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Bible Commentaries

William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament
Revelation 11

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-19

THE reader must remember we are still in the period of the sixth trumpet.

1-3. Here we have the period of Jerusalem’s desolation and pollution, given in the phraseology, forty two months, and twelve hundred and sixty days, which are synonymous. Jerusalem was captured by the Mohammedans, A.D. 637; 1897 minus 637 leaves 1260. You see, from this calculation, that the Turks have but one more year in the Holy Land.

While these numbers are God’s invaluable lights hung out from the skies to illume the dark night of Satan’s reign on the earth, yet you must not be a numerical stickler, and permit your faith to be jostled if they are not literally fulfilled, since we do not know the exact chronology; but we certainly know it sufficiently for all practical purposes. I shall certainly look for the fall of the Turkish power in the Holy Laud in 1897. It may come sooner, or perhaps later; but rest assured, it will not long delay. No wonder the Church prophesies (i.e., preaches) clothed in sackcloth (i.e., amid great discouragements) while antichrist reigns.

4, 6. The two witnesses are regeneration and sanctification, wrought by the Holy Ghost in the heart. The tame olive tree (Jeremiah 11;

Romans 11) is the Jewish Church — the Old Dispensation, on the basis of justification. The wild olive tree, grafted into the good olive tree, typifies the converted Gentiles, and represents the Pentecostal Dispensation, which is sanctification. The two candlesticks represent the two departments of the temple-the sanctuary, which is regeneration, and the sanctum-sanctorum, which is entire sanctification. Hence you see these two witnesses are God’s work in the heart — i.e., regeneration and sanctification.

5. If any one wishes to hurt them, fire comes out of their mouth, and burns up their enemies.” This statement of the Holy Ghost is profoundly significant of the utter irresistibility of Christian testimony. If you get a real sky- blue regeneration and a red-hot sanctification, you have nothing to do but open your mouth and testify. Your enemies will quail and skedaddle before you. History says the testimony of dying martyrs frequently converted their executioners, who, in turn, surrendered and likewise suffered martyrdom. This is the hope of the Holiness movement, to burn its way through the icebergy Churches, and conquer this wicked world for Christ. If the Holiness people are true, get the genuine experience, and keep full of love and fire, victory has come to stay. God’s people, though driven by their persecutors into mountains and caverns, still have the power to lock up the heavens by their prayers, and bring famine on the earth. Last summer it was my privilege to visit the deep, dark cavern beside the brook Cherith, where Elijah locked the heavens three years by his prayer. Responsive to the prayer of Moses, the waters of Egypt were turned into blood.

7. The beast coming up out of the bottomless pit is theerion. It means a ferocious, bloodthirsty wild beast. It is constantly in these prophecies used with reference to the papacy and the secular powers — i.e., human governments — all of which are symbolized by wild beasts. “And he shall make war with the saints, and kill them.” This has been abundantly fulfilled in case of both pagan and papal Rome, each having slain one hundred millions of martyrs. These two witnesses are God’s saints on the earth, testifying to His works wrought in them — i.e., regeneration and sanctification. It is highly probable that these prophecies have their preliminary fulfillments at different epochs. As we approach the final culmination I see at least a preliminary verification of the prophecies relative to the witnesses in the French Revolution. Paris, the most debauched and fantastical city on the globe, is appropriately symbolized by Sodom, Egypt, and fallen Jerusalem when she murdered her Savior. During the French Revolution, which broke out in 1789, and finally terminated in Napoleon’s conquest, when the infidels got the political power and became the sole custodians of the imperial government, actuated by the writings and personal influence of Tom Paine, Voltaire, and Rousseau, they repudiated the Bible, interdicted all religions service, closed all the Churches against the worshipping congregations, and used them for club-meetings and other secular purposes; abolished the Sabbath, and proclaimed every tenth day for recreation and rest; sent men throughout the empire to superscribe over the gate leading into every graveyard, “Death is an eternal sleep.” This audacious infidel government swiftly culminated in the “Reign of Terror.” Men, women, and children, on the merest suspicion, were beheaded by the guillotine. The land flowed with innocent blood. A million of the best people were brutally murdered. Danton, Murat, and Robespierre, the terrorists, became absolutely intolerable. The people arose en masse, slew the tyrants, threw off the infidel government, reinstated the royal family, restored the Bible to the people, reopened the Churches, called back the surviving clergy from an exile of three years and a half, and restored the Sabbath, with all the institutions of the Christian religion. Here you see a fulfillment of this prophecy. During the “Reign of Terror,” three years and a half, God’s witnesses were slain; i.e., Christianity was utterly abolished and infidelity enthroned. At the expiration of three years and a half, infidelity was dethroned and Christianity restored; i.e., the witnesses were raised from the dead.

