The Story of the Seer of Patmos

THE history of our little planet reveals the conflict between two opposing characters. The good and the evil, the true and the false, have made this the battle field of contention. The contest has been over two principles, and every individual has enlisted on one side, or on the other. There has been no middle ground. Christ is General of the forces of heaven, and love and truth have been the banners under which His people have fought. Satan has commanded the other army, and it has been his plan to overthrow not only those who fought with Emmanuel, but to blot out the government of God. To this end he has fought; and in the contest of six thousand years, only two minds have controlled. Men who have not accepted Christ have been enrolled in the army of the enemy. The life history of Satan is sad beyond measure. It is the record of one who took a position for self, for falsehood, and for tyranny.

325

In the whole course of its progress, it has been a succession of defeats. Seeming victory for a time, was but the herald of a more overwhelming rebuff, when the end was known. In wisdom, the arch enemy excelled all in the universe, except the Father and the Son; in beauty, he outshone the angelic hosts; in power, he stood next to Christ. He is thus described by inspiration: "Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty ... every precious stone was thy covering. ... Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee."

Then from this exalted place as covering cherub, whose wings overspread the throne, and through whom the eternal glory shone, he fell through pride. "Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness." Jealous of Christ, the only one united with the Father in the councils of heaven, Satan raised rebellion. This was the beginning of self-exaltation, and all iniquity has since flowed from this fountain head. "There was war in heaven: Michael and His angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not." This was the first defeat, the first step toward his complete destruction. He left his position by the throne to set up a rival government. Satan and his angels were cast out of heaven. "Neither was their place found any more in heaven" This was the first casting down of Lucifer.

326

Cast out from the presence of God, Satan was allowed to make the earth the seat of his power, that God might vindicate His law and His government in the sight of all the universe. The devil, therefore, became the prince of the earth and the air, and as the prince of the earth, he met with the representatives of other worlds before the gate of heaven. Year after year, he stood in that assembly as the accuser of Christ and the brethren. He still basely accused God of injustice, and laid upon Him the blame of the rebellion. On earth, he was exerting every effort to establish a government that would not be overthrown; in the council, he was striving to prove that his lack of success was due to interference with his plans by the God of heaven.

In the fullness of time, the Prince of Peace came to the earth. In the heart of the government of the enemy He lived a sinless life. The will of God was done by Him as it is constantly done in heaven. But the sinless One was slain: the cross was the reward of virtue, when Satan meted out the judgment. Unfallen worlds watched and wondered; and as Christ hung upon the cross, the assembly at the gate of heaven decided that Satan should no longer enter there. "It is finished," the Saviour cried, as His gaze pierced the gloom. "Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out"; and seeing the triumph of the cross, He said, "I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all unto Me." "And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

327

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb." Thus Satan, at the crucifixion, was shut out of the council of worlds. Christ said, "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven." This was his second casting down.

Since the resurrection of Christ, Satan, knowing that his time for work was short, has put forth all his strength in gaining subjects for his kingdom. He goes about to-day as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. The kingdoms of the earth are becoming more and more under his power. The churches, once controlled by the Spirit of God, now render allegiance to the prince of this world. A miracle working power is abroad in the earth, deceiving, if possible, the very elect. The little company who preserve the knowledge of God in the earth, are hunted and persecuted on all sides; but finally the Saviour will appear to take these to the city which He is now preparing for them. The wicked are slain by the brightness of His coming, and are scattered over the face of the earth, -- a feast for birds of prey; or are swallowed up in the mighty earthquakes. The earth, broken and torn by the reelings to and fro in the seventh plague, is dark and dismal. It is without form, and void, and darkness is upon the face of the deep, as before God spake forth the creation of light.

328

It is chaos, the bottomless pit, or the abyss of Rotherham's translation. "And I saw a messenger coming down out of the heavens; having the key of the abyss, and a great chain over his hand. And he seized the dragon, the ancient serpent, which is Adversary and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and hurled him into the abyss, and fastened and sealed [it] up above him, that he might not deceive any longer the nations." He is cast into the abyss, and it is sealed above him; so for one thousand years, Satan is confined to the earth. He no longer has liberty to visit other worlds; but alone with his own thoughts, he has time to contemplate the record of the past six thousand years of rebellion against the throne of God. He is no longer the beautiful covering cherub, the leader of the angel choir, the sweet singer of heaven, sealing up the sum full of wisdom and beauty. The glory has faded, and the countenance, once lighted with the love of God, now betrays the scheming wickedness of six thousand years of crime. This is the third casting out of Satan. At the end of the thousand years, "he must be loosed a little season"; and then come the final destruction, the blotting out of the last trace of sin.

