Epistles to the Four Angel-Stars of the Ecclesias in Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, and Thyatira.
TO THE ANGEL OF THE EPHESIAN ECCLESIA.
To the Angel of the Ephesian Ecclesia write: These things saith he who holds the Seven Stars in his right hand, walking in the midst of the Seven Lightstands, which are golden; I have known thy works and thy labor, and thine awaiting, and that thou are not able to endure wicked men; and hast tried them who assert that they are Apostles, but are not, and hast found them liars, and thou hast suffered, and hast patient endurance, and thou hast labored on account of my Name, and hast not tired out.
"But I have against thee that thou hast forsaken thy first love. Remember, then, from whence thou hast fallen, and change thy mind, and do the first works; but if not, I come to thee speedily, and I will remove thy lightstand out of its place, except thou change thy mind.
But thou hast this, that thou hatest the works of the Nikolaitanes, which I also do hate. He that hath an ear let him hearken to what the Spirit saith to the Ecclesias. To him that overcomes, to him I wll give to eat of the Wood of the Life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of the Deity" -- verse 1-7.SECTION 1.
The Ephesian Ecclesia was the Body of Christ in the city of Ephesus. This city was the metropolis of the Lydian Asia. According to Strabo, it was one of the best and most glorious of cities, and the greatest emporium of the proper Asia. It is called by Pliny one of the eyes of Asia, Smyrna being the other: but now it is venerable for nothing but the ruins of palaces, temples and amphitheatres. It is called by the Turks Ajasaluk, or the temple of the moon, from the magnificent structure formerly dedicated to Diana, the goddess of the Ephesians. In after times, the temples were represented by spiritual bazaars, called "churches," dedicated to guardian saints, styled St. John, St. Mark, and St. Paul. That dedicated to St. Paul is wholly destroyed. The little that remains of St. Mark's is nodding to ruin. The only one remaining is St. John's, which is now converted into a Turkish mosque. The whole town is nothing but a habitation for herdsmen and farmers, living in low and humble cottages of dirt, sheltered from the extremities of weather by the mighty masses of ruinous walls, the pride and ostentation of former days, and the emblem in these of the frailty of the world, and the transient vanity of human glory. All the inhabitants of this once famous city amount now to not above forty or fifty families of Turks. The light has gone out, and darkness is complete. The gospel appears to have been introduced into Ephesus by Paul, who, on his arrival there, went into the synagogue of the Jews according to his usual practice, and reasoned with them. After he left, Apollos visited the city, proclaiming the doctrine of John the Baptist. But he was far behind the times. Paul's christian friends, Aquila and Priscilla, hearing him in the synagogue, formed an acquaintance with him, "and expounded unto him the Way of God more perfectly." Having been thus set right by them, he went to work in the right direction, and mightily convinced the Jews in public, showing them by the scriptures that Jesus was the Christ. Apollos having left, Paul returned, and found there certain disciples who knew only what John the Immerser had taught. They had been immersed upon the faith of the near coming of the Christ; but were not aware that Jesus was he. Paul having rectified their faith reimmersed them; and then, having laid his hands upon them, holy spirit came upon them, and the twelve men spake with tongues, and prophesied, and became a Star of light to Ephesus. This was the beginning of the ecclesia in Ephesus. The fact of their being endowed with the power of speaking foreign languages, and of their being able to speak to edification, which all could who had the gift of prophesying, is proof sufficient that they became colaborers with Paul in sounding out the invitation to partake in the kingdom and glory of Deity. Having strengthened himself with these, "he spake boldly for the space of three months disputing and persuading the things concerning the Kingdom of God." After this, he separated the disciples into a distinct congregation, and continued his disputations daily for about two years; so that all they that dwelt in the proconsular of Lydian Asia, heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks. By this time, the number of the faithful had greatly increased; for "many who believed came and confessed, and showed their deeds, and burned their books of magic to the value of fifty thousand pieces of silver; so mightily grew the word of God, and prevailed." 1. The Angels of the Ecclesias.
Thus was the One Body created in Ephesus. It became a lightstand, and the Holy Spirit bestowed through the laying on of Paul's hands, a light shining from it's Eldership, the members in particular, for the illumination of the surrounding darkness. We need not here repeat what has been already said about the lightstands and "Stars" on page 161. Suffice it to remind the reader, that the Presbytery anointed with Holy Spirit was the particular Star of the Ephesian ecclesia; and consequently, "the Angel" of the body here. It was to this angel that the writing was addressed. This word was appropriately used for the presbytery of an apostolic ecclesia, as already shown in the place referred to above. It does not indicate one man, as clerical commentators suppose, who can see nothing sparkling as "a bright particular star" in what they call "a church," but the dark body that ordinarily aims at "starting it" behind a velvet cushion! I say dark body, for what else is a blind leader of the blind into the ditch of perdition? The spiritual guides accepted of the people, are the "blind Pharisees" of our day, whose "light within" is the darkness of a "christendom," apocalyptically designated, "the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt" -- Rev. 11:8. The writing before us, which contains "what the Spirit saith to the ecclessias," is not spoken to papistical and protestant "churches" through their priestly and clerical, or ministerial "angels:" it is spoken neither to their "churches" nor to their angels; for these all belong to the party of the power apocalyptically styled "the Dragon and his Angels;" and by Jesus, "the Devil and his Angels" -- Rev. 12:7, 4; Matt. 25:41. They pertain to "the Dragon's tail" which draws after it "the Stars of the heaven" of this evil world. No; the writing before us contains what the Spirit saith to "the servants of the Deity;" to them of the party of "Michael and his Angels;" to them who have believed and obeyed the gospel, and are intelligently and faithfully waiting for the kingdom and glory of which it treats, and which are symbolized in the glorious book. When Paul was on his way from Macedonia to Jerusalem, where he desired to be on the Day of Pentecost, he halted at Miletus, a city and sea port of Caria, about thirty-six miles south of Ephesus, waiting for the Star-Angel of Ephesus to meet him there. In Acts 20:17, this Star-Angel is styled hoi presbuteroi tes ekklesias, the Presbyters, or Elders of the Ecclesia. When they arrived, he rehearsed what he had done while a resident with them, "disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of the Deity." He reminded them of the persecutions he had endured, and told them, that "he kept back nothing that was profitable, testifying both to Jews and Gentiles, change of mind concerning the Deity, and faith concerning the Anointed Jesus our Lord." This was the result he aimed to produce by his disputations and persuasions in connection with the kingdom -- first, to give them correct ideas of the Deity, and his promises; next, to work faith in them concerning Jesus, and the things pertaining to him, as the propitiatory set forth for a covering of sin -- Rom. 3:25. This he styled, "testifying the gospel of the grace of the Deity," "preaching his kingdom," and declaring "all his counsel;" from all which it is evident that Paul's teaching and course of public ministration are not those of the Angels of Satan's Synagogue, who deceive the whole world in its present constitution. These neither know God, nor the gospel of the grace of God, and do not, therefore, nor can they, declare his counsel. All these things the Star-angel of Ephesus was well versed in; for they showed their approval of what Paul said, by their overflowing sympathy with him at the parting hour. But while he reminded them of the past, he forewarned them of the calamitous future, about which he was much troubled; for he perceived that, on every side the hidden principle of lawlessness was already at work in and among the ecclesias; he therefore forewarned the Star-Angel that he might be forearmed. Hence, addressing him, he said, seeing that such have been my labors among you, "Take heed unto yourselves, and to all the flock en o, in which the Holy Spirit appointed you episkopoi, overseers to shepherdise the ecclesia of the Deity, which he purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departure grievous wolves will enter in among you, not sparing the flock: yea, of your own selves will men stand up speaking perverse things to draw away disciples after them." This was the last interview Paul had with the Ephesian brethren, whose "first works" are approved by the Spirit in this apocalyptic epistle. Paul afterwards wrote to them "the Epistle to the Ephesians," in which he told them that he was then "an ambassador in bonds;" being "the prisoner of the Anointed Jesus for you Gentiles." The Jews had effected his arrest by the Romans, before whose emperor he afterwards appeared, and was sentenced to lose his life. He was victimized by them because he declared that the Lord Jesus had sent him to the Gentiles -- Acts 22:21. For this cause, he styled himself "the Prisoner of the Anointed Jesus for the Gentiles," whether in Ephesus or elsewhere. 2. False Apostles
But not long after he had written to the Household of the Deity in Ephesus, the things of which he forewarned them began to display themselves. This appears from his second letter to Timothy, in which he says, "This thou knowest, that all they which be in Asia are turned away from me, of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes. The Lord grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus, for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain; but when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me. The Lord grant unto him, that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day (of his apocalypse -- 2 Epist. 1:10, 15-18; 4:1, 8;) and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well." The Star-angel at Ephesus was perhaps a principal party alluded to as an element of the "all in Asia turned away" from him. Phygellus, Hermogenes, and the house of Onesiphorus, were probably all residents of that city, which, with Smyrna, was chief of the cities of Asia. Paul had been long a prisoner, in Rome, and could no more personally look after the congregations, to encourage the faithful and to restrain the presumptuous, who sought to supersede him, and constitute themselves authorities in his stead. They were "grievous wolves," who, in "drawing away disciples after them," of necessity "turned them away from Paul." We see the working of the same thing in our own day. The world has gone off after the priests, clergy, and ministers, of "the great city." All who are considered as belonging to a godly, pious generation, are disciples of these grievous wolves, who glorify the traditions of those who lead them to perdition; and in proportion to the intensity of their moonstricken admiration for these, so are they turned from the teaching of Paul and his co-workers. While in their discourses they may pay Paul and the other apostles a few passing compliments, their authority with the "religious world" they have effectually nullified and destroyed. None of their disciples venture to do anything because Paul commands it, but because it is the opinion of some clerical authority that it may be done. Thus it was when all Asia had turned away from him. His authority was disregarded by the Star-Angels of Asia, in which men stood up and proclaimed themselves "apostles," and taught "perverse things," destructive of the truth. "Who is Paul? A prisoner in Rome as a disturber of the peace of society; a man of weak personality, and contemptibility of speech! Are not we the people of the Lord, and are not we endowed with the earnest of the Spirit, as well as he? Are we not inspired with 'the word of wisdom,' the 'word of knowledge,' the 'gift of tongues,' the 'operation of powers;' and does not the Lord speak also by us? Having these endowments, we claim apostleship as well as he; and by virtue therefore, of our gifts we affirm, and appeal to them as the proof, that we are the ambassadors of the Anointed Jesus, called and sent of God as Aaron was; and successors of the apostles to the end of the world!" Such were the assumptions of this class of men after Paul's departure; grievous wolves, not sparing the flock, for with them godliness had become craft, and the feeding of the sheep a merchandize of gain. But before they were abandoned to utter perdition in their own corruption, the Spirit addressed them through John in Patmos. He addressed them as the Potentate who held the Star Angels in his right hand, and walked in the midst of the Golden Lightstands. If the Presbyteries of Episcopals shone as Stars, it was by the right-hand power of the Eternal -- by the effluence of His substance, shed abroad by the ministration of Him at his right hand, who was dead and buried, and afterwards ascended on high, leading captivity captive, and receiving gifts for men. By this effluence in the endowed, he walked in the midst of the Ecclesias, and by his shining converted them into stands effulging light upon the sons of day. The Spirit, then, radiant from the eternal throne, and localized in the Anointed Jesus, said to the Star-Angel of Ephesus, "I have known thy works, and thy labor, and thy patient waiting, and that thou art not able to endure wicked men; and hast tried them who assert that they are apostles, but are not, and hast found them liars; and thou hast suffered, and hast patient endurance; and thou hast labored on account of my Name, and hast not tired out." This was the Spirit's knowledge of them in relation to the first estate of the Presbyteries symbolized by the Star-Angel of the Ephesian ecclesia. The "first works" and the "first love" are illustrated in the narrative of the Acts of Apostles. The primitive zeal of the Star-Angels is illustrated by that of Corinth. A case of wickedness occurred in that ecclesia, in which they were thought to sympathize. Paul wrote in reproof of what he had heard. When his letter was received, it produced a great and salutary effect upon them; so that hearing of it, when he wrote again, he said, "Ye sorrowed after a godly sort; what carefulness it wrought in you; yea, what clearing of yourselves; yea, what indignation; yea, what fear; yea, what vehement-desire; yea; what zeal; yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter." And he told them, also, that one reason of his writing was to put their obedience to the test; "to this end," says he, "did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things." Having put their obedience to the test, and found them ready to do right "in all things," he brought before them another case of wickedness, namely, that they had been visited by men professing to be Christ's, who preached another Jesus, another Spirit, and another Gospel, than he; who commended themselves; charged him with being crafty, and catching them with guile; spoke of his speech and person with disrespect; boasted in the circumcision of their flesh; in being Hebrews, Israelites, and the Seed of Abraham; ministers and apostles of Christ. Now these he regarded with indignation and contempt, and likens their operation upon the congregations in Corinth and elsewhere, to that of the serpent who beguiled Eve. He styles them "False apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel, for he, the Satan, is transformed into an angel of light. It is, therefore, no great thing if his ministers also are transformed as ministers of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their works" -- 2 Cor. 11:4, 13. This class of men were a serious and fatal trouble to Paul and the ecclesias. They first made their appearance on the page of New Testament history, in Acts 15:1-5. Their new-fangled crotchet was, that the belief of the Gospel of the Kingdom, and baptism, were not sufficient for salvation; but that a Gentile must besides, or in addition to these, be circumcised, and keep the law of Moses. This dogma was their stock in trade -- the basket of small wares, with which they began the world, and set out in life to make their fortunes. The simple assertion of their dogma brought them into direct collision with the apostles, and especially with Paul. They were the Judaizers, styled in ecclesiastical history, the Ebionites. Their dogma was tantamount to a denial, that "the blood of Jesus Anointed, Son of the Deity, cleanses from all sin" -- 1 Jno. 1:7; and that "his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree" -- 1 Pet. 2:24; for if salvation could not be attained without circumcision and obedience to Moses, the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, were an insufficient sacrifice for sin. The apostles seeing this, unanimously repudiated the dogma, and labored incessantly to prevent it from obtaining a lodgment in the public mind. Paul being "the teacher of the Gentiles," was particularly and acutely argumentative against the Judaizers, or Ebionites; who, consequently, denied the divine authority of the epistles, and accused him of being an Antinomian, because opposed to seeking justification in Moses and in Jesus combined. Thus "they turned away from him." They seem to have acquired great influence with weak-minded professors in Galatia, so as to alienate them from Paul. In writing to these, he says, "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the favor of Christ to another gospel: which, however, is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But, though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than that we have preached unto you, let him be accursed." This is plain and unmistakeable language. They were preaching "another gospel" than Paul's, which was communicated to him by the Anointed Jesus himself; and, therefore, he pronounces them "accursed." Upon this principle, all the pulpit orators of the "Names and Denominations," are accursed of Paul; for they none of them preach the gospel promulgated by him. They are all Ebionites, upon the principle of perverting the gospel of Christ by their insane traditions, only that the Ebionites, heretical as they were had more intelligence of "the truth as it is in Jesus" than the ecclesiastical leaders of the priest ridden populations of our day. Paul understood these pretended apostles thoroughly. He styles them, "false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty." "They zealously affect you," says he, "but not well. I would that they were even cut off, which trouble you. They desire to make a fair show in the flesh, therefore they constrain you to be circumcised; but only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ." They had no objection to be Christians; but they did not like the tribulation the faith brought upon them by the Jewish power. They determined, therefore, to blend Moses and Jesus in such a way as to avoid persecution. But Paul would admit of no compromise; and all that adhered to his teaching renounced them. In the words of the Spirit, "they were not able to endure these wicked men, who asserted that they were apostles, and are not, and had found them liars." And, though by joining their faction, they might have become popular (for "they spake of the world, and the world heard them"), they preferred to suffer and patiently endure, and to go on laboring for the Name, unweariedly. Such was the first estate of the Star-Angels of the apostolic ecclesias. So long as they continued faithful, the congregations flourished in the midst of persecution; but when men stood up the opponents of apostolic teaching and authority, affairs began to go wrong. The hidden principle of lawlessness began to work like leaven until the whole body was leavened with iniquity, and Satan triumphed for a time. At this crisis, when the Spirit addressed them through John, the Star-Angel of Ephesus was in a fallen state. They had forsaken their "first love." Grievous wolves had secured a foothold, and were ready for every evil work. The opponents of Paul's teaching were among the presbyters, and from them nothing but perversion of the truth could be expected. The abandoning of their first love was the effect of their influence; still there was scope for recovery. They had not gone the extent of denying the faith, or of holding principles subversive of it. Though Phygellus and Hermogenes might be presbyters, there were many of the presbytery who had tried them, and found them to be liars, and would not endure them. Hence, the Spirit exhorted them to "remember from whence they had fallen" -- to recollect the spiritual health they enjoyed when Paul went in and out among them for three years, declaring to them "all the counsel of the Deity." They were exhorted to retrace their steps. To put themselves in their original mode of thought and disposition, when in their first love, and to do the first works, lest the Spirit should come and remove from them the gifts he had bestowed; and so leave them in outer darkness, a prey to all the wiles and ravening of the grievous wolves. This would be removing the light, without which the stand would be of no account; and, therefore, equivalent to "removing the lightstand out of its place." But the Star-Angels of the epoch did not recover from their fall. Instead of changing their mind they went on from bad to worse, until at length the time referred to by Paul arrived, when "prophecies (the gift of speaking to edification, exhortation, and comfort, by inspiration) failed; tongues ceased, and (the word of) knowledge vanished away." The gifts of the Spirit were withdrawn, because they had been abused; and "faith, hope, and love" only remained to a remnant of the saints; and "the greatest of these is love;" for "it rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things; believeth all things; hopeth all things; endureth all things;" and "is the fulfilling of the law" -- 1 Cor. 13:6-13. Hence, "love" is the major term, and comprehensive of "faith and hope;" while a man may believe and hope, but not rejoice in and obey the truth. "Love does not rejoice in iniquity," therefore, it is hostile to the clerical apostasy in all its forms. Love is the greatest of the three; yet a houseless wanderer in the "religious world," where none will take him in! 3. The Nikolaitanes.
But though fallen from his first estate, the Star-Angel had one redeeming characteristic; namely, that he "hated the works of the Nikolaitanes, which," says the Spirit, "I also hate." The word, Nikolaitanes, is used in no other book of the scriptures than this symbolical one of the Apocalypse; and in this, it only occurs twice, -- that is, in ch. 2:6, 15. In the former verse, "the works" of the Nikolaitanes; and in the latter, their "doctrine," or teaching, is denounced. The word is a symbolical name, like Balaam and Jezebel, in the same chapter. In the original, it is Nikolaiton a word compounded of nikos victory, and laos people; and as a mystical name, signifies Vanquishers of the People. The class of men so designated, were the "grievous wolves" Paul predicted would stand up among the episcopals of the Presbyteries, and ravin upon the flock. These episcopal men, by their works, and by their teaching, would so bewitch, and deceive the people, as to get a complete ascendancy over them. They would persuade them at length, that they were "the ambassadors of Jesus Christ," and the true "successors of the apostles;" and that it was to them henceforth professors should look for the consolations of religion, and for a true exposition of the sacred writings, which were too holy and too recondite to be interpreted by any save "the called and sent of God as Aaron was," which they affirmed themselves to be! The people, not holding on to their "first love," that they might be saved, and neglecting the study of the word for themselves, were easily beguiled by "the working of Satan with all power and signs, and lying wonders, and with all the deceivableness of unrighteousness," brought to bear upon them. They surrendered themselves to their spiritual guidance, selling themselves to the clergy for their "philosophy and vain deceit" -- Col. 2:8. "For this cause, the Deity sent upon them a strong delusion to their believing in a lie, that all might be condemned who believe not the truth, but have pleasure in the unrighteousness" -- 2 Thess. 2:9-12. Such was the transgression into which they were beguiled by Hymeneus, Philetus, Alexander, Phygellus, Hermogenes, Demas, Diotrephes, and other men of their stamp; and such is the punishment that came upon them to their exclusion from the kingdom of the Diety. The delusion waxed stronger and stronger, as centuries increased the distance from apostolic times, until now the human mind is so enchained by the clerical system of unrighteousness extant, that the truth has scarcely any influence at all. But the Judaizers were not alone the perverters and vanquishers of the people. Another faction arose from among the Gentile element of the Star-Angels. This was composed of the "wolves" referred to in Paul's first letter to Timothy, ch. 6:20, where he says to him, "O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane, vain babblings, and oppositions of Gnosis, or knowledge falsely so called; which some professing have erred concerning the faith." These came to be called Gnostics because of their professing what they called Gnosis, or knowledge, a false science, whose principles were subversive of the truth. The same thing is styled in our day "theological science," "divinity," "ethics," "hermeneutics," and so forth; terms invented to amaze the ignorant, and to impress them with the necessity of schools and colleges for the indoctrination of pious youth in the mysteries they learnedly conceal. Now the principles of this ancient and modern Gnosis are subversive of the truth; for "some professing them," says Paul, "have erred concerning the faith." He refers to them again in his second letter, ch. 2:16, saying, "Shun profane, vain, babblings; for they will increase to more ungodliness. And their word will eat as a gangrene; of whom are Hymeneus and Philetus; who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already, and overthrow the faith of some." These Gnostics were a sort of immersed philosophers -- Gentile professors of "the wisdom" then current in the world among the admirers of Plato, and other heathen speculators upon the unknown. They had acquired a smattering in the truth, and had been immersed, and so "brought in unawares." Having still a hankering after their old foolishness, and not relishing the mockery and persecution their new profession brought upon them from their old associates, they conceived the idea of so commingling the speculations, or fables, of heathenism with the doctrine of the apostles, as to make the compound palatable to the respectablilty and learning of the age. In this way, they conceived the offence of the cross of Christ would cease with the Gentiles, as it had done with the Jews by mixing up the Gospel with the law. Thus "the thinking of the flesh" set to work to elaborate a theology that would popularize Christianity, make it a respectable and fashionable profession, and acceptable to the learned world. And in this diabolical enterprize they succeeded but too well. Being of the world, they derived their inspiration from the feelings and imaginings of the flesh, from whatever it approved, and therefore "the world hears them" -- it heard them then, and it hears them to this day. Their word has eaten gangrenously into the body, reducing it to a mass of wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores; which represents the existing condition of what is "falsely called" Christianity in the world. The Gnostics commenced their department of the Nikolaitan University, with the dogma first enunciated by the Serpent in the Eden-Paradise. By this dogma the lie was given direct to the truth of God. The Spirit has declared, that man, without qualification, was dust; and that he should return to dust, if disobedient to the law of Him who created him; in other words, that "dying" he should "die." But the Serpent, the most sagacious of all animals under man; and endowed with the faculty of speech to express the perceptions and reasonings of its observant brain; by which argumentation it might be proved, whether man would believe and obey the Eternal Spirit, rather than the sophistry of the flesh -- the Serpent, I say, denied that death should be the consequence of disobedience. "Ye shall die no death," said he; "Elohim knows that in the day of your eating from it your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as Elohim knowing of good and of evil. The Serpent had seen "Elohim" in Paradise; he had listened to their discourse with man; and was aware of the existence of "the Tree of the Lives in the midst of the Garden." His brain being merely percipient, reasoning, and propensitive, and therefore utterly devoid of a moral sense, he spoke in harmony with its ratiocination. He had learned, that the Elohim had experienced evil as well as good; and that consequently their eyes had not been opened to evil: that the eating from the tree of knowledge would have a like effect upon the human eaters; and that, as to their dying any death at all, was quite out of the question, seeing that all they would have to do was to eat from the tree of their lives, which would prove an antidote to all mortal and corrupting tendencies, the other tree might possibly impart. Such was his speculation upon the premises before his mind. It was a speculation not entirely devoid of truth; for on eating their eyes were opened; they did become as Elohim; and they did know evil as well as good. This is proved by the testimony which says in Gen. 3:7, "the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked;" and in ch. 3:22, "Behold, said Yahweh Elohim, the man has become like one of us for to know good and evil; now therefore lest he put forth his hand, and take also from the Tree of Lives, and eat and live during the Olahm; therefore Yahweh Elohim sent him forth from the Garden of Eden." But this was an arrangement not provided for in the Serpent's speculation. He did not imagine that they would be expelled from Paradise, and a guard be stationed at the life-imparting tree to prevent all access to it by every living thing. This appointment converted his speculation into a lie; and made him "a liar, and the father of a lie" -- John 8:44. His assertion, then, lo-moth temuthun, "Ye shall die no death," was the first lie, which, when believed and acted upon, brought the believer under sentence of death. It was a Nikolaitane, or people-vanquishing principle, which tells the Deity that he lies; and that "the soul that sinneth shall" not "die;" and that "the wages of sin are" not "death." From the day of the first transgression to the time we are now writing, the Serpent's Seed have taken their stand upon their old father's principle, that the Eternal Spirit's thinking and purposes are in accord with the feelings and imaginings of unenlightened flesh. Men are lying, unstable, and changeful creatures; and they think that God is such an one as themselves. But he denies this, and affirms that "in Him there is no variableness nor shadow of a turning." They admit that he says "the soul that sinneth shall die;" but in all their reasonings maintain, in effect, that he does not mean what he says, but the very reverse -- that when he uttered those words, he meant, "the body of the soul that sinneth shall die; but the soul itself, when disembodied, shall live for ever" -- or, as their father the devil hath it, "It shall die no death." Dark-minded sinners of all orders of foolishness have been endeavoring, from the beginning, to satisfy themselves that this is true. Pagans, Catholics, Mohammedans, Papists, Protestants, and Jews, with all sorts of nondescript professors of pietism, declare it to be their conviction that every human being has within the body a divine and immortal entity, which is the real man that thinks and acts, and is either virtuous or wicked; that this man lives without a body from the time it ceases to breathe, and is buried; that this immortal man, having "shuffled off his mortal coil," finds himself instantly in heaven's bliss, or hell-torments; that he remains there ages without end; though upon this point they are not all agreed: some supposing that after being in bliss some few or many thousands of years, as it may happen, immortal men will come back to earth, and, in some way or other, be reclothed with their old grave-eaten mortalities, and then fly back again in all haste to reenter upon their skyanian bliss: and that the same process occurs with respect to the immortals in hell-torments; who, as Cain for example, having lived in fire and brimstone for five thousand years, more or less, are reclothed with their bodies, and straightway find themselves in a breathing body respiring the fumes and flames of burning brimstone. This class of sinners entangles itself, and encumbers its theory, with this body-snatching speculation, to save itself from a pointblank denial of a resurrection. But the subterfuge will avail nothing. The assertion that the immortal enjoys heaven's bliss or heirs torments without a body for hundreds or thousands of years, effectually abolishes the body for ever; and makes the doctrine of its resurrection a gratuitous absurdity. Others, more consistent in their foolishness, unhesitatingly reject all idea of disembodied immortals being brought back to earth to be reclothed with bodies fabricated out of the old dust. Their theory having disembodied them with a Shakespearian shuffle, dismisses them from earth for ever, which they annihilate at some convenient season in a conflagration of the universe itself! But real Christianity has nothing whatever to do with all this trash, which, in the days of the apostles and many ages before, constituted "the wisdom of the world;" a prime element of which is the dogma, that the real man is in the body; and that he shall die no death at all. This dogma is commonly expressed by the phrase "the immortality of the soul" -- the indispensable and vital principle of Nikolaitane theology. Being bewitched by this pagan myth, the Gnostics were impelled to the assertion of many things utterly subversive of the gospel of Christ. The first thing they affirmed was that "the resurrection is past already." This was tantamount to saying that "there is no resurrection of dead ones" -- 1Cor. 15:12; 2 Tim. 2:18. Upon what ground could they affirm that "it is past?" By falling back upon the resurrection of the saints, who came out of their graves after Jesus rose -- Matt. 27:52. This was a past resurrection, which was admitted by the deniers of a future one. But upon what principle could they deny a future resurrection? Either by affirming that when men died they perished, without exception, as the beasts; or that, having "immortal souls" in their bodies, which passed into heaven or hell instanter, the resurrection and a post-resurrectional judgment were unnecessary and superflous. There is no other ground for the denial than these. They did not deny it upon the first assumption; because they believed in the salvation of men; not that they all perished as the beasts. They must, therefore, have based their denial upon the assumed immortality of something in the body the heathen called "the soul." Their argument was, "There is an immortal soul in the body which is the real man; when he puts off the body he goes to his reward beyond the skies, which is his judgment. Men are judged only once, therefore, being judged, there is no necessity for resurrection to judgment; consequently, we deny that there is hereafter any resurrection of the dead." The next thing these Nikolaitanes were impelled by their gnosis to affirm was, that the real Son of the Deity was "the Immortal Soul" that tabernacled in the body, which body was nothing else than the son of Joseph and Mary, consequently, that the Son of the Deity had no real humanity. That it was the son of Joseph who died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, while the Son of God being immortal, did not, and could not, die upon the cross, but only appeared to die. Now this was tantamount to saying, that Jesus was not the Christ; because the Christ was to be both Son of Deity and Son of Man, in a special sense, at the same time; but they allowed that Jesus was no more than Son of Man, and therefore could not be the Christ promised in the prophets. Some of the Gnostics, however, admitted that Jesus was really the Son of God; but then they nullified this admission by affirming that "He did not come in flesh." They would not allow that he had the same kind of flesh and blood, nor "in flesh," as we. They considered it a holy and immaculate appearance, entirely free from all the emotions and affections of our nature. The operation of this heresy upon the truth, was to destroy it, and to annihilate the hope of all that confided in it. For, if Jesus Anointed did not partake of our nature, but obtained, somehow or other, a pure physical organization, or was only "a similitude," such as Daniel beheld by Ulai, then Paul's testimony is untrue; for he has testified, that "forasmuch as the children (of the Diety) are partakers of flesh and blood, Jesus also himself likewise took part of the same;" and "in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren;" and "God sent his own Son in likeness of Sin's flesh, and for sin condemned the sin in the flesh" -- Heb. 2:14, 17; Rom. 8:3; but if the principle of corruption had not pervaded the flesh of Jesus, or if he were not flesh, he could not have been tried in all points as we; nor could sin have been condemned there; nor could he have "borne our sins in his own body on the tree." Thus the dogma of immortality inherent in Sin's flesh, impelled the Gnostics to a denial of the faith, and to the subverting of the souls of all who heeded them. They, in concert with the Ebionites, set up a Jesus and a Gospel which were totally at variance with "the faith once for all delivered to the saints" by the apostles. As a whole, it constituted the Nikolaitanism of the first century, and became the foundation of the kingdom of the Clergy, which, as the deadly upas, poisons every thing beneath its shade. Well might the Spirit say, "the works and doctrine of the Nikolaitanes I hate." They had "a form of godliness, but they denied its power." These were they "who crept into houses, and led captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts. Ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. And as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so did these also resist the truth; men of corrupt minds, of no judgment concerning the faith" -- 2 Tim. 3:8. They blended law, gospel, and heathen philosophy all together, in one indiscriminate hodge-podge, and called it "Christianity." They founded schools, of which that at Alexandria in Egypt became the most notable, for the education of beardless youths in its mysteries, and from which went forth a multitude that filled the world with strife, debate, and bloodshed in the name of Christ, so that every succeeding century proved the truth of Paul's words, that "evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived." The heresies of the Nikolaitane Ebionites and Gnostics were the germ of what Paul terms "The Apostasy," and John, "the Deceiver and the Antichrist." "Many deceivers are entered into the world," saith the latter, "who do not confess that Jesus Anointed is come in flesh. This is the deceiver and the Antichrist" -- 2 John 7. And again, "Every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Anointed came in flesh, is not from the Deity; and this is that of the Antichrist whereof ye have heard that it comes, and is now already in the world" -- 1 John 4:3. The spirit of a thing precedes the thing itself. First, the idea, and then its embodiment. The ideas of Nikolaitanism were its spirit. These were first conceived in the brains of corrupt and shallow men, who sought a present distinction and position in the world, at all hazards. Their ideas were perverse and perverting, and were spoken for the purpose of drawing away disciples after them. All who received their dogmata imbibed their spirit, and as they increased in number and influence among the people, became a power which continued to grow, until it was prepared to contend with older powers for the ascendancy, and in the struggle gain the victory. This has been the career of the Nikolaitane heresy. It began by affirming the insufficiency of the gospel without the law for salvation; affirming, also, the immortality of an inner man; and denying the proper humanity of Jesus; and it prevails as the Antichristian Apostasy embodied in the Beasts, False Prophet, and appendices thereto belonging, as apocalyptically exhibited in the book in hand. If men had been faithful to the principle of "the gospel being the power of God for salvation to the believer" -- Rom. 1:16, they would not have tried to commend themselves to the Deity by Mosaic observances in respect of sabbaths, meats, drinks, holy days, &c. If they had closed their ears against the dogma of an immortal man in the mortal body, they would not have denied the resurrection and the judgment taught in the scriptures; nor would they have believed in going to heaven when the body ceases to breathe; nor in purgatory; nor in wicked impostors, called priests, praying souls out of its flames for a fee, or retaining them in its fires for want of it; nor would they have worshipped the ghosts of dead men, they call saints. If some of them, while admitting that Jesus was flesh, had not affirmed the spotlessness of that flesh, "the immaculate conception of the Virgin" would not have been invented in order to account for it. All these old wives' fables, and lying traditions, are embodied in the ecclesiastical institutions of the world. The Protestant abominations are all based upon immortal-soulism. With respect to this dogma, they are as pagan as Plato and the papists. Their superstitions are all Gnostic schemes to save a "soul" that has no existence, save in the imagination of the flesh. Their heaven and hell are as fabulous as purgatory, and the paradise of Mohammed. In short, "the Mother of Harlots and All the Abominations of the earth" -- the Babylonish Jezebel of Rome, and all her Protestant and Sectarian progeny, are Nikolaitanism fully manifested -- the plant of the first century become a tree in the midst of the earth, in whose boughs the fowls of the heaven rest, and by which all the beasts of the nations are sheltered and fed. "I hate it," saith the Spirit. Then hew it down as a cumberer of the Ground! This is its coming fate. 4. "He that hath an Ear, let him hear!"
"He that hath an ear, let him hearken to what the Spirit saith to the ecclesias!" These words occur in each of the letters to the Seven Ecclesias. They are addressed to every one that hath an ear for the truth; to every one of "the servants of the Deity," for whose instruction the Apocalypse was communicated. By hearing, or attending to what is spoken, as exhorted imperatively to do, they would be preserved from "grievous wolves," "seducing spirits," "demons," and "deceivers," with whom religious society abounded, as at this day; and their minds would be kept in lively expectation of the promises. Thus they would be "blessed," and prepared to receive the blessings of the covenants. These words seven times repeated, give us to understand, that what is said in each particular letter is not confined to the particular ecclesia addressed, but to all the ecclesias whose spiritual condition at a certain stage of apostasy was represented by that particular one. The promises made in all of them, are promises to all true believers of all ages and generations, who are members of the One Mystical Christ, styled by Paul, "the One Body." The words are not "let him hear what the Spirit saith to the Star-Angel of the Ephesian ecclesia." One might hear this and feel no personal interest in the matter. He might, say, that the promises beginning, "to him that overcomes," imported, "to him of the particular Star-Angel addressed that overcomes, I will give;" but this restriction is excluded by the phrase "what the Spirit saith to the ecclesias;" showing that it is spoken to the saints in general. Lastly, the text informs us, that what is spoken is uttered by the Spirit; and that the speaker is "he that holds the Seven Stars in his right hand." Now, this holder of the Seven Stars is the same whose similitude John describes in the first chapter, where he styles it "like a Son of man." The Eternal Spirit, or Theos, incipiently manifested in Jesus by the Effluent Logos; and hereafter to be manifested in that almighty multitude by the Son of Man, "saith," through the Anointed Jesus, thus and so. In all these letters, then, we hear "what the Spirit saith," who gave the apocalypse to the Anointed Jesus to exhibit to his servants things which must come to pass speedily. 5. "To Him that Overcomes."
"To him that overcomes," saith the Spirit, "to him will I give to eat from the Wood of the Life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of the Deity." "Whosoever," says John, "is begotten of the Deity overcometh the world; and this is the victory that overcomes the world -- our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of the Deity" -- 1 Jno. 5:4. No other class of persons can gain this victory but such; nevertheless, there were many who professed to believe that "Jesus is the Son of God," who did not overcome the beguiling influence of the world, "which is not of the Father;" but made up of "the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life" -- 1 Jno. 2:16. The Nikolaitanes professed to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, in a sense of their own; but their "faith" did not incite them to a contest with the world, nor strengthen them in conflict for its subjugation. Many, however, did overcome the world. The apostles overcame it, and all who adhered to their teaching. Their conquest was evinced by their "denying themselves of all ungodliness and worldly lusts, and living soberly, righteously, and godly, en to nun aioni, in the present course of things; looking for that blessed hope, even the appearance of the glory of our great Deity and Saviour, Jesus Anointed; who gave himself for us, that he might ransom us from all lawlessness, and purify for himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works" -- Tit. 2:12. They set their mind upon the things which are higher than the things on earth; and no efforts the world could bring to bear against them, could turn them aside from the hope of the calling. They knew in whom they believed; and that "their life was hid with the Anointed in the Deity; and that when the Anointed One, their life, should be manifested, then they also would appear with him in glory" -- Cor. 3:2-4. How unlike modern professors of faith in the Divine Sonship of Jesus were these! Instead of such modern professors overcoming the world by faith, the world has overcome them in subjecting them to its lusts. What are called "the churches" are made up of devotees to "the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life" from the martext in the pulpit to the sexton at the door. "The Church" has become "World;" and between the two, consequently, there is peace and amity. "Love not the world, neither the things in the world," says John; "for if any one love the world, the love of the Father is not in him" -- 1 Jno. 2:15: for "the friendship of the world is enmity against the Deity; whosoever, therefore, will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God" -- James 4:4. From these premises it is clear, that the clergy and their "churches" of all their "Names and Denominations," are "the enemies of God." They neither believe his promises, nor obey his will. They are all "miserable sinners" self-confessed; and while they glory in the honor mutually bestowed, they are regardless of the honor that comes "from God only." Therefore they do not, and cannot, believe -- Jno. 5:44 Hence, none of the promises of the apocalypse are for them. Their portion is in the terrible threatenings of the book; whose judgments are for the destruction of the Kingdom of the Clergy, and the emancipation of "christendom" from their superstitions and misrule. 6. "The Wood of the Life."
To him, then, who "believes the things concerning the Kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Anointed;" and has therefore been immersed (Acts 8:12) and thenceforth, "by a patient continuance in well doing, seeks for glory, and honor, and incorruptibility (Rom. 2:7): and thus overcomes the world -- "to him," saith the Spirit, "I will give to eat from the Wood of the Life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of the Deity." The reader will perceive that I have here rendered ek tou xulou tes zoes, which, in the English version, is expressed by the phrase "of the Tree of Life," by the words from the Wood of the Life. This is not a departure from the common form for the sake of singularity, as the following remarks will show. In the Apocalypse there are two Greek words, as xulon and dendron, which are both rendered tree in the English version, but incorrectly, as I believe. I cannot suppose, that the Spirit selected these two different words to express exactly the same idea; but the rather, because there was a distinction of ideas, which required different words to convey it. To translate xulon by "tree," involves one in a difficulty respecting Rev. 22:2, from which there is no satisfactory extrication. This passage reads thus, "In the midst of her broad place and on this side and that side of the river a Xulon of life, bearing twelve fruits," etc. Now, if xulon be rendered "tree," the difficulty is, how can a tree be at one and the same time on both sides of a river? The difficulty, however, vanishes by rendering xulon by the word wood. A wood may be "on this side and the other" of a river, and yet be one wood; a singular of plurality, which harmonizes with the structure of other apocalyptic symbols, which are formed upon the principle of many in one; as, many sons of men in One Son of man; many emperors in One Head of the Beast; many popes in One False Prophet; and many dendra, or trees, in One zulon, or Wood. The word dendron, "a tree," occurs in Rev. 7:1, 3; 8:7; 9:4, and is so rendered there correctly enough; but in Rev. 2:7; 22:2, 14, "tree," in the English Version, is xulon in the Greek; and in ch. 18:12, it is also xulon twice, but in both instances rendered wood, as "thyine wood" and "precious wood." We may here remark that while dendron, in the singular, only represents one tree, the word xulon, in the singular, may represent a plurality; as "they made their feet fast in the stocks" -- "eis to xulon." In short, the matter of all trees is used symbolically for any number of individual trees -- one material, or xulon, typical of a whole forest, or aggregation of dendra. The idea of plurality in connection with what is commonly styled "the Tree of Life," is first suggested in Gen. 2:9, where it is styled by Moses, aitz ha-chayim, a Tree of the Lives. In this phrase, the tree is the type of the lives, and though single represents plurality. It was in the midst of Eden's garden, and would have imparted life for the Olahm had Adam and Eve, the representatives of the whole family of man, been permitted to take of the fruit of the tree and eat thereof. But they were excluded on account of disobedience; and the eating of a tree of life was set before the race as a thing to be attained consequent upon obedience to the commands of God. This tree in the Mosaic Paradise was allegorical of the wood in the apocalyptic. The original phrase here suffers a sort of transposition Lives is changed into life, and tree into wood; that is, the idea of plurality is found in the wood, and the oneness in the life. Thus, the Spirit in Jesus said, "I am the life;" "I am the Vine, and ye (my apostles) are the branches." Here was a tree consisting of fourteen living persons, all animated by one and the same life-principle; namely, the Spirit, Jesus, and the Twelve Apostles. Now let this idea be extended so as to embrace "the multitude which no man can number" -- all in Jesus Anointed" -- and we have a tree, which in the beginning was "as a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden, and it grew and waxed a great tree, and the fowls of the air came and lodged in the branches of it" (Luke 13:18) -- a tree, which with its leathered songsters of the aerial, is apocalyptically symbolized by a Wood of trees in the Garden, or Paradise of the Deity. As Jesus anointed with holy spirit was a vine-tree, so are all his brethren trees also. Speaking of the man who delights in the instruction of Yahweh, the Spirit in David says, "He shall be as a tree planted by the channels of waters, which shall yield its fruit in its season, and its leaf shall not fade; and whatsoever he shall work shall prosper." This is a perennial tree which lives for ever; for "its leaf shall not fade;" which is affirmable only of a tree incapable of decay. The Spirit also in Isaiah, speaking of the same class, informs us, that Messiah's mission is, among other things, "to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of Yahweh, that he might be glorified" -- ch. 61:3. "As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my Beloved among the Sons" -- Cant. 2:3. In this, the Messiah is likened to an apple tree, and his brethren, the Sons of Deity, to "the trees of the wood." "To him that overcomes, saith the Spirit, I will give to eat from the wood of life." A man's victory over the world is not complete so long as he is engaged in the conflict of life. In this state of existence, then, a man does not eat from the wood of the life promised; he is, therefore, in no sense immortal. The promise of life is, that we shall have it when the victory is won. "I will give to him to eat," points us to the future. We must first appear before the throne by resurrection, to learn whether we are accounted worthy of the life; and then, if the verdict be in our favor, we shall be permitted to eat; otherwise, not. "I will give to eat." Mastication, deglutition, and assimilation, constitute the whole process of eating, which is the conversion of food into blood, which is the life. But the life of the saints in the Millennial Aion is not blood; for "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God;" for it is corruptible, and the kingdom of God is indestructible, and not to be left to a succession; hence, "corruption cannot inherit incorruption." Their life in that Aion is holy spirit. When this is poured out upon their bodies, posterior to their resurrection, it assimilates to itself, "in the twinkling of an eye," all the particles of their flesh and bones; and they become transformed into incorruptible, deathless, and glorious bodies, according to Paul's testimony, who says, "the Lord Jesus Anointed, shall change the nature of the body of our humiliation, that it may become of like form with the body of his glory, by the inworking of what enables him also to subdue all things to himself" -- Phil. 3:21, -- that is, of the Spirit. This inworking, by which the nature of the resurrected body is changed, so as that it becomes a spirit-body, or spirit, is the giving to eat of the wood of life. When the victor has thus eaten he becomes an element of the wood, whose leaf shall never fade, and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. 7. "The Paradise of the Deity."
