alexandria in Egypt. It has been called the "rallying place of paganism," and was a stronghold of the recognized religion and the popular education of the world, when, soon after the death of the Saviour, it was first visited by the apostles. It may well be taken to symbolize that period of ecclesiastical history when the Gospel in its purity met, in open conflict, the darkest forms of pagan worship. Side by side with the Greeks, dwelt Jews, men who ought to have held aloft the worship of Jehovah, but who had lost the Spirit by mingling with the idol worshipers. It was into this city, restless and turbulent and easily wrought upon, that Paul, as a missionary, went to preach of a risen Saviour. He met with difficulties. Opposed on one side by science, falsely so called, and on the other side by a religion which had the form of godliness, but which had lost the power thereof, Paul offered the crucified Son of God. Miracles attended his preaching. In the synagogue of the Jews, he reasoned three months concerning "the kingdom of God;" and when men hardened their hearts against the Word, he entered the school of Tyrannus, where he taught for two years with such power that the Word of the Lord Jesus went abroad throughout all Asia, among both Jews and Greeks. The Greeks were scholars, and exalted the power of intellectual culture. Paul, as a Christian missionary, first taught in the synagogue, then in the schools, where the Gospel of Jesus Christ was offered in place of the philosophy of Plato, whom the Greeks deified. Said he, "The Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: but we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling-block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God." So powerful was this teaching of the apostle that many who owned books of sorcery, or magic, which passed for wisdom in the eyes of the world, brought their books and burned them before all men. Students from this school of Tyrannus became earnest workers in Asia Minor, and through them the Gospel was made known. Not only was the learning of the Greeks, who were the intellectual lights of the world, opposed by Paul and his disciples, but the trades were affected; so much so that there was an uprising of the people, who with one voice cried, "Great is Diana of the Ephesians." Diana, the patron goddess of Ephesus, was a personification of fecundity. In this city, Christianity-the power of God unto salvation-came in open and bitter conflict with the false religion and the false education of the world.

He who walked among the churches, watched the lighting of the torch of truth in Ephesus, and so the first words addressed to the church are, "I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience." Those, who, on the day of Pentecost, received the baptism of the Spirit, and those who heard the Gospel from their lips, were filled with a burning desire to spread the news of a Saviour. They were married unto Christ, and in the ardor of their first love, the converts sought for their friends and relatives, pleading with them to forsake evil and to accept salvation. There was no work too arduous, no journey too difficult, to be undertaken for Him whom they loved.

It can be seen that the power of God and the power of evil were in each other's grasp. By the side of pagan temples, were erected Christian churches; Christian schools sprang up in the very shadow of the Greek institutions of learning. In spite of the power of the enemy, the spread of truth was rapid, so rapid, indeed, that paganism trembled for its life. Among the converts to the new doctrine, were some who were convinced of the truth, but who failed to experience the change of heart which comes with the new birth. There were others, who, for policy's sake, sought fellowship with the Christians; but as long as the church maintained a close connection with God, a clear and distinct line separated believers from impostors. "Thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars."

The power which attended even the common converts, and their ready spirit of discernment, is seen in the case of Priscilla and Aquila, when Apollos, who received the Gospel, or at least a part of it, in Alexandria, came to Ephesus. Apollos was fervent in the Spirit, and taught with power; for he was an eloquent man, and mighty in the Scriptures; but he knew only of the baptism of John. When he preached in the hearing of those with whom Paul abode in Corinth, and who had studied with the great Apostle, Aquila and Priscilla detected his ignorance of the outpouring of the Spirit, and the eloquent man received instruction from those who had recently come into the truth. One can, in imagination, picture the sacrifice which seems necessary on the part of those who accepted Christ in this central stronghold of paganism. Light and darkness met face to face, and paganism made a desperate struggle for existence. It is for these reasons, that the first message, addressed to Ephesus, is applicable to the first era of the Christian religion. Into the darkness of the worst forms of heathenism, the religion and culture of the Greeks, backed by the government of Rome,-Christianity walked as a spotless virgin clothed in white. By preaching and by teaching, two methods which are divinely ordained for the spread of the truth, Paul and his fellow laborers raised up a church at Ephesus.

