Due to various electronic necessities, insignificant formatting, punctuation, capitalization, etc. and other minor editing has taken place. Spelling has been addressed especially where scanning has caused errors.

Links to the various sections can be found at the bottom of the page.


The Revelation

of [ST.] JOHN [THE DIVINE]*





EXPLANATORY NOTE

This posthumous work of Pastor Russell (arranged for use as a textbook) is much condensed, including the extracts from the Pastor's pen, all of which are referred back to his works. The abbreviations used are:

A, B, C, D,E, FThe six preceding volumes of "STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES".
(Citations to E in italic figures refer to old editions, figures in ordinary type to later editions.)
B. S. M..........."THE BIBLE STUDENTS MONTHLY."
H....................."What Say the Scriptures ABOUT HELL?"
P-D................. "PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION" Scenario.
T....................."TABERNACLE SHADOWS."
S....................."SPIRITISM" Pamphlet.
Z......................"ZION'S WATCH TOWER," followed by year and page.

The citations to REVELATION and EZEKIEL refer to the comments herein, as well as to the Bible text.
Other abbreviations used are:

Barnes..........Barnes' "Revelation".
Brit................."Encyclopedia Britannica."
Buck..............Buck's "Theological Dictionary".
Coffin............Coffin's "Story of Liberty".
Cook.............Cook's "Revelation" ; a compendium of the presentations of seventy-two leading commentators on Revelation, in all languages and all ages of the Church.
Edgar............Edgar's "Pyramid Passages". Vol. II.
McC...............McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia.
Mosheim......Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History.
S. B. D...........Smith's Bible Dictionary.
Smith.............Smith's "Thoughts on Daniel and Revelation".
Weym............Weymouth's New Testament in Modern Speech.



