To the Seven Churches
This amazing book explains the breaking of the seven seals and their startling meaning one after the other.
by V. T. Houteff
All Rights Reserved
In the interest of reaching every truth-seeking mind that desires to escape the path that leads to destruction of both body and soul, this tract is distributed free of charge as long as this issue lasts.
TRACT NO. 15
TO THE SEVEN CHURCHES
THE BREAKING OF THE
By V.T. Houteff
"Now is the judgment of this world: now shall
the prince of this world be cast out." John 12:31.
The Signs Of The Times 5
The Breaking Of The Seven Seals 35
The Symbolization Of The First Seal 38
The Symbolization Of The Second Seal 41
The Symbolization Of The Third Seal 44
The Symbolization Of The Fourth Seal 49
The Symbolization Of The Fifth Seal 51
The Symbolization Of The Sixth Seal 53
The Symbolization Of The Seventh Seal 63
The Everliving Church And Her Enemy 68
Guide To A Correct Interpretation
Of The Symbolical Horns And Heads 72
Scriptural Index 91
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO YOU?
What success would we have in canvassing our books, and what good would they do if prospective buyers and readers would first consult the ministers of their own denomination and would take their counsel? We all know the answer -- There would be no books sold and no books read.
And if we had consulted the ministers of our respective former denominations and accepted their counsel, how many of us would have become Seventh-day Adventists? The overall answer is, "Not one of us." Such has been the fate of all who have followed the decisions of uninspired men against inspired men of God. Men of piety, men deeply rooted in their religion, as were the priests and rabbis in Christ's day, have been the most successful in keeping away the light of God from the people. This is a fact that no one should ever forget or neglect to give consideration to.
Moreover, since our personal rights of investigating truths purported to be sent from God, without the interference of our former ministers, took us out of the churches which are mindful only of past truths, and brought us into the Advent present Truth some years ago, should we now surrender these rights and become spiritually dependent on others to tell us what is Truth and what is error? Why judge ourselves spiritual invalids rather than full grown Christians? And why take the ministers’ word now against advanced purported inspired present Truth, if such a step previously taken would have been disastrous, would have cheated us from accepting the Advent Truth? Is it not true that if we would let others think for us, we might be cheated as badly as were the Jewish common people cheated by the priests and rabbis in Christ’s day?
In view of the experiences of those who have gone before us, we feel confident that you will accept this booklet which is being sent to you, and which means so much to us and to thousands of other Seventh-day Adventists throughout the world. Will you examine it for yourself as did the noble Bereans (Acts 17:10, 11), independently of other people’s influence or prejudices? Only prayer and study will keep you from error and lead you into God’s marvelous light –
“…beware of rejecting that which is truth. The great danger with our people has been that of depending upon men, and making flesh their arm. Those who have not been in the habit of searching the Bible for themselves, or weighing evidence, have confidence in the leading men, and accept the decisions they make; and thus many will reject the very messages God sends to His people, if these leading brethren do not accept them.” – Testimonies to Ministers, p. 106.
“There is yet much precious truth to be revealed to the people in this time of peril and darkness, but it is Satan’s determined purpose to prevent the light of truth from shining into the hearts of men. If we would have the light that has been provided for us, we should show our desire for it by diligently searching the word of God. Precious truths that have long been in obscurity are to be revealed in a light that will make manifest their sacred worth; for God will glorify His word, that it may appear in a light in which we have never before beheld it. But those who profess to love the truth must put to the stretch their powers, that they may comprehend the deep things of the word, that God may be glorified and His people may be blessed and enlightened. With humble hearts, subdued by the grace of God, you should come to the task of searching the Scriptures, prepared to accept every ray of divine light, and to walk in the way of holiness.” – Counsels on Sabbath School Work, p. 25
THE SEVEN SEALS
—The Signs of the Times—
“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and He sent and signified it by His angel unto his servant John: Who bare record of the Word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. Blessed is he that readeth and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” Rev. 1:1-3.
Jesus Christ gave The Revelation to show to His servants “things” which were shortly to come (Rev. 1:1). To prepare the way for the vision of the “things,” the Voice introduced the subject with a special message to each of seven angels (leaderships) who had charge of seven candlesticks (churches) respectively. These messages are recorded in chapters 2 and 3.
Next was John led to see the solemn proceedings of the series of events:
“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. And immediately I was in the Spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.
“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. 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.
“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.
“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. 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.
“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.
“And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to Him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, 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,
“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.
“And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.
“And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth neither under the earth, was able to open the book neither to look thereon. And I wept much because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.
“And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
“And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.
“And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. And when He had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.
“And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
“And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
“And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.
“And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped Him that liveth for ever and ever.” Revelation 4, 5.
The literal fulfillment of these “things” was to be hereafter – after John’s vision; that is, in John’s day these solemn proceedings had not as yet taken place, nor were they then taking place, but they were to take place sometime after the vision, after the first century. Just how soon or how long thereafter, though, was not revealed to John.
He was taken in vision to see and to write those eventful “things” which were to take place at the time the judicial-like throng of Revelation 4, 5 should actually convene. As to the other “things,” the things which follow as a result of the event, assured He Who has the “keys of hell and of death,” some were and some were to be (Rev. 1:19); that is, when this divine throng convenes, then some of the “things” that are brought to view as a result of the event, are already history, while some of them are yet prophecy – some point back and some point forward.
The first and most important thing that takes place in this solemn assembly, is the opening of the book. It should be remembered, too, that the book is sealed with seven seals (Rev. 5:1). It being in seven sections, each section individually sealed, seven seals in all are consecutively broken, permitting each section to unfold its own contents: The first seal, or section of the book, discloses the things of Revelation 6:2; the second, the things of verse 4; the third, the things of verses 5 and 6; the fourth, the things of verse 8; the fifth, the things of verses 9 to 11; the sixth, the things of verses 12 to 17 and of chapter 7; the seventh, the things of chapters 8 to 22. That the seventh seal contains chapters 8 to 22 is immediately seen by the fact that each chapter is connected with the conjunction “and.” In other words, The Revelation, save for the first five chapters, is but a reproduction of the things which were on record within the seals, and which as a result of the breaking the seals were pictorially displayed in John’s sight.
Now Truth clearly points out that The Revelation is not made up of something which originated with John’s vision, but that it is made up of the things which the sealed book contained and which were then made known. Since the writings of John recorded the things which the sealed book revealed at the instance its seals were broken, Inspiration entitled them “The Revelation” – the sealed things unsealed, the secret things revealed.
The basic points in chapters 4 and 5, the chapters aforequoted, are these:
1.) That a door was opened, not on earth, but in heaven;
2.) That as John looked in, he beheld “One” sitting on a throne;
3.) That a book sealed with seven seals was in His right hand;
4.) That the book was then unsealed, and as a result John was panoramically shown its contents, and that his writing them gave us The Revelation;
5.) That there were also other books (Rev. 20:12), and that although they were not sealed, John was not led to see what was written in them;
6.) That twenty-four elders were sitting around the throne;
7.) That the Lamb (also called the Lion) and ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands of angels were round about the throne;
8.) That there were four beasts, seven lamps of fire (candlestick), and the sea of glass;
9.) That the Voice very emphatically made known to John that he was being given a glimpse of a prophetic event that was to take place at a date – “hereafter” from his time, somewhere after the first century.
That John’s vision is a forecast of the same event as that revealed to Daniel (chapter 7), is quickly seen from the following brief comparison:
7.“The judgement was set,
and the books were opened.”
7.“The hour of His Judgment is come.” Rev. 14:7.
“And I saw the dead, and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books according to their works.” Rev. 20:12
Both seers distinctly declare that the event which they saw was the “Judgment.” The difference between the two scenes is that Daniel was led to look into the Sanctuary while preparations were being made for the Judgment to convene; whereas John was led to look into the Sanctuary after the Judgment had been set up; in fact, John not only saw the Judgment in progress, but he saw the whole proceeding from start to finish.
For example, Daniel saw the things while the thrones were being “cast down,” and while the Ancient of Days was moving from the Administrative throne (the throne upon which Christ sat at the Father’s right hand – Rev. 22:1) to the Judicial throne (the throne in the sanctuary). Then it was that the “One like the Son of man came,” “and they brought Him near before” the Ancient of Days (Dan. 7:13), not at His right hand. But those who were to sit on the other “thrones,” seats, which were then “cast down,” set up, were not yet come. When John looked in though, he saw the twenty-four elders already sitting on the thrones.