12. Here we see the witnesses ascend up to heaven in a cloud, responsive to the Divine voice calling them to mount up hither. There is at least a probability that the culminating fulfillment of this prophecy will take place at the rapture, when our Lord shall descend and receive his people; i.e., into the cloud. Remember that the two witnesses are regeneration and sanctification, which are God’s works in the heart, to which His people in all ages bear testimony. The Armenian Christians have the largest building in Jerusalem, their convent on Mt. Zion accommodating eight thousand pilgrims. I was in it, and many other Churches and edifices belonging to those people. Numerically and financially, they are the third Christian denomination in the Holy Land. In open violation of the Christian Toleration Treaty of 1844, the Turks have been murdering the Armenian Christians about eighteen months. Now perhaps these massacres will continue two years more, and then the Lord will descend and take up His murdered Armenian Christians, with His expectant bride, into the cloud. Will not that be a glorious fulfillment of this prophecy? It may have received its final fulfillment in the French Revolution, as above described; but I feel profoundly impressed that this fulfillment was only preliminary to the final and glorious verification which will take place at the rapture, when the Lord’s witnesses, who have been slain in all ages, will rise to meet Him in the clouds. And who knows but these Armenian massacres will continue till the Lord descends and takes them up, thus fulfilling this prophecy about the murdered witnesses who lay dead three years and a half!

13. Doubtless the latter days will be signally characterized by terrible earthquakes. Here we have the numbers ten and seven, both of which are sacred in these prophecies. Seven is symbolic of Christ, and ten is a multiple of God’s children. This is evidently a description of the rapture, when the Lord shall come in a cloud (1:7) and take up his people. Jesus says, in his sermon on the judgments (Matthew 24), that He will appear as the lightning shining around the world, and flashing into all eyes. No wonder this will produce a terrible and universal alarm, superinducing a mighty awakening!

We have now reached the terminus of the sixth trumpet and second woe. The current of Divine providence begins a tinkling rill. Augmented by innumerable tributaries, it soon becomes a swelling river. It then broadens out into a majestic arm of the sea; continues to widen and deepen, till it disembarks into the ocean. These seven trumpets proclaim the entire prophetic panorama. When we reach the fifth trumpet, Satan’s millennium is in full blast. Dark Age midnight fast culminated. The devil has shaken down every civil government on the globe, and so completely sidetracked the Apostolic Church as to get her literally turned around, so that she is running with all of her momentum straight down to hell. At this juncture Diabolus sends into the world his two favorite sons — i.e., Mahomet and the pope — dividing the world between them, giving to Mahomet the Eastern and to the pope the Western hemisphere. Oh, how the pandemonium rings with shouts upon the coronation of these two diabolical kings, as they sanguinely hoped, destined to rule the world forever, thus consummating Satan’s original scheme of augmenting the narrow limits of hell by the permanent accession of this world! In that case, there never would have been another civil government nor holy Church on the earth.

So momentous are the calamities transpiring in the fifth trumpet that it is denominated ‘the first woe. It embraces five months — i.e., one hundred and fifty years — culminating in the Saracen invasion of Europe, threatening to sweep Christianity, which they had already driven out of Asia and Africa and exiled in Europe (at that time the wild West), from the globe. The defeat of the Saracens at the battle of Tours, France, by Charles Martel, in A.D. 732, was a sunburst on the hopes of Christendom, and the first decisive defeat of the Moslem invaders. Then a number of centuries intervened, culminating in the Crusades, during which Christianity was frequently on the aggressive, but finally culminating in hopeless defeat, so far as the recovery of the Holy Land was concerned.