REVELATION 12

183

THE BIRTH OF ANTICHRIST

12:1. And there appeared a great wonder. — Sign, Greek.  — Rev. 1:1.
In heaven. — In the power of spiritual control. — A318; Eph. 2:4-6; Phil. 3:20.
A Woman. — The early Church, Nominal Zion, (D591), originally a chaste Virgin. — 2 Cor. 11:2; Matt. 9:15; 22:2; John 3:29; Eph. 5:25, 32.
Clothed with the sun. — Resplendent in the full, clear light of the unclouded Gospel. — D591.
And the moon under her feet. — "The moon under her feet represents that the Law which supports her is nevertheless not the source of her light" — D591.
And upon her head a crown of twelve stars. — "The twelve stars about her head as a crown represent her Divinely appointed and inspired teachers — the Twelve Apostles." (D591.) "Now if God ordained only twelve stars as lights for His Church, as here represented, is it not a great mistake for popes, bishops and clergy to regard themselves as successors of the Apostles, — stars also?" — D594.
12:2. And [she] being with child. — As a result of the Mystery of Iniquity which was working within her. — 2 Thes. 2:7.
[Cried], AND SHE CRIETH travailing in birth. — Felt the weight of the burden even in apostolic days. — Rev. 2:2.
And pained to be delivered. — Desired to get rid of the loathsome thing from which, by the machinations of Satan, she was at the time suffering. In a sense the birth, of the Antichrist from the early Church was a counterfeit of the birth of Christ from the virgin Mary, the one a manifestation of the power of God, the other of Satan. — John 16:21, 22.
12:3. And there appeared another wonder in heaven. — Among the ecclesiastical powers of the same epoch.
And behold a great red dragon. — The Pagan Roman Empire, which had its own religious system. "The Roman Empire had not only conquered the world and given it politics and laws, but, recognizing religious superstitions to be the strongest chains by which to hold and control a people, it had adopted a scheme which had its origin
184
in Babylon, in the time of her greatness as ruler of the world. That plan was, that the emperor should be esteemed the director and ruler in religious as well as in civil affairs. In support of this, it was claimed that the emperor was a demi-god, in some sense descended from their heathen deities. As such he was worshipped and his statues adored; and as such he was styled Pontifex Maximus — i. e., Chief Priest or Greatest Religious Ruler." — B288.
Having seven heads and ten horns. — See Dan. 7:7, 20; Rev. 13:1; 17:3, 9-12; 5:6; 1 Sam. 2:10; Deut 33:17; 1 Ki. 22:11. The Eastern, or Byzantine Empire, was founded in A. D. 395, when Theodosius divided the Roman Empire between his two sons, Honorius and Arcadius, assigning to the latter all the portion lying east of the Adriatic sea. At this time the Roman Empire became the two legs of Nebuchadnezzar's vision. At the time the division was made the five potential races in the East were the Greeks, Lombards, Ostrogoths, Heruli and Vandals. The five potential races in the West were the Franks, Britons, Saxons, Visigoths and Suevi. During the next one hundred and fifty years great migrations and invasions have so confused history that there is great difference of opinion among historians on many important details. It is plain, however, that three of the migratory races disappeared from history, all within a few years of each other, apparently in order to leave Rome and its environs free for the development of the papacy. The Heruli, a race from Germanic territory, disappeared from Italian territory in A. D. 489; the Vandals, a race from the shores of the Baltic (never in control of Rome except on a brief raid, but a great enemy of the papacy) disappeared in A. D. 534; and the Ostrogoths, an Asiatic race, in A. D. 539. The Western Empire itself disappeared in A. D. 476. The matter is treated by Pastor Russell at greater length in C 76, 77, and all his statements are, of course, correct.
And seven crowns upon his heads. — In the Eastern Empire, corresponding to the present Turkey and the Balkans, and in Lombardy, corresponding to the present Austria, we may see the two horns which remained of the five Eastern powers after the Ostrogoths, Heruli and Vandals disappeared. And in the Visigothic Kingdom, corresponding to Spain; Suevia, corresponding to Portugal; the Kingdom of the Franks, corresponding to France and the Netherlands; Saxonia, corresponding to Germany and Scandinavia; and Brittania, corresponding to Great Britain, we may see the five horns which represented the
185
five western powers. The following explains why Italy is not included in the list:
"The difficulty of Italian history lies in the fact that until modern times the Italians have had no political unity, no independence, no organized existence as a nation. Split up into numerous and mutually hostile communities, they never, through the fourteen centuries which have elapsed since the end of the old Western Empire, shook off the yoke of foreigners completely; they never until lately learned to merge their local and conflicting interests in the common good of undivided Italy. Their history is therefore not the history of a single people, centralizing and absorbing its constituent elements by a process of continued evolution, but a group of cognate populations, exemplifying divers types of constitutional developments." — Brit.
The foregoing justifies Pastor Russell's thought that the Western Empire should be counted as one of the horns rooted up to make way for the Papacy. As to whether it or the Vandal race should be counted as the third horn, since both were destroyed, is a matter of no great importance to us. The point of greatest interest now is that the Lord is about to destroy the other seven, including the Papacy. All the powers named, except Spain, are already in the great War. Indeed, except South America, which expects to be dragged in, the only countries of the world not now (June, 1917) engaged in the war are Scandinavia, Holland, Switzerland, Spain, Abyssinia and Mexico. — Jer. 25:15-38.