Daniel saw the “One like the Son of man” while He was being borne near before the Ancient of Days. But John saw Him after He had been brought there.
To John His appearance was like a “lamb,” and one of the elders called Him “the lion of the tribe of Juda.” (Obviously He is “the Son of man,” the Saviour, the King of Israel – Christ, the Lord.) Besides these, John also saw the four beasts therein, the candlestick, and the book while it was being opened. To repeat, Daniel saw only a part of the preparations, whereas John saw the opening of the Judgment, and the entire proceedings thereafter.
The Judicial throng, Inspiration makes known, consists of a judge – the Ancient of Days; of witnesses – the angels; of an advocate – the Lamb; of a jury – the elders; of defendants – the beasts; and of their ruler – “the Lion of the tribe of Juda.” (That the four beasts are a symbolical representation of the saints, just as the beasts of Daniel 7 are symbolical of the nations, is made clear by the beast’s own statement: “…for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.” Rev. 5:9.)
The student of advancing Truth will also note that Daniel refers to but one judicial session, although he does make mention of the Judgment twice, – first in verse 10 of chapter 7, and second in verse 22. This will be seen in the following eight paragraphs:
In the first fourteen verses, Daniel describes all he saw while in vision. And in Dan. 7:15 he explains how grieved and troubled he became after considering the damaging work which the fourth beast did. Then, in Dan. 7:16, he tells that he approached the angel who stood by, and requested his interpretation of the things seen. In compliance with this request, the angel answered:
“These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.” Dan. 7:17, 18.
This exceedingly brief interpretation did not satisfy Daniel. And being particularly interested to know in detail the things described in Dan. 7: 7-14 – the truth concerning the Judgment, as well as concerning the fourth beast and its little horn that had the eyes of man and a mouth speaking great things – Daniel requested further elucidation, again of necessity mentioning the Judgment. Accordingly, the angel readily explained, confining his interpretation strictly to the fourth beast symbolization and to the Judgment.
“Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.
“And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.
“And he shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.
“But the Judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, Whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.” Dan. 7:23-27.
Clearly, then, Daniel saw only one judical sitting, but made mention of it twice – first in connection with describing what he saw in vision, and second in connection with obtaining the angel’s interpretation of the vision.
The Judgment takes place, the angel explained to Daniel, after the little horn arises, and before the saints possess the kingdom. (See Dan. 7:8, 9, 22.)
But John, having been shown the entire judicial proceeding, describes the Judgment in three parts, in three different sittings: one before the half hour’s silence (Rev. 8:1), one after it, and a third one during the thousand years (Rev. 20:11, 12). This truth is seen from the following facts:
During the period of the six seals, while the first session of the Judgment is on, the four beasts rest not day and night, saying, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.” Rev. 4:8. But when the seventh seal is opened, there is silence in heaven (the beasts hold their peace, also the “lightnings,” the “thunderings,” and the “voices” cease – Rev. 4:5) “about the space of half an hour.” Rev. 8:1. The silence clearly reveals that the first session of the Judicial proceedings comes to a close, and that the second session commences after the silence is over.
The third session, the one during the thousand years, is at “the Great White Throne” (Rev. 20:11, 12), the throne of Him from Whose face the earth and the heaven flee away. At this latter throne there is no “sea of glass,” no “beasts,” no “Lion,” no “Lamb,” and although there are lesser “thrones” (Rev. 20:4), Inspiration does not flatly say who sits on them.
Now, the nature of the Judgment in each of the three Judicial sittings, and the time they actually occur, will be seen in the following analytical examination:
Although the proceedings of the first two sessions are somewhat different, they are in all other respects similar. The third, however, is entirely unlike the first two. The differences are seen in that before the half-hour silence occurs, there is at the throne “a sea of glass like unto crystal” (Rev. 4:6), and no one stands on it; but after the half-hour silence passes away, the scene changes: The “sea of glass” is “mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.” Rev. 15:2.
In other words, at the first Judicial sitting there is no one standing on the sea of glass, and the sea itself is “like unto crystal;” while at the second sitting the sea appears like unto a fiery stream, and the saints stand on it.
The truth that the first two sessions take place before the earth flees away, before the world’s present state of being comes to an end; also the truth that the second session closes with the saints who live in the very end of time, the time of the image of the beast, the time just before the earth flees away; – all these provide irrefutable evidence that the first two sessions, the pre-millennial ones, bring the present world to an end; that the Judgment is nothing more or less than the separation of the “tares” from the “wheat,” both among the dead and among the living; that it is the interviewing of all the guests with an eye single to determine who have, and who have not, “the wedding garment” on – the very thing that decides who is to be left and who is to be taken into destruction as the earth flees away.
That the dead are judged in the first session, and the living in the second, is seen from the symbolization itself: As aforepointed out, at the first sitting no one stands on the sea of glass, and the sea itself is “as clear as crystal.” But at the second sitting, the saints stand on the sea, and it is mingled with fire (symbol of life).
Then, too, in the first two sittings, the Saviour is represented as a slain lamb (Rev. 5:6), concretely placing the events during probationary time – while the blood of the Lamb is available to atone for the sins of man. And Daniel’s declaration that “Judgment was given to the saints of the Most High,” after which “the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom” (Dan. 7:22), solidly sets the time of the Judgment ahead of the time the saints receive the Kingdom. Consequently, the weight of evidence again and again stands out to show that the Judgment is nothing less or more than an inspection of the “guests” who have come to the marriage supper of the Lamb, who have joined the church. Those that are then found without the wedding garment on, are cast out.
Also, the truths that at length the Temple is opened, that the seven angels and the beasts come out of it, that it is then filled with smoke from the glory of God so that no man is able to enter into it “till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled” (Rev. 15:5-8), till the cities of the nations fall, till every island flees away, and the mountains disappear (Rev.16:19, 20), –all these definitely point out that with the second sitting the Judicial throng adjourns, probation closes for all, the plagues fall, and the earth flees away. Then commences, at the Great White Throne, the executive Judgment of the dead, of those who do not come up in the first resurrection, and of those who, rather than being translated, are slain at the brightness of His coming.
Preceding these latter events “the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
“And the remnant [the rest of the wicked world] were slain with the sword of Him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of His mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.” Rev. 19:20, 21. Then it is that the angel binds the Devil, the last rebel, and the earth flees away.
Thus the millennium commences, and thus the angel casts the Devil into the bottomless pit – into a place where it is impossible for any other being to stand – shuts him up, and sets a seal upon him, “that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled [till the second resurrection]: and after that he must be loosed a little season. And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and Judgment was given unto them” during the thousand years.
“And I saw a Great White Throne, and Him that sat on it, from Whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” Rev. 20:1-5, 11, 12.
John saw that after these things took place, “the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Rev. 20:13-15. (See also The Great Controversy, p. 480.)
It is strictly Biblical that at the commencement of the millennium all the wicked are “slain with the sword of Him that sat upon the horse which sword proceeded out of His mouth: and all the fowls [are] filled with their flesh” (Rev. 19:21), and that the judged at the Great White Throne are the dead, and also that subsequently all the judged are resurrected at the end of the thousand years; that is, as John puts it, then “the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them.” These facts certify in no uncertain terms that there are none living on the earth during the “thousand years,” and that those who do come up in the second resurrection, are all the unholy ones – all those who do not come up in “the first resurrection” (Rev. 20:6), all who are subject to the second death (Rev. 20:14).
Moreover, as there is but one Judicial sitting during the millennium, the “thrones” of Rev. 20:4 must be in session jointly with the Great White Throne. Furthermore, it is not likely that “the Great White Throne” would be in session all by itself.
And, too, seeing that the first resurrection, the resurrection at the commencement of the millennium, brings up all the saints, the holy ones, and none others, it follows that the second resurrection, the resurrection at the end of the millennium, brings up all the unholy, with not a righteous one among them.
All these final incidents in the closing hours of the gospel, prove over and over that not a one of the wicked is to be living during the thousand years, the years after the earth had fled away and before it is made new, and consequently during all that time there is no one to be saved, and no one to be lost.
As previously shown, all the wicked die at the commencement of the millennium; first the beast and the false prophet, then the remnant, the rest of the world. (See Revelation 19:20, 21.) The saints, though, those who are living and those who are resurrected at the commencement of the millennium are all to live and reign a thousand years with Christ, not Christ with them. The rest of the dead, the whole world, live not again until the thousand years are finished (Rev. 20:4, 5).