The second woe is to continue a year, a month, a day, and an hour; i.e., in prophetic time, four hundred years. This embraces the second great period of the Moslem conquest, during which they overran the great East and founded the Mogul Empire, which embraced the fairest portions of the known world, and stood two hundred years, ruled by Moslem princes. Meanwhile they continue to press the war with indefatigable perseverance against Christian Europe, perfectly sanguine in their anticipation of conquering the world. The Chaldean, Medo-Persian, Grecian, and Roman Empires each in turn had conquered and ruled the world. Why shall not the Moslem warriors push the Islam conquest to the ends of the earth, unify the government of the nations under the broad pinions of the worldwide Turkish Empire, sweep idolatry from the globe, exterminate Christianity from the face of the earth, and concentrate all nations in the grand Monotheism of the Koran and its inimitable prophet? Exuberant with a thousand victories, their path strewn with laurels, golden scepters, crowns, from the Indian Ocean to the Baltic Sea, A.D. 1683, three hundred thousand panoplied Mussulmen lay siege to Vienna, the capital of Austria, and at that time the greatest city in Christendom. They coiled their innumerable host, like a huge boa-constrictor, around the city. Cutting off all possible ingress and egress, they propose to starve them into speedy capitulation. With the flight of the last hope, the Viennese dispatch a courier to John Sobieski, the world-renowned Polish Aero, who was then in the meridian of his military glory, and celebrated afar on account of his enthusiasm for the cause of Christ. He receives the message with unutterable gratitude to God for opening the door to serve His cause. He hastily rendezvouses seventy thousand Christian warriors, jubilant to march under the banner of the Cross to the relief of Vienna. But what shall they do with three hundred thousand Saracens? They outnumber them nearly five to one. Besides, they have everything possible in the way of arms and equipage; and last, though not least, they are flushed with a thousand victories, and feel certain of another, which will open all Europe to the Moslem conquest, and expedite the extermination of Christianity from the earth. The Poles are not only few in number and poorly armed, but the outstanding memory of four hundred years, in which the Crescent has triumphed and the Cross trailed in the dust, throws an ominous gloom over the forlorn hope of Vienna’s relief. They arrive at five o’clock P.M. on Sunday, October 12, 1683. Sobieski delivers them a powerful war speech, in which he asseverates his determination to whip the Moslems and relieve Vienna, or die on the battlefield. His men all imbibe the same spirit. He gives them the battle-cry, “Not unto us, O Lord, but unto Thee, be the glory!” He leads the assault in person at a sweeping gallop, waving his sword in the air and shouting aloud, “Not unto us, O Lord, but unto Thee, be the glory!” Meanwhile, the seventy thousand Christian warriors follow, shouting that thrilling battle-cry at the top of their voices. The terrible impetuosity breaks the Moslem phalanx, generates confusion, which speedily culminates in wild disorder, incorrigible panic, general skedaddle, and an awful stampede for life. In the good providence of God, it was the time of a total lunar eclipse. The full Moon rises in all her effulgent beauty and glory. The sky is perfectly serene and cloudless. The total eclipse comes on, and she literally fades away from the Orient. When the superstitious Mussulmans, utterly ignorant of astronomy, see their banner fade from the sky, they give way to universal consternation and precipitate flight, screaming vociferously as they run for dear life: “God has forsaken us; do you not see our banner fading from the skies?” Thus in pell-mell confusion they run over one another in the universal stampede, leaving the earth groaning beneath the burdens they have abandoned in their trepidation. The finest war-horses, draft-animals, all sorts of vehicles, with immense spoils accumulated on a hundred battlefields, are all abandoned in the promiscuous flight for life. Then and there the tide of Saracen conquest, which had moved forward four hundred years, and bade fair to inundate the world, exterminating Christianity from the globe, began to roll back, and has been receding ever since. Within fifteen years from that signal and disastrous defeat, the Turkish Empire lost a dozen kingdoms, and has been going down with the velocity of an avalanche ever since. Rome possessed the whole world. Having ruled it a thousand years, it took her three hundred years to die. The Moslem power conquered the time-honored empires of the globe, possessed the fairest portions of the world, and ruled them a thousand years, before she met her fatal doom at. Vienna. Thus she has been dying two hundred years. She is now a political corpse, kept alive artificially by the jealousy of her neighbors. We are in daily anticipation of her long-expected collapse. The prophetical epoch of her fall is 1897. Making due allowances for chronological inaccuracies, we may rest assured the end is nigh. When Turkdom falls, the Holy Land passes into Christendom; the children of Abraham will be gathered home, and speedily converted to Christianity.