The question sometimes arise, "What will take place during the thousand years between the binding of Satan and his being loosed for a little season?" To John was revealed the event which would take place during that time.

"I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the Word of God, and which had not worshiped the beast, neither his image ... and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

329

But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection." When Christ appears on the white cloud, "He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." Paul saw the same scene, and thus describes it: "The Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." This is the first resurrection, when the righteous dead will come forth at the sound of the voice of Christ, and with the living righteous, meet the Lord in the air. "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection. ... They shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years."

"And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them." During the thousand years, the saints live in the New Jerusalem, the city of God; and as priests of God and of Christ, they sit in judgment on the cases of the wicked. "Do ye not know," wrote Paul to the Corinthians, "that the saints shall judge the world? ... Know ye not that we shall judge angels?" Peter had this judicial work in mind when he wrote that "God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment."

330

While the world has been making history, heaven has been keeping records. "For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil." "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."

"But I say unto you," said Christ, "That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned." During the life of each individual, angels are recording the thoughts and the acts. These things are placed in a book, called by Malachi, the "Book of Remembrance." This is the daybook of heaven, and in it are recorded not only the words and deeds, but the circumstances and motives which prompted the acts. The place in which a man is born is put on record as of importance in meting out justice. "Jehovah will relate in the records of the peoples: [that] This One was born there." "I will mention Egypt and Babylon among those who acknowledge Me. Behold, O Philistia, and Tyre, together with Cush, This one shall be born there." (Spurrell.) David prays, "Recount Thou my griefs! Put my tears into Thy bottle! Are they not recorded in Thy book?" (Spurrell.) Every heartache caused by sin or oppression, every longing for a higher spirituality, a closer walk with God, -- these are all written in this Book of Remembrance, in which are no false entries, for the records are divine.

331

"I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good. ... Behold, it is written before Me. ... Therefore will I measure their former work into their bosom."

These are some of the things which are written over against our names in the daily records of heaven. All nature teaches the same lesson. There is a record kept in heaven; and there is an account just as accurate, kept in the body of each individual. The acts of each day shape the character, shape the vessel which contains the spirit, as truly as the clay is shaped on the wheel in the hands of the potter. The facial expression, the language, the gestures, every thing about a person, can be read as an open book, by the keen eye of Jehovah; and this life record which each man carries with him to the time of death, is as true as the one in heaven. The two will exactly correspond in the day of judgment, when the books are opened, and the dead small and great stand before God. Man may deceive his fellow man as to his character, but this is only because of his brother's inability to read.

332

Every page is unwritten at birth; but with the first breath, the recording angel begins to write. If only one life were effected by the acts of to-day, they might be lightly passed; but our daily thoughts and deeds are reproduced tomorrow in a new generation. God, seeing the influence of heredity, passes judgment upon the one who is truly to blame. In earthly tribunals, many a man suffers for the crimes of his ancestors. In the final judgment, this will not be so; for the Book of Remembrance is the record of an infinite Being. He sees the end from the beginning, and knoweth our thoughts from afar off.

Besides the Book of Remembrance there is the Book of Life. This is referred to many times in the Scriptures. On its pages, appear the names of all who have ever professed the name of Christ; all who have reached heavenward for help. The Saviour gently rebuked His disciples when they gloried over the success which attended their first missionary trip, and said, 'Rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven." Those who remain true to God have their names retained in the Lamb's Book of Life; and the good deeds from the Book of Remembrance are written opposite these names. Those who grow weary, and turn away from the Lord, have their names blotted out of the Book of Life; and at the same time, the record in the Book of Remembrance, shows only the sins they have committed. when a name is enrolled in the Book of Life, the name of Christ is taken, and by faith the works of Christ are imputed to the believer. When forsakes Christ, there is no record of good deeds, for without Him we can do nothing; and the page is soon filled with a record of pride, selfishness, and all the works of the flesh.

333

"For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption."

On the other hand, when a soul repents, it matters not what the past record of sin may have been, his name is entered on the pages of the Book of Life; those sins are covered by the blood of Christ, and are finally blotted out. "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord."