“I go” said Jesus, “to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:2, 3. Plainly, they that live during the millennium, live with Christ in the mansions above. Then, after the thousand years, reveals John, “the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were [had been] judged every man according to their works.”
Thuswise the wicked are raised from the dead when the thousand years are expired, and as a result Satan is loosed out of his prison, making it again possible for him to deceive those whose names were not found in the book of life, “Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
“And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” Rev. 20:7-10, 14. This last event in the final drama of sin, brings sinless eternity to earth.
Still further, as both the living and the resurrected saints are taken to “live and reign with Christ,” and as all those who are judged at the Great White Throne, are judged while dead, the truth stands out more and more clearly that there are no wicked living during the thousand years. Indeed not, for the earth and heaven have by then fled away, moved out of their original sphere, become empty of life and void (Isa. 24:1-6; Jer. 4:23-26), a “bottomless pit” (Rev. 20:1) on which no one can stand. Necessarily, the saints, those who are left, live and reign a thousand years with Christ in the Heaven of heavens, where the “many mansions” are. At the termination of the thousand years, descends the Holy City, the mansions, the New Jerusalem, and the saints with it (Rev. 21:2). From then on the saints do not live with Christ but He lives with them (Rev. 21 :3).
As previously pointed out, to John the time of the commencement of the Judgment was loosely stated to be “hereafter” from his time, but to Daniel it was definitely shown to convene sometime after the beast’s “little horn” arose, and before the saints possess the Kingdom (Dan. 7:8-11). The exact date, though, is determined by Daniel 8:14 – “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed,” the tares shall be taken out of it. At that time, while the cleansing is in progress, the church proclaims: “Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come.” Rev. 14:7. (For a complete exposition of Daniel 8:14, read Tract No. 3, The Judgment and the Harvest.)
As to the book sealed with seven seals, the only book that “no man in heaven, nor in earth…was able to open…neither to look thereon,” save the Lion of the tribe of Juda, it unquestionably is the book in which the deeds of mankind are chronicled, as the seals themselves disclose.
This fact Inspiration again confirms: “Thus the Jewish leaders made their choice. Their decision was registered in the book which John saw in the hand of Him that sat upon the throne, the book which no man could open. In all its vindictiveness this decision will appear before them in the day when this book is unsealed by the Lion of the tribe of Judah.” – Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 294.
What the book contains, now becomes exceedingly clear: It contains the history of the world and the deeds of all mankind. And, of course, logic rules that with the opening of the book, the Judicial investigation of the deeds of the professed people of God should begin, as The Revelation itself discloses. Moreover, since both the wording and the symbolism of The Revelation refute any interpretation other than the one herein made, the truth of these things now stands fast and sure.
The sanctuary (the church), the place which harbors the people of God, is therefore the one to be cleansed. Eventually, though, as aforeshown, all mankind, even the heathen must come before the Judgment bar of God, before “the Great White Throne.”
Thus, the event was actually to be “hereafter” from John’s time, the time in which were to be investigated the things which took place before John’s time, and the things which were to take place after his time (Rev. 1:19) – the deeds of all mankind from the beginning to the end.
Prophetically, the Judgment was set and the books were opened, but no one in the whole vast universe of God was worthy to open the sealed book, or even to look therein, save the Lamb – the Saviour of the world, the King of kings, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, our King and Advocate, Creation’s Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. Thus it is that, as our only Defender, the One Who has lived among us, He is the only one who can through personal experience understandingly and sympathetically lay open the secrets of the past, of the present, and of the future – the only one worthy to open the book and to defend fallen humanity.
The door that opened at the commencement of John’s vision, points back to the day of Atonement, the type, the only day throughout the year in which the door between the Holy and the Most Holy was opened, the two apartments thrown into one, and at the same time the outer door closed. So, being shown the commencement of the antitypical Atonement. John saw the inner door open, the two apartments thrown into one.
In the typical Atonement everyone’s destiny among the professed people of God, was forever fixed – those who complied with the demands of the law were left to live, and those who did not, were “cut off” from among the people. Thus it must also be in the antitypical Atonement.
“In the typical service, only those who had come before God with confession and repentance, and whose sins, through the blood of the sin-offering, were transferred to the sanctuary, had a part in the service of the day of atonement. So in the great day of final atonement and investigative judgment [the Judgment of the first two sittings, the time to separate the tares from the wheat, the bad fish from the good, from among both the dead and the living – the harvest], the only cases considered are those of the professed people of God” (The Great Controversy, p. 480), those who have at one time or another accepted the call and have the right to be clad in the “wedding garment.” Thus the question: If the Judgment “first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” 1 Pet. 4:17.
As the books of record are opened in the Judgment, the lives of all whom the “net” (church) of salvation has ever caught, good and bad alike, come in review before God, there to be segregated. There the eligibility of each is examined and determined. Indeed, the Judgment is the harvest.Yes, any tares ever to be plucked out and set aside for destruction, and any wheat ever to be placed in the “barn” (kingdom) for the Master’s use, are segregated on the antitypical day of Atonement. Beginning with those who first lived upon the earth, our Advocate presents the cases of each successive generation, and closes the pre-millennial Judgment with the living members of the church.
The glory of God is represented by the likeness of precious stones. And the rainbow above His Judicial throne reveals His never-failing promise and great mercy. This He made known to Noah when He proclaimed:
“This is the token of the covenant which I make between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I do set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between Me and the earth…. And I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.” Gen. 9:12, 13, 15.
The Lamb’s presence before the throne assures us that “if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” 1 John 2:1.
The Lamb’s seven horns signify completeness of power and authority, in assurance of which Christ said: “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.” Matt. 28:18. His unlimited power is for our good, and for our use. He proclaims: “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” Matt. 17:20.
The Lamb’s seven eyes denote that all things are open and naked unto Him.
“Whither,” asks the Psalmist “shall I go from Thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from Thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven,” he declares, “Thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, Thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall Thy hand lead me, and Thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from Thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to Thee.” Ps. 139:7-12.
Yes, the seven symbolical “horns,” “eyes,” and “lamps of fire,” are indeed “the seven Spirits of God,” the Spirit’s work in all phases, sent forth into all the earth, to give to the saints power against the forces of evil, also light on the Gospel of Christ, a vision of their present state of being and of their future glory, and so on. Hence the Saviour’s reassurance, “It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart I will send Him unto you.” John 16:7. “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, Whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” John 14:26. Plainly, then, whatever things Inspiration Itself does not teach and interpret, are not worth remembering, teaching, or even listening to.
The lamps of fire being seven in number, they, of course, can but represent the ever-living church (Rev. 1:20) clothed with the light of the whole Truth of God – her teaching present truth to each successive generation since the world began, the truth by which the works of each is searched and judged, each one’s righteousness measured.
Then for one to reject either the Spirit’s power, vision, light, is indeed to sin against the Holy Ghost, and “it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” Matt. 12:32. In the judgment such a one most certainly shall be found wanting.
As to the sea of glass, in the words of Daniel it is “a fiery stream,” whereas in the words of John it is “a sea of glass mingled with fire.” This fiery stream coming from the temporary judicial throne, and the River of Life from the eternal administrative throne (Rev. 22:1), must in some respect represent something that is common to both thrones. And what could it be? – If the river, along with the Tree of Life, is a representation of the essence which perpetuates life, then the sea is a representation of life’s eternal existence, because “sea” is the storehouse, the source of all waters – it keeps the rivers flowing.
“Fire” is a fitting symbol of life, and “sea” a fitting symbol of eternity, showing that these two, life and eternity, come from God’s throne alone.
“Clear as crystal,” of course, denotes free from all defects. These gifts, without which all else is lost, are freely given to all whose sins are washed in the precious blood of the Lamb, the Saviour, the Mediator between God and men.
“And there shall in no wise enter into [the city] any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.” Rev. 21:27.
Obviously, all who get the victory “over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name,” receive their reward – “stand on the sea of glass.”
The consecutive breaking of the seven seals and their individual contents, respectively reveal that the history of mankind is divided into seven different periods.
Now Truth reveals that with the breaking of the first seal – with the opening of the first section of the book – the Judgment begins. It is also self-evident that at the Judgment throne of God, in Its three sessions, the Apocalyptic symbolism depicts the nations and peoples, saints and sinners, churches and prelates, Satan and his angels, – the past, the present, and the future. Thus “all the books of the Bible meet and end in the Revelation.” – The Acts of the Apostles, p. 585.
