TheChapterBookSeries: One Thousand Years: (Genesage) "““Heavenly Minded””" (Chp 1:3)

Genesage
“Heavenly Minded”
(Chap 1:3) 

Humming the words to the Song of Limmud Eben was happy with the memories he did recall.
What have you seen…,
He remembered when he went to heaven. It seemed as though everywhere you went there was a song being sung. Somehow that first morning in heaven refrain was not even a drop in the ocean compared to the impact heaven had on all the senses, much less the auditory. 
It just now occurred to him that singing was almost nonstop. No matter where you went, somehow, in the background, there was music going on. Music that seemed to resonate through and thru in resonance, as though it were one eternal harmonic. If music calmed the savage beast, maybe there was more to the music in heaven than met the eye, or the ear.

Maybe music was food for the soul and life in the spirit.

Even those who spoke to him seemed to phrase the way they talked with an almost lyrical flow. It wasn’t wordy but it seemed poetic or metered. The words by themselves would have been easy to understand, but in this musical way of speaking there was almost an autonomous understanding happening. Comprehension without thought by-passing the brain.

It was though the “music of heaven” went straight to the heart of the matter.
He recalled some people speaking in musicality in some venues back on earth with rap, or rhyme, iambic pentameter and cordial Elizabethan dialogue.

Even some religious leaders seemed to talk singsongish.
Yet this went far more and in many ways, and far less than that. It could be abrupt as well as courteous. There was an order to it. It was complete in itself.  A style and flair when the words seemed spoken but were in fact crafted as though sung. Maybe they were an unknown key or form. Perhaps communication in heaven existed dimensionally extant on many levels.
Calling it a song was…..almost to lessen it….it was….living.
“What have you heard “
Eben remembered asking an angel a question in heaven that was explaining the heavenlies to him. Typical Eben, He blurted out of left field. 

“Doesn’t anyone laugh here?” 
As he recalled, the angel never answered him.            
He did get a response but not the one He expected, which at the time, was to be expected. Heaven wasn’t paying attention to him, he was absorbed by Heaven. 

Singing went on oblivious of those about it.

Nothing in heaven was quite what one thought, though it did exceed all comparisons. There was always so much MORE to the Heavenlies. Responsiveness came from what he observed. Experiencing it and not quantifying or questioning it.  Absorbing what was occurring right before his eyes, ears, nose, mouth, being. 

Heaven; as someone once said was indeed a state of being.
That “state” being achieved by actually being there.

It was…heavenly.

The deeper in heaven you went, the deeper it got.
The more you tried to explain or relate to it, the less it fit the understanding of it. Heaven was baffling. The fullness of it exceeded explanation or description. 

Even in its constitutional makeup it was enigmatic as it was similar to solid, yet also not. Vaporous though solidified; existent, yet distant. 
Shaking his head Eben chuckled thinking about it.

Reality certainly had a greater detail in depth than anyone thought. It was easier to accept the reality of heaven than to figure it out. When that “acceptance” became a thought in Eben’s mind, he “felt” himself “sync” with heaven. It was as though heaven itself accepted and synchronized him into itself.

As though the place of heaven was as living as the “being” of living.

Could a location be as alive as the entity that visited it?

The same was true in the physical plane Eben lived in.
So often in living life as he knew it, much was taken for granted. The details of living were missed. The less important prioritized. Living was forgotten to mean living it. Experiencing it. Appreciating life in its entire splendor. 

Recognizing that life was design with the sculpting of one’s choices to master its infinite detail, and Heaven really was in the recognition of the infinite minutiae all around. Heaven and Earth overlapped and was within and without.

And yet…, still a location.

It really had Ebens head spinning the short time he was there.  Heaven had so much more occurring than just the aspect of it, there was scarcely time on such a short visit to take it all in.
Heaven really could blow your mind.
Chuckling Eben thought he needed eternity just to get a handle on it. Even then he thought he might not. Still it wasn’t a place he didn’t want to live, but rather a place he looked forward to returning, again and again and again.

A destination every time you got there, it got better.

Eben loved to laugh. It was a character trait of his and Eben certainly was a character. Fortunately he was a character with a sense of humor. Oddly He didn’t recall any laughter in heaven.  Only once did he remember there was silence in heaven. The rest of the time it seemed to be music in the air.

What have you handled with your own hands?

Laughing quietly he knelt down, cupping one hand; He scooped water from the lake. Drinking deep it was refreshing. His morning shot of coffee. It woke him up just fine.
No cost, no lines, no waiting for a double shot.  If he wanted that he just double dipped himself a palm; palm of his hand that is.

Somehow free tasted so… oh.., sooo…. good!

Dawn was a different story here in the Kingdom. 

That first morning in heaven had been something to see but while a nice place to visit, Eben wasn’t sure if he wanted to live there, yet. Someday maybe, but his first visit was like a stranger in a strange land. So much was different he had a hard time thinking of it as anything but foreign.

And all that singing made you thirsty. And being in heaven you wouldn’t want to get so heavenly minded you were no earthly good, now would you?
Or would you?
Dawn in the new “here and now” simply meant from darkness to less dark. From lighter to light, but never to sunrise. No sun had been seen in sixty-nine years. Light in heaven emanated from everywhere and nowhere yet existed in every part. 

