Chapter 16 GODS LAST WARNING TO A DYING WORLD
Our world has just about reached the limit of Gods mercy and forbearance. Mans pride and arrogance, his greed and selfishness, his violence and brutality have reached a level which is intolerable. The suffering of millions caused by mans inhumanity to man is appalling to those watching this drama of earth. The end must come soon.
God, of course, will not destroy this world without first warning us of the impending doom, but most of the people will ignore the warnings, just as they did in Noahs time. Noah preached to the people for 120 years, trying to warn them of what was going to happen, but none would listen. They mocked and ridiculed as he gave the warning that rain would fall to such an extent that the whole world would be flooded. They laughed and insulted as he constructed the ark which carried him and his family safely through the flood. The people would not believe Noah because it had never rained on the earth before. Rain was an utter impossibility, they said; and the people continued the evil and violence so detestable to God.
Likewise, as our world rapidly approaches the final catastrophic events of this earths history, most disregard the abundant warnings and advice God has given concerning the end. Instead of believing God, they believe the scientists and false ministers, who proclaim a more credible report. In this they make a fatal error.
The last warning which God has given to our dying world is an admonition to obey God and to have nothing to do with any of the false religions in the world today. This warning, found in Revelation 14:6-11 and Revelation 18:1-4, has four parts and is delivered by four angels. The word angel is translated from malak in Old Testament Hebrew and aggelos in New Testament Greek. Both words mean messenger, or agent. When the Bible proclaims that an angel delivers a message, it simply means that a messenger or messengers deliver a message which comes from God. Usually men are the messengers whom God uses to proclaim His messages to the world; they are to be Gods messengers in proclaiming this last warning to the world.
The first part of this last warning is found in Revelation 14:6,7: And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. The word fear means to have a profound reverence for God resulting in strict obedience to His requirements.
The fact that this angel flies in the midst of heaven, and that it goes to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people indicates that this message is to be proclaimed world-wide. The subject of the message is the everlasting gospel. The word gospel simply means good news. The good news is that Jesus Christ has provided for us a way of escaping the traumatic events soon to take place and also a way of escaping death in the destruction of the wicked at the end of the millennium.
The message itself is a command to worship God, the Creator, and to return to the pure religion of Christ. It is a command to worship God in Biblical purity and truth, without defilement by heathen doctrines or mens traditions. The fact that a message such as this is in the Bible for these last days indicates that men have corrupted their religion and have fallen away from worshiping (obeying) God in the proper way. Men have been involved with tradition and pagan practices so long that these practices seem normal and right, but God warns against these things.
The first message also tells us that Gods judgment hour has already begun. Notice the present tense in the statement: for the hour of his judgment IS come. Of necessity, God must judge the people of this world before He returns so that He will know whom to save and whom to reject. Because judgment will have ended by the time Christ returns, Revelation 22:12 tells us that He brings each of us our reward, either life or death, when He comes. Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. Gods judgment began in the year 1844, the year in which the 2300-day (year) prophecy of Daniel 8:14 expired. Since that time, judgment has been proceeding, beginning with the first people who lived on the earth and continuing to those who are living today.
The second message is found in Revelation 14:8: And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.
Notice that Babylon is referred to here as a woman. Since a woman represents a church in Bible prophecy and since this woman is shown to be a harlot by her fornication, she represents a false religious system. God, you will remember, uses the term fornication to describe the adulteration of the pure doctrine of the Bible with pagan practices and traditions of men. The phrase she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication shows that this false religious system is world-wide. She has spread her traditions and heathen doctrines to all nations, and most of the people of the world have accepted her pagan traditions and nonsense as truth. We have seen that this woman is the papacy.
The word Babylon means confusion. This term is used in the Bible to signify the confusion resulting from the more than 500 false religious denominations which exist today. We have seen that Babylon is the Catholic Church and all her Sunday-keeping daughter churches.
The second message is that Babylon, the false religions of the world, has fallen. Has fallen is repeated to emphasize the fact that today the false churches have fallen far from the truth of God. As the false churches continue to move farther and farther from the truth, they will soon discover that there is not really that much to keep them separate, and they will form a great ecumenical alliance powerful enough to influence the government of the United States to pass the national Sunday law. This action by the United States will give birth to the image of the beast. The United States and the great ecumenical alliance will form the image of the beast when the police powers of the United States are used to enforce the dictates of the ecumenical alliance.
The third message from God to our dying world is found in Revelation 14:9,10. It is the most severe warning found anywhere in the Bible. And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb. We saw that the mark of the beast is Sunday observance and that the warning of this third message will go into effect at the time the United States makes the image to the beast by passing a national Sunday law.