The wood of the formative spirit-life is to stand "in the midst of the Paradise of the Deity." This word paradise is merely a transfer from one language to another, -- that is, it is not translated. It is originally, a Persian word, transferred from that tongue to the Hebrew; and from the Hebrew to the Greek; and from the Greek to the English. In the Perso-Hebraic form it is pardais, and occurs in Nehem. 2:8, where one Asaph is designated as "the keeper of the pardais which belongs to the king" of Persia; that is, a pardais in Palestine, from which the king authorized Nehemiah to take "timber to make beams for the gates of the palace," and so forth. It is evident, from this, that a pardais was a tract of land containing trees, from which timber might be hewn. In the English version it is translated by the word "forest." This word occurs in two other places of the scriptures; first, in Eccl. 2:5. Here Solomon says, "I made for myself gardens, and pardaisim, and I planted trees in them of all fruits; I made me pools of waters for to irrigate with these the wood, making the trees to grow." In the English version, pardaisim is rendered "orchards." From this text it is easy to perceive what pardaisim were understood to be in Solomon's time. They were tracts of land planted with all kinds of fruit trees, and irrigated with streams of water, to make the trees productive. The third place where the word occurs is in Cant. 4:13. The passage reads thus, "A garden enclosed is my sister bride, a spring shut up, a fountain sealed. Thy sprouts are a pardais of pomegranate trees, with fruits of most pleasant ones; cyprus-flowers with spikenards. Spikenard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief of the spices; a fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon." The literal of this exhibits a pardais as a very beautiful enclosure, and illustrates the sort of garden our first parents were placed in at the beginning. Speaking of this, Moses says, "Yahweh Elohim planted a garden in Eden of the East. And Yahweh Elohim made to grow out of the ground every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food; and a Tree of the Lives in the midst of the garden, and a Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. And a river went out of Eden for to water the garden; and from thence it was divided, and became into four heads. The name of the first Pishon; that encompassing the whole region of Havilah, where there is gold; and the gold of that region is good: there is the pearl and stone of the onyx. And the name of the second river Gihon; that encompassing the whole region of Khush. And the name of the third river Hiddekel; that flowing eastward of Asshur. And the fourth river the Euphrates" -- Gen. 2:8. From these examples we may know what the Hebrews understood by a pardais, namely, a tract of land well watered, and abounding with choice trees, pleasant to the eyes, and yielding luscious fruits, and fragrant flowers; and rich in gold, and pearls, and precious stones. The Greeks called the Hebrew and Persian pardais by the word paradeisos, which has been transferred into our language, and anglicised by changing eisos into ise, and so making paradise. The Hebrews were instructed out of the law and the prophets. Hence, all the truth they believed was in harmony with these writings, while all their errors obtained place in their minds by adopting the speculations of the heathen, and thinking after their own vain conceits, as Jews and Gentiles do at this day. Corrupted as they were by myths and traditions, they never imagined paradise to be the grave, or sheol, or hades, or some ethereal region "beyond the solar system," or in the skies! It remained for the reverend and learned dunces of the Nikolaitan Apostasy to proclaim this marvellous absurdity. The Jews knew what paradise signified, for they were taught it in glowing terms by many of the prophets. Instructed by these, they knew that the area of Paradise belonged to the country styled "Eden." When Moses wrote the passage quoted above, he was westward in "the wilderness of the land of Egypt." He says, "Yahweh-Elohim planted a garden in Eden of the East." This region was so named because of the delightful and pleasant character of the land and climate, from nda Eden, "delight, pleasure." Eden was a part of the East, as Ohio is a part of the West. It was quite an extensive range of country, and in after times became the seat of powerful dominions. It appears to have been well watered by the tributaries to "a fiver that flowed out of Eden." These were four principal streams -- the Choaspes, the Gyndes, the Hiddekel, and Euphrates; of which the Hiddekel, or Tigris, and the Euphrates, are well known. The Hiddekel, Moses says, "is eastward of Asshur;" that is, eastward of Nimrod's original settlements between the Tigris and Euphrates. The Choaspes, or Pishon, flows down from Media; and the Gyndes, or Gihon, is the river of Khushistan. These four rivers water the Eden of the East; and flowing out of it in a confluence of waters, empty themselves at length into the Persian Gulph. This country, in after ages, came to be denominated "the Garden of Yahweh;" and the Powers reigning in it, "the Trees of Eden." It came, doubtless, to be styled Yahweh's Garden, as a whole, from the fact of his having in the beginning planted a garden in it for Adam and Eve; so that the name of a small part of Eden came to be applied by his family, in the time of Abraham and his posterity, to the whole region; more especially as the prophets of their race testify that the future paradise is to occupy a considerable portion of its ancient limits. That the Holy Land is a part of the Eden of the East, appears from certain prophecies of Ezekiel. In setting forth the certainty of the overthrow of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, by the king of Babylon, the Spirit recapitulates the power and dominion of the Ninevite dynasty of Assyria; which, however, was not able to withstand the king of Babylon, "the mighty one of the heathen;" and, therefore, there was no hope for Egypt of a successful resistance. In the recapitulation, the Ninevite Assyrian is styled "a cedar in Lebanon;" that is, his dominion extended over the land of the Ten Tribes of Israel, in which are the cedar-crowned mountains of Lebanon. After describing the greatness of his power by the magnitude of the cedar, the Spirit saith, "the cedars in the Garden of Elohim could not hide him; nor was any tree in the Garden of Elohim like to him in his beauty. I made him fair by the multitude of his branches; so that all the trees of Eden in the Garden of the Elohim envied him" -- ch. 31:3, 8, 9. These trees were the royalties of Mesopotamia, Syria, Israel, and so forth, which the kings of Assyria had abolished (Isai. 37:11-13), and which "could not hide him," or prevent him getting the ascendancy over them. It is clear, then, from the terms of this beautiful allegory, that the countries I have indicated were parts of the Eden of the East; that as a whole it is styled the Garden of the Elohim; and that the trees are the royalties of the land. That Eden extended to the Mediterranean, or "Great Sea," appears from Ezekiel's prophecy against Tyre. Addressing this Power, he says, "Thou hast been in Eden a Garden of Elohim. Thou hast been upon the holy mountain of Elohim. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day thou wast created till iniquity was found in thee. Therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of Elohim. Thou shalt be a terror, and nothing of thee during the olahm" -- 28:13-19. The meaning of this is obvious to one acquainted with the history of the kingdom of Tyre. It was a royalty of Palestine in Upper Galilee, whose king, Hiram, was in intimate alliance with Solomon. He appears to have been a proselyte of Judaism, which his successors sometime afterwards abandoned; and therefore Yahweh Tz'vaoth suppressed the kingdom of Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar for seventy years; and for the rest of the olahm, by the Greeks. Eden has been a field of blood from the beginning of the contest between the "Seed of the Woman," and the "Seed of the Serpent," until now; and will yet continue to be until the Serpent Power be broken upon the mountains of Israel. It was in Eden that Abel died by the hand of Cain. There also Abel's antitype was wounded in the heel when "he was made a curse for his brethren" by hanging upon a tree -- Gal. 3:13; and lastly, to fill up the measure of the iniquity of the blood-defiled land, the serpents of Israel slew the son of Barachus between the temple and the altar. But the blood of the saints shed in Eden did not cry to him in vain for vengeance; for as the Lord Jesus predicted, so it came to pass. "Behold," said he, to that generation of vipers, "I send you prophets, and wise men, and scribes; and some of them ye will kill and crucify; and some of them ye will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city; that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the land, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zecharias, son of Barachus, whom ye will slay between the temple and the altar" -- Mat. 18:35. The Holy Land, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Assyria Proper, are manifestly countries of Eden. But in the beginning, Eden contained a Garden, pardais or Paradise; so also in the beginning of the Millennial Aion, the same Eden will rejoice in a paradise adapted to the necessities and enjoyment, not of two persons only, but of "a great multitude which no man can number" -- Rev. 7:9. Adam and Eve's paradise was upon a small scale, yet ample enough for them. From its Mosaic geography no other locality, I believe, can be reasonably assigned to it than between the Gulph of Persia and the confluence of the four rivers named. The text reads, "and a river went out of Eden to water the Garden: and from thence it was divided, and became into four heads." This I understand to mean, that a river, formed by the confluence of four others flowing out of Eden, was caused to water the garden on its way to the sea; and that, tracing this river northward from the garden, it diverged into its tributaries which terminated in four several heads. The heads were not in the garden, but at remote distances from it; therefore, they err who locate Adam's paradise at the heads, or original sources, of the Tigris and Euphrates in the mountains of Armenia. A warmer climate was necessary for the comfortable existence of two naked persons. The heads, I say, were not in the garden, for it was watered by one only; as it is written, "a river went out to water it," which certainly excludes the four from its inclosure. From subsequent developments in the history of their posterity, the Babylonian region of Eden was a very appropriate locality for the origination of "sin, which is the transgression of law." In the Adamic Paradise was laid the foundation of that gigantic system of iniquity, which is styled, apocalyptically, "Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots, and Abominations of the Earth." The principle, which may be termed, "the vital principle," of this "mystery," is disobedience. Adam's paradise was the birthplace of this principle, and at once the arena of the Serpent's victory and defeat. The individual serpent prevailed, and was cursed in the paradise of the first Adam; so also he has prevailed, and is destined to be bruised in the paradise of the Second. The serpent principles, embodied in the Power symbolized by the Goat and his Five Horns (Dan. 8:8, 9), have thus far prevailed. The Power has desolated the Holy Land, and made it a field of blood. But this fair portion of Eden is not always to lie in ruins under the serpent-dominion; for the sentence is, "Thy Head, O Serpent, the Woman's Seed shall bruise:" the dominion will therefore be destroyed, and the Holy Land in Eden of the East be delivered from the enemy. That the Holy Land is to become the Paradise of the Deity is manifest from the following testimonies, which, every one acquainted with the history of Eden, in whole, or in part, knows have never yet been accomplished. Thus the Spirit saith, "Thy land, O Zion, shall no more be termed 'Desolate;' but thou shalt be called Hephzibah (that is, My Beloved is in her), and thy land Beulah (that is, Married): for Yahweh delighteth in thee, and thy Land shall be married. For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee; and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thine Elohim rejoice over thee" -- Isa. 62:4, 5. Here Zion and the Holy Land are represented as a Virgin-Bride; and the Elohim, or Messiah, and his brethren in their One Spirit-Body manifestation, as the Bridegroom. This Virgin-Bride and her Bridegroom are the loving couple, whose loves are celebrated by Solomon in his "Song of Songs." The land, in its paradisaic development, is typified in his "garden enclosed," and which, as king, he styles, "my sister spouse," as already quoted. This is the literal, which is also allegorical of something more recondite, as hereafter will be shown. At present we have to do chiefly with the geo-material aspects of the subject. When the marriage, or union, between the Sons of Zion and their King, as the Bridegroom, and the Holy Land as the virgin-bride, comes to pass, the country will become the Paradise of Yahweh, which his own right hand planted. Thus, the Spirit saith, "Yahweh shall comfort Zion; he will comfort all her waste places, and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the Garden of Yahweh; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody" -- Isa. 51:3. "Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the briar shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to Yahweh for a renown, for a memorial of the Olahm, which shall not be cut off" -- Isa. 55:13. At that time, "I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water; I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle tree, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box together, that they (Israel) may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of Yahweh hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it" -- Isa. 41:17-20. Lastly upon this point Ezekiel's testimony may be adduced; as, "Thus saith Adonai Yahweh; in the day that I shall have cleansed you, O Israel, from all your iniquities, I will also cause you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be builded. And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by. And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the Garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities fenced, and inhabited. Then the nations that are left round about you shall know that I, Yahweh, build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I, Yahweh, have spoken it, and I will do it" -- Ezek. 36:33. When thus converted into Paradise, the same prophet tells us that there will be "a river that can not be passed over" by wading; and that it will be formed by a confluence of "waters springing out from under the threshold of the temple eastward, from it's right side, at the south of the altar" -- ch. 47:1-5. He then informs us that "on the bank of the river was a great wood, br Ue, (both words in the singular number) on the one side and on the other. The waters issue from Mount Moriah down its south side, and flow on toward the east through a vast cleft in the Mount of Olives (Zech. 14:4, 8.) When they have passed this valley they divide into two rivers, the one flowing through the desert and emptying into the Dead Sea; and the other into the Mediterranean: both of them abundant and never failing streams. The effect of the eastern river upon the Dead Sea will be to heal its waters. Both streams are healing waters; for the prophet says, that "It shall be, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the two rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither; for they (of the Dead Sea) shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh. And it shall be, that the fishers shall stand upon it from Engeddi even unto Eneglaim; they shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the Great Sea (or Mediterranean) exceeding many. "And by the river on the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall come up every tree for food, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be exhausted; for its months it shall yield, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for food, and the leaf thereof for healing." After these statements, the Spirit then proceeds to point out the boundaries of Paradise. He commences the line from the Mediterranean at the outlet of the Orontes, called "the entering into Hamath," and passes on in a direct course of one hundred and thirty-three miles to Berothah upon the Euphrates. This is marked out as the natural boundary on the north by the range of mountains, called Amanus, which, as a natural barrier, extends across the country from the Great Mediterranean sea to Berothah; to which the Euphrates is navigable from the Persian Gulph. When Messiah is enthroned king of the land, and proceeds to take possession of it to its utmost limits, he will then say to his companions, "Come with me from Lebanon, my Spouse, with me from Lebanon: look from the top of Amana, from the top of Shenir and Hermon, from the lion's dens, from the mountains of the leopards" -- Cant. 4:8. Taking up their position upon that commanding border, the Sons of Zion may view the landscape of a goodly and glorious land, fragrant of rich odors, and flowing with milk and honey, outstretching eastward in all the length of Euphrates to the East Sea. This is its border on the east. From the junction of the Euphrates with the Persian Gulph in lat. 30 degrees, the frontier is drawn "from Tamar to Meribah of Kadesh, to the river towards the Great (or Mediterranean) Sea." This is the south border of Paradise; a line of over a thousand miles abutting upon the Nile, and thence to the sea; and affording free access to the Red Sea by the Elanitic Gulph. The boundary on the west "shall be the Great Sea from the border (south) till a man come over against (the entering in to) Hamath." Thus we have an ample area; containing by estimation three hundred thousand square miles, for the length and "breadth of Immanuel's land," extending, as covenanted to Abraham and his Seed, "from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates, for a possession in the Olahm" -- Gen. 15:18. Such is the territorial paradise or kingdom of the Deity; which all the prophets testify shall be inhabited by the Twelve Tribes of Israel, and their nobles, all of them Priests and Kings with Messiah preeminent in all things over all. The twelve tribes will have had a new heart given them, and a new spirit put within them, by the refining process they will have been previously subjected to. Their present stony heart will have been abolished, and a heart of flesh substituted in its stead, as it is testified in Ezek. 36:25-32. Then, for the first time since their revolt from the house of David in the days of his grandson Rehoboam, they will again become "one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all." They will then rejoice in Jesus of Nazareth, as High Priest upon the throne of his father David after the order of Melchizedec for the "season and a time," or Olahm of a thousand years. The former troubles will all be forgotten; and they will "no more be made a reproach among the nations" -- Joel 2:19. Under this new and glorious constitution of the Hebrew Kingdom, the tribes will be settled in Paradise in parallel cantonments, extending across the country from the Mediterranean to the Euphrates. Dan's canton is the first reckoning from the north border. Then Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, Ephraim, Reuben, and Judah. This brings us down to "the midst of the Paradise of the Deity." South of Judah is the Foursquare Oblation, "a holy portion of the land," containing "the sanctuary, the Most Holy;" the holy portion for the Levites; and the "Profane Place for the City, for dwelling, and for suburbs. On the east and west is the Prince's portion, the foursquare oblation being in his portion, and bounded north by the canton of Judah and south by that of Benjamin. Thus, "Yahweh shall inherit in the (canton) of Judah his portion upon the land of holiness, and shall delight in Jerusalem again" -- Zech. 2:12. -- the Holy Oblation and Prince's portion being thus reckoned of the canton of Judah. The Holy Oblation is to contain the Millennial Temple described by Ezekiel, which is to be in the midst of the Most Holy Portion of the Oblation, "upon the top of the mountain, the whole limit whereof is Most Holy" -- ch. 43:12. The details are given in ch. 45:1-8, which concludes with the remark, that "in the land shall be his (Messiah the Prince's) possession in Israel: and my princes (who will then be the saints) shall no more oppress my people: and the rest of the land shall they give to the house of Israel according to their tribes." The City, which will be square, will be 4,500 measures on each side, or 18,000 in circumference. Its twelve gates will open into suburbs of 250 measures broad; and to the east and west there will be areas of 10,000 measures each, making altogether "a profane place" of 25,000 measures from east to west, by 5,000 from north to south, which "shall be for the whole house of Israel:" and "the name of the city from that day shall be Yahweh-Shammah," because "He who shall be is there." Next to the Holy Oblation a portion is allotted to Benjamin, and successively afterwards to Simeon, Issachar, Zebulon, and Gad, which is the most southerly of all the tribes. Such is the area of Paradise from north to south, and from east to west, a royal domain larger than that of any kingdom or empire of Europe, Russia alone excepted. It exceeds in the aggregate amount of square miles, the territories of ten kingdoms of Europe, as Prussia, Belgium, the Netherlands, Bavaria, Saxony, Hanover, Wirtemberg, Denmark, Sardinia, and Greece; and its relative proportion to Great Britain and Ireland is 300 to 118, or more than two and a half to one. The situation of Paradise is peculiar in relation to its borders. The Mediterranean, the Red Sea, and the Persian Gulph, form on the west, the south, and the east, borders of a land which, but for these inland seas, would be wholly encircled by Asia, Africa, and Europe, and shut out from all direct communication with the Pacific and Atlantic, and lesser oceans of the globe. The river of Egypt to the Mediterranean, and that sea from the mouth of the Nile to the estuary of the Orontes, and the Euphrates from the foot of Amanus to the Persian Gulph, leave not the smallest portion of the west side, or of the side, that is not actually or virtually a navigable coast to the extent on both sides of two thousand miles; while on the north, the intermediate barrier of Amanus, at the breadth of less than one hundred, renders the land "a Garden Enclosed." No country could be better situated for the establishment of a kingdom whose sovereignty is destined to rule all nations, peoples, and tribes, inhabiting the land and sea to their utmost bounds. Such, then, are the geographical and the literal of the Paradise of Deity. It belongs to the earth, and is as real, visible, and actual a region, as Britain or America. The literal Paradise, however, differs from these in that its literality is also symbolical and allegorical of things pertaining to that great incorporation of the citizens of the commonwealth of Israel, styled by Daniel and other sacred writers, "the Saints." Thus its literal river is symbolical of the spirit to be received from the throne, and through the altar Jesus, by the trees of righteousness that come out of the earth by resurrection. Ezekiel's river is therefore placed among the apocalyptical symbols of Rev. 22:1. So also, his aitz rav, or Great Wood, on both sides of his river, is adopted as a symbol by the Spirit in the same chapter, and there styled "the xulon on this side and that side of the river of water of life," and representative of the aggregate of the saints, each saint being an element of the wood. The leaf of the Ezekiel wood is for healing; as an apocalyptic symbol it is representative of the saints, who are leaves as well as trees of the xulon of life, through whom the Spirit breathes "for the healing of the nations," symbolized by the waters of the Dead Sea. To eat of the wood of the life in the midst of the Paradise of the Deity is to be an unfading leaf -- an immortal possessor of the glory, honor, and incorruptibility of the kingdom, which the God of heaven shall set up in the Holy Land. It is to be one of the priests of the Most Holy Portion of the Holy Oblation, to whom it shall be said by the King, "Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the State" -- Matt. 25:34. SECTION 2.
TO THE ANGEL OF THE ECCLESIA OF THE SMYRNEANS.
"And to the Angel of the Ecclesia of the Smyrneans write: These things saith the First and the Last, who was dead and lived: I have known thy works, and the tribulation, and the poverty, though thou art rich; and the blasphemy of those who say, that they themselves are Jews, and are not, but a synagogue of the Satan.
"Fear not the things which thou shalt suffer. Behold the Diabolos will cast of you into prison, that ye may be tempted; and ye will have a tribulation of ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give to thee the coronal wreath of the life."He that hath an ear let him hearken to what the Spirit saith to the ecclesias: he who overcomes shall not be injured by the Second Death" -- verses 8-11. Smyrna is a city of Ionia, in Asia Minor, situated on the Archipelago, and having a fine harbor. It is still a place of great consideration, having a large foreign trade, and a population of about 140,000. The present city is on lower ground than the ancient one, and lies about forty-five miles northward of Ephesus. It is called Esmir by the Turks, and is celebrated not so much for the splendor and pomp of the buildings, which are rather mean and ruinous, as for the number, and wealth, and commerce of the place. The Turks have here fifteen mosques, and the Jews several synagogues. "Among these enemies of the Christian name," says Bishop Newton, "the Christian religion also flourishes in some degree!" But this is a great mistake. His episcopal lordship mistakes the Nikolaitan Apostasy, of which his own communion is an influential part, for the Christian religion. The religion of the Bible has long since been exterminated from Smyrna, and nothing remains there now but "the abominations of the earth." Smyrna still retains an ecclesiastical preeminence, being a metropolitan see of the Greek church, which has two congregations. But besides these, there is a great number of Nikolaitans of all nations, sects, and languages. The Latins have a monastery of Franciscans. The Armenians have a church. But the English, who are the most considerable number, are said to have only a chapel in the consul's house. Frequent plagues and earthquakes are the great calamities of the place. We have no special notice of Smyrna in any other book than the Apocalypse. The gospel was most probably introduced to the notice of the Smyrneans by Paul during his three years' residence in Ephesus. Though not much noticed in the scriptures, it appears to have been a conspicuous congregation in the middle of the second century, through its connection with Polycarp, a member of its Star-Angel, who was burnt at the stake, because he would not call Caesar "Lord," and sacrifice to his divinity. This occurred about a.d. 167, some seventy years after the Apocalypse was revealed. Ignatius, who had been an episcopal in the Star-Angel of the ecclesia at Antioch for thirty-seven years, twenty-six years of which he was officially contemporary with the apostle John, came to Smyrna on his way to Rome a.d. 107, whither he was sent by order of Trajan, "to be thrown to the wild beasts for the entertainment of the people." While at Smyrna he wrote a letter to the Ephesian ecclesia, in which he says, "Onesimus exceedingly commends your godly order; and that you live according to truth, and that no heresy dwells with you." The thing referred to as "heresy" at that crisis, was Nikolaitanism. Hence the words of Ignatius are equivalent to saying, that Onesimus testified that "no Nikolaitanism dwelt with them." It had not then as yet got into the Ephesian ecclesia, as the Spirit testified some eleven years previous, saying, "thou hatest the deeds of the Nikolaitans, which I also hate." But in the same letter he says, "Some indeed with much ostentation, make specious but fallacious pretensions, whose works are unworthy of God, whom you ought to avoid as wild beasts. For they are raging dogs, biting in secret, whom you should shun, as being persons very difficult to be cured. One physician there is, bodily and spiritual, begotten and unbegotten, Deity appearing in flesh, in immortal true life, both from Mary and from Deity -- first suffering, afterwards impassible." These "raging dogs," alluded to by Ignatius, were the "wicked men," and "those who said they were apostles, and are not," referred to by the Spirit. The Ephesians "could not bear them;" and on examining their "specious but fallacious pretensions," as Ignatius terms them, "found them liars." It appears from this letter, that some of these pretenders to apostleship, and teachers of Nikolaitanism, went to Ephesus from Smyrna: "I have known," says he, "some who went from this place, whom you did not suffer to sow tares among you: you stopped your ears, so that you should not receive their seed, as being stones of the temple of your Father." "Without Christ think nothing becoming; in whom may I be found at the resurrection through your prayer, that my lot may be cast among the Ephesian Christians, who have always (to a.d. 107) harmonized with the Apostles in the power of Jesus Christ!" "Ye are partakers of the mysteries with Paul the holy, the renowned, the blessed, whose footsteps may I follow!" "Neglect not assemblies for thanksgiving and prayer: for when you assiduously attend to these things, the powers of Satan are demolished, and his pernicious kingdom is dissolved by the unanimity of your faith." "Remember me, as Jesus Christ also does you," as evinced by the apocalyptic epistle. "Pray for the ecclesia in Syria, whence I am led bound to Rome -- the meanest of the faithful who are there." In regard to "the Angel of the Smyrnean ecclesia," the exposition already before the reader, in relation to the Seven Stars, and the Angel of the Ephesian congregation, makes any further remark unnecessary. The Spirit, in his exordium, does not repeat what he said to the Ephesian Star, but selects another characteristic of the Son of Man similitude. "These things (that follow), saith the First and the Last, who was dead, and lived." Jesus, when anointed with holy spirit and power, after resurrection, is styled by Paul, "the Lord the Spirit;" and "the Last Adam was made into a Life-imparting Spirit;" for, as Jesus said, when in the flesh, "that which has been begotten out of the Spirit, is spirit" -- 2 Cor. 3:18; 15:45; Jno. 3:6. Upon this principle, the Spirit says, "I was dead:" that element of the Spirit-speaker, who had become spirit, died; therefore, the become-Spirit could say, "I was dead." Thus, "the First" was dead, and lived by resurrection; and when all the Saints shall have been begotten out of the same Spirit, and so also have become spirit, the Spirit-speaker will have a still larger element of the once-dead, and lived, constituting him who spake to John in Patmos, "the Last," or "the Last Ones," according to Isaiah. Such is the divine speaker who testifies to the excellency of the Smyrnean believers, a.d. 98, or thereabouts. Though in tribulation and poverty, the Spirit said, "Thou art rich." They were, therefore, the type of the approved; for no evil is laid to their charge. They were a congregation of such believers as James says, God has chosen; and he was a very competent judge in the case. "Hearken, my beloved brethren," saith he, "hath not God chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of that kingdom, which he hath promised to them that love him?" And as to "the tribulation," Paul says, "it is through much tribulation we must enter the kingdom of God" -- Acts 14:22. "Blessed the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of the heavens. Blessed they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed they which are persecuted, for theirs is the kingdom of the heavens" -- Matt. 5:3-10. These were "the consolations of religion," imparted in the instruction of Jesus and the apostles. The Spirit anointed them to preach the gospel of the kingdom to "the poor in spirit," or, as Isaiah styles them, "the meek;" to honest and good-hearted people of childlike disposition -- Isa. 61:1; Luke 4:18; Matt. 10:25; 11:5; 18:3; Luke 8:15. The Smyrneans were such; a poor, meek, persecuted, and richly faithful people. They were "Heirs of that kingdom," in which they believed; and, as every intelligent person, who is not spoiled by the clerical traditions of the Nikolaitans, knows, an heir is one who is to obtain possession of a thing after the present possessor dies; so the Smyrneans were not present possessors of the kingdom, but living in hope of some time or other coming into possession of "the kingdoms of this world," when "the Satan," the present and actual possessor of them, shall be forcibly ejected. They were heirs of these kingdoms patiently waiting to possess them, when they shall become "the kingdoms of Yahweh and of his Anointed," -- that is, of Jesus and his Brethren, illimitably anointed with the effluence of the Eternal Spirit; and thereby constituted "The Yahweh Elohim almighty;" who, having conquered them in the war of his great and terrible day, shall reign over them during the Aions of the Aions, or the thousand years -- Rev. 11:15; 16:14; 20:4, 6. The Smyrneans did not entertain the silly and absurd notion, so characteristic in our day of clerical craziness, that they were either the kingdom itself, or in the kingdom! Not having been Nikolaitanized, they did not believe that "the church" was "the kingdom of grace," and transkyana "the kingdom of glory above," where "immortal souls" sing and dance to the hundredth psalm! This teaching of the Nikolaitans, or vanquishers of the people the Spirit says, "I hate." The Ephesians hated it; and all scripturally enlightened people of the first century, and of the nineteenth, and of all intervening centuries, despise it and hate it also, with a hatred most perfect and cordial. It is nothing but Gnostic Heathenism, contemptible and hateful to Deity, and all the saints. The Smyrneans had no sympathy with "oppositions of science falsely so called;" but were rich in faith, "the substance of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen" -- Heb. 11:1. 1. Jews of the Satan's Synagogue.
But, though the Star-Angel of the ecclesia of the Smyrneans was richly faithful in the midst of poverty and tribulation, the Spirit informs us, that there existed in that city an institution of a hostile and rival character. Its rivalry is indicated by the claim of its founders to be Jews -- "who say they are Jews;" and its hostility, by the affirmation of the Spirit, that they constituted "a Synagogue of the Satan." This was "the church" in Smyrna, as opposed to "the Ecclesia of the Smyrneans." The "church" claimed to be "Christian," and its "clergy," apostles, in the sense of being "successors of the apostles, and ambassadors of Jesus Christ," who, in Ephesus, had been tried, and found to be "liars." It was from this synagogue, that "the raging dogs biting in secret," as Ignatius says, went forth to Ephesus, sowing their tares. The claim of this synagogue to be a Christian institution is discerned in the assertion of its members, that they were Jews. All true believers immersed into Christ are Jews by adoption; so that for any natural born Jews and Gentiles to affirm that they were such Jews was to declare that they were "in Christ," and therefore Christians. The kingdom promised to them that love God, and are "the called according to his purpose," is a Hebrew Kingdom. Its territory is the land of Israel turned into Paradise; the nation to inhabit it, the twelve tribes of Israel cleansed from their iniquities, as the result of an intelligent and affectionate recognition of the Anointed Jesus; and obedience to him as their King; its princes, priests, and nobles of all ranks and degrees, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the prophets and apostles; and those Jews under the law, "who walked in the steps of that faith of the father Abraham, which he had, being yet uncircumcised," or a Gentile; and those Jews after the Day of Pentecost, who continued in Abraham's faith, affectionately recognizing Jesus as the Seed promised to him and Israel, and were "immersed for his name" -- Luke 13:28; Matt. 19:27-29; Rom. 4:12. To this point, all pertaining to the kingdom is Hebrew from "Abraham, the Hebrew," to the appearance of Peter at the house of Cornelius, the Gentile proselyte of the gate. From the typical confirmation of the land-covenant to Abraham, 430 years before the night of the Exodus from Egypt; to the antitypical confirmation of the same covenant in the crucifixion of Jesus (Gen. 15:7, 8-18; Exod. 12:41, 42; Matt. 26:26-29; Rom. 15:8; Gal. 3:16, 17) -- there was an interval of 2187 years. In all this time, there was a peculiar people that had the mark or "token" of the Land-Covenant in their flesh. This mark was placed by circumcision. Ail-Shaddai said to Abraham, "a father of many nations have I constituted thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy Seed after thee, the land wherein thou are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for a possession of the Olahm; and I will be to them for Elohim." Then having commanded circumcision, he said, "It shall be the token of the Covenant between me and you:" and my covenant shall be in your flesh for the covenant of the Olahm," of the thousand years -- Gen. 17:5, 8, 11. This institution in its Mosaic practice by dwellers in the land of Canaan was purely a matter of flesh -- a mark indiscriminately borne by the faithful and profane; by Judas as well as Jesus. The mere fact, therefore, of having the token of the covenant in the flesh, or of being a natural descendant of Abraham, confers no right to a joint-inheritance of the land of Canaan when transformed into Paradise. Hence the truth of what Jesus taught, that "the flesh profiteth nothing" -- Jno. 6:63; for "the promise to Abraham that he should be the heir of the world, was not to him, or to his Seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith: for if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect" -- Rom. 4:13, 14. When, therefore, we read the promises to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David, they are to be interpreted as made to them, and their Seed, not because they were circumcised in flesh, and were natural descendants of Abraham (for upon this principle Ishmael and Esau's descendants would have an equal right to Canaan with the posterity of Jacob), but because they believed what God promised them; and evinced their faith in doing what he commanded them: thus becoming subjects of a righteousness which is by faith. This being the case, some other definition of a Hebrew, Israelite, or Jew, and of circumcision became necessary. Hence in the New Testament we have the terms, "Hebrew of the Hebrews," "Israelite indeed," "a Jew inwardly," and "Circumcision of the Heart" -- Jno. 1:47; Rom. 2:29; 9:6; Phil. 3:5. These are phrases which resolve the descendants of Abraham into two classes, -- Israel after the flesh; and Israel after the spirit. Referring to this division, Paul says, "they are not all Israel who are of Israel; neither because they are the Seed of Abraham are they all children: but "In Isaac shall thy seed be called" -- not in Ishmael or Esau. "That is, they which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted for the seed" -- Rom. 9:6-8. Thus, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, and all the prophets, Jesus and the apostles, and so forth, were "Hebrews of the Hebrews," "children of the kingdom," "Israelites indeed, in whom there was no guile,", "Jews inwardly," who were circumcised in heart and ears, while Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, the sons of Eli, Saul, Absalom, Zedekiah, Judas, Caiaphas, the Pharisees, Sadducees, and such like, were "the children of the kingdom to be cast into outer darkness;" "Jews outwardly;" and of a "circumcision, which is outward in the flesh," according to the letter; "of Israel," but "not Israel;" whose praise is of men, but not of God. Now if these children of Abraham's flesh are not the children of God, because of unbelief and disobedience; what shall we say of faithless and rebellious Gentiles, who are no kin to "the Friend of God?" If such affirm that they are Jews are they not manifestly liars? If Judas or Caiaphas had affirmed that they were Jews inwardly, they would have lied; much more then Gentiles of like character, who are Jews neither by nature nor faith. Seeing then, that "the flesh profiteth nothing," it is manifestly not necessary to be born a Jew, and to be circumcised, to become "the Jew inwardly" and to be circumcised of heart. In this matter of becoming Jews, and of circumcision, upon the principle of subjection to the righteousness of faith, God has placed the descendants of Adam generally, and the posterity of Abraham in particular, upon common ground. "We have proved," says Paul, "that Jews and Gentiles are all under sin;" and being all sinners, they have all become liable to punishment before God. Now the Hebrew Kingdom in Paradise is covenanted, not to sinners of any race, but to the children of God by adoption. A man of any "kindred, tongue, people, or nation," may become a son of God upon gospel principles; and "if a son, then an heir of God, and joint-heir with Christ" -- Rom. 8:17. But, in order to become a son, he must "put on Christ," that he may be "complete in him." Now Jesus is the Christ; therefore to put on Christ, he must put on Jesus; and this can only be done by "believing the things concerning the Kingdom of God, and the Name of Jesus Christ;" and being immersed into the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit -- Acts 8:12; Matt. 28:19. If a man have believed these things and been baptized in consequence, he has "consented to the wholesome words of the Lord Jesus, and to the teaching which is according to godliness." He believes the promises covenanted to Abraham and to David; he believes that Jesus was Son of God and Son of David, and therefore the Anointed of God; and that, though not the son of Joseph, he was a real man, and of the same nature as we ourselves; that he really suffered death, was buried, and rose again; that he ascended into heaven, and now sits at the right hand of Power; that he was delivered for the offences of the believers in the covenants of promise, and raised again for their justification; and that he will return to Jerusalem in power; that he will raise the dead; and in cooperation with the righteous, acquire great glory in the conquest of the world, and the regeneration of Israel and the nations. Having believed thus, and been baptized, he patiently continues in well-doing seeking for glory, and honor, and incorruptibility; that when Christ shall appear he also may appear with him in the glory of the thousand years. Now to men of such faith and practice as this, the apostle says, "Ye are all the Sons of Deity in the Anointed Jesus through the faith; for as many as have been immersed into Christ, have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor free; there is neither male nor female; for ye are all One in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's then are ye Abraham's Seed, and heirs according to the promise" -- Gal. 3:26. Thus, "of twain One Man is made," and he is called "the Jew inwardly" -- Eph. 2:15. This inward Jew is multitudinous; and consists of all in Christ, and because in Christ, in Abraham. Believing men and women, slaves and freemen, Jews and Greeks "are all one in Christ"; and being in Jesus, share with him in all his national, official, and divine relations. He is a Jew; therefore all in him are Jews: He is Son of the Deity; therefore all in him are Sons of God: He was circumcised; therefore all in him are "circumcised by the circumcision of Christ:" He is king and high priest; therefore they are "kings and priests for God:" He is the Christ; therefore all in him are His Body, the Mystical Christ; He is the Seed of the Woman, and of Abraham, and of David; therefore all in him are their Seed also: the righteousness of the law was fulfilled by him; therefore the righteousness of that law is likewise fulfilled by all in him who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. In short, as no one can inherit the kingdom and glory of the Paradise of the Elohim unless he become of the Jew, who is the circumcised Son of Abraham, David, and the Deity; priest, king, and anointed one of Israel; and the subject of the righteousness of God; and, as men of all races are but sinners under the sentence of death, and therefore cannot acquire this position upon hereditary and natural principles -- they can only become of "the Jew" and therefore Jews, elementary parts of a majestic whole, by putting on Christ, by entering into him, and so being "in him." By this arrangement, though by nature destitute and naked, they become complete, as saith the apostle, "Ye are complete in him, who is the Head of all principality and power; in whom also ye are circumcised" -- Col. 2:10, 11. We have shown what it is to get into Jesus Christ; and we proceed to remark, that no one can get into him without being the subject of "the faith;" for Paul says, "Ye are all the Sons of the Deity in the Anointed Jesus, through the faith" -- dia tes pisteos; and he tells us, that there is "one faith," and not two, or more; and that without this faith "it is impossible to please God." It is evident, then, that those Satanists in Smyrna, and in Philadelphia, "who say they are Jews," but who had either not embraced the faith, or having embraced it, had, afterwards, made it void by their traditions, or had denied it in any way, "are not Jews, but do lie;" they were not in Christ Jesus, nor He in them by faith, and therefore, whatever their pretensions might be, they were not Christians. "Through the faith," then, Gentiles become "Jews;" and natural born Hebrews become "Israelites indeed." "Through the faith," expressed in "the Obedience of Faith," men and women get into Christ; and in getting in become citizens of "the Polity of the Israel," to be planted as "the Wood of the Life," in the Paradise of the Elohim, where it will flourish unfadingly during the Olahm of a thousand years. "The Polity of the Israel -- he politeia tou Israel -- styled in the English Version, "the Commonwealth of Israel," is at present in the formative state -- Eph. 2:12. It is being formed by the process of "taking out a people from the nations for the Name" -- Acts 15:14. This name is the polity; and when the gospel of the kingdom preached has separated all required for the purposes of God, the Name, or Polity, will be complete; and, as it is a Hebrew Polity, by which the Jewish nation, and all other nations, are to be governed, all who share in its politeuma, or Commonwealth, must become "Inward Jews," or "Israelites indeed" -- Phil. 3:20; where Paul says, "Our politeuma subsists in heavens, out of which also we wait for the deliverer the Lord Jesus Anointed." The citizenship begins there, by true believers on earth being immersed into Him now in heavens at the right hand of Power. But the Land-Covenant requires that all the members of this Divine Polity be circumcised. When the Millennial Sanctuary is set up in the Holy Oblation of Paradise, the law is, that "No stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary of any stranger that is among the children of Israel" -- Ezek. 44:9. This is the principle -- there must be circumcision. Israel and foreigners that come to sojourn there, must be circumcised in heart and flesh. "And the uncircumcised man child, whose flesh is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant" -- Gen. 17:14. Circumcision is therefore indispensable. Now females partook of the circumcision of their fathers, even as Levi before he was born paid tithes to Melchizedec, being, as it were, in the loins of Abraham: so after a like arrangement, "the Bride, the Lamb's wife," springing as Eve from the side of Adam, partakes of the circumcision of Jesus' flesh; and does no more therefore need to be circumcised individually in the flesh of their persons, than the female half of Abraham's posterity. This necessity being thus obviated, yet circumcision being indispensable, it is evident, that the members of the Divine Polity of Israel must be the subjects of "the circumcision of the heart." There is no other alternative, -- circumcised of flesh by imputation; and circumcised of heart through the faith.
