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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 8

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FOUR PRELIMINARY REFORMATIONS

8:1. And when He. — The Lord Jesus, whose privilege it is to open them all. — Rev. 6:1.
Had opened the seventh seal. — "The seal of the living God." (Rev. 7:2.) The opening of the seventh seal is progressive. The opening and unfolding of the Truth goes on as the saints are sealed. By the time the saints are all sealed in their hearts and minds with the Present Truth, the deepest features of the Truth itself will have been disclosed. "The time will undoubtedly come in the near future when the number of the Elect will be complete. Then only such vacancies as might still occur by some falling out would remain." (Z.'14-68.) "God's people down through this Gospel age have been privileged to know something of the 'Secret of the Lord' — the Divine Plan. But not until the last seal is broken, does the scroll fly wide open, permitting the 'Mystery of God' to be fully disclosed; as it is written: 'In the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the Mystery of God should be finished, as He hath declared to His servants the Prophets.' (Rev. 5:1; 10:7.)" — Z.'97-257.
There was silence. — "Assemble yourselves, and let us enter into the defenced cities, and let us be silent there: for the Lord our God hath put us to silence." (Jer. 8:14.) "They (the clergy) somehow realize that neither reason nor Scripture supports their false doctrines, and that the wisest method is to keep silent, in the shadow of old superstitions and under the protection of so-called Christian governments." — C158.
In heaven. — In the nominal ecclesiastical heavens.
About the space of half an hour. — On the scale of a year for a day this would mean but a week, and indicates that, as soon as the full number to complete the Body of Christ have been sealed with the Present Truth, persecution in a public way, and on an unprecedented scale, may be expected to begin almost immediately. (This verse should properly be included in Chapter 7.)
8:2. And I saw. — As the next vision of the grand series. Something never seen until the seventh seal is broken and the Mystery of God finished.
The seven angels. — Instrumentalities suitable for the work to be performed.
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Which stood before God. — Featuring the Reformation.
And to them were given seven trumpets. — Bugles with which to blow bugle-blasts of liberty from the oppressions of the papacy, leading up to and including the final blast of "Liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof." — Lev. 25:10.
8:3. And another angel. — Not the "voice of the Lord," mentioned in the preceding chapter, but the corporate body — the Watch Tower Bible And Tract Society, which Pastor Russell formed to finish his work. This verse shows that, though Pastor Russell has passed beyond the veil, he is still managing every feature of the Harvest work. "The Watch Tower Bible And Tract Society is the greatest corporation in the world, because from the time of its organization until now the Lord has used it as His channel through which to make known the Glad Tidings."  — Z.'17-22; Rev. 14:18; 19:17.
Came and stood. — Waited before the Lord, after the Pastor's death, ready to do the Master's will.
At the altar. — The Brazen Altar, the place of sacrifice. (Ex. 38:1-7; Lev. 16:12, 13.) The fire for the sacrifice at the Golden Altar was obtained here and then carried to the Golden Altar where the incense was crumbled in it.
Having a golden censer. — Censers, or fire-pans, were of two forms, with handles and without. In this case the kind with the handle, used only on the Day of Atonement, is the one referred to. The incense was burnt while the high priest held the censer in his hand. Thus, in this prophecy, the great antitypical High Priest identifies Himself with the work of the Society, and places in its care — holds in His hand — the fire-pans, the things that lead us to the place where we sacrifice ourselves. Thus seen, the censer represents teachings, understandings of the Word; for it is our understanding of the Word which leads us to offer up all we have in the Lord's service. — Num. 16:6, 7.
And there was given unto him much incense. — The heart's best endeavors of the faithful fellow-members of the Body.
That he should offer it. — To Jehovah, through the Son. — Rev. 5:8.
With the prayers of all saints. — The Society is the only entity in the world answering to this description. It alone has offered on its behalf the prayers of all the saints, in harmony with the clause of the Vow which reads, "Daily will I remember at the Throne of heavenly grace the general interests of the Harvest work — the dear co-laborers at the Brooklyn Tabernacle and Bethel, and everywhere."
Upon the golden altar [which was] before the Throne. —
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The offerings take place "before the Throne," on this side the veil. — Rev. 1:4; 5:6; Ex 30:1-10.
8:4. And the smoke. — The fragrant, sweet perfume.
Of the incense. — Life's dearest ties, sacrificed in the Master's cause.