Satan has been trying for nearly 6,000 years to get mankind to break Gods laws. He has tried enticement with sinful pleasures. He has tried deception to convince mankind that the wrong way is the correct way. He has infiltrated his ministers into the churches. He has used force. He is using communism in an attempt to remove all traces of the Word of God from the earth. But no matter what he has done, there have always been a few people who have been true to God. In these last hours of earths history the devil is getting desperate, for he knows that he is going to die, and he can see that Christ will, indeed, have His 144,000 perfect people for whom He is patiently waiting. Once more Satan is going to employ force, this time to a degree never before attempted in an effort to exterminate every one of Christs true people.
Satan, of course, will be the driving influence behind this national Sunday law. Gods true people are expecting Satan to appear in all his glory when he masquerades as Jesus. What most of these people do not know is that he will do this at least twice! He will first appear shortly before the close of human probation to give impetus and supposedly divine authority to the national Sunday law by telling the people that he changed the day to be kept holy from Saturday to Sunday. This act will not fool the truly sincere and obedient followers of Christ, for they are expecting him to do this, but it will drive the people of the world into a frenzy to persecute those who refuse this mark of the beast in much the same way as the scribes and Pharisees influenced and controlled the mob who demanded the crucifixion of Jesus.
Satan issues his extremely stern warning, described in Revelation 13:15-17, that we had better accept the mark of the beast or else we will not be able either to buy or to sell and thus will not be able to supply our basic needs. Satan even threatens with death those who refuse to receive the mark of the beast. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Satan will make the lives of the righteous extremely miserable, while trying to convince them that their doctrines are incorrect. Who shall be able to stand? Only the righteous who keep all of the Ten Commandments and put their complete trust in God, for without the grace of God our situation on this planet would be completely hopeless.
Let us further investigate Babylon, for we must completely understand the meaning of this term in order to understand fully the fourth part of Gods warning to our dying world. Revelation 17:1-6,9 describes: And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration [astonishment]. And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.
These verses refer to a great harlot, a false church, who has made all nations participate with her in her false religion. The statement that the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her indicates that they have willingly accepted her tradition and pagan practices in place of true Bible doctrine.
John was carried away into the wilderness where he saw this large, powerful church drunken with the blood of the saints. Notice that this is a special wilderness, for the verse says THE wilderness.
This wilderness is also mentioned in Revelation 12:6: And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.
We know from our previous studies that this time period of 1260 prophetic days or actual years is the period of the Dark Ages, when the papacy reigned supreme. John, therefore, in the vision was carried forward in time to this wilderness period of the Dark Ages, which he describes in Revelation chapter seventeen. The only large, powerful, prominent church existing at that time was the papacy. This harlot, therefore, is the Roman Catholic Church.
Let us now go back and consider the details of Revelation 17:1-6,9 with the understanding that this prostitute is the papacy. The statement in verse 1 that this church is a great whore indicates an almost total falling away from Gods truth. The phrase She sits upon many waters means that she is a world-wide, powerful church. Verse 2 says that the people of the earth are drunk on the wine of her fornication, that is, drunk with her false doctrine. Many fail to realize the significance of this verse. They do not realize that this churchs doctrine has intoxicated virtually the entire world so thoroughly that the truth of the Bible seems totally wrong. These people are stone drunk; they are completely unconscious of the truth in the Word of God. So drunk are they that many of them are unable to understand Bible truth even when it is explained very carefully and in great detail to them.
The statement in verse 3 that this harlot rides upon a seven-headed beast indicates that the church is in control of the political organizations represented by the beast a union of church and state.
Verse 4 mentions the colors of the papacy: scarlet and purple. The harlot is adorned with these colors and with gold, precious stones, and pearls, symbols which indicate expensive tastes and worldly glamour to attract her lovers, the nations of the earth. The papacy in its pomp and ceremonies is always richly adorned. She is holding a golden cup which is full of wine, the abominations and filthiness of her fornication. The contents of her cup are her pagan doctrines.
And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. (Revelation 17:5). This verse refers to Babylon the Great and indicates that of this family of false churches generally referred to as Babylon, there is one church which is greater than all the rest. This is the church which is basically the seat of the false pagan doctrines that are practiced to a greater or lesser extent in all the other churches. We see that this church is described as a mother church who has given birth to many other churches, all of which are referred to as harlots. Which church claims that it is the mother church? We have seen that the Catholic Church makes this claim:
I acknowledge the Holy Catholic Apostolic Roman Church for the mother and mistress of all churches. --- Art. 10, Creed of Pope Pius IV. Double Bull of Pope Pius IV, Nov. 13 and Dec. 9, 1564, trans. in Philip Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom, New York: Harper, 1919, Vol. 1, p. 99.