"We," says Paul to the saints, "are the circumcision, who worship God in spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh" -- Phil. 3:3. The Saints, then, are "the Circumcision" in the true spiritual import of the institution, and not the rejectors of Jesus, or those who are too ignorant from whatever cause, to get into him. But, in the primitive institution, there is a putting off of flesh -- a bloody cutting off, which makes it a covenant, or tyrbberith. When, therefore, true believers, -- that is, believers of the truth, are circumcised, there must be in their case "a putting off of the flesh." This is actually so, as expounded in the words of Paul, who says, "In Christ ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of the Christ." That is, when Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day according to the law, the flesh cut off from his person was representative of the flesh and its lusts which were to be put off by all who should be constituted the righteousness of God in him -- who should put off their sins; and afterwards, put off their flesh, as he had done in its transformation into Holy Spirit Nature. All the sins of a man, previous to his putting on Christ, in their totality, are styled "a body;" and as they result from the uncontrolled operation of the inherent lusts of the flesh, the embodiment is styled, "the body of the sins of the flesh" -- "the old sins," "the Old Man, which is corrupt, according to the deceitful lusts;" "the Old Man with his deeds" -- Col. 3:9; Eph. 4:22. Now this Body of Sin must be crucified, that it may be circumcised, or cut off, even unto its death; and there is nothing can do this but "the truth as it is in Jesus" heartily believed and obeyed. When this is intelligently and heartily received, it works a thorough and complete transformation of the man. His eyes are opened, he is turned from ignorance to knowledge, and from the power of Satan to God. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, are put to death; and he lives for a better, higher, and nobler state of being. Thus prepared in heart and understanding, he is ready for circumcision. Not as the "Concision" would prescribe, who first immersed, and then circumcised the flesh of their dupes; nor as the Anticision of after times, who teach that water-sprinkling came in the room of circumcision; but in the way the apostle indicates, in the words, "Ye are circumcised in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh in the circumcision of the Christ, buried with him in the immersion; with whom also ye are risen through the faith of the energy of the Deity who raised him from among the dead: and ye being dead in your trespasses, and in the foreskin of your flesh, he hath made alive together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses" -- Col. 2:12. Hence, to be circumcised with the true circumcision is for a genuine believer of the truth, "as it is in Jesus," to be "immersed for the Name of Jesus Anointed into a remission of sins" -- Acts 2:38. Such a circumcised believer is in Christ, and being "in him" is an Inward Jew; in other words, a Christian. In Smyrna, then, and Philadelphia, there were Satanists, who said they were Jews, -- that is, Christians; but, saith the Spirit, "they are not, but do lie." The world is full of such liars to this day. Their "names and denominations" are Legion. "They say they are Christians, but are not, but do lie." They are water-sprinkled Nikolaitans, and nothing more; uncircumcised Gentiles of the unmeasured outer court, which is theirs; in which also they tread under foot the Holy City during forty and two months -- Rev. 11:2. Our contemporaries, who say they are Christians, are ignorant of God, are destitute of the faith, and without even the form of baptism; for none but the wicked, or the insane, would affirm either that baptism came in the room of circumcision; or, that sprinkling a few drops of water into the face of a puling infant, or into the face of an ignorant adult, was baptism! Neither sprinkling, pouring, nor immersion, came in the room of circumcision: immersion, the only true action of the "one baptism," is not a substitute; but the means by which the believer of the truth gets at, and partakes of the circumcision of Christ. If a man be ignorant of the truth, all the dipping and sprinkling in the world cannot circumcise him; and without "circumcision of heart in spirit," he can have no part in the Paradise of the Elohim. Lastly, upon this point we remark, that for an unqualified man to affirm that he is an apocalyptic Jew, or by interpretation, a Christian, is "blasphemy." This is manifest from the words of the Spirit, who says, "I know the blasphemy of them who say they are Jews, and are not." Blasphemy is Greek, and signifies "defamatory, calumnious, abusive language." To blaspheme is to hurt one's good name, to speak ill, or to the prejudice, of one. The blasphemy of saying we are Jews, when not, is defamatory and injurious to the name of Christ. For liars to affirm that they are Christ's, is to injure the reputation of Christ with those who believe it, and to impede the progress of the truth. Thus, when men say they are Christians, but are really nothing else than Judaizers of the Concision, Gnostics, and sprinklers of the Anticision, or Nikolaitans all, they are blasphemers; for in proportion as their criminal foolishness rises in public estimation, "the truth as it is in Jesus" falls, and becomes the subject of ridicule and contempt. This is the relative position of things at the present time. All ranks, orders, and degrees of the clergy of the Nikolaitan Names and Denominations can stand up before the world, and utter the most ridiculous and wicked blasphemies, which their flocks receive with all satisfied and pietistic grimace. They can take a squalling brat, and sprinkling water into its face, tell their audiences, with a grave countenance, that they thus baptized it by Divine Authority for its regeneration and membership in the church of Christ, and that, this sorcery accomplished, it is a Christian. If shortly after it dies, they "preach its funeral," and tell their deluded followers that its "precious immortal soul has gone to glory," and is now one of the angels around the throne! This, and much more of the same sort of incoherent twaddle, they retail as religious consolation to a deluded world, which responds in tuneful and glorious instrumental and vocal harmony, "glory, hallelujah!" while the annunciation of the gospel of the kingdom would either be submerged in shouts of ribaldry, or met with the imprecations of infuriated pietism. Shall it stand on record, that it is blasphemy for one to say he is a Jew, when he is not; and that all these unscriptural and antichristian traditions are not blasphemy? Truth and candor forbid it; and therefore, with our loudest voice we say, "He that hath an ear let him hearken to what the Spirit saith" to the Smyrneans, who in effect proclaims, that the darling pietism of "the religious world" is mere bald, unmitigated blasphemy! 2. "The Synagogue of the Satan."
Synagogue is a Greek word, from the verb sunago "to bring together, collect, gather; passive, to convene, come together, meet." The noun sunagoge, signifies "a collecting, gathering; hence a congregation," and sometimes the building where the congregation meets. The blasphemers in Smyrna, who said they were apocalyptic Jews, or, by interpretation, Christians, but lied, are not styled "the Ecclesia of the Satan," because that would imply that they were a calling out by a special invitation to something. The Satan has nothing to invite men to that they are not already entitled to by nature. Being sinners, they are "children of wrath," and therefore adversaries to all contained in "the One Hope of the invitation," which is to the kingdom and glory of the Deity. They are not, therefore, an ecclesia, but simply a gathering together, a congregation of blasphemers. Synagogue in Jas. 2:2, is put for an "assembly" of Hebrew Christians. Addressing them, the apostle says, "My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus, anointed of the glory, with respect of persons. For if there come into your Synagogue a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel; and there come in also a poor man, in vile raiment; and ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here honorably; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or Sit here at my footstool; do ye not then confer superiority among yourselves, and are become judges (possessed) of evil imaginations?" This that James reproves, came to be characteristic of many in the Christian assemblies. It was the old pharisaic love of preeminence budding forth in the congregations of the faithful. "Do not ye," said Jesus, "after the works of the Scribes and Pharisees; for all their works they do to be seen of men; they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the Synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men Rabbi, Rabbi. But be not ye called Rabbi, (or Great One,) for one is your Guide, the Anointed One, and all ye are brethren. And call no one your father upon the earth, for one is your Father, who is in the heavens. Neither be ye called guides, for one is your Guide, the Anointed. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant" -- Matt. 23:6. "When thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the Synagogues and in the streets. And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the Synagogues, and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. And when ye pray, use not vain repetitions as the Gentiles, for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking" -- Matt. 6:2, 5. Such were the practices characteristic of the religious meetings of the Jews in their synagogues. The elders, who constituted the Presbytery of the Synagogue, called also "the rulers," assumed to be the special favorites of heaven, and the "spiritual guides" of the "cursed people" -- the am-ha-aretz, "who knew not the law." They styled themselves "the Great Ones," and were looked up to as the great lights, or stars, of the ecclesiastical aerial, who guided the blind to the curing and saving of their souls. They honored one another, delighted in the honor bestowed by the wondering multitude, and consorted mainly with the rich, influential, and powerful. To the honor that came from God they were indifferent, for all they did was for public applause, and the profits accruing from the approbation of their dupes. They made long prayers, and many prayers, and vain prayers, loud, contradictory, and absurd; prayers, like the prayers of the "spiritual guides" and "soul-curers" of our day, full of blasphemy and noise, and which, if answered, would compel the Deity to falsify his promises, and thereby make himself a liar. As to their teaching, they taught for doctrine the commandments of men, and so made void the word of God by their traditions. Isaiah styled them, "Blind, ignorant, and all dumb dogs, that cannot bark; dreaming, lying down, loving to slumber. Yea, greedy dogs, who can never have enough; shepherds that cannot understand; they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his own quarter," or sect -- ch. 56:10. They prided themselves upon their "learning," or as they term it now, their "scholarship." They studied at the feet of "Masters in Israel," and in due time became Rabbis themselves. But, though stuffed and crammed with learned lumber, Isaiah says, "they are drunken, but not with wine; they staggers but not with strong drink: for Yahweh hath poured out upon them the spirit of a deep sleep, and hath closed their eyes: the prophets and the rulers, the seers hath he covered. And the vision of all is become unto Israel as the words of a book that is sealed, which they deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee; and he saith, I cannot, for it is sealed. And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee; and he saith, I am not learned. Wherefore Yahweh saith, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a wonderful work among this people" -- ch. 29:9-13. Such was the Synagogue-System, at the epoch of the institution of the Ecclesia of the Deity, based upon Jesus as the Christ. The description is applicable to the rulers and the ruled of Israel to this day; only that, if they were then besotted with tradition, and vainly worshipping with their lips, they are now, as Ezekiel saith, "Dry bones, very dry." There was then some sap in the topmost twig of the cedar; but now, alas, none! Such a synagogue, then, came to be a fit and proper emblem of those "Christians," falsely so-called, who in Smyrna "said they were Jews, but were not." John, referring to these spurious Christians in divers places, says, in 1 Ep. 2:19, "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us they would doubtless have continued with us; but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us." This emigration from the apostolic fellowship became "the synagogue of the Satan," and was afterwards distinguished by the assumed title of "the Holy Apostolic Catholic Church." The leaders of this schism transferred all the customs of the old Jewish Synagogue -- System into their pseudo-Christian "church;" and as they were not slow in getting the majority -- for "they were of the world, and therefore they spoke of the world, and the world heard them;" for it hears and loves its own -- they turned upon those who continued faithful to the apostolic teaching, and denounced and oppressed them as "heretics." The leaders of this schism erected themselves into a distinct order from the laioi, or people, now styled "the laity" and "laymen" -- men of the people. They usurped to themselves the title of ho kleros, "the clergy," or the lot, portion, or heritage; on the assumption that, while the people belonged to their spiritual guides, said guides are the special lot, or inheritance, of God! Thus, "clergy" is defined "the body of men set apart by due ordination for the service of God;" and a "clergyman," as "one in holy orders; not a laick." But, though this distinction of clergy and laity is universal in "the synagogue of the Satan," there is no such distinction in the Ecclesia, or Body of Christ. The elders, overseers, and deacons, were no holier than the saints at large. There were no "holy orders" as distinct from orders not holy; for elders and people were "all one in Christ Jesus;" and, as a whole, constituted the kleros, or clergy of the Diety. Each particular congregation, with its overseers and deacons, was a kleros, or clergy; that is, a heritage: and all the heritages, or congregations, in the aggregate, made up "the flock of the Deity." Hence, in writing to the saints in general, Peter says, in 1 Epist. 5:1, "the presbyters (or elders) among you I exhort, who am a co-elder and witness of the sufferings of the Anointed One, and a partaker of the glory which shall be revealed, feed the flock of the Diety with you, not overseeing it unwillingly, but spontaneously (1 Tim. 3:1); not for the sake of sordid gain, but with alacrity: not as domineering over the Heritages (hoi kleroi, the clergies), but becoming patterns of the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive the unfading wreath of glory." But "the Synagogue of the Satan" reversed all this; instead of "feeding the flock," they turned upon it as "grievous wolves" and "raging dogs;" and sought to episcopize for filthy lucre's sake, as spiritual lords ignoring all "heritages" but their own ranks, orders, and degrees; and accounting the people only as a beast of burden to be worked for the honor and profit of "Reverend Divines," as at this day. "The Synagogue of the Satan," of whose flock they are the patterns, has grown to enormous dimensions, while the Ecclesia of Christ has been prevailed against almost to extinction, as foretold by Daniel and John -- Dan. 7:12; Rev. 11:2; 13:7. Satan's Church is co-extensive with what they call "Christendom" -- a huge and mighty synagogue, comprehending all the names and denominations of "the Great City" from Rome to Bethany and Utah. "The world rulers of the darkness of this Aion," or Course of things; "the spirituals of the wickedness in high places" -- are all members or supporters, in some form or shape, of this Synagogue. Like the blasphemers in Smyrna, "they all say they are Christians, and are not, but do lie;" and they are all either ignorant of the gospel of the Kingdom, or, if they have any knowledge of it, know it only to oppose it, or to neutralize the obedience it implicitly and explicitly requires. Having identified "the Synagogue," we shall now proceed to scrutinize 3. "The Satan" and Demons.
Satan is a Hebrew word from the root #HEBREW#Njs#HEBREWOFF#, sahtan, which signifies, 1. To lie in wait, to be an adversary, to persecute; as in Ps. 109:29, where the Spirit says, "Those persecuting me (sotnai, satanizing me) shall be clothed with shame. "It signifies, 2. to oppose, to resist in the forum; as in Zech. 3:1, "he showed me the Satan, ?fch , has-Sahtahn, standing at Joshua's right hand, /kfcl, le-sitno, for to oppose (or satanize) him."
The noun Sahtahn, signifies an adversary, e.g. in war, an enemy, as in 1 Sam. 29:4, where the lords of the Philistines say, "lest in the battle David shall become, le-sahtahn, for a Satan, or enemy, against us." It is also used for one who in any way opposes another, as in Numb. 22:22, "the angel of Yahweh stood in the way, le-sahtahn for a Satan, or opponent, to Balaam." In 2 Sam. 19:22, David inquires of certain retainers who counselled him to put Shimei the traitor to death, "What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah, that ye should this day be to me, le-sahtahn, for (a Satan, or) adversary?" In the New Testament the use of the word is the same as in the Old. We have seen that Moses styles an angel of Yahweh a Satan; we need not therefore be surprised at Jesus styling Peter one. "And he said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men" -- Mat. 16:23. Peter was a Satan in this instance in offering evil counsel to Jesus, who would have been as effectually ruined if he had followed it, as Judas; and the purpose of the Deity in the redemption of the race through him completely frustrated. Any counsel that would have persuaded Jesus to stop short of obedience unto death, although it might have emanated from the kindest personal feelings, was satanic; and constituted the counsellor a Satan to him, and to all interested in his welfare. The reply of Jesus to Peter gives us a hint of what constitutes a Satan in a moral, or spiritual sense. It is this -- that, whatsoever savours of the things of men in opposition to the things of the Deity, is Satan. Thus, if the Gospel of the Kingdom be stated and proved, to a man, or to a company of men and women, and they oppose it as contrary to their views and feelings, by so doing they evince that they savour not of the things of God, and are therefore Satans. On this principle, those who emigrated from the fellowship of the apostles, and made a new settlement upon the Nikolaitan basis, for themselves; seeing that their teaching was opposed to and subversive of "the truth as it in Jesus," became Satan. This was the case with the faction in Smyrna. They pretended to be Christians, but were opposed to the doctrine of Christ, and opposed those who were faithful to it; thereby constituting themselves "the Satan" in Smyrna. The Lydian, or Proconsular, Asia in which the Seven Ecclesias were situated was the arena upon which is apocalyptically represented "the Satan" in antagonism to the One Body. Pergamos, in verse 12, is given as the capital and throne of the rising power, where it flourished in the midst of Balaamism and Nikolaitanism; while in Thyatira the Satan's Woman Jezebel, the False Prophetess in Embryo, works diligently "according to the working of the Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all the deceivableness of the unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved." The Satan and Jezebel are the apocalyptic types of what afterwards was manifested in the Church and State developments of the Constantinian Era, and the subsequent era of Charlemagne, when the Ecclesiastical Prophetess of Rome acquired dominion "according to the working of the Satan." "The Satan" of these writings to the Ecclesias, is a noun of multitude. It does not stand for one person, man or devil; but for many deep, and crafty teachers, all pretending to be ministers of righteousness and preachers of the gospel. This is evident from verse 24, where it is written, "as many as have not known the depths of the Satan as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden." Here "Satan" stands for many; and is comprehensive of the Nikolaitanes, Balaamites, false apostles, spurious Jews, and Jezebel-seducers. They are all aggregately "the Satan;" and when ecclesiastically considered, the same adversaries are symbolized by Jezebel, the idolatrous and cruel wife of Ahab, the widowed queen of the ten tribes, a king's daughter, and accursed. Paul speaks of this Satan in 2 Cor. 11:13, saying, "Such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for the same Satan is transformed into an angel of light. It is no great thing then if also the ministers of the same be transformed as ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works." The apocalyptic Satan accordingly in all outward appearance is very sanctimonious. Their tone is peculiar. They do not speak like "the laity;" but have a drawling, nasal, twang, with which all men are familiar who attend their ministrations. It is known as "the holy tone," a phrase which when pronounced through the nose, will give the reader some idea of the sound of Satan's utterances. Besides the tone, the grimace of Satan's countenance is very peculiar. It is long-faced, and smoothfaced, suffused, not with blushes, but with downcast and pale-faced humility, his utterances are stereotyped formulas current with all "miserable sinners" of highly mesmerized piety. They talk much about "grace," "experience," "regeneration," "immortal souls," "the devil," "hell," "fire and brimstone," "eternal torment," "burning up of the world," "kingdoms in the skies," "infant salvation," "baby-damnation," "sprinkling in the room of circumcision," "baptismal regeneration," "purgatory," "sabbath," and so forth: but for Moses and the prophets they have particular disrelish. They praise the Scriptures, however, and circulate them widely; having previously with great diligence made them unintelligible by indoctrinating the laity with their vain and gospel nullifying traditions. So popular is Satan's piety and religion that the Devil himself has at length become a member of his synagogues. Thus Church and World are hand in glove; and Naboth's vineyard is their holding, until the avenger comes; and then "great will be the day of Jezreel," when "I will make them," saith the Spirit, "of the synagogue of the Satan, who say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie, to come and do homage at the feet of them who have kept my word, and have not denied my name" -- Rev. 3:9, 8. In Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, and Philadelphia, "the Satan" was in the formative state. He occupied a position between the One Body of Christ and the unbelieving Jews and Pagans. He was opposed to both, as at this day. He is neither a Jesus-rejecting Jew, nor a Mohammedan or Pagan; and while he repudiates and persecutes these, he more cordially hates the truth than either of them. He is Greek in Turkey and Russia; Papist in Rome and its dependencies; Protestant in Canterbury and Edinburgh; Dissenter and Sectarian, where the Devil declines to divide the spoils. In the days of John, "the Devil and Satan" had not united their fortunes. On the contrary, the Devil persecuted "the Satan," and slew him by thousands. This antagonsim lasted until the Devil was cast out of the heaven -- Rev. 12:12. But, as "the Devil," whose capital was Rome, was equally opposed to "the Satan" enthroned and dwelling in the capital of the old kingdom of Pergamos, as to the Saints, he is also styled "Satan" in chap. 12:9. While the Devil was a pagan he was "a great red dragon-Satan;" but when he became a saint of "the Holy Catholic Church," his Satanism was that of the blasphemers, who say they are christians, but do lie -- Rev. 20:2. Hence, the Pagan Satan and the Catholic Satan are both apocalyptic Satans, and equally enemies to the truth. The pagan Roman emperors and their priests were of the former; while the pseudochristian Origen, Athanasius, Arius, Eusebius, Chrysostom, and such like, were of the latter; "men of corrupt minds, and of no judgment concerning the faith; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof;" mere sacramentarians: "from such turn away" -- 2 Tim. 3:8, 5. Lastly under this head we remark, that though "the Satan" whose synagogue was in Smyrna and elsewhere, has gained the ascendancy; and now possesses the glory, honor, and riches of this world, or Order of things, in Church and State; and by his representatives the bishops, priests, ministers and deacons of the Apostasy, administers in human affairs; yet the same Satan is doomed to a disruption and scattering after the type of Jezebel, whose carcase was so dispersed and devoured that "none could say this is Jezebel." Hence, when the Seventy returned to Jesus, and informed him that the Demoniacs were subject to them through his name; he said to them, "I saw the Satan as lightning fall out of the heaven." This was a prevision of that event literally and typically accomplished in the expulsion of the Pagan Satan by the typical Michael and his Angels; and hereafter to be as literally, but anti-typically, fulfilled in the expulsion of the Pseudo-Christian Satan from the heaven of the Four Beasts of Daniel, styled "the whole heaven," by the real Michael, which is Jesus and his Brethren, "the Saints." Then will be as effectually abolished all ranks, orders, and degrees of "the Clergy," as were the pagan priests by Constantine and his successors. The "Reverend Divines" of all the schools, colleges, pulpits, and platforms of Satan's Christendom, whom Paul styles prophetically daimonia: men, whose vocation is to seduce from the faith, and to draw disciples after themselves; "speaking lies in hypocrisy, having had their own conscience cauterized; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats" -- 1 Tim. 4:1-3: -- all these "reverends" and "D.D's," and "divines," will be taken and abolished. A daimon in Paul's day, was a god, deity, or divine, that occupied a middle station between the "Dii Superiores," the gods of the first rank, theoi, and the people who worshipped them. In the mythology of the idol-worshippers daimones, were "the souls of men of the golden age hovering between heaven and earth, and acting as tutelary deities: they formed the connecting link between gods and men, and so Aesch. Pers. 620, calls the deified Darius a doemon: hence when daimones and theoi are joined, the daimones are gods of lower rank." Now, according to the theology of the Satan, the theoi, or Supreme Gods, are what they call "the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost;" that is, really their father their Devil, his Son Antichrist, and the Ghost of the Flesh. These are their "Holy Trinity" in whom they delight, and after whom they go wondering -- Rev. 13:3. Next in rank below these are "the angels" whom they also worship in praying to them and dedicating to their honor the temples in which they perform their rites -- Col. 2:18. With these also may be ranked what Satan styles, the immortal disembodied souls of dead men, women, and babes, which, being furnished with wings on their arrival "beyond the skies," become angels. These "Saints and Angels" are "the ministers of grace" between the "Holy Trinity" of the Devil, Antichrist, and their Spirit, and their Heritage on earth, "the Clergy," who are the hierophants of their mysteries in the world. These imaginary saints and angels of Skyana are the demones of the Satan's theology; the internuncios, or mediators, between his Trinity and men; the Guardians and Protectors of nations, tribes, and peoples; and the Patrons of their bazaars of spiritual merchandize, their benefit societies, holy days, and benevolent institutions. These mythological orders of Theoi and Daimones constitute "the providence" of the Satan's theology. As a whole, it is nothing but "the Old Serpent" heathenism in a new skin -- Bible names applied to devilish things. The "First Person" in the Satan's Trinity, is a ferocious, inaccessible, and implacable divinity. He is represented by his priests as having created myriads of human beings with the certainty of no other destiny than eternal torture in fire and burning brimstone. That he has made "faith alone" the condition of escape from this; but that none of his creatures can have this faith unless he works it in them by the operation of his spirit, bestowed in answer to the prayers of his priests, clergy, or ministers; and even then he only grants it reluctantly in special cases, at the instigation of the combined supplications of "ministers," the Virgin and her Son, and the Saints and angels of the system. Read the liturgies of Rome and Canterbury; and listen to the random outpourings of the pulpit; and witness the tumults, uproars, and bawlings of the religion-gettings of the Satan; and the character of the Gods and Demons of their theology may be accurately inferred from their words, and works, in conventicle. This implacability and ferocity of the "First Person" of the Satan's Trinity necessitated the institution of a mediation, whose function should be to make "the First Person" willing to save a soul, -- in other words, to make him placable. This mediation introduces "the Second Person" as a mild, inoffensive, amiable, and benevolent Eternal God -- the milk of all kindness compared with "the First Person," whose disposition is illustrated by the fabled Saturn, who is said to have devoured his own offspring. These two incompatible personages the Satan teaches are One God -- the one in a rage; and the other, expostulating, and soothing him, and affectionately interceding with him to spare certain miserable and guilty wretches whose thefts, adulteries, murders, covetousness, and other abominations, "have found them out:" but pleading for them in vain, until he promises to go and die on a cross in their stead. With this he is hardly restrained till the sacrifice is accomplished; but being performed, he accepts it only in behalf of the few he may send "the Third Person" to mesmerize into "feeling good," and "experiencing a hope." But it would occupy too much of our space to unveil all "the Depths of the Satan, as they speak. I have adduced the foregoing as the extreme necessity created dogmatically by the Satan, to impress upon mankind the indispensability of their ministrations. Whose prayers are so effectual as the Satan's, in bringing down "the Third Person," "God the Holy Ghost," into the unclean, and infidel, evil hearts of the wicked, to convert them, and to give them a feeling? -- A feeling of hope that they are forgiven? Whose "consolations of religion" are more comforting than the Satan's, to the wretch about to be swung off by the neck for rape, arson, and murder? -- or to the exhausted debauchee fast sinking into a drunkard's grave? Whose prayers so availing as the Satan's for the bringing down of the Holy Ghost into the hearts of tyrannic kings and governors, inflated senators, and muddle-headed legislative assemblies, that they may be anointed with a wise and knowing unction? This being the general conviction inwrought by the working of the Satan for centuries past, we find them in the order of things visible occupying the position of the Demons of their theology. They are the internuncios between their three eternal persons in one eternal person, on the one part; and "their people," on the other. Because, therefore, of this, they share in the official character of their imaginary Demons. Hence Paul selected the adjective, daimonion, "of, or belonging to, a daimon," to designate them. According to him, "those who in later times apostasize from the faith, give heed to seducing spirits, even to the teachings of Daimonia." We look into the scriptures and learn what "the faith" is; we read the history of the past, and there we see the people calling themselves Christians, wholly given to idolatry and all sorts of abomination; in this we see the apostasy from "the faith;" we look around us, and see the same sort continuing in the practices of their predecessors; and in view of all this we inquire, To whom do these people give heed, and whom do they delight to honor? To this there is but one answer -- to the clergy as they happen to be led. The conclusion, then, is inevitable, that the Clergy are the Seducing Spirits and the Daimonia of Paul, whose dogmatic depths are destructive and subversive of the faith he labored so ardently and valiantly to establish, and transmit to posterity uncorrupted by the traditions and foolishness of men. These Daimonia of the Satan are like the frogs of Egypt, which infested the palace, the mansions of the great, the houses of the people, their ovens, kneading-troughs, and so forth. They fill the heavens of the nations; and there is no place where Mammon requires service but they are in hungry expectation of employ. The Seventy rejoiced that the demoniacs were subject to them through the name of Jesus. This is typical of what awaits them in regard to the Demoniacs of Satan's synagogue. "They shall come," saith the Spirit, to the Philadelphians, "and do homage at thy feet" -- they shall be subjected to the Saints through the Name of Yahweh. Seeing this great and glorious consummation, Jesus said "I saw the Satan as lightning fall out of the heaven." This fall will be the ruin of the Clerical Demoniacs, who, like Othello, will then find "their occupation gone." Then "they will weep and mourn; for no man buyeth their merchandize any more" -- Rev. 18:11. Place, power, position, and wealth will all be dissipated; and the Saints who will have subdued them, will take possession of all their good things, and "send them empty away." Then, woe betide the clergyman or rabbi, who shall attempt to dole out his old foolishness to the people; for "it shall be, when any shall yet prophesy, then his father and his mother that begat him shall say unto him, Thou shall not live; for thou speakest lies in the name of Yahweh: and his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesieth. And it shall be in that day, that the prophets shall be ashamed every one of his vision, when he hath prophesied: neither shall they wear a rough garment to deceive" -- Zech. 13:3. When, then, the clergy are abolished, the nations will be emancipated, and not till then; for these are they who aided by the civil power, "destroy the earth" -- Rev. 11:18. They fill the minds of the people with their soul-destroying traditions; and, even in "free America," and "liberal England," the civil power will not permit their falsehoods to be disputed on the spot before the people they deceive. But the time approaches rapidly when this defence will fail them; and they will become the hated of the people, one and all. When these come to discover how they have been bamboozled and bewitched by their sorceries, they will cause them to "weep and mourn," for the loss of their trade. We can easily conceive what a clerical howl would resound through the world, if in the current year all their salaries were to be cut off, all supplies and sympathy withdrawn, and never to be renewed, on the ground that the people had discovered that they were mere soul quacks, impostors, and perverters of the people; which they really are! Yet this is only a question of time. It will not come to pass this year; but it will not be long after 1866, that their craft will be repudiated by the world; which shall confess to Yahweh, and give thanks to his name for their deliverance; as it is written, in Jer. 16:19, "the Gentiles shall come to thee, O Yahweh, from the ends of the earth and shall say, Of a truth, our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit. And at that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of Yahweh; and all the nations shall be gathered into it (as the seat of government) -- to the Name of Yahweh, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart -- Jer. 3:17: "and the nations shall bless themselves in him, and in Yahweh shall they glory" -- ch. 4:2. "Then will I turn to them a pure language, that they may all of them call upon the Name of Yahweh, to serve him with one consent" -- Zeph. 3:9. "And many peoples shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of Yahweh, to the house of the Elohim of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of Yahweh from Jerusalem" -- Isai. 2:3. This will be a glorious revolution consequent upon the ejection of the Satan from the high places of the earth. The power of the Devil being broken the Satan falls. The clergy being suppressed, the nations become intelligent, justified, and blessed in Abraham and his Seed. 4. The Diabolos.
"Fear not the things which thou shalt suffer. Behold, the Diabolos will cast of you into prison, that ye may be tempted" -- verse 10.
The Saints in Smyrna were not strangers to tribulation; for where the gospel of the kingdom was believed and obeyed for remission of sins, and the hope of a resurrection from among the dead, to inherit that kingdom with the glory of the Millennial Aion, or Olahm, tribulation of some sort from Jew or Greek, or from both, was sure to follow, as it does even in this day of so-called liberty and light; for all the apostles in word and example testified, that "it is through much tribulation we must enter the kingdom of the Diety" -- Acts 14:22.
But their "works," which were righteous, being manifest in the presence of "the Satan" and of "the Diabolos," would be sure to bring upon them frequent renewals of their malignant and dangerous attacks. The repudiation of "the Satan's" claims to the christian name, secured to them the enmity of their "synagogue;" whose members are scandalized at an earnest, and uncompromising contention for the faith as originally delivered to the Saints by the apostles -- Jude 3. They call this "uncharitable," and calculated to "do harm," and to drive off respectable people from the truth; who, but for the ultrasim fo Antipas, which destroys the popularity and endangers the position, of all connected with him, would embrace the truth, swell the number of its adherents, and make it respected, if not esteemed, by the wealthy and honorable of the world. This has been "the Satan's" desire from the beginning until now. They are nto so much opposed to the truth as an abstraction; but the consequences of a bold, straightforward, and uncompromising statement and advocacy of it, they hate, and detest with unmitigated bitterness and disgust. This state of mind and policy with respect to the truth on the part of the Satan's synagogue of "all christendom," establishes and develops "enmity" between the Seed of the Woman, or true apocalyptic Jews, that is, Christians; and the Seed of the Serpent, or real apocalyptic liars, "who say they are Jews," or Christians, "and are not, but do lie." This enmity subsisting between true and spurious christians, caused the Satanists "to betray" the others, as Jesus foretold they would in Matt. 24:10. But, then, to whom should the Satan betray the saints of the ecclesias? This letter to the Smyrneans answers to "ho diabolos," to the Diabolos, vulgarly styled, the Devil; as it is written, "Behold, the Diabolos will cast of you into prison, that ye may be tempted."But to what sort of a Devil is this that the saints were to be betrayed? A devil that could apprehend flesh and blood men, and in carcerate them alive in prison? Was it the immortal, fire-proof, orthodox Devil, with horns, hoofs, forked-tongue, and arrow-headed tail, redolent of brimstone, and armed with pitchfork, who arrested the saints, and imprisoned them in the gaols of the Asia Minor? Is it this, "His Sooty Majesty," to whom the gaols and penitentiaries of "christendom" belong? If so, how comes he to admit the clergy to these precincts to convert his prisoners, and to offer them the consolations of their religions, unless they are his particular friends and confidants? Would he imprison saints on account of "the faith," and appoint Reverend and Holy Divines, genuine Christian men, to be the Chaplains of his gaols? Or would true and genuine believers, real "ambassadors of Jesus Christ," and unsophisticated "successors of the apostles," condescend, or defile themselves -- become such traitors to him who had purchased them with his blood, as to accept office under so hideous and monstrous a Devil? Must there not be an amicable compact, some treaty of peace, friendship, and alliance, between the Clergy and the Devil, seeing that they are in official service under him; and that he pays them salaries for indoctrinating his "gaol-birds," and spiritualizing his legislators, and the soldiers and sailors of his armies and marines? The prisons of the world, and the police of the world, and the executioners of the world, manifestly belong to the Devil. This is proved by the text before us, which testifies, that the Devil casts into prison. Now in order to do this, the magistrates must be in his service; or they would not issue orders of arrest at his dictation. The police also must be in his service; or they would not serve the warrants; and the gaolers and lictors, or they would not put the saints in ward, or carry them to death. All these things, therefore, are the Devil's, whoever, or whatever, he may be. What then, do we see? We see the Clergy his willing and official tools! We see them serving him for the honor and wages emanating from the high places of his kingdom. They are in the world's pay, which they admit belongs to the god of the world whom they call the Devil; therefore the conclusion is necessary and inevitable, that they are the Devil's, and the work of the Devil they do. This being the case, it is not difficult to understand how it is that the Clergy are the chaplains of all the Devil's institutions. He claims the bodies and souls of the people, whom he has ensnared, having been "taken captive by him at his will" -- 2 Tim. 2:26. He has found it, therefore, to his interest, since the truth was promulgated in his dominions by the Apostles, to set up a counteracting system, which under the name of Christianity should nullify, or neutralize, the thing. This "the Satan," who set up his synagogue, or "Holy Apostolic Catholic Church," upon the foundation of "the Mystery of Iniquity," were ready to do. Having entered into a "Holy Alliance," under the style of "The Old Serpent, the Devil, and Satan," (a form renowned for its unprincipled transactions throughout the world,) the Devil appointed the Lords Spiritual, "the Right Reverend," "Most Reverend," "Very Reverend," and "Reverend," divines of "the synagogue of the Satan," to take care of "the unclean and hateful birds" (Rev. 18:2) he had ensnared, in their last moments; ignorantly supposing it possible, that having served him loyally all their days, they might escape him at last. But the Devil is by nature and education very ignorant of the truth and very superstitious; and as the clergy live and flourish by his folly and stupidity, they are not solicitous for his enlightenment; at all events, that he should not become more intelligent in scripture than themselves. Hence they are careful to flatter him and to pander to his superstition; so that whereever folly is to be transacted in the name of religion, there the Devil finds on hand "gentlemen of the cloth" ready to perform it in tone, grimace, and full canonicals, to suit. For who but the Devil's Own could attend a murderer to the gallows with "the consolations of religion" in view of the divine testimony, that "no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him?" -- 1 Jno. 3:15. Who but one of "the children of the Devil" could kidnap a little Jew boy, and sprinkle him with a few drops of water, and proclaim him to be a Christian, in view of Paul's testimony, that "without faith it is impossible to please God?" -- Heb. 11:6. Who but one of the Devil's own counsellors could preach a sermon over a deceased scoundrel, affirming that his immortal soul was then in glory beyond the skies, in view of the declaration, that "the soul that sinneth it shall die?" Who but one of the Devil's own priests could promise salvation to man or woman upon other terms than those contained in "the wholesome words of the Lord Jesus," who hath said, "He that believeth the Gospel of the Kingdom, and is immersed, shall be saved; and he that believeth not shall be condemned?" -- Mark 16:15, 16; Matt. 24:14. All these abominations and a multitude besides the clergy do; in short, their teaching and practices are all approved by the world and the pietism of the flesh; and therefore there is but one scriptural conclusion that can be arrived at, namely, that they are of the devil, devilish and condemned. But in regard to their patron and father the Devil we may profitably inquire, is he the hideous and sooty monster generally supposed by the disciples of his divines; or is he altogether something else? I answer, that all that can be known about the devil is revealed in the scriptures; and that in these writings, there is no such devil exhibited as is preached by the clergy, and believed in by the world. The clerical devil is the devil of heathenism, introduced into "the synagogue of the Satan" by the apocalyptic "liars." They introduced him into their theology as the great terror of their system, which was designed to work upon the fears, rather than upon the admiration and nobler affections of mankind. The old heathen devil, and "an eternal hell of fire and brimstone," have been the basis of the clerical gospel from that day to this. They had abandoned "the goodness of the Deity," and consequently could no longer make use of it to "lead men to repentance," or change of mind and disposition (Rom. 2:4): they had therefore to introduce another agent; and, as the clerical system of doctrine is merely heathenism in a new dress, they adopted the old god Pluto, tricked out with the appendages of another called Pan. These heathen deities combined in one they call "the Devil," surrounded by all the Furies of Tartarus of horrid shapes, and appalling aspects, they exhibit to their dupes, as the Devil's officials in the regions of the damned, waiting to clutch their immortal souls in the article of dissolution unless they repent of their sins, and become members of the clerical communion; thus making the Devil an effectual colaborer in bringing men under the influence of the Clergy. Separate the Devil and his adjuncts from their system, and their occupation would be gone; for apart from hell and the Devil the clergy have no power to excite the mind.
But while we repudiate the clergyman's devil as a mere phantasma of disordered brains, we by no means deny the existence of what is styled diabolos in the scriptures. Our proposition at this point is, that the Devil of the clergy is not the Diabolos of scripture. This is easy to be seen by taking their representation of the devil as the definition of the word, and trying to expound the scriptures in which devil is mentioned thereby. Take, for instance, Heb. 2:14, where it is written, "Therefore for as much as the children (given of the Deity to the Son for brethren) partook of flesh and blood, he also himself in like manner shared in the same, that through the death (he accomplished) he might destroy that having the power of death, that is,
"Ye will have tribulation ten days." -- Verse 10 Domitian, the Roman emperor, was slain a.d. 96. John was in Patmos at the time; therefore the letter to the Smyrneans was before that date. Domitian was succeeded in the throne by Nerva, who published a pardon for those who were condemned for impiety, recalled those who were banished, and forbade the accusing of any men on account of impiety, or Judaism. Others, who were under accusation or under sentence of condemnation, now escaped by the lenity of Nerva. This brings us the close of the first century, in which we behold the Christians, for the present, in a state of external peace. Under this full toleration the apostle John recovered his liberty, and, at the age of about one hundred, fell asleep in Christ before the short interval of tranquillity was closed by the persecuting spirit of Trajan.Section 744. The mild and aged Nerva adopted Trajan a.d. 98, and declared him his colleague and successor in the empire. When Nerva deceased, and Trajan became sole master of the Habitable of the Diabolos, the spirit of persecution broke out afresh; and appears to have been very severe in the region of the Seven Ecclesias. The "tribulation" continued ten years, until the death of Trajan, a.d. 117. While the Smyrneans, and their brethren in Asia Minor, were enduring the tribulation of the symbolical "ten days," Pliny, the governor of Bithynia, a character well known in pagan history, wrote the following letter to Trajan, which sufficiently explains itself. C. Pliny to Trajan, Emperor.