12:4. And his tail. — Constantine, last of the Roman emperors to maintain his capital at Rome. "After the senate and people of Rome had ceased to be the sovereigns of the Roman world, and their authority had been vested in the sole person of the emperor, the eternal city could no longer claim to be the rightful throne of the state. That honor could henceforth be conferred upon any place in the Roman world which might suit the convenience of the emperor, or serve more efficiently the interests he had to guard. Furthermore, the empire was now upon its defense. When Constantine, therefore, established a new seat of government at Byzantium, he adopted a policy inaugurated before his day as essential to the preservation of the Roman dominion. He can claim originality only in his choice of the particular point at which that seat was placed, and in his recognition of the fact that his alliance with the Christian church could be best maintained in the new atmosphere. The city was founded by Constantine the Great, through the enlargement of the
186
old town of Byzantium, in A. D. 328, and was inaugurated as a new seat of government on the 11th of May, A. D. 330. To indicate its political dignity, it was named New Rome, while to perpetuate the name of its founder it was styled Constantinople. The chief patriarch of the Greek church still signs himself 'Archbishop of New Rome.'"  — Brit
Drew the third part. — "The Roman Emperor Constantine saw a vision — probably when wide awake — a vision of greater prosperity for himself and his Empire, by a recognition of Christianity as the religion of his Empire instead of paganism, which had previously been recognized. Constantine's influence in Church affairs became great. He proposed the calling of a council of all the bishops, numbering about one thousand. He wanted to know why these apostolic bishops, all inspired with the same Spirit of God, taught so differently. He offered to pay the expenses of all the bishops to the Council of Nice; but the majority, fearing that the Emperor would be under the control of the Roman bishop (not yet claiming to be pope), declined to attend. Only 384 came. But even they were unable to agree. Many held to the Bible teaching, but the mystification thought of trinity had gained a hold on some of the bishops. Thereupon Constantine decided the matter; and the Nicene Creed, backed by the Emperor's power, was declared to be the Christian faith, and anything contrary to it, heresy. Yet be it remembered that only about one-third of the bishops were present at the Council; and that they could not be coerced into substituting 'mystery' for the Word of God, until the Emperor lent his influence. Thus was the mystery of trinity enshrined by a heathen emperor, not baptized — not even sprinkled. The history of the persecution of all who would not worship the trinitarian mystery would fill volumes. One sad illustration is familiar to all — the burning of Servetus, by good Brother Calvin's signature to the death warrant. Is it any wonder that with such conditions prevailing for centuries, the Bible ignored and the creeds worshipped, the true teachings of the Bible on many subjects were completely lost eight of? Is it any wonder that, when in the sixteenth century God began to bring the Bible back to the attention of the world, it was burned by the Episcopal bishops in front of St. Paul's Cathedral in London? Is it any wonder that the Christians of that time were persecuted for studying it, and could meet only in secret?" — B. S. M.
Of the stars of heaven. — False stars, "wandering stars," man-ordained lights of the nominal heavens. — D595. There the bishops became substitutes for the true Apostolic stars.
187
And did cast them to the earth. — Forced them to teach what he told them or else be banished, as was Arius.
And the dragon. — Imperial Rome, represented by Constantine.
Stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered. — The early Christian Church.
For to devour her child. — Absorb it, make it a subordinate feature of the Roman system of government.
As soon as it was born. — As soon as the development of the clergy class and others equally unfaithful to Christ had made it impossible for them to be retained longer in the true Church.
12:5. And she brought forth a man child. — The papacy.  — Z.'79-12-2.
Who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. — "In a bull, or edict, Sixtus V declares: 'The authority given to St. Peter and his successors, by the immense power of the eternal King, excels all the power of earthly kings and princes. It passeth uncontrollable sentence upon them all. And if it find any of them resisting God's ordinance, it takes more severe vengeance on them, casting them down from their thrones, however powerful they may be, and tumbling them down to the lowest parts of the earth as the ministers of aspiring Lucifer.'
"A bull of Pope Pius V., entitled 'The damnation and excommunication of Elizabeth, queen of England, and her adherents' reads as follows: "He that reigneth on high, to whom is given all power in heaven and in earth, committed one holy, catholic and apostolic church (out of which there is no salvation) to one alone upon earth, namely, to Peter, the Prince of the apostles, and to Peter's successor, the bishop of Rome, to be governed in fulness of power. Him alone he made prince over all people and all kingdoms, to pluck up, destroy, scatter, consume, plant and build.'" — B311.
And her child was caught up unto God, and [to] UNTO His throne. — -"St. Bernard affirms that 'none except God is like the pope, either in heaven or on earth.' The Emperor Constantine,' says Pope Nicholas I., 'conferred the appellation of God on the pope; who, therefore, being God, cannot be judged by man.' Said Pope Innocent III. — 'The pope holds the place of the true God;' and the canon law, in the gloss, denominates the pope — 'our Lord God.' Innocent and Jacobatius state that 'the pope can do nearly all that God can do,' while Decius rejects the word nearly, as unnecessary. Jacobatius and Durand assert that 'none dare say to him any more than to God — Lord, what doest Thou?'" — B311.
188