John had known of the work at this place; for he, as a pillar in the Jerusalem church, was acquainted with the progress of the light as it spread from that center, and from Patmos his heart turned to the believers on the mainland. The angel said, "Unto the church of Ephesus write: 'I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars.'" The message is sent by the One who in heaven "holdeth the seven stars in His right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks." God Himself had watched each soul as it had separated from the world and linked itself with Christ. The power of Christ Himself attended the spread of the Gospel in those early days; for it was carried by men who had received of the Pentecostal showers.

Christianity was a strange power as viewed by the heathen, for there were no idols, no outward forms, only a spiritual worship which they could not comprehend. The kingdom of Christ was invading the realm of the enemy, and there were no weapons which could attack it. In the space of thirty years, the Gospel went to every creature under heaven. Rich and poor alike heard the glad tidings of the Desire of all Nations, who had been born in Judea. C├Žsar ruled with unlimited power at Rome. No hand was raised against the throne; and yet Christianity crept within those palace walls, and Paul preached to some of Nero's household. This growth is recognized in the message. Thou "hast borne, and hast patience, and for My name's sake hast labored, and hast not fainted." This was the experience of the first century of the Christian religion. The power by which it grew was that of love,-the first love, which in its ardor knew no bounds. It was the love of which Paul writes when he says that "Love is the fulfilling of the law." Christ watched over the believers with the joy of a bridegroom, and they in return gave Him their heart's devotion.

There were many among the pagans who listening to Paul, were convinced of the truth in their minds, but retained their Greek manner of reasoning. Indeed, they applied to the Scriptures the same interpretation which they had formerly placed upon their own Greek writings. These converted Greek philosophers stood side by side with the simple Gospel teachers, and in trying to refute paganism by argument, Christianity was in danger of weakening. The shadow of the enemy was falling upon the church. God called after these first believers, "Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place."

The Nicolaitanes, referred to in verse six, are said by Mosheim to have been a branch of the Gnostics, a sect living in Asia, who denied the divinity of Christ, and "boasted of their being able to restore to mankind the knowledge of the true and Supreme Being." Their belief concerning the creation of the world, conflicted with the writings of Moses, and led to a denial of the divine authority of the Old Testament. Still other beliefs, contrary to the teachings of Christ, the result of a mixture of Greek and Oriental philosophy, led to practices which the church of Christ could not tolerate. He does not say they hated the presence of the Nicolaitanes, and could not endure them; but that they hated their deeds, "which I also hate." This church was in a position where they could hate the sin, and not the sinner, where they could have patience, and labor long for the erring, and love them; while they hated the deeds that separated them from the Lord. The Lord closes with a message to every one: "He that hath an ear let him hear." The message comes to all ages in all time, to every one who receives the gift of hearing. It is the Spirit of God speaking to the church. "To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God." Adam was overcome by Satan, and thus lost his right to the tree of life; but to every son of Adam the message comes, "I give to eat of the tree of life." It is the privilege of every child of God to claim the victory, and to overcome every attack of the enemy through the strength given by Christ. To the tree of life, the faithful are promised access, in contradistinction to the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The tree of life was transplanted from the garden of Eden to heaven, but its boughs hang over the wall for all who will reach upward for its fruit. As the experience of the church is applicable to each denomination, to each organization, and to each individual, so to the end of time, Christians will be placed in positions where they must choose between the wisdom of God, and the philosophy of the world,-the wisdom which is pure, peaceable, gentle, full of mercy and good fruits; and the philosophy which, if adhered to, brings loss of light, and eventually death.



THE CHURCH IN SMYRNA
Revelation 2:8-11

And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; (9) I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. (10) Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. (11) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.