"Health. -- It is my usual custom, sir, to refer all things, of which I harbor any doubts, to you. For who can better direct my judgment in its hesitation, or instruct my understanding in its ignorance? I never had the fortune to be present at any examination of Christians, before I came into this province. I am therefore at a loss to determine what is the usual object either of inquiry or of punishment, and to what length either of them is to be carried. It has also been a question with me very problematical, whether any distincition should be made between the young and the old, the tender and the robust, whether any room should be given for repentance, or the guilt of Christianity once incurred is not to be expiated by the most unequivocal retraction; -- whether the name itself, abstracted from any flagitiousness of conduct, or the crimes connected with the name, be the object of punishment. In the meantime, this has been my method with respect to those who were brought before me as Christians. "I asked them whether they were Christians: if they pleaded guilty, I interrogated them twice afresh, with a menace of capital punishment. In case of obstinate perseverance, I ordered them to be executed. For of this I had no doubt, whatever was the nature of their religion, that a sullen and obstinate inflexibility called for the vengeance of the magistrate. Some were infected with the same madness whom, on account of their privilege of citizenship, I reserved to be sent to Rome, to be referred to your tribunal.
"In the course of this business, informations pouring in, as is usual when they are encouraged, more cases occured. An anonymous libel was exhibited, with a catalogue of names of persons, who yet declared that they were not Christians then, nor ever had been; and they repeated after me an invocation of the gods and of your image, which, for this purpose, I had ordered to be brought with the images of the dieties: they performed sacred rites with wine and frankincense, and execrated Christ -- none of which things I am told a real Christian can ever be compelled to do. On this account I dismissed them. Others named by an informer, first affirmed, and then denied the charge of Christianity; declaring that they had been Christians, but had ceased to be so some three years ago, others still longer, some even twenty years ago. All of them worshipped your image, and the statues of the gods, and also execrated Christ. "And this was the account which they gave of the nature of the religion they once had professed, whether it deserves the name of crime or error; namely, that they were accustomed on a stated day to meet before daylight, and to repeat among themselves a hymn to Christ as to a god, and to bind themselves by an oath, with an obligation of not committing any wickedness; but on the contrary, of abstaining from thefts, robberies, and adulteries; also of not violating their promise, or denying a pledge; after which it was their custom to separate, and to meet again at a promiscuous harmless meal, from which last practice they however desisted, after the publication of my edict, in which, agreeably to your orders, I forbade any societies of that sort. On which account, I judged it the more necessary to inquire by torture from two females, who were said to be deaconesses, what is the real truth. But nothing could I collect, except a depraved and excessive superstition. Deferring therefore any further investigation, I determined to consult you. For the number of culprits is so great as to call for serious consultation. Many persons are informed against, of every age and of both sexes; and more still will be in the same situation. The contagion of the superstition hath spread not only through cities, but even villages and the country. Not that I think it impossible to check and correct it. The success of my endeavours hitherto forbids such desponding thoughts: for the temples once almost desolate, begin to be frequented, and the sacred solemnities, which had long been intermitted, are now attended afresh; and the sacrificial victims are now sold everywhere, which once could scarcely find a purchaser. Whence I conclude, that many might be reclaimed, were the hope of impunity, on repentance, absolutely confirmed."
To this the emperor replied as follows:Trajan to Pliny.
"You have done perfectly right, my dear Pliny, in the inquiry you have made concerning the Christians. For truly no one general rule can be laid down, which will apply itself to all cases. These people must not be sought after. If they are brought before you and convicted, let them be capitally punished, yet with this restriction, that if any one renounce Christianity, and evidence his sincerity by supplicating our gods, however suspected he may be for the past, he shall obtain pardon for the future, on his repentance. But anonymous libels in no case ought to be attended to; for the precedent would be of the worst sort, and perfectly incongruous to the maxims of my government." Thus the Diabolos and his pagan Satan "cast them into prison that they might be tempted" to renounce the faith. Their tribulation was great. They had foes without, foes within, who said they were Christians, but lied, and their flesh with all its affections and lusts to contend with. But they were "rich" in faith and good works, and zealous against the Docetae or Gnostics, and the Ebionites, both of which, we have shown, constituted the Nikolaitans, or Vanquishers of the people of God's flock. When Ignatius was at Troas, where Paul and his companions abode seven days (Acts 20:6), he wrote to the Smyrneans commending them for their faithfulness, and zealously warning them against the Nikolaitans. In his view the evil of their heresy consisted in a nullification of Jesus as a covering for sin, and of the resurrection. Let the clergy and those deceived by them, hear him, and be instructed. "I glorify Jesus Anointed, our God, who hath given you wisdom. For I understand that ye, Smyrneans, are perfect in the immoveable faith of our Lord Jesus Christ; who really was of the seed of David according to the flesh; and born of a virgin really; who really suffered under Pontius Pilate. For those things he suffered for us that we might be saved. And he truly suffered; as also he truly raised up himself; not as some infidels say, that he seemed to suffer. I forewarn you of these beasts (2 Pet. 2:12; Jude 10) who are in the shape of men; whom you ought not only not to receive (2 Jno. 10, ) but if possible not even to meet with. Only you ought to pray for them -- if they may be converted (2 Tim. 2:25) -- which is a difficult case. But Jesus Christ, our true life (Col. 3:3) has power to save to the uttermost" (Heb. 7:25.) I have inserted references in parentheses to show how the scriptures were acting upon the mind of Ignatius while he was writing his epistle. It seems that the "infidels" who pretended to be true Jews or Christians, with the usual artifice of such persons, labored to work themselves into the good graces of Ignatius, who was an influential man among the saints. But he saw through their craftiness, and says -- "for what doth it profit me if any man commend me, and yet blaspheme my Lord, denying him to have come in the flesh? They separate from he eucharistia the giving of thanks (that is, "the Lord's Supper) and from prayer, because they confess not the Eucharistia to be (representative of) the body of our Saviour Jesus Anointed, who suffered for our sins. They who contradicted the gift of God (Gal. 1:4; 2:20; Eph. 5:25; 1 Tim. 2:6; Tit. 2:14) die in their reasonings." Ignatius suffered death in this Trajan persecution of the "ten days." When he was led to execution, he was attended by a number of the brethren who accompanied him to Rome, and were residents of that city. When about to suffer, he prayed in behalf of the Ecclesias, that a stop might be put to the persecution, and that their love might be continued one toward another. He was then led into the amphitheatre, and speedily thrown to the wild beasts, who soon devoured him, leaving only a few bones, which the deacons carefully collected and afterwards burned at Antioch. The concluding remarks of the narrative of the execution of Ignatius are expressed in terms which indicate their writers' understanding of the Diabolos in the case. They style him "the magnanimous witness of Christ, who trode underfoot the Diabolos." Now the pagan Roman power cast him into prison, and put him to death; yet he trode it under foot in the sense of not yielding to its temptations, and dying with the assurance of rising again; or, as it is expressed in this letter to the Smyrneans, of "not being hurt of the Second Death." The contemporaries of Ignatius evidently regarded this power as Sin in imperial manifestation, and therefore "the Diabolos." 6. The Ten Days, or Day for a Year.
This letter to the Smyrneans is the first placed in the Apocalypse where "days" stand for years. The Apocalypse is a book of symbols, in which the greater is represented by the less. Its agents, and their operations, and its times preliminary to the thousand years, are all miniature representations of the reality -- great things illustrated by small. This is the rule of prophecy, whether the truth be stated literally or by symbols -- the verbal always falls short of the real, which is "joy unspeakable and full of glory;" things which cannot be expressed. Because of the Spirit's working by this rule it is that so much has been revealed in so small a book. It is a condensed view of the deep things of the Deity, which, if they had been magnitudinously revealed, "I suppose," as John says, "that even the kosmos itself could not contain the books that should be written." Condensation, then, is the general principle of divine revelation; but of the symbols, it is the special. The apocalyptic times are an apportionment of the times of the Holy City, or of the Saints, concurrent with "the Times of the Gentiles," during which Jerusalem's polity, Hebrew and Christian, is trodden under their feet. Hence-Jerusalem has her times, and the Gentiles have theirs; but the two sets of times are not times of concurrent prosperity and triumph. On the contrary, when Jerusalem's polity is subject, her times are times of adversity; and those of the Gentiles relatively prosperous; and when she "arises and shines because her Light is come," she becomes victorious, and the Gentiles prostrate, according to the word of Isaac, who said to Jacob, "Let the people serve thee, and the nations bow down to thee; be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother's sons bow down to thee; cursed is every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee" -- Gen. 27:29. Day is frequently used in scripture to represent a year. The first intimation of this is in Gen. 47:9, where Jacob says, "the days of my pilgrimage are 130 years;" and in ver. 28, "the days of the years of his life were 147 years." In this we have 47,450 days of pilgrimage represented by 130 years. Now, as many thousand days are condensable into a few years, upon the same principle many years may be compressed into a few days. Hence, "the days of the years were 147 years," or, Jacob lived 147 days, each day for a year of days, or 52,691 days. This principle of the ideal condensation of a great while into a little, is practically exhibited in Numbers 14. While the twelve tribes of Israel were in the wilderness, they sent twelve spies to search out the land of promise; "and they returned from searching of the land after forty days." Now these were literal days, and so would have remained purely and simply, but for an incident which was made the occasion of converting them into typical or symbolical days. The spies caused the tribes to despise the land, so that they refused to go up and take possession of it. Therefore the Spirit said, they should wander in the wilderness forty years. His words are, "After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise." Here is the day for a year rule plainly indicated. Forty days searching of the land in a faithless spirit, working disobedience in the multitude, made typical of forty years bearing of iniquity, ending in death in the wilderness. The next notable example of a day being appointed to represent a year, is in Ezek. 4:4. In this place he states that he was commanded to lie upon his left side 390 days, during which he would be considered as bearing the past iniquity of the house of Israel. After these were expired, he was to lie upon his right side 40 days, to bear the iniquity of the house of Judah, making in all 430 days for the iniquity of the whole twelve tribes. All these were sign-days, for the Spirit said, "I have appointed thee each day for a year." They were memorial of the past, and prophetic or significant of the future. They memorialized the iniquity of the nation, from their revolt against the house of David, in the fourth year of the reign of Rehoboam, to the nineteenth of Nebuchadnezzar, b.c. 589, when the temple was burned, an interval of 390 years; and the iniquity of Judah from the fourth of Solomon, when the foundation of the temple was laid, to the fourth of Rehoboam, when his dominion was restricted to Judah and Benjamin. The whole 430 years marks the existence of the temple built by Solomon, a period of national transgression coextensive with the interval between the typical Confirmation of the Land-Covenant with Abraham, (Gen. 15:7-21, ) and the end of the sojourning in Canaan and in Egypt -- Exod. 12:40. This text is obscure as it stands in the English Version and the Hebrew, unless we read "who dwelt in Egypt," as a parenthesis, thus, "Now the sojourning of the children of Israel (who dwelt in Egypt) was 430 years." That is, "their sojourning was 430 years," partly in Canaan and partly in Egypt, and is so expressed in the Septuagint, which, after Egypt, adds the words kai en ge chanaan, and in the land of Canaan. But the 430 days of Ezekiel became typical of 430 years, during which the children of Israel "should eat their defiled bread among the Gentiles, whither I will drive them," saith the Spirit -- ver. 13. That is, as Ezekiel ate defiled bread for the 430 days he typically bore their iniquity, so the people scattered by Nebuchadnezzar should eat their defiled bread 430 years. History shows this to have been literally fulfilled in the condition of the nation from the burning of the temple to the recovery of independence under the Maccabees, b.c. 169. Thus, 430 years of transgression were visited with 430 years of national humiliation, the former memorialized by 430 sign-days, and the latter typified by the same. The next instance that may be adduced is illustrative of a day representing years in prophecy, as found in Dan. 8:14. In the previous verse the question is asked, "For how long the vision of the Daily, the desolating transgression, to give both the holy (city) and the host, for a treading underfoot?" The answer is, "For an evening-morning of two thousand and three hundred, then the holy shall be avenged." In Gen. 1:5, Moses says, "the evening and the morning were one day." Here then is one day of 2300. This is a long day. Is it a day of 2300 days, weeks, months, or years? When the answer was given, the Holy City was nothing but heaps of ruins, and the host of Israel scattered abroad. Now 2300 days are six years, three months, and twenty days, but the period could not be literal days, because from no date that can be selected with the least plausibility did the things predicted come to pass at their expiration. The fulfilment belongs to the times of the Little Horn Power, and this did not appear in the Holy City until b.c. 63. No termination, therefore, before that event can be admitted. The only conclusion that can be arrived at is that it is a day of 2300 years. This long day was to form an interval at the expiration of which means would be instituted for the vindication of the Holy from violence. The years have expired, and "the time of the end" has come in which the vindication is to be consummated. It is a day containing the first, second, and part of the third, days of Hosea 6:2, where the Spirit represents Israel as saying, "After two days will he revive us; in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight." These are days of 1000 years each; of the third of which 586 years have passed away. Some time in the third day of a 1000 years the twelve tribes of Israel are to be the subject of a national resurrection. But we come to understand that the 2300 is a period of years from the evidence afforded in the prophecy of the Seventy Weeks. These relate to the Holy and the Host, and the suppression of the Daily, as well as the 2300. The seventy are evidently weeks of years; for they are stated as beginning at the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem, and ending at the cutting off of Messiah the Prince, which was exactly 490 years to a day; and containing seven seventy times.
The Lord Jesus spoke according to the day for a year rule in Luke 13:32. When certain of the Pharisees said to him, "Get thee out and depart hence, for Herod will kill thee"; he replied, "Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out demons, and I do cures to-day, and to-morrow, and the third day, I shall be perfected. Nevertheless, I must walk to-day and to-morrow, and the day following; for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem." In this passage a day is used six times for a year. Jesus ministered during the latter half of the seventieth week, or the last three years and a half of the 490. When the Pharisees warned him of Herod, there were yet three years for him to occupy; and these years he represented in his reply by as many days. From these examples we see that a day, according to the nature of the subject treated of, may signify a year, a thousand years, or two thousand three hundred years. In Numb. 14 and Ezek. 4, for the Old Testament; and in Luke 13, and Apoc. 2, for the New, the day for a year cypher is clearly adopted. And I may remark here that the apocalyptic times can be correctly interpreted upon no other. It is true, that the day for a year cypherists have not hitherto succeeded in interpreting the book; but it is also as eminently true that those who affirm, that a day in symbolic writing means a literal day of twenty-four common hours, have as signally failed as their opponents. What they have urged in support of the tradition delivered to them by Romanist and German controversialists and critics, has so little weight in it, that it is not worth the time and space of a formal refutation in these pages. We shall therefore give the objectors the go-by, and when we treat of the apocalyptic times as they severally occur, show the correctness of the principle by the fitness and historical accuracy of the interpretation. 7. The Second Death.
The letter to the Presbytery and Heritage in Smyrna, concludes by promising those among them who overcome that they shall "not be hurt of the Second Death." The words of the passage are, "Be faithful until death, and I will give to thee the coronal wreath (stephanon) of the life. He having an ear let him hearken to what the Spirit saith to the ecclesias. He that overcometh shall not be injured of the Second Death." Be faithful until death. They had a course of tribulation to run; for "it is through much tribulation that the saints must enter the kingdom of God" where the crown is to be obtained and worn -- Acts 14:22. The kingdom and its crown of life and glory is "the prize." All the faithful in the times of the apostles knew this. Hence Paul, in 1 Cor. 9:24, writing to the christians in Corinth says, "Know ye not that they which run in a race," the Athletes in the Grecian Games, "all run, but one receiveth the prize? So run that ye may obtain. And every combatant is temperate in all things; but they are so that they may receive a perishable coronal wreath (stephanon); but we one incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so I fight, not as beating the air. But I keep my body under, and bring it into subjection; lest that by any means, when having preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." The pagans contended in their games for crowns or coronal wreaths of laurel; but the saints for wreaths of unfading leaves from the forest of the life pertaining to the Aion and the Paradise of Deity. But they were not to expect the unfading wreath till after death; for they were exhorted to be faithful until death. They were, then, to expect to die; for the Fourth Beast would make war upon them in the tribulation of the "ten days," and prevail against them, and put many of them to death. They would be injured by this death, with great suffering. But there is "a Second Death" that would be more tormenting and of more bitter anguish than the first. In the first, men and women "were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection. Others had trial of mockings, and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonments; they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented (of whom the world was not worthy); they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise; God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect" -- Heb. 11:35-40. This first death was indeed terrible in all its forms. It laid its victims low "in the dust," where it retains them "invisible" for centuries. But the apostle addressing the Saints, says to them, "death is yours" -- 1 Cor. 3:22. They do not belong to death, but on the contrary, death belongs to them. The Serpent hath bruized them in the heel, and they now lie wounded in prison. But the wound is not incurable; they have been wounded as it were to death, but their deadly wound will be healed; for in regard to them death hath lost its sting; for "the sting of death is sin," and all their sins have been forgiven, so that it is impossible that they can be holden of it for ever. For them death hath no sting; and over them "Hades," "Hell," "the Grave," or "Invisible," has no final victory; for their death will be swallowed up of life and victory, through their Lord Jesus Anointed -- 1 Cor. 15:54-57; 2 Epist. 5:4. Then, though invisible in the dust, or in common parlance, dead, or scripturally, "asleep in Jesus," they have "not received the promise," neither can they, for God's arrangement is that all the Saints shall with Christ be "glorified together" -- Rom. 8:17, 32. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the prophets and apostles all, (Enoch, Moses, and Elijah, Jesus, and those who came out of their graves after his resurrection, alone excepted,) yet sleep in their graves waiting for redemption. But that redemption will not be revealed till all the saints are separated by "the obedience of faith" from among the Gentiles; for Paul testifies, that they are not to be made perfect without us; that is, if there be now a saint living who has not been glorified, then they have not been glorified, and will not be without him; for all are to be glorified and to receive the promise at the same time and together. The Smyrneans have not, then, as yet, obtained the unfading wreath of the life of the Aion, for they have not been "made perfect," and the Aion is not yet arrived. Those of them who were faithful until death, have conquered though they fell, and await the healing of their wounds, for the promise is to such, and such alone. They who could not endure the terrors of the death they had to face, were vanquished when they fell; or, if they rose from this death in accepting deliverance, they miss the "better resurrection," and become obnoxious to the sorer and more fearful terrors of the Second Death. Though they will rise, it will be to condemnation -- John 5:28, 29, not to the resurrection of the life. "Thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection." This is the great epoch of retribution for weal or woe; then, and not before, the living and the dead receive according to their works -- kingdom, power, glory, and endless life for the saints; the Second Death for the faithless, fainthearted, and abominable. The phrase "the Second Death," occurs in three other places of the Apocalypse besides this. First, in Rev. 20:6, which saith, "Blessed and holy he that hath part in the first resurrection; over these the Second Death hath no power, but they shall be Priests of the Deity and of the Anointed, and shall reign with him a thousand years." Here it is testified, that the Second Death hath no power over those who compose the First Resurrection: then consequently, it cannot injure the faithful Smyrneans who were faithful until death; for they are to have unfading life, and it has no power to affect that. They will be of the first rank in resurrection; so that their class being preeminent, the resurrection of which they are the subject, is "The First." The post-resurrectional death has no power over them, and nothing pertaining to it can injure them. The First Death was at the control of the Diabolos; the Second is subject to them for the punishment of their enemies, and the enemies of God. It is styled "the second death" because multitudes, though not all, who will be injured by it, will have been previously dead. To them who have been dead, and afterwards rose again to life, and after that pass through its preliminary terrors and die again, it is a second death. To that class of the resurrected, and to all living contemporaries, it is The Second Death, though the last may not have previously died at all. It is the resurrected who are condemned to it that characterize the death as "the second;" if no one who shall be subject to it had ever before died, it would not have been styled "the second;" it is the class that designates the death, and not the death the class. The second text is in the fourteenth verse of the same chapter. Here we have the death symbolically defined in the words, "And the Death and the Invisible were cast into the lake of the fire;" for, says the Spirit, "this is the Second Death." The consuming of the Death and the Invisible in the lake of a certain fire is the Second Death. What lake of fire is this? That mentioned in Rev. 19:20, into which the Beast and False Prophet are to be cast alive. And what are "the Death and the Invisible?" Whosoever is not found written in the book of the life -- Rev. 20:15. "Death and the Invisible" are used metonymically for the subjects of them, who are to be postresurrectionally condemned to contemporary and conjoint destruction with the Beast and False Prophet, in the judgments by which these allied powers are to be utterly destroyed. "The Death and the Invisible" are the symbols of the unwritten. These, while still living souls, are "dead in trespasses and sins" -- "miserable sinners" by their own confession; and when they cease to breathe, they "die in their sins;" and when they come out of the ground again, they rise in their sins; and as "the wages of sin is death," they come out of where they have been concealed from human ken, heirs of the terrors of the Second Death. What more appropriate by which to represent these dead of the invisible, than by their inheritance, death and invisibility, past and for ever? Hence, unpardoned sinners doomed to the torment of the Second Death, and to subsequent exclusion from life for evermore, are symbolized by "the death and the Hades," or Invisible, and are destroyed with the Beast of Eight Heads and its False Prophet, styled by Jesus, in Matt. 25:41, "the Diabolos and his Angels," in the lake of the fire and brimstone, which he terms, to pur to aionion, The Aion-Fire. The third place beside our text is Rev. 21:8. This informs us of the character of the dead "in the Death and the Invisible," who are delivered up for the judgments of the Second Death. They are styled, "the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all the liars, whose part shall be in the lake being caused to burn with fire and brimstone, which is the Second Death." This is a formidable and comprehensive list of criminals. Who of all the clergies of "Christendom," and their pietistic followers will escape condemnation on the ground of exempttion from the specifications of the text? Are they not all "Unbelievers?" Who among them believe "the Gospel of the Kingdom;" or, believing it, have obeyed it? Are they not all "fearful" to avow and preach what is not popular with the people? Is not whoremongering proverbially "the ministerial sin?" Like priest like people. Within the pale of the Old Mother of their churches we look for nothing else. And who are sorcerers, and liars, and inventors of lies, but sacramentarians of all sects, who practically give the lie to God in teaching the infusion of "spiritual grace" into the souls of faithless and ignorant infants and adults? "Without faith," saith Paul, "it is impossible to please God;" and by the Spirit, we see from the text before us, the unbelieving are condemned to the fiery indignation and sore punishment of the Second Death. But we forbear to anticipate more under this head. The epoch of the Second Death will present itself for consideration under the missions of the second and third angels of Rev. 14:8-11. Sufficient has been said here explanatory of the Second Death in connexion with the epistle to the ecclesia of the Smyrneans to make it intelligible Not to be injured of the Second Death was great consolation to those who lived in constant jeopardy of life for the truth's sake. They might be slain by the sword, but they would rise again; and wield the two-edged sword against the enemy in the execution of "the judgment written" (Psal. 149.); yet amid all the dangers, vicissitudes, and terrors of the crisis, they should "not be injured by the Second Death." SECTION 3.
TO THE ANGEL OF THE ECCLESIA IN PERGAMOS.
"And to the Angel of the Ecclesia in Pergamos write: These things saith he having the sharp two-edged longsword; I have observed thy works and where thou dwellest, in which place is the throne of the Satan; but thou holdest fast my name, and deniedst not my faith even in the days in which Antipas was my faithful witness, who was put to death with you where the Satan sojourns. "But I have against thee a few things; that thou hast there men holding the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat idol-sacrifices and to fornicate. So hast thou also men holding the teaching of the Nikolaitans, which thing I hate. "Change thy mind; but if not, I come to thee quickly, and will fight with them with the longsword of my mouth. "He having an ear let him hearken to what the Spirit saith to the ecclesias. To him that overcometh I will give to him to eat of the manna that hath been hidden; and I will give to him a white pebble, and upon the pebble a new name that hath been engraved, which no one knew except the receiver" -- verses 12-17. 1. Typography of Pergamos.
This writing affords additional proof that "Angel" is used in these letters as a noun of plurality. For example, "Thou," the Angel, "hast there," in Pergamos, "men holding the teaching of Balaam:" and again, "So hast thou also men holding the teaching of the Nikolaitans." These "men holding" -- kratountas -- were constituents of the symbolical Star-Angel, or Presbytery; whose influence was only evil and that continually, until at length the truth was extinguished in Pergamos through them. Pergamos was the name of a kingdom as well as of a city. The seat of government was in the city to whose "angel" the Spirit wrote by John. It was the metropolis of the Hellespontic Mysia, and the throne of the kings of the race of Attalus; and is situated about sixty-four miles to the north of Smyrna. It still retains its ancient name, which in the mouth of a Turk is pronounced Bergamo. There are some good buildings in the place, but more ruins. Attalus king of Pergamos died b.c. 138, and was succeeded by his nephew Philometer, who governed the kingdom in a most pernicious and extravagant manner. He was scarcely seated upon the throne before he stained it with the blood of his nearest relations, and the best friends of his family. He caused foreign troops, whom he had expressly sent for from the most savage and cruel nations, to make them the instruments of his enormous barbarity, to execute whole families. Having vented his ferocity, he thenceforth ceased to show himself abroad. Cruelty and folly were the characteristics of his reign, which happily for his subjects lasted only five years. Previous to his death, which occured before the birth of Christ 133 years, he made a will, by which he appointed the Roman people his heirs. Eudemus of Pergamos carried this will to Rome. The principal article was expressed in these terms, "Let the Roman people inherit all my effects." They were not slow to take possession; but being resisted, a war ensued which lasted four years, at the end of which they had conquered Lydia, Caria, the Hellespont, Phrygia, in a word, all that composed the kingdom of Attalus, was reduced into a province of Rome, under the common name of Asia in which the seven ecclesias were situated. This was consummated b.c. 126. At the present time, the city is occupied chiefly by Turks, very few families calling themselves christian being left, and these but "dogs" and "swine." Bishop Newton, looking at Pergamos from an episcopalian point of view, says, "Here is only one church remaining, dedicated to St. Theodorus; and that the name of Christ is not wholly lost and forgotten in Pergamos, is owing to the care of the metropolitan of Smyrna, who continually sendeth hither a priest to perform the sacred offices. The cathedral church of St. John is buried in its own ruins; their Angel or bishop removed; and its fair pillars adorn the graves and rotten carcases of its destroyers, the Turk, who are esteemed about two or three thousand souls in number. Its other fine church, called Santa Sophia, is turned into a mosque, and daily profaned with the blasphemies of the false prophet. There are not in the whole town above a dozen or fifteen families of miserable christians, who till the ground to gain their bread, and live in the most abject and sordid servitude. There is the less reason to wonder at the wretched condition of this church, when we consider that it was the very "throne of Satan;" that they "ran greedily after the error of Balaam, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication;" and that "they held the impure doctrines of the Nicolaitans, which Christ detested." It was denounced unto them to "repent, or else he would come unto them quickly, and fight against them," as the event evinces that he hath done." This is all the bishop has to tell us about Pergamos and the letter to its ecclesia. Its population is unequally divided between the Turks and Greeks, the former of whom, he says, "daily profane it with the blasphemies of the false prophet." To our mind, Pergamos would be more intensely profaned were it peopled exclusively with Greeks in the full tide of Byzantine prosperity. It was their "blasphemies," like the profanities of Sodom and Gomorrha, that brought upon them their overthrow, and the Turkish desolation. Instead of adhering to the truth, they worshipped demons called "St. Theodore" and "Santa Sophia," to whom they dedicated bazaars, called "churches," for the sale therein of clerical merchandize. The remnant are indeed "miserable christians," with nothing of christianity but the name. 2. The Throne of the Satan.
Pergamos having been, as we have seen, the metropolis of the kingdom in whose territory the seven ecclesias were situated, was fitly selected by the Spirit as the place of the throne of the Satan. From the writing to the ecclesia there, it would appear that the clerical influence was stronger there than in any other of the seven. They were Balaamites and Nikolaitans; teaching idolatrous practices, committing spiritual abomination, and Judaizers and Gnostics. The miniature kingdom of Pergamos in its connection with christianity had become the Kingdom of the Clergy, whose power in the days of John, was enthroned in the city of that name being opposed both to State-Paganism and to apostolic christianity. It was the head-quarters of the Synagogue of the Satan, who, like its symbolical predecessor, Philometer, left all its effects to Rome. The seven apocalyptic epistles illustrate "the things that are" -- the things that do exist while the Spirit speaks through John; the things constituting the christendom of the kingdom of Pergamos at the end of the first century, and in the beginning of the second. Pergamos was the throne of the clerical Satan as Rome is at this day; for Rome became the heir of all the effects of those in Pergamos who held the teaching of Balaam and of the Nikolaitans. But we shall not enter further at present into the consideration of the Pergamian Christendom a type of the Greco-Latin Christendom at the apocalypse of Christ in power and great glory until I have expounded in detail what remains peculiar to the ecclesias yet to be discoursed of. Having dictated to John the superscription of the epistle as "To the Angel of the Ecclesia in Pergamos," the Spirit in telling him to "write what follows, saith of himself that he is "He having the sharp two edged longsword." The reader can here refer to what I have already written upon the saying, "Out of his mouth a sharp two-eged sword," on page 183. In addition to what is there said, we may remind the reader that Paul testifies that "there is One Body and One Spirit" -- Eph. 4:4. The one Spirit is sometimes in singular, and at other times in plural, manifestation. As the apocalyptic Son of Man in plurality, he speaks "as the sound of many waters;" but in speaking as one person, as the head and mouth of the one body, it is the glorified Jesus speaking, whom Paul styles "the Lord the Spirit," "the last Adam a life-imparting spirit," "the second man, the Lord from heaven" -- 1 Cor. 15:45, 47. The Lord Jesus, then, here styles himself paraphrastically, "He having the sharp two-edged longsword," which is the word or testimony of Deity; for "the spirit is the truth." "I am the truth," said Jesus in discourse; and he discoursed by the Spirit: and when the Spirit raised him from the dead, he converted him into solid, substantial, and corporeal spirit; so that Jesus and the Spirit became One and Indivisable. The sword that he hath is styled rhomphaia. There are two words used in the apocalypse for our word sword. Being different words we judge that their signification is diverse. The other word is machaira. The first occurs in chap. 1:16; 2:12, 16; 6:8; 19:15, 21: the second, in ch. 6:4; 13:10, 14. The rhomphaia was the longsword used by the Thracians; while the machaira was a short sword, or sabre, as opposed to xiphos, the straight sword. The machaira was the Roman military sword, the badge of office worn by the Imperial Lieutenant, to whom the power of the sword was delegated by the Emperor. This was not the sword with which he, the Spirit, threatened the Angel of the ecclesia in Pergamos, when he declared he would fight against the Balaamites and Nikolaitans among them "with the longsword of his mouth." This was the word-sword, a sharper one than a steel-sword; for it destroys the soul eternally, slays it out of existence, when wielded against it. 3. "The Place the Satan Inhabits."
In the time of "the things which are" Pergamos was the place the Satan dwelt in. The reader can refresh his mind concerning the Satan by turning to a former page. The Satan in Pergamos, as elsewhere, was the Church Hierarchy claiming to be apostles and ambassadors of Jesus Christ, leading away disciples after them, and teaching perverse things, by which the gospel of the kingdom and its obedience as inculcated by Jesus and his apostles, were abolished. They dwelt in Pergamos in full force; and therefore, in the days of John, it was apocalyptically represented as "the throne of the Satan." These of the Satan did their best to separate the Saints from "the Name," and from "the Faith" of the Spirit. Nevertheless, when John wrote, though the "Angel" had unfaithful constituents, yet the majority were true. The Angel-Presbytery dwelt side by side with the Satan. It was in daily communication with them; "contending for the faith once for all delivered to the saints," as the true believers have done, and are doing to this day in tribulation and reproach. Still they "held fast the Spirit's name and denied not his faith;" in other words, they were faithful to "the truth as it is in Jesus." The power of this Church -- Satan, the rival and subsequent destroyer of the One body of Christ -- destroyer of its tranquility and happiness for the time being -- was enthroned in Pergamos, where they were more influential than the priests of the established superstition. This appears from Pliny's testimony concerning the state of things in his letter to Trajan, a.d. 106, which is already before the reader on page 254. Speaking of christianity as a whole (for the pagans made no distinction between Apostolic Christianity and the rising Apostasy) the Roman governor of Bithynia says, "The contagion of the superstition hath spread not only through cities, but even villages, and the country." Still he did not despair of suppressing it; and on expressing his hope gives us to know the depths in which he found idolatry when he first came to Anatolia. "Not that I think it impossible," saith he, "to check and correct it. The success of my endeavours hitherto forbids such desponding thoughts; for the temples, once almost desolate, begin to be frequented; and the sacred solemnities, which had long been intermitted, are now attended afresh; and the sacrificial victims are now sold everywhere, which once could scarcely find a purchaser." This is the testimony of a pagan ruler about four years after the death of the apostle John. In a.d. 106, the temples were almost desolate, idolatrous rites suspended, and "things sacrificed unto idols" could scarcely find any one to purchase them for food. But when Pliny came to Anatolia a considerable change was effected by his measures in favor of the old superstition. Many persons who had renounced idolatry, he says, returned to its abominations. These were called christians. They styled themselves such, and were so regarded by the pagans; but not by the Spirit, and those who held fast his name and had not denied his faith. They were such christians as "sinners of the world" call christians in our day. They were the catholics, protestants, and sectarians of the second century, "the synagogue of the Satan," the apostasy in embryo, ramifying and striking out its roots in all the habitable. The type of their principles was that of "easy virtue;" a very "charitable" community who would receive Socrates, Plato, and "the best of the heathen," into their synagogue, and practice heathen customs, if their contemporaries would give honor to Christ, and forego the worship of images. On this principle variously expressed, they so popularized christianity as to make it palatable to the heathen mind, and to produce the effect deplored by Pliny. But he preferred pure and unmixed Paganism to the semiheathenism of the Satan's synagogue, whose system of superstition had no images of gods, no visible altar, and no bloody sacrifices. He therefore commanded christians to frequent the temples, to attend to "the sacred solemnities," and to purchase the idol sacrifices for food, upon pain of death. Many obeyed, but others were in his judgment sullenly and inflexibly obstinate. These were they whom the Spirit commends saying, "Thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith." Pliny tried all he could to compel them. He commanded them to "perform sacred rites with wine and frankincense, to repeat after him an invocation of the gods, and of the emperor's image and to execrate Christ." To do this would have been to release their hold of his name and to deny his faith; which, Pliny says, he had been told "a real christian can never be compelled to do." From this it is evident that the distinction existed in John's day, between "real christians" and "christians." The name christian comprehended all the adherents of Balaam and Jezebel, whether Ebionites, Gnostics, or by whatever name or denomination of heresy they might be known. The "real christians" had no fellowship with such; though among them, as in Pergamos, the poison of the serpent might be detected. The ecclesia and "the synagogue of the Satan" were institutions as distinct as they are now; for in the nineteenth century a true believer of the gospel of the kingdom is against all who have not obeyed the same; yet a congregation of "real christians" may have in it some who are not true, as at Pergamos; these will sooner or later show themselves, for their sympathies are fleshly, and they become impatient of principles which they regard as "harsh, uncharitable, and severe." Such was the state of things in the place where the Satan dwelt in the days of John and Pliny, who were contemporaries. But though the Satan may still be found in Pergamos, or Bergamo, installed in the spiritual bazaars dedicated to St. Theodore and Santa Sophia; in which, "the Right Reverend Father in God, Thomas Newton, D.D., Bishop of Bristol," a "lord spiritual" of their synagogue, informs us the Greek Metropolitan of Smyrna is careful to have "the sacred offices" performed by "a priest whom he continually sendeth there, and by which performance the name of Christ is not wholly lost or forgotten in Pergamos" -- though this be so, "the throne of the Satan" hath long since been removed. It was only temporarily in Pergamos, until a more convenient season; when this should arrive the generation of the Satan then existing would plant it in a place more fitting for dominion. "Ye know," said Paul to his contemporaries, "what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time." The "He" he refers to here in 2 Thess. 2:6, is a power, not an isolated individual -- a Power which is the subject of the prophecy in Dan. 11:36-39. This power Daniel styles "the King that shall do according to his will;" and Paul terms it "that lawless one whose coming is after the working of the Satan." The Satan here is evidently a christian agency; that is, a working under the christian name -- "The Mystery of Iniquity already working" to the perversion of the gospel Paul preached. It was working "with all power, and signs and lying wonders;" and those in Pergamos, and elsewhere, who held the doctrine of Balaam, and the teaching of the Nikolaitans, and who possessed "spirits," or spiritual gifts, were the workers, who prostituted their gifts to the confirmation of the teaching they promulged in opposition to the apostles. They worked "with all the deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish," and therefore they were styled "deceitful workers." They were like the Mormons of our time, who proclaim themselves to be "christians;" profess to believe in Jesus as the Son of God and Christ; in short, to believe all that "orthodox christians" approve; but with all their verbiage, having a political purpose to effect as the great end of all their enterprize. If they could carry this purpose into effect, they would abolish the constitution of the United States, and set up a kingdom which should rule the country according to the principles of Mormonism. But every one knows "what withholdeth;" namely, the power of the Union. I have selected the Mormons as an example illustrative of the purpose and working of the generation of the Satan contemporary with the apostles, because they occupy a relation to the United States more resembling that of the Christians of the first, second, and third centuries to the Pagan-Roman government, than any other sect of Satan's synagogue at present extant. They began their career with a doctrine, the vindication of whose scripturality seemed to occupy all their energies. But as they increased their proselytes, certain ambitious demagogues among them conceived the idea of turning the speculation to present political account. In a few years they had some two thousand votes to dispose of to any of the political factions in being, able and willing to promote their schemes. They proselyted to Mormonism to increase their political influence with the factions, whose leaders and wireworkers would as soon profess this as any other ism, if it would help them to place, profit, and power. By working thus, though "persecuted," they have become a Power, which this government finds difficult to control. It began with a doctrine, it ends, when it thinks itself sufficiently strong, with an appeal to the sword. And thus it was in the first three centuries in the Roman empire. Christianity had its amibitious demagogues, and Rome its factions, and hypocritical and dishonest politicians. The factions contended for supreme power, and to obtain it, the politicians would as soon profess the christianity of Satan's syngogue, as the paganism of the Diabolos. At first, the "ministers of the Satan" were zealous for doctrines, and for a righteousness of law and gospel commixed. Notwithstanding the opposition they encountered from the apostles and all real Christians, their numbers increased. Starting originally in their career as constituents of the elderships, they obtained position and a vantage ground; and with ability to work signs and wonders, which became "lying wonders," because used for the confirmation of "a lie," which became "a strong delusion" in all it took possession of. "Of your own selves," said Paul to those of the Ephesian Star-Angel endowed with spiritual gifts, "shall men arise speaking perverse things to draw away disciples after them." Their numbers increased from this source, and by direct conversion to their "perverse things" from among the Jews and pagans; so that the apostolic party were placed in the minority, where it has remained to this day. In two hundred and eighty years from the Pentecost of a.d. 33, the adherents of the perverse things of the Apostasy had become sufficiently numerous and influential to be an object of fear to the constituted authorities, and of hope to the aspirant of supreme power that might be fortunate enough to obtain their cooperation. They had got rid of the old-fashioned doctrine of non-resistance and passive obedience taught by Paul; and they were now ready to draw the sword, and fight for empire under the first champion who should present with claims upon their support. The "coming man" appeared a.d. 306, in the character of a worshipper of the sun, named Constantine. This pagan aspirant, ambitious of the supreme and sole dominion of the Roman Habitable, then ruled by six emperors, came to an understanding with "the Christian Hierarchy" of the Satan, which, for the sake of distinguishing it from the real christian community, may be styled "catholic." Constantine and the Catholics made common cause to remove "what withholdeth" by force of arms, that their own Satanism might be enthroned. After a conflict of six or seven years, they succeeded in planting the Cross, the symbol of the New Power, upon the Capitol in Rome. In consummating this, the Satan had worked as they have sinced worked in making Protestantism sovereign in Germany, Britain, and the United Provinces. The Satan's throne in the little kingdom of Pergamos was transferred to Rome, the symbol of whose imperiality was "the Dragon" -- "purpureum signum draconis," the purple red ensign of the dragon. But "the throne of the Satan," and the metropolis the Satan inhabited, were not established in the city of the Tiber. The Roman dominion had become the Satan's; but at the time of this great revolution, the city of Rome had become confounded with the dependent kingdoms which had once acknowledged her supremacy. In reference to this, Gibbon remarks, that "after the defeat and abdication of Licinius, his victorious rival, Constantine, proceeded to lay the foundations of a city destined to reign in future times the Mistress of the East. The motives, whether of pride or of policy, which first induced Diocletian to withdraw himself from the ancient seat of government, (on the Tiber,) had acquired additional weight by the example of his successors, and the habits of forty years. Rome was insensibly confounded with the dependent kingdoms which had once acknowledged her supremacy; and the country of the Caesars was viewed with cold indifference by a martial prince like Constantine, born in the neighborhood of the Danube, educated in the courts and armies of Asia, and invested with the purple by the legions of Britain. The Italians, who had received him as their deliverer, submissively obeyed the edicts which he sometimes condescended to address to the Senate and People of Rome; but they were seldom honored with the presence of their new sovereign. During the vigor of his age, Constantine according to the various exigences of peace or war, moved with slow dignity, or active dilligence, along the frontiers of his extensive dominions; and was always prepared to take the field either against a foreign or a domestic enemy. But as he gradually reached the summit of prosperity and the decline of life, he began to meditate the design of fixing, in a more permanent station, the strength as well as the majesty of the throne. In the choice of an advantageous situation, he preferred the confines of Europe and Asia. Diocletian had selected and embellished the residence of Nicomedia, (about sixty-five miles east of Constantinople, and one hundred and fifty north of Pergamos). "But the memory of Diocletian was justly abhored by the protector of the Church; and Constantine was not insensible to the ambition of founding a city which might perpetuate the glory of his own name. During the late operations of the war against Licinius, he had sufficient opportunity to contemplate, both as a soldier and as a statesman, the incomparable position of Byzantium; and to observe how strongly it was guarded by nature against a hostile attack, whilst it was accessible on every side to the benefits of commercial intercourse. He determined, therefore, to make the site occupied by Byzantium the locality of the Capital, the policy, and the religion of the Satan, who had helped him in his wars. In speaking of the foundation of the city which was henceforth to be called Constantinople, Gibbon further remarks that "the prospect of beauty, of safety, and of wealth, united in a single spot, was sufficient to justify the choice of Constantine. But as some decent mixture of prodigy and fable has, in every age, been supposed to reflect a becoming majesty on the origin of great cities, the Emperor was desirous of ascribing his resolution not so much to the uncertain counsels of human policy, as to the infallible and eternal decrees of divine wisdom. In one of his laws he has been careful to instruct posterity, that, in obedience to the commands of God, he laid the everlasting foundations of Constantinople: and though he has not condescended to relate in what manner the celestial inspiration was communicated to his mind, the defect of his modest silence has been liberally supplied by the ingenuity of succeeding writers, who describe the nocturnal vision which appeared to the fancy of Constantine, as he slept within the walls of Byzantium. The tutelar genius of the city, a venerable matron sinking under the weight of years and infirmities, was suddenly transformed into a blooming maid, whom his own hands adorned with all the symbols of imperial greatness. The monarch awoke, interpreted the auspicious omen, and obeyed, without hesitation, the will of heaven. The day which gave birth to a city or colony was celebrated by the Romans with such ceremonies as had been ordained by a generous superstition; and though Constantine might omit some rites which savored too strongly of their pagan origin, yet he was anxious to leave a deep impression of hope and respect on the minds of the spectators. On foot, with lance in his hand, the emperor himself led the solemn procession, and directed the line, which was traced as the boundary of the destined Capital; till the growing circumference was observed with astonishment by the assistants, who at length ventured to observe that he had already exceeded the most ample measure of a great city. 'I shall still advance,' replied Constantine, 'till He, the invisible guide who marches before me, thinks proper to stop.' " Constantinople was dedicated a.d. 330, or thereabout. Its foundation commemorates the union of the Greek Catholic Satan with the Roman Diabolos, whose ensign we have remarked, on the authority of Ammianus Marcellinus, a pagan writer, was the purple red dragon. Constantine made his city a partaker of the throne of the Roman Majesty -- the Emperor and his Court residing on the Bosphorus, and the Senate on the Tiber. In process of centuries, however, the Dragon ceded his throne on the Tiber to the Beast of the Sea -- Rev. 13:2; from which time Constantinople became alone the throne of the power whose symbolical title is "the Dragon, the Old Serpent, which is Diabolos and Satan" -- Rev. 20:2. From these premises it will be seen that, before the Apostasy was allied with the civil power its throne was in Pergamos, a little over two hundred miles south by west of Constantinople. It was there, in fact; but only temporarily, until it could plant itself in the place appointed for it. In due time Constantinople was built, and the Throne of the Apostasy was erected there. At present, the place of the Satan's throne is provisionally occupied by a race which does not belong to the apocalyptic synagogue of the Satan. The Satan is ecclesiastically Greek. They were Greek in Pergamos; Greek in Constantinople for more than a thousand years; and must be Greek there again when the crisis of binding the Dragon, or Satan, shall have arrived. Then will the Spirit, in the full and antitypical import of the prediction, "come quickly, and fight against them with the sword of his mouth." 4. "My Name."