Which came with the prayers of the saints. — In harmony with the Vow of faithfulness. — Psa. 141:2; Luke 1:10; Acts 10:4.
Ascended up before God out of the angel's hand. — "As odor of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God." — Phil. 4:18.
8:5. And the angel. — The Watch Tower Society through its proper representatives.
Took the censer. — The Seventh Volume of Studies In The Scriptures, Divinely provided.
And filled it with fire of the altar. — Coals from the altar signify burning truths; and such the Lord's prophecies always are, when rightly understood. — Isa. 6:5-8. This is a plain intimation of God's purpose to use the Society in further unfoldings of His Truth as it becomes due. "We believe that the Lord will not scatter, but will 'turn His hand [power] upon the little ones,' in this dark hour of trial (Zech. 13:7)." — Z.'17-30.
And cast it. — Greek, "Deliberately hurled it"
Into the earth. — Among order-loving people. — Ezek. 10:2; Luke 12:49.
And there were [voices and] thunderings. — Seven Volumes of "Scripture Studies," this one being the last of the series. (Rev. 10:3, 4.) Thunders are symbolical of controversy, and this volume may cause some. Particularly is it to be expected that the clergy will thunder against whatever Truth it contains. Thunder is caused by the flashing of lightning through the heavens, opening them up, as it were. Immediately after the flash they come together with an angry roar. Thunder, of itself, seldom does anybody any harm. — Rev. 16:18.
And voices. — "These voices have been circulated here and there throughout the whole civilized world, not by worldly agents, not through book-sellers, but by those who have themselves been blessed by the light, and who desire to render a service to the Lord and to the Truth, and to lay down their lives for the brethren by taking to them the glorious and encouraging message now due to the Lord's people." (Z.'02-118.) Voices also symbolize discussion, contention.
And lightnings. — See Rev. 4:5; 11:19; 16:18.
And an earthquake. — "The term earthquake is used to symbolically represent revolution — it is in this sense of
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the word that it is used throughout the Book of Revelation. What we are to look for then will be a great revolution, the great symbolic earthquake, the great shaking of the present institutions which will overthrow everything that is not of the Lord's establishment and approval. Perhaps the symbolical earthquake will be accompanied by a literal one." — B. S. M.
8:6. And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets. — "We, in common with almost all expositors, recognize that the seven trumpets of Revelation are symbolical and not literal." — Z.'02-116; Josh. 6:4.
Prepared themselves to sound. — "Christian people in general understand that five of these trumpets have already 'sounded' and are in the past — we would say six. It is admitted that those that have already 'sounded' have not been literal blasts of a bugle on the air. But literal things are so much more easily received by the natural man that many advanced Christians, Bible students and ministers, are really expecting some day to hear what is sometimes denominated 'Gabriel's horn,' shrill enough and loud enough to awaken the dead." (Z.'02-116.) As thoughtful Christians we should expect that, as this period is that in which the great sects have risen, its history should pay particular attention to them, and thus we find. The Reformation particularly affected "three parts" of the papal dominion, Germany, England and France. — Rev. 8:7-10.
8:7. And the first [angel] sounded. — The movement began, which later developed into the Lutheran General Synod, Lutheran United Synod South, Lutheran General Council, Lutheran Synodical Conference, United Norwegian Lutheran Synod, Ohio Independent Lutheran Synod, Buffalo Lutheran Synod, Hauge's Lutheran Synod, Eleisen's Lutheran Synod, Norwegian Lutheran Synod, Danish in America Lutheran Synod, Icelandic Lutheran Synod, Immanuel Lutheran Synod, Suomai Finnish Lutheran Synod, Finnish National Synod, Finnish Apostolic Synod, Norwegian Free Lutheran Synod, Danish United Lutheran Synod, Church of the Lutheran Brethren and Independent Lutheran Congregations. — 1 Cor. 3:3.
And there followed hail. — Sharp, cutting, hard truth, contained in Luther's 95 theses nailed on the church door at Wittenberg.
And fire. — Destructive judgments upon the papacy. Luther sized up the Papal system of "Heads, I win; and tails, you lose" in a few words when he said, "The Romanists have with great dexterity built themselves about with three walls, which have hitherto protected them against reform. In the first place, when the temporal power has pressed
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them hard, they have affirmed and maintained that the temporal power has no jurisdiction over them — that on the contrary, the spiritual is above the temporal. Secondly, when it is proposed to admonish them from the Holy Scriptures they said, 'It beseems no one but the pope to interpret the Scriptures,' and thirdly, when they were threatened with a council, they invented the idea that no one but the pope can call a council."