Verse 6 says that this mother church is drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. We have seen previously how the papacy persecuted many millions of Christians during the Dark Ages.
Rome, the capital, or seat of power, of this church, is well-known as the city which is built on seven hills. Verse 9 says that The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sitteth. This is yet another point identifying this harlot as the Roman Catholic Church.
The seven heads of the animal in this prophecy actually represent two things. The New International translation of the Bible says in verse nine, This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits. They are also seven kings. Verses 10 and 11 say in the King James Version: And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.
These verses are obviously dealing with a time prophecy. John, you will remember, was carried into the wilderness, the period of the Dark Ages. More specifically, he was carried to the end of the Dark Ages, to 1798, when the papacy was receiving its deadly wound. The five heads which have fallen are Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, pagan Rome, and papal Rome. The one that is, in 1798, is the United States. The one which is to come is the powerful ecumenical alliance of the false churches which will be instrumental in having the United States pass a national Sunday law. This powerful alliance is called the false prophet in Revelation, chapters 16, 19 and 20. The control of the political power in the United States by this powerful alliance of churches is symbolized by the words image to the beast. The beast that was and is not is the papacy, for it had just received its deadly wound in 1798; but as we know, it was to come back to prominence and power in the world. It is an eighth head in this group of political powers; but, of course, it is also of the seven, just as this prophecy said.
Since this harlot who sits upon a beast having heads that represent powers which had come and gone before the papacy appeared on the scene of history in 538 A.D., one may wonder how this harlot could be the papacy. The reason s that papal doctrine is quite similar to the old pagan religions of these fallen nations. Just as the heads of the beast on which the harlot sits have two meanings in this prophecy, the harlot also has two meanings. The harlot symbolizes not only the papacy but also the pagan counterfeit religions down through history. This prophecy, in fact, shows the pagan nature of papal doctrine. The book entitled The Two Babylons by Alexander Hislop, Loizeaux Brothers, Inc., Neptune, New Jersey, shows in great detail the pagan origin of Catholic doctrine.
When Christ was on earth 2000 years ago, He established one church. He did not establish more than one. Ephesians 4:4-6 strongly emphasizes that there is only one true church. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. How much plainer could it be? Satan has saturated the world with many religions and denominations in order to confuse mankind. Many who are trying to find Gods true church give up in despair. This tactic of Satan has been extremely successful in keeping most people out of Gods true church and ignorant of the truth.
How does one go about finding Gods true church? Simply look for the church which teaches obedience to all of Gods Ten Commandments, including the Sabbath commandment, and to the other injunctions of Scripture.
This brings us to the fourth part of Gods last warning to a dying world. This part is found in Revelation 18:1-8. And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, COME OUT OF HER, MY PEOPLE, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.
Verse 1 indicates that just before the end the true message of God will go forth through the earth with a loud cry to enlighten the world with the glory and truth of God. Part of the message of this loud cry is given in verse 2, which describes the complete fall from truth of the mother church and all her daughters, for they are the habitation of devils and of every foul spirit, one or more of which are counterfeits of Gods Holy Spirit.
Verse 3 again indicates that this false religious system is world-wide, for all nations have become drunk on this wine of Babylon by believing her false doctrines.
Verse 4 is the most important part of this message to Christs true people who still reside in the false churches. Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. Today Gods true Christians can be found in all churches throughout the world, including the Roman Catholic Church. These people are in these false churches because they have not heard the truth and do not understand that they should not be there. When they do hear Gods truth, they will recognize the Lords voice and will come out, as verse 4 instructs them to do. Christ tells us in John 10:26-28: But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. You see, as soon as Christs true people who are still in these false churches hear His voice, the truth from the Bible, they will immediately come out of Babylon and follow the Lord; they are His sheep, and they recognize His voice.
There are other admonitions to come out of the false churches and have nothing more to do with them. Second Corinthians 6:14-18 tells us, Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial [Satan]? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM, AND BE YE SEPARATE, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. Christ commands His true Christians to leave all the false churches, to come out from among them and be separate.
First Corinthians 5:11 also tells us to keep no company with those who break any of the Ten Commandments of God. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. We have seen that those who worship on Sunday are idolaters, for they are worshiping not the Creator God of the universe, but another god, who has decreed Sunday observance.
A foolish man is one who disregards the law of God. Proverbs 13:20 says: He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed. Proverbs 14:7,9 says: Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge. Fools make a mock at sin.
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