Earth meanwhile was still recovering from a global holocausim.

Still smiling at the lake, switching memories from heaven to earth, Eben remembered a famous comedian who commented on the weather. He said the weather was “dark” followed by occasional patches of “light” which as he recalled even now made him laugh. 

Something about a hippy dippy weather man.

This time of morning lightness, the dark was giving way to light.
 In this light his silhouette could be seen as an average man. Average height man with an average beard, wearing an average robe. Not unlike others in the Kingdom, which in the kingdom was average.

But anywhere else would have gotten you locked up in a strait jacket.

Here in the Kingdom of God his attire did not stand out. No tight confining or provocative outer wear, at this time he was just robed in white.  

The robes felt silky but sturdy. Light and durable with flow that conformed to the body’s actions. Seemingly silk but durable, not so satiny. 

It was in fact comfortable and seemed custom fit for the times and the season. Like sandals from days of old that had not worn out, this material appeared to be unusually sound.

Eben was robed but he didn’t have a halo nor act in some peculiar way.
He was just an average guy.

Average if you considered the old cartoon of the long haired man walking around town with a sign saying the end is near wearing a robe and beard.

Thought Eben.     

Thinking again of stereotypes, misconceptions, and the fact that the “crazies” weren’t so crazy after all, Eben smiled.

Posted via email from The ChapterBook Series of Michael James Stone

TWOBABYLONS: Chapter I "Distinctive Character of the Two Systems"

[[posterous-content:pid___0]]


The Two Babylons
Alexander Hislop

 

Chapter I
Distinctive Character of the Two Systems

In leading proof of the Babylonian character of the Papal Church the first point to which I solicit the reader's attention, is the character of MYSTERY which attaches alike to the modern Roman and the ancient Babylonian systems. The gigantic system of moral corruption and idolatry described in this passage under the emblem of a woman with a "GOLDEN CUP IN HER HAND" (Rev 17:4), "making all nations DRUNK with the wine of her fornication" (Rev 17:2; 18:3), is divinely called "MYSTERY, Babylon the Great" (Rev 17:5). That Paul's "MYSTERY of iniquity," as described in 2 Thessalonians 2:7, has its counterpart in the Church of Rome, no man of candid mind, who has carefully examined the subject, can easily doubt. Such was the impression made by that account on the mind of the great Sir Matthew Hale, no mean judge of evidence, that he used to say, that if the apostolic description were inserted in the public "Hue and Cry" any constable in the realm would be warranted in seizing, wherever he found him, the bishop of Rome as the head of that "MYSTERY of iniquity." Now, as the system here described is equally characterised by the name of "MYSTERY," it may be presumed that both passages refer to the same system. But the language applied to the New Testament Babylon, as the reader cannot fail to see, naturally leads us back to the Babylon of the ancient world. As the Apocalyptic woman has in her hand A CUP, wherewith she intoxicates the nations, so was it with the Babylon of old. Of that Babylon, while in all its glory, the Lord thus spake, in denouncing its doom by the prophet Jeremiah: "Babylon hath been a GOLDEN CUP in the Lord's hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad" (Jer 51:7). Why this exact similarity of language in regard to the two systems? The natural inference surely is, that the one stands to the other in the relation of type and antitype. Now, as the Babylon of the Apocalypse is characterised by the name of "MYSTERY," so the grand distinguishing feature of the ancient Babylonian system was the Chaldean "MYSTERIES," that formed so essential a part of that system. And to these mysteries, the very language of the Hebrew prophet, symbolical though of course it is, distinctly alludes, when he speaks of Babylon as a "golden CUP." To drink of "mysterious beverages," says Salverte, was indispensable on the part of all who sought initiation in these Mysteries. These "mysterious beverages" were composed of "wine, honey, water, and flour." From the ingredients avowedly used, and from the nature of others not avowed, but certainly used, there can be no doubt that they were of an intoxicating nature; and till the aspirants had come under their power, till their understandings had been dimmed, and their passions excited by the medicated draught, they were not duly prepared for what they were either to hear or to see. If it be inquired what was the object and design of these ancient "Mysteries," it will be found that there was a wonderful analogy between them and that "Mystery of iniquity" which is embodied in the Church of Rome. Their primary object was to introduce privately, by little and little, under the seal of secrecy and the sanction of an oath, what it would not have been safe all at once and openly to propound. The time at which they were instituted proved that this must have been the case. The Chaldean Mysteries can be traced up to the days of Semiramis, who lived only a few centuries after the flood, and who is known to have impressed upon them the image of her own depraved and polluted mind. *

 

* AMMIANUS MARCELLINUS compared with JUSTINUS, Historia and EUSEBIUS' Chronicle. Eusebius says that Ninus and Semiramis reigned in the time of Abraham.

