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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 7

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SEVENTH SEAL AND GREAT COMPANY

7:1. And after [these things] THIS. — After the events disclosed by the opening of the sixth seal had already been amply fulfilled, but not signifying that further, more elaborate and final fulfilments on an immense scale will not take place later.
I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth. — The Little Flock, commissioned to carry the message of Present Truth to the remotest outposts of civilization. "They shall gather together His Elect from the four winds." — Matt. 24:31.
Holding the four winds of the earth. — "The winds of the earth referred to here are, of course, symbolic. The thought is that the winds from the four quarters — North, East, South and West — are being held back, and that when the restraint is withdrawn they will rush together, and the result will be a whirlwind. Certain Scriptures tell of a whirlwind that will be raised up from the coasts of the earth. See Jer. 23:19; 25:32, 33; 30:23, 24. We do not understand that this will be a physical whirlwind, but this symbolic expression is used to convey the thought of a severe strife of the powers of the air. These 'powers of the air,' or 'winds,' are not powers of natural air, but are the powers referred to by St. Paul when he speaks of Satan as 'the Prince of the power of the air.' (Eph. 2:2.) Those spirits who have been under the control of Satan — the fallen angels — were to be restrained until the Judgment of the Great Day. (Jude 6.) The letting loose of these winds, or air powers, would seem to show that God will let go His hand of restraint; that He will have to do with the permission of the terrible trouble that will come. This outside influence will exercise a baneful effect upon men, when finally granted the liberty. These fallen spirits have been under restraint for these many centuries, but they have exercised their influence to whatever extent they have had permission. If they had had unlimited power they would have wrecked the world long ago; but they have been restrained. Apparently God will soon cease to restrain the fallen angels, and they will then proceed to vent their fury upon humanity, so that the whole earth will be full of violence, the same as in the days of Noah.
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The power manifested by the demons when loosed, will, we believe, be with a view to the injury of mankind. We do not know but that many of our readers will have a share in that injury. We have every reason to suppose that, if these fallen angels shall get loose, they will vent their first anger upon the Lord's people." — Z.'14-166.
That the wind should not blow. — "As soon as the power that is now controlling them shall be removed, we shall have a reign of evil all over the earth. The evil spirits will do all the evil that is in their power, and this will constitute the trial of all the fallen angels — the lifting of the restraints to see whether they will go contrary to the Divine will. All who thus manifest their alliance with evil in any way will become subjects of the Second Death; while others who show their loyalty to God will mark themselves as worthy, presumably, of everlasting life. It may be something in connection with the saints that will constitute the test of these angels. This will be the key, the secret connected with the awful Time of Trouble which the Bible tells us will mark the conclusion of this Age and which will constitute the forerunner or beginning of the New Dispensation." Z.'11-359.) THE TEST 1S ON.
On the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. — "Symbolically, the earth represents organized society; the sea represents the disorganized masses (Dan. 7:2; Lu. 21:25; Rev. 10:2, 8), and the trees represent the Household of Faith. The letting loose suddenly of the fallen angels will account well for the suddenness of the coming trouble, which everywhere in the Scriptures is one of its particular features — 'in one hour'; 'suddenly as travail upon a woman'; 'as it was in the days of Noah,' and 'as it was in the days of Lot.'" — Z.'ll-157.
"There is only one way, so far as we can see, in which these fallen angels can have a trial, their trial consisting in having a fuller opportunity to sin, if they so desire, or an opportunity to show, if they wish, that they are sick of sin and desire to return to harmony with God. We cannot think that God will allow this trial of the angels during the Millennial Reign, for then, nothing shall hurt; nothing shall destroy; Satan will be bound and all evil influences will be restrained. No; it cannot be then. And in order to be tried at all, these fallen angels must have certain, liberties granted, to prove them. Otherwise, where would be their trial? Consequently, reasoning along this basis (2 Peter 2:4), we reach the conclusion that the trial of these fallen angels is in the near future — perhaps to some extent already begun. In what way?" (Z.'11-358) He that hath ears to hear, let him hear! — 1 Cor. 6:2.
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7:2. And I saw another angel. — The Messenger of the Covenant; our Lord Jesus at His Second Advent. — Mal. 3:1.
Ascending from the east. — "This speaks symbolically of the Sun of Righteousness and its full light of Divine truth and blessing scattering the shadows of sin, ignorance, superstition and death, and healing and restoring the willing and obedient of humanity." — D653; Luke 1:78; Mal. 4:2.
Having the seal of the living God. — The seventh seal.