After reminding the Angel-Star of the Ecclesia in Pergamos that they dwelt where the throne of the Satan then was, the Spirit tells them that one of their works he had observed was, that they held fast his Name. This was a great thing in the midst of paganism, and the semiheathenism of the apostasy, with all its sanctimonious pretensions on every side.
In regard to this "Name," we have already offered some remarks on page 98, to which the reader is referred. In addition to what is there written, it may be stated that the Spirit saith in Isai. 42:8, "I (am) Yahweh; this is my name." The Spirit, then, declaring this to be his name, when he says that the saints in Pergamos held fast to it, the testimony is tantamount to saying, "thou holdest fast my name, Yahweh."
In our remarks on "Jesus," referred to above, we have spoken of the etymology of this name. We repeat that it signifies He shall be: and in the form hwhy yna ani Yahweh, signifies, "I, the Spirit, am He who shall be." The individual who was to be -- he who was promised to Eve in Gen. 3:15; to Abraham in Gen. 15:4; 21:12; to Judah in Gen. 49:10; to David in 2 Sam. 7:12-14; Isai. 9:6, 7 -- was the personage indicated by Yahweh He shall be, styled, in Hebrew "the Messiah;" in Greek, "the Christ;" and in English, "the Anointed." Now, the Spirit said by the prophets, I shall be he; and here, in the apocalypse, we find the Spirit and Jesus speaking as one. Now, the "Seed of Abraham," genealogically considered, must partake of Abraham's nature -- must partake of flesh and blood. The Spirit, therefore, in effect said, I shall become flesh and blood. But how could this be? The answer to this is, that the fact depends not upon our ability to explain the mode in which spirit may be elaborated into flesh and blood. The Bible testifies that all things are out of Deity, who is spirit. The Eternal Power formed Adam out of dust. Spirit is the basis of all created things, and, according to the will of the Creator, becomes rock, dust, sea, vegetable, and animal, in all their diversity of form and beauty. All the resurrected who shall be approved, will become spirit; "for that which has been begotten of the Spirit is spirit" -- begotten subsequently to their post-resurrectional appearance at Christ's tribunal. If, then, flesh and blood thus become spirit, (and some flesh and blood will become spirit without tasting of death, Paul says,) why may not spirit become flesh and blood? It is but a reversal of results from a change of process. The name, then, in connection with the testimony of the prophets, indicates a conversion of Spirit into flesh and blood, developed by the formative power of the Eternal, independently of and apart from the will of man. In the case of the first Adam, spirit, as it were leaven, mingled formatively with dust, and a flesh and blood man was developed, styled "Son of God;" but in the case of the second Adam, spirit acted upon the nervous system of Mary, as it had previously done upon Sarah, and Hannah, but to a further degree (for in these, it had only imparted strength for conception according to nature) in that it operated germinatively upon the contents of Mary's ovarium; and caused an ovum, or "seed of the woman," to be deposited in her womb. Here, as the spirit-germ of the second man it remained the usual "set time," subject to the laws of the animal economy. At the appointed time it was born the babe of Bethlehem; and duly named Jesus, or He shall be who shall save -- both "Son of God," and "Son of Man," which the first Adam was not. Adam was Son of God and Son of the Dust; Jesus was Son of God and Son of Man, being a creation of the Eternal Power from the substance of David's daughter. Such was the babe Jesus in preparation for the Sacrificial Man. His germination was irrespective of the lust of the flesh, the propensity excited in the first Adam by his guilty companion, and of which Cain was the fruit. In this particular, the generation of Jesus was different from that of all other men. If Joseph had been his father, he would have been born of blood, of the will of the flesh, and of man, instead of the Spirit. He would have been son of man only, and not Son of God; and consequently would not have answered to the testimony of the name. The Yahweh-Name, then, presents itself to us in prophecy and in history. To Israel it is incommunicable so long as they reject Jesus; for he is the historical and practical personal illustration of it. The Yahweh-Name in prophecy comprehends the things concerning the Christ in his birth, life, sufferings, resurrection, and glory. To understand the Yahweh-Name, as exhibited in the writings of the prophets, is to "know the joyful sound" -- to believe "the gospel of the Deity which he had promised before by the prophets in the holy scriptures," concerning his Son the Christ, made of the seed of David according to flesh, and constituted son of Deity in power according to spirit of holiness -- Rom. 1:1-4: and to understand the same name historically and doctrinally expounded, as it is in the New Testament, is to understand "the things concerning the kingdom of the Deity, and the name of Jesus Anointed" of the Spirit -- Acts 8:12. In the teaching of Jesus "the name," "the gospel," and "the kingdom of the Deity," are interchangeably used. Thus in Matt. 19:29, he says, that every one who forsaketh any thing "for my name's sake shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit aion-life;" in Mark. 10:29, he says, that there is no man that hath left any thing "for my sake and the Gospel's, but he shall receive an hundred fold in this time with persecutions; and in the coming Aion Life aionian;" and in Luke 18:29, he says, there is no man that hath left any thing "for the kingdom of the Deity's sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this time, and in the Aion to come life aionian." Hence, to hold fast the Spirit's Name and not to deny his faith, is to be "rooted and grounded in the faith, and not to be moved away from the hope of the gospel," as in the case of the Pergamians. They were suffering tribulation for the kingdom and glory of the Deity, to which they had been invited by the gospel of the name they had obeyed. They held it fast as their hope; and, as Pliny testifies, no power or terror could compel them to abandon the position they had assumed in regard to it. Not so, however, the Satan; they did not hold fast the name, and did deny the faith. As we have seen in treating of the Nikolaitanes, they denied that Christ had come in flesh; the consequence was that they logically rendered the Yahweh-Name ineffectual to the remission of sin: for if Christ did not come in the flesh and blood nature common to all mankind, the condemnation of sin in the flesh which had sinned, as represented in the lambs slain from the foundation of the world, could not have occurred when he was crucified; and moreover, if his body had not been identical with ours, he could not have borne the sins of his brethren, the saints, to the cross. The denial of his true and proper humanity made him logically unfit for a sacrificial man, by whose stripes obedient believers should be healed. The sin-covering efficacy of the Yahweh-Name depended upon the person bearing it being a flesh and blood Messiah; for "without the shedding of blood there is no remission." The Spirit plainly testifies this in the prophets and apostles. In Lev. 17:11, he saith, "I have given the blood to you upon the altar for a covering upon your souls; for the blood itself shall cover the soul." The reason given for blood being thus used is "because the soul of the flesh is in the very blood." The soul, nephesh, or life is in the blood. The blood contains or covers it, as it were; and as it is a question of life or death -- life forfeited for sin, the wages of which is death -- that is appointed to cover sin which covers life, namely, the blood. In this sense, "the life, or soul, of all flesh is the blood thereof;" because the vitality of all animals is in the blood. Hence, a bloodless man could not, upon the principles of the divine law, be a covering for sin. He must have real blood in his veins containing life, as in redeeming flesh and blood nature from death, he had to give the same sort of life for the life to be redeemed. Now the blood of Jesus was more precious than the life-blood of any other man. If it had not been so, it would have been inadequate to the purchase of life for the world. The Spirit testifies in David, that there is no man rich enough to redeem his brother, nor to give God a ransom for his soul that it should live forever, and not see corruption; "for," he says, "the redemption of their soul will be costly, and it ceaseth to the Olahm" -- Psal. 49:6-9. If the wealthiest be impotent for the redemption of one soul, how precious must the blood of the Yahweh-Name be, seeing that it can ransom "a great multitude which no man can number!" -- Rev. 7:9. The blood of Jesus was the only blood of all the generations of Adam, that had not been generated by the lust of the flesh; and which had not energized a man to the commission of sin. Jesus was an unblemished man, without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; for "he was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners." This precious "blood of sprinkling, which speaks better things than the blood of Abel," the sanctifying blood of the covenant shed for the remission of the sins of many, (Heb. 12:24; 10:29, 22; Matt. 26:28), is the principle which makes the Yahweh-Name sin-cleansing, or a covering for the hiding of sin, so that the believer upon whom the name is invoked, may have "no more conscience of sins," or, as Peter expresses it, may have "the answer of a good conscience toward God" -- 1 Pet. 3:21. The purifying or sanctifying property of the Yahweh-Name being connected with bloodshedding, as prefigured in the law, necessitates the death of him who becomes the medium of its manifestation. The prophetic testimony is direct upon this point. "Thou, O Serpent," said the Spirit, "shalt bruise the heel of the Woman's Seed" -- Gen. 3:15. And this seed was to come out of Abraham's son, as it is written "in Isaac a Seed shall be chosen for thee;" and to show that he was to be a sacrificial man, the Elohim told him to "offer him for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains of the land of Moriah which should be shown." In obedience to this command, Abraham travelled with Isaac a journey of three days, until they arrived at the mountain where the temple afterwards stood. He laid upon Isaac the wood upon which he was to be bound, and led him as a lamb to the slaughter. Having erected an altar, he laid him thereon upon the wood, and took the knife to slay him. This he would have done, but for the interference of heaven. God ordered him to spare Isaac, and to finish the offering by slaying a ram in his place. The release of Isaac was a resurrection to life -- a type of the future literal resurrection of the Seed to descend from him -- Gen. 21:12; 22:6, 9, 13. This was the death and resurrection of the Yahweh-Name bearer represented to Abraham dramatically. It taught him, that the Seed to be chosen for him, who was to "possess the gate of His enemies, and in whom all the nations of the earth shall be blessed," should suffer a violent death, and then rise again to fulfil his destiny. Abraham saw this, and therefore named the place of the offering Yahweh-Yireh, He who shall be will provide -- "In the mount Yahweh shall be seen" -- ver. 14. The prophets are full of testimony illustrative of this remarkable representation. "The Songs of Zion" treat largely of the sufferings of the Spirit's name. The Spirit in David says, "they pierced my hands and my feet" -- Psal. 22:16; and "He shall be filled with iron and the shaft of a spear" -- 2 Sam. 23:7; and in Dan. 9:26, "Messiah shall be cut off;" and in Isa. 53, speaking of the Deity's "righteous servant," the Spirit saith, "Yahweh has caused to lay upon Him the iniquity of us all * * * for the transgression of my people was he stricken; when thou shalt make a trespass-offering of his nephesh, soul," or life, "he shall see a seed; * * * through his knowledge shall my righteous servant make a justification for many; and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will apportion to him among the great and the mighty; he shall divide the spoil; because that he hath poured out his nephesh or soul (contained in the blood) unto death." Such was to be Name of the Christ in fact and doctrine -- a personage, the descendant and antitype of Isaac, in his sacrifice and resurrection, who should be the Sin-Bearer and Justifier of his people, through their belief of the things, or knowledge concerning him. When Jesus appeared, and was crucified and rose again, the Yahweh-Name was no longer absolutely a testimony to be fulfilled; it became a living reality -- the Truth Incarnate; and "the Name of Christ" became "the Name of Jesus Christ;" and all that is predicted of the Spirit's Name is to be fulfilled in Jesus and his Brethren. The New Testament treats very largely of the mystery of the Name. After Jesus rose from the dead, and before his assumption to the right hand of power, the kingdom and the Name were the especial topics of conversation between him and his disciples. They understood the doctrine of the kingdom better than of the name, until he opened their understandings that they might understand the scriptures of the prophets -- Luke 24:45. These in regard to the death, burial, resurrection, and assumption of the Name-Bearer, and the doctrinal use to be made of them, had been hid from their eyes -- Luke 18:31-34. But when he had risen, the time had come to remove the veil, which still remains upon the understandings of all who do not comprehend "the truth as it is in Jesus." "O fools," said he to two of them, "and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken; ought not the Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself" -- Luke 24:25. On a subsequent occasion, when all of them were convened, he said, that according as it was written in the prophets, "it behoved the Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead on the third day; and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem" -- vers. 44-47. "In his name" is here an all-important phrase, for apart from this great name, there is no repentance nor remission of sins for Jew or Gentile. "There is salvation in no other; for," continues the Spirit in Peter, "there is none other Name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" -- Acts 4:12; and again, he said, "to Him give all the prophets testimony, that whosoever believeth into him, shall receive remission of sins through his name" -- ch. 10:43. The Name is expressive of a personal existence "among men." In its first sojourn here, though it was the Deity's Name, it was a name of no reputation; it was without rule, being the name of a servant, or a humiliated, oppressed, and afflicted man, absolutely obedient to the will of the Deity, even unto the death of the cross. Wherefore "God also," says Paul, in Phil. 2:9, "hath highly exalted him, and given him a Name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow of heavenlies and of earthlies, and of subterraneans; and every tongue confess that Jesus Anointed is Lord to the glory of Deity the Father." In this highly exalted name are repentance and remission of sins alone to be found. A man may be ever so intelligent in the scriptures, ever so excellently and piously disposed, ever so firmly convinced of "the truth as it is in Jesus," still, if he have not been added to this name -- if he have not laid hold upon it according to divine appointment -- (and in no other way can it be laid hold of) -- he is the subject neither of "repentance" nor "remission of sins;" and furthermore, if having laid hold of it, he follow not the example of the faithful in Pergamos, and hold it fast, the Spirit will "fight against him with the sword of his mouth." By grace are men saved, through faith that works by love, and purifies the heart -- Eph. 2:8; Gal. 5:8; Acts 15:9. Assuming then, that a sinner "believes the things of the Kingdom of the Deity and of the Name of Jesus Anointed;" and that he has fallen in love with them; and that, loving what he believes, and the effect of this affectionate belief, or "believing with the heart," has been to alienate his affections from "the pleasures of sin," and "earthly things;" and has caused him to set them upon the things anew, or exalted, where the Christ is on the right hand of the Deity sitting; assuming this to be the state of his mind and disposition, he is then in a condition to receive repentance, and to be saved from his past sins, and to obtain a right to eternal life, through the Name of Jesus Anointed, who is "the Lord the Spirit." But, if the sinner have not this affectionate belief, he can receive nothing through the name; because he has no faith for justification, and no disposition such as Abraham had, to be reckoned for repentance. Without the faith that works by love and purifies the heart, it is impossible to please the Deity. On the day of Pentecost, in the thirty-sixth year from the birth of Jesus, Peter addressed three thousand Jews, whose understandings and affections had been thus prepared by the things they believed. When they asked Peter, saying, "What shall we do?" he replied, not knowing as yet, what their convictions were, "Change ye your mind, and every one of you be immersed upon the Name of Jesus Anointed into remission of sins." They were to be immersed epi to onomati, upon and for the name of Jesus Anointed; because the gospel of the kingdom was preached to them to separate them from that evil generation of Israel "for the name;" as it was afterwards preached to the gentiles for the same purpose -- "to take out of the nations a people, epi to onomati, for the name of him" -- Acts 15:14. They were immersed "for" this name that they might constitute a part of this name; for it is a name of multitude, all of whose constituents are "in Jesus Christ; in other words, "in Deity the Father, and the Lord Jesus Anointed" -- 1 Thess. 1:1. For a sinner, then, affectionately believing the truth, to be "immersed for the name," is for him to be added to the name of Deity; that, when that Divine Name is complete, he with Jesus may be manifested in power and great glory. "The righteousness of God through Jesus Christ's faith is eis, for all and epi, upon all the believing" -- Rom. 3:22. This manifestation is the ultimate purpose of his addition to this name; but there is also a present reason and advantage resulting therefrom. "Be every one of you," said Peter, "immersed upon the Name of Jesus Anointed into remission of sins." When added to the name, the immersed believer is "en to onomati" In the name (Acts 10:48) as a man is in a robe when he has put it on. The name is regarded as a covering by which his "sin is covered" -- Psal. 32:1, 2. Now, immersion is the divinely appointed action by which a true believer is, and a true believer only can be, united, added, or married to the name; and in order to this, that he may be "in the name," it is appointed for him to be immersed "eis, into, or for, the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" -- a formula which is equivalent to the phrase, "the Name of Jesus Anointed;" for Jesus Anointed is the Father manifested in the Son, Jesus, by Holy Spirit; in other words, Deity manifested in flesh. The believing and rejoicing sinner, then, who has followed the example of the Samaritans in faith and practice (Acts 8:12) is immersed in water "upon," "for" and "into" the name, which is the same as being immersed into remission of sins. The Spirit, the water, and the blood are the three witnesses on the earth that are convergent into the one name -- 1 Jno. 5:8. "The spirit" which "is the truth," works in him, who understands it, to believe, to will, and to do; "the water" is the medium of induction into the name; and no one since Pentecost, a.d. 35, can prove that he has been added to the sin-covering name, who has not passed through the water. "Except a man be born ex, out of water and spirit," saith the King of Israel, "he cannot enter into the Kingdom of the Deity" -- Jno. 3:5. The water will not bear witness in favor of the unwashed. The third witness is "the blood." By faith in the testimony concerning the sin-covering efficacy of the blood of Jesus, the sinner who believes the covenanted promises, is brought into sacrificial relation thereto. By faith in the testimony of Jesus he believes that sin was condemned in his flesh when he was crucified; that his blood is the blood of the New, or Abrahamic, Covenant by which it was dedicated, shed for the remission of the sins of the many; whose sins Jesus bore in his own body to the Cross. Believing that, without the shedding of the blood of Jesus there would have been no remission through the name, the blood becomes to him an important and indispensable element of the name, which he embraces for its purifying efficacy imparted to it thereby. He goes into the laver of the water, that he may approach the altar, Jesus, and be sprinkled by faith with his blood. This done, and he is "justified by faith," "by grace," "by his blood," and "washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and in the Spirit of our God" -- the truth, the water, and the blood all testify to his justification "through his name." Lastly, upon this subject we would at present remark, that there is a precise and definite point of time at which a sinner's disposition and faith are granted to him for a change of mind or heart, and for remission; and this is in the act of obedience. Ananias said to Saul, "Arise be baptized and wash away thy sins, attaching thyself to the name of the Lord" -- Acts 22:16. In the act of doing this, in rising from the water, Saul's state of heart was granted to him for repentance, and his belief of the truth was counted to him for remission of sins -- both in the act which effected his attachment to the name. To perceive the force of the Spirit's saying in the writing to the Star Angel in Pergamos, "thou holdest fast my name," it is necessary to understand the doctrine of that name, therefore I have gone at some length into the exposition of it here; especially as there are so few in the world that have a scriptural comprehension of it. The teaching brethren in Pergamos still expounded it aright; although in such close neighborhood to the Satan's head-quarters, where they were indefatigably sowing tares; and denying the foundation of the name, which is laid in the real humanity and sufferings of the sacrificial man, Jesus; "who was delivered for the offences, and raised again for the justification" of sinners, who affectionately believe the promises made to Abraham and David, and the truth as it is in Jesus. To these teachers resident in the Satan's dwelling place and capital, the Spirit not only said "thou holdest fast my name," but also, "and hast not denied my faith." 5. "My Faith."
The Name and the Faith are terms comprehensive of the whole subject. "There is One Faith," says Paul, "and one Hope of the Calling." The name is that part of the faith just expounded; but when "faith" is used in connexion with "name" it embraces the things associated with it by Paul in his definition of it in Heb. 11:1. In this place, he says, "Faith is a hypostasis of things being hoped for, an elegchos of transactions not seen." Here faith, or belief, is said to be hypostasis and elenchos; that is, faith is reality and proof. The person who has it, embraces certain things promised as realities, and certain transactions as things proved. Hence, faith is the assured hope of things promised, the conviction of the truth of transactions not witnessed by the believer. The English Version renders Paul's words, thus; "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." This, however, does not give us the full import of his definition. The word elpizomenon rendered "of things hoped for," is the present participle passive, the sign of which is "being;" the word should therefore be translated "of things being hoped for." Faith is not the "hypostasis of things hoped for" once, and afterwards forgotten: nor "of things hoped for" by other people of old time, but never heard of by professors now: but they are things "by which ye are saved if ye keep in memory a certain word I preached unto you," says Paul; "unless ye have believed in vain;" that is, by forgetting it -- 1 Cor. 15:1, 2 : -- it is the hypostasis of things hoped for, being kept in memory, by the believer; who, understanding the things promised, is fully persuaded of them, and lives in hope even against hope, or present appearances, that what God has promised to Abraham and David, he is able and will perform -- Rom. 4:21, 18. Another defect in the English Version is, that it does fully translate the word pragmaton. The word pragma signifies "a thing done, a fact, deed, work, or transaction," and is, therefore, a matter of history. In the phrase "of things being hoped for" there is no separate word in the original for "things;" but it is supplied, and correctly so, because elpizomenon is of the neuter gender. But in the latter part of this definition Paul has inserted the word pragmaton, that all the things of faith may be embraced in the definition -- "the things of the kingdom," which are "being hoped for;" and "the things of the Name," which have been transacted and expounded in the mystery revealed. It is evident, then, that what is termed "historical faith," or the mere belief of history, and which some "theologians," say is the best sort of faith, is a defective faith; and therefore, not what the Spirit styles "My Faith." On the other hand, also, the mere belief of things hoped for, omitting faith in the pragmata, or transactions, is a defective faith. A faith perfect in kind and in degree must heartily embrace the things of hope, and the things transacted; in other words, "the things concerning the Kingdom of the Deity, and of the Name of the Anointed Jesus." This is what the Spirit styles "my faith," which the teachers in Pergamos "Had not denied." The divines of "the synagogue of the Satan" in that city did however deny it. Their Nikolaitan speculations about "immortal souls" led them to deny it. Justin Martyr, who was fourteen years contemporary with the apostle John, though he did not embrace christianity till about thirty years after his death, in his dialogue with Trypho, a Jew, says, "I am not such a wretch, Trypho, as to say one thing and mean another. I have before confessed to thee that I, and many others, are of their opinion, (that of the prophets concerning the Millennial Reign,) so that we hold it to be thoroughly proved that it will come to pass. But I have also signified unto thee on the other hand that many, even those of that race of christians who follow not godly and pure doctrine (those of the apocalyptic synagogue of the Satan) do not acknowledge it. For I have demonstrated to thee that these (Nikolaitans) are indeed called christians, but are atheists and impious heretics, because that in all things they teach what is blasphemous, ungodly, and unsound." These self-styled christians are the professors denounced in the letters to the seven ecclesias under the epithets of "those who say they are apostles, and are not, but are liars;" "blasphemers who say they are Jews, and are not, but the synagogue of the Satan;" "the Satan;" "those who hold the doctrine of Balaam;" "the Nikolaitans;" "that woman Jezebel, calling herself a prophetess, teaching and seducing the servants of God;" and "those who said they were rich, and increased with goods, and had need of nothing." These all called themselves christians, but, as Justin truly says, they were atheists, or without God, and impious heretics; blasphemous, ungodly, and unsound teachers. He goes on, therefore, to say concerning these "Fathers" of Modern Christendom, "If therefore, you fall in with certain who are called christians, who confess not this truth, (of the thousand years' reign of Jesus and his brethren on earth over all nations) but dare to blaspheme the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, in that they say there is no resurrection of the dead, but that immediately when they die, their souls are received up into heaven -- avoid them, and esteem them not christians, etc." In affirming this, which is now called orthodoxy, because "the synagogue of the Satan" is now in the ascendancy under the current style, or title of "the Names and Denominations of Christendom" -- they denied the faith termed by the Spirit "My Faith." Justin protests that it is blaspheming the God of Abraham to say, that there is no resurrection of the flesh; and that they do say this who say, that souls are received up into heaven immediately they die. I believe Justin's position is apostolic and scriptural; and that what was blasphemy, atheism, heresy, ungodly, and unsound, in the year 140, is the same in 1861. Justin, therefore, who is highly commended by the commentators, denounces them as not christians, and the sentiments of all christendom in our day as blasphemy. Where is the name, sect, or denomination, from the papacy to Mormonism included, but what teaches the dogma or immortal-soulism, and translation to heaven at death? Our contemporaries all deny the Spirit's Faith; if any are to be found that hold fast the Name and have not denied the faith, which the Spirit styles his, they are not of the names and denominations of "the religious world." They are outsiders, having no fellowship with "the Satan" in any of "the depths as they teach." No, the Spirit's Faith is not the faith of Christendom. The "faith" of the religious world taught by all orders of its clergy, is mere heathenism, interlarded with some scriptural phraseology uttered in a tone called "holy." The Spirit's faith teaches what is promised "to them that overcome" -- the resurrection of the mortal body; absolute dominion over the nations of the earth; Deification; a share in the throne of Omnipotence; and endless existence in glory. The dogma of an immortal soul in sinful flesh is not to be found in the Spirit's faith; it knows nothing about the translation of such a vain conceit to heaven, but to condemn it in its logical consequents. The dogma of the transfer of such a fiction to heaven at death is subversive of the resurrection of the flesh; and of the kingdom covenanted to Abraham and David; and promised to the saints with eternal life and glory. The Spirit's faith repudiates such trash; and threatens vengeance upon those who hold it. 6. Antipas.
The Spirit says to the Star-Angel in Pergamos, "Thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, as in the days in which Antipas was my faithful witness, who was put to death with you where the Satan sojourns." The Star-Angel was still faithful, and had been so in former days of trial, characterized as days in which Antipas was put to death in Pergamos. Antipas is styled "my faithful witness." Hence the name is identical with him, or them, who held fast the name and denied not the faith of Christ, whether in Pergamos or elsewhere, in the midst of persecution. The name is typical of a class at that time related to "the things that are." The word Antipas signifies "against all;" and is doubtless introduced here as the apocalyptic designation of those who were the faithful in opposition to all pretenders to Christianity. Paul and all who adhered to his teaching were Antipas. They were against all Nikolaitans, Balaamites, children of Jezebel, false apostles, and spurious Jews, who, as Justin says, "are called Christians, but are atheists and impious heretics, because that in all things they teach what is blasphemous, ungodly, and unsound." The Antipas Christians were obnoxious to the hatred both of the Diabolos and the Satan. The Satan were sometimes persecuted by the Diabolos; but the Antipas were persecuted by both. The Satan, however, who called themselves Christians, when hard pressed by the Pagan Diabolos, would, as Pliny relates in his letter to Trajan, deny the faith to save their worthless lives; but the Antipas were always "faithful unto the death." The Satan was contending with the Diabolos for supremacy in the Roman State, which brought them into collision and bloodshed; but the Antipas party were "contending earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints," that they might be approved of God, save their contemporaries, and transmit it uncorrupted to the next generation. The Antipas, or Christ's faithful witness, cared nothing about the riches, and honors, and power obtainable in the present evil world. His affections had loftier aspirations. Not so the Satan. They were ambitious of all these. They aspired to political ascendancy, and when they found themselves powerful enough, they appealed to the sword, and conquered. And when the Diabolos found that the cause of paganism was lost, the religion of the Satan, the catholic, became the religion of the State, under the old style of "the devil and the Satan." But Antipas still continued in affliction. The victory of the Satan professing christianity was of small advantage to Antipas. The faithful witness had to fly into the wilderness from the face of the New Power, which sought to sweep them from the earth. -- Rev. 12:6, 14-17. But, it is said of Antipas, that he was put to death in the Satan's kingdom -- "Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death with you where the Satan sojourns" -- at Pergamos, the place of their throne. When the Satan removed from Pergamos to Rome and Constantinople, Antipas fled into the wilderness, and was protected there during 1260 years. But at the end of that period, the adversary made war upon the Antipas, and slew them; for being against all, in their testifying, they incurred the wrath of the self-styled christians who ruled and argued with the word -- Rev. 11:1, 2, 7. Antipas, however, though put to death, hath been resuscitated; and they now "stand upon their feet," and their enemies are afraid of them. The Satan of Pergamos is still prosperous in the enjoyment of the lusts of the flesh and the pride of life; with a dominion coextensive with christendom. Their church is large, and embraces within its pale all sects, and parties, names and denominations, except Antipas; who is still, as in apostolic times, against all. Antipas, who holds fast the name and denies not the faith of Christ, has no fellowship for any of them; but protests against them all as the Satan. As he is against all, so all are against him. No "orthodox christian" of the Satan's synagogue will admit an Antipas into their pulpits, because he is not in what they term "holy orders;" -- he has not been ordained by the imposition of the hands of those "reverend divines," who say that they are "apostles;" the ambassadors of Jesus Christ, and successors of his apostles; "and are not, but are found to be liars." Antipas has no more respect for these than Jesus had for the "scribes, pharisees, and hypocrites;" or Paul for "the false apostles and ministers of the Satan," who perverted the gospel, and sought to exclude him on every side. The author of this exposition is an Antipas; and would rather stand alone, faithfully adherent to the name and faith of the Spirit, than redolent of the odors of sanctity burned to his honor by all the clergy and pietists of "Christendom". For further exposition upon this subject see our remarks on "on the depths of the Satan" hereafter. 7. The Balaamites
But, though the Star-Angel, or eldership, of the ecclesia in Pergamos in the general answered to Antipas, the Spirit's faithful witness, "Yet," said he, "I have against thee a few things, because thou hast there them holding fast the teaching of Balaam who taught Balak to cast a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat idol-sacrifices, and to fornicate. So hast thou also them holding fast the teaching of the Nikolaitans, which thing I detest."