That beautiful but abandoned queen of Babylon was not only herself a paragon of unbridled lust and licentiousness, but in the Mysteries which she had a chief hand in forming, she was worshipped as Rhea, the great "MOTHER" of the gods, with such atrocious rites as identified her with Venus, the MOTHER of all impurity, and raised the very city where she had reigned to a bad eminence among the nations, as the grand seat at once of idolatry and consecrated prostitution. *

 

* A correspondent has pointed out a reference by Pliny to the cup of Semiramis, which fell into the hands of the victorious Cyrus. Its gigantic proportions must have made it famous among the Babylonians and the nations with whom they had intercourse. It weighed fifteen talents, or 1200 pounds. PLINII, Hist. Nat.

Thus was this Chaldean queen a fit and remarkable prototype of the "Woman" in the Apocalypse, with the golden cup in her hand, and the name on her forehead, "Mystery, Babylon the Great, the MOTHER of harlots and abominations of the earth." The Apocalyptic emblem of the Harlot woman with the cup in her hand was even embodied in the symbols of idolatry, derived from ancient Babylon, as they were exhibited in Greece; for thus was the Greek Venus originally represented, (see note below) and it is singular that in our own day, and so far as appears for the first time, the Roman Church has actually taken this very symbol as her own chosen emblem. In 1825, on occasion of the jubilee, Pope Leo XII struck a medal, bearing on the one side his own image, and on the other, that of the Church of Rome symbolised as a "Woman," holding in her left hand a cross, and in her right a CUP, with the legend around her, "Sedet super universum," "The whole world is her seat." Now the period when Semiramis lived,--a period when the patriarchal faith was still fresh in the minds of men, when Shem was still alive, * to rouse the minds of the faithful to rally around the banner for the truth and cause of God, made it hazardous all at once and publicly to set up such a system as was inaugurated by the Babylonian queen.

 

* For the age of Shem see Genesis 11:10, 11. According to this, Shem lived 502 years after the flood, that is, according to the Hebrew chronology, till BC 1846. The age of Ninus, the husband of Semiramis, as stated in a former note, according to Eusebius, synchronised with that of Abraham, who was born BC 1996. It was only about nine years, however, before the end of the reign of Ninus, that the birth of Abraham is said to have taken place. (SYNCELLUS) Consequently, on this view, the reign of Ninus must have terminated, according to the usual chronology, about BC 1987. Clinton, who is of high authority in chronology, places the reign of Ninus somewhat earlier. In his Fasti Hellenici he makes his age to have been BC 2182. Layard (in his Nineveh and its Remains) subscribes to this opinion. Semiramis is said to have survived her husband forty-two years. (SYNCELL) Whatever view, therefore, be adopted in regard to the age of Ninus, whether that of Eusebius, or that at which Clinton and Layard have arrived, it is evident that Shem long survived both Ninus and his wife. Of course, this argument proceeds on the supposition of the correctness of the Hebrew chronology. For conclusive evidence on that subject, see note 2 below.

We know, from the statements in Job, that among patriarchal tribes that had nothing whatever to do with Mosaic institutions, but which adhered to the pure faith of the patriarchs, idolatry in any shape was held to be a crime, to be visited with signal and summary punishment on the heads of those who practised it. "If I beheld the sun," said Job, "when it shined, or the moon walking in brightness; and my heart hath been secretly enticed, and * my mouth hath kissed my hand; this also were an iniquity to be punished by the judge; for I should have denied the God that is above" (Job 31:26-28).

 

* That which I have rendered "and" is in the authorised version "or," but there is no reason for such a rendering, for the word in the original is the very same as that which connects the previous clause, "and my heart," &c.

Now if this was the case in Job's day, much more must it have been the case at the earlier period when the Mysteries were instituted. It was a matter, therefore, of necessity, if idolatry were to be brought in, and especially such foul idolatry as the Babylonian system contained in its bosom, that it should be done stealthily and in secret. *

 

* It will be seen by-and-by what cogent reason there was, in point of fact, for the profoundest secrecy in the matter. See Chapter II