15. THE SEVENTH ANGEL SOUNDS HIS TRUMPET

And there were great voices in heaven, saying: The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and His Christ, and He will reign forever and ever.”

18. And the Gentiles were enraged, and Thy wrath has come, and the time for the dead to be vindicated, and to give reward to Thy servants the prophets and saints, and to those who fear Thy name, small and great, and to destroy them that destroy the earth.” These prophetical scenes frequently overlap and run into each other. We have now reached the seventh trumpet, which will sound on till the Lord comes to reign. But remember, since the beginning of the ninth chapter, we have been in the Oriental hemisphere, among the followers of the false prophet. When we reach the papal prophecies, appertaining to the Occidental hemisphere, we will fall back to the fifth and sixth trumpets, which proclaim the first and second woes. As we found the second woe vastly greater than the first, so we will find the third woe infinitely climaxing all the preceding.

The momentous issues predicted in all the latter day prophecies belong to the third woe, and will take place during the seventh trumpet. You see unmistakably, from the above quotations, that every human government on the globe, both political and ecclesiastical, is to be turned over to the Lord Jesus Christ when He comes to reign. Two hundred millions of martyrs have sealed their faith with their blood. All their prayers for deliverance, victory, and the triumph of truth and righteousness in the world, are going to be answered. They will be rewarded with a place in the first resurrection, and receive kingdoms and crowns as the faithful subordinates of the reigning Christ in the coming millennium. The popular idea that the wicked multitudes will be converted during the Gospel Age is unscriptural. They may be saved, if they will; but there is the trouble. They love sin too much to give it up. Jesus says “the saved are few,” while the multitude travel the broad road. In the Jerusalem Council the end for which the gospel is sent into the world is defined: “To gather out of all nations a people unto the Lord.”

The wonderful prophecies about a nation being born in a day belong to the millennial period. As above quoted, these people who reject the gospel, and destroy the prosperity and happiness of the earth by their wickedness, are not to be converted, but destroyed. The rulers of the world, political and ecclesiastical, with the millions who sycophantize them into office, would not let the Lord reign, if He were to come down today on His millennial throne. Therefore, when He comes and takes His blood-washed bride out of the world, the Ancient of Days will descend (Daniel 7:9), encumber His castigatory judgment throne, and enter into righteous judgment with all the wicked nations and fallen Churches of the earth. He said to His Son: “Sit Thou on my right hand until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool.” Hence you see the invisible Father will descend and sit in judgment on all the powers of the earth, political and ecclesiastical, and administer to them the just reward of their rebellion, maladministration, high-handed iniquities vices, and crimes, till the sweeping catastrophes of the great tribulation shall remove from the earth the unsaveable, incorrigible population. Daniel 7:13-14 reveals the “Son of Man” coming down on His millennial throne to take possession of this world, immediately after the Father has prepared the way by His pre- millennial judgments. The very fact that the Holy Spirit says that the Son of man shall come and reign on the earth forever beautifully corroborates Acts 1:11 :

“This same Jesus whom you saw ascend up to heaven, will also come again in like manner as ye saw Him go into heaven.”

When Jesus gave us the commission, He said: “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the age.” Hence we see that the God-Christ is with us throughout the Gospel Age; but the man-Christ has not been on earth since his ascension from Mt. Olivet. Zechariah 14:4 says:

“His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives.”

