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Bible Commentaries

William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament
Revelation 7



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Verses 4-8

THE JEWS — 4-8

Here we see twelve thousand of every tribe are sealed. These constitute the hundred and forty-four thousand repeatedly alluded to in these prophecies. They constitute the nucleus of the heavenly bridehood. The Jews are God’s earthly people, while the Christians are His heavenly people. Were not ten tribes lost after the deportation by Shalmanezer, as none but Judah and Benjamin returned in the Exodus of Nehemiah? There is a general misapprehension and delusion on that subject. As the ten tribes were carried into captivity a hundred and thirty-four years before Judah and Benjamin, they had been in the Chaldean Empire two hundred years at the time of the Exodus. As only fifty thousand returned to Jerusalem under Nehemiah, of course they were but a fraction of Judah and Benjamin; yet doubtless many of the ten tribes returned with them to Palestine. So the ten tribes were not lost, but they simply lost their tribehood, as they did not return in their organized tribes, but as individuals. Hence, all of this hue and cry about the lost tribes, ransacking all the world to find them, and writing vast volumes, is a piece of twaddle and nonsense. Thousands of people are now studying great books which claim to identify the lost tribes with the Anglo-Saxon race, denominating Great Britain Ephraim, and the United States Manasseh. It is all a stratagem and a hoax to flatter the English and Americans. It is an awful pity, as those nations have a great superfluity of egotism and pomposity, without these auxiliaries. Noah had three sons. Ham, in Hebrew, means black; Shem, red; and Japheth, white. The most ancient history says Noah divided his claim in the post-diluvian world among his sons, giving to Ham Africa, to Shem Asia, and Japheth Europe. The Greeks, in history, give Javan — i.e., Japheth — as their ancestor. Greece became the nucleus of European nations. Hence you see the Anglo-Saxons and all Europeans are Japhethites; whereas, the Jews are the descendants of Shem. Abraham is contemporary with Shem; therefore, the hypothesis which identifies the Israelites with the Anglo-Saxons is radically false.

Good Lord, deliver us from all subterranean devices, by which we would steal away the prophecies which legitimately belong to the Jews, and appropriate their promises to the Gentiles We have enough of our own. Great Mt. Olivet is literally covered from base to summit with Jewish tombs, though they have been driven from their country twelve hundred years. These bygone generations, sleeping in their graves, are the silent custodians of the Holy Land. When I walked up and down the rocky paths trodden by the Prince of Life, hither and thither over that mountain [from which we enjoy so conspicuous a view of the Holy City, I loved to stand on the spot whence He ascended up to heaven. In my visions of prophetic fulfillment, I saw Him descending in the clouds, and the sainted Jews all over Mt. Olivet and throughout Palestine leaping from their tombs with triumphant shouts to meet Him in the air. These constitute the nucleus of the glorified bridehood. Ten years ago there were only ten thousand Jews in Palestine; now there are one hundred thousand, and they are rapidly coming from all nations, through the influence of eleven distinct colonization societies, especially that of Baron Rothschild, who holds a mortgage on all Palestine, which the bankrupt Turkish Government will never be able to redeem. God expedite the day when he will close the mortgage, take possession of the country, proclaim himself king of the Jews, and call home the children of Abraham wandering in every land.

Since the conversion of Joseph Rabinowitz, a learned Jewish lawyer of Russia, and his organization of a Christian Church among the Jews, denominated “Israelites of the New Covenant,” they are rapidly being converted to Christianity. However, Ezekiel 37 teaches plainly, in the valley of dry bones, that they are to be gathered into Canaan in their unregenerated state. So we need not expect a general turning to God on the part of Abraham’s children till after they are gathered into Palestine. The Mohammedans conquered Palestine and captured Jerusalem A.D. 637, driving the Christians out. Daniel says they will hold it twelve hundred and sixty years. 1896 minus 637 leaves 1259. Hence you see, according to the prophecies, the Mohammedan power in Palestine will fall in 1897. A thousand auspicious omens this day prognosticate the speedy fall of Turkdom in the Holy Land. When I was there last summer, all nationalities were on the constant lookout for the fall of the Turkish power. Moslem prophecies constantly proclaimed the near approach of that notable event. Since the world has three distinct systems of chronology, it is fanatical sticklerism to be contentious about the exactitude of these dates. Still, however, they serve all practical purposes, and reveal proximately the eventful epochs of prophetical fulfillment. When the Mohammedan power falls in Palestine, there is no alternative but for the Holy Land to pass into Christendom. Who shall get it? The French are there in great power, rapidly building magnificent edifices, and exceedingly anxious for that country. The Russians are there in still greater power, pouring out millions of money to build religious and philanthropic institutions throughout the Holy Land. They are determined to have it. Peter the Great prophesied that they were to possess Jerusalem and the Holy Land. The English are there in rapidly increasing power, especially since they took Egypt from the Turkish Pasha. As England is Protestant, France Catholic, and Russia Greek, I am exceedingly hopeful the Holy Land will pass into the British Empire. This becomes more than probable since Baron Rothschild, a son of Abraham, an officer in the British Government, the richest man in the world, holds a mortgage on all that country. What has he to do but to close his mortgage and take possession of the Holy Land in the name of the British Government? I am expecting every day to hear that the Turks are driven out of Palestine. Though the ruling class, they are only one sixteenth of the present population. The moment Turkdom falls, Jerusalem and the Holy Land pass into Christendom. Then that country will be turned over to the Jews, its rightful owners, all other claimants being usurpers and robbers. This notable event will be a sunburst on the Christian world. Especially after the Jews return will evangelistic agencies be utilized to their utmost vigor for their conversion to Christ. That country is still, though terribly abused, pauperized and beggarized by Mohammedan misrule, intrinsically the garden-spot of the globe. It consists of inexhaustible beds of calcium and aluminum, the great fertilizers of the earth. It is paradoxically destitute of the sterilizing elements. Hence, it is a land of incalculable and inexhaustible fertility; besides, it is everywhere prolific of the most valuable, delicious tropical fruits. Under Jewish industry and enterprise, it will again speedily flow with milk and honey, and abound in corn and wine.