The third book is the Book of Death, and in it are the names of those who might have had life, but who chose death. Over against each name, is the list of sins, to which the world and the devil, without the aid of Christ. "For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before Me, saith the Lord God." This Book of Death is referred to when Hosea says: "The iniquity of Ephriam is bound up; his sin is hid." And Job said: "My transgression is sealed up in a bag, and Thou sewest up mine iniquity."

These three books, -- the Book of Life of the Lamb, the Book of Remembrance, and the Book of Death are often referred to by the inspired writer. When the investigative judgment began in 1844, the Book of life was opened; and before the Father, Christ pleaded His own blood for every name for which pardon was written. The Book of Remembrance told of sins committed by these, but Christ's righteousness was a covering, and the sins were transferred to Satan's account in the Book of Death.

334

This was the work of Christ in the most holy place of the temple in heaven. It was typified by the work of the high priest in the earthly sanctuary on the day of atonement. On that day the priest come out of the sanctuary, and laid his hand on the head of the scapegoat, in the outer court and confessed the sins of the people upon its head, in type transferring them to the goat, which was then led into the wilderness by the hand of a "man of opportunity." This represented the work brought to view in the twentieth chapter of Revelation. When Christ finishes His work in the temple, the sins of Israel will all be laid upon Satan; and during the thousand years on the earth, alone and desolate, the sins which he tempted the redeemed to commit, will rest heavily on his heart. His name heads the list in that Book of Death, and it is followed by the multitudes innumerable as the sands by the seaside who have chosen him as leader. During the thousand years the righteous reign with Christ, and with Him, go through the Book of Death, awarding punishment to those whose names are written there.

"Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power. ... And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison."

At the voice of God, the earth gave up the dead, who have long slept in her bosom. "The sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and the grave delivered up the dead which were in them." They rise to see the holy city come down from God out of heaven.

335

The Mount of Olives cleaves asunder and the city with all its inhabitants rests there, -- the wicked behold the reward of the righteous. Then Satan marshals the hosts of the wicked who have been resurrected, and inspires in them a hope that the city of God can be taken. His army is innumerable; it is composed of men from all ages, -- giant intellects, heroes and the great men of earth, kings, rulers, and mighty men of wealth, come forth from their graves with the same selfish ambitions with which life closed. These, the number of whom is as the sands of the sea, are perfectly organized and thoroughly drilled. In battle array, they march over the broken surface of the earth, toward the holy city, which stands beautiful and glorified. As the hosts approach the holy city, with its glittering foundations and gates of pearl, shrouded in the light of its King, the gates are closed, and on a great white throne, high and lifted up above the city walls, in full view of the unnumbered hosts, sits the King of Kings, holding aloft the law of God. Those in harmony with this foundation truth are within the city. Those who have rejected this, and chosen the leadership of Satan are without. For a brief time the wicked behold the glories which they have lost. Christ is seen in all His beauty. The story of redeeming love from the fall to the end, revealed by the cross, flashes vividly before every mind. "His horn shall be exalted with honor. The wicked shall see it, and be grieved; he shall gnash with his teeth, and melt away: the desire of the wicked shall perish." "There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and ye yourselves thrust out."

336

Christ is exalted in the presence of that host; every knee is bent before Him, and every soul in that multitude, of the condemned, renders praise to Jehovah.

Satan himself is obliged to witness to the triumph of truth in the Son of God. The righteous, within the city, who have looked into the life records of those without the walls, see, as this host marches in battle array, that the spirit of destruction still possesses their hearts, and they acknowledge that the judgments of God are true and righteous altogether.

Then from His throne, God breathes upon the assembled multitudes. Fire comes down from God out of heaven, and mingles with the fire which comes from the interior of the earth; and it devours them. "The devil that deceived them [the nations] was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are." "And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. ... And whosoever was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire." This is the second death. Here, the words of the Psalmist are fulfilled: "The righteous shall be recompensed in the earth: much more the wicked and the sinner." The city of God, like the ark in the flood, rides safely on the billows of flame. The elements melt with fervent heat, and the earth, with all its works is burned up. The wicked become ashes under the soles of the feet of the righteous.