Balaam, like Nikolaitan, Antipas, etc., is a typical name. It is written mlb Balaam, like Nikolaitan, Antipas, etc., is a typical name. It is written malB, Bilaam in the Hebrew; from maalb, bela am, signifying wasting of the people. A Nikolaitan is a vanquisher of the people; and a Balaam is a waster of the people; qualities uniting in the same class. It is also the name of an ancient prophet, who, in the days of Moses, resided at Pethor on the Euphrates, in Mesopotamia, among the mountains of the East. Though a believer in the true God, he practised divination for the discovery of enchantments, and was held in high esteem by the Baal-worshippers of his time; who declared their conviction, that "whom he blessed was blessed, and whom he cursed was cursed." On a certain occasion, when the Israelites were encamped in the plains of Moab, on the east of Jordan by Jericho, Balak, the king of Moab, in concert with the Midianites, sent princes to Balaam, with the rewards of divination, to request him to come and curse them, that being devoted to destruction, he might prevail over them, and expel them from the country. But God said to him, "Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people: for they are blessed." Upon this he refused to go, and the princes returned to Moab. But Balak was importunate. He sent again by more princes, and of a higher rank, and with promises of great honor and riches, if he would comply with his request. But, though he loved the wages of unrighteousness, he was afraid to encounter the consequences of violating the interdict he had received. He concluded, however, to try the Lord again, and see if he would not relax in favor of his covetousness. At night he received the answer, that if the men came to call him, he might rise up and go with them; but he was to speak only the word revealed to him at the time. It seems, however, that he was so keen after the honors and rewards, that he did not wait to be called, but of his own accord rose up, and posted off with two servants. Balaam was evidently a man of bad principles. No further account would be necessary to prove this. Yahweh had told him that the people were blessed, yet he sought to gratify a Baal-worshipper for a reward, in seeming to comply with his request. Had his heart been right, he would have accepted God's interdict as final, and have refused to consult the Lord any more upon the subject. He would have dismissed the princes of Moab with an unqualified and emphatic denial, and have commanded them to appear no more in his presence with their bribes to sin. But no; he professed a zeal for the word of Jehovah his God, while he was anxious to please the worshippers of Baal for reward. "If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the word of Yahweh my God, to do less or more;" but stay; don't go away; I will see what I can get him to let me do! If he had been an honest and upright man, he would not have said "I cannot," but he would have declared, "I will not go beyond his word." But he went with two servants, and therefore God's anger was kindled; "and an angel of Yahweh stood in the way for a Satan against him," with a naked sword in his hand. When his eyes were opened to see the peril, he fell prostrate; and having received a severe reproof for the perverseness of his way, he was permitted to go with the princes. Balak hearing of his approach went forth to meet him. Balaam having explained his position, accompanied Balak to Kirjath-huzzoth, the capital of Moab, where he eat of the idol-sacrifices with the princes of the king; and on the morrow, they took up their position on one of the high places of Baal, commanding a view of the four square encampment of Israel. But Jehovah would not allow him to defy them, but compelled him to utter those beautiful predictions of their future glory under the Star and Sceptre of Jacob, recorded in Num. 23 and 24. Seeing he could not reverse Yahweh's blessing upon his people, and knowing that His favor is consequent on keeping his commandments, he counselled Balak to cast a stumblingblock before them, causing them to sin. Instead, therefore, of advising him to war, he suggested the policy of seducing them from their allegiance to Yahweh and his law, by sending in the daughters of Moab among them, and enticing them to impurity and idolatry. Balak followed his advice, and by the means proposed, caused Israel to be joined to Baalpeor, which caused the anger of Yahweh to smoke against them. Such, in brief, is the history of the prophet who caused a wasting of the people; for Yahweh commanded their chiefs to be hung, and all who had offended to be slain to the number of twenty-four thousand. The points of his character were covetousness, perverseness, presumptuousness, unrighteousness, beguiler of unstable Israelites, apostasy from the right way. Where such attributes of character meet in a class of persons, they are said in the New Testament to be "following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor;" and Balaam becomes the representative of the class. Thus, in the days of the apostles, there were "false teachers" in the Christian congregations, whose motives, teaching, and practices, were analogous to Balaam's. They were "grievous wolves," wasters of the people, "speaking perverse things to draw away disciples after them." They taught that belief of the gospel, and being baptized, was not enough; but that, in addition to this, it was necessary also to be circumcised, and keep the law of Moses, or men could not be saved. They appended this dogma to the wholesome words of the Lord Jesus, in order to popularize his doctrine, and make it palatable to the Jews. Paul styles it "another gospel; which (truly) is not another, but a perversion thereof." He says that they who preached it were "accursed;" that they sought to bring believers into bondage; and that, desiring to make a fair show in the flesh, they constrained their victims to be circumcised, only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ -- Acts 15:1-5; 20:29, 30; Gal. 1:6, 7; 2:4; 5:10; 6:12. They proceeded from bad to worse. They inculcated a distinction of meats and drink; the observance of holy days, new moons, and sabbaths; and a voluntary humility in neglecting the body, and worshipping of angels. They not only commanded to abstain from meats, but they also forbid to marry; and corrupted the minds of their dupes with fables, endless genealogies, and doctrines of demons -- Col. 2:16, 18, 22, 23; 1 Tim. 1:4; 4:1, 3. But these false teachers not only Judaized, or taught disciples to seek a justification by Mosaic observances, but some of them Gentilized by indoctrinating them with the principles of philosophy, and inducing them to conform to practices and customs of idolatry. Paul wrote 1 Cor. 8 and 10:7-33, to fortify the minds of the brethren against their influence. His reasoning in these places is directed against the teaching of the Balaam-class who taught the lawfulness of eating idol sacrifices in the temples. Their argument was after this wise: "We have knowledge. We know that the idols are nothing; so that in eating of the demon-sacrifices, and drinking of the demon-cup, not having an idolatrous conscience, we perform no act of worship: being safe with God upon this point, we obtain the advantage of seeming conformity in avoiding persecution for our desertion of the national superstition." In philosophizing, they taught the inherent immortality of all men. They rejected the immortality of body, and substituted for it the indwelling of an "immortal soul" in the mortal body; and affirmed its separate and independent intelligent existence in heaven the instant the heart ceased to beat and the lungs to breathe. This led them to deny the resurrection of the body, and to teach that "the resurrection had passed already;" or, what is equivalent to it, that "there is no resurrection of the dead;" and so overthrowing the faith of some, by their profane vain babblings and oppositions of science, falsely so called -- 1 Cor. 15:12; 2 Tim. 2:18; 1 Tim. 6:20. Now, of these false teachers the apostle saith, "They reckon of us as if we walked according to the flesh: and say, his letters are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible. But though I be rude in speech, yet am I not in knowledge. They are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for the Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as ministers of righteousness. Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I. Are they ministers of Christ? I speak ironically, I am more. In nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing. Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds. But, being crafty, they say I caught you with guile!" -- 2 Cor. 10:2, 10; 11:4, 6, 13-15, 22; 12:11, 12, 16; Phil. 3:2, 18, 19. Still speaking of these, he says, "There are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision, whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake. Their mind and conscience are defiled. They profess that they know God, but in works they deny him, being abominable and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate" -- Tit. 1:10. "They have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof. Of this sort are they who creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now, as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. They are evil men and seducers, and will wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived" -- 2 Tim. 3:1-13. Peter was not behind Paul in his denunciation of this class of men whose diabolical mission it was to turn the grace of God into licentiousness. "There were," saith he, "false prophets among the people (Israel) even as there shall be false teachers among you (Nazarenes,) who will privily introduce destructive sects, and denying the Master that bought them. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of the truth will be evil spoken of. And through covetousness will they with feigned words make merchandise of you. As natural brute beasts made to be taken and destroyed, they speak evil of the things they do not understand; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption." He then shows that these characters were already in full operation in the societies of the faithful; for, he continued, "They are spots and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings, while they feast with you; having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls; an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: who have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; but was rebuked for his iniquity. These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; for whom the mist of darkness is reserved in the Aion. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption" -- 2 Pet. 2. These were the scoffers who appeared in the last days of the Mosaic Aion, "walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of His coming?" -- the "false prophets" that the Lord Jesus predicted would "arise and deceive many; and say in heart, the Lord delayeth his coming;" and should therefore "begin to smite their fellow-servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken" -- Matt. 24:11, 48, 49. John also, to whom the Apocalypse was revealed, is particularly pointed against these wolves in the clothing of sheep. "Little children," saith he, "it is the last hour: and as ye have heard that the Antichrist comes, even now many antichrists exist: whereby we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for, if they had been of us, they would have continued with us: but they went out that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us." They denied that Jesus is the Christ; and, consequently, repudiated the doctrine of the manifestation of the Father through him as the Son. Therefore, referring to them, John inquires, "Who is the liar but he who affirms that Jesus is not the Christ? This is the Antichrist rejecting the Father and the Son." From this it would appear, that they had given the lie to the apostles for teaching what they had come to deny; but John retorted upon them that they were the liars, and the germ of the Antichrist to be more fully revealed. "These things," says he, "I write unto you concerning them that seduce you. Little children, let no man deceive you. Believe not every spirit" -- believe not every man who pretends to speak by the spirit: "but try the spirits;" bring them to the test of the Law and the Testimony, and by this standard ascertain "whether they be of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. By this ye may know the Spirit of God; every spirit (or prophet) that confesseth that Jesus Christ has come in flesh is from God: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ came in flesh is not of God: and this is the (spirit) of the Antichrist which ye have heard that it comes; and is now already in the world. They (these false prophets or teachers) are of the world; because of this they speak of the world (being inspired by its traditions) and the world hears them." -- 1 Jno. 2:18, 19, 22; 4:1-6. These were they who released their hold upon the name of Jesus, and denied his faith; and who were strenuously opposed by the true believers under the class-name, or symbol, Antipas; which see. John in writing his second epistle wrote to an Antipas-Ecclesia, or community of faithful witnesses. He exhorted them to continuance in the truth that was from the beginning; and as the reason of his exhortation refers to the fact that "many deceivers were entered into the world, not confessing that Jesus Christ is come in flesh: this," says he, "is the deceiver and the Antichrist." Therefore, he continues, "If there come any unto you and bring not the doctrine of Christ (that He is come in flesh,) receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed." In his third epistle, he informs us that Diotrephes was one of this class, and refused even to acknowledge him. Affairs must have attained to a preeminently antichristian state to have come to this. This Diotrephes loved to have the pre-eminence in the congregation, and prated against John and his friends with malicious words; "and not content therewith, did himself neither receive the brethren, and forbade them that would, and cast them out of the ecclesia." The manifestation of these false teachers contemporary with the apostles created a crisis in the history of the faith. It had come to this, either they must be put down, or the doctrine of Christ would be suppressed. This alternative would certainly have resulted, if God had not reserved to himself a remnant who refused to bow the knee to Baal. This remnant was Antipas; and therefore against all the Nicolaitanes, Balaams, and Jezebels; false teachers, who had crept in unawares, corrupting and handling the word of God deceitfully, that they might make it less offensive to the Jews and idolaters; and so make the profession of christianity more popular, and consequently, less dangerous to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in the world. The only weapon granted to Antipas against Satan, was "the two-edged sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." He was to be earnest and indefatigable in the use of this, that he might perpetuate the faith in the heart of a remnant till the apocalypse of Christ -- Rev. 6:11; 12:17. Writing to this class to which the apostles belonged, Jude says, "It was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith once for all delivered to the Saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only sovereign Deity, even our Lord Jesus Christ." These, after the example of Israel in the wilderness, the messengers that kept not their first estate, and Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities of the plain, "believed not," "left their first love," and "gave themselves over to fornication, going after other flesh," and to eating of things idolatrously devoted. They were dreaming fanatics who defiled the flesh, despised authority, and spoke evil of the illustrious, as Diotrephes did of John and others. They spoke evil of those things which they understood not: but what they knew naturally, as the irrational creatures, in those things they corrupt themselves. "Woe unto them!" exclaims Jude, "for they have gone in the way of Cain, and rushed headlong into the error of Balaam for hire, and destroyed themselves with the rebellion of Korah. These are sunken rocks feasting with you in your love-feasts, feeding themselves without fear; clouds without water, borne about by winds; fruitless autumnal trees, twice dead, uprooted; stars, to whom the blackness of darkness is reserved for the Aion. These are grumblers, fault-finders, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh pompous things, praising persons for the sake of gain. But, beloved," continues Jude, "remember ye the words before spoken by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; thus they told you that in the last period there will be scoffers walking after the lusts of their impieties. These who separate themselves are they, animal, not having spirit." From these testimonies who can forbear to exclaim, What an apostasy is here! As Paul truly styled it, it was "The Mystery of Iniquity," which he said "already is working;" and was that iniquity to which Jesus referred, as the result of the operation of the many false prophets that would arise, saying, "and because of the abounding of the iniquity, the love of the many will grow cold" -- Matt. 24:11, 12. It must have been a matter of great mortification to the apostles to witness such havoc in the field of their labors. Yet, when we consider the natural perverseness of flesh, any other result would have excited more surprise. No names more appropriate could have been selected from Jewish history, to designate this incarnate iniquity of the apostolic age, than those of Balaam and Jezebel, who were hoi nikontes ton laon, the Conquerors of the people, or Nikolaitoi, Nicolaitans. They made war upon the saints, and prevailed against them. Here, then, was an organization, a fellowship of iniquity, developed from the tares which the enemy had sown among the wheat. It grew up with the good seed until it acquired political ascendancy, and then the separation became complete. The "woman Jezebel" in the maturity of her abominations, became "the Church," the daughter of Baal and the wife of Ahab, the State-Harlot of the habitable; and the Balaam-corrupters of the disciples, the priests of her idolatrous communion. Thus the elements of the Apostasy were ecclesiastically organized antecedently to the revelation of the things exhibited in the Apocalypse. The men that figure as "The Fathers," such as the writers of the Apocryphal New Testament, Cyprian, Origen, &c., were of Balaam. From Balaam and Jezebel have sprung the Clergy of all the Names and Denominations of Christendom. These are the successors of those self-styled apostles, who prated with malicious words against the true apostles; and the leading characteristics of the Balaamite teachers of the first century, will be found to be those of the Clergy of our own times. The following enumeration will establish the truth of this remark: [OL][LI]The primitive Balaamites prophesied for hire; so do the clergy;[LI]The primitive Balaamites preached perverse things to draw away disciples after them, that their hire might be increased; so do the clergy;[LI]The primitive Balaamites blended Mosaic observances with gospel principles, Judaizing and sabbatizing especially; so do the clergy;[LI]The primitive Balaamites preached a perverted gospel, or rather no gospel at all; so do the clergy.[LI]The primitive Balaamites brought the people into bondage; so have the clergy, and keep them so;[LI]The primitive Balaamites commanded to abstain from meats and drinks; so do clergy;[LI]They taught the worship of saints and angels, and forbid to marry; so do the popish clergy;[LI]They sought to please men, and flattered them for gain; so do the clergy;[LI]They made the doctrine of the resurrection and a future judgment of none effect by their traditions about souls; so do the clergy;[LI]They made merchandize of the bodies and souls of men with feigned words; so do the clergy;[LI]They knew more of heathen philosophy and learning than of the gospel; so do the clergy;[LI]They thought more highly of their own speculations than of apostolic and prophetic truth; so do the clergy;[LI]They taught things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake; so do the clergy;[LI]They professed that they knew God, but were disobedient; so are the clergy;[LI]They resisted the truth, and caused it to be evil spoken of; so do the clergy.[LI]They scoffed at the coming of the Lord; so do the clergy;[LI]They denied that Jesus came in flesh, and so originated the immaculate conception; so do the clergy;[LI]They were of the world, therefore the world heard them; so are the clergy, and therefore it hears and honors them;[LI]They loved the preeminence; so do the clergy;[LI]They cast all out of their churches that stood by the apostles, and opposed their errors; so do the clergy;[LI]They were destroyers and corrupters of the people; so are the clergy;[LI]The primitive Balaamites were inventors and lovers of lies subversive of the truth; so are the clergy;[LI]They made a fair show in the flesh, had a form of godliness, and set up for ministers of righteousness, while really the servants of sin; this is equally true of the clergy.[/OL] "Clergy," in the Gentile use of the word, is generic, comprehending many species, and in the popular sense, signifies "the body of men set apart by due ordination for the service of God;" hence, a clergyman is "one in holy orders, not a laick," or one of the people. Every sect has its peculiar "clergy," which are hired, like Balaam of old, to do the will of Balak, that is, to preach the dogmas of their employers. There was a diversity among the children of Balaam and Jezebel in apostolic times. Hence Jude exhorted Antipas to "have compassion on some, making a difference; and others, save, snatching them out of the fire with fear, (lest they also should be scorched;) hating also the garment defiled by the flesh." Some were more deceived than wilfully deceiving, still, they were all engaged in one work, consciously or not, and that was in "making the word of God of none effect by their traditions," and "teaching for doctrine the commandments of men;" so that the sentence of condemnation to the blackness of the darkness in the Aion, rested upon them all. Thus it is likewise with their clerical successors in the nineteenth and previous centuries. All the clerical species are not equally abominable in detail; and individuals even of the same species, are far less exceptionable than others. Apart from their spiritual merchandizing, many of them are moral, intelligent, and honorable citizens of the world. The Protestant Clergy of all sects are generally more intelligent and moral than their brethren in "Holy Orders" of the Latin and Greek departments of Jezebel's house. The latter are designated apocalyptically "worshippers of Demons, and of idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, incapable of seeing, hearing, or walking: murderers, sorcerers, fornicators, and thieves" -- Rev. 9:20, 21. The Protestant clergy, however, though making a better show in the flesh, are not clean. When men read prayers on a day set apart by mere human authority in honor of "St. Charles the Martyr," (the royal tyrant beheaded by Cromwell,) and other equally holy witnesses, whose ghosts, they affirm to be in heaven and crowned with glory, they are worshippers of Demons. When men preach funeral sermons in praise of souls, which, in dying, they declare went to heaven, where they have become guardian-angels or spirits to their friends on earth, their congregations responding in faith or word, they are all worshippers of Demons. When men teach, endorsing, as they do, their dogmatism by their practice, that mankind can devote their lives to sin, and perpetrate the blackest crimes against God and society; and under the influence of their instruction, persuasions, and prayers, the wretches may be brought to peace with God by a penitentiary act of the mind, in view of the positive declaration of the scripture, saying, "The unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, (who are idolaters,) nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words; for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the children of disobedience" -- Eph. 5:5, 6; 1 Cor. 6:9, 10; and, "no murderer hath eternal life abiding for him" -- 1 John 3:15 -- when the clergy of all sects teach practically such blasphemy of God as this, they are liars, and murderers of the people. When citizens in "Holy Orders" teach, that by reading from a book certain stereotyped prayers, and by sprinkling a few drops of water from a basin on the face of a baby, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the creature is baptized, and regenerated, and become a member of the mystical body of Christ, they not only blaspheme, but they practice sorcery, in the name of Deity. And lastly, when Gentiles, by Act of Parliament, and by arms, as a Rathcormack, and Edinburgh, or by distraint as upon Quakers, compel men to pay them tithes of produce, church rates, and Easter offerings, they are thieves and robbers of the people; and though very classical and gentlemanly in their way, they are the children of Balaam, beguiling unstable souls, and having a heart exercised with covetous practices. The general characteristics of the clergy are notoriously such as we have set forth. The exceptions may be said to establish the rule. There is this difference, however, between them and their "Fathers" of the first and second centuries -- "the Fathers" -- became the sons of Balaam with their eyes open. They knew "the right way;" but "forsook it, and went astray;" they were "children of God;" but became "cursed children;" they had been "bought" of the Lord; but they afterwards "denied the Lord who bought them." All this made their offence inexcusable; they will, therefore, rise to the judgment of the Aion, and to the blackness of the darkness connected with it. But their clerical posterity are not so. These have not known the right way; and therefore cannot be said strictly to "have forsaken it;" they have never become "children of God;" and cannot therefore by styled "cursed children;" neither has the Lord bought them; so that they cannot be said to have denied him as their despotes or, Master. They have entered upon life finding the kosmial arena preoccupied by a Jezebel Institution, now styled "Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth." As youths, they are taught by their parents and tutors to call its dogmas and practices christianity; and its organization "Christendom," or the Dominion of Christ! Deceiving and being deceived, their teachers indoctrinate them with theological sentiments which, acting upon Cautiousness, Conscientiousness, Veneration, and Marvellousness, develop a mystical pietism of flesh, which is known by the peculiar tone and grimace, or sanctimoniousness, that invariably accompany it. A youth pietized after this fashion is no longer master of himself. Yielding to the hallucination, mesmerically controlled by surrounding circumstances and opinions; and being also ambitious of professional rank and status in society; he gets a notion into his head that his pious ambition is a feeling wrought in him by the spirit of God; and conceits absurdly enough, that it is a call of God, such as Aaron was the subject of, for him to prepare himself for "the ministry!" Having got this crotchet into his young brain, he is haunted by it until he gets into the way of "duty," in which he continues until he is enthroned the One Man of a community which recognizes him as the oracular expounder of its creed, a successor of the apostles, and a minister and ambassador of Jesus Christ, at five hundred, two thousand, or more or less, per annum, according to their ability to pay, and the market price his vanity or presumption, or it may be his humility, may place upon himself!! Here, then, is a poor unfortunate creature indoctrinated, deceived, and ordained the spiritual guide of the blind, by a system he had no hand in creating. It has duped him, and installed him the dupe of others in turn. The system made him a clergyman, priest, or minister; and he, knowing no better, glorifies the system as "the Church," and approved of God! He is a soul merchant. The souls of others are his stock in trade; and he undertakes to take care of them for their owners, so as to leave them leisure to devote themselves to trade, commerce, literature, and politics, provided they will make it worth his while; that is to say, profitable; otherwise, not. This is the true Balaam-principle. He thinks it just. Other men will not work for nothing, and find themselves; why should he? Especially as it is written, "Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn;" and "He that preaches the gospel should live of the gospel;" and "If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?" He is very familiar with these texts, which when rightly applied are admirable. But, in quoting them he is somewhat inattentive to the conditions. The ox must tread out the corn before he is entitled to eat of it; the gospel must be preached before a preacher can scripturally claim to live of it; and the things ministered must be those of God's spirit, ere a minister can lay claim to people's carnal things in exchange. Now the treading of the clergy is the treading out of tares and thistles; therefore, tares and thistles should be the food of Balaam's ass: they do not preach the gospel Paul preached, that is certain; neither do they minister the things of the Spirit of God: their claim, therefore, to a piece of bread, or a profitable living in ease and luxury, on the authority of these texts, is only an additional evidence of the imposition they are, perhaps unwittingly, practising on mankind. It is unquestionably just that a man should be paid for his labor. If a community of errorists want a man to preach their creed, and to defend it through thick and thin; if they want him to proselyte other men to it, and to make them feel comfortable about their souls -- they ought to make it profitable, and very profitable too; for in proportion to the desperateness of the enterprize should be the magnitude of its reward. And what enterprize more desperate than cheating souls under pretense of curing them? It is spiritual assassination and homicide. But, we are charitable enough to think that with many of the clergy it is manslaying without intent to kill. With "the fathers" of the clergy in the first century, this consideration in mitigation of punishment, cannot be indulged. To blackness of the darkness, then, the clergy, ancestors and posterity, are doomed; but as the latter are not apostates from the right way, having never known it; yet are of the apostasy being ignorantly subjected to its authority and power -- we apprehend that, dying in their ignorance, they will reap the corruption of the grave; and there remain among "the dead whom Yahweh remembereth no more" -- "in the land of forgetfulness" -- "the land of darkness, and the shadow of death; a land of darkness as darkness itself; of the shadow of death without any order, and where the light is as darkness" -- Job 10:21; Psal. 88:5, 12. But, in regard to "the Fathers" of the "Holy Orders," "a sorer punishment" awaits them. "It had been better for them," says Peter, "not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them" -- 2 Epist. 2:21. They are therefore obnoxious to a sorer punishment -- a resurrection to judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries -- Heb. 10:27, 29. In the twenty-three points already enumerated we have shown the identity of the clergy with the sons of Balaam in the apostles' days; but, in order that the antichristian character of the clerical orders of all sects may be complete, we shall also enumerate the points, the principal ones at least, in which the clergy of our times and the apostles and their colaborers, are opposed. 1. The apostles preached "the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the Aions to their glory -- 1 Cor. 2:7. The clergy know nothing of this; 2. When the apostles preached they "declared the testimony of God" contained in the writings of Moses and the Prophets; and their own personal testimony to the resurrection of Jesus, together with the revelation of the mystery made known to them by the Spirit -- 1 Cor. 2:1; Rom. 16:25, 26; Eph. 3:5, 9. This is all Sanscrit to the clergy -- they cannot attain to it. 3. The apostles not only showed what was testified in Moses and the Prophets, but they reasoned upon it for its exposition, that the people might understand, and believe it; and they commended them for not taking what they heard for granted; but searching the scriptures daily to see if what they said were true; that their hearers' faith might rest on the written testimony of God -- Acts 17:2, 11, 12; 1 Cor. 2:5. The clergy have no taste for such a procedure: reasoning on things religious is with them a step towards infidelity. The less reasoning the blinder, or more implicit, the faith; and consequently the more passive obedience to clerical dictation and rule. In their system "ignorance is the mother of devotion;" so that in their flocks the most stupid are the most humble and devout. 4. The apostles proclaimed the return of the Lord Jesus to the Holy Land in power, to replant the Twelve Tribes of Israel therein; to unite them into one nation; to re-establish the kingdom and throne of David; having raised the dead, and changed the living, saints, to place them over Israel and the Nations as God's kings and priests to instruct and rule them according to his appointments: to give the world a righteous administration through them; and in a multitude of details, to bless them in Abraham and his Seed, as promised in the Gospel -- Luke 1:31-33, 52-55, 68-75; Mat. 16:27; 19:28; 25:31, 34; Luke 14:14; Acts 3:25; 15:16; Rev. 2:26; 5:10; 20:6. All this is treated as fabulous by the House of Jezebel! 5. The apostles preached "the Gospel of the Kingdom" for the obedience of faith -- Acts 20:24, 25; Rom. 16:26. They preached the same gospel Jesus proclaimed before his crucifixion -- Mat. 24:14; and the same that was preached to Abraham, and his posterity in Egypt and the wilderness -- Heb. 3:17; 4:2; Exod. 6:6-8; 23:20-33, Gen. 12:1-3; Gal. 3:7, 8, 9. All this to the clergy is as a story to a deaf man. 6. The apostles taught that "without faith it is impossible to please God" -- Heb. 11:6. This the clergy in works deny, when they give sinners in the gripe of "the King of Terrors," ignorant, and therefore necessarily faithless, of the first principles of the oracles of God, but professing to be penitent, absolution, and what they term "the consolation of religion;" as if the doctrine of Christ had any consolation for villains whose existence has been a life of crime; and whose only repentance is sorrow at the stoppage of their career by conviction and retribution. By works the clergy deny the indispensability of faith, when they rhantize the face of a puling babe for the regeneration of its "immortal soul!" Surely if Balaam's ass were here, and a clergyman should bestride him on such a mission, the intelligent creature would break silence again, and with the voice of a man rebuke the madness of the seer! 7. The apostles taught that without resurrection there is no future life -- 1 Cor. 15:12-19. The clergy deny this in teaching that souls live in heaven and hell before it, if it ever occur, which some of them deny. 8. The apostles taught, that the obedient to the faith are sanctified by the Abrahamic Covenant dedicated by the offering of the body of Jesus -- Heb. 10:9, 10. Clerical sanctification knows nothing of this. The clergy profess to be sanctified; but of sanctification in relation to a covenant made nearly 4000 years ago, and confirmed by the crucifixion, their ignorance and unbelief of the things covenanted, prove that they know nothing. 9. Jesus and the apostles taught, that the inheritance of the Saints is the earth, the world, and all things pertaining to them, with eternal life and glory; and to be possessed in the Day of the Lord Jesus after the resurrection -- 1 Cor. 3:21-23; 1 Thess. 2:12; 1 Pet. 5:10. The clergy teach that the saints' everlasting rest is beyond the skies. 10. The apostles taught men to believe the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ; and thereupon to be immersed in that name for remission of sins; and they did it -- Acts 8:12; 2:38. But the clergy ignore all this, and say, "Believe and be saved;" and to babes, "Be saved without belief!" Hence, they teach two salvations; the one, salvation by faith; the other, salvation without it! By faith of what? "That Jesus died for you." This, and a penitentiary sorrow, will atone for a life of crime; and swing a soul from the gibbet into supernal and eternal glory!!! Oh Balaam, what wilt thou not teach for hire! 11. The apostles taught that Jesus was of the same flesh as the sons of Adam, having all the faculties and emotions common to them; and that, when he was crucified, sin was condemned "in" that flesh -- Rom. 8:3; 1 Pet. 2:24; Heb. 2:14, 16, 17. Balaam denies this. He taught in the life-time of the apostles, and maintains it in our day, that the nature called Jesus was not similar to that of Adam after the fall; but like a different flesh, such as they suppose he had before he fell -- essentially a self-sustaining, incorruptible, and immortal flesh, -- and that the body born of Mary was not derived from her substance, but the result of a fresh act of creation! This is denying that Christ came in flesh; a clerical heresy which destroys the apostolic doctrine of the condemnation of sin in our flesh; and abolishes Jesus, the crucified, a covering for sin. 12. The apostles taught that death had been cancelled, and immortality, that is, deathlessness, or life and incorruptibility, brought to light by Jesus Christ in the Gospel of the Kingdom, -- that the writing of death against the saints had been crossed, or blotted, out; and incorruptibility of body and life for them procured by his resurrection as the earnest of theirs -- 2 Tim. 1:10. But Balaam and Jezebel ignore this. They teach the philosophy of their heathen forefathers concerning immortality; and by their tonguey deeds deny that immortality is for those only who believe the promises of God covenanted to the fathers; and yield obedience to the law of faith. Balaam's clerical posterity are "the children of disobedience," and totally opposed to all such doctrine as this. 13. "The World" is to-day precisely what it was in the days of the apostles. "Woe to the world," saith Jesus, "because of offences!" "The world," he continues, "hates me;" and then says to the apostles "because ye are not of the world, the world hates you. In the world therefore, ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." And again he saith, "I pray not for the world." Their Lord having commanded them to go forth, and preach the Gospel of the Kingdom, left them. They soon after found that the persecution visited upon him came upon them, as he had predicted, saying, "If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you:" so that it became a rule experimentally verified, that wherever and by whomsoever the doctrine of Jesus Christ is believed and advocated, it is opposed, and its faithful adherents are reproached. This was Paul's experience, who says of the apostles, "We are made a spectacle for the world, even to angels and to men. Unto this present hour we hunger and thirst, are naked and buffetted, and have no certain dwelling-place; and labor, working with our own hands; being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it; being defamed, we entreat; we are made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things unto this day." Since that day the policy, but not the disposition, of the world, is changed in relation to the truth. This has been prevailed against for a time; even until Christ shall come to punish the world for its iniquity. The world hates the truth and its advocates and friends to this day, as every one who is of the truth knows by experience; and because, "all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father," whose the truth is. Now who does not know, that it is the world in whom the clergy live, and move, and have their daily bread? Is it not the lust of the eyes and the pride of life that build their temples? Is it not the pride of life that rents their pews, and fills them with flowery cones of purple and fine linen? Is it not the lust of itching ears that heaps to themselves pulpit-fabulists, who rebuke sins afar off they have no mind for; and wink at, or can not see, the pious wickedness that festers within their doors? The clergy are paid, and fed, and clothed, and honored by the world. The world invites them to its feasts; makes them priests and chaplains to its fleets and armies, and public institutions; it makes them princes in lawn, and rulers in the state. These are evidences of its love for the clergy; and it has ever been that "the world loves its own;" and they who, like Balaam, love the wages of unrighteousness, it will surfeit with favors and rewards. It is manifest, then, that the apostles and the clergy, who presumptuously style themselves their "successors," and the "ambassadors of Christ to the world," occupy diametrically opposite relations to that world. The world is the enemy to the apostles and their doctrine; while it is the friend and patron of the clergy. This irrefutable truth is fatal to all their pretensions. "The friendship of the world," says James, "is enmity of God; whosoever, therefore, will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." Therefore, another apostle saith, "Love not the world, neither the things in the world; if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." But we need not enumerate any more points of discrepancy between the apostles, and their rivals, the clergy. The antithesis is complete We shall proceed now to make a few remarks upon the name which these sons of Balaam have appropriated to themselves. They style their "Holy Orders" the Clergy. This name is derived from klhro", kleros, a lot, portion, or heritage. The Balaamites apply it to themselves, on the assumption that they are the peculiar heritage of God! In countries where they are in political alliance with the world-rulers they refuse to recognize the Balaamites of dissenting communities as "clergy." They regard them simply as "laymen," or men of the people. But in the United States, where the world is in league with all sects, the heterogeneous and discordant elements which fill the pulpits of this Republican Christendom, are all massed together as "the clergy." We certainly cannot congratulate the Lord upon his inheritance, if it be composed of all the popish priests, state-church parsons, and random outpourers of nonsense, that thump the cushioned desks of the sectarian conventicles of christendom! But we read of no such inheritance, or clergy, of the Lord in the Bible. We there find Moses saying to Israel, "Yahweh hath taken you, and brought you forth out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be unto him a people of inheritance as at this day;" and in another place, "The portion of Yahweh is his people; Jacob is the lot (cord, or boundary line) of his inheritance." But never did he say to the clerical leaders of the Gentiles, "Ye are my inheritance," or clergy. But when He was "wroth with his inheritance," and "the Gentiles came into it," the Balaamite Doctrinaires concluded, as they teach at this day, that he had "cast them off," and substituted the bishops, presbyters, and deacons, of the christian nation in its stead. They regarded themselves as the spiritual Levi, the special treasure of Jehovah, above all others of the body, whom they styled the people. Being Levi's successor, they claim his perquisites; and as Levi tithed Israel, they undertook to tithe the laity, and to tax them in other ways, persuading them that in giving to the clergy they were lending to the Lord! This imposition grew to such an enormity, that when the church and world became one, the clergy became the territorial lords of some of the finest tracks in Europe. They became a power in all its kingdoms, and by the rulers, were regarded as the pillar of their thrones. "Yahweh," however, "has not cast off his people; neither will he forsake his inheritance" -- Psal. 94; 14. He has only broken off a dry branch from the Hebrew Cedar Tree. The tree remains, though in a very sapless condition. But is anything too difficult for God? "I will, saith he, take of the highest branch of the high cedar, and will set it; I will crop off from the top of his young twigs a tender one, and will plant it upon a high mountain and eminent: in the mountain of the height of Israel will I plant it: and it shall bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a goodly cedar: and under it shall dwell all fowl of every wing; in the shadow of the branches thereof shall they dwell. And all the trees of the feild shall know that I, Yahweh, have brought down the high tree, (as it was under Solomon and his successors,) have exalted the low tree, (above the Babylonish desolation,) have dried up the green tree (by the Roman power,) and have made the dry tree to flourish, (when Christ returns in power;) I, Yahweh, have spoken and have done" -- Ezek. 17:22. When this is accomplished, there will be a state of things in the East such as has never yet existed there. For, "In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the land; whom Yahweh of armies shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance." Then "shall Yahweh possess Judah his portion in the Holy Land, and shall choose Jerusalem again" -- Isa. 19:23-25; Zech. 2:10-12. The Hebrew Nation, then, re-set and flourishing in the Holy Land, is the clergy, or heritage, of God. It is the kingdom of the heavens, as a grain of mustard seed in its re-setting, which, when grown, is the greatest among kingdoms, and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air, (the political aerial,) come to lodge in the branches thereof -- Matt. 13:31. Of this kingdom, all who are Abraham's Seed by being Christ's, are joint-heirs with him. They are invited to become heirs of this kingdom through the gospel; and being heirs, that which makes them heirs, also makes them Israelites by adoption, and by consequence, a part of the nation itself. During the times of the Balaamized Gentiles, the Hebrew Cedar is a dry tree; and the inheritance of Yahweh is not the cedar in its dry state, but when it returns to a flourishing condition. He is, however, not without an inheritance in all these times. "The portion of Yahweh is" still "his people;" and this people is to be found in Jacob, which is the lot, or cord, of his inheritance. That is, He has no clergy in the times of the Gentiles, who are not Jews by adoption, through obedience to the law of faith. These are "the Israel of God" for the time current. All who do what Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews, commands them, become his friends, and Yahweh's people. This we have seen the sons of Balaam, who style themselves "clergy," and pretend to be specially appointed of God for his service, do not do. They are not his people consequently; and instead of being Jews, they are for the most part their enemies, and where they have political power, their oppressors. But, what saith the scripture? Paul in writing to certain in Thessalonica who, before they had obeyed the gospel, were idolaters, says "God has called you to his kingdom and glory." Now to these, "the called," some of whom were walking unworthy of their call, the apostle James says, "Hearken, my beloved brethren, hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and Heirs of the Kingdom which he promised to them who love him? But ye have despised the poor." To these poor expectant heirs of the Hebrew kingdom, another apostolic Jew addresses himself, saying, "Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people by purchase; who in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God." These are the words of Peter to men who had put off their Gentilism; and had become Israelites by adoption through Jesus Christ. They were all the people of God, and therefore his inheritance, or clergy. In writing to these he says, "The elders which are among you, I exhort." These were not clergy as distinguished from the people or laity. For he exhorts these elders to feed the flock of God with them, watching over it, not necessitously, but freely, not for filthy lucre, but liberally; neither ruling imperiously over the heritages, but becoming examples of the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. Thus, the christian people at large were "the flock of God;" and in their local societies, or ecclesias, "the heritages." The elders were a part of these, and not an order distinct from them. They did not shift about from one heritage to another, because they could get more tithes, a larger salary, or more abundant donation-party contributions, there than here. To have done this would have been to episcopize necessitously, or for filthy lucre, which Peter exhorted them not to do. No; although of "the poor of this world," they episcopized, or watched over, the flock of God in its several sheep-folds, "freely" or "liberally," that is, without any stipulated fee or reward. What they received leaped out of the purses of brethren, whose inner man was imbued with the truth, and whose hearts overflowed with gratitude to their elder-brethren for their kind and gratuitous vigilance in those times of tribulation and peril. There was no extorting of "church rates" from infidels and churls; or selling of pews by auction, or letting seats, to non-professors or the faithful, to pay the hire of episcopals or presbyters. The people of God's flock would have scorned such extortion and meanness. Thus, in writing to a heritage, which he styles "a chosen lady and her children," concerning brethren of other lady-heritages who circulated about spreading abroad the truth, John says, "Beloved, thou dost faithfully whatsoever may have been done for the brethren and for the strangers; who have testified of thee for love before an ecclesia; whom having sent forward worthy of God, thou wilt do well. Because for the sake of the Name they have gone forth receiving nothing from the Gentiles. We ought therefore to welcome such that we may become colaborers for the truth" -- 3 Epist. 5-8. By this simple means the doctrine of Christ was diffused among the heathen; and the faith and love of the heritages were individually, collectively, and personally displayed. But when men arose from among these elder-brethren, "speaking perverse things to draw away the disciples after them," and whom Paul styles "grievous wolves," a transition period arrived in which "the simplicity that is in Christ" was corrupted, and the heritages turned into mistresses for the Sons of Balaam. Beguiled by them, as the Serpent through his subtilty beguiled Eve, (2 Cor. 11:3), they fell from their first estate, and played the harlot against the Lord; as abundantly appears from the letters of the Spirit to the Seven Lightstands of Asia; whose condition was representative of the apostasy, which was at that time establishing itself in all the heritages of the Lord. By a.d. 312, the desolation was complete. They who loved the wages of unrighteousness had gained the ascendancy. The disciples were Nicolaitanized, or conquered, by Balaam and Jezebel. A clergy, or heritage, had arisen, which became the inheritance of the Roman Emperors, and their successor the Image of the Beast, and the False Prophet, not Mohammedan, but Antichristian, in all the "Holy Orders." The clergy of God now are the clericles, or heritages of God, whose faith and practice can be proved to be identical with those of his flock in apostolic times; and which have no other clergy, or heritage, than God; and which repudiate the clergy of christendom in all its diversity of popes, cardinals, bishops, priests, parsons, deans, ministers, pastors, evangelists, apostles, prophets, angels, and deacons, as the unscriptural and antichristian orders of the Kingdom of Sin. The Balaamites in Pergamos, as well as the Nikolaitans, were the exceptions in the Antipas ecclesia, not the rule; for then it would have ceased to be "the faithful witness" there. But few as they might be, they were an evil leaven, which might work the corruption of the whole body. They sowed to the flesh in "forbidding to marry," and therefore ordaining fornication. In this particular they became the fathers of the catholic priests, who are forbidden, and forbid to marry, and yet have more children than the married. The Spirit exhorted them to heartily change their views; to repent, or abandon "the teaching of the Balaamites and Nikolaitans, the covetous and vicious perverters of the gospel of the kingdom and name, and corrupters of the right ways of the Lord; who were extensively and actively working in all the regions of the habitable where the gospel had been proclaimed. Now these things were not written solely for the sake of the Antipas in Pergamos; but for all faithful witnesses in other times and places. Therefore the Spirit says, "He that hath an ear, let him hearken to what the Spirit saith unto the ecclesias." What he saith to the seven, for whose especial benefit it was communicated to John. They are in an evil world, whose principles are subversive of the truth; consequently, their position in it is belligerent, and their destiny the reward of victory. Therefore the Spirit says, "to the victor, to him will I give to eat from the Manna which has been concealed; and I will give to him a white pebble, and upon the pebble a new name that has been engraved, which no one knows but he that receiveth." The manna, the pebble, and the new name, are here added to the wood of life in Paradise. They are symbols of blessings; or blessings disguised in symbols. Let us, then, examine them, and see what honey they contain. And first of the Hidden Manna. 8. The Hidden Manna. "The Manna which hath been concealed" is a form of speech to be understood by comprehending the signification, first, of "the Manna;" and secondly, of its concealment; the latter of which will be found intimately connected with the gift of it to him that overcomes. When the Twelve Tribes had arrived in the Wilderness of Sin, they murmured against Yahweh, because they apprehended that they would perish there from hunger; as if, had that been his intention, he would not have left them to die in Egypt. But the Spirit had heard their murmurings, which showed their want of confidence in his promises; for he had promised to plant them in the land of Canaan, a land flowing with milk and honey: but they let go this hope in saying to Moses and Aaron, "Would to God we had died by the hand of Yahweh in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh-pots and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger." These murmurings being heard, Yahweh said to them through Moses, "Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you." Having made this promise, before it was fulfilled "the Glory of Yahweh appeared in a cloud," as they looked toward the wilderness; and the whole congregation saw it. And the Spirit said, "At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread;" and ye shall know that I, Yahweh, am your Elohim." And it was so. But when the morning came they at first saw only "the Dew," sparkling in the light of day. But "when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness a small round thing small as the hoar frost upon the ground." The people had seen nothing of the kind before deposited by the evaporation of the dew; therefore they inquired of one another, aWh om mahn hu, "What it? For they knew not what it was." And Moses said to them, "This is the bread which Yahweh hath given you to eat." And at this point of the narrative it may be worthy of note and emphasis. 1. That Israel saw the glory of the Eternal before they received either flesh or bread; 2. That they received flesh first, that is, "at even;" 3. That they received bread the succeeding morning; so that there was an intervening night: 4. That they beheld the glory, and received the food in the wilderness, and forty years before they received the promised land. Now, as we are taught in the New Testament, the signification of the things that happened to Israel in the wilderness was not confined to that generation. Their baptism into Moses, their eating of the Manna, their drinking of the Rock, their overthrow in the wilderness, the apostle Paul says, "were types of us." Read what he says in 1 Cor. 10:1-10. After this enumeration, he adds in the eleventh verse, "Now all these things happened unto them for types, tupoi; and they are written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the Aions (the Mosaic Aions) are come." The Flesh and the Manna then, according to Paul, were "spiritual meat." In regard to the manna, it is styled in Psal. 78:24, "the corn of the heavens," "the bread of mighty ones -- "man did eat the bread of mighty ones." This and the flesh, by which the life of Israel was sustained, was "spiritual meat;" it was, nevertheless, material and corruptible flesh and bread; for under certain conditions, it stank and bred worms. But it was "spiritual" in the sense of representing something else than its own material constituents; in other words, the flesh and the bread were types of something that was afterwards to descend from the heavens, and to become the life-sustaining principle of all that should receive it. What was that something? This question has been answered by Jesus in John 6. The Jews had said, "Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, "He gave them bread out of the heaven to eat." But in reply to this, Jesus said "Moses gave you not the bread out of the heaven; but my Father giveth to you the true bread out of the heaven. For the bread of the deity is He, who, descending out of the heaven, and giveth life to the kosmos." This was as much as to say, that the manna was representative of a life-imparting agent from heaven; even the Logos speaking by Jesus. "In him," the Logos, "was life," says John; "and the life was the light of men." The Logos, or Spirit of Deity, was the manna, or true bread. It was this Logos who said, "I am the Way and the Truth and the Resurrection, and the Life;" "I am the Bread of Life," or the Manna; "I came down from heaven," "this is the bread which descendeth from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die * * * if any man eat of this bread he shall live in the Aion: and the bread that I, the Logos, will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the Kosmos." Thus spake the Logos, who was in the beginning the Deity. He promised to give "His Flesh" for the sustenance of the kosmos. This flesh was the Son of Mary and David, named Jesus; and the Logos appointed that Jesus should be eaten, and his blood drank, in the even, by all who would become the subjects of resurrection to the life of the Aion. "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you." This saying is fatal to the heathen dogma of an immortal soul in sin's flesh; for they only eat the flesh and drink the blood of Jesus, who "discern the Son and believe into him;" and this can be affirmed only of an almost Noachic few in this evil generation. He that believes the written testimony of the Logos concerning Jesus, set forth in the prophets and apostles, and becomes the subject of repentance and remission of sins in his name, eats his flesh and drinks his blood, and "hath aion-life" in the sense of Rev. 22:14 -- "blessed they doing God's commandments, that they may have the right to the Wood of the Life:" "and I will raise him up at the last day" -- John 6:54. Thus, "he that eateth me, even he shall live by me," and none else. The Christ, then, or the Logos become flesh, is the "spiritual meat" represented by the flesh and manna in the wilderness. Hence, the apocalyptic manna is representative of the last Adam, whom Paul styles "a life-imparting spirit;" and to eat from this manna, is to be the subject of incorruptibility of body and life, which together constitute immortality in the thousand years' Aion; which deathlessness is imparted by the Spirit which raised up Jesus from among the dead. We may here recall the attention of the reader to the four points already before him. These were typical conditions, the antitypes of which may be thus stated in a corresponding order: 1. It was typically necessary that Israel see the Glory of Yahweh before they eat heaven's flesh at even, and eat from the Manna in the morning; 2. That they eat the flesh first; 3. That they eat the bread afterwards; 4. That they eat both before they obtain Aion-possession of the land promised to Abraham and his Seed. Under the first head I remark that Jesus Anointed was the Glory of Yahweh. This is proved by John's testimony, that "the Logos became flesh, and dwelt among us, (Israelites,) and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace: for the law was given through Moses, the grace and the truth (represented by that law) came through Jesus Anointed." This Glory of the Father was seen by "Judah and his companions" in the evening of the Mosaic Aion; and he was seen in the wilderness, as Isaiah had predicted, saying, "The Voice of him that proclaimeth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of Yahweh, make straight in the desert a highway for our Elohim * * * and the Glory of Yahweh shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see together" -- ch. 40:3, 5. This was partially fulfilled in the evening of the Mosaic Aion, as related in regard to John the Baptizer. He was that voice; the Spirit descending in the form of a Dove was Yahweh, or the Logos; and Jesus, the Eloah of Israel, who, when anointed, became, as the voice of John proclaimed, "our Elohim, " or the Logos, the Eloah from heaven, become flesh in Jesus, the other Eloah of the house of David. These two Elohim dwelt among the Jews, as "the Only Begotten of the Father" -- Son of Power and Son of Man -- who hath declared the Invisible Deity to men. But "all flesh" have not yet "seen together." Judah and his companions have seen; but Israel and his companion-tribes have not. Multitudes of the former have eaten the flesh, and drank the blood, of the Son of Man; and are now sleeping out of the intervening night, that in the morning they may come forth as dew, and when it hath gone up, they may be as manna upon the ground. But the Ten Tribes did not see the Glory of Yahweh in the days of John. It is, however, typically necessary that they do see it in the wilderness before the morning, that they also may eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Logos, before they eat of the manna hidden in the dew, preparatory to their admission into the covenanted land. The whole congregation of Israel must see the glory together; and, as Jeremiah saith, "thy words were found, and I did eat them;" so Israel has to come to the knowledge of "the truth as it is in Jesus," inwardly to digest it, and to feed upon it in the wilderness-probation that awaits them in the matter of their restoration. In the morning, they who have seen the glory, and eaten the flesh "at even," or believed the gospel of the kingdom and name of Jesus Anointed, will behold "the Dew" before "it is gone up." The bread to be eaten was concealed in the dew, and did not appear until the fluid matter in which it was suspended was evaporated by the action of the sun. Now, the manna in dewy suspension is apocalyptically styled "the manna that hath been concealed." The manna concealed in dew is a type of the resurrection of the first-fruits of the Spirit. When they that now dwell in the dust awake and sing, they are at their awaking the Spirit's Dew; which the prophet saith is as "the Dew of herbs" -- Isai. 26:19. They remain in this Dew-state until the Sun of Righteousness acts upon them, and transforms them into Manna; that is, makes them corporeally like himself -- transforms the body that comes out of the grave into a like form to that with which he descends from heaven -- Phil. 3:20. To be the subject of this transformation by the Spirit is "to eat of the manna which has been concealed." But the concealment of the manna has also especial reference to Jesus who is himself the type of his companions. In the historical type, the manna appears in two forms -- first, as susceptible of corruption; and secondly, as incorruptible. "If left until the morning it bred worms and stank." Ordinarily it would not keep from morning to morning; but in the manna gathered upon Friday this tendency was restrained, and it remained perfectly good; and "did not stink, neither was there any worm therein." Now Jesus, as we have seen, being the Logos become flesh, was both evening quail and morning bread. He was gathered by the nation on Friday, or the sixth day, when they crucified him. They gathered him in the morning, but the did not leave him on the cross till the following morning; still, they kept him laid up in the sepulchre on Saturday; nevertheless, he did not stink, neither was there any worm in his body. The Spirit "would not permit his Holy One to see corruption;" for the tendency natural to the flesh was restrained. Israel gathered a double portion on Friday; so that when they went out on Saturday to look for it, "they did not find it in the field," as Moses said: so when they gathered the bread of heaven, and laid him in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, those who might go out to look, could find the Son of Man no longer sowing the words of eternal life in the field. But some of the manna was incorruptible for a longer period than the sixth and seventh days. It was made to last for generations. Moses was commanded to put an omer, or tenth part of an ephah, of manna into a pot, and to lay it up before the Testimony, to be kept. Every day this was preserved, and it was kept for centuries, evinced the presence of the Spirit in the Most Holy; for ordinarily it would not keep. It was deposited in the chest, called the Ark of the Testimony, which was overlaid with gold; whose lid was termed the Caphporeth, propitiatory, or Mercy Seat; and upon which the Cherubim were based. This Ark of the Covenant contained the Tables of the Law, the pot of Manna, and Aaron's Rod which budded; things all representative of the Logos in his incarnate manifestation. Now as Aaron laid up an omer full in a pot, and concealed it from view within the Ark of the Testimony there to remain for centuries; so the Eternal Spirit concealed in Jesus, the antitypical Ark of his Testimony, that deposit of Manna, from which it shall be given to those who overcome to eat. We feed upon this manna from day to day in feeding upon the truth. But what we eat to-day will not suffice for the morrow. We must keep it in memory. But though we thus feed, and rejoice in "the right to life," yet it is life-manna concealed; for "we are dead, and our life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ our life shall appear, then shall we also appear with him in glory" -- Col. 3:3, 4. The night, then, of the Life-manna's concealment in the Spirit's Ark, is far spent; and the morning of its manifestation at hand. Jesus Anointed, who is the Glory of the Eternal, has been "hid in God" -- concealed from human ken "at the right hand of Power," for many generations and centuries. Though once like the daily manna, corruptible; during that long period he has been, and will ever continue to be, like the Manna in the Ark, incorruptible. We look for his appearing, that we who are dead, who are corruptible and mortal, and also by nature "dead in sins;" but pardoned, and therefore dead to the world, and buried with Christ in baptism, and risen with him out of its waters in hope of being planted in the likeness of his resurrection -- we wait for his coming, that the spirit may be in us as in him; and that being made like him, we may eat of the manna that hath been so long concealed. 9. A White Pebble. Besides the promises that the victor shall eat from the hidden manna, it is said by the Spirit, "and I will give to him a white pebble." To eat from the manna would be to rise from the dead; but when risen, what then? "I will give him a white pebble." This implies a blessing superadded to resurrection of life. In the English version it reads, "I will give him a white stone." In the original word is psephon not lithon. The latter word is used in 1 Pet. 2:5, where he says that the saints are the living stones of a building. It signifies stone in general as opposed to wood; while the former is something of a lithic nature which is small and receivable. The psephos was the pebble used by the ancients in voting, and which was thrown into the voting urn, or as we should say, into the ballot box. Hence it is used for the vote itself. But the voting by psephos, ballot, must be carefully distinguished from that by kuamos, or lot; the former being used in trials, the latter in the election of various officers. The psaphoi of condemnation or acquittal were sometimes distinguished by being respectively bored, or whole; but kuamoi never. In Acts 26:10, it is said of Paul speaking before Agrippa, "and when the saints were put to death, I paid down a pebble" psephon, rendered in the E.V. "I gave my voice against them." His was a pebble of condemnation. The nature of the vote was determined by the color of the pebble; a white pebble denoted acquittal, a black one, condemnation. A psaphos was also a token given to the victors in the public games. Now it is written in Rom. 14:10, 12, "We shall all stand before the judgment seat of the Christ; and every one of us shall give an account of himself to the Deity:" and in 2 Cor. 5:10, "that every one may receive the things in the body according to what he has done, whether good or evil." From this we learn, that after the life of Jesus is manifested in our mortal flesh (2 Cor. 4:11) be resurrection, we are to appear bodily before the Christ for the purpose of giving an account of ourselves; and of receiving certain things. These things are of two classes -- good things; and evil things. The former are apocalyptically represented by the excellent promises made by the Spirit to the faithful belonging to the seven ecclesias. The approved shall eat of the arboretum of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of the Deity; he shall not be hurt of the Second Death; he shall eat of the hidden manna, and receive a white pebble with a New Name engraved upon it; he shall receive power over the nations, and rule them; he shall receive the Morning Star; he shall walk with the Spirit in white raiment; he shall not be blotted out of the Book of Life; and shall be confessed before the Father and his Angels; he shall be a permanent pillar in the temple of the Spirit's Deity; the name of the Spirit's Deity, and of his City, New Jerusalem, and the Spirit's New Name, shall be inscribed upon him; and the Spirit will come into him, and sup with him, and he with the Spirit, with whom he shall be enthroned. These are truly "exceeding great and precious promises," which are all consequent upon the candidate receiving a white pebble with a New Name engraved upon it. If he were to receive a black pebble he would be black balled from the society of the redeemed; he would be condemned as unworthy of the New Order of Things; and fit only to be expelled into outer darkness. For the Spirit, then, to pay over a white pebble to a resurrected saint, is for him to give a verdict in his favor from the judicial throne. And this is the verdict, or pebble, -- "well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." Therefore, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, take possession of the kingdom having been prepared for you, from the foundation of the State:" possess it with eternal life -- Matt. 25:21, 34, 46; 19:29. I shall defer the consideration of the engraving upon the white pebble until I come to expound the promises made to the ecclesia in Philadelphia recorded in Rev. 3:12. But in so doing I would remark that whatever it may import, it is a name "which no man knoweth, saving he that receiveth." This, however, is an apocalyptic saying, which does not imply that it can not be verbally defined. The name possessed by the Faithful and True One is said to be known to no man, but himself; yet, in the fourth verse after, that name is declared to be "King of kings and Lord of Lords" -- Rev. 19:12, 16. The meaning is that no man knows experimentally the name but he who answers to the name. If a man be not the King of kings, he does not know the name or title. It does not fit him. So in respect to the New Name of the white pebble; for a man to know it, he must be a subject of the verdict. The new name will then declare what he is, and he will know it experimentally. He and the name will be identical. It will not be like the names of Christendom, which have no adaptation to the "miserable sinners" who rejoice in them; for instance, "Charles of Naples, King of Jerusalem;" "His Apostolic Majesty, Francis Joseph of Austria;" "His Holiness the Pope;" and so forth. These are names of blasphemy assumed by the Diabolos and Satan, to gratify their own pride and vanity, and to impose upon fools. The world is full of "right honorables" over the left; and of "right reverend fathers in God," -- that is the God called Mammon. A saint cannot know these names; for they are descriptive of the things they illustrate, -- pride, hypocrisy, and superstition. SECTION 4.