And now to continue with the study or the subject, it will be well to bear in mind that any interpretation of scripture which fails fittingly to build an indestructible structure of truth and to bring a lesson of special importance for the time then present, is erroneous, uninspired by the spirit of Truth – a vain thing.
Moreover, since the explicit information in these pages and the fair elucidation of the scriptures under consideration cannot be ignored by any who are honest with themselves, then it must be that to their satisfaction the foundation for the application of the “things” seen by John, is firmly established.
The Scriptures, as every Bible student knows, are designed to be present truth at certain times – “meat in due season,” especially adapted to meet the people’s needs. “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” 1 Cor. 10:11. In other words, the Scriptures are similar to long term bonds, or notes, which become due at a given time. Obviously, then, the time appointed by Inspiration is the time in which one must cash in on them, so to speak.
This is especially true with The Revelation and since we have come to the very time for which It was written, we can now by experience whole-heartedly and without reservation reiterate: “Blessed is he that readeth and they that hear the words of this prophecy and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” Rev. 1:3.
Having now gone through these preliminaries the student of advancing Truth should be ready understandingly to study The Revelation of the things which are to prepare the way and enable him whole-heartedly to know that now the time is at hand, that a knowledge of The Revelation will enable him to stand in “the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” He should be able to see that now is the time to avail himself of the knowledge of “the things” which could not be made known before---THE BREAKING OF THE SEVEN SEALS.
“And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.
“And when He had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.
“And when He had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.
“And when He had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.” Rev. 6:1-8.
In view of the fact that the seals contain the history of the world, the different colors of the four horses – white, red, black, and pale – definitely portray four different conditions, one following the other.
Then, too, the first rider’s crown, and the second rider’s sword, also the balances of the third, and the name of death on the fourth, – all four in as simple a manner as Divine symbolism can depict, unveil that by the deeds of man the world has gone from good to bad, then from bad to worse, and that man needs to be helped out of his brutality, needs to be re-educated to his Creator’s will. The revelation of God’s will, though, becomes clear only to the extent of one’s willingness to relinquish his theories and self-will.
Moses, found it a thousand times easier to lead the people out of Egypt, than to lead Egypt out of them. Profiting by their stumbling blocks, dismissing every theory and all self-will at once, not taking forty years or even forty days, the Caleb's and the Joshua's of today without the semblance of doubt see that by the horses is depicted something which is created by God, but ruled (driven) by man. And what else can it be but the earth, which was man's given right to rule?
Manifestly, then, whatever else the symbolism (horses and horsemen), may depict, it for certainty reveals that man’s divergence from right has lowered his character, has caused him to lose his God-given crown and with it his white horse his righteous and peaceful government; that is, what was once pure, “white,” without blemish, man has caused to become impure, tyrannical and quarrelsome, domineering and murderous.
As sin multiplied, curse after curse was added, and consequently the white horse was succeeded by the red, the red by the black, and the black by the pale.
Now to explore the truth of the contents of each seal, the things which the sealed book brings to the attention of both the Judicial throng the surrounds the throne of the Ancient of Days, and of us who read with an open mind in search of saving truth, we begin with---THE SYMBOLIZATION OF THE FIRST SEAL.
“And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow, and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.
Rev. 6:1, 2.
Naturally, the first seal, the seal with which the Judgment opens, must contain the things at the very inception of the human race. Logically, then, the white horse, the first in the symbolism identifies the world’s first state of being – pure and sinless with a Divinely-crowned ruler (rider), who at first had no goal but to subdue the earth and to fill it with eternal God-like beings. The earth itself was wrapped in a garb of beauty and purity, with all the wonders on land and in sea. Nothing was wanting.
In the Garden of Eden “were trees of every variety, many of them laden with fragrant and delicious fruit. There were lovely vines… presenting a most graceful appearance, with their branches drooping under their load of tempting fruit, of the richest and most varied hues.” – Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 47.
The earth in her youth, filled with delicate flowers and covered with a carpet of living green, spanned by the blue heavens, exhibited natural beauty and elegance such as no language can describe. A living wonder without a flaw, which only the great Master Artist could bring forth.
The rider and his white horse (God’s crowned king, Adam, and his peaceful government, his white horse) are, therefore, the first to be weighed on the balances, the first to come in review before the Judicial Throne. Hence, we are again reminded that this character-searching event, the Judgment, is the very thing that was to take place “hereafter” from John’s time, years after the first century of the Christian era.
The rider’s crown and his bow call to mind the office which man first filled the instant God said, “Let us make man in Our image, after Our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon was destroyed by the flood, and “a third dreadful curse rested upon it in consequence of sin. “– Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 107.
Plain it is that at the Throne of Judgment, the white horse, the rider, and his crown, figuratively identify Adam, God’s created king, and his kingdom.And if the only thing which he was commanded to conquer was the earth, by replenishing and subduing it, then what else in the field of symbolism can the “bow,” the instrument to conquer with, logically represent but Eve?
The next generation that is called to give account for its faith and fidelity, is brought to light in---THE SYMBOLIZATION OF THE SECOND SEAL.
“And when He had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.” Rev. 6:3, 4.
Since the white horse and its crowned rider represent the first period of mankind, then the red horse and its murderous peace-destroying rider, must represent the next period, the period in which murder and war for the first time broke out.
Abel, of course, was the first victim. And as a result, the whole Noatic world was destroyed by the flood, and “a third dreadful curse rested upon it in consequence of sin. “– Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 107.
Notwithstanding this punishment and its object lesson, as soon as the earth’s inhabitants multiplied after the deluge, sin likewise multiplied. And though the people could but give credit to Noah’s correct prediction of the flood, they mistrusted him in his next prediction: the prediction that there would be no more “flood to destroy the earth.” Gen. 9:11. Even the rainbow in the clouds, the Lord’s own token of His covenant not to flood the earth a second time, failed to convince them.
What a mystery sin indeed is! First they did not believe in even the possibility of a flood, and next they did not believe in the impossibility of one! Actually, the judgment of the unbelieving is as foolish as the judgment of the country woman who, when she first saw a train idling on the rails, emphatically declared, “It will never start out!” Then after she saw it start off, she again declared, just as emphatically as before, “It will never stop!” So while the spirit of unbelief in the Word has always benumbed the mind and subjected the body to sin and decay, even in the days when men were strong and long-lived, the same spirit is having an even greater hold on humanity today.
Rather than to set them free from fear, the Word of God spoken through Noah impelled the post-diluvians to feel that there was an unavoidable necessity to build the tower of Babel as a defense against a second flood. Disapproving of their unbelief and false alarm, however, the Lord demonstrated His displeasure by interfering with their wicked and foolish project: He destroyed their tower and confounded their language. Thus it was that the confusion at Babel (Gen. 11:8, 9) gave birth to the existing races and languages.
Finally, as the confused builders parted in groups, the neighboring ones began to quarrel one with another. And as they at length grew into nations, their quarrels grew into wars. Hence, the historical truth that wars for the first time broke out after the confusion of tongues, shows that the red horse and, in particular, its rider, depict the period in which the tower of Babel was annihilated, and in which peace gave way to wars.
Moreover, another anchor to the proof, is the phrase, “To take peace from the earth,” for it obviously implies that there was peace before that time.
The consequences of Adam’s sin, though, did not stop with such a life-and-property destroying act as is war. It led his descendants to greater degradation, even to idol worship, to destroying souls by means of religion, which, in the drama of sin, is revealed in---THE SYMBOLIZATION OF THE THIRD SEAL.
“And when He had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.” Rev. 6:5, 6.
As we have seen, the white horse represents man’s government of earth while still pure and free. And now, since black is the opposite of white, the black horse must represent man’s government in spiritual darkness and captivity – a condition opposite to that represented by the white horse.
This is confirmed by history: Even as far back as Abraham’s time, only about three hundred years after the flood, idol worship had overwhelmed the inhabitants of the world. It was then that Abraham left Haran, his father’s house and country (Gen. 11:31; 12:1). His descendants, Israel, at length became slaves to Pharaoh, and afterwards to Nebuchadnezzer, King of Babylon.
The pair of balances in the rider’s hand should even more definitely point out the period into which the black horse and its rider extend, and which they represent. As we have already seen the bow of the first horseman represents the means by which Adam subdued the earth (for all the human race came through him); and the sword of the second horseman, the means by which Adam’s descendants took peace from the earth. In similar manner, the balances of the third horseman must necessarily represent that which humanity next introduced. And what besides some sort of commercialism could the symbolism portray? Anyone can readily recognize that a man with a pair of balances must have something to do with buying and selling.