And He cried with a loud voice. — With an emphatic message. Pastor Russell was the mouthpiece used. Noble servant of the Lord: strong, wise, loving, just, one of the grandest characters of all history "I lift my pen, not in defense of any doctrine, creed or dogma, but in defense of a man, in defense of fairness, justice and righteousness. Pastor C. T. Russell, of Brooklyn, N. Y., stands out prominently as a target for the pulpits and religious press of the country today. I believe there is no one more bitterly persecuted, harshly condemned, woefully misrepresented and misunderstood than this fearless, conscientious man of God. No infidel writer, such as Hume, Voltaire or Ingersoll, ever suffered such ruthless attacks as have been made upon Mr. Russell. Whether this persecution, and misrepresentation is due to prejudice or ignorance of this man's, real character and writing, is not for me to say, but I believe both are elements that play a part in the widespread criticism uttered both from the pulpit and the press. Naturally, men will resent any attack made upon the creed of their persuasion, for they hold to their religious creed and affiliations with more tenacity than they realize, until some strong mind, backed by Scripture proof, begins to uproot their doctrine by showing their inconsistencies and errors. This is what Mr. Russell proceeds to do. As a logician and theologian he is doubtless without a peer today. In his research for Biblical Truth and harmony he is without a parallel in this Age. Without a blemish in his character, with the loftiest ideals of God, and the possibilities of man, he towers like a giant, unmatched. His defects fade into insignificance. He has been too busy spreading Divine Truth, as he honestly sees it, to waste time in frivolous speculation in matters not in some way connected with man's future state, as outlined in 'The Plan of the Ages.' Unselfish, liberal and courteous to Christians of all denominations, but fearlessly condemning, in unmeasured terms, the errors and inconsistencies in their creeds, as he sees them, he ranks with immortal benefactors, and is stamping his opinion on the world as no other man has
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done since the days of the Reformation. Efforts to throttle the press to prevent the publication of his sermons have repeatedly been made. Why this opposition? Why would any one oppose investigation or revelation and searching the Scriptures? Why? What right has any one to prevent free thought, free speech, or the freedom of the press? What manner of men are we? Let men, preachers or what not, beware of blocking the way of such a man. Jesus said, 'And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in Me, it is better that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.' Mark 9:42. Better be like Gamaliel in the days of the Apostles, when St. Peter and others were on trial. Gamaliel rose up and said, 'Refrain from these men, and let them alone, for if this work be of men it will come to naught; but if it be of God. ye cannot overthrow it, for ye fight against God.' " — Prof S. A. Ellis.
To the four angels. — The church in the flesh, the Harvest workers. — Matt 24:31.
To whom it was given. — By completing the Harvest work and thus releasing the restraints on the evil spirits.
To hurt the earth. — Throw order-loving peoples into desperation.
And the sea. — So enrage the masses, not under religious restraint, as to make it impossible to control them.
7:3. Saying, Hurt not the earth. — Do not complete the Harvest work too soon, and thus allow the demons to invade the minds of men until the appointed time. (Many writers claim that this has already happened to the ex-Czar of Russia, to Kaiser Wilhelm and to the chief of modern "evangelists.")
Neither the sea. — I will see to it that the work of Harvest shall hold in check those not under religious restraint until the work of Harvest is finished and the demons are released, when, maddened by the obsession of the evil spirits, there are no lengths to which the godless will not presume to go. All Bible Students, followers of Pastor Russell, know how urgently he has warned for forty years that this deluge of evil spirits is sure to come.
Nor the trees. — See Rev. 8:7. Have you enjoyed this work thus far? Are you convinced it is of the Lord — prepared under His guidance? Have you carefully and prayerfully read the comments on Rev. 7:1? Then brace yourself for the truth that it is evidently God's purpose soon to allow the minds of many of His little ones to become an open battle ground, upon which the fallen angels shall be judged, and the manner in which we meet the tests will prove our worthiness of crowns at the same
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time that it proves these disobedient spirits unworthy of life on any plane. This is something with which some but not many are yet familiar. Truly, we know the Apostle in writing of this evil day says, "We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wicked ones in heavenly places" (Eph. 6:12). Truly, we know the Lord Jesus, at the First Advent began His ministry with forty days of conflict with the Adversary, who all that time sought to sway His mind (Matt. 4:1-11). Truly, we have reason to believe He must have had other terrible battles when He spent all night in prayer, and especially when He was so depressed in the garden of Gethsemane. But without actual experience it la quite impossible to conceive of the intensity of such struggles as Eph. 6:12 suggests. The base of the brain is seized as in a vise. Interpretations of Scripture, ingenious, but misleading beyond description, are projected into the mind as water might be projected through a hose. Visions may be tried, wonderful illuminations of the mind as by a soft but glorious greenish or yellowish haze. Seductive suggestions may be made, based on circumstances of the environment. Offers of inspiration may be made. The privilege of sleep may be taken away for days at a stretch. All this is with the object of forcing the unfortunate into at least temporary insanity so as to destroy big influence and, if possible, his faith in God. Failing in all other attempts, the mind may be flooded with thoughts that are vile beyond description. THEN REMEMBER THE VOW.
The fact that Jehovah intends some unique experiences for the antitypical Isaac may be judged from the fact that between Isaac's conception (Gen. 17:19 and 18:10) and his birth (Gen. 21:1) occurred the destruction of Sodom (Gen. 18:16 to end of 19th Chap.) and Abraham's denial of Sarah (Gen. 20). But reading the latter account, the child of God is comforted with God's care of His little ones (Gen. 20:3) with the assurance that none of Satan's plans can mature (Gen. 20:18) without the Lord's permission. Isaac was a type of the complete Christ; and if now The Christ is about complete, and ready to be born into the Kingdom, we should not be surprised at anything that might look like our repudiation at the Father's hands He pours the cup, it will only be because He knows that we can drink it, and because He wishes to prove to angels and to men that we are worthy of the honors He is to give us.  — Lu. 22:42, 43; 1 Tim. 1:16.
Till we. — You "four angels," Harvest workers in the flesh, and Myself, the Lord of the Harvest.