smyrna


Smyrna, the second church addressed, was only about fifty miles from Ephesus, and doubtless knew of the conditions at the central church of Asia Minor; but as it was not a great trade center, many of the perplexities with which Ephesus had to contend were not present in Smyrna. Its members were poor, but still they worked earnestly for others. The wealth of Ephesus was one of the greatest drawbacks to the spirituality of that church; but Smyrna, though poor in worldly goods, was rich in the eyes of the Lord. Through false teachers, claiming to be the children of God, persecution came to those who wished to follow the teachings of Christ. The true Jew is an heir by faith of the inheritance promised to Abraham, but many pride themselves on the inheritance of the flesh. Such belong to the synagogue of Satan; for righteousness by works is the devil's counterfeit of the Lord's plan of salvation through faith alone in the merits of the Son of God. The words written by Paul in his letter to the Galatians, who had this same false teaching to meet, makes clear the difference between those who are children of promise and those who are Jews in name only. Paul illustrates the truth by repeating the life experience of Abraham. Ishmael, the son of Hagar, the Egyptian bondwoman, represents in allegory, those who hope to obtain righteousness by their own efforts. Such are the Jews against whom the church at Smyrna was warned. Isaac, the son of Sarah and Abraham, was the child of promise, and represents those who accept Christ by faith. "But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now." So to the Smyrna church God said, "Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." The message was signed by Him "which was dead, and is alive." Christ's sacrifice of life and His victory over death, was pointed to by Gabriel as a special lesson and source of encouragement to those followers who would be called to pass through the fire of persecution. By faith the martyrs could see the crown of eternal life held out to them by the Son of God.

The message came to Smyrna, a church in Asia Minor, and likewise to the Christian church as a whole, during the second and third centuries. It was a time when paganism was making its final stand for supremacy in the world. Christianity had spread with wonderful rapidity, until it was known throughout the world. Some embraced the faith of Christ because of heart conversion, others, because of the might of argument brought to bear, and still others, because they could see that the cause of paganism was waning, and policy led them to the side that promised to be victorious. These conditions weakened the spirituality of the church. The Spirit of Prophecy, which characterized the apostolic church, was gradually lost. This is a gift which brings the church to which it is entrusted, into the unity of the faith. When there were no longer true prophets, false teachings spread rapidly; the philosophy of the Greeks led to a false interpretation of the Scriptures, and the self-righteousness of the ancient Pharisees, so often condemned by Christ, again appeared in the midst of the church. The foundation was laid during the two centuries preceding the reign of Constantine for those evils which were fully developed during the two centuries following. During this period, martyrdom became popular in many parts of the Roman Empire. Strange as this may seem, it is none the less true. It was the result of the relationship existing between Christians and pagans.

In the Roman world the religion of all nations was respected, but the Christians were not a nation, they were but a sect of a despised race. When they therefore persisted in denouncing the religion of all classes of men, when they held secret meetings, and separated themselves entirely from the customs and practices of their nearest relatives and most intimate friends, they became objects of suspicion, and often of persecution, by the pagan authorities. Often they brought persecution upon themselves, when there was no spirit of opposition in the minds of the rulers. In illustration of this spirit, history gives the details of the execution of Cyprian, bishop of Carthage. When his sentence was read, a general cry arose from the listening multitude of Christians, who said, "We will die with him."

The spirit with which many professed Christians accepted death, and even needlessly provoked the enmity of the government, probably had much to do with the passage, in 303, a. d., of the edict of persecution, by the emperor Diocletian, and his assistant, Galerius. The edict was universal in its spirit, and was enforced with more or less strenuousness for ten years.

Many Christians suffered death. The sacrifice of a child of God opens afresh the wound made in the Father's heart when Christ was slain. The death of Christ was a sign of separation from sin, on the part of him who accepted the sacrifice. Like the smoke from the altar of incense in the sanctuary service, a life given for the Saviour becomes a sweet savor in the sight of Jehovah. Smyrna means "myrrh" or "sweet scent" This name is applied to those who willingly offered their lives for their faith. The mercy of God is shown in this message in a most wonderful way; for although some doubtless suffered needlessly, and brought persecution upon themselves, yet God does not condemn them for mistaken zeal. This is a message that contains no reproof, and it would seem that the tenderness of our Father causes Him to lose sight of the fact that death was sought; because He sees the earnestness in the heart of the one who offers his life. It is the same in individual experience. The over-zealous ofttimes suffer when there is no need of suffering, and yet God reads the motive of the heart, and measures out the reward in accordance with what He finds there. Fellowmen may criticize and condemn, but God accepts any sacrifice made in His name; and He says to such a follower as He did to King David, "Thou didst well that it was in thine heart."

"He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches;" "He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death." The second death is the only death that the people of God need to fear. Satan may bring physical death to the faithful followers of Christ, but they will be shielded from the second death. God's people will rejoice in life everlasting; while the decree of the second death will be passed upon Satan and his emissaries. The Smyrna church immediately followed the time of Christ and His disciples, and was often referred to prophetically in their teachings.