In Abram’s time, commercial trading between nations was unknown. But during the following period, the period represented by the black horse, the idea was born. It was then that Sidon and Tyre became the chief commercial centers. And Inspiration propounds the question: “Who hath taken this counsel against Tyre, the crowning city, whose merchants are princes, whose traffickers are the honourable of the earth?” Isa. 23:8.
Tyre, the queen of the Phoenicians was but a short distance from Sidon. “In time they were to spread their trade-colonies all over the Mediterranean, and up into other lands, ever on the search for new trade areas and commercial centers. They were the bees of the ancient world carrying the pollen of culture wherever they went. The necessities of trade and commerce drove them to perfect an alphabet, and from them the western world obtained it. In some respects they were unique in the ancient world, and this distinction was interred with them. For they were not interested in conquests, save commercial; they did not mind paying tribute to military powers, as long as those powers did not interfere with their rights of trade. They had a Greek-like capacity for assimilating to themselves whatever Egypt, Babylonia, Assyria, Persia or any other phase of civilization offered; but their chief genius lay in invention, technical skill, business activity, and in industry. In the working of iron, gold, ivory, glass, and purple dyes they stood in the ancient world without a peer.
“… Through their cities flowed the highly profitable trade of Arabia and the East: and their manufacturers were kept busy turning out their products of metals, glass, and purple. By sea and by land they traveled everywhere – missionaries of trade – the master-bargainers of the Old World.” – Essential Knowledge, The Phenicians, Vol. I, pp. 69, 70.
The command, “Hurt not the oil and the wine,” came from the midst of the throne, from the Ancient of Days, not from the horseman. Hence, the two commodities, oil and wine, represent not only something which only God can create but also that which He determines to preserve while wicked men would destroy it; thus the necessity for Him to command against anyone’s hurting them. And what other such spiritual commodities could the oil and wine at that particular time – the time of the black horse – represent but those products which the Bible then brought forth? Moreover, it is an accepted fact by nearly all Bible students, that “oil” symbolizes prophetic, truth, truth that throws light on the future, that lightens the traveler’s path (Ps. 45:7; Zech. 4:12); and that wine represents that part of the truth which makes the recipient of it glad, makes him act differently than before (Isa. 61:1-3).
To summarize, it is obvious that the command, “Hurt not the oil and the wine,” forbade interference with the writings of the Scriptures, again showing that the breaking of the third seal unveils the period in which the alphabet was invented and in which commercialism was originated; the period in which the Bible was being written, and in which one nation subjugated another; the period that gave birth to Empires.
Hence, while the Old Testament time is closed with the third seal, the commencement of the New is unveiled in---THE SYMBOLIZATION OF THE FOURTH SEAL.
“And when He had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.” Rev. 6:7, 8.
Since the pale horse falls in the same period as does the non-descript beast of Daniel 7:7, 8 (see pp. 16, 17), the period subsequent to the third seal, they consequently resemble each other. Indeed, its color being faint, wanting, not having a specific or definite hue or character, the horse is in the last analysis non-descript, too. Very evidently the rider of the pale horse is synonymous with him who spake against the Most High, with him who was to wear out the saints, “and think to change times and laws.” Dan. 7:25. He is seen to represent the climax of idolatry. The ancient Roman government is fittingly symbolized by the non-descript beast, because in truth its administration was an admixture of civil and religious laws, of Pagan and Christian doctrines. No one could actually tell whether the Roman government was Pagan or Christian, Jewish or Gentile.
The rider’s name, “death,” also perfectly fits the then persecuting spirit and cruelties of both the Jews and the Romans. History and prophecy alike confirm that the Roman subversive power “devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet.” Dan. 7:19.
The truth concerning the “fourth part of the earth,” over which power was given unto them “to kill with the sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth,” is easily discovered: Dividing 6,000, the years from creation to the commencement of the millennium, into four equal parts, gives 1500 years (“the fourth part”), in the end of which time the power was to wane. Again, it being true that the slaying of the saints began with the crucifixion of Christ, this “fourth part of the earth” therefore began at that time and ended with the “Augsburg Confession,” a document compiled by Luther and presented at the Diet of Augsburg to the Emperor, Charles V, in 1530, – exactly 1500 years after the resurrection of Christ (considering that the Christian era is 3½ years pre-dated), the time the Roman power did wane.
These deductions become even more impeachable in the light of the historical fact that the Protestant clash against despotism, finally caused the persecution to cease. So it is that this part of the scripture under discussion, was fulfilled in 1530 by the weakening of the Jewish-Pagan and Christian-Pagan powers’ killing with sword, hunger, death, and beasts.
(This part of the prophecy, incidentally, overthrows the erroneous idea that the earth has been in existence for longer than 6,000 years.)
At this point it is well to note that while the number of horses, four, represents the four corners of the compass, the number of seals, seven, denotes the completeness of the gospel, the sealing of the saints.
Having seen the truth of the first four seals unveiled, we are now to explore---THE SYMBOLIZATION OF THE FIFTH SEAL.
“And when He had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the Word of God, and for the testimony which they held: and they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.” Rev. 6:9-11.
The certainty that the souls cried from under the altar, the place from which God’s truth is dispensed, makes obvious that they were slain for their firmness in the Word of God, and that for their faithfulness they were given white robes – they were accounted worthy of eternity. That they were the martyrs of the preceding period, the period of the fourth seal, is clear from the fact that they were already dead when the fifth seal opened.
Moreover, an altar denotes renewal of faith, reformation. That is what it meant to Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the instances they built their altars (Gen. 8:20; 12:8; 26:25; 35:14). The souls’ being under the altar, indicates that they sacrificed their lives for a cause similar to the cause of the martyrs during the Protestant Reformation. And the question, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge?” also the answer, “that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled,” concretely prove that the persecution and martyrdom of the fourth seal were to overlap the fifth seal, and that the Judgment of the dead (the martyrs) was not to begin until after the persecution had ceased, but that then it would certainly begin.
This historical sequence of events now brings us to the time of the next events, those disclosed in---THE SYMBOLIZATION OF THE SIXTH SEAL.
“And I beheld when He had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; and 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.” Rev. 6:12, 13.
It is one of the Denomination’s fundamental beliefs that the prophecies of the sixth seal began to be fulfilled with the great Lisbon earthquake of November 1, 1755. Following the earthquake, May 19, 1780, the sun was darkened, and the moon appeared as blood the following night. Then came the “falling of the stars,” the great meteoric shower of November 13, 1833 (The Great Controversy, pp. 304-309, 333, 334).
Looking forward to these celestial demonstrations (the signs of the times), Jesus forewarned that they were to appear “immediately after the tribulation” had ceased (Matt. 24:29). So, while peace, wars, commercialism, script, and persecution are the signs of the times and the identification of the first five seals, in like manner the earthquake, the dark day, and the meteoric shower are the signs of the times and the identification of the sixth seal.
These global disturbances and celestial exhibitions between the years 1755 and 1833, in themselves, however, appear to be forecasts of the things which take place during the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” If this be true, then the earthquake foreshadows the forthcoming shaking, sifting, among the nations, as predicted by the prophets:
“Behold, the name of the Lord cometh from far, burning with his anger, and the burden thereof is heavy: His lips are full of indignation, and His tongue as a devouring fire: And His breath, as an overflowing stream, shall reach to the midst of the neck, to sift the nations with the sieve of vanity: and there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people, causing them to err.” “And the fir trees shall be terribly shaken.” Isa. 30:27, 28; Nah. 2:3.
The darkening of the sun would bespeak the closing of the gospel, the end of probationary time, the time when man “shall run to and fro to seek the Word of the Lord, and shall not find it.” “For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people.” Amos 8:12; Isa. 60:2.
The moon, associated with the sun, makes a fitting symbol of the church, the agency by which the Word of God, the light of the world, is reflected. The moon’s becoming as blood immediately following the darkening of the sun, refusing to reflect light, would be an appropriate omen of the church’s having finished her work of salvation, no longer needing to reflect the Light of the gospel. And the church herself is, of course, at that time imbued with eternal life, delivered from destruction as were the firstborn in the dwellings where the door posts had been painted with the sacrificial blood on the evening of the Passover in the land of Egypt.
The falling stars are suggestive of the great and terrible day of the Lord – the day in which “the heavens…pass away” (2 Pet. 3:10), the day in which all their host is dissolved, and in which the Devil and his host, also the wicked in the church and in the world, “shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree.” Isa. 34:4.