Mingled with blood. — Blood is a symbol of death-dealing doctrine, and this teaches that Luther did not get entirely free from error. The following illustrates this point: "There gradually developed a group of radicals who were convinced that Luther had not the courage of his convictions. They proposed to abolish the idolatry of the Mass and all other outward signs of what they deemed the old superstitions. Luther's colleague at Wittenberg. Carlstadt. began denouncing the monastic life, the celibacy of the clergy, the veneration of images; and before the end of 1521 we find the first characteristic outward symptoms of Protestantism. In January 1522, Carlstadt induced the authorities of Wittenberg to publish the first evangelical church ordinance. The service of the Mass was modified, and the laity were to receive the elements in both kinds. Reminders of the old religious usages were to be done away with, and the fast-days were to be no longer observed. These measures led Luther to return to Wittenberg in March, 1622, where he preached a series of sermons attacking the impatience of the radical party. In 1525 the conservative party, which had from the first feared that Luther's teaching would result in sedition, received a new and terrible proof, as it seemed to them, of the noxious influence of the evangelical preachers.
"The peasant movements which had caused so much anxiety at the diet of Augsburg in 1518, culminated in the Peasant Revolt in which the common man, both in country and town, rose in the name of God's justice to avenge long-standing wrongs and establish his rights. Luther was by no means directly responsible for the civil war which followed, but he had certainly contributed to stir up the ancient discontent. He had asserted that, owing to the habit of foreclosing small mortgages, 'Any one with a hundred gulden could gobble up a peasant a year.' The German feudal lords he pronounced hangmen, who knew only how to swindle the poor man. Yet in spite of this harsh talk about princes, Luther relied upon them to forward the reforms in which ho was interested. The peasants demanded that the gospel should be taught them as a guide in life, and that each community should be
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permitted to choose its pastor and depose him if he conducted himself improperly. More radical demands came from the working classes in the towns. The articles of Heilbronn demanded that the property of the Church should be confiscated and used for the community; clergy and nobility alike were to be deprived of all their privileges, so that they could no longer oppress the poor man. The more violent leaders renewed the old cry that the parsons must be slain. Hundreds of castles and monasteries were destroyed by the frantic peasantry, and some of the nobles were murdered with shocking cruelty. Luther, who believed that the peasants were trying to cloak their dreadful sins with excuses from the gospel, exhorted the government to put down the insurrection. 'Have no pity on the poor folk; stab, smite, throttle, who can.' The German rulers took Luther's advice with terrible literalness, and avenged themselves upon the peasants, whose lot was apparently worse afterwards than before." — Brit
And they were cast upon the earth AND THE THIRD PART OF THE EARTH WAS BURNED UP. — Luther's teaching had the effect of transforming the order-loving German people into anarchists.
And the third part. — The German part.
Of trees. — Trees are symbols of saints. "St. Paul gives us the picture of a tree, the roots of which push down deep into the knowledge of the Divine Plan, while the tree of character grows higher and higher, developing and maturing the rich fruits of the Holy Spirit of God; for instruction is a form of construction." — Z.'14-312; Isa. 61:3.
Was burnt up. — Hindered from standing alone, and absorbed into the Lutheran system.
And all green grass. — Natural men of independent thought — Isa. 40:6,7.
Was burnt up. — Similarly absorbed into the Lutheran system, a welcome substitute for papacy's intolerable yoke.
8:8. And the second [angel] sounded. — The Anglican church movement began.
And as it were a great mountain. — England in the time of Henry VIII. Mountains symbolize kingdoms. — Dan. 2:35; Jer. 51:25.
Burning with fire. — Aflame with another great movement destructive to the papacy.
Was cast into the sea. — Was suddenly thrown into a condition of isolation from the papacy — no longer placed under religious restraint to it.
And the third part of the sea. — The English part.