Hence, pursuant to these prophecies, we fondly anticipate the return of our Lord to this earth in His glorified humanity. Just so surely as He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, He will come in on a cloud; so surely as He hung on the cross, will He sit on the throne. These Scriptures are plain and unmistakable, all theological tergiversations notwithstanding. Our Lord’s blood-washed bride in every nation under heaven now hears His voice, thrills with holy enthusiasm, and hastens to meet Him as He comes back to earth, not to suffer and to die, but to conquer and to reign. As Daniel and John, with many other inspired writers, constantly speak of His kingdom as everlasting,” a moment’s reflection will readily harmonize the eternity of His kingdom on earth with all other phases of revealed truth. While the Bible reveals that God the Father administers the retributive judgments which supervene during the Gospel Ages, the final judgment at the end of time, which is not castigatory, but revelatory and vindicatory of the unimpeachable integrity and immaculate purity of the Divine administration, will be the prerogative of the Son. Now, when you consider this fact in connection with the signal failure of Satan’s post- millennial invasion, you recognize at once the uninterrupted reign of Christ from the inauguration of the millennium, not only through the Millennial Ages, the post-millennial times, and final judgment, but on through all eternity, this earth having been sanctified by fire, and transformed by the creative presence of Omnipotence into a glorified celestial sphere.

HUMAN GOVERNMENT

Daniel 2:31; Daniel 2:35 : The chronological image seen by Nebuchadnezzar in his prophetic dream reveals not only the entire panorama of Gentile governments, from the fall of Jerusalem, B.C. 587, to the end of the Gospel Age, but the stone emblematizes the millennial kingdom. Man has been a failure amid all environments and throughout all ages. He failed in Eden. He failed in the Antediluvian times, till the very mercy of God forced Him to destroy the wicked world and give humanity another chance. How speedily did wickedness flood the post-diluvian world! The people proved so wicked as to defeat the grace of God in the main in every dispensation, finally breaking down and exterminating the last vestige of the theocracy, when Nebuchadnezzar, having conquered the world, destroyed Jerusalem, and carried the last remnant of the holy people into Babylonian captivity. Thus the Divine government having gone into eclipse, human rule prevails throughout the whole world.

The first form of human government which superseded the theocracy was the absolute monarchy represented by the golden head. This is the most powerful form of human government. It built the Egyptian pyramids, and many other monuments of autocratic power which this day bewilder a contemplative world.

The golden empire of Nebuchadnezzar is followed by the Medo-Persian, represented by the breast and arms of silver. This is conquered by the Greeks under the leadership of Alexander the Great, emblematized by the abdomen and thighs of brass, and bears rule over the whole earth.

Then mighty Rome, symbolized by the great iron legs, conquers all nations, and rules the world a thousand years. The two legs of the image represent the two great hemispheres of the Roman world, centralized at Rome and Constantinople. The ten toes of the image represent the ten grand divisions into which the Roman Empire was disintegrated when destroyed by the Goths, Huns, and Vandals, A.D. 476. You see the progressive depreciation from the pure gold of the Chaldean Empire down to the iron and the clay of modern democracies. Multitudes of concurrent prophecies, corroborated by all the signs of the times, force on us the conclusion that we are living in the toe stage of human government. The trend of the whole world, at the present day, is into democracies, which are fully exposed to all the whimsical caprices of the popular will, swayed by bribery, and inflamed by demagogues. There is but one step out of democracy into anarchy, which is no government at all. We are on the daily outlook for the fatal plunge of all nations into the unutterable horrors of anarchy, when every government on the globe will totter and fall. This will doubtless peculiarize the horrors of the great tribulations.

Thus we see that human government has run its race, from the golden head down to the dirty feet of the chronological image. Daniel says “they have the strength of the iron;” i.e., the great standing armies which this day belt the globe, eat up the substance, and impoverish the nations. They also have the weakness of the clay; i.e., internal factions, led on by thieves, who call themselves patriots. They are vampires in disguise, sucking from the nation the last drop of blood, and reducing her to a loathsome political corpse, which the vultures of revolution are eager to devour. Daniel 2:34-35 :

“Thou sawest till a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and broke them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing-floors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.”

Daniel 2:44 :

“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.”

Theologians have resorted to a thousand tergiversations to evade the plain, simple, and unsophisticated meaning of this prophecy. They have generally identified the kingdom with the gospel Church. This construction flatly contradicts Scripture chronology, as the Church was set up during the Roman Empire, and this kingdom at the terminus of the toe stage of human government.