Even though introduced by the hand of power, it might have produced a revulsion, and violent attempts might have been made by the uncorrupted portion of mankind to put it down; and at all events, if it had appeared at once in all its hideousness, it would have alarmed the consciences of men, and defeated the very object in view. That object was to bind all mankind in blind and absolute submission to a hierarchy entirely dependent on the sovereigns of Babylon. In the carrying out of this scheme, all knowledge, sacred and profane, came to be monopolised by the priesthood, who dealt it out to those who were initiated in the "Mysteries" exactly as they saw fit, according as the interests of the grand system of spiritual despotism they had to administer might seem to require. Thus the people, wherever the Babylonian system spread, were bound neck and heel to the priests. The priests were the only depositaries of religious knowledge; they only had the true tradition by which the writs and symbols of the public religion could be interpreted; and without blind and implicit submission to them, what was necessary for salvation could not be known. Now compare this with the early history of the Papacy, and with its spirit and modus operandi throughout, and how exact was the coincidence! Was it in a period of patriarchal light that the corrupt system of the Babylonian "Mysteries" began? It was in a period of still greater light that that unholy and unscriptural system commenced, that has found such rank development in the Church of Rome. It began in the very age of the apostles, when the primitive Church was in its flower, when the glorious fruits of Pentecost were everywhere to be seen, when martyrs were sealing their testimony for the truth with their blood. Even then, when the Gospel shone so brightly, the Spirit of God bore this clear and distinct testimony by Paul: "THE MYSTERY OF INIQUITY DOTH ALREADY WORK" (2 Thess 2:7). That system of iniquity which then began it was divinely foretold was to issue in a portentous apostacy, that in due time would be awfully "revealed," and would continue until it should be destroyed "by the breath of the Lord's mouth, and consumed by the brightness of His coming." But at its first introduction into the Church, it came in secretly and by stealth, with "all DECEIVABLENESS of unrighteousness." It wrought "mysteriously" under fair but false pretences, leading men away from the simplicity of the truth as it is in Jesus. And it did so secretly, for the very same reason that idolatry was secretly introduced in the ancient Mysteries of Babylon; it was not safe, it was not prudent to do otherwise. The zeal of the true Church, though destitute of civil power, would have aroused itself, to put the false system and all its abettors beyond the pale of Christianity, if it had appeared openly and all at once in all its grossness; and this would have arrested its progress. Therefore it was brought in secretly, and by little and little, one corruption being introduced after another, as apostacy proceeded, and the backsliding Church became prepared to tolerate it, till it has reached the gigantic height we now see, when in almost every particular the system of the Papacy is the very antipodes of the system of the primitive Church. Of the gradual introduction of all that is now most characteristic of Rome, through the working of the "Mystery of iniquity," we have very striking evidence, preserved even by Rome itself, in the inscriptions copied from the Roman catacombs. These catacombs are extensive excavations underground in the neighbourhood of Rome, in which the Christians, in times of persecution during the first three centuries, celebrated their worship, and also buried their dead. On some of the tombstones there are inscriptions still to be found, which are directly in the teeth of the now well-known principles and practices of Rome. Take only one example: What, for instance, at this day is a more distinguishing mark of the Papacy than the enforced celibacy of the clergy? Yet from these inscriptions we have most decisive evidence, that even in Rome, there was a time when no such system of clerical celibacy was known. Witness the following, found on different tombs:

1. "To Basilius, the presbyter, and Felicitas, his wife. They made this for themselves."

2. "Petronia, a priest's wife, the type of modesty. In this place I lay my bones. Spare your tears, dear husband and daughter, and believe that it is forbidden to weep for one who lives in God." (DR. MAITLAND'S Church in the Catacombs) A prayer here and there for the dead: "May God refresh thy spirit," proves that even then the Mystery of iniquity had begun to work; but inscriptions such as the above equally show that it had been slowly and cautiously working,--that up to the period to which they refer, the Roman Church had not proceeded the length it has done now, of absolutely "forbidding its priests to 'marry.'" Craftily and gradually did Rome lay the foundation of its system of priestcraft, on which it was afterwards to rear so vast a superstructure. At its commencement, "Mystery" was stamped upon its system.

But this feature of "Mystery" has adhered to it throughout its whole course. When it had once succeeded in dimming the light of the Gospel, obscuring the fulness and freeness of the grace of God, and drawing away the souls of men from direct and immediate dealings with the One Grand Prophet and High Priest of our profession, a mysterious power was attributed to the clergy, which gave them "dominion over the faith" of the people--a dominion directly disclaimed by apostolic men (2 Cor 1:24), but which, in connection with the confessional, has become at least as absolute and complete as was ever possessed by Babylonian priest over those initiated in the ancient Mysteries. The clerical power of the Roman priesthood culminated in the erection of the confessional. That confessional was itself borrowed from Babylon. The confession required of the votaries of Rome is entirely different from the confession prescribed in the Word of God. The dictate of Scripture in regard to confession is, "Confess your faults one to another" (James 5:16), which implies that the priest should confess to the people, as well as the people to the priest, if either should sin against the other. This could never have served any purpose of spiritual despotism; and therefore, Rome, leaving the Word of God, has had recourse to the Babylonian system. In that system, secret confession to the priest, according to a prescribed form, was required of all who were admitted to the "Mysteries"; and till such confession had been made, no complete initiation could take place. Thus does Salverte refer to this confession as observed in Greece, in rites that can be clearly traced to a Babylonian origin: "All the Greeks, from Delphi to Thermopylae, were initiated in the Mysteries of the temple of Delphi. Their silence in regard to everything they were commanded to keep secret was secured both by the fear of the penalties threatened to a perjured revelation, and by the general CONFESSION exacted of the aspirants after initiation--a confession which caused them greater dread of the indiscretion of the priest, than gave him reason to dread their indiscretion." This confession is also referred to by Potter, in his "Greek Antiquities," though it has been generally overlooked. In his account of the Eleusinian mysteries, after describing the preliminary ceremonies and instructions before the admission of the candidates for initiation into the immediate presence of the divinities, he thus proceeds: "Then the priest that initiated them called the Hierophant, proposed certain QUESTIONs, as, whether they were fasting, &c., to which they returned answers in a set form." The etcetera here might not strike a casual reader; but it is a pregnant etcetera, and contains a great deal. It means, Are you free from every violation of chastity? and that not merely in the sense of moral impurity, but in that factitious sense of chastity which Paganism always cherishes. Are you free from the guilt of murder?--for no one guilty of slaughter, even accidentally, could be admitted till he was purged from blood, and there were certain priests, called Koes, who "heard confessions" in such cases, and purged the guilt away. The strictness of the inquiries in the Pagan confessional is evidently implied in certain licentious poems of Propertius, Tibullus, and Juvenal. Wilkinson, in his chapter on "Private Fasts and Penance," which, he says, "were strictly enforced," in connection with "certain regulations at fixed periods," has several classical quotations, which clearly prove whence Popery derived the kind of questions which have stamped that character of obscenity on its confessional, as exhibited in the notorious pages of Peter Dens. The pretence under which this auricular confession was required, was, that the solemnities to which the initiated were to be admitted were so high, so heavenly, so holy, that no man with guilt lying on his conscience, and sin unpurged, could lawfully be admitted to them. For the safety, therefore of those who were to be initiated, it was held to be indispensable that the officiating priest should thoroughly probe their consciences, lest coming without due purgation from previous guilt contracted, the wrath of the gods should be provoked against the profane intruders. This was the pretence; but when we know the essentially unholy nature, both of the gods and their worship, who can fail to see that this was nothing more than a pretence; that the grand object in requiring the candidates for initiation to make confession to the priest of all their secret faults and shortcomings and sins, was just to put them entirely in the power of those to whom the inmost feelings of their souls and their most important secrets were confided? Now, exactly in the same way, and for the very same purposes, has Rome erected the confessional. Instead of requiring priests and people alike, as the Scripture does, to "confess their faults one to another," when either have offended the other, it commands all, on pain of perdition, to confess to the priest, * whether they have transgressed against him or no, while the priest is under no obligation to confess to the people at all.