THE CHURCH OF PERGAMOS
Revelation 2:12-17

And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; (13) I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. (14) But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. (15) So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. (16) Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. (17) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; 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.


pergamos


The condition of Christianity for two or more centuries following the accession of Constantine the Great, to the Roman throne may be learned from the message delivered to the church of Pergamos. The ten years' persecution, which took place during the reign of Diocletian, failed to accomplish the design of its instigator, and a wonderful reaction followed. Constantine, wishing to gain favor above the very men who were foremost in the opposition to Christianity, espoused the cause of that despised sect, and through him, Christianity was raised to the throne of Rome. Pergamos means "exaltation," or "elevation" and it was when nominal Christianity became popular, and swayed the civil government, that the two-edged sword of the Word was necessary to separate between the true and the false. Naturally the number of converts increased rapidly, and church buildings multiplied. Officers in the church, under favor of the government, spread themselves like the green bay tree. The doctrine of Him who said, "He that is greatest among you shall be your servant," was reversed, and the papal hierarchy grew apace. This was peculiarly true of the Roman See. Other dioceses attempted the same exaltation. Constantinople, Jerusalem, Ephesus and Alexandria,-all contended for supremacy, but Rome, the seat of the dragon, was finally the acknowledged head of the Christian church. God watched the church as it trod this dangerous path to worldly exaltation, and to Pergamos He sent this message: "I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling-block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication."

During the period of ecclesiastical history, when the message to Pergamos is applicable, the church was guilty of idolatry and fornication. Lest Christians should misunderstand the application, and be led to deny the charge, the Spirit of God cites them to the experience of Balaam with Balac, the king of the Moabites, at a time when Israel was about to enter the promised land. The following quoted paragraphs throw light on the work of Balaam in teaching Balac to cast a stumbling-block before Israel:-

"Balaam was once a good man and a prophet of God; but he had apostatized, and had given himself up to covetousness; yet he still professed to be a servant of the Most High. He was not ignorant of God's work in behalf of Israel; and when the messengers (from Balac) announced their errand, he well knew that it was his duty to refuse the reward of Balac, and to dismiss the ambassadors. But he ventured to dally with temptation, and urged the messengers to tarry with him that night, declaring that he could give no decided answer till he had asked counsel of the Lord. Balaam knew that his curse could not harm Israel. . . . The bribe of costly gifts and prospective exaltation excited his covetousness. He greedily accepted the offered treasures, and did not change his course when met by the angel. While professing strict obedience to the will of God, he tried to comply with the desire of Balac."

If in reading this paragraph the word "Balaam" is replaced by the "Church," in the fourth and fifth centuries, and for "Balac" is read "Constantine," or "the Roman Emperor," the exact history of the church is portrayed. The church had known God, but it became covetous; while it still professed allegiance to the Most High. The church, tempted by the rich offers of the government, parlied with its ambassadors and refused to declare the statutes of Jehovah, and remain a separate and peculiar people. The union of Church and State was formed in order to obtain the privileges and protection of the civil power.

The following paragraph, read in the same way, gives the second step in the transaction, when Church and State joined hands:-

"Disappointed in his hopes of wealth and promotion, in disfavor with the king, and conscious that he had incurred the displeasure of God, Balaam returned to his self-chosen mission. After he had reached home, the controlling power of the Spirit of God left him, and his covetousness, which had been merely held in check, prevailed. He was willing to resort to any means to gain the reward promised by Balac. . . . He immediately returned to the land of Moab, and laid his plans before the king. . . . The plan proposed by Balaam was to separate them (Israel, the church) from God by enticing them into idolatry. . . . This plan was readily accepted by the king, and Balaam himself remained to assist in carrying it into effect. Balaam witnessed the success of his diabolical scheme."

The scheme was that Israel should be invited to a feast of the Moabites, where meats sacrificed to the heathen gods, were eaten, and that Israel should be caused to commit adultery with the inhabitants of Moab.

The church between 312 and 538 a. d. joined hands with the civil power. It took of the wealth of the State, and asked for civil protection. Then it was that the spiritual sins of idolatry and fornication were introduced. Idolatry was the love of money, the world, and all false worship which took the place of the worship of Jehovah. It is fornication in the eyes of God when His people are wedded to any power save the arm of Omnipotence.