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Have sealed the servants of our God. — See Rev. 19:20; 14:1. Satan is a diligent student of time prophecy (Luke 12:39); but not having the Holy Spirit he is unable to reach accurate conclusions. Seeing a definite Plan, and a definite time for every important feature of that Plan, his aim has ever been to thwart the purposes of the Almighty. This attempt to destroy the Seed began with the death of Abel and still continues. No doubt Satan believed the Millennial Kingdom was due to be set up in 1915; and no doubt, also, he knew that seven years prior to the time of the setting up of that kingdom the restraints upon the evil spirits would be lifted. Be that as it may, there is evidence that the establishment of the Kingdom in Palestine will probably be in 1925, ten years later than we once calculated. The 70 jubilees, reckoned as 50 years each, expire October, 1925. (B186.) Gen. 15:1-16:3, read connectedly, indicates that Abraham's vision as to when he would receive the Kingdom was not granted until ten years after the Covenant was made, or 2035 B. C. The ages of the animals offered aggregated eleven years, which, applied prophetically, on the scale of a year for a day, equal 3960 years, the length of time from the date of the visions to A. D. 1925 (Z.'07-79). It seems conclusive that the hour of Nominal Zion's travail is fixed for the Passover of 1918. (See Rev. 3:14.) That will be 7 years prior to 1925. At that time there is every reason to believe the fallen angels will invade the minds of many of the Nominal Church people, driving them to exceedingly unwise conduct and leading to their destruction at the hands of the enraged masses, who will later be dragged to the same fate. The great war now raging is most certainly the work of evil spirits, and the Kaiser is not the only clever ruler who has been deceived by evil spirits, as history will sometime show. — Lu. 12:56..
If our reasoning is correct, we inquire whether there was any indication of a move on Satan's part 7 years prior to 1915, showing that he expected the restraints to be removed from the evil spirits at that time; and we answer that there was something very definite indicated at that time. In the Vow, advised by Pastor Russell in that year, and in the experiences of many, for and against it, it is plain that the Enemy then attempted to come in like a flood, but was held back — restrained until the sealing work is done. (Matt 10:25; Luke 22:42-44; Heb. 12:4; Isa. 63:3.) After the demons have been turned loose on the swine class, we shall see what happens. (Matt. 7:6; 8: 31-84.) Those now fearful that they might learn something will be terror-stricken then for a different reason.
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In their foreheads. — "The storm is held in check until the faithful servants of God are 'sealed in their foreheads' (Ex. 13:9; 28:36, 38; Deut 6:8; Ezek. 9:4-6; Rev. 14:1), i. e., until such are given an intellectual appreciation which will not only comfort them, and shield them, but also be a mark, seal or evidence of their sonship, as indicated by our Lord when He promised that the Holy Spirit should show to the faithful 'things to come.' (John 16:13.") (B169.) When the demon test comes, those who have the mark of son-ship (Ezek. 9:2-4) will know it and will stand the test, while all others will surely fail. A letter from one of the Bethel workers, written shortly after Pastor Russell's death, says: "About three months ago I asked several questions at the table, the last one being as follows, 'Since I now see that the Jewish Time of Trouble did not end until the year 73 A. D., as I fully proved to myself by consulting the historians, what then are we to expect in the parallel year 1918?' Brother Russell put the question to three prominent brethren, all of whom replied that they did not know, but were willing to wait and see. When he called upon me I said, 'Since the year 73 A. D. saw the complete overthrow of nominal Natural Israel in Palestine, so in the parallel year 1918, I infer we should look for the complete overthrow of nominal Spiritual Israel; i. e., the fall of Babylon. (Rev. 18.) Brother Russell replied: 'Exactly. That is exactly the inference to draw.'" See argument on pages 61-64.
"If you see the 'door' of opportunity for sacrifice and service open before you, enter in. But enter quickly; for the night of darkness and of intense opposition to the truth will ere long be upon us and will hinder you from engaging in the service. 'The morning cometh, and also the night.' 'The night cometh in which no man can work.' When that is true, you may know that 'the door is shut,' that all the wise virgins have entered in, that all have been proved, and that all vacancies have been acceptably filled. All the special 'servants of God' having by that time been 'sealed in their foreheads' (given an intellectual appreciation of God's Plan), the four winds will be loosed and will produce the great 'whirlwind' of trouble in the midst of which the remnant of the Elijah class will be 'changed,' and exalted to Kingdom glory." — C225.
7:4. And I heard the number of them which were sealed. — "We have every reason to believe that the definite, fixed number of the Elect is that several times stated in Revelation, namely, 144,000 'redeemed from amongst men.'" (F179; Rev. 14:1.) This is the equivalent of one saint fully developed for each five days of the Age.
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And there were sealed 144,000. — On this point one of Pastor Russell's coworkers has well said: "That this is not a symbolical, but an exact number, seems certain from the fact that, in the same chapter reference is made to another company, also spirit-begotten. In the 9th verse we read: 'I beheld, and lo, a great multitude which no man could number." It is not probable that this multitude is so great that no one could actually count them, but rather that none can state their number, God having left it indefinite."
Of all the tribes of the children of Israel. — "As a name, Israel signified 'The people blessed of the Lord,' "The people of God,' 'The Lord's people.' — 2 Chron. 7:14." (D654; Gal. 6:16; Rom. 9:6-8.) Each of the saints is reckoned as belonging to one of the twelve tribes of "Israelites indeed," which tribes bear the names of the twelve patriarchs of natural Israel. In every family each child is beloved for some characteristic peculiarly its own; and in the meaning of the names of the children of Israel we may recognize certain of the qualities which make each overcomer precious in the Father's sight.