337

The last act in the shadowy service of the tabernacle, -- the placing of the ashes of the bullock in a clean place, -- has met its antitype. The earth is cleansed by fire; sin, and all its blasting effects are destroyed. The controversy is at an end. The enemy of truth, together with all who have championed his cause, is forever blotted out of existence: the earth is ready to be renewed by the presence of God, and repeopled by those who have been snatched by the love of Christ from the ruin which threatened to engulf the race. The struggle was a terrible one; the victory was dearly bought, but looking upon the company, gathered about the throne, Christ sees the travail of His soul and is satisfied.

MARGINAL REFERENCES

Page 324; Jer. 21:8; Amos. 5:14; Matt. 12:30; Josh. 5:14; Song Sol. 2:4; Psa. 83:12; Luke 16:13.

Page 325; Eze. 28:17; Eze. 28:2; John 8:44; Eze. 28:12; FIRST FALL OF SATAN; Eze. 28:15; Eze. 28:12; Eze. 28:12; Eze. 28:14; Eze. 28:17; Isa. 14:13; Isa. 14:14; Rev. 12:7; Rev. 12:7; Rev. 12:8; Isa. 14:12; Rev. 12:9; Rev. 12:9; Gen. 3:1-6; Rom. 6:16; Eph. 2:2; John 14:30.

Page 326; Prove. 16:18; Gen. 3:1; SECOND FALL OF SATAN; 1Kings 22:1922; Job 1:6; Luke 3:38; 2Pet. 2:19; Job 1:7; Job 1:9,10; Job 1:12-22; John 14:30; John 12:31-33; John 12:31; Luke 10:18; Rev. 2;10; 2Pet. 2:19; Heb. 2:17; Heb. 4:1416; John 3:14, 15.

Page 327; Luke 10:18; 1John 1:7; 2Cor. 13:8; 1Pet. 2:22; Acts 2:23; Acts 5:30.

Page 328; Isa. 24:21, 22; Rev. 20:1-3; THIRD FALL OF SATAN; Rev. 20:1-3; Rev. 20:3; Jer. 4:23-26; Isa. 24:19-21; 1Thess 4:16, 17; Jer. 25:31-33; Rev. 20:3; Rev. 20:5; Rev. 20:7; Rev. 20:8; Rev. 20:9; Heb. 2:14; Rev. 20:10; Eze. 28:18, 19; Mal. 4:1-3.

Page 329; Rev. 20:4; Matt. 24:31; Psa. 50:5; Jer. 25:30; 1Thess. 4:16, 17; John 5:28, 29; Rev. 20:6; 1Cor. 6:2, 3; 2Pet. 2:4; Jude 6.

Page 330; Job 16:19; Eccl. 12:14; Gal. 6:7; Matt. 12:36, 37; Eccl. 5:6; Mal. 3:16; Psa. 84:4, 6; Psa. 56:8; Deut. 32:9-12.

Page 331; Isa. 65:2, 6, 7; Prov. 6:12-14; Rev. 20:12; Dan. 7;10; Rev. 20:12; Isa. 3:9; Job 16:8; Jer. 18:4-6; Prov. 10:18.

Page 332; Psa. 139:14-16; Eze. 18:14-17; Phil. 4:3; Luke 10:20; Ex. 32:33; Eze. 18;26; Gal. 6:7, 8.

Page 333; THE THREE BOOKS OF JUDGMENT. [1.] BOOK OF REMEMBRANCE. Mal. 3:16; Matt 12:36, 37; Psa. 56:8; Psa. 87:4-6; Eccl. 12:13, 14; 1Cor. 4:5; [2.] BOOK OF LIFE. Luke 10:20; Luke 10:19, 20; Phil. 4:3; Ex. 32:33; Rev. 3;5; Rev. 13:8; 17:8; Rev. 20:15; Isa. 4:3 [margin.]; Psa. 69:28; Eze. 13:9; Heb. 12:23; Dan. 12:1; [3.] BOOK OF DEATH. Jer. 17:13; Jer. 2:22; Job 14:17; Deut. 32:32-36; Hos. 13:12.

Page 334; Lev. 16:20-22; Psa. 7:16; Rev. 20:5-7; Rev. 6, 7; Isa. 26:19.

Page 335; Eze. 39:21; Zech. 14:4; Psa. 83:2-5; Rev. 20:8, 9; Rev. 20:11; Psa. 98:2; Psa. 97:6; Isa. 33:17.

Page 336; Isa. 9:20, 21; Phil. 2:9-11; Rev. 20:9-15.

Page 337; Nah. 1:9; Isa. 53:11.