TO THE ANGEL OF THE ECCLESIA AMONG THYATIRANS.
18. "And to the Angel of the Ecclesia among Thyatirans write; These things saith the Son of the Deity, having his eyes like a flame of fire, and his feet like to incandescent brass. 19. I have known thy works, and thy love, and service, and faith, and endurance; and that thy works even the last are more than the first. 20. "But I have a few things against thee, because thou permittest the woman Jezebel, who calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to fornicate, and to eat idol sacrifices 21. "And I gave her time that she might heartily turn from her prostitution; but she turned not. 22. Behold, I cast her into a bed, and them committing adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they may have heartily turned from their works. 23. And I will slay her children with death; and all the ecclesias shall know that I am he that searcheth reins and hearts; and I will give to you, to each one, according to your works. 24. "But I say to you, and to the rest among the Thyatirans, as many as do not hold this teaching, and who acknowledged not the depths of the Satan as they speak; I will cast upon you no other burden. 25. "Moreover that which ye have, hold fast to the time that I may have come. 26. And he that overcometh, and keepeth my appointments until an end, I will give to him dominion over the nations; and he shall govern them with an iron sceptre: (as the potters' clay vessels it is breaking to pieces) as also I have received from my Father. 28. And I will give to him the Morning Star. 29. "He that hath an ear, let him hearken to what the Spirit saith to the ecclesias" -- Rev. 2:18-29. This writing concerning "the things that are" affords additional evidence, that "the Angel of the Ecclesia," represented by a Star in the right hand of the Spirit, is not an individual teacher or elder; but an order in the ecclesia composed of a plurality of persons, many or few. Thus, the Spirit addresses the Angel in verse 23, doso humin, ekasto, I will give to you, to each one, where the word humin to you is plural, and ekasto, to each one, is in the singular number. Hence the sense is, "I will give to each one of you, composing the Star-Angel of the Ecclesia, according to your works." 1. Topography of Thyatira.
Thyatira stood forty-eight miles east of Pergamos. It was a city of Lydia on the Lycus, a branch of the Hyllus, anciently called Pelopia, but now Akhissar by the Turks: that is, "the White Castle," from the great quantity of white marble there abounding. Only one ancient edifice is left standing. The rest, including the clerical bazaars, or "churches," are so destroyed that no vestiges of them are to be found. The principal inhabitants are Turks, who have eight mosques in Akhissa, while the Greeks, calling themselves Christians, have no edifice indicative of the former pre-eminence of their mistress, "the woman Jezebel," among Thyatirans. So effectively has "the Son of the Deity, whose eyes are as a flame of fire, and his feet like to incandescent brass," fulfilled the threatening, saying, "Behold, I cast her into a bed, and them committing adultery with her into great tribulation; and I will slay her children with death." The only vestige of Christianity there is a few ignorant and superstitious Greeks calling themselves by the name "Christian," to which they are no more entitled than the Turks. In the inscriptions of these apocalyptic epistles, none of the cities are addressed, as if each city were an ecclesia. In the English Version, that to the Ephesian saints is inscribed "to the Angel of the Church of Ephesus." This style of address is in accordance with the notions which prevail in the synagogue of the Satan, where a city or a nation are regarded as synonymous with a church. Hence, in the nomenclature of "the Satan, as the speak," we have the titles, "the Church of Rome," "the Church of England," "the Church of Scotland," "the Church of Ireland," and so forth; so that all born of the flesh, and of the will of man, in these places, not avowing themselves dissenters, are regarded and claimed as bona fide members of "the church by law established" -- established by the law of flesh and blood, which is the Devil. But the scriptures recognize no such churches. They contain no epistles addressed to such. These are the several branches of the Synagogue of the Satan, whose angels are the men constituting the "Holy Orders" of the apostasy. The apocalyptic epistles are severally addressed "to the Angel of the Ephesian ecclesia," "the ecclesia of Smyrneans," "the ecclesia in Pergamos," "the ecclesia among Thyatirans," "in Sardis," "in Philadelphia," and "the ecclesia of Laodiceans;" but, whether saints of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, or Laodicea, they were all, who held fast the name and denied not the faith of the Spirit, the ecclesia, or invited ones, "in the Deity, the Father, and the Lord Jesus Anointed." They boasted not in the ecclesiasticism of their native cities or countries, but in the Lord. 2. Origin of the Ecclesia in Thyatira.
The Christian faith was, doubtless, introduced into Thyatira by Lydia, whom Paul and his companions first became acquainted with at Philippi, a city of Macedonia. She was "a worshipper of God" belonging to Thyatira, but for the time being sojourning at Philippi as "a seller of purple." Paul met her at the proseuche, by the river side, beyond the city walls. She had gone there with other devout women to offer prayer to the living and true Deity. It was "on the day of the sabbaths," or, as we say, on Saturday, by which we may infer, that Lydia was a devout Jewess, or Gentile proselyte, belonging to the synagogue in Thyatira. Luke, who was present, says, that "the Lord opened her heart to assent to the things being spoken by Paul;" and the result was, that she was baptized. Thus, Paul planted, but the Lord gave the increase; and the case shows under what conditions the increase was given. Certain things were being spoken by Paul. The things being spoken were "the truth," or "Gospel of the Deity, which he had before promised by his prophets in the holy scriptures" (Rom. 1:1, 2); and that truth, "as it is in Jesus." Paul could speak no other things, and none other would have opened Lydia's heart, or understanding to an affectionate comprehension such as the Lord would have acknowledged. The truth spoken is the Lord's instrumentality for the opening of men's hearts; and where the truth is neither heard nor read, there the hearts of mankind remain unopened, and are found to be occupied by all "the depths of the Satan, as they speak." The reader will observe, that before the Lord opened the heart of Lydia, she was already "a worshipper of God." This fact proves that a belief in, and sincere worship of, the true God is not sufficient for salvation; if it is, why did the Lord open the heart of his worshipper to receive Paul's teaching? But it is not sufficient; for since the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, salvation is predicated on believing the things concerning the kingdom of the Deity, and the name of Jesus Anointed, and being baptized into that name. Any teaching in opposition to this, belongs to the departments of the synagogue of the Satan, apocalyptically designated as "Balaam," and "the woman Jezebel." Lydia's heart, or understanding and affections, were opened. She desired that others should share with her in the benefit she had received. She therefore introduced Paul to "her household." We are not informed whether these were worshippers of God as well as Lydia; or whether it was composed of men and women, or exclusively of the latter. The probability is, that as she had come with purple goods from Thyatira, she had a retinue of male and female attendants and friends. The men of her company would look after the goods in their transhipment, and exhibition for sale in the bazaar, while the females would assist in the sales, and render any personal service she might require. Hence, "her household" may have been quite numerous; for visiting cities for the sale of goods in those days was a more onerous affair, and required more personal service, than in these, when companies supply the place of private enterprize. Her household may have been Jewish, or mixed; probably purely Jewish, as she was of that faith; be this as it may, she introduced Paul to them, that he might speak the same things for the opening of their hearts which he had for the opening of hers. "As his manner was," he declared the testimony of God, and reasoned with them out of the prophets concerning the expected Son of David, and King of Israel, called the Christ. His testimonies and arguments commended themselves to their honest hearts, which opened through the force of conviction to the obedience which the faith enjoins. As the result of the whole, Luke tells us in Acts 16:15, that "her household was baptized." Lydia and her household were thus, by faith and baptism, added to the name of Jesus Anointed, or "the Lord the Spirit;" and an ecclesia of Thyatirans was created, so that when they should return to that city, they would become the nucleus of the apocalyptic ecclesia to which the Spirit writes; and "the house of the Deity, which is the ecclesia of the living Deity, the pillar and the foundation of the truth" -- 1 Tim. 3:15. But after this Paul visited Anatolia, or Asia Minor, in which Thyatira was situated and flourished, and, although we have no account of his visiting that city, there is every reason to believe, that multitudes from Thyatira visited him. In Acts 19:8-10, it is expressly said, that Paul while at Ephesus disputed and persuaded the things concerning the kingdom of God, first, for three months in the synagogue there and afterwards daily in the school of one Tyrannus for two years, "so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks." No doubt many of these were immersed by Paul or his companions, and on their return to Thyatira received into the ecclesia already there. The creation of the ecclesia among the Thyatirans after this manner occurred about thirty-five years before the dictation of this epistle to their "angel," or eldership, by the Spirit. Ample time had, therefore, been granted them for the development of Christian character. In the general, it appears to have been commendable, though in a certain particular, they were reprehensible. The spirit of the Lord in the gifts he had bestowed had dwelt among them, and in their eldership, during the period of their ecclesiastical existence. The Son might therefore well say, "I have known thy works." Though the resurrected and anointed Jesus was invisible to them, the gifts of the spirit they possessed had been sent by him, and as long as they continued, were a perpetual memento of his existence at the right hand of power, and of his perception and cognizance of all that was transpiring in all the ecclesias of the Habitable. "The grace and the truth," says John, "came by Jesus Anointed," who as David predicted, and Paul testified, "ascended on high, and received gifts for men." Hence, wherever those gifts were, there also were the presence and power of the personal, or individual, Son of the Deity, who speaks in these epistles as "the Spirit," on the principle that "that which is born of the Spirit is spirit," and therefore God, or Divine power. The works of the Angel were conspicuous for "love, and service, and faith, and endurance." Such an eldership must have been in the general in a spiritually healthy and efficient state; and which argued also a wholesome condition of the Spirit's servants, called in the letter "my servants;" or, in the nomenclature of the synagogue of the Satan, "the laity." It is "the leaders of the people cause them to err;" but where the leaders are faithful, this cause of error is wanting. The leaders corrupt the people, and when the people are corrupted, the seducers are enthroned and flourish; and the people come at length to delight in the corruption that destroys them. The ecclesia among the Thyatirans became an arena upon which the two classes of leaders displayed themselves. The one class were characterized by a more abundant love, service, faith, and endurance in the days of John, than in the days when they were originally constituted the Star in Thyatira; while the other class was characterized by the idolatrous, meritricious, and murderous wife of Ahab. "the woman Jezebel," who slew the prophets of Yahweh. The former were the Antipas in Thyatira whose devotedness sustained the truth against the machinations of all its enemies, heretical or pagan. Their "love" was not like that of the Satan's -- a love of "divine things" as far as agreeable to our animal instincts, and compatible with our worldly prosperity and peace. The love of the Antipas was the fulfilling of the law; the doing whatsoever Jesus had commanded, by which they evinced that they were his real friends. Many of the Satan's synagogue who rejoiced in Jezebel, possessed spiritual gifts, and could speak with tongues, and prophesy, and understand mysteries, and had the knowledge, and the faith to remove mountains, and bestowed their goods to feed the poor; and not only in some cases gave their bodies to be burned; but in crowds rushed to martyrdom, till the pagan authorities refused to kill them; and told them to become their own executioners. Still, as Paul intimates, they were nothing; for they were destitute of "love." So it is now. Though papists and protestants, Jezebel and her children, have not the gifts, yet they largely bestow of their goods to feed the poor, and in many instances have, and would again, sacrifice their lives for what they call "the gospel;" still like their predecessors in apostolic times, they are nothing but sounding brass, and a tinkling cymbal, because they are destitute of the love commended in the Thyatirans. This was "long suffering and kind," even to an excess rebuked by the Spirit in the letter before us; for they permitted Jezebel-teachers and seducers to speak, instead of putting them to silence at once. These were envious, boastful, puffed-up, of unseemly behaviour, seeking their own, easily provoked, evil thinkers, who rejoiced in the mystery of iniquity, which was finally established by their means. These were the characteristics of Jezebel and her children, John's clerical contemporaries, and the official fathers of the professional soul-savers of modern christendom. Their co-apostolic predecessors like themselves were destitute of "love," without which men cannot be saved. "Love," says Paul, "rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things." Paul's clerical contemporaries did not rejoice in the truth; but relinquished their original hold upon the name and denied the faith of the Spirit. Our clerical contemporaries are in the same condemnation. They cannot, if their lives depend on it, inform the public what "the truth as it is in Jesus," consists in. They are ignorant of its system in toto, and therefore cannot "believe all things and hope all things," and consequently have not the love of which this faith and hope are constituent parts. The service of the Star-Angel in Thyatira, like its love, had increased. Their last works were more than their first. They contended earnestly for the faith originally delivered to them; like the Antipas in Pergamos, they held it fast, and were therefore in a position to overcome; for the power of victory is our firm and hearty belief of the truth. They were the pillar and support of the truth in Thyatira, where it might have flourished to this day if their successors in office had been "faithful men able to teach others." But this unfortunately was not the case, so that the fountain being poisoned at the head, the waters became bitter, and the people died. The evil had begun to work by a.d. 98, the epoch at which the Spirit addressed them through John. Forty years before that the Mystery of Iniquity was at work; but it had not yet triumphed in Thyatira. It was, however, hard at work there professedly opposed to Paganism, and at the same time doing its best to paganize christianity. The Mystery of Iniquity had its apologists in all the ecclesias. In Ephesus, they falsely styled themselves "apostles;" in Smyrna and Philadelphia "Jews;" and in Laodicea, they said, they were "rich, and increased in goods, and had need of nothing." But the Spirit pronounced them "liars," "vanquishers" and "wasters of the people," the Satan, "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked," and, as in the letter under consideration, the Woman Jezebel. 3. The Woman Jezebel
As we have shown in our exposition of the apocalyptic "Balaam" and "Nikolaitans," there existed a class of teachers calling themselves "christians," contemporary with the apostles, who taught "another gospel," and set forth a Jesus, which Paul styled "another Jesus;" both of which, that is, the Jesus and their gospel, were different from the real Jesus and the true gospel, proclaimed by the apostles; and subversive of the divine teaching concerning them. This class of teachers, styled by Peter "false teachers;" and by John, "false prophets" and "deceivers who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh;" which heresy, or falsehood, he says, "is the Deceiver and the Antichrist" wherever found -- 2 Pet. 2:1; 1 Jno. 4:1; 2 Epist. 7: -- this class, I say, had become numerous and influential by the end of the first century; and were to be found sowing tares in all the field of the apostolic labors. They were the "reverend divines" and "D.D.'s" of the Nineteenth Century in embryo -- -- the self-styled "apostles" to whom "the Clergy" of our day are the undoubted "successors." They taught the same doctrine as our clergy, and therefore they are unquestionably the same class. Now false teachers, prophets, and deceivers are aggregately represented in the scriptures of the Old and New Testament, by a woman of vicious and profligate character. Thus, the Spirit in Ezekiel 22:25, in speaking of the leaders of the people in Jerusalem, says, "there is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof; like a roaring lion ravening the prey, they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things. Her priests have violated my holy law, and have profaned my holy things. Her prophets have daubed souls with untempered mortar, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus saith Yahweh Elohim, when Yahweh hath not spoken." These priests and prophets, who were princes in Jerusalem and Samaria, are represented in the next chapter by two lewd women, "the Daughters of One Mother," Aholah the elder, and d her sister. "Thus were their names," says the Spirit; "Samaria is Aholah, and Jerusalem, Aholibah." Then follows the indictment against them, in which their apostacy from the Mosaic Law in its simplicity, in their blending it with the abominable customs and principles of heathenism, is likened to the intercourse of harlotry and adultery. The priests and prophets of Samaria were Aholah the harlot daughter of the comely and delicate woman, Zion under the law (Jer. 6:2); and the same class in Jerusalem were Aholibah, the younger harlot of the same mother, "more corrupt in her inordinate love than Aholah." In the New Testament, the disciples of Jesus Anointed, who, though not all "elders," "apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers," are all "living stones built up a spiritual house, a holy and royal priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people" -- Eph. 4:11; 1 Pet. 2:5, 9; Rev. 5:9, 10. And so long as they held fast the name, and did not deny the faith, of Jesus Anointed, they are styled apocalyptically "the Woman," and "the Woman of the Lamb" -- Heb. 3:6, 14; Rev. 12:6, 14, 16, 17; 19:7, 8. But when a schism of this one body was elaborated by false teaching, the teachers and those who followed the teaching, ceased to be of "the Woman of the Lamb;" but became "a woman," or an adulteress. Such had become the situation of affairs by the close of the first century. There were two women in the Roman Habitable claiming to be the Spouse of Christ; the one, "a Chaste Virgin, begotten and espoused to one husband, the Christ, by the word" -- 2 Cor. 11:2; 1 Cor. 4:15; Eph. 5:26: the other, a woman, drunken and adulterous, and the Mother of a progeny of Harlots, and of the Abominations of the earth -- Rev. 17:1-6; 14:4 -- all of them, mother and daughters, begotten of the traditions and commandments of men, making void the word of God. Between these two women there was rivalry and indignation. The adulteress proclaimed, that she was rich, and increased in goods, and had need of nothing; and invited the world, in all its filthy garments, to her embrace. This is what is proverbially styled "the World and his Woman," called by his friends and boon companions, "the Church." Scripturally, they are Ahab and Jezebel, the adversaries and destroyers of the saints; and wherever any of their prophets are found ministering before the people, there the principles of the flesh, and the gospel-nullifying traditions of men, are glorified and prevail; because, "being of the world, therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them" -- 1 Jno. 4:5. This is an unmistakable criterion. The world will not listen to the counsel, and support any women, but Jezebel and her daughters. Whatever "preacher" will present himself in the name of Jezebel, him will the world listen to with open mouth and ears; for the principles he inculcates are what the flesh approves. The apocalyptic woman that had been manifested in John's day was styled "Jezebel," because the character of the class of false teachers was analogous to that of the wife of Ahab, known in Jewish history by that name. Hence, the literal Jezebel was made the type, or pattern, of the class, which became the figurative Jezebel. There was no literal woman named Jezebel in Thyatira claiming to be a christian, any more than there was a literal Antipas and Balaam in Pergamos of these names; at least history gives no account of any. Therefore the typical Jezebel must be that Jezebel of the Old Testament. The study of her history and circumstances must be virtually the study of her antitype, and that antitype is the adulteress, or pseudo church, of false teachers, in which the abettors of Balaam's teaching were embodied; and who differs from Balaam in this that she is the adulterous exhibition of what Balaam taught. Her name in Hebrew is lbzya Izabel, which is compounded of aie, not zebul, she dwells. As if the Spirit had said, she dwells not with me; that is, the teachers and their disciples who teach and seduce to commit prostitution, and to eat idol sacrifices, are not my spouse. Thus by conferring this name upon them, the real spouse of Christ in those days was vindicated by the Spirit. No wonder the Apocalypse was unpopular with those who held the doctrine of Balaam in those days, as it hath also been to this day with the same class. They know they do not teach the word, and that they can define neither the name nor the faith of the Spirit; and they know that they teach for the hire paid them by the house of Ahab, or the world; and that they love the wages of unrighteousness. How then can a book be popular with such which proclaims them to be not the spouse of the Spirit; but the harlot community prostituting itself for hire to an ignorant, superstitious, and besotted world. But Izebel or Jezebel, is not only etymologically an appropriate type of the clerical orders of Christendom, whose constituents are "the prophets" of the world; the origin, and character, and fate of the woman are also typical of the origin, character, and fate of the "reverend divines," and doctors of divinity, who minister to the itching ears of those who heap up to themselves teachers after their own lusts, and are turned aside to fables. Jezebel was the daughter of Ethbaal, the idolatrous king of the Zidonians, whose name imported dedication to Baal the false god, the lord of the people; whom Balaam had before taught the Israelites to serve with fornication and idolatry. Now the origin of the clergy is analogous to this. They were begotten in idolatry, or in Baal. "The Lord saw folly in the prophets of Samaria; they prophesied in Baal, and caused his people Israel to err" -- Jer. 23:13. Peter also testifies this of certain prophets, styling themselves christian teachers, in his day. In writing to the elect he says, "there will be false teachers among you, who privily will bring in damnable heresies. These, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption. They have eves full of an adulteress (full of Jezebel) and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls; a heart have they exercised with covetous practices; cursed children, who have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the Way of son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness. They are wells without water, clouds that are carried of a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever." Such were the clergy in their origin. The generation of the clerical Jezebel in our day, however, differs from the generation of their brethren and fathers in the days of Peter in this, that our clergy never were the children of God and were never in the right way; therefore, though the accursed preachers of other gospels than the true one, they are not "cursed children;" and have not "forsaken the right way," because they were never in it. "The Way of Balaam" is emphatically the Way of the Clergy in all post-apostolical and pre-millennial generations. Their eyes are full of Jezebel, whose original practice is proverbially "the ministerial sin." They speak evil of the things they do not understand; and they undertake to teach what they know nothing about; and therefore, they are "wells without water." These clerical prophets in Balaam, and therefore in Baal, in undertaking to speak to the edification, exhortation, and comfort of souls, being of a class represented by a woman, "called herself prophetess." They became an ecclesiastical woman prophesying deceits. She was begotten of falsehood, so that the father of the clergy is "the Devil, who was a liar from the beginning." "Except ye be circumcised and keep the law of Moses, ye cannot be saved." This was the first element of the falsehood enunciated to christians by teachers in the presence of the apostles. They set up the dogma, that a Gentile must believe the gospel, be immersed, be circumcised, and keep the law, in order to salvation. This was the first lie taught for truth after the ascension of Jesus; and those who taught it, constituted in themselves, and therefore originated the anti-apostolic order, familiarly known in our day as "the clergy." Hence, the clergy are Judaizers to this day -- commanding to fast, to abstain from meats, to keep holy days, and sabbaths. But the falsehood which generated their order was not complete till the principles of heathen philosophy were commingled with the Judaic dogma. This was effected when they denied the resurrection of the body in affirming, as Justin testifies they did, that what they call "souls" went immediately to heaven at death. This Judaized Heathenism constituted what Paul calls "a lie," and "the Mystery of Iniquity" -- a system of falsehood formative of the clerical order, which gave them a parentage lke that of Jezebel. The principles styled Baal, (for Baal; having no real existence, was only a system of ideas, so called, that lorded it over those who acknowledged it;) gave origin to the clergy who worship Baal and preach him everywhere. The Sidonians believed in immortal souls, in their going to heaven at death, and in a place of torment, where the wicked burned in fire eternally. They also believed in sacrifice to propitiate the Deity, and in making long and noisy prayers, by which to induce him to hear them. Our clergy have not advanced one step beyond this since the days of Jezebel. She believed these things, and were she personally in existence now, she could have no scruples in becoming a member of any clergyman's church in this city, Catholic or Protestant. It is true, the clergy now hold a few principles, or rather opinions, unknown to Jezebel and her clergy, the original prophets of immortal-soulism. They believe in a Jesus of whom she had never heard; but their belief in this other Jesus whom Paul did not preach, does not at all interfere with their hearty adhesion to the Baal-System of Ideas. Their eyes are full of Jezebel, and she was full of Baal. Prostitution, and eating the sacrifices offered to the idol-representations of the dead, whose souls were said to be alive, were institutions of Baal-Religion. When Israel were seduced by the Moabitish women to worship Baal, at the suggestion of Balaam, they committed whoredom with them, and ate the sacrifices of their gods. The Balaamite clergy were guilty of the same thing. They privily introduced idolatrous practices among christians. They taught them to eat of the sacrifices sold as holy meat, by which they became partakers of the idolaltars, and propitiated the heathen, for in so doing, they contributed to the support of the pagan priesthood. But Paul objected to this sort of compromise in toto. His argument was, that the things the Gentiles sacrificed they sacrificed to demons, to the ghosts of dead men, and not to God; and that in eating of them knowingly, they had fellowship with their imaginary demons. He told them that when they went to the butcher's they should ask no question, but just buy whatever came to hand. They would then buy in ignorance, having no knowledge whether there was sacrificed meat or not. But if any one said, "this is offered in sacrifice to idols," he told them not to eat it, for the eating then involved a principle of fellowship with deified ghosts, in the judgment of him who invited to eat. Paul's anxiety was that the Corinthian brethren should "not have fellowship with demons," or deified imaginary ghosts, called "immortal souls." These demons had a table and a cup, as well as the Lord; and Paul taught that they could not partake of both without sin. The same demons have a table and a cup now, modified, however, in this, that bread cut up into pieces, emblematic of the divisions of antichristendom, is substituted for meats offered to the demons. The table spread by the clergy, and called by them "the sacrament," is the modern table of the demons. It is the table of those who believe in deified immortal souls, who are the gods of the clerical system. It is Jezebel's table, at which a saint cannot eat without having fellowship with the demons she funeralizes to glory, which is sin. Her churches are a synagogue of unbaptized "miserable sinners," as they proclaim themselves to be in their prayers, and consequently, her table cannot be the Lord's, for his teaching has no place for such there -- the miserable patrons of demons belong to Jezebel, not to the spouse of Christ. Again, prostitution, literal and figurative, is a notorious clerical vice, and characteristic of Jezebel. She forbids to marry, and in so doing, "teaches to commit fornication." The priests of the Romish Jezebel are literally a body of whoremongers and adulterers, and their nunneries houses of ill fame; and though, on account of the marriage of the Protestant clergy, this is not the case to the same extent, yet spiritually they are in the same condemnation; for "fornication," in its figurative sense, imports unhallowed union with the world, and blasphemy against God. They are all guilty of this. If they knew the truth, and told the world the truth, the world would not support them. Now, "all that is of the world is not of the Father;" and "he that is the friend of the world is the enemy of God;" they pretend to be God's servants, to be his church or spouse, and yet they serve the world for hire. They are therefore prostitutes and men-pleasers, and consequently, cannot possibly be the servants of Christ, whose name they blaspheme in all their institutions. The literal Jezebel was a persecutor and slayer of the prophets of Yahweh; and the antitypical, or clerical, Jezebel has been preeminently so. The clergy from their origin until now, have always been opposed to the truth; and have always had a hand in stirring up persecution for its suppression. The civil power, or the Diabolos, has been the instrument of their malevolence and cruelty; and though they cannot inflict personal violence in this country, they still retain much power for evil in the territory of the Beast. But the fate of Jezebel awaits them. She was hurled from her high and queenly estate with violence, and devoured by dogs so completely, that they found not of her what to bury. Jezebel has not yet come to this. She is still in her glory, rioting in drunkenness and prostitution. It was a fault charged upon the presbytery of the ecclesia in Thyatira, that they permitted some of the Jezebel class to teach the servants of Christ there. It was the duty of an eldership not to allow error to be inculcated. They appear to have been too tolerant. Teaching which led to practices and conclusions subversive of morality and the gospel ought not to have been allowed. They had the truth, which had been divinely planted among them, and all things not according to that, they ought to have authoritatively suppressed. This course would have been an effectual barrier against Jezebel, and her Balaamite and Nikolaitan progeny. But this course was not pursued. She obtained a foothold, and the consequences has been the extinction of Antipas in Thyatira, where none are now to be found who hold fast the name and the faith of Jesus Christ as his faithful witnesses. "I gave Jezebel time," saith the Spirit, "that she might heartily turn from her prostitution; but she turned not." As we have said, Jezebel still lives, and she lives in sin. In the days of John she was without political sovereignty; she was the daughter of Ethbaal the idolater; but she had not been married to the Greco-Latin Ahab. The Judaizing and Gnostic clergy were actively working the Mystery of Iniquity into authority; they had organized it into a synagogue, and were privily insinuating it into the elderships; but they had not yet succeeded in allying themselves to the State. The apostles, while living, warned them and exhorted them to turn from their evil course; but, as John says, "they hear us not;" and went out from fellowship with them, and circumvented them in every possible way. Referring to these whom he calls "the Satan" after whom some had turned aside, Paul says, in writing to Timothy, "this thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes." These were two clergymen, friends of Balaam and Jezebel the prophetess, who taught the inherent immortality of the soul of the flesh; and therefore, with two other clergymen named Hymenaeus and Philetus, said that the resurrection is already past; and that, consequently, there is no future resurrection of the dead; resurrection being unnecessary upon the Jezebel principle of the immortal soul of sinful flesh going immediately to heaven at the death of the body. Paul argues ably against this heathen absurdity in 1 Cor. 15. But it had no effect upon Jezebel the prophetess; for "seducers waxed worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived;" and she still went on in her vicious course. "I gave her time," says the Spirit, "that she might heartily turn from her prostitution." Instead of slaying every deceiver in communion with her, as he had Ananias and his wife Sapphira, he gave her time. That time has not yet expired; for Jezebel lives, but has not repented; but instead thereof, "sits as a woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus," upon an association of ensanguined and blasphemous powers, represented by "a scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy" -- Rev. 17:3, 6. The writers of the second, third, and fourth centuries, styled by the clergy of our day "the Fathers," with probably an exception or two, were all of Jezebel. In the letter before us, they are styled "her children;" they were such, because they were unfaithful to the truth; and though they suffered death by the pagan power for their opinions, it was, in the providence of God, a present punishment for their iniquity. "Behold," saith the Spirit, "I cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into a great tribulation, except they may have heartily turned from their deeds. And I will kill her children with death, and all the ecclesias shall know that I am the searcher of reins and hearts." In reading the history of these centuries the student of ecclesiastical history must not suppose that all called "christians" who died by the hand of the executioner, were put to death for their adherence to the name and faith of Jesus Christ. Multitudes had a rage for martyrdom, and gave their bodies to the fire in expiation of iniquity, transgression, and apostasy. These were "those who committed adultery with Jezebel," the clerical fathers, and "her children," who looked up to those fathers as the deluded people of "the religious world" look up now to the clergy who deceive them, regarding them with awe as their "spiritual guides" and "fathers in God." The tribulation that came upon the body indiscriminately regarded as "christian" by the pagan authorities, an apostle terms "judgment beginning at the House of God." "If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye," says Peter; "for the Spirit of glory and of the Deity resteth upon you; on their part (on that of the persecutor) he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or a thief, or an evil-doer, or as a busy body in other men's matters. Yet if any man suffer as a christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. For the time is come that judgment begin at the house of God: and if first at us, what shall the end be of them who obey not the gospel of the Deity? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?" -- 1 Epist. 4:14-18. Many suffered "as evil-doers" under the name of "christian". Thus Milner observes, "many heretics, who wore the name of christians, were guilty of the most detestable enormities; these were indiscriminately charged by the pagans on the christians in general." And again, "the abominations of heretics, whom ignorance and malice will ever confound with real christians, furnished the enemies of Christ with some tolerably specious pretensions. Probably these were much exaggerated; but whatever they were, the whole Christian Name was accused of them." "The injudicious conduct of apologists," says Gibbon, "betrayed the common cause of christianity, to gratify their devout hatred to the domestic enemies of the church. It was sometimes faintly insinuated, and sometimes boldly asserted, that the same bloody sacrifices, and the same incestuous festivals, which were so falsely ascribed to the orthodox believers, were in reality celebated by the Marcionites, by the Carpocratians, and be several other sects of the Gnostics. Accusations of a similar kind were retorted upon the church by the schismatics who had departed from its communion, and it was confessed upon all sides, that the most scandalous licentiousness of manners prevailed among great numbers of those who affected the name of christians." The apocalyptic letters plainly testify to the existence of this state of things in the christendom of the close of the first century. There were two classes -- the Antipas, or faithful witnesses, who held the truth in righteousness; and the Nikolaitans, or children of Jezebel, who held the doctrine of Balaam, and seduced the servants of Jesus Christ to the practice of deeds which he detested. Against these judgment is threatened in the words, "I will kill Jezebel's children with death; and all the ecclesias shall know that I am he who searches the reins and hearts." To kill with death is to destroy with violence -- by judgment through the magistrate, who wielded the sword of office for the execution of the law. To kill with death was not to permit the offenders to die a natural death. All such, who gave their bodies to be burned, or to be thrown to the wild beasts, or to any other form of martyrdom, were mere "sounding brass and tinkling cymbals;" and heirs of the vengeance to be revealed in "the Second Death." They had not faith to give them the victory over the world; so the world overcame them by its seductions, and exposed them to be "hurt of the Second Death," which is manifested after the resurrection of the flesh. When this time arrives, the "bed" will have been prepared for Jezebel, and she will then be "cast into it;" and not she only, but with her them that commit adultery. This bed is the "great tribulation," or "sorrow," in which the antichristian apostasy is to be destroyed at the apocalypse of Jesus Christ in "the Hour of Judgment;" when Babylon, the Great City, falls because of her having prostituted and debauched all the nations with her blasphemies and abominations. The ecclesiasticism of the earth and of the whole habitable, with all the clerical orders by which it is upheld, will be utterly abolished by the wrath of the Deity poured out without mixture, which they will be compelled to drink with great torment in the presence of Jesus and the Saints -- Rev. 14:7-11; 18:2. Into this bed of tribulation Jezebel is at length cast, with all her antichristian and clerical adherents, who, in the text last quoted, are typified by "demons," "foul spirits," and "hateful birds;" for the Thyatiran Jezebel is but the germ of that Babylon which, as a mighty Upas banded with brass and iron, now overshadows all nations with its pestiferous and besotting influence. Now this "great tribulation," which is yet antitypically to come upon "Babylon, the Great, the Mother of Harlots," was typically poured out upon the Thyatiran Jezebel previous to the taking of the pagan hierarchy out of the way, which prevented the manifestation of the Lawless One, who would be set up as the head of Jezebel, and as a substitute for Christ upon earth. As Christ is the Head of the true Woman, the body of the faithful; so the Pope is the present Head of Jezebel, the Mother of Harlots, and of all her family. But, before Christ appears in power, his woman passes "through much tribulation to enter into the kingdom of the Deity" -- Acts 14:22; and so, before Antichrist (the power which set up as Christ's substitute, and is now incorporated in the chief styled "the Pope") appeared in power, the Thyatiran Adulteress was made to pass through "a great tribulation" ere she could enter into the kingdom of this world; and mount the scarlet-coloured beast; and sit a Queen, and no widow;" and, intoxicated with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus, say with complacency, "I shall see no sorrow". She had to pass through the "Ten Days," which the Spirit forewarned the Smyrneans they would be tried with, when the Diabolos should cast of them into prison, or the house of death. The reader is here referred to what has been written about the "ten days' tribulation" on page 240. "All the ecclesias" in the proconsular Asia were afflicted by this; and Thyatira's, consequently, among the rest. But the Ten Day's tribulation of Trajan's reign was but an earnest, as it were, of the great tribulation to which the christian name would be subjected before the Jezebel Apostasy from apostolic teaching should attain to political sovereignty over the nations, and be "spued out of the mouth of the Spirit." They had to pass through that "Hour of trial, which," the Spirit forewarned the Philadelphians of, "should come upon the whole habitable, to prove them that dwell upon the earth" -- Rev. 3:10. Judgment the most terrible would befall her, which "all the ecclesias" would perceive was the hand of God punishing her by the sword of the ruler for her abominations. And so it was. Ecclesiastical historians inform us, that in the third century the pure light of the gospel was much clouded and depraved by an unhappy nurture of philosophical self-righteousness and superstition. With the exception of three years, the christians had enjoyed a long peace of thirty-seven years to a.d. 248. This, it appears from one of Origen's homilies, was followed by a great degree of lukewarmness, and even of much religious indecorum. The declension seems to have been remarkable. "Several," says he, "come to church only on solemn festivals; and then not so much for instruction as diversion; some go out again as soon as they have heard the lecture, without conferring, or asking the pastors ant questions; others stay not till the lecture is ended; and others hear not so much as a single word, but entertain themselves in a corner of the church." "Elsewhere," says Milner, "he complains of the ambitious and haughty manners of pastors, and of the improper steps which some took to obtain preferments." At this time, the reigning emperor, Philip the Arabian, who murdered his predecessors, is styled by Eusebius a christian; "and indeed, that he was so by profession," says Milner, "seems well attested by the concurrent voice of antiquity;" and he adds, "there is no doubt but in the fourth year of his reign, a.d.247, he allowed and conducted the secular games which were full of idolatry." This Philip was slain and succeeded by Decius, a.d.248. His enmity to Philip conspired with his pagan prejudices to bring on the most dreadful persecution ever yet experienced by christians. It was evident that nothing less than the destruction of the christian name was intended. The persecution raged with astonishing fury both in the East and West. Cyprian, an overseer in "the church" at Carthage during the persecution, recognizes it as a chastisement for sin. In a treatise of his concerning "the Lapsed," is an account of the declension that had taken place before his conversion, and which moved God to chastise "the church." "If the cause of our miseries," says he, "be investigated, the cure of the wound may be found. The Lord would have his family to be Tried. And because long peace had corrupted the discipline divinely revealed to us, the heavenly chastisement hath raised up our faith, which had lain almost dormant; and when, by our sins, we had deserved to suffer still more, the merciful Lord so moderated all things, that the whole scene rather deserves the name of a trial than a persecution. Each had been bent on improving his patrimony; and had forgotten what believers had done under the Apostles, and what they ought always to do. They were brooding over the arts of amassing wealth. The pastors and the deacons each forgot their duty; works of mercy were neglected, and discipline was at the lowest ebb. Luxury and effeminacy prevailed. Meretricious arts in dress were cultivated. Fraud and deceit were practised among brethren. Christians could unite themselves in matrimony with unbelievers; could swear not only without reverence, but even without veracity. With haughty asperity they despised their ecclesiastical superiors. They railed against one another with outrageous acrimony, and conducted quarrels with determined malice. Even many bishops, who ought to be guides and patterns for the rest, neglecting the peculiar duties of their stations, gave themselves up to secular pursuits. They deserted their places of residence and their flocks: they travelled through distant provinces in quest of pleasure and gain; gave no assistance to the needy brethren; but were insatiable in their thirst of money. They possessed estates by fraud, and multiplied usury. What have we not deserved to suffer for such a conduct? Even the Divine Word hath foretold us what we might expect, saying. 'If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments, I will visit their offences with the rod, and their sin with scourges.' These things had been denounced and foretold, but in vain. Our sins had brought our affairs to that pass, that because we had despised the Lord's directions, we were obliged to undergo a correction of our multiplied evils, and a trial of our faith by severe remedies." The foregoing extract will illustrate the saying of the Spirit, "and all the ecclesias shall know that I am the searcher of reins and hearts." There were those in the ecclesias, crowded as they were with worthless pastors and people, who discerned the signs of the times. The faithful deplored the evils, and justified God in his chastisements, which were "according to their works." Exhortations to duty would have made no impression upon them; nothing but the sword could arouse them to a due perception of their position. Avarice, under the teaching of Balaam, had taken deep root among them; and, as soon as the times became dangerous, vast numbers lapsed into idolatry immediately. Even before men were accused of being christians, "many ran to the forum and sacrificed to the gods as they were ordered; and the crowds of apostates were so great that the magistrates wished to delay numbers of them till the next day, but they were importuned," says Cyprian, "by the wretched suppliants to be allowed to prove themselves heathens that very night." If Cyprian had lived in the nineteenth instead of in the middle of the third century, he could not have given a more accurate description of the pastors and people who call themselves christians, than is contained in the foregoing extract; and if tribulation such as the Decian were to come upon "the church" now, the multitude of professors would be as hasty and importunate as his contemporaries to protest that they belonged to any thing else than the sect proscribed by the ruling power. 4. The Depths of the Satan as they Speak.