7:5. Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. — Juda signifies Celebrated, lauded, praised. Nothing is more praiseworthy than justice, noble-mindedness, the doing to everybody as one would wish to be done by. Our Lord was the Just One of the tribe of Juda. All who knew Pastor Russell intimately, recognized that justice was the foundation principle of his character. The mention of the Lord's tribe first shows that there is a Divine order in the arrangement of the names, inasmuch as that order is different from the order of the birth of Jacob's sons. Doubtless the brightest crowns will be worn by those that are wholly without self-love, either in heart or in life. — Gen. 38:12-26; 43:3-10; 44:14, 34; 46:28.
Of the tribe of Reuben [were sealed] twelve thousand. — Reuben's name signifying "See ye, a son, provided in my affliction" or The Pity of God, seems to refer to the five-talented brethren who make their calling and election sure. To be possessed of ability and means to get the fullest enjoyment out of life, and to sacrifice it all gladly, requires a standard of character so high that the Lord expressly states that not many attain it. (1 Cor. 1:26; Gen. 37:21, 22, 29, 30; 42:22, 37.) A taint of love of the world (spiritual uncleanness) is all that prevents from attaining the very highest place. — Gen. 35:22; 49:3, 4; 2 Cor. 7:1.
Of the tribe of Gad [were sealed] twelve thousand. — Gad's name, signifying A troop of children cometh, seems to give the third highest honor to those faithful men and women who have been blessed of God in bringing many
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of their own descendants into the Divine family. Instances are on record where as many as twelve children in one family have all come into the light of Present Truth and consecrated, as a result of the life and teachings of a noble father and mother. There is a family interest on the part of the Heavenly Father in every family that rightly seeks His face. Not a crown is available for others, so long as even one child of one of the consecrated is ready to run for that crown. "The promise is unto you [first], and to your children [next], and [after that] to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord your God shall call." (Acts 2:39; 1 Cor. 7:14.) "Of the childhood and life of the patriarch Gad nothing is preserved. At the time of the descent into Egypt, seven sons are ascribed to him, remarkable from the fact that a majority of their names have plural terminations, as if those of families rather than persons." (McC.) — Gen. 46:16; Num. 26:15-18.
7:6. Of the tribe of Aser [were sealed] twelve thousand. — Aser's name signifies Happy. "And Leah said, Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name Asher." (Gen. 30:13.) Apparently the fourth highest place of honor goes to the happy Christians. Wherever else the long-faced saints go they do not get into the Asher tribe. "Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say rejoice, Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord." — Phil. 4:4; 3:1; 2 Chron. 20:22.
Of the tribe of Nephtalim [were sealed] twelve thousand.  — Naphtali's name signifies Great wrestlings, and suggests that the fifth highest place 'will go to those who have especially sought the face of the Father in prayer. By his birth Naphtali was allied to Dan, the class that goes into the Second Death. (Gen. 35:25; 49:17.) The suggestion is not strained, then, that here is a class that has overcome largely because they have so much appreciated, and have used to such good purpose, the privilege of seeking the Father's face in prayer. — Luke 11:5-13; James 1:5; 3:17.
Of the tribe of Manasses [were sealed] twelve thousand.  — Manasseh's name signifies forgetting, "For God hath made me forget all my toil and all my father's House." (Gen. 41:51.) The sixth honor apparently refers to a class having naturally very strong human attachments, for the dear ones of their earthly families, and yet love the Lord still more. Great is the love, great the faithfulness of those that hear and heed the Divine proposal: "Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father's House." — Psa. 45:10.
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7:7. Of the tribe of Simeon [were sealed] twelve thousand. — Simeon signifies Hearing. "Because the Lord hath heard that I was hated, He hath therefore given me this son also." (Gen. 29:33.) This suggests that the seventh place of honor is reserved for those who have been hated in their home circles because of faithfulness to the Word of the Lord. The Lord saw that the beauties of their characters would only shine forth to the best advantage if they were made ready in just such environment. How sweet, how beautiful, is the patient heart developed under such conditions! — Rom. 5:3; Col. 1:11,12; 1 Pet. 1:7; 4:12; 5:10; Rom. 8:17; 2 Tim. 2:12; James 1:12.
Of the tribe of Levi [were sealed] twelve thousand. — Levi's name signifies A joining. "This time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have borne him three sons." The next honor is apparently reserved for those who have literally sacrificed all their possessions in this world in order that they might be more closely joined to the Lord and His service. Levi had no inheritance in the land, as a tribe, and as an individual the only event recorded in the life of the patriarch is one of destruction of the unfaithful, — Gen. 34:25-29.
Of the tribe of Issachar [were sealed] twelve thousand. — Issachar signifies There is reward, or He brings reward. "God hath given me my hire, because I have given my maiden to my husband." "Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens: and he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear." (Gen. 30:18; 49:14, 15.) This seems to signify that the next honor goes to the zealous, those who joyfully undertake, in the Lord's name and cause, to work hard for the glory of His name. — 1 Cor. 15:58.
7:8. Of the tribe of Zabulon [were sealed] twelve thousand. — Zebulun signifies Habitation or Dwelling. It signifies the blessed satisfaction that comes to those who, like the Master, during their earthly pilgrimages have not known where to lay their heads; but, although they have wrestled with poverty throughout life's little day, have nevertheless held faithfully to the Lord, serving Him, with limited education, strength, talents and opportunities, in hope of finally reaching "The Home where changes never come, nor pain, nor sorrow, toil nor care." What a homecoming they will have! In the Father's House of many mansions theirs will be the happiest home.