All these signs stand as faithful witnesses that the sixth seal, the sixth period of time, brings the great day of God, the wrath of the Lamb.
“And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” Rev. 6:14-17.
In these verses are pictured the fate, the fear, and the smitten conscience of all who are not able to stand in the day of the Judgment of the living, the great and dreadful day of the Lord – the wrath of the Lamb in the great “time of trouble such as never was” (Dan. 12:1), the day following the appearance of the antitypical “Elijah the prophet” (Mal. 4:5) – yes, the day in which those who have not clad themselves in the wedding garment, are cast into outer darkness, there to gnash their teeth (Matt. 22:11-13).
Also in these scripture (Rev. 6:14-17), asserts the Spirit of Truth, “two parties are brought to view. One party permitted themselves to be deceived and took sides with those with whom the Lord has a controversy. They misinterpreted the messages sent them, and clothed themselves in robes of self-righteousness.” – Testimonies, Vol. 9, p. 268.
Thus it is that while the first four seals carry us through the periods of the day in which the works of man are made manifest, the last three seals carry us through the day of God, the day in which His Truth and His works are made manifest.
That there should be a climax of some kind in the Judicial work at this particular point of the Scriptures (Rev. 6:14-17), is not a mystery. Its being stamped with the events which end the reign of sin, and this being realized by even the sinners themselves, is a very good indication that during the sixth seal the Judgment of the dead closes, and the preparations for the Judgment of the living begin. It is the “dreadful day” for the wicked.
Moreover, as the first phase of the Judgment passes with the sixth chapter of Revelation, the second phase begins with the seventh chapter; that is, it begins with the sealing of the living saints, the first fruits. It is the “great day” for the righteous.
“And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.
“And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.” Rev. 7:1-4.
From the implication that “the four winds” are to blow and the four angels are to hurt as soon as the servants of God are sealed, is seen looming the “time of trouble” such as never was (Dan. 12:1).
Moving from the four corners of the compass, the winds must represent a worldwide disturbance of some kind. Very obvious it is, too, that their blowing and the angels’ hurting, represent two armies in conflict. The wind’s blowing is, of course, the anger of the nations against the saints; and the angels’ hurting is doubtless the Lord’s judgment falling upon His enemies. In other words, the angels and the winds together represent a trouble between God and the nations involving both saints and sinners. Indeed, it is the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
The difference between the “great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world” (Matt. 24:21), and the “time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation” (Dan. 12:1), is that during the “great tribulation” the saints are slain (Matt. 24:21, 22), whereas during the “time of trouble” they are delivered (Dan. 12:1).
That the angels’ holding the winds does not denote their restraining the nations from warring among themselves, is made clear by the fact that the winds were not held from clashing wind against wind (nation against nation), but rather from hurting the earth, the sea, and the trees. Moreover, that the nations from the north and from the south, from the east and from the west, were engaged in World War I, and also in World War II, although the 144,000 are not yet sealed, is another irrefutable evidence that the trouble which is forecast by the winds’ blowing and the angels’ hurting, is yet future. That it is a global disturbance, is again seen in the fact that the winds on the one hand, and the angels on the other hand, are to trouble both earth and sea.
It being a foregone conclusion that Satan is against the saints, and that the Lord is against the truth-hating and evil-doing multitude, the subject becomes crystal clear: When let loose, the winds are to strike against the faithful “remnant,” against those who are left after the earth has opened her mouth and swallowed up “the flood,” the “tares” (Rev. 12:16, 17); but the angels who are stationed to hurt, are to smite those who make war against the remnant. Those whose names are found in the book, are “delivered.” Dan. 12:1. Seeing that the 144,000, the servants of God, are not as yet sealed (not yet enclosed, protected, guarded, and ready to take their stand with the Lamb on Mt. Sion, but rather are still commingled with the tares) the angels are commanded to forestall the clash.
Consequently, when this sealing work is completed, then the angels who hold the winds, will let the winds blow, and the angels who are to hurt the earth, sea, and trees, will then commence their given work. Otherwise stated, to let the winds blow, is to permit the two-horn beast to decree “that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed” (Rev. 13:15); and to let the angels hurt, is to allow the Lord’s decree to take its course: “If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.” Rev. 14:9, 10. This warning is followed by the forecast:
“The four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.” Rev. 9:15.
Both decrees will be in force after the 144,000 are sealed.
Here is seen that from among the first fruits of the harvest, come the 144,000, the servants of God for the closing work of the great harvest. These are the first saints ever to have been relieved of the “tares” among them. Get ready, Brother, Sister, for the time is at hand.
We have now seen that the first six seals reveal a phase of truth covering the history of the world from Adam’s time on to our time. This phase of truth reveals the sealing of the first and second fruits: From among the first fruits come the 144,000 – 12,000 out of each of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel. Down through the centuries they have descended first as Jacobites and then as Christians. After these, come the second fruits, the great multitude out “of all nations.” Rev. 7:9-17.
(The theory that the living saints at the coming of the Lord are only 144,000 in number, is discredited in that it leaves no chance for even one person to be saved from a nation other than the descendants of Jacob, not even from the descendants of Abraham, save through Jacob himself. Moreover, the theory makes the term “firstfruits” a vain thing because it does not advocate second fruits.)
The remainder of The Revelation, is wrapped in---THE SYMBOLIZATION OF THE SEVENTH SEAL
“And when He had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.
“And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.
“And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.” Rev. 8:1-6.
After a time the Judicial demonstrations – the voices “saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty,” the thunderings and the lightnings, – cease for the space of half an hour, very definitely indicating that the Judicial throng of the first session of the Judgment adjourns.
Following this, the seven angels are given the seven trumpets. In the meantime, the angel who stands at the altar, offers the prayers of all saints, takes the censer, fills it with fire from the altar, and casts it into the earth. Then it is that the heaven-born fire, the “thunderings, and lightnings, and voices,” with which the first session of the Judgment opened in the heavenly sanctuary (Rev. 4:5), descend to earth in reverse order (voices, thunderings, lightnings – Rev. 8:5), in addition to which there is an earthquake.
Then the seven trumpets sound, one following the other. At the sounding of the seventh trumpet (not at the breaking of the seventh seal) there are “great voices,” saying, “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever.” Rev. 11:15.
The half-hour silence in heaven brings the voices down to earth, and at the sounding of the seventh trumpet the mystery of God is finished (Rev. 10:7). Then it is that “the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord.” What does it all mean? – Just this:
As we have seen, the silence divides the two pre-millennial Judicial sessions, the one for the dead and the other for the living, and the fire from the heavenly altar, the voices, lightnings, and thunderings, descend to earth. These facts, along with a number of scriptures on the subject, besides the remainder of The Revelation, the chapters after the breaking of the seventh seal, prove that the Judgment of the living, the cleansing of the earthly temple, is something which takes place on earth, not in heaven only!
“Behold,” declares the Lord, “I will send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me: and the Lord, Whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple,… But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? for He is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap.” Mal. 3:1,
Yes, the work of the second Judicial session includes the earthly sanctuary, the church. At that time the Lord’s “fire” is “in Zion, and His furnace in Jerusalem.” Isa. 31:9.
“And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
“And He shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it.” Mic. 4:2-4.
“…then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world ….
“Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” Matt. 25:31-34, 41.
“And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him. Hitherto is the end of the matter….” Dan. 7:27, 28.
All these things definitely indicate the time in which “every man shall cast away his idols of silver, and his idols of gold,” the very thing that causes the fall of “the Assyrian,” the power which rules Jerusalem at the time God delivers His people (Isa. 31:7, 8).
The truth therefore is trouble-free: Between the Judgment of the dead and the Judgment of the living stands the half-hour silence, the time absorbed in bringing the first Judicial session to a close and in preparing for the second session.
The remaining verses of chapter 8, also chapters 9-11, give a description of the seven trumpets, a full treatise of which is found in Tract No. 5, “The Final Warning.”
We are now brought to chapter 12 of The Revelation, which deals with the subject of ---THE EVERLIVING CHURCH AND HER ENEMY
The first of these to come in review at the Throne of Judgment, is the everliving church.
“And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:
“And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.
“And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.
“And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.
“And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
“And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and three-score days.” Rev. 12:1-6.
It is clear to see that this “woman” was clothed with the sun and attacked by the dragon even before her child, Christ, was born; yes, years before the Christian church and the Gospel came into being. To say, then, that she represents the New Testament church clothed with the gospel of Christ, is indeed as ungrounded and as illogical a theory as to say that the chicken is hatched before the egg is laid.