 

* BISHOP HAY'S Sincere Christian. In this work, the following question and answer occur: "Q. Is this confession of our sins necessary for obtaining absolution? A. It is ordained by Jesus Christ as absolutely necessary for this purpose." See also Poor Man's Manual, a work in use in Ireland.

Without such confession, in the Church of Rome, there can be no admission to the Sacraments, any more than in the days of Paganism there could be admission without confession to the benefit of the Mysteries. Now, this confession is made by every individual, in SECRECY AND IN SOLITUDE, to the priest sitting in the name and clothed with the authority of God, invested with the power to examine the conscience, to judge the life, to absolve or condemn according to his mere arbitrary will and pleasure. This is the grand pivot on which the whole "Mystery of iniquity," as embodied in the Papacy, is made to turn; and wherever it is submitted to, admirably does it serve the design of binding men in abject subjection to the priesthood.

In conformity with the principle out of which the confessional grew, the Church, that is, the clergy, claimed to be the sole depositaries of the true faith of Christianity. As the Chaldean priests were believed alone to possess the key to the understanding of the Mythology of Babylon, a key handed down to them from primeval antiquity, so the priests of Rome set up to be the sole interpreters of Scripture; they only had the true tradition, transmitted from age to age, without which it was impossible to arrive at its true meaning. They, therefore, require implicit faith in their dogmas; all men were bound to believe as the Church believed, while the Church in this way could shape its faith as it pleased. As possessing supreme authority, also, over the faith, they could let out little or much, as they judged most expedient; and "RESERVE" in teaching the great truths of religion was as essential a principle in the system of Babylon, as it is in Romanism or Tractariansim at this day. * It was this priestly claim to dominion over the faith of men, that "imprisoned the truth in unrighteousness" ** in the ancient world, so that "darkness covered the earth, and gross darkness the people." It was the very same claim, in the hands of the Roman priests, that ushered in the dark ages, when, through many a dreary century, the Gospel was unknown, and the Bible a sealed book to millions who bore the name of Christ. In every respect, then, we see how justly Rome bears on its forehead the name, "Mystery, Babylon the Great."

 

* Even among the initiated there was a difference. Some were admitted only to the "Lesser Mysteries"; the "Greater" were for a favoured few. WILKINSON'S Ancient Egyptians

** Romans 1:18. The best interpreters render the passage as given above. It will be observed Paul is expressly speaking of the heathen.

 


Notes

[Back]