Of the tribe of [Joseph were sealed] BENJAMIN twelve thousand. — Benjamin signified Son of my Sorrow originally, but the name was changed to signify Son of the right hand. The youngest of Jacob's children, he seems
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in some aspects to typify the Great Company class (Z.'81-1-7), but succeeds in gaining the higher reward, probably because of being the companions of those that occupy more advanced positions in the Body. Thus the humble-minded and faithful servants and companions may and do fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ, even though their personal sufferings be slight — Heb. 10:33.
Of the tribe Of [Benjamin were sealed] JOSEPH twelve thousand. — The Sinaitic MS. mentions Joseph last, with peculiar fitness. Joseph was one of the most beautiful characters of the Bible. His name signifies Whom may God increase. He had so many virtues that it is inadvisable to attempt their enumeration, but the story is told at length in Gen. 37-50. He is one of the very few characters named in the Bible about whom nothing uncomplimentary is expressed. He well represents all the other members of the Divine family, all of whom have attained the Divine likeness in their hearts and given expression to that likeness as well as the frailties and weaknesses of the flesh would permit.
It will be noticed that the tribes of Dan and Ephraim. are omitted from the foregoing list Dan evidently represents the class that goes into the Second Death. The name signifies "God hath judged me." (Gen. 30:6.) We know that all God's judgments are just and look for the reason for Dan's rejection. Jacob prophesied that it would be Dan "that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward." (Gen. 49:17.) Horses are symbols of doctrines. Dan evidently represents a class tampering with doctrines, resulting in the overthrow of the New Creature. A study of the history of the tribe of Dan confirms this. Originally Dan was given one of the choicest parts of Palestine, one of the most fertile and the most secure. It was completely embraced by its two brother tribes Ephraim and Benjamin, while on the south-east and south it joined Judah, and was thus surrounded by the three most powerful states of the whole confederacy. The Danites however failed to conquer the land originally assigned to them (representing the failure of the New Creature to gain the victory over the mind of the flesh) and chose another inheritance to the far north (Judges 18:1-31). This selection of the farthest north resembles Satan's similar choice (Isa. 14:13) and suggests that the Danite New Creatures were led away from their original inheritance by ambition. The context shows an unreasonably high valuation of their own judgment and a wilful interference with the priestly office, and this we may judge has
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been a frequent offense of those who commit the great sin that lies just beyond the sin of presumption. (Psa. 19:13; 2 Sam, 6:6, 7.) THE TEST 1S ON; take heed! take heed!
The half tribe of Ephraim represents the Great Company, mainly to be found in the Nominal Church. They are more or less intoxicated with error (Isa. 28:1, 7), they fear to let go of their idols of creeds and catechisms (Hos. 4:17), they are, in a way, half-baked Christians, not wholly devoted to the Lord — "Ephraim is a cake not turned." (Hos. 7:8.) From first to last the prophecy of Hosea is eloquent with Jehovah's pleadings to the Great Company class not to miss the great prize of Immortality.
7:9. After this, I beheld, and lo, a great multitude. — When the Apostle tells us in 2 John 8, "Look to yourselves that ye lose not those things which we have wrought, but that ye receive a full reward," he is teaching that a Heavenly reward may be gained that is not as full as if a course more pleasing to the Heavenly Father is pursued.
Instead of teaching that the saved of our race will all be saved to the same thing, the Scriptures show two degrees or kinds of Heavenly salvation, and two degrees or kinds of earthly salvation. In the second chapter of Genesis the stream which went forth from the Garden of Eden was divided into four parts. This is a Scriptural recognition of the fact that from Adam, the original fountain of life, will flow four streams: The Little Flock, who are to sit down with Christ in His Throne; the Great Company, who are to stand before the Throne, having the palms of martyrdom but without the crowns of glory; the Ancient Worthies, the Jewish fathers, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Daniel, etc., who are to be made princes in all the earth; and the world of mankind, who will constitute the subjects of the Kingdom over which the Ancient Worthies will rule. The same lesson is taught in the division of the Levites into four camps, each located on a different side of the Tabernacle. (Num. 3:15; F128. 129.) It is also taught in the Apostle's statement in 2 Tim. 2:20, that in God's great House there will ultimately be found four classes of vessels to His praise.
The question for the saints is not as to which of the earthly classes may ultimately include them, for they have given up their earthly hopes in exchange for Heavenly hopes. The question is whether they shall be wise virgins, faithful students of the Word, building with the gold, silver and precious stones of Divine Truth instead of foolish virgins (pure of heart) (Matt 25:2; C91; F75) who build faith structures with the wood, hay and stubble of human tradition. The Apostle says the fiery trials of life will
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try every man's work so as by fire, and intimates that those who do not build wisely shall suffer loss — not go into eternal torment, but fail to gain the great reward which otherwise might be theirs. (1 Cor. 3:15, T69.) The question is whether as branches in Christ the Vine, to go onward to fruit-bearing, or as other branches, to be principally devoted to leaves (professions), or tendrils (feelers after earthly honors and emoluments). (John 15:2; F78, 170.) Christ said of a similar class in His day, "How can ye believe [effectively] which receive honor one of another, and seek not the praise which cometh from God only!" The question is whether we are to be termed children of disobedience (Col. 3:6; Z.'99-140) because, though God's children, we have failed to mortify, or put to death, our earthly and sinful tendencies; whether we are sinners against the covenant we have made with God to lay down our lives in His service (Psa. 1:1; Z.'00-281), whether, like Lot's wife, we look back to the earthly good things we have given up (Gen. 19:26; C194), or whether we retain the singleness of heart and purpose, without which the prize of the High Calling cannot be gained.