“Clothed with the sun,” the woman is, of course, God’s everliving church, clothed with the Light from Heaven, the Bible. “Thy Word,” says the Psalmist, “is…a light unto my path.” Ps. 119:105.
The moon, as we know, is the medium by which sunlight is reflected and the night lightened. Being under the woman’s feet, it is a most fitting symbol of the period before the Bible came into being, the period from creation to Moses. This phase of the symbolism very definitely points out that the woman was emerging from the period in which the Word of God, “the sun,” was indirectly reflected, was passed on from father to son, and that she was entering into the period in which she was clothed with God’s Light, the Bible.
Moreover, she was with child at the time she was clothed with the sun, and the moon stood under her feet. This in itself positively displays that at her outset she represents the church after it had received the promise to bring forth the world’s Redeemer, the “man child, Who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron.” He “was caught up into God and to His throne.”He, of course, is Christ, the Lord.
The twelve stars that comprise the woman’s crown, most obviously bespeak God’s government upon earth, the church’s cumulative authority – that of the twelve patriarchs, of the twelve tribes of the twelve apostles, and of the 12,000 out of each of the twelve tribes of Israel (the 144,000).
It is also to be observed that she portrays the everliving church of God while in combat with the enemy.
“And there appeared another wonder in heaven, and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.” Verses 3, 4.
If the student of Heaven-inspired Truth is to know the object lesson that is taught by this symbolism, he should now carefully notice the significance which the dragon’s crownless horns and his crowned heads carry. Also, if the student of Truth is to profit by what the Scriptures teach, he should fully realize that the preceding as well as the following Scriptural and logical considerations must be heeded.
To begin with, since the dragon’s horns are a group of ten, they must depict all the kings or kingdoms then present, just as the ten toes of the great image of Daniel, chapter 2, and also the ten horns of the beast of chapter 7, represent the kings or kingdoms existent universally in their respective periods.
Neither should be overlooked the fact that all the horns, heads, and crowns, were there grouped together when the dragon stood ready “to devour her Child.” Exactly as the symbolism reveals, they do symbolize a coalition of two separate and distinct parties (horns and heads), both existing at the same time, not one following the other. It is well to remember, too, that though horns grow up and drop out, heads never do.
GUIDE TO A CORRECT INTERPRETATION OF THE SYMBOLICAL HORNS AND HEADS
The dragon’s horns being crownless, they must picture a type of rulers similar to those symbolized by the crownless horns of Daniel’s fourth beast, of his goat and ram, and of John’s scarlet-colored beast and two-horn beast; that is, the dragon’s crownless horns indicate crownless authorities of some type, just as do the crownless horns of any of the symbolical beasts. For example, the ten crownless horns of Daniel’s fourth beast, the angel explained, depict kings that were yet to arise from the Roman Empire, were yet to take their crowns. Later, however, the horn-head having lost its power and the envisioned kings having received their kingdoms, they are thereafter represented by crowned horns, by the horns of the leopard-like beast (Rev. 13), the world’s symbol after the fall of Rome.
Again, the ten crownless horns of the scarlet-colored beast (Rev. 17), the beast which at length succeeds the leopard-like, portray kings that “have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.” Rev. 17:12. In other words, having no kingdom of their own all the while Babylon rides (rules) the beast for an “hour,” the horns are naturally crownless.
Since these ten horns came into existence as a group, they therefore represent contemporary rulers. When horns represent powers that exist one following the other, Inspiration does not fail to so indicate by showing certain horns coming up and others dropping out. For example, three of the horns of Daniel’s fourth beast were “plucked up by the roots,” and in their stead a notable horn-head came up. In like manner, when the he goat’s great horn broke off, four came up to take its place, and a fifth one, the exceeding great horn followed thereafter (Dan. 7 and 8). Then, too, even the beasts, themselves, that in their respective periods portray the world, came out of the sea one following the other. Thus all Divine symbolization exhibits the powers precisely as time and events cause them to appear or to disappear, as the case may be.
Pictures of Beast
Pictures of Beast
In other words, when one power differs from another, and when they do or do not exist at the same time, Inspiration never overlooks making the distinction. If It did overlook doing so, then think how illogical, incongruous, inconsistent and incomprehensible Its teachings would indeed be, and how futile for anyone even to attempt to know the exact truth! Human wisdom has already demonstrated its inability of itself to comprehend the mysteries of God’s Word, even though they be delineated as perfect as only God Himself can delineate. In fact, the longer a person on his own initiative tries to explain the mysteries of God, the further away from the truth he drifts.
Moreover, it is not possible that Inspiration would be so illogical as to group two different elements (those depicted by the horns and those depicted by the heads) to represent one form of government. Neither is it conceivable that It would group horns and heads together if both did not literally exist at the same time. No, Inspiration would not thus confuse its terms, and still expect us to comprehend Its teachings, to know how to interpret Its symbols and when to expect the actual events to take place. And how logical would it be if the powers represented by the horns and the powers represented by the heads did not vary in character as much as do real horns and heads?
As to the denotation of the heads, Inspiration Itself being the only source of information, we again go to the prophecy of Daniel 7. There it is seen that the fourth beast’s little horn, having the eyes and a mouth of “man,” actually was a horn-head – a combination of two separate elements. And it being symbolical of the Church and State government (a combination of civil and religious powers during the Middle Ages), settles beyond doubt that while the horn part stands for the civil phase, the head part stands for the religious phase – logically, too, because religion should be the brains of any government. Furthermore, civil governments were originally founded upon church governments. The symbolism thus clearly connotes that an Atheistic government is about as good as is any horn apart from its head. Such might even be compared to a chicken with its head off: In its plight, the headless chicken jumps with great force, but it knows not where it is going, and it lives but a few minutes.
Moreover, the government following after the civil authority was torn away from the religious-political set-up of the Middle Ages, is brought to view in the symbolism of the leopard-like beast (the one that sequentially follows in the line of beast symbolisms). In it the religious-political governments’ having been dissolved is shown by a common wounded head, a religious system without civil authority, one suffering from a deadly blow – obviously from the blow which tore away its civil authority.
From these considerations it is particularly noticeable that in all instances where symbolical beasts have both horns and heads, the heads in every instance symbolize ecclesiastical bodies, bodies that have to do with the things of God, that are likely to commingle the sacred things of God with the common things of the world. The name of blasphemy over the heads of the leopard-like beast, exposes them as having committed that very sin.
And now, continuing with the subject of the dragon, it can be clearly seen that in order that consistency be maintained, the Biblical interpretation of the dragon’s heads and horns must be that the former are religious bodies, and the latter, civil governments.And how many of them do the dragon’s horns and heads depict? – All the civil governments and all the religious bodies at that specific time. How do we know this? – Because there are ten horns and seven crowned heads, and because the Biblical number “ten” denotes universality, and the number “seven” denotes completeness. (See Tract No. 3, The Judgment and the Harvest, p. 94, 1942 edition.)
From the aforementioned examples, we already see that the time has come for all faithful Bible students, students after saving Truth, to realize that Inspiration never does anything vain or careless. Its work is ever accurately constructed, always dependable at face value, and explicit beyond improvement.
It is a recognized fact, too, that crowns always stand for kingly authority. And as they appear on the dragon’s heads, not on his horns, it is especially noticeable that while the dragon ruled both the civil and religious worlds, yet he crowned the religious.
In other words, the church held the sceptre; the church sat on the dragon’s throne. And the fact that the number of the dragon’s horns represents universality and the number of his crowned heads, completeness, coupled with the fact that both the Jewish church and the Romans persecuted the Lord, shows that the dragon as a whole represents a complete Satanic-ecclesiastical world, that Satan had taken the world captive. As conqueror of it and armed with horns and heads, he moved upon Herod to kill the newborn children as soon as he learned of Christ’s birth. This he did with the hope of destroying the Saviour, devouring the child and thereby perpetuating his own kingdom. Such was the condition of the world at Christ’s first Advent, and thus was the church enabled to crucify the Lord, to stone Stephen, to behead others, and yet to escape the penalties of the civil authorities.
For this very reason the Son of man, the world’s Redeemer, came just when He did. The dragon, though, to defend his Satanic dominion, patiently waited and carefully watched for the arrival of the world’s promised Redeemer. So it was that while the everliving church of God was with child, and crying to be delivered, the dragon with his seven crowned heads and ten horns, stood ready to devour the child as soon as He was born.
