TEXT FOR PRAYER
“The Cares Of This World”
I shall read from Christ’s Object Lessons, pg. 51, paragraph two.
“No class is free from the temptation to worldly care. To the poor, toil and deprivation and the fear of want bring perplexities and burdens. To the rich come fear of loss and a multitude of anxious cares. Many of Christ’s followers forget the lesson He has bidden us learn from the flowers of the field. They do not trust to His constant care. Christ can not carry their burden, because they do not cast it upon Him. Therefore the cares of life, which should drive them to the Saviour for help and comfort, separate them from Him.”
In this reading we are instructed not to carry our own burdens, but to let the Lord carry them for us. Had we horse sense, we should be better off. As you know, horses do not worry about their next meal. Their only aim is to serve their master’s will. They leave all the burden for food and shelter to their masters. They know that they are worthy of their hire.
Horses, you see, have more faith in their masters than most Christians have in God.
Now let us kneel and pray that we shall thoroughly realize these things and that we shall place our full trust in our Master. We have a good Master, and we are His sons, not His horses, remember.
Our subject this afternoon is found in Revelation 12, and is illustrated on the following chart–
Rev. 12:1-6 – “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 threescore days.”
We all somewhat agree, I know, that this woman of Revelation 12 is symbolical of the Church; that the Dragon is symbolical of Satan; and that the child represents Christ. But inasmuch as we may not agree as to whether the woman is symbolical of the Old Testament church or of the New or of both, it is essential that we study to see eye to eye.
Now, the questions naturally arise, If Christ is the One Who brought forth the Christian church, then how can she be His mother? And was not Christ born at least thirty years before the Christian church came into being? Is not the egg laid before the chicken is hatched? And finally, is it not true that if we blunder forth on an erroneous premise that we shall find ourselves further and further from the truth on the subject? – Most assuredly. Let us, then, make certain of the foundation upon which we build.
We all know that Christ was born, not to the Christian church, but to the Jewish. This being so, then how can we escape the truth that this twelve-star-crowned woman is primarily the Jewish church who travailed and gave birth to the “world’s Redeemer” in the Old Testament period?
Moreover, before the child was born, and before the Gospel of Christ came to the Church, she was clothed with the sun, and the moon stood under her feet. There is therefore not the slightest excuse for one to conclude that the woman represents the Church clothed with the Gospel of Christ. And if her sun clothing does not represent the Gospel of Christ, then what does it represent?
Since she was clothed with the sun before Christ’s birth, and before the Gospel came, then her sun-clothing must be the Bible, the Word of God that clothed her in the period of the prophets.
What is symbolized by the moon under her feet? – The fact that the moon of the heavens reflects the light from the sun to earth, the symbolical moon therefore being under the woman’s feet, and the sun shining directly upon her, not by reflection through the moon, denotes that her channel of light conveyance, the moon, was passing away, was no longer needed, that the sun itself, the source of her light, shining directly upon her, enveloped her with its bright rays. What could the moon then symbolize but the period before the Bible came, the period before Moses, in which the Word of God did not shine directly on the people as It does to-day (for they had no Bible in those days), but was reflected on them by men of God, the medium, that is, the prophets before Moses never wrote down the messages of God but verbally passed them on.
Though this twelve-star-crowned woman symbolizes something in the Old Testament time, as we have already seen, she nevertheless is seen to symbolize something in the New Testament time. This we see from the fact that after the child was born, and after the Christian church came into being, the woman was given the wings of a great eagle, and was thus enabled to fly into the wilderness, there to be nourished “for a time, and times, and half a time.” Moreover, her leaving the vineyard (her homeland – Palestine) and going into the wilderness (the lands of the Gentiles, for that is what wilderness symbolically stands for in contrast to a vineyard), again shows that she continued after her child was born.
Taking all these points into one common whole, they positively show that the woman is symbolical of God’s everliving Church for all times, and that she is His saving Truth, His true wife, the Truth that gave birth to Christ and that gives birth to all His “brethren” (His followers), “the remnant of her seed.” Rev. 12:17.
When the promise of the coming Saviour was made, it was then that the dragon learned that the Church was to give birth to the “man child,” and from then on he watched her closely, hoping to destroy the world’s Redeemer as soon as He was born. This he endeavored to accomplish through Herod, when he caused a multitude of little children to be slaughtered. The child Christ, nevertheless escaped, and the Devil met his first defeat in this connection.