Woman with Golden Cup

In Pausanias we find an account of a goddess represented in the very attitude of the Apocalyptic "Woman." "But of this stone [Parian marble] Phidias," says he, "made a statue of Nemesis; and on the head of the goddess there is a crown adorned with stags, and images of victory of no great magnitude. In her left hand, too, she holds a branch of an ash tree, and in her right A CUP, in which Ethiopians are carved." (PAUSANIAS, Attica) Pausanias declares himself unable to assign any reason why "the Ethiopians" were carved on the cup; but the meaning of the Ethiopians and the stags too will be apparent to all who read further. We find, however, from statements made in the same chapter, that though Nemesis is commonly represented as the goddess of revenge, she must have been also known in quite a different character. Thus Pausanias proceeds, commenting on the statue: "But neither has this statue of the goddess wings. Among the Smyrneans, however, who possess the most holy images of Nemesis, I perceived afterwards that these statues had wings. For, as this goddess principally pertains to lovers, on this account they may be supposed to have given wings to Nemesis, as well as to love," i.e., Cupid. The giving of wings to Nemesis, the goddess who "principally pertained to lovers," because Cupid, the god of love, bore them, implies that, in the opinion of Pausanias, she was the counterpart of Cupid, or the goddess of love--that is, Venus. While this is the inference naturally to be deduced from the words of Pausanias, we find it confirmed by an express statement of Photius, speaking of the statue of Rhamnusian Nemesis: "She was at first erected in the form of Venus, and therefore bore also the branch of an apple tree." (PHOTII, Lexicon) Though a goddess of love and a goddess of revenge might seem very remote in their characters from one another, yet it is not difficult to see how this must have come about. The goddess who was revealed to the initiated in the Mysteries, in the most alluring manner, was also known to be most unmerciful and unrelenting in taking vengeance upon those who revealed these Mysteries; for every such one who was discovered was unsparingly put to death. (POTTER'S Antiquities, "Eleusinia") Thus, then, the cup-bearing goddess was at once Venus, the goddess of licentiousness, and Nemesis, the stern and unmerciful one to all who rebelled against her authority. How remarkable a type of the woman, whom John saw, described in one aspect as the "Mother of harlots," and in another as "Drunken with the blood of the saints"!

 

____________________

[Back]

Hebrew Chronology

Dr. Hales has attempted to substitute the longer chronology of the Septuagint for the Hebrew chronology. But this implies that the Hebrew Church, as a body, was not faithful to the trust committed to it in respect to the keeping of the Scriptures, which seems distinctly opposed to the testimony of our Lord in reference to these Scriptures (John 5:39; 10:35), and also to that of Paul (Rom 3:2), where there is not the least hint of unfaithfulness. Then we can find a reason that might induce the translators of the Septuagint in Alexandria to 83 lengthen out the period of the ancient history of the world; we can find no reason to induce the Jews in Palestine to shorten it. The Egyptians had long, fabulous eras in their history, and Jews dwelling in Egypt might wish to make their sacred history go as far back as they could, and the addition of just one hundred years in each case, as in the Septuagint, to the ages of the patriarchs, looks wonderfully like an intentional forgery; whereas we cannot imagine why the Palestine Jews should make any change in regard to this matter at all. It is well known that the Septuagint contains innumerable gross errors and interpolations.

Bunsen casts overboard all Scriptural chronology whatever, whether Hebrew, Samaritan, or Greek, and sets up the unsupported dynasties of Manetho, as if they were sufficient to over-ride the Divine word as to a question of historical fact. But, if the Scriptures are not historically true, we can have no assurance of their truth at all. Now it is worthy of notice that, though Herodotus vouches for the fact that at one time there were no fewer than twelve contemporaneous kings in Egypt, Manetho, as observed by Wilkinson, has made no allusion to this, but has made his Thinite, Memphite, and Diospolitan dynasties of kings, and a long etcetera of other dynasties, all successive!

The period over which the dynasties of Manetho extend, beginning with Menes, the first king of these dynasties, is in itself a very lengthened period, and surpassing all rational belief. But Bunsen, not content with this, expresses his very confident persuasion that there had been long lines of powerful monarchs in Upper and Lower Egypt, "during a period of from two to four thousand years," even before the reign of Menes. In coming to such a conclusion, he plainly goes upon the supposition that the name Mizraim, which is the Scriptural name of the land of Egypt, and is evidently derived from the name of the son of Ham, and grandson of Noah, is not, after all, the name of a person, but the name of the united kingdom formed under Menes out of "the two Misr," "Upper and Lower Egypt," which had previously existed as separate kingdoms, the name Misrim, according to him, being a plural word. This derivation of the name Mizraim, or Misrim, as a plural word, infallibly leaves the impression that Mizraim, the son of Ham, must be only a mythical personage. But there is no real reason for thinking that Mizraim is a plural word, or that it became the name of "the land of Ham," from any other reason than because that land was also the land of Ham's son. Mizraim, as it stands in the Hebrew of Genesis, without the points, is Metzrim; and Metzr-im signifies "The encloser or embanker of the sea" (the word being derived from Im, the same as Yam, "the sea," and Tzr, "to enclose," with the formative M prefixed).

If the accounts which ancient history has handed down to us of the original state of Egypt be correct, the first man who formed a settlement there must have done the very thing implied in this name. Diodorus Siculus tells us that, in primitive times, that which, when he wrote, "was Egypt, was said to have been not a country, but one universal sea." Plutarch also says (De Iside) that Egypt was sea. From Herodotus, too, we have very striking evidence to the same effect. He excepts the province of Thebes from his statement; but when it is seen that "the province of Thebes" did not belong to Mizraim, or Egypt proper, which, says the author of the article "Mizraim" in Biblical Cyclopoedia, "properly denotes Lower Egypt"; the testimony of Herodotus will be seen entirely to agree with that of Diodorus and Plutarch. His statement is, that in the reign of the first king, "the whole of Egypt (except the province of Thebes) was an extended marsh. No part of that which is now situate beyond the lake Moeris was to be seen, the distance between which lake and the sea is a journey of seven days." Thus all Mizraim or Lower Egypt was under water.