LITERALIZATION AND SPIRITUALIZATION

A misconstruction along these two lines comprehends the greater part of all those unfortunate theological manipulations which have perverted, neutralized, futilized, and misconstrued God’s word in all ages, filling the Bible with contradictions antagonizing the warring sects, beclouding the inspired page, and discouraging the popular mind in all Biblical study. When I was preaching in Jacksonville, Florida, I had in my audience a Swedenborgian, who spiritualized the whole Bible, and soul-sleepers, who literalized it all. You will always find the truth midway between two errors. In all Biblical interpretation, you must fix your eye on Jesus, and, guided by the Holy Ghost, sail between the Scylla of literalizing the spiritual and the Charybdis of spiritualizing the literal. In the latter case, you will find yourself tangled up in the gloomy speculations of Swedenborgianism; in the former, you plunge into the dismal fogs of materialistic infidelity. The Bible is a plain book. It means what it says, says what it means. This wonderful kingdom, which Daniel saw cut out without human hands, and smite the image on the feet, utterly demolishing it into chaff, is homogeneous with all the preceding kingdoms represented by the image; i.e., the golden, Chaldean Empire; Medo-Persian, silver; the Grecian, brass; the Roman, iron; and the ten great powers of the earth at this day, represented by the toes of iron mixed with clay. Remember the governments of the present day are not the pure, strong iron of mighty Rome, which conquered all nations and ruled them a thousand years; but they are all iron mixed up with clay. The clay is not only symbolic of utter weakness, but the iron interpenetrated with clay is very brittle and weak, ready to fall into a thousand pieces when violently smitten by an external force. This stone kingdom is not only to utterly demolish and exterminate all the kingdoms of the earth, but become a great mountain, covering the entire globe, and stand forever. A thousand prophecies pour floods of light on the tenable conclusion as to the character and destiny of this kingdom.

It is the glorious kingdom for which Christendom has been praying for in the Lord’s Prayer the last eighteen hundred years. Of course we enter the spiritual kingdom in regeneration; but the construction of this, in a merely spiritual sense, would be irreconcilably heterogeneous to all these earthly kingdoms. You see this kingdom is to destroy and supersede all earthly governments, fill the world, and stand forever. It is the restoration of the theocracy in the Edenic splendor and glory, never again to be superseded by an alien power, human or Satanic. The Dark Ages of diabolical misrule, sin, and misery will pass into an eternal eclipse, forever superseded by the glorious kingdom of our triumphant Savior.

Luke 21:24 :

TIMES OF THE GENTILES

“Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the Gentiles until the time of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”

Romans 11:25 :

“Blindness in part has happened unto Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles may come in.”

Daniel 8:14 :

“And He said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.”

All the lights of prophecy, corroborated by history, force on us the conclusion that we are living in the end of the Gentile times. They began with the fall of Jerusalem and the captivity of the Jews by the Gentiles, B.C. 587. To this add 1896, which equals 2483. The Gentile time, in lunar chronology, is 354 multiplied by 7, which equals 2478; calendar, 360 multiplied by 7, which equals 2520; and solar, 365 multiplied by 7, which equals 2555. Now, 2483 minus 2478 leaves 5. Hence you see, according to lunar, the Gentile times are 5 years over. 2520 minus 2483 leaves 37. Calendar time gives us 37 years yet to elapse. 2555 minus 2483 leaves 72. Solar chronology gives us 72 years of Gentile time yet to come.

From these calculations the conclusion follows, with all of the infallibility of God’s mathematics, that we are living in the time of the end of the Gentile Age. Daniel 8:14 calculates from Persian rule. The temple was rebuilt by Cyrus, B.C. 444. Add to this 1896, which equals 2340. It was 49 years in building. 2340 minus 49 leaves 2291, which, subtracted from 2300 (Daniel 8:14), leaves 9. Hence you see it will be only nine years till the temple is cleansed from idolatry.

Jerusalem was taken by the Mahometans, A.D. 637, when the daily worship (not sacrifices, which is not in the Hebrew) closed. It is to be restored after a time, times, and a half-time (Daniel 12:7). By calendar time 360 plus 720 plus 180 equals 1260 prophetic years. 1896 minus 637 leaves 1259.

Hence you see 1897 is the auspicious era of this glorious and long-prayed- for downfall of the Turkish power.

Romans 11:26 :

FINAL DESTINY OF THE JEWS

“So all Israel shall be saved, as has been written: A Deliverer shall come out of Zion, and turn away ungodliness from Jacob.”