Became blood. — The much-married Henry VIII., founder
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of the Anglican Church, and the second great sect-founder, has some slight blemishes on his escutcheon also. "Henry VIII himself stoutly maintained the headship of the pope, and as is well known, after examining the arguments of Luther, published his defence of the Seven Sacraments in 1521, which won for him from the pope the glorious title of 'Defender of the faith.' By 1527 the king had become hopeless of having a male heir by Catherine. He was tired of her, and in love with the black-eyed Anne Boleyn, who refused to be his mistress. The king's agents secured the opinion of a number of prominent universities that his marriage was void, and an assembly of notables, which he summoned in June 1530, warned the pope of the dangers involved in leaving the royal succession in uncertainty. Henry's next move was to bring a charge against the clergy, accusing them of having violated the ancient laws of praemunire in submitting to the authority of papal legates (although he himself had ratified the appointment of Wolsey as legate a latere). The clergy of the province of Canterbury were fined 100,000 pounds and compelled to declare the king their singular protector and only supreme lord, and, as far as that is permitted by the law of Christ, the supreme head of the Church and of the clergy.
"The following year, 1532, an obedient parliament presented a petition to the king (which had been most carefully elaborated by the king's own advisers) containing twelve charges against the bishops. For the remedy of these abuses parliament turned to the king 'in whom and by whom the only and sole redress, reformation and remedy herein absolutely rests and remains.' [These charges were answered by the clergy, but the answer did not suit the king so on the 15th of May, 1532] The king's most humble subjects, daily orators and bedesmen of the clergy of England, in view of his goodness and fervent Christian zeal and his learning far exceeding that of all other kings that they have read of, agree never to assemble in convocation except at the king's summons, and to enact and promulgate ho constitution or ordinances except they receive the royal assent and authority. [Then Henry divorced Catherine and married Anne Boleyn and the English Reformation was officially launched.] The king had now clarified the ancient laws of the realm to his satisfaction, and could proceed to seize such portions of the Church's possessions as he deemed superfluous for the maintenance of religion. [On the 30th of July, 1540, three Lutheran clergymen were burned and three Roman Catholics beheaded, the latter for denying the king's spiritual supremacy. The king's ardent desires that diversities of minds and opinions
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should be done away with and unity be 'charitably established' was further promoted by publishing in 1543 A Necessary Doctrine and Erudition for any Christian Man, set forth by the King's Majesty of England, in which the tenets of mediaeval theology, except for denial of the supremacy of the bishop of Rome and the unmistakable assertion of the supremacy of the king, were once more restated. The First Prayer Book of Edward VI was issued in 1649 and was followed in 1552 by the Second Prayer Book and] "The foundations of the Anglican church were laid." — Brit.
8:9. And the third part. — The English part.
Of the creatures. — The clergy "apostolically" of the Church of Rome, but actually doing business under Henry VIII. Be it noted that they were not counted worthy of being called "men."
Which were in the sea. — No longer under religious restraint to the papacy.
And had life. — The apostolic succession, from the line of popes, etc., described in Rev. 2:13 comments.
Died. — Were excommunicated by the pope, lost their "apostolic (?) succession."
And the third part. — The English part.
Of the ships. — Independent bodies of Christian worshippers called Lollards, followers of Wycliffe. — Mark 4:36; 6:48-51; John 6:21.
Were destroyed. — Compelled to acknowledge Henry VIII as head of the Church or lose their lives. "Thus, when the English Reformation of the 16th century commenced, it derived a new impulse from the earlier Lollard movement which it was destined to absorb into itself." — McC.
8:10. And the third angel sounded. — The Calvinistic movement began, which later developed into the Northern Presbyterian Church, Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Welsh Calvinistic Church, United Presbyterian Church, Southern Presbyterian Church, Associate Presbyterian Church, Associate Reformed Southern Presbyterian Church, Reformed Synod Presbyterian Church, Reformed General Synod Presbyterian Church, Reformed Covenanted Presbyterian Church, Reformed Presbyterian Church in the United States and Canada, Dutch Reformed Church, German Reformed Church, Christian Reformed Church, Hungarian Reformed Church, and Congregational Church. — 1 Cor. 3:3.
And there fell a great star from heaven. — John Calvin tore a large-sized hole in the Catholic firmament when he started the manufacture of a firmament of his own.