This state of the country arose from the unrestrained overflowing of the Nile, which, to adopt the language of Wilkinson, "formerly washed the foot of the sandy mountains of the Lybian chain." Now, before Egypt could be fit for being a suitable place for human abode--before it could become what it afterwards did become, one of the most fertile of all lands, it was indispensable that bounds should be set to the overflowings of the sea (for by the very name of the Ocean, or Sea, the Nile was anciently called--DIODORUS), and that for this purpose great embankments should enclose or confine its waters. If Ham's son, then, led a colony into Lower Egypt and settled it there, this very work he must have done. And what more natural than that a name should be given him in memory of his great achievement? and what name so exactly descriptive as Metzr-im, "The embanker of the sea," or as the name is found at this day applied to all Egypt (WILKINSON), Musr or Misr? Names always tend to abbreviation in the mouths of a people, and, therefore, "The land of Misr" is evidently just "The land of the embanker." From this statement it follows that the "embanking of the sea"--the "enclosing" of it within certain bounds, was the making of it as a river, so far as Lower Egypt was concerned. Viewing the matter in this light, what a meaning is there in the Divine language in Ezekiel 29:3, where judgments are denounced against the king of Egypt, the representative of Metzr-im, "The embanker of the sea," for his pride: "Behold, I am against thee, Pharaoh, king of Egypt, the great dragon that lieth in the midst of his rivers, which saith, My river is mine own, I have made it for myself."

When we turn to what is recorded of the doings of Menes, who, by Herodotus, Manetho, and Diodorus alike, is made the first historical king of Egypt, and compare what is said of him, with this simple explanation of the meaning of the name of Mizraim, how does the one cast light on the other? Thus does Wilkinson describe the great work which entailed fame on Menes, "who," says he, "is allowed by universal consent to have been the first sovereign of the country." "Having diverted the course of the Nile, which formerly washed the foot of the sandy mountains of the Lybian chain, he obliged it to run in the centre of the valley, nearly at an equal distance between the two parallel ridges of mountains which border it on the east and west; and built the city of Memphis in the bed of the ancient channel. This change was effected by constructing a dyke about a hundred stadia above the site of the projected city, whose lofty mounds and strong EMBANKMENTS turned the water to the eastward, and effectually CONFINED the river to its new bed. The dyke was carefully kept in repair by succeeding kings; and, even as late as the Persian invasion, a guard was always maintained there, to overlook the necessary repairs, and to watch over the state of the embankments." (Egyptians)

When we see that Menes, the first of the acknowledged historical kings of Egypt, accomplished that very achievement which is implied in the name of Mizraim, who can resist the conclusion that menes and Mizraim are only two different names for the same person? And if so, what becomes of Bunsen's vision of powerful dynasties of sovereigns "during a period of from two to four thousand years" before the reign of Menes, by which all Scriptural chronology respecting Noah and his sons was to be upset, when it turns out that Menes must have been Mizraim, the grandson of Noah himself? Thus does Scripture contain, within its own bosom, the means of vindicating itself; and thus do its minutest statements, even in regard to matters of fact, when thoroughly understood, shed surprising light on the dark parts of the history of the world.

Posted via email from The Last Chance Bible Study

TWOBABYLONS: Introduction

The Two Babylons
Alexander Hislop

 

Introduction

"And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH."--Revelation 17:5

There is this great difference between the works of men and the works of God, that the same minute and searching investigation, which displays the defects and imperfections of the one, brings out also the beauties of the other. If the most finely polished needle on which the art of man has been expended be subjected to a microscope, many inequalities, much roughness and clumsiness, will be seen. But if the microscope be brought to bear on the flowers of the field, no such result appears. Instead of their beauty diminishing, new beauties and still more delicate, that have escaped the naked eye, are forthwith discovered; beauties that make us appreciate, in a way which otherwise we could have had little conception of, the full force of the Lord's saying, "Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of these." The same law appears also in comparing the Word of God and the most finished productions of men. There are spots and blemishes in the most admired productions of human genius. But the more the Scriptures are searched, the more minutely they are studied, the more their perfection appears; new beauties are brought into light every day; and the discoveries of science, the researches of the learned, and the labours of infidels, all alike conspire to illustrate the wonderful harmony of all the parts, and the Divine beauty that clothes the whole.