The Jewish people are a constant miracle in the eyes of all nations. While all their ancient contemporaries have long ago sunk into oblivion, and even their memories perished, the Jews, exiled to the ends of the earth, persecuted and slaughtered indiscriminately by all the prominent nations of the globe, driven from their own country, have found not an inch of territory on which to rest their weary feet. Yet they have outstripped all nations in the accumulation of wealth, and this day stand at the head of the financial world. When I traveled in Europe, Asia, and Africa, I received my money from Jewish bankers. They also stand at the front of the learned world, excelling in the time-honored universities of the globe. In many nations they excel in law and journalism. In every land the hand of God is on them, preparing them for the metropolitanship of the world. In the good time coming, when the nations shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning-hooks, and learn war no more, how convenient it will be to carry all international controversies to Jerusalem and refer them to committees of sanctified Jews, who are perfectly posted in the languages, laws, and finances of the different nations! They will constitute the international court to which all important matters will be referred by the nations of the earth.

Verses 9-12

9-12. Here we have the Gentile counterpart of the bridehood. They come up from every nation, tribe, people, and language, clothed in white robes, with palms of victory in their hands. Matthew 24:14, Jesus says:

“the end shall come when the gospel shall have been preached among all nations.”

The Holy Ghost has always been shining on all the fallen sons and daughters of Adam’s race, giving them grace enough to save them, and administering the blood to cleanse them, if they will walk in the light. So even the heathen are left without excuse. (Romans 1:20.) Hence the glorious possibility of universal salvation, with or without the literal proclamation of the gospel. But the grandest privilege in the history of the universe is to be a member of the glorified BRIDEHOOD.

When Abraham wanted a wife for his son Isaac, he sent his sent, Eleazar, into Mesopotamia to select a bride for his son. He furnished the camel, jewelry, and the veil, and carried Rebekah to meet Isaac in the patriarchal home at Beersheba. Abraham emblematizes God the Father; Isaac, the Son; Eleazar, the Holy Ghost. When Ahasuerus, the Persian monarch, wanted a fair damsel on whom to confer the queenship of his universal empire, he sent couriers to search throughout the one hundred and twenty-seven provinces of his vast empire, and call out the beautiful damsels and bring them before him that he might make a selection. This transaction on the part of the heathen monarch emblematizes the Holy Ghost going with the gospel proclamation into every nation under heaven to call out the bride of Christ. The popular apprehension that the end of the gospel is the conversion of all the people in the world is incorrect. Peter, before the Jerusalem council, answers the question (Acts 15:14):

“God did visit the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name.”

So the great end of the Gospel Dispensation is the calling out of the bridehood. For this glorious honor and ineffable benediction God proposes to give all nations a chance. When that is done, then the end will come. The Holiness movement is preparing the work of the world’s evangelization with wonderful vigor. Bishop Taylor has twelve hundred, Hudson Taylor eight hundred, A. B. Simpson four hundred sanctified missionaries in the heathen field; while General Booth has fifteen thousand dispersed in forty different nations. Jesus says “this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached to all nations for a witness unto them.” So all will be left without excuse when they stand before the great white throne. Of course, God Himself is to decide when the gospel testimony to this wicked world is complete. Many nations which are now without the gospel received it in bygone ages. Hence, so far as we know, there is not the slightest reason why the Lord may not now descend and take His bride out of the world.

Verses 13-17

13-17. Here we have a clear definition of the qualifications for the bridehood. The Holy Ghost says unequivocally they come out of great tribulations, having washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Hence, entire sanctification is the solitary and inalienable qualification for membership in the bridehood.


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Bibliography Information
Godbey, William. "Commentary on Revelation 7:4". "William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament".

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Sunday, November 29th, 2020
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