Just such apostasy had gripped the world in the days of Noah, too, and made it necessary for the Lord to do something to save the world. For the sake of mankind, the Creator sent the flood to bring an end to the wickedness. In like manner the terrible apostasy of the Jews in the days of Christ’s first advent, demanded another disaster as thoroughly destructive as the dreadful deluge in order again to blot out wickedness. But, if for no other reason than to keep His never-failing promise to His faithful servant Noah, God could not thus overthrow the world the second time. And so He sent His Son to die in the world's stead. In this light, how much brighter than ever stands forth the Redeemer's mission! By His death did He indeed save the world from destruction at that time, and by His resurrection did He make possible for it to stand today.
“And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born….
“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
“And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
“And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.” Verses 4, 7-9, 13.
Here are described two different “castings out.” Note that in the first instance, the dragon drew the angels with his tail. But, you wonder, why not with his claws? – Simply because such would falsely indicate that Satan defeated the Lord and consequently dragged out of heaven a third of the angels. But since he drew them with his tail, the true significance is clear – that a third part of the angels voluntarily followed him. They clung to his tail, so to speak, while he led the way. “They turned from the Father and from his Son, and united with the instigator of rebellion.” – Testimonies, Vol. 3, p. 115. The dragon persuaded the angels and they followed him from heaven to earth, whereupon he sought to devour Christ.
This incident of verse 4, the dragon drawing down the stars, preceded the incident of verse 9, the Lord casting down the dragon. The former took place before the Lord was born and the latter after His resurrection. This is made manifest in the following paragraphs:
In the days of Job Satan still had access to heaven, for we are told that “…there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.” Job 1:6, 7.
Satan, then, was not cast out of heaven immediately after he rebelled or even when he caused Adam and Eve to sin. Rather, it must have been after Job’s time. But to determine just when, we shall read Rev. 12:13: “And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.” He therefore was cast out before he went to persecute the church. This he did at the “time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.” Acts 8:1. This fact is again borne out by the Spirit of Prophecy:
Triumphantly the Lord was caught up unto God and His throne. “…all are there to welcome the Redeemer. They are eager to celebrate His triumph and to glorify their King… He presents to God the wave-sheaf, those raised with Him as representatives of that great multitude who shall come forth from the grave at His second coming…. The voice of God is heard proclaiming that justice is satisfied. Satan is vanquished. Christ’s toiling, struggling ones on earth are ‘accepted in the Beloved.’ Before the heavenly angels and the representatives of unfallen worlds, they are declared justified.
“Satan saw that his disguise was torn away. His administration was laid open before the unfallen angels and before the heavenly universe. He had revealed himself as a murderer. By shedding the blood of the Son of God, he had uprooted himself from the sympathies of the heavenly beings. Henceforth his work was restricted. Whatever attitude he might assume, he could no longer await the angels as they came from the heavenly courts, and before them accuse Christ’s brethren of being clothed with the garments of blackness and the defilement of sin. The last link of sympathy between Satan and the heavenly world was broken.” – The Desire of Ages, pp. 833, 834, 761.
Indeed, realizing that he had brought an end to his ever again in heaven accusing the brethren, and knowing that his stay even on earth was to be very short,---SATAN DROPPED DOWN WITH GREAT WRATH.
After the dragon was cast down, John heard a loud voice saying in heaven:
“Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” Verses 10-12.
“Satan’s accusations against those who seek the Lord are not prompted by displeasure at their sins. He exults in their defective characters; for he knows that only through their transgression of God’s law can be obtain power over them.” – Prophets and Kings, pp. 585, 586.
Satan, we see, encourages the sinner to unconsciously commit transgression, and thus to secure his condemnation, not necessarily on earth, but in heaven. Before the righteous Judge, Satan accuses the transgressor of “being clothed with the garments of blackness and the defilement of sin.” But when the Spirit of God prompts reproof, It reveals sin and rebukes the sinner through His church.
God’s people should ever be on the alert for the voice of the Spirit of Christ, as well as be on guard to discern the spirit of Satan. When the two clash, the one strives for obedience to God’s Word, while the other excuses the sin and sympathizes with the sinner. In this latter subtle way Satan often gains ground and wins the sinner to his ranks, for the sinner naturally loves his sin. The faithful, though, overcome him “by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony.” They love “not their lives unto the death.” Rev. 12:11.
“And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, Into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times and half a time, from the face of the serpent.” Verse 14.
Since a wilderness is just the opposite of a vineyard, the statement “that she might fly into the wilderness” emphatically implies that she must have left the vineyard. And that is precisely what she did: Shortly after the resurrection, the church (the woman) left the holy land (the vineyard) and went to the land of the Gentiles (the wilderness).
Besides these historical facts, we have also the Biblical meaning of vineyard: “The vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah His pleasant plant.” Isa. 5:7.
Unquestionably, therefore, the wilderness, where the woman was nourished for the time being, is the land of the Gentiles. And the woman’s having to flee from the face of the serpent in her homeland, shows that the dragon had made the holy land his headquarters. Not satisfied with this, though, he even followed her into the wilderness.
face of the serpent in her homeland, shows that the dragon had made the holy land his headquarters. Not satisfied with this, though, he even followed her into the wilderness.
“And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.” Verse 15.
In the hope of destroying the woman, the serpent at first persecuted her. Failing, though, to reach his goal, he suddenly reversed his tactics. He ceased the persecution and began instead to befriend her. But at what cost to the woman! Cunningly he cast water as a flood after her, seeming to put forth a mighty effort to refresh her, when in actuality it was a mighty effort thereby to destroy her.
The figurative words of Inspiration explain that the compulsory Christianizing of the Gentiles and the pouring of them into the church during the fourth century of the Christian era, was not in reality a friendly act. Rather it was like a devastating torrent to drown the saving power of Christianity. In other words, Inspiration predicted the period in which the dragon clothed Pagan politicians in a garb of Christianity and then led them to compel the non-Christian pagans to join the church, that they might thus paganize her rather than she Christianize them.
In confirmation, we quote a partial description from Mr. Gibbon’s work: “By the edicts of toleration, he [Constantine]
“And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.” Verse 16.
The “earth,” God’s mighty weapon, is finally to help the woman. It is to swallow up the “flood”; that is, the same Divine means which, according to the parable, takes away the tares and burns them, likewise takes away all who have joined the church but who are still pagan at heart. And what happens then? – The Scriptures supply the answer:
“The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Verse 17.
The term “remnant” discloses that her seed is divided into two parts: The one is taken, the other is left. Nehemiah, for example, explains: “The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach.” Neh. 1:3. A “remnant” always represents one part of the whole, either large or small.
And notice that the dragon wars, not against a remnant of the “flood,” but against the remnant of her seed. Christ being the woman’s only child, her seed are therefore the Christians, those who are born into the church through the Spirit of Christ. Accordingly, the act of taking the first fruits to Mount Sion (Rev. 14:1) brings about a condition which makes a remnant of those who are still left among the Gentiles. In this instance, therefore, they, the second fruits, are the remnant.
Let it be remembered that it is after the earth swallows the flood that the dragon is to be wroth with the woman, and “to make war with the remnant of her seed [not with her personally], which keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Rev. 12:16 17. Clearly, then, there is no escaping the conclusion that the doing away with Satan’s flood is doubtless the purifying of the church, the destroying of those who have joined the church through the aid of the serpent. This purifying is the very thing that enables the church as a body to keep the commandments of God and also to have the testimony of Jesus Christ, the living Spirit of Prophecy (Rev. 19:10), in her midst. This is her only hope, her only strength, her only deliverance. In this light, Inspiration now puts new life into the words –
“Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.” Isa. 52:1.
The church’s purification, therefore, will not bring the millennial time of peace. Indeed not but it will bring the end of the wicked in the church, and with it Satan’s greatest wrath against the remnant, against those who, while still among the Gentiles, dare thereafter to take their stand on the Lord’s side. They shall, nevertheless, be delivered if they, as it were risk their lives – if they take their stand on the Lord’s side and thereby put their names in the “book.” Dan. 12:1.
The dragon cannot war with the woman, the church that is made up of the first fruits, because at that time she is with the Lamb on Mt. Sion (Rev. 14:1), out of the dragon’s reach.
For further study of Revelation 12, read Tract No. 12, The World, Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, 1946 edition, pp. 45-48. (Though the subject matter of The Revelation has only partially been treated of herein, the limited space in this tract does not permit me to go further).
“… the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all Truth; for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: He will shew you things to come.” John 16:13.
“Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” Rev. 1:3.
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“Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.” Rev. 22:7.