If ancient Israel had remained true to the teachings of their leader, the temptations of the Moabites would have fallen on deaf ears. The same is true of the church to which all this history is sent as an allegory. The doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, as described under the church of Ephesus, was a mingling of the pure teachings of Christ with the philosophy of the Greeks. If this doctrine had not been accepted in the church which claimed to be following the Saviour; if the children and the young people had been fed on truth instead of the mixture of good and evil, as represented by the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, the church would never have fallen. The message to Pergamos applies in the fourth and fifth centuries; it has also been the experience of each separate Protestant denomination, and it is a warning to all churches to the end of time. Any interpretation of this period that does not correspond with the history of Balaam is not according to the mind of the Lord, for God has given Balaam's history as a test by which we may know the true interpretation.

"Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth," which is the two-edged sword. From the midst of the church, which fell because of its union with the State, God separated, by His Spirit, a little company whose history may be read in a part of the message sent to the church of Thyatira.

God calls to each church, no matter how low the ebb of spirituality, and those who have an ear turned heavenward, hear. "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." As the sins of the church of Pergamos are given in the form of a parable, so the blessings to the repentant ones of this period are offered in figure. Those who had in sin partaken of food offered to idols, are offered in exchange the "hidden manna." Manna is the bread of heaven, and as it was the only food necessary to nourish the multitudes of Israel during their forty years' journey, it became a fit emblem of Christ, the bread sent down to the world. Eating flesh sacrificed to idols brings death, but hidden manna brings life. "Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but My Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world." A union of Church and State crushes the spiritual life of any church. Why will men eat the food of idolatry when the bread of heaven is free to all? Why do Christians in the education of their children, cultivate in them an appetite for "food sacrificed to idols," instead of spreading the table with manna which will give life to the soul?

The lesson for the church as a whole is total separation from the civil power. The lesson to the home and to the individual is complete separation from the world. Cling to God; for He has the hidden manna. Feed the children on hidden manna; for it is well adapted to supply every need. God is teaching in these words a wonderful lesson on the laws of physical growth by simplicity of food; of mental growth by purity of food,-food unadulterated with heathen teachings,-and a spiritual lesson of marriage with the Lamb, instead of with the dragon.

The keen heart searching of the Spirit, represented by the sword with the double edge, is shown in the second reward which is offered the repentant soul. To him is given a white stone, and in the stone a new name, which is known only to the one who receives it. As Zerubbabel was called a signet, or stone of sealing, represented as worn upon the hand of the Lord, so is each one who chooses to follow Christ in preference. to the world. The stone is white, of dazzling purity. There are seen in it none of the tints which are admired by human eyes, but it is a stone free from all signs of impurity, and on it is impressed, by the power of God, the name which is known only to the individual and his Redeemer. Others may pronounce that name, it is true, but its significance is a secret between Christ and the individual. The one who receives it has been guilty of idolatry and fornication, and none other save his Lord can know the soul experience which brought the new name. Once it was Jacob, supplanter. None but the bearer knew how applicable was the name. Every time it was pronounced by friend or foe, it was an open rebuke from God. And when at the close of the night of wrestling, the angel said, "Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel"-a prince of God,- none but Israel knew the depth of meaning in that new name.

When the Jewish nation lived near to God, and the voice of Jehovah could be heard, every child was named under the direction of the Spirit. To-day heaven has a new name carved on a pure white stone for each sinner who repents, and the deeper the crimson dye of sin, the purer the stone will appear by contrast. "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile."



THE CHURCH IN THYATIRA
Revelation 2:18-29

And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass; (19) I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. (20) Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. (21) And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. (22) Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. (23) And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. (24) But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. (25) But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. (26) And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: (27) And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. (28) And I will give him the morning star. (29) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.


thyatira


The message to Pergamos carries ecclesiastical history to the year 538 a. d., at which time the union between civil and ecclesiastical power, begun in the days of Constantine, was consummated. During the period covered by Pergamos, the Spirit of the Lord was with the church as a church; but near the end of that period, a separation began to take place. In the years following, there was formed an organization still carrying the name of Christian; and another company, separating from that first organization, because of the practices of Balaam,-the idolatry and fornication practiced by those who were once Christians indeed. Thus improper education was the cause of the apostasy of the church, and the one sign of its fall was that, in its spiritual weakness, it sought the civil power for support.