The question is whether, as babes in Christ, we shall wink at the unscriptural divisions of God's people, into followers of Paul or Apollos, Cephas or Luther, Calvin or Wesley (1 Cor. 3:4; D17); whether, like Rahab, we shall be in the citadel of error when it falls, or like Joshua who caused it to fall (Josh. 6:25; Z.'07-267); whether, like the fitches and cummin, we shall easily divest ourselves of the entangling associations of life, represented by the pods from which the fitches and cummin are so easily shaken, or whether we shall be like the "bread-corn" which requires a vast amount of threshing before it will let go of the close-clinging chaff. (Isa. 28:27; Z.'84-l-4.) The question is whether, like the rejected members of Gideon's army, we shall forget our mission, and bury our heads in the waters of truth; or whether, with equal appreciation of its message, we shall remember why the Lord gave it to us, and shall drink of it, with our eyes out over the horizon, seeking to serve, to spend and be spent in the Master's service. (Judg. 7:6; Z.'07-331.) The question is whether, like Caleb and Joshua, we shall retain our confidence in Him who has called us, and bring back true reports of the land we hope ere long to possess, or, whether we shall be of the larger company that through fear and faint-heartedness never enter in. (Num. 13:31; Z.'07-251.) Shall we rejoice to lay down our lives for the Lord's brethren, or shall we, through fear of this sacrificial death, be all our lifetime subject to bondage? (Heb. 2:15;
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T70, 71.) The question is whether we shall be like the servant who hid his Lord's talent in the earth (in earthly enjoyments and pursuits) (Matt. 25:24; Z.'01-61; Z.'06-318), whether we shall be double minded, having some idea of attaining heavenly things and some idea of getting all we can of earthly things (Jas. 1:8; Z.'07-316), whether, like Obadiah, we are merely friendly toward the Truth and those who stand for the Truth, but conceal our interest for fear of the consequences to ourselves and our families. — 1 Ki. 18:3; Z.'04-221.
If, in these tests of faith and character, we come off victorious in the Lord's sight, we shall not need to be of those who wash their robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb, in the great tribulation with which this Age will close, but shall keep our robes unspotted so that they will not need such a general cleansing. If we have fled to the Lord before the winter time of His disfavor has come upon the man-made systems of our day, we shall be spared the rigors of the flight, of which He said, "Pray that your flight be not in the winter" (the time for the burning of the tares),and we shall be spared, too, the bitter disappointment of saying at that time, "The Harvest [the time of special favor] is past, the summer is ended and we are not saved" [not saved with the chiefest salvation, with the salvation to which we aspired]. (Jer. 8:20; D578.) In the time of Zion's travail these children of God will all be delivered. (Isa. 66:8; Z.'94-135.) Let us be glad of our hope that we shall be of the Man-child delivered before that travail comes. Let us hope we may not be of the lambs (Isa. 34:6; D17) or the goats found together in the nominal sheepfolds when the time has come to wind up present ecclesiastical systems. All down the Age, some of God's children have been "turned over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit might be saved -in the day of the Lord" (1 Cor. 5:5; T69, 71), because they have not lived up to their covenants. The sufferings of the scapegoat class, turned into the wilderness, dying of thirst, hunger, snake-bites, thorns, briars, burrs, fleas or attacks of wild animals, were far greater than those of the Lord's goat, killed sacrificially. (Lev. 16:7-10; T60.) Those who withhold from the Lord what they have promised Him suffer far more than those who fight manfully the good fight of faith and lay hold with both hands on the hope set before us.
The Great Company class will say "Alleluia" as soon as they perceive that the Church is complete. (Rev. 19:1; A240; F128.) But like Rebecca's damsels of old, they must go the same long journey as the Bride class, only to
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be received as servants in the end. (Gen. 24:61; Psa. 45:14; F121.171.) Shall we enter fully into our inheritance now, while the door is still open to do and dare in the Master's Cause; or shall we be like the class mentioned in Ezekiel 44 that finds the door shut because the start is made too late, and must know that forever the Heavenly Priesthood, the prize of the High Calling, is closed, and that the most that can be then attained is the place as keepers or servants in the Temple? (Ezek. 44:1-14; Z.'05-269.) Let us rejoice if we are heirs of salvation at all; but let us resolve, by God's grace, that we shall, in the words of our text, "Look to ourselves, that we lose not those things that we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward" — all that the Father is pleased to give to those who love Him supremely.
"What we see going on about us seems natural to our minds. The way in which other people spend time and money is a temptation to the Lord's people which must be steadfastly resisted. For us to do what others do, and to devote to the Lord's service only what the world considers a reasonable day's work, would not be fulfilling our Covenant of Sacrifice at all. Those who seek merely to do right, and to put in eight hours or so a day faithfully, after the manner of the world, will be judged from this standpoint; and they will merely obtain a place in the Great Company. They are not fulfilling the conditions of the Covenant of Sacrifice." — Z.'14-71.
"We do not think we should understand the Scriptures to teach that the Great Company will attain to the same degree of spiritual development as the Little Flock. They fail to display that love and zeal which the Lord has set as the mark for participation in the Royal Priesthood." (Z.'14-68.) "In determining to sacrifice themselves piecemeal when and how they and their friends might please, is the primary mistake." (Z.'96-191.) "While the living members of the Bride are being separated from others by the Truth, the ears of this class are dull of hearing and they are slow to believe and slow to act." (A240.) "In one parable the Lord styles this class a wicked and slothful servant. He does not deny him the honor of being a servant, He does not charge him with becoming an enemy. He is counted wicked and slothful because, having undertaken certain responsibilities as a servant, he has failed to manifest the proper spirit of earnest devotion." — Z.'07-315.