Pope Martin stated the matter in his own behalf as follows: "All the earth is my diocese, and I am the ordinary of all men, having the authority of the King of all kings upon subjects. I am all in all, and above all, so that God Himself, and I, the vicar of God, have both one consistory, and I am able to do almost all that God can do. In all things that I list my will is to stand for reason, for I am able by the law to dispense above the law, and of wrong to make justice in correcting laws and changing them. Wherefore, if those things that I do be said not to be done of man, but of God — What can you make me but God? Again, if prelates of the church be called and counted of Constance for Gods, I then, being above all prelates, seem by this reason to be above all Gods. Wherefore, no marvel if it be in my power to change time and times, to alter and abrogate laws, to dispense with all things, yea, with the precepts of Christ"- — B314; Dan. 7:25.
12:6. And the woman. — The true Church of God.
Fled into the wilderness. — "Error, always more popular than truth, when exalted to influence and power, hunted down, proscribed and made disreputable the truth, and all who held it. This was the time when the true Church (woman) fled into the wilderness — into solitude — an outcast because of her fidelity to the truth, and to the true Lord and Head of the Church." — B329.
Where she hath a place prepared of God. — "The secret place of the Most High." — Psa. 91:1
That they. — The antitypical ravens that fed the Elijah class, the unknown, "faithful men" who, in secret, broke the bread of life to those that hungered for righteousness.
Should feed her there. — As Elijah was fed in the wilderness. — Rev. 2:20.
A thousand two hundred and threescore days. — 1260 years, from A. D. 539 to 1799. — Rev. 11:2, 3.
12:7. And there was war in heaven. — Between the two ecclesiastical powers, Pagan Rome and Papal Rome.
Michael. — "Who as God," the Pope. — B275; C62.
And his angels. — The Bishops. The following is the reply given in the Catholic catechism to the question, "Who are the successors of the Apostles?" Ans. "The bishops who are rightly consecrated, and are in communion with the head of the Church, the Pope."
[Fought against] TO WAR WITH the dragon. — Attempted to get the temporal power away from the civil rulers. — Rev. 2:12.
And the dragon. — Imperial Rome. — B288; Rev. 12:3; 20:2.
189
Fought and his angels. — Did everything possible to circumscribe the growing power of the papacy, but all in vain. — Rev. 2:12.
12:8. And THEY prevailed not AGAINST HIM, neither was [their place] HE THEN found any more in heaven. — The Papacy came out of the contest victorious. "Paganism, defeated, relinquished all things pertaining to religious affairs and contented itself with social, civic and political affairs," so stated one of Pastor Russell's coworkers.
12:9. And the great dragon was cast out. — Verses 9 to 12 contain the rejoicings of the Papacy over their triumph.
That old serpent, called the Devil, [and] Satan. — "To this fourth beast, representing Rome, Daniel gives no descriptive name. 'While the others are described as lion-like, hear-like and leopard-like, the fourth was so ferocious and hideous that none of the beasts of earth could be compared with it. John the Revelator, seeing in vision the same symbolic beast (government), was also at a loss (or a name by which to describe it, and finally gives it several. Among others, he called it 'the Devil.' He certainly chose an appropriate name; for Rome, when viewed in the light of its bloody persecutions, certainly has been the most devilish of all earthly governments. Even in its change from Rome Pagan to Rome Papal it illustrated one of Satan's chief characteristics; for he also transforms himself to appear as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14), a* Rome transformed itself from heathenism and claimed to be Christian — the Kingdom of Christ." — A258.
Which deceiveth the whole world. — By intimating that anybody in it except the pope has any right to say anything about how it should be run.
He was cast out into the earth. — We, the Papacy, are in control!
And his angels were cast out with him. — We, the cardinals, etc., have the positions of power once held by the priests of Pagan Rome!
12:10. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven. — In the Roman Catholic Church.
Now is come salvation, and strength. — "Cardinal Manning, Papacy's chief representative in England, endorses and draws public attention to the following clause of the Catholic faith: 'We declare, affirm, define, and pronounce it necessary to salvation, for every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.' And in a published discourse he represents the pope as saying, 'I claim to be the Supreme Judge and Director of the consciences of men; of the peasant that tills the field, and the prince that sits on the throne; of the household that lives in the
190
shade of privacy, and the Legislature that makes laws for kingdoms. I am the sole, last, Supreme Judge of what is right and wrong.'" — B317.
And the kingdom of our God. — The Papacy really believed that its exaltation to power was the exaltation of the kingdom of God in the earth, and go it was, but not our God. — 2 Cor. 4:4.
And the power of His Christ. — The pope really believes he is the Vicar of Christ.
For the accuser of our brethren is cast down. — It seemed to the Papacy that in undermining and supplanting Imperial Rome they had gained a great victory for Christ.
Which accused them before our God day and night. — Pagan Rome truthfully accused the Papacy of lying, simony, murder, adultery, and every crime on the calendar. — Rev. 2:13.
12:11. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb. — This is the way it looks to Catholics even to this day. "By this sign [the cross] conquer!" was the Crusaders' standard.
And by the word of their testimony. — But not by the testimony of history or of God's Word, both of which show that "their testimony" (i. e., the testimony of the papacy, in the forged decretals and otherwise) was one of continuous lies. — Dan. 11:27.