Now the Dragon being fortified with seven heads and ten horns, denotes that he controlled all the civil and religious powers in that day (for the symbolical number “ten” denotes universality, just as do the ten toes of Daniel 2, the ten horns of the other Bible beasts, and the ten virgins of Matthew 25).
The horns represent all the civil powers, while the heads represent all the religious powers, for the Biblical number “seven” denotes completeness. Moreover, the fact that the Church (the Jews), the only agency through which God worked up to that time, crucified the Lord, is in itself sufficient proof that the Church had apostatized, that she had become the Dragon’s seventh head, and that thus was the Dragon armed with ten horns and seven heads, – with all the civil and religious powers. And, so, you see, the Dragon with his horns and heads represents the world captured by the Devil.
Thus it is that the world was lost in that day, and thus it was that Christ came to redeem it. To do all this He started a new church organization. In this light we see Christ, the world’s Redeemer, and His mission even more important than we have ever seen it before.
The Dragon’s drawing from heaven a third part of the stars (angels, Rev. 12:9) with his tail, not with his claws, denotes that in the beginning of Satan’s universal rebellion the angels volunteered to follow the rebel leader, and to unite with him in his evil work against the human family.
Rev. 12:7-17 – “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 I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. 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. And when the Dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. 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. 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. 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. And the Dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ."
The main point to be noticed in these verses is that after the Dragon and his angels were cast out of Heaven (Satan’s second defeat), and after he had persecuted the Church, and she had taken her flight into the wilderness, the Dragon followed her there, but rather than persecuting her, he cast “water as a flood after her,” hoping to cause her to be carried away by it. In other words, after he saw that he could not stop the growth of the Christian Church by persecuting her followers, he changed his tactics and instead compelled the Pagans to join her, expecting thereby to cause her to be paganized – “carried away.”
The Dragon, though, is again to miss the mark, for the earth is to open her mouth and swallow up the flood; that is, Inspiration definitely forecasts that those who join the Church for some purpose other than to follow and practice the Truth, shall be disposed of by a miracle, be swallowed by the earth, as it were. And when this comes to pass Satan shall have met his third defeat. Summarized, here are his three defeats: No. 1 – Failing to devour the child; No. 2 – Losing the war in Heaven; No. 3 – Failing to paganize the Church by flooding her with the unconverted.
When he meets his third defeat, when the tares which he sowed are burned (for as a flood they are swallowed by the earth, but as tares they are burned by the angels), then it is that the Church will appear “‘Fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners,’ she is to go forth into all the world, conquering and to conquer.” – Prophets and Kings, pg. 725.
Having met such a mighty defeat, and having seen that the Church is freed from his flood, the Dragon’s wrath is to be intensified. He will be wroth with the woman and “make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (verse 17), “the Spirit of Prophecy” (Rev. 19:10).
Obviously, the remnant are those who are left after the earth opens her mouth and swallows up the flood. They as a body keep the commandments of God, and have the living Spirit of Prophecy, the Spirit Who dictated the Scriptures, Who has led God’s people into all Truth down through the ages, and Who still is. Thus it is that the Dragon’s wrath, and the Church’s purity, caused by the Dragon’s third defeat, are to bring the time of trouble such as never was:
“And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great Prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.” Dan. 12:1.
Nothing in the world is worth as much as having our names written in the book. And therein we may have our names if we choose to follow the Spirit of Truth and to keep the commandments of God. Here we have seen that those who think that the law, the ten commandments, is “abolished,” that their lives need not comport with the law; and those who think that the Spirit of Prophecy is a thing of the past, that God has left the world to get along as best it can, that He no longer bothers Himself to send a prophet; that all such shall find themselves in league with Babylon the Great, the seat of the Dragon, and rather than having their names written in the Book, they will have the mark of the beast, and have a part in persecuting the remnant which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Now is the time for all to decide either to be swallowed up by the earth – cast into the fire – or to be delivered by Michael, our Prince.
Let us therefore choose deliverance rather than defeat. “O love the Lord, all ye His saints: for the Lord preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer.” Psa. 31:23.