Which no man could number. — "Whose number no man is able to tell (i. e., it is not a foreordained or fixed number  — none were called to be of this company.)" — Rev. 5:11.
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Of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues. — "As the number of the Bride of Christ is to be 144,000, it would be reasonable to think that each number of this class may have 144,000 to look after, as 144,000x144,000 equals 20,736,000,000 (twenty billions seven hundred and thirty-six millions), evidently just about the right number to be cared for — 144,000 would be quite a host for each individual of the Bride class to look after. So we can see the necessity for the work of the Great Company." — Question Meeting.
Stood before the Throne. — Not in the Throne, as in the case of the Bride. (A214.) "The Scriptures inform us that as that which is begotten of the flesh is flesh, so that which is begotten of the Spirit is spirit. That is to say, that whoever has been begotten of the Holy Spirit has experienced a change of nature so radical that it would be impossible for him to share a resurrection with the world on the human plane." — Z.'07-316.
And before the Lamb. — "Since their hearts are loyal to the Redeemer, and since they maintain their faith, in the precious blood and hold fast and do not deny the same, therefore the Lord Jesus, the Advocate, the Captain of our Salvation, who leads the Very Elect to glory through the steps of willing sacrifice, will lead these to a spiritual blessing — to perfection on a lower plane of spirit-being — because they have trusted in Him and have not denied His name or His work." — F169.
Clothed with white robes. — "They let slip their opportunity for becoming members of the Bride; but they are, nevertheless, virgins, pure in their heart-intentions." — F127; Rev. 7:14.
And palms in their hands. — "The palm is especially the symbol of martyrdom. The palm of martyrdom has become in the language of the Church, a classical and sacramental expression. In the diptychs, the acts of the martyrs, and the martyrologies, we read, 'He has received the palm of martyrdom' — he has been crowned with the palm of the martyrs." (McC.) Many of the martyrs of the Dark Ages were undoubtedly of the Great Company.
7:10. And [cried] THEY CRY with a loud voice. — In grand and happy chorus of exultant praise and thanksgiving over their final deliverance. — Rev. 19:1-3.
Saying, Salvation. — Our glorious and unmerited boon at life on so high a plane.
To our God. — Be ascribed to Him as the Author. — Psa. 3:2.
[Which sitteth] upon the Throne. — Jehovah, — Rev. 4:2; 5:13.
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And unto the Lamb. — The Tower of the Flock, Christ as the instrument of salvation. — Micah 4:8.
7:11. And all the angels. — The beautiful sons of the morning who shouted for joy in the dawn of earth's creative week 48,000 years ago. — Job 38:7; Lu. 2:9-14; Matt. 4:11; 28:2; F51.
Stood round about the Throne. — With eager joy welcoming this new addition to the family of God.
And about the elders. — The prophecies, many of which have pointed out this second and greater company. But notice the exquisite nicety of the Word of God and the Wisdom of our Father! Not all the elders do mention the Great Company, and therefore the designation "four and twenty," in this instance, is omitted.
And the four beasts. — Justice, Power, Love and Wisdom.
And fell before the Throne on their faces. — No wonder such humble characters "always behold the face of the Father." — Matt. 18:10.
And worshipped God. — There is no self-seeking among the angels. When an angel appeared to Manoah and his wife, and Manoah sought to know his name, he left an everlasting lesson in his reply, "Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret?" — Judges 13:2-23.
7:12. Saying, Amen. — So be it! We are not at all jealous. We are delighted to have these new helpers in the Heavenly realm.
Blessing. — The praises and blessings of all who owe their existence to His goodness.
And wisdom. — To continually and forever unfold some new and wonderful features of goodness and grace towards the work of His hands.
And thanksgiving. — From "every creature which is in Heaven and on earth." — Rev. 5:13.
And honor. — To the Name so long and so unjustly and foully dishonored, by the eternal torment theory.
And power. — Restrained for thousands of years, but now about to be exercised in man's behalf. — Psa. 76:10.
And might. — The ability to accomplish fully all His purposes. — Isa. 55:11.
Be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. — Be ascribed to Jehovah for eternity. — Rev. 5:13,14.
7:13. And one of the elders. — The prophecy of Isaiah 1:10-20.
Answered, saying unto me. — Under symbolism of Sodom because of their identification with spiritual Sodom's work and hopes. — Rev. 11:8.
What are these which are arrayed in white robes. — Who are these of whom it is said, "Your hands are full of blood.
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Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings before mine eyes," etc.? — Isa. 1:15, 16; Rev. 7:9.
And whence came they. — Why are they figuratively represented as stained with blood?
7:14. And I said unto him, [Sir,] MY LORD, thou knowest — It is doubtless contained, in your prophecy.
And he said unto me. — In Isa, 34:5,6, "My sword shall be bathed in Heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of My curse, to judgment. The sword of the Lord is filled with blood, it is made fat with fatness, and with the blood of lambs." — D.17.
These are they which came out of great tribulation. — "'The tribulation, the great one' — the twofold article being specially emphatic. See Rev. 3:10; 6:17; Matt 24:21." (Cook.) "They are those," he said, "who have just passed through the great distress." (Weym.) "The slaughter of this day of vengeance is said to be of the 'lambs and goats.' (Isa. 34:6.) The lambs would represent the tribulation saints." (D17.) "The Great Company will pass through a great tribulation, with a view to effecting in them a proper penitence for sin and a proper appreciation of the Divine standard of truth and righteousness. This class, particularly large in the present day, will be delivered over to the Adversary — to suffer in a Time of Trouble such as was not since there was a nation — the great time of trouble with which this Age shall end. Such of them as fail to respond to those tribulations and to seek the Lord will die the Second Death, but such as respond faithfully will be counted as overcomers." (Z.'07-232.)