The glorified Jesus, returning to reign, is this great Deliverer. The valley of dry bones (Ezekiel 37) teaches that the Jews will be gathered into Palestine, mainly in an unconverted state. All the prophecies inspire us, and the signs of the times abundantly corroborate the universal anticipation of Moslem’s speedy fall in the Holy Land, which will be quickly followed by the return of the Jews. Then all Christendom will unite for their conversion. It is highly probable that the Savior, when He comes to steal away His bride, will so reveal Himself to His consanguinity as to expedite their conversion. Zechariah 8 teaches wonderful things relative to the destiny of the Jews in the latter days. Having returned to Palestine and been converted to Christ, they will suffer terrible ordeals. During the great tribulations, a combination of nations will invade Palestine, besiege and capture Jerusalem, commit appalling depredations, slay two-thirds of the Jews, and carry half of the survivors into captivity. The surviving third will only be rescued from slaughter and captivity by the sudden descension of the glorious King.

Zechariah 14:4 :

“His feet shall stand in that day on the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof towards the east and towards the west, a great valley...And the Lord my God shall come and all His saints with Thee.

Zechariah 14:8 :

And it shall be in that day that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea...

Zechariah 14:9 :

And the Lord shall be King over all the earth.”

From these prophecies we see that the Jews, during the tribulations, after their return to Palestine and their conversion to Christianity, will suffer these terrible and appalling catastrophes, which will utterly expurgate from them the dross and debris of the Gentile world, in which they have so long sojourned. Through these fiery ordeals and castigatory judgments they will be thoroughly sanctified, robed, and ready to meet the King of Glory, and come to the front of the millennial administration. Then will be verified that wonderful truth (Romans 11:26):

“All Israel shall be saved.”

Thus we see the Gentile period having wound to a close, their power, political and ecclesiastical, throughout the whole world, will come to an end; they will be relegated to the rear.

Meanwhile, the Gentile kingdoms are everywhere toppling to their doom. The Jews will be gathering home, getting converted, suffering bloody persecutions and deportations, eliminating the unsanctifiable elements, leaving the true and the tried, who, with the victories of persecutionary fires flashing from their eyes, will meet their descending King with shouts of welcome, and come to the front of the world again, as in the days of the patriarchs and prophets. This faithful, sanctified remnant will lead the way in the evangelization of the millennial world. “Then shall a nation be born in a day.”

THE WONDERFUL DESTINY OF JERUSALEM

There is a tradition that Adam and Eve were created on the spot where Jerusalem now stands. When I was in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, my guide showed me what was claimed to be Adam’s skull. Perhaps it is incredible; but I certainly saw a number of mummies in Cairo, Egypt, doubtless four thousand years old, and looking like they would last forever. If the flesh of an Egyptian mummy has lasted four thousand years, why not the solid bone of Adam’s skull five thousand? Hence Jerusalem, with her sacred and imperishable memories, is the place of all places on which the Son looks down; therefore, it is the representative of the world from creation through the sweep of ages, the coming kingdom, and eternal cycles. We are living in Satan’s period, denominated by the apostles “the night,” which is to be followed by the millennial day, whose glorious dawn now electrifies expectant saints.

The terrible degradation, desolation, and impoverishment to which the Holy Land is subjected during the long misrule of the Turkish pashas, vividly emblematizes the reign of sin, and the triumphs of Satan on the earth. Water is the element of physical life, and throughout the Bible symbolizes spiritual life. Jerusalem, five thousand feet above the Mediterranean Sea, is too high for wells and fountains. She is above the water-line, and dependent on the winter rains, which are diligently garnered in tanks and cisterns beneath their stone houses, and carefully preserved, to supply them through the long, dry, hot summer. The suffering for water at Jerusalem every year, especially among the poor, is distressing in the extreme. Hence we do not wonder that for all this burning thirst, which has wasted that land for ages, there will be a glorious remedy in the good time coming.