It is under these conditions that the message comes to the church of Thyatira. It is sent by "the Son of God, who hath His eyes like unto a flame of fire, and His feet are like fine brass." Christ still walks among the candlesticks, but to Thyatira He comes with "eyes like unto a flame of fire" to search the very hearts of those who profess to be His followers. To these He says, "I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works." This was not an idle period; their works are thrice mentioned in the one list. Those who established a state religion, replacing paganism by the papacy, were most diligent workers. The church absorbed every government, every industry, all the educational institutions,-everything. There was not a corner of Europe which was not under the direct inspection of that all-absorbing organization known as the papacy. Not only kings on their thrones, but every private individual in his own home, was amenable to the power of Rome. The church stood between the king and his subjects; it stood between parents and children; it came even between husband and wife. The secrets of men's hearts were open to the confessor. Works, works of all kinds were advocated; for the church taught that men were saved by works. Long pilgrimages across continents paid many a debt of sin. Penance and indulgences took bread from many a hungry mouth. The strongest government that ever bore sway was seated on the throne. Nevertheless the masses thought that in their works for the church, their service, their charities and their faith, they served the Christ. "Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols." The sins imputed to the church of Pergamos are repeated in the message to Thyatira, but they are introduced by a different character. The woman Jezebel is taken as an object lesson.

Jezebel was a Zidonian princess, a prophetess of the god Baal. Unlike Balaam, who before his fall worshiped the true God, Jezebel never made any pretensions of worshiping the Lord. Ahab, the king of Israel, married her for the sake of her influence, but found himself completely under the control of a headstrong, wicked woman. At her table, in the kingdom of Israel, sat the prophets of Baal. In the capital were erected temples, groves, and altars, to the heathen god; sun-worship took the place of the worship of Jehovah. The prophets of God were put to death by order of the queen; even Elijah fled before her face. She was a propagator of whoredom and witchcraft, and in the name of the king, she wrote a letter causing innocent men to be put to death. Israel had war, bloodshed, and finally captivity, as the result of the evil of this woman. It was during her lifetime that the heavens were stayed so that it rained not for three years and a half. The history of Jezebel is an unerring guide to the interpretation of the prophetic history of the church during the Dark Ages.

In every detail, even to this last period of years, the history of Jezebel is a parable of the church history during the time, times, and half a time-the three and one half years of the papal supremacy, the period covered by the message to Thyatira. As a result of the doctrine of justification by works, which was the stronghold of the church during this period, Europe had over a thousand years of darkness, known in all history as the Dark Ages. It was a tyranny of the most absolute kind,-a tyranny of theology over thought. Whosoever raised a hand against the church, fell as did Naboth whom Jezebel slew. Sorcery, witchcraft, idolatry, and fornication took the place of the religion of Jesus Christ. Antichrist, or the "mystery of iniquity," had full control of the world. As Jezebel wrote in the king's name, and in his name slew an innocent man, so the apostate church opposed and exalted itself above the King of heaven, and while speaking in His name, it changed the law of Jehovah, and put to death thousands who were, indeed, followers of Christ.

Jezebel had an opportunity to repent, so also had Ahab her husband; for there were many prophets in Israel, and the truth of God was taught; but the royal family were so under the control of the mother that there was no salvation for them. So God said of Thyatira, or the church of the Dark Ages, "I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not." But as there was a day of recompense with Jezebel, so there will be with the oppressive power of the papacy. Jezebel was thrown from a window and dashed to pieces, and dogs ate her body. Ahab was slain, and dogs licked up his blood, and his sons were also killed. Of the "mystery of iniquity" it is recorded, "Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am He which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works." Herein is given the final destruction of the apostate church. The civil power of the papacy was broken in 1798, when Pope Pius VI. was taken prisoner by the French; but the influence continues. Thyatira is Babylon itself, and the churches spoken of elsewhere as "daughters of Babylon," will meet with the fate of the mother, Thyatira; for when the history of all churches is over, Babylon and her daughters will be destroyed in the lake of fire. The time of trouble spoken of by Daniel, the prophet (Dan. 12:1), will be the time of tribulation for Thyatira. Of this the dreadful death of Jezebel is a symbol; as her life and deeds are taken to typify the church itself.