Burning as it were a lamp. — The precipitation of the Calvinistic movement in France and Switzerland was as sudden as the Anglican movement had been in England or the
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Lutheran movement in Germany. In 1533 Francis I, King of France, "anxious to conciliate both German Protestants and anti-papal England, invited some of the reformers to preach in the Louvre," as an offset to a fierce attack that had but lately been made upon them, caused by the mutilation of a statue of the Virgin. On the festival of All Saints, Cop, the rector of the University of Paris, was to deliver the address, but Jean Cauvin (Calvin) persuaded the rector to read an address which he had written. It was a defence of the new evangelical views and so aroused the Sorbonne that Calvin and Cop were both obliged to flee from Paris. Calvin went to Basle, Switzerland, and in 1636 wrote and published the first great textbook of Protestant theology, Institutes of the Christian Religion. He did his best, but his best was not very good.
And it fell upon the third part. — The French part.
Of the rivers. — Channels of religious instruction.
And upon the fountains of waters. — The Word of God. Although Calvin misunderstood and misapplied them, yet he constantly appealed to the Scriptures as the support for his theories.
8:11. And the name of the star. — Calvin is entitled to the honor of having at one time been a papal star. "He was from the first educated for the Church, and before he was twelve years old was presented to a benefice in the Cathedral of Noyon. Six years after this he was appointed to a cure of souls at Montville, and thus, although not yet twenty, and not even in the minor orders, he was enjoying the titles and revenues of a cure." — McC.
Is called Wormwood. — What an ideal name for the doctrine which has caused more bitterness against God than any other doctrine ever taught, and for the man who roasted Servetus at the stake.
And the third part of the waters. — Many portions of the Scriptures, misunderstood, miscontrued and misapplied.
Became. — Were made to appear in the eyes of many.
Wormwood. — Bitter as gall. "None now would justify Calvin's course in sentencing Servetus to be burned. Others burned at the stake usually had the fuel piled at their feet. The flames were inhaled with the smoke, and the victim was speedily unconscious to suffering. For Servetus Satanic ingenuity arranged the burning fagots at a distance. He literally roasted alive, in horrible torture, nearly five hours — in the name of God, of Jesus, of Righteousness, Truth, Justice, Love, Christianity and Civilization." (P. D.) — Jer. 9:15; 23:15, 9-40; Deut 29:18.
And many men died of the waters. — Lost their manhood, reason and common sense by becoming Calvinists.
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Because they were made bitter. — Because the Scriptures were made to appear to teach what actually they do not. "It seems remarkable that only now are we realizing that a man so deficient in the spirit of his Master as to murder his brother, should not be an accepted teacher of the Word of God and its spirit. Only now are Bible students realizing that Brother Calvin was not the inventor of the doctrine of election, but merely of the doctrine that all the non-elect would suffer everlastingly. Now we see that the terms, 'the elect,' 'the very elect,' are Bible terms! and that those who make their calling and election sure, will be glorified in the First Resurrection. Now we see that the Elect will be associated with Jesus in His Kingdom, which will bless the non-elect — 'all the families of the Earth.'" — P. D.
8:12. And the fourth angel sounded. — The Baptist sectarian movement began, resulting in Baptist Churches North, Baptist Churches South, Baptist Churches Colored, Seventh-Day Baptists, General Baptists, Separate Baptists, United Baptists, Baptist Church of Christ, Primitive Baptist Church, Primitive Colored Baptist Church, Old Two Seed in the Spirit Predestinarian Baptist Church, Church of God and Saints of Christ, Mennonites, Six Principle Baptist Church, Free Baptist Church, Freewill Baptist Church — not forgetting the Selfwill Baptist Church, which also has a large membership, but is not listed. — 1 Cor. 3:3.
From an examination of history "It does not appear that the Baptists were formed into any stability (as a sect) until the time of Menno, about the year 1536. About 1644 they began to make a considerable figure in England, and spread themselves into several separate congregations. They separated from the Independents about the year 1638, and set up for themselves under the pastoral care of Mr. Jesse; and, having renounced their former baptism, they sent over one of their number to be immersed by one of the Dutch Anabaptists of Amsterdam, that he might be qualified to baptize his friends in England after the same manner." (Buck.) "Menno Simons, born in 1492 at Witmarsum in Friesland, at the age of 24 entered the priesthood. Doubts about transubstantiation made him uneasy; some of Luther's tracts fell in his way, and he was comforted by Luther's dictum that salvation does not depend on human dogmata. Hence he began to study the New Testament. The question as to the right age for baptism came up; he found this an open matter in the early church. Then the execution, in March, 1531, at Leeuwarden, of the tailor Sicke Freerks, who had been rebaptized in the previous December at Emden, intro-
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duced further questions. Menno was not satisfied with the inconsistent answers which he got from Luther, Bucer and Bullinger; he resolved to rely on Scripture alone, and from this time describes his preaching as evangelical, not sacramental. Anabaptism of the Munster type repelled him. A brother of Menno joined the insurgent followers of Matthyzoon and was killed at Bolsward, April 1535. Blaming the leaders by whom these poor people had been misled, Menno blamed himself for not having shown them a straight course. Accordingly on the 12th of January 1536 he left the Roman communion.