"Many such are now being closely bound in with the various bundles of tares for the burning; and not until the fiery trouble of the latter end of the Harvest period shall burn the binding cords of Babylon's bondage shall these be able to make their escape — 'saved so as by fire.' They must see the utter wreck of Great Babylon and receive some measure of her plagues." (C364.) "Sad disappointments attach to the experiences of this company: it is because they fear the reproaches of Christ that they shirk present privileges and opportunities for walking with Him in white in the 'sufferings of this present time:' behold, they not only miss the present joy and rejoicing of those who are faithful, but eventually they must come through still greater sufferings, if they would attain even to a lower place. Although loving the Lord and His people, they are somewhat ashamed of them and hide, as it were, their faces from them, in the presence of the worldly: and behold the Master at His Coming for His 'Bride' cannot confess their names in the presence of the
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Father and the holy angels." (Z.'97-162.) "These will be helped out of Babylon when she is falling, and will flee in the winter-time, saying in the words of the Prophet, 'The Harvest is past, the Summer is ended [Winter has come], and we are not saved.' (Jer. 8:20.)" (D578.) "These, surely, we cannot expect to see shielded from the very trouble which the Lord declares they need; and which in special mercy He will inflict for their perfecting." —Z.'96-191.
And have washed their robes.  — Spotted and soiled by contact with the world.  — Z.'97-161
And made them white in the blood of the Lamb.  — "Not that their sufferings will wash their robes, but that in their sufferings they will learn to appreciate as never before their relationship to the Lamb of God and to His atoning merit, and by faith will be permitted to apply the same to their own cleansing."  — Z.'07-233; 1 John 1:7.
7:15. Therefore.  — Because, in the final test, they suffered martyrdom and cleansed their robes rather than deny the Lord.
Are they before the Throne of God.  — "With the world in the next Age, the Lord's power will be represented through the Great Company class, under the Bride. They will be a great police force, looking out for the whole people. They will have enough to do; for God has guaranteed that nothing shall hurt or offend in all His holy Mountain'  — Kingdom (Isa. 11:9). That will mean a careful supervision. Yes, indeed! How will they hinder wrong-doing? If a person were about to speak blasphemy or slander, the tongue might be instantly paralyzed. Very easy! A policeman right on the spot!  — not waiting until the offender had done the mischief and then punishing him, but fixing him so that he will not get the chance to do it, and punishing him for trying to do so."  — Question Meeting.
And serve Him day and night in His Temple. — "Although they can never be the living Temple of which Christ is the Head (Rev. 3:12; 11:1), we are told they shall be servants in that Temple; and although they shall never sit in the Throne, they are highly privileged to serve 'before the Throne.' Grand and glorious privileges will be theirs." — Z.'97-162; Rev. 22:3.
And He that sitteth on the Throne.  — Jehovah.
[Shall dwell among] KNOWETH them.  — To be known of the Lord is to be the sure recipient of blessings. Not to be known or recognized of Him is the greatest of all calamities. God keeps a record of His friends (Mal. 3:16) but no record of His enemies; and therein lies their ruin. "I never knew you; depart from Me."  — Matt. 7:23.
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7:16. They shall NOT hunger [no more]. — Poor things, how hungry they have been! How the light has shone in their poor, hunted, starved faces, as they have listened to Pastor Russell, by the tens of thousands; and yet, when the lecture was over, they have wearily gone back to the "husks," from a sense of duty to the memory of some man, dead for hundreds of years, who would, if alive today, be a follower of the Reformer, Charles T. Russell, because he followed Christ.
Neither thirst any more. — 'The waters of Truth shall no longer be brackish with error, being healed at the very spring by a clearer understanding of the Word of God." — B206.
Neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. — During the Harvest time the Lord's people, illuminated with the light of Present Truth, have been shining forth, not with any brilliancy of their own, but with much of the coming splendor of the "Sun of Righteousness." Coming in contact with them. it has been inevitable that the Great Company class should frequently be singed, unable to answer the Truth, and should feel considerable heat. Their condition has been aptly described by the Prophet, "It shall be a vexation only to understand the report" (Isa. 28:19.) "As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him." — Amos 5:19.
7:17. For the Lamb. — Jesus Christ, their eternal Friend  — "The same yesterday, today, and forever." — Heb. 13:8.
Which is in the midst of the Throne. — Authority, rulership.  —A92; Rev. 5:6.
Shall feed them. — Be their shepherd. (John 10:1-28; 21:16.) They will not have immortality. Their lives will always require to be sustained, as in the case of the angels.
And shall lead them unto [living] fountains of waters OF LIFE. — They will not have within them the "well of water springing up unto everlasting life," as will the Bride, class, but may freely take of the "Water of life" which flows forth from the united well-springs of the Fountain and its 144,000 associates. — John 4:14; Rev. 22:1, 17; Ezekiel 47:l-5.
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. — There will be tears at first that will require wiping away, when they see all they have missed. Nevertheless, "With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought into the King's Palace." (Psa. 45:15.) And it is a good place; there we leave them, to bask in the sunlight of His presence forevermore. We shall know them all. then, even as we shall be known by them, — 1 Cor. 13:12.
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