But all among the Thyatirans were not impressible by the arts and blandishments of Jezebel and her children. "The rest" were a faithful remnant who repudiated her teaching, and "the depths" which they prescribed. We need not repeat here what has been already adduced concerning "the Satan;" but we may add to this, that the sentence, "the depths of the Satan as they speak," shows that "The Satan" is not a solitary individual, but representative of a plurality of speakers, whose speech is enunciative of deep things, called "depths." These depths were adverse to the "Name," "Faith," and morality, or "works," styled by the Spirit "his," and therefore they were Satanic Depths; and those who taught them "the Satan;" and those who received them, both teachers and disciples, "the Synagogue of the Satan;" "Jezebel the prophetess" and the holders of Balaam's teaching, who styled themselves apostles, and said they were Jews, being the clergy of that synagogue, clerically termed "the Church of God;" but in reality "the habitation of demons, the hold of every foul spirit, and the cage of every unclean and hateful bird." Antipas, or the faithful witnesses, were the rest among the Thyatirans who had not acknowledged the "depths of the Satan as they speak." Antipas still retained his original position in "all the ecclesias," which, although teeming with "false brethren" both in the presbyteries and among the multitude, had not vet been "spued out of the mouth of the Spirit." Antipas was the remnant of the Woman's Seed contending earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints against all "the depths of the Satan as they speak;" which in their logical effect upon the minds of Christians perverted the gospel; and made it of no effect in regard to justification and practice. The Star-Presbytery in Ephesus had fallen from its first estate; still it had not fallen to the lowest "depths," for Antipas was among them as "those who could not bear them that are evil; but tried them who pretended they were apostles, and are not, and found them liars." Antipas was also among the Smyrneans as "the rich," because faithful in works, tribulation, and poverty; also among the Sardians as "the few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments;" and in Philadelphia, as the "little strength" of the ecclesia there; which the Spirit says had "kept my word and not denied my name." But among the Laodiceans the Antipas are not found. Their existence is a supposition, as, "If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." The Satan was triumphant there, and the faithful witnesses reduced to such an insignificant minority as to be noticeable in the prophecy only as an hypothesis. They were "a contemptible few" not submerged in "the depths of the Satan as they speak;" but not enough of them to save the ecclesia from being spued out of the Spirit's mouth. A few did hear the Spirit's voice among the Laodiceans, and became fugitives in consequence. They were no longer found in "the churches," but in their own peculiar place, "in the wilderness;" where, as "the Woman" and "the Remnant of her Seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Anointed," they were "nourished" for 1260 Years "from the face of the Serpent," become a Catholic of the Laodicean type -- Rev. 12:14, 17, 9, 10. The extract from Cyprian sufficiently illustrates "the depths of the Satan as they speak," in the practice of the so-called Christians of the middle of the third century. He says that "the long peace," or time given for Jezebel to repent of her prostitution, instead of being attended with the result desired by the Spirit, produced a contrary effect, -- "it corrupted the discipline divinely revealed to us." In this Cyprian and the Spirit agree; for the latter says, "and she repented not." "Our faith," says Cyprian, "was almost dormant;" and his details of practice must have made them an object of contempt even to the pagans. But, though good practice will not always result from sound teaching, owing to the perverseness of the flesh; bad practice is the certain consequence of Satanic teaching. The depths of the Satan spoken, produced the depths of the Satan wrought. The energy, or "working of the Satan," was elaborated by the teaching of "the Fathers" of the second and third centuries. These fathers were the "they" of the text before us; as, "the depths of the Satan as they 'the Fathers,' speak." Irenaeus, Tertullian, Pantaenus, Clemens Alexandrinus, Origen, Cyprian, and so forth, are a specimen of these clerical fathers whose teaching "corrupted the discipline divinely revealed." Of Irenaeus history testifies that "his philosophy had its usual influence on the mind, in darkening some truths of scripture, and in mixing the doctrine of Christ with human inventions:" "in general, however, notwithstanding some philosophical adulterations, he certainly," says Milner, "maintained all the essentials of the gospel:" that is to say, what Milner regarded as "the essentials." He is said to have been instructed in "Christianity" by Polycarp of Smyrna, and Papias of Hierapolis, contemporaries of the apostle John. Irenaeus became overseer of the ecclesia at Lyons in France about a.d. 169. One of his sentiments left on record is certainly sound. "If man," says he, "had not been united to the Deity, he could not have been a partaker of immortality:" another also is perfectly scriptural; speaking of Jesus, he says, "He had flesh and blood, not of a different kind from what men have; but he gathered into himself the very original creation of the Father, and sought that which was lost:" and again, "The Word of God, Jesus Christ, on account of his immense love, became what we are, that he might make us what he is." He has left on record a testimony to the corruption of the faith already prevalent in his day in a letter to Florinus, a person of rank in the emperor's service, whom he had known in early life. Florinus had been seduced into heresy, concerning which Irenaeus says, "Those doctrines, they who were presbyters before us -- those who had walked with the apostles -- did not deliver to you. For I saw you when I was a boy in the lower Asia with Polycarp; and you were then (though a person of rank in the emperor's service) very desirous of being approved by him. * * * I can describe the sermons which he preached to the multitude, and how he related to us his converse with John, and with the rest of those who had seen the Lord; how he mentioned their particular expressions, and what things he had heard from them of the Lord, and of his miracles, and of his doctrine. As Polycarp had received from the eye-witnesses of the Word of Life, he told us all things agreeable to the scriptures. These things, then, through the mercy of God visiting me, I heard with seriousness; I wrote them not on paper, but on my heart; and ever since, through the grace of God, I retain a genuine remembrance of them, and I can witness before God, that if that blessed apostolical presbyter had heard some of the doctrines which are now maintained, he would have cried out, and stopped his ears, and in his usual manner have said, 'O good God! to what times hast thou reserved me, that I should endure these things!' And he would immediately have fled from the place in which he had heard such doctrines." Polycarp suffered death a.d.167. At one time he and Irenaeus lived together at Smyrna, and held the same opinions. One Evaristus wrote an account of Polycarp's martyrdom, which was adopted by the Ecclesia at Smyrna, and sent to that sojourning at Philomelium, a city of Lycaonia. The sentiments therein contained may or may not be regarded as those also of Polycarp their late teacher, and of Irenaeus his disciple. Speaking of martyrs in general, the letter says, "they despised the torments of this world, and by one hour redeemed themselves from eternal punishment. The fire of savage tormentors was cold to them; for they had steadily in view a desire to avoid that fire which is eternal and never to be quenched." Now the dogma of redemption from eternal punishment by an hour's burning is nowhere taught in scripture. If Polycarp and Irenaeus taught this, they certainly held a depth of the Satan. As to "the fire which is eternal and never to be quenched," it depends upon the sense of the original, whether it be classed with "the depths of the Satan," or not. In the modern clerical sense of the words it is a depth; but in the scriptural sense, which is not the clerical, it is not a depth of the Satan; but one of "the deep things of God." I apprehend that the Smyrneans, at least the Antipas among them, certainly would have used the expression in the sense of the Apocalypse which had been sent to their StarAngel, or Presbytery, some sixty-nine years before. There "the fire which is eternal" is "the fire and brimstone in the presence of the Holy Angels, and in the presence of the Lamb," styled by Jesus to pur to aionion; and which he says, has been then "prepared for the Diabolos and for his agents;" apocalyptically styled, "the Beast and his Image, and the receivers of the mark of his name" -- Mat. 25:41; Rev. 14:9-11; 19:20. This fire is Aionian because it is kindled when "the Times of the Gentiles are fulfilled," and at the epoch termed "the Hour of Judgment," which immediately precedes the Aion which continues 1000 years. This Aionian Fire cannot be quenched. It is like that fire kindled in Jerusalem in the days of Jeremiah, which Yahweh Elohim said shall burn and shall not be quenched" -- Jer. 7:20; 17:27: nevertheless, the fire went out when its work was done; and Jerusalem was rebuilt, and continued for several hundred years, until it was again consumed in another unquenchable fire, which has also in like manner ceased to burn for ages past -- Mark 9:43, 44. This I believe to be the sense of the Smyrneans; not an eternal fire in the sense of the Satan -- a fire whose continuance is measured by the years of God. Polycarp in his last words prayed "for resurrection to eternal life, both of soul, and body in the incorruption of the Holy Spirit." He looked for life after resurrection of soul and resurrection of body, that they might both then become incorruptible by the Holy Spirit. But those who adopted the letter of Evaristus, and styled themselves "the Catholic Church of Smyrna," apocalyptically "the Synagogue of the Satan," declare therein that "he was now crowned with immortality and the prize of unquestionable victory." This was equivalent to saying, that something called Polycarp had gone direct to heaven, and had obtained the prize. This was one of "the depths of the Satan" so pointedly condemned by Justin as unchristianizing those who held it. Polycarp and they evidently disagreed upon this vital question, although they styled him "an apostolical and prophetical teacher, the bishop of the Catholic Church of Smyrna." If Irenaeus agreed with them that his instructor Polycarp had obtained the prize of immortality without resurrection; if this "philosophical adulteration" formed a part of his philosophy, "the essentials" he maintained would be of little worth. We suspect Irenaeus was infected with this depth of the Satan, for he speaks of "the martyrs" hastening to Christ; as though they would enter into his presence before the resurrection! Nay, we are now sure of it; for further on, in his account of the persecution at Lyons and Vienne, he says of Vettius Epagathus who suffered death, "he was, and is still, a genuine disciple of Christ, following the Lamb whithersoever he goeth" -- a quotation seventy years after John's death, from Rev. 14:4. Now Vettius could only "follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth" after his death, upon the principle of immediate translation to heaven, which was styled "the birthday of martyrdom." In another place, he speaks of "eternal fire in hell" for the apostate. But enough of Irenaeus, who suffered death a.d. 210. Tertullian wrote much, but of little account. Pantaenus was the first master of a catechetical school established at Alexandria, in Egypt; which piqued itself on its superior erudition, and whose taste was ruled by the Platonic philosophers. Pantaenus was much addicted to the sect of the Stoics, a sort of romantic pretenders to perfection. The combination of Stoicism with Christianity, in the system of Pantaenus, was a depth of the Satan that very much debased the truth, and beclouded the light of the gospel. The Antipas, composed of the simple and unlearned, happily escaped the infection, and preserved unadulterated the genuine simplicity of the faith of Christ. The Stoicized Christianity of Pantaenus laid more in the way of the learned, who are always ready to be caught by any bait that flatters intellectual pride. Pantaenus always retained the title of the Stoic Philosopher after he had been admitted to eminent employments in the church. Eusebius highly commends him for his philosophy -- a blasting wind as it was; a depth of the Satan, highly destructive of Christian vegetation in all infected by it. He died soon after the commencement of the third century, being at the time Catechist of the Alexandrian School for the indoctrination of youthful Satans in "the depths as they speak." Clemens Alexandrinus was a disciple of Pantaenus, and of the same philosophical, or Satanic, cast of mind. He was of the eclectic sect. He succeeded Pantaenus in the school, and became the preceptor of Origen, and other eminent perverters of the truth. Besides the office of Catechist, he filled that of a presbyter in the ecclesia in Alexandria. He was what is styled in our day a "Reverend Divine," and "Professor of Divinity." His course of instruction, he tells us, was this: "As the husbandman first waters the soil, and then casts in his seed, so the notions which I derive out of the writings of the Gentiles serve first to water and soften the earthy parts of the soul, that the spiritual seed may be the better cast in, and take vital root in the minds of men." This was putting the flesh above the Spirit. Milner well says upon this, that "the apostles neither placed Gentile philosophy in the foundation, nor believed that it would at all assist in raising the superstructure of Christianity." On the contrary, they looked on the philosophical religion of their own times as so much rubbish; but in all ages the blandishments of mere reason on such subjects deceive us -- "vain man would be wise." Clemens' Christianity was Nikolaitanism; and the "divinity" he taught "the depths of the Satan" derived from the writings of the Gentiles, commingled with ideas received from the scriptures, which the philosophy rendered void. The next clerical constituent of the Satan we have named is Origen. He was Preeminently a child of the woman Jezebel, and floundered notably in all the depths as the Fathers speak. He was of a most presumptuous spirit, which incited him to philosophize with great audacity in things religious; and permitted him never to content himself with plain truth, but to hunt after something singular and extraordinary. Demetrius the bishop committed the school in Alexandria to him alone; and he converted it wholly into a school of religious information, or, as it would be styled in our time, a "theological seminary." He was a courageous, self-denying, learned, exceedingly austere, and pious member of "the Synagogue of the Satan." "Heretics and philosophers," says Milner, "attended his lectures; and he took, no doubt, a very excellent method to procure regard to himself at least; he instructed them in profane and secular learning, and obtained among the Gentiles the reputation of a great philosopher. He encouraged many persons to study the liberal arts, assuring them that they would, by that means, be much better furnished for the contemplation of the Holy Scriptures. He was entirely of opinion, that secular and philosophical institutes were very necessary and profitable to his own mind. Does it escape the reader how much in the course of the christian annals we are already departed, though by insensible degrees, from christian simplicity? Here is a man looked up to with reverence at least by the Eastern Church, as a great luminary; a man who, in his younger days, was himself a scholar of the amphibious Ammonius; who mixed together christianity and pagan philosophy, and who, by reading his motley lectures, drew over, in form at least, many of the heathen philosophers to embrace the religion of Jesus. These mention him often in their books; some dedicate their works to him, and others respectfully deliver them to him as their master. All this Eusebius tells us with much apparent satisfaction. To him the gospel seems to have triumphed over Gentilism by these means. There is no doubt but in a certain sense Origen's success was great, but, in return, the pure gospel suffered greatly by an admixture of Gentilism. What can this extraordinary teacher and author mean, by asserting the utility, and even the necessity of philosophy for himself as a christian? Are not "the scriptures able to make a man wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto every good work?" Suppose a man of common sense, perfectly unacquainted with all the learned lore of Ammonius, to study only the sacred books, is it not conceivable that he may acquire a competent, nay, even an eminent knowledge of the scriptures? But what are all Origen's labors but vain attempts to mix things which the Holy Spirit has declared will not incorporate? The mischief which actually followed was to be expected: characters were confounded; and henceforward among the learned, the distinction between christian godliness and human philosophy is but faintly marked. If Origen had simply and plainly expounded to his learned auditors the peculiar and vital truths of the gospel, I cannot but suspect that many of them would have ceased to attend his instructions. "The famous Porphyry, than whom christianity had never a more acrimonious enemy, takes notice of Origen's allegorical mode of interpreting scripture, observes that he was acquainted with him when young, and testifies to his rapid improvement under Ammonius. He asserts, what indeed Eusebius contradicts, that Ammonious, though brought up a christian, turned afterwards a Gentile. He says "that Origen continually perused Plato, Numenius, and the rest of the Pythagoreans; that he was well versed in Chaeremon the Stoic, and in Cornutus; and that from all these masters he borrowed the Grecian manner of allegorical interpretation, and applied it to the Jewish Scriptures." Thus, he introduced such a complicated scheme of fanciful interpretation, as for many ages after, through the excessive respect paid to this man, much obscured the light of scripture. He died about a.d. 260, aged 70 years, a teacher and seducer of the servants of Christ from the simplicity of their faith into "the depths of the Satan, as they," the Fathers of the Jezebel apostasy, "speak," and their children, unto this day. Now, if the reader compare "the depths" excavated by Origen and his patristic coadjutors in the corruption of the primitive faith and discipline delivered to the saints by the apostles, with "the depths" of the "divinity" taught by the clergy, or spiritual guides of the people, of "every name and denomination," he will find that they are as intimately related as cause and effect. "The depths of the Satan as they spoke" in apostolic times, were the speculations of Hymeneus and Philetus, and of the many other false prophets that had gone out into the world, acuminated in Origen and others -- 2 Tim. 2:17; 1 John 4:1, whose "word," or teaching, Paul said would "eat as doth a gangrene." This is known by all pathologists to be destructive of all organization, and consequently of life. The word-gangrene of "the Satan" has consummated its work upon the theory and practice of christianity apostolically delivered. This is obvious to all scripturally enlightened observers of the spiritual system of the world. The word is not preached by the clergy who are ignorant of the first principles of the oracles of God. They preach the dogmas they have traditionally received from the "false prophets" they style "the Fathers" -- the fathers of their "Holy Orders," at the head of which is "the Holy Father" they term "the Pope." These fathers were the perverters of the gospel Paul preached, by their inventions, which substituted sacramentalism for faith; nullified the doctrine of a resurrection of judgment; abolished the kingdom; transmuted the great mystery of godliness into scholastic jargon about "trinity;" destroyed the sacrifice of the christian passover by affirming the immaculateness of Christ's flesh; in short, totally abolished the faith, and instead thereof, set up a system of rhantized heathenism, which may be defined, the sacramental deliverance of immortal ghosts from Plutonic fire and brimstone, and consequent translation into an Elysium beyond the realms of time and space!!! This definition is the symbol of "the depths of the Satan as they speak" now from the pulpits of Satandom in all the world. The Satan's ministers, transformed, as Paul says, into ministers of righteousness, all proclaim the heathen dogma of a soul or spirit in man capable of disembodied existence in eternal weal or woe; and all the religion or pietistic invention they have patented proposes or professes to do, is to save this phantom from the flames of their Tartarus, and land it in Elysium, which they call Paradise! It is this pagan dogma which lies at the bottom of all their "depths." Abolish this, and the religion of the clergy is abolished too; for their religion, which is "a cure" for such "souls," can be of no use to the people if it be proved that there are no such souls in them to be cured. Hence the clergy, when they find courage enough for the conflict, fight hard for hereditary immortality -- an immortality derived hereditarily from the earthy Adam, the first sinner upon whom the sentence of death was pronounced by the Judge of all the earth. A man under sentence of death is as a dead man. Immortality derived from a dead man by natural generation, is the immortality for which the clergy contend in all their "depths." Without it, their craft is destroyed and their occupation gone. It is the great sand-bag of their system, which, when removed from the foundaation-corner of their temple, leaves it without support, and in its fall, reveals to the contempt of all observers the shallowness of "the depths as they speak." 5. The Reward Promised.
While the Jezebel, or clerical party, which had obtained a footing in the Thyatiran ecclesia, was denounced by the Spirit, and threatened with great tribulation and death; "the Rest in Thyatira" were encouraged to perseverance in their opposition to the clergy by exceeding great and precious promises. "I will cast upon you," saith the Spirit, "no other burden." The "great tribulation" that would come upon the ecclesia, and "the death," which were to fall with pain upon the head of the wicked clergy, would more or less be cause of affliction to the whole body; but with this exception, "the rest among the Thyatirans," who protest against all "the depths," and "hold fast to the time that I may have come," shall be rewarded. The words in italics show that the Spirit who uttered them considered that there would be a class of people concurrently existing with the Jezebel and her children until the coming of Jesus Anointed, who would answer to "the rest among the Thyatirans" -- "the Remnant which keep the commandments of the Deity, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" -- Rev. 12:17. "The time" of his appearance is not quite yet. "The depths of the Satan as they (the clergy) speak" are still in the ascendant; and all the world hears, or gives heed to them, because they are of the world -- 1 Jno. 4:5. But we also see that there exists a remnant in this Thyatiran "Christendom," which "does not hold this teaching," and repudiates "the depths." This remnant was to exist as a standing protest against the clergy, or "Sin-spirituals of the wickedness in the heavenlies," until the Lord come. It does exist, and will exist till then; and at that time, now not far remote, will have the great and glorious satisfaction of witnessing and assisting in the overthrow of Jezebel, and the everlasting discomfiture of "her children" in the face of all the nations they have deceived. We, then, who are of this remnant, are exhorted by the Spirit to "hold fast what we have till he come." This exhortation presupposes that we have "the truth" -- "the things concerning the Kingdom of the Deity and of the Name of the Anointed Jesus" -- Acts 8:12. We are to hold fast these things "till he may have come," be that in what age or generation it might; and are informed that the reward shall be great. This, in additon to what is promised in the writings addressed to the Star-Elderships of the ecclesias in Ephesus, Smyrna, and Pergamos, is dominion and government over the nations, delivered from the power of the sin-spirituals and world rulers; and the possession of omnipotence. This great promise is expressed in the words of the Spirit, saying, "He that overcometh and keepeth my appointments until an end, I will give to him dominion over the nations; and he shall govern them with an iron sceptre (as the potter's clay vessels it is breaking to pieces) as also I have received from my Father. And I will give to him the Morning Star." This is promised to the faithful and obedient remnant -- to them who overcome the seductions of the world by faith, and keep the appointments of the Spirit; or those things appointed for faith and practice as delivered by the apostles -- Mat. 28:20; 10:20. These appointments are to be observed achre telous "until an end" -- not until "the end," but "until an end." These two "ends" are a thousand years apart. Alluding to the one, Paul says, "all in the Christ shall be made alive at his appearing;" and to the other, says, "afterwards the end." The appearing to make alive, is at the end of "the times of the Gentiles;" but the end afterwards to telos he characterizes by "the delivering up the Kingdom" of the Millennial Period to the Father when he shall have put down all enemies, and destroyed death, which is the last of them. Hence, between "an end" and "the end" there is an important distinction; the former marks the beginning of the restoration of the Kingdom; and the latter, of its surrender to the Father, with a long interval of time between the two epochs. The appointments to be observed are "until an end" indicated by the words of Jesus and Paul, saying, "Thus do in remembrance of me till I come." Faith, hope, baptism, and the Lord's supper, are appointments to be observed till he come. When he comes, those will be superseded by other appointments more suitable to the altered condition of the world. The new dispensation will bring with it new appointments; sacrifice will take the place of the Lord's supper; and the feast of tabernacles, the sowing in tears by the side of all waters. "Come," shall many people then say, "and let us go up to the mountain of Yahweh, to the house of the Elohim of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of Yahweh from Jerusalem." "And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from the year to year to worship the King Yahweh of armies, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles: and they shall sacrifice" -- Isai. 2:3; Zech. 14:16, 21. The apostolic appointments will not be modified or repealed till then. Jezebel and her children have in effect abolished them all. As Daniel predicted they would, they have "thought to change times and laws;" they have substituted their own Catholic and Protestant clericalism for the precepts and institutions of the apostles; but it will be found to have been all to no purpose; for there is no salvation for any kind of pietists, however approved by their spiritual conscience-keepers, save by an intelligent and affectionate belief of the gospel of the Kingdom, and immersion into and for the Divine Name -- "He that believes the gospel and is baptized shall be saved; and he that believes not shall be condemned;" these are the wholesome words of the Lord Jesus; and every one that consents not to them, Paul says, is foggy, knowing nothing. Let the clergy think of this. And who of these "reverend gentlemen," if he were sent for by the dying to give them what he calls "the consolations of religion," would talk to his "penitents" in the words of the promise before us? If unrepentant, would he exhort them to repent that they might have "dominion over the nations;" and therefore, over Britain, France, Spain, Italy, and so forth, when Jesus Christ should come to raise them from the dead? On the contrary, do not the clergy regard such doctrine as the ravings of the insane? Yet what else can a rational man make of the words before us? The Eternal Spirit declares, that the class he defines shall have "dominion over the nations; and shall govern them with an iron sceptre." The clergy and their peoples do not believe this. They deny it, and call it madness; and tell their deluded worshippers that there is no reward for them in the earth, which is to be burned up with all the nations upon it; that the reward is in a heaven beyond the realms of time and space, where their souls will be for ever with the Lord. Unquestionably the clergy are infidels and blasphemers. When they open their mouths it is "in blasphemy against God to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in the heaven" -- Rev. 13:6. This is affirmed of them who constitute "the Mouth" of the peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues, symbolized in their spiritual and temporal organizations, by the Beast of the Sea "full of Names of blasphemy." It is objected, that they are very learned, respectable, pious, and sincere gentlemen. We admit all this under certain modifications; but we have nothing to do with their learning, respectability, piety, and sincerity; our argument is, that they do not speak the words of truth as any man, not an idiot or a fool, can read them in the scriptures. They speak one thing, and the Eternal Spirit another; and what they speak is a point-blank contradiction and denial of the words of God; so that, if a man believe their dogmas, he must of necessity make God a liar, which is to blaspheme him, his truth, and all who heartily believe it. They scoff at the idea of some poor shoemaker, or mechanic, who may be a true believer, taking a position over the nations after the lapse of a few years, to govern them for God in place of Queen Victoria, and the Kings of the earth, who now possess the dominion. They assume the posture of "laughter holding both his sides," at the very statement of so preposterous a conceit. No wonder they discourage and discountenance the study of the Apocalypse; and if any of them should venture upon an exposition of it, that they should invariably give these letters to the Seven Ecclesias the go-bye. The promises appended to each are anticlerical, and find no counterpart in their systems. If it were reported that a certain clergyman had consoled a dying penitent with the hope of Christ's speedy advent to raise him from the dust; and to give him dominion with himself over the strong and powerful nations of christendom, which he should govern with omnipotence and heaven-descended wisdom; a shout of derision would be yelled forth from the throats of his "brethren in the ministry" and their people, (or they would feel like so-doing,) that would cause him, as reported of the pastor of "the Holy Apostolic Catholic Church" in Sixteenth Street, to suppress the doctrine, and to fall back into the ways of orthodoxy, for very shame; but specially for fear of the consequences to his stipend, his position, and his fame. But, scoff as the learned, respectable, and pious gentlemen of "the cloth" may, it is the doctrine of the Eternal Spirit, that "the poor in this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him," and who show their love by doing whatsoever he commands them, shall have "dominion over the nations and govern them" with almighty power. This remnant that overcomes will have the honor of breaking up and abolishing forever the kingdom of the clergy with all its ignorance, superstitions, and blasphemies; for "the nations of those who are being saved shall walk in the light," which they, as the New Jerusalem, shall shed upon them -- Rev. 21:24. Where the nations to be governed with an iron sceptre are, there is the dominion of the Saints; who in their resurrection-state, sing a new song saying to the Lamb, "Thou wast slain, and hast purchased us for God by thy blood out of every kindred and tongue and people and nation; and hast made us for our God kings and priests; and we shall reign on the earth;" "with thee a thousand years" -- Rev. 5:9, 10; 20:4, 6. This promise to "the rest among the Thyatirans" is that in Daniel apocalyptically reproduced; that "the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High Ones," whom all nations and rulers shall serve and obey -- Dan. 7:18, 27. They are to be ruled, the Spirit saith, "with a rod of iron." Iron is the symbol of subduing power; and a rod, or sceptre, of regal authority. The word here rendered rule or govern is poimanei to feed, tend, direct, and so forth; which occurs also in Rev. 19:15. In this text, Christ is said literally to "feed the nations with a rod of iron" with the power of a royal conqueror. The position this sentence occupies shows, that thus to feed or rule them is to smite them, and to tread them in the winepress of almighty wrath and indignation. Thus it is written there, "Out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he might smite the nations; and he shall govern them with an iron sceptre; and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of the all powerful Deity." This is what is to be done by the King of kings and Lord of lords in his victorious career. Now the Spirit saith to the Thyatiran remnant, that he will give to them "even as I received of my Father." Chap. 19:15 and Psal. 2:8, 9, show how the Spirit made flesh hath received of the Father-Spirit. Hence, for the remnant to feed, or rule, the nations with an iron sceptre, is for them, in concert with the Christ, to smite and conquer them, and so to inaugurate their royal authority over them. This appears also from chap. 2:27. Here is a parenthesis after "rod of iron," which indicates what is transpiring while the remnant is receiving dominion over the nations. In the original the parenthesis reads, "As the clay vessels of a potter it is breaking to pieces." This differs from the English Version, which translates the word suntribetai by "shall they be broken to pieces." This is incorrect, for the verb is in the third person singular of the present indicative passive, and not in the future plural. The version of the American Bible Union corrects the Tense but not the person of the verb. It follows the old version, and persists in giving a plural nominative to a singular verb. It renders the parenthesis by the words "as the vessels of the potter are shivered." This, though good English, is an ungrammatical rendering of the Greek. The revisers err in looking for an expressed nominative of the verb. The sentence does not contain one. The nominative to suntribetai must be supplied from Dan. 2:34, 35, 44, 45. The verb signifies "it is breaking to pieces;" and the prophetic answer to the question, "What is breaking to pieces?" -- is the nominative to the verb. "It," the Image of Nebuchadnezzar, "is breaking to pieces as the clay vessels of a potter. This breaking to pieces of the gold, the silver, the brass, the iron, and the clay together, is consequent upon its being smitten by the Stone-Power upon its clayey feet -- its clay-vessels, or ten Horn-kingdoms confederated with the Eighth Head in the hour of their breaking in pieces, and becoming the kingdoms of Yahweh and of his Christ. The remnant among the Thyatirans, and the Pergamean Antipas, and the Smyrnean "rich" in faith, and Ephesian laborers for the Spirit's Name, and the few names in Sardis, and the Philadelphian keepers of the word of his patience -- these all, with Christ at the head of them, are the New Testament constituents of the Stone-Power. Authority will be given to them to break in pieces the political fabric of the world of nations as established in church and state. The operation is a conjoint one. It is to be effected, not by Jesus alone, not by his joint-heirs in his absence; but by all in concert. They follow him whithersoever he goeth -- ch. 14:4; and therefore accompany him in all his wars of "the Great Day of the almighty Deity" -- ch. 16:14: so that, when he encounters the Ten Horns, they are with him as "the called, and chosen, and faithful" -- ch. 17:14; and when the worshippers of the Beast are tormented, it is in their presence as "the holy messengers" with the Lamb -- ch. 14:10; and when he judges the Italian Harlot they reward her as she rewarded them, and double unto her double according to her works -- ch. 18:8, 6; and when he goes forth to smite the nations, they follow him as the war-clouds of the heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, which is representative of their righteousness in him -- ch. 19:14, 8. The New Version renders the passage before us thus: "I will give him authority over the nations; and he shall tend them with an iron rod, as the vessels of the potter are shivered." This gives utterance to the idea I have expressed above -- that the tending, feeding, or ruling of this text consists in breaking them to pieces. This is an improvement upon the old version; but still defective in the particular already noted. 6. The Morning Star.
The Morning Star is also promised to him that overcomes, -- "I will give to him the Morning Star," saith the Spirit. To appreciate the importance and value of this great promise we must know what is signified by the phrase. The Morning Star, #GREEK#ton astera ton proeenon,#GREEKOFF# is the star belonging to the morning. This morning is alluded to in Gen. 49:27, where it is written concerning the tribe of Benjamin, styled "a wolf," "he shall tear in pieces; in the morning he shall devour the prey; and at the evening he shall divide the spoil." In these words of Jacob's prophecy of "what shall happen with Israel in the last of the days," we are instructed to look for a period in which Benjamin will devour his enemies instead of being himself devoured, as for the last eighteen hundred years. This is styled "the morning" -- an era of triumph and conquest for Israel, as indicated by their devouring "the prey" and dividing "the spoil." Now, the morning is the beginning of the day, or the time of the sun's rising. This is true whether the sun be the "Day Star" of the material or political heavens. The morning referred to by Jacob in his prophecy, is manifestly the time of the rising of a sun in the political heavens; because he is treating of a great political revolution in the affairs of Benjamin and the rest of the tribes. Israel can not now "devour the prey" and "divide the spoil" among the people; because, as Moses says in Deut. 32:36, "Yahweh sees that power hath departed, and none retained or left." It is this perfect powerlessness of the tribes before their enemies, that excites the indignation and compassion of Yahweh. The scattering of their power having attained its climax, (Dan. 12, ) the morning of their deliverance arrives; "for Yahweh will plead for his people, and show pity upon his servants, when he shall see that power is departed, and none retained or left." But the tribes of Jacob are not the sun, or Day Star, of this morning of their glory. In the antitype as in the type, "in the morning they shall see the glory of Yahweh appearing in a cloud" -- Exod. 16:7, 10; and they who behold are different from the thing beheld: this is the Sun who in his rising makes it morning time. He will then give them bread to the full; and his dew will lay round about the host. The life and power of Israel is not in their own prowess; but in the Eternal Spirit, Yahweh, manifested in Messiah and his brethren, -- the one Yahweh Elohim of Israel. It is he that makes "their latter end" glorious; and turns the weeping of their long and dreary night into the joy that cometh in the morning. This Eternal Spirit in his multitudinous manifestation is the Sun, belonging to the morning of that great day in which the world shall be ruled in righteousness; and Yahweh's glory shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. The Spirit in David contemplating this ek pollon eis, and vice versa, the One-in-Many, the future ruling body upon earth, says, "There shall be a Ruler over mankind, a Just One, ruling in the righteous precepts of Elohim. And as brightness of morning, He shall rise the Sun of an unclouded dawn shining forth after rain upon tender grass out of the earth" -- 2 Sam. 23:4. This One Ruling Body, the mystical Christ, is the Shiloh, to whom shall be the gathering of the peoples, as the Sceptre of Judah. This is the King that shall be higher than Agag, and whose kingdom shall be exalted, -- the Star out of Jacob, and the sceptre or rod of iron, that shall smite the princes of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth. Jesus of Nazareth is the Head of this "One Body;" and the Head of Jesus is the Eternal Power, whence is effused the anointing of all" -- 1 Cor. 11:3. Now the Eternal Wisdom is the revealer of the Apocalypse. He gave it to Jesus, "whom he anointed both Lord and Christ." Hence, when the anointed Jesus speaks in the apocalypse, it is the Eternal who speaks. For this reason it is, that at the end of each epistle the hearer is reminded that it is the Spirit speaking to the ecclesias. Thus we see the same rule maintained in the Apocalypse as in the Testimony of John. There, in ch. 7:16, Jesus saith, "My doctrine," or teaching, "is not mine, but His that sent me. If any man will do his will he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of Deity, or I speak of myself." And in ch. 12:49, "I have not spoken of myself, but the Father who sent me; He gave me a commandment what I should say, and what I should speak." The rule of the apocalypse is the same -- the Eternal Wisdom speaking through Jesus, himself become spirit in being begotten and born of the Spirit from among the dead. It is the Eternal Spirit, then, who, through Jesus, says in Apoc. 22:16, "I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the bright and Morning Star." The Spirit, apart from Jesus, could not say this. The Spirit is the Root of David, because David and all mankind sprung from the Spirit who created them; but apart from flesh and blood, He was not "the Offspring" of David. It was necessary for the Spirit to become flesh of Judah and David's line, as John teaches in ch. 1:14, to become "the offspring of David." When he raised up the dead body named Jesus, he transformed it into spirit-body. This became the Bright Star -- the bright particular star -- of that galaxy of stars pertaining to that morning when "Israel shall do valiantly;" and the wolf, Benjamin, shall devour the prey; and the Beloved of Yahweh shall dwell in safety by him, shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders -- Deut. 33:12. The Bright and the Morning Star, then, the Eternal Spirit glorified in Jesus, promises to give the morning star to him that overcomes. In other words, that he shall become a glorified constituent of the "One Body," when it is adopted at the manifestation of the Sons of Deity -- Rom. 8:19-24. He will, then, be a star pertaining to the Millennial Dawn -- a morning star; for "they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars le-olahm wah-ed, In the Olahm and Beyond;" or, as Jesus said, "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun In the Kingdom of Their Father;" which belongs to "the Olahm and beyond" -- Dan. 12:4; Matt. 13:43. The redeemed will then be, in the aggregate, Cloud of Morning Stars, "equal to the angels." themselves "the Morning Stars that sang together, and the Sons of Deity that shouted for joy," when the corner-stone of earth's foundation was laid by the Eternal -- Job 38:7. We look for the Bright and Morning Star from heaven, that he may "change our vile body, and fashion it like unto his glorious body" -- Phil. 3:21; and we know that "we are now the Sons of Deity, and that when he shall appear we shall be like him" -- 1 John 3:2. This is equivalent to saying we shall be Morning Stars -- stars that come forth as dew from the womb of the morning, shining in all the glory of the resurrection state -- 1 Cor. 15:41; Ps. 110:3. Of all the Stars of the New Heavens, Jesus will be the brightest; for in all things it is the Father's will and pleasure, not only that all the fulness shall dwell in him, but that he also shall have the preeminence. "There is one glory of the Sun," and that is his; and "there is another glory of the Stars," and that is the glory of his brethren individually; and "there is another glory of the Moon," and that is the glory of his companions collectively. As his Bride, they "look forth as the morning, fair as the Moon, clear as the Sun, and terrible as an army with banners" -- Cant. 6:10. He that overcomes, to him it shall be given to be one of these -- a splendid one sparkling in the glory of the great and fearful Name of Yahweh Elohim.