If this be the case with Scripture in general, it is especially the case with prophetic Scripture. As every spoke in the wheel of Providence revolves, the prophetic symbols start into still more bold and beautiful relief. This is very strikingly the case with the prophetic language that forms the groundwork and corner-stone of the present work. There never has been any difficulty in the mind of any enlightened Protestant in identifying the woman "sitting on seven mountains," and having on her forehead the name written, "Mystery, Babylon the Great," with the Roman apostacy. "No other city in the world has ever been celebrated, as the city of Rome has, for its situation on seven hills. Pagan poets and orators, who had not thought of elucidating prophecy, have alike characterised it as 'the seven hilled city.'" Thus Virgil refers to it: "Rome has both become the most beautiful (city) in the world, and alone has surrounded for herself seven heights with a wall." Propertius, in the same strain, speaks of it (only adding another trait, which completes the Apocalyptic picture) as "The lofty city on seven hills, which governs the whole world." Its "governing the whole world" is just the counterpart of the Divine statement--"which reigneth over the kings of the earth" (Rev 17:18). To call Rome the city "of the seven hills" was by its citizens held to be as descriptive as to call it by its own proper name. Hence Horace speaks of it by reference to its seven hills alone, when he addresses, "The gods who have set their affections on the seven hills." Martial, in like manner, speaks of "The seven dominating mountains." In times long subsequent, the same kind of language was in current use; for when Symmachus, the prefect of the city, and the last acting Pagan Pontifex Maximus, as the Imperial substitute, introduces by letter one friend of his to another, he calls him "De septem montibus virum"--"a man from the seven mountains," meaning thereby, as the commentators interpret it, "Civem Romanum, "A Roman Citizen." Now, while this characteristic of Rome has ever been well marked and defined, it has always been easy to show, that the Church which has its seat and headquarters on the seven hills of Rome might most appropriately be called "Babylon," inasmuch as it is the chief seat of idolatry under the New Testament, as the ancient Babylon was the chief seat of idolatry under the Old. But recent discoveries in Assyria, taken in connection with the previously well-known but ill-understood history and mythology of the ancient world, demonstrate that there is a vast deal more significance in the name Babylon the Great than this. It has been known all along that Popery was baptised Paganism; but God is now making it manifest, that the Paganism which Rome has baptised is, in all its essential elements, the very Paganism which prevailed in the ancient literal Babylon, when Jehovah opened before Cyrus the two-leaved gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron.

That new and unexpected light, in some way or other, should be cast, about this very period, on the Church of the grand Apostacy, the very language and symbols of the Apocalypse might have prepared us to anticipate. In the Apocalyptic visions, it is just before the judgment upon her that, for the first time, John sees the Apostate Church with the name Babylon the Great "written upon her forehead" (Rev 17:5). What means the writing of that name "on the forehead"? Does it not naturally indicate that, just before judgment overtakes her, her real character was to be so thoroughly developed, that everyone who has eyes to see, who has the least spiritual discernment, would be compelled, as it were, on ocular demonstration, to recognise the wonderful fitness of the title which the Spirit of God had affixed to her. Her judgment is now evidently hastening on; and just as it approaches, the Providence of God, conspiring with the Word of God, by light pouring in from all quarters, makes it more and more evident that Rome is in very deed the Babylon of the Apocalypse; that the essential character of her system, the grand objects of her worship, her festivals, her doctrine and discipline, her rites and ceremonies, her priesthood and their orders, have all been derived from ancient Babylon; and, finally, that the Pope himself is truly and properly the lineal representative of Belshazzar. In the warfare that has been waged against the domineering pretensions of Rome, it has too often been counted enough merely to meet and set aside her presumptuous boast, that she is the mother and mistress of all churches--the one Catholic Church, out of whose pale there is no salvation. If ever there was excuse for such a mode of dealing with her, that excuse will hold no longer. If the position I have laid down can be maintained, she must be stripped of the name of a Christian Church altogether; for if it was a Church of Christ that was convened on that night, when the pontiff-king of Babylon, in the midst of his thousand lords, "praised the gods of gold, and of silver, and of wood, and of stone" (Dan 5:4), then the Church of Rome is entitled to the name of a Christian Church; but not otherwise. This to some, no doubt, will appear a very startling position; but it is one which it is the object of this work to establish; and let the reader judge for himself, whether I do not bring ample evidence to substantiate my position.

Posted via email from The Last Chance Bible Study

TWOBABYLONS: Contents

The Two Babylons

or The Papal Worship Proved to be
the Worship of Nimrod and His Wife

By the Late Rev. Alexander Hislop

First published as a pamphlet in 1853--greatly expanded in 1858

 

Contents

Introduction

Chapter I
Distinctive Character of the Two Systems (35k)

Chapter II
Objects of Worship

Section I. Trinity in Unity (22k)
Section II. The Mother and Child, and the Original of the Child (14k)

Chapter III
Festivals

Section I. Christmas and Lady-day (35k)
Section II. Easter (41k)
Section III. The Nativity of St. John (42k)
Section IV. The Feast of the Assumption (11k)
See Chapter V, Section IV regarding Cupid (St. Valentine's Day)

Chapter IV
Doctrine and Discipline

Section I. Baptismal Regeneration (47k)
Section II. Justification by Works (39k)
Section III. The Sacrifice of the Mass (25k)
Section IV. Extreme Unction (6k)
Section V. Purgatory and Prayers for the Dead (10k)

Chapter V
Rites and Ceremonies

Section I. Idol Procession (15k)
Section II. Relic Worship (16k)
Section III. The Clothing and Crowning of Images (17k)
Section IV. The Rosary and the Worship of the Sacred Heart (10k)
Section V. Lamps and Wax-Candles (