And they loved not their lives unto the death. — This was the Catholic viewpoint.
12:12. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens. — Catholic heavens  — popes, bishops and prelates.
And ye that dwell in them. — "The under-priests of Papacy, not parts or members of the church or hierarchy, but called 'Brothers.'" — B303.
Woe to the [inhabiters of] the earth and [of] the sea. — It seemed to the Papacy as though the Millennium, and the great Time of Trouble which the Scriptures everywhere show is to precede it, were just at hand. — Rev. 7:1.
For the devil is come down to you. — The papal thought that Pagan Rome was a good representative of the Devil is quite right; and the Scriptures return the compliment.
Having [great] wrath. — Being very greatly angered at Papacy's aggressions. The Papal policy has ever been to crowd the civil powers as far as they could possibly go, then wait until a generation had passed and crowd some more. The horns have always hated the whore. — Rev. 17:16.
Because he knoweth he hath but a short time. — Had Papacy been able to bring it about it would surely, in time, have deprived all the rulers of the world of every
191
particle of civil, social, ecclesiastical and financial power. There has never been any limit to its ambitions or pretensions, and there is none now.
12:13. And when the dragon. — The civil powers of the old Roman Empire, under the control of the Papacy.
Saw that he was cast unto the earth. — Deprived of the superstitious reverence now almost wholly absorbed by the Papacy.
He persecuted. — Not on his own account, but under the orders and instructions and encouragements of the Papacy, and to win Papal approval.
The woman which brought forth the man child. — The true Church. For details of the infamous work of Charles V, Emperor of Germany and King of Spain and the Netherlands, the Duke of Alva, Philip II of Spain, the French. kings Francis and Henry, see pages 337-338 of Studies In The Scriptures, Vol. II. These are but illustrations of what occurred in all parts of the old Roman world, and were all done at the behest of the Papacy.
12:14. And to the woman. — The true Church.
Were given Two Wings. — The Old and New Testaments.
Of a great eagle. — The eagle is a symbol of wisdom, a fit representative of the Scriptures in which are contained the words of our God. (Rev. 4:7.) "I bare you on eagle's wings, and brought you unto Myself." — Ex. 19:4; Deut. 32:11-12.
That she might fly into the wilderness. — Separateness from the world; ostracism; represented by Elijah's three and a half years in the wilderness. — Rev. 2:20.
Into her place, where she is nourished. — By Divinely provided means, of which almost no records have been permitted to survive the ravages of papal persecution.
Both for a time, and times, and half a time. — 1260 years from A. D. 539 to 1799. — Rev. 11:2, 3.
From. — Safe from.
The face of the Serpent. — Satan himself, the real instigator of all persecutions from the Lord's time even until now.
And the Serpent. — Satan himself, at the close of the 1260 years of Papacy's power to persecute.
Cast out of his mouth water as a flood. — "The strength of the French revolution, to which reference is here had, lay in the fact that it was instigated by many stern truths, regarding priest-craft and king-craft, and regarding the individual rights and liberties of all. Truths regarding human rights were seen and expressed there which cause us surprise when we consider the ignorance, superstition and servility of that day, under which the masses had so
192
long rested. Many of the truths which then swept as a flood over France, deluging it with blood, are now very generally accepted among all civilized peoples." — C65.
After the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. — "Satan's design in instigating the French revolution was to create an alarm throughout Europe, especially the influential class, unfavorable to liberty, and to illustrate in France the theory that, were the superstitions of Rome to be overthrown and liberty to be given full sway, all law and order would speedily end." This strategy Satan is now about to repeat — this time with success, but his triumph will be short. — C66.
And the earth. — The order-loving people of Europe.
Helped the woman. — The true Church.
And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood. — "It is a fact of history that the flood of truth which spread over France — arraigning Papacy and its priestcraft, and monarchy and its parasitic aristocracy, as the responsible causes of much of the ignorance, poverty and superstition of the people — was swallowed up, or absorbed by the people of Europe generally (The Roman 'earth'). And when the rulers of Europe formed what was called 'The Holy Alliance,' for the suppression of the liberties of the people and the perpetuation of their own thrones, it was too late to fetter the people; for, having drunk up the flood of waters, they would not submit. It was too late to think of re-establishing Papacy, which had been so terribly humiliated and whose anathemas against liberty and the French had so reacted against itself; so the pope was not even invited to join the 'Holy Alliance,' of which before he would have been the recognized head." — C66.
Which the dragon cast out of his mouth. — "This sudden flood of waters (truth) was designed to act as an emetic, to lead to the casting out of the food of liberty, already being received by the people from the Bible, as the result of the Reformation, and thus to force rulers and teachers to oppose the truth through fear of anarchy." — C66.
12:17. And the dragon was wroth with the woman. — The protesting Church of God. This will apply with great force shortly.
And went to make war with the remnant of her seed. — The true saints in the Roman Catholic communion or wherever otherwise found, — always objects of hatred and oppression by ecclesiasticism. — Rev. 13:7.
Which keep the commandments of God. — "The law is fulfilled in us." — Rom. 8:4.
And have the testimony of [Jesus Christ] GOD. — Have HIS word as the man of their counsel. — Rev. 14:12.
Valid CSS! Valid XHTML 1.0!