Mention has already been made of a separation from the church as a church in the days of Pergamos and the early days of Thyatira. Individuals, who recognized the leadings of the Spirit, gathered in little companies, hidden away in the caves, mountain fortresses, and dens, like the prophets of God in the days of Jezebel. In these secluded spots were thousands who did not bow the knee to Baal. Among these were the Waldenses of Italy, and others scattered all through Europe, who retained the Word of God, and trusted in His promises. Of these scattered, yet faithful ones, the message speaks in the following words: "But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine (of Jezebel), and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden."

The name Thyatira means "sacrifice of contrition" and appears to have direct application to those, who, in the eyes of their persecutors and the world, were looked upon as heretics and outlaws-fit subjects for the stake. Their sacrifice was in truth a "sacrifice of contrition." The contrite heart is the heart which God honors. As the ages passed, much of the light and truth which shone upon the Apostolic Church had been lost; but the Saviour does not rebuke the ones who were sacrificing for the truth which they knew and lived out, because they did not have the light of the first centuries.

Justification by faith was the doctrine which broke the power of the papacy. Christ and Him crucified, a truth so long forgotten, or replaced by faith in the head of the church, was given to the people of the world in the sixteenth century. Many other truths, long hidden by the darkness, or buried under the traditions of the church, were brought forward in the early days of the Reformation. The Sabbath of the decalogue was acknowledged; some preached upon the true meaning of baptism, and others made known the proper relation of the church to the state; but these subjects were too strong for minds so long held in subjection. The age was not ripe for the fullness of truth. But as watchmen of the night hail the dawn when the morning star arises, so the early Reformers, from Wycliffe to Luther and his contemporaries, opened the Scriptures, and the first rays of light brought joy and gladness to those who sat in darkness. The very ones who saw the darkness break before the light of God's Word, saw also the sign of the coming of the Son of man, which was hung in the heavens. In 1780 the sun was darkened. This was the first of a series of celestial signs (see chapter VII., Sixth Seal), and it was given to encourage those who had been oppressed.

Christ says," I will put upon you none other burden. But that which ye have already hold fast till I come." How merciful is our God. He measures out to humanity its burdens of life, and no burden is made heavier than can be borne. "Only hold fast till I come," are His words of encouragement. To others, more accustomed to the light, greater truths would be made known.

To the little companies thus addressed, was given the privilege of holding up the torch of truth. As a beacon on a hill, seen from afar, the light shone from the valleys of the Piedmont. Many came in contact with this light, and soon fires were kindled throughout Europe. "He that overcometh, and keepeth My works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations." Truth was bound to triumph, though trampled to the ground for over a thousand years. At last the faithful ones will reign as kings. The hand of the oppressor will be broken to pieces, as a potter's vessel. There was a time when the clay was soft and yielding, when it could have been remolded; but as the fires of persecution kindled, those who remained hardened in sin became so set that any attempt to change them resulted in breaking them to pieces. "I will give him the morning star." Christ is the light, and the faithful ones at the close of the years of persecution were told to lift up their heads, for their "redemption draweth nigh." This is the first church which is pointed forward to the second coming of Christ. The message to Thyatira is in harmony with the Psalmist's words, "My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning; I say, more than they that watch for the morning."

It should be remembered that, as the experiences of Ephesus, Smyrna, and Pergamos, will be repeated in the last church before the second coming of Christ, so the history of Thyatira will have its counterpart in the last generation. The power of Jezebel will again be felt. What was once done by a church in days of intellectual darkness will be repeated in days of great light. The union of the church and state will be followed by laws compelling obedience to man-made laws, instead of the laws of God. The law of God will be trampled under foot; for a church with civil power always works the works of Jezebel. Just as Elijah fled before ancient Jezebel, so those proclaiming the last warning message, of which Elijah was a type, will be persecuted by this power. This message is impressed upon the minds of those living in the latter days by the oft-repeated words, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." (CONTINUED IN PART 3)






STUDY HELPS


Although the author explains a great many of the prophetic symbols, I highly recommend using these study helps to get a broader and deeper understanding of the symbols used in prophecy as well as prophecy itself.






Your brother in Christ
Mel

[Updated on: Wed, 10 July 2019 04:20]

Report message to a moderator




Current Time: Mon Jul 15 17:27:47 PDT 2019

Total time taken to generate the page: 0.03243 seconds