"Among the so-called Anabaptists were four parties, the favorers of the Munster faction, the Batenburgers, extremists, the Melchiorites and the Obbenites. For a time Menno remained aloof from both Melchior Hofman and Obbe Philipsz. Before the year was out, yielding to the prayer of six or eight persons who had freed themselves from the Munster spell, he agreed to become their minister and was set apart January 1537 to the eldership at Groningen, with imposition of hands by Obbe Philipsz. Menno repudiated the formation of a sect; those who had experienced the 'new birth' were to him the true Christian church. His Christology was in the main orthodox though he rejected terms such as Trinity which he could not find in Scripture. Of the introduction of Anabaptist views into England we have no certain knowledge. Fox relates that 'the registers of London make mention of certain Dutchmen counted for Anabaptists, of whom ten were put to death in sundry places in the realm, anno 1535; other ten repented and were saved. In 1536 King Henry VIII issued a proclamation concerning faith agreed upon by Convocation, in which the clergy are told to instruct the people that they ought to repute and take 'The Anabaptists opinions for detestable heresies and to be utterly condemned.' Thomas Fuller tells us from Stow's Chronicles that in the year 1538 four Anabaptists, three men and one woman, all Dutch, bare faggots at Paul's Cross, and three days after a man and woman of their sect were burnt in Smithfleld. The early English Baptists, while they utterly rejected the baptism of infants, were as yet unpledged to immersion and rarely practiced it." — Brit.
And the third part of the sun was smitten. — Though not apparently so stated in any confession of faith, it is a prevalent view among Baptists that the Old Testament has been entirely fulfilled. Believing thus they lose the force of a large part of the Gospel Message, typified by the sun.
And the third part of the moon. — Similarly, they do not
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see the force of the teachings of the Law Dispensation, as in the Tabernacle arrangements, etc., in their application to the Church.
And the third part of the stars. — The teachings of the true light-bearers, the Apostles, cannot be fully appreciated except in connection with the prophecies of the Old Testament.
So as the third part of them was darkened. — If pressed to estimate the relative worth to us as New Creatures of the writings of the Old and New Testaments, we would admit that the writings of the New Testament are worth perhaps twice as much to us as those of the Old Testament because they contain the message addressed to the New Creation, but we want all three thirds of the Word.
And the day. — The Scripture teaching of the coming Millennial Day.
Shone not for a third part of it. — At least a third of the light we get on the subject of the Lord's Millennial Reign is from the Old Testament.
And the night likewise. — The same is true of the world's dark night of sin and death, and the darkest feature of that night — the Time of Trouble such as was not since there was a nation. The Old Testament has much of light and instruction on this subject.
8:13. And I beheld, and heard an [angel] EAGLE. — Pastor Russell's humble followers, as a class (Matt. 24:28), apprehending correctly the significance of the three woes. See comments on Rev. 8:2 and 9:12 as to why this statement is appropriate in this place. This verse is a parenthesis, as is also Rev. 8:3-5, which is synchronous with it. Both were seen by the Revelator after the opening of the seventh seal.
Flying through the midst of heaven. — Beginning with the papal heavens and then in their order of development, the Lutheran heavens, Anglican heavens, Calvinistic heavens and Baptist heavens (and others shortly.)
Saying with a loud voice. — With considerable plainness of speech.
Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth. — Great distress and perplexity of mind to all supporters of Satan's Empire.
By reason of the other voices. — Later movements in the ecclesiastical heavens described in Chapters 9 and 10.
Of the three angels, which are yet to sound. — The four great denominations — Lutheran, Anglican, Presbyterian and Baptist — were formed in swift succession within twenty years from the time Luther nailed the theses on the Wittenberg door. But the work of forming new movements away from papal bondage did not stop there.
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