In the above prophecy, Zechariah positively certifies that when our Savior returns from the skies, His feet shall stand on Mt. Olivet. Though Jerusalem stands on four mountains — Zion, Moriah, Bezetha, and Acra — Olivet is two hundred feet higher than the mountains on which Jerusalem is built. How convenient is great Mt. Olivet for our Savior to split open from east to west, and fill the valley with sparkling waters, flowing westward to the Mediterranean and eastward to the Dead Sea, thus forever relieving the thirst of coming generations, both man and beast! So you see Jerusalem will not be dry and thirsty, as she has been during the weary centuries of sin and desolation but the city will have an inexhaustible supply of pure water, gushing copiously from the mighty strata of Mt. Olivet. This water-supply will be a sunburst of prosperity on Jerusalem and the Holy Land. Meanwhile, it gloriously symbolizes the water of life, which shall inundate the nations from the rising of the sun to the going down thereof, when Satan and his myrmidons shall have been forever cast out, and the Prince of Glory enthroned, to reign forever and ever.

Jerusalem stands on the great Palestinian mountain table-lands, five thousand feet above the sea. The prophet says she is “beautiful for situation,” and in the good time coming will be the “joy of the whole earth.” Palestine has the finest climate and soil on the globe, producing exuberantly the wheat of the north and the fruits of the south. These great highlands consist of calcareous and bituminous strata, the finest building material and the richest soil on the globe. You have nothing to do but take all the materials- i.e., stone and cement of the earth, and build the most comfortable and durable house right on the spot, leaving your soil richer than when you began. Methinks, in the oncoming millennial years, Jerusalem will be built all over that great interior highland, become the greatest and most populous city on the globe, the capital and metropolis of all nations, and, truly, “the joy of the whole earth.”

The Jews are God’s earthly people — the original custodians of the theocracy. Though that theocracy went into eclipse at the fall of Jerusalem, B.C. 587, and has remained unseen to this day, it is destined to rise in the good time coming, and throw its benignant administration of peace, righteousness, and love over the nations lacerated for ages by the tread of sin. Glory to God, it will come out of its long eclipse bright with the glory of an unfallen Eden; and, best of all, it will come to stay — aye, too, forever! God, in a most wonderful way, is this day preparing the Jews for the metropolitanship of the millennial world. They are the miracle of Providence which has puzzled all nations the last four thousand years. Driven from their country by usurpers and robbers, their weary feet have found no rest beneath the skies. Robbed, scathed, peeled, and persecuted by every nation under heaven, they are ever like the bush that burned and was not consumed. In every age they have ever proved the most thrifty people on the globe. They went down into Egypt seventy- five souls, and in two hundred years swelled to three millions, so the kingdom of the Pharaohs trembled for its safety. Only fifty thousand followed Nehemiah in the memorable exodus out of Babylonian captivity; yet they had multiplied into millions in the days of Christ. Matthew 24:34 :

“Truly I say unto you, this race may not pass away, until all these things may come to pass.”

Our Savior made this notable statement in that wonderful sermon on the judgments, which He preached on Mt. Olivet, the day before He suffered. The English reading, “generation,” is a misleading translation of genea, which simply means race. While all the races who fought the Jews in the olden times have passed away, the children of Abraham, with no country of their own to perpetuate their nationality, have survived a thousand bloody revolutions, and perpetuated their identity, the wonder of all nations, despite the whole world combined for their persecution, degradation, and extermination. They have not only survived, but outstripped all nations in the competition for wealth and learning. They, this day, stand at the head of the world’s finances, learning, and jurisprudence. Hence you see, when they get gloriously saved, and their triumphant King shall honor them again with the custodianship of the theocracy, and the nations shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning-hooks, and learn war no more, how convenient to refer all national controversies to the Jews, who are this day thoroughly posted in the languages, institutions, finances, and laws of all nations. Jerusalem is located at the center of the world, the most convenient spot in all the earth to the nations of Asia, Africa, Europe, and both Americas. While it is in Asia, the largest and most important of all the grand divisions; it is within a few hours of Africa and Europe, while North and South America are reached in a few days. It is wonderful how God made the beautiful cerulean Mediterranean Sea, two thousand miles long, giving all America a straight shoot to the Holy Land. The wonderful prophecies about Jerusalem, beautiful for situation, “joy of the whole earth,” are to be fulfilled in the millennial reign. Oh, how wonderfully the hand of God is upon the Jews in all nations, preparing them for the metropoiltanship of the world

 


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Bibliography Information
Godbey, William. "Commentary on Revelation 11:4". "William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ges/revelation-11.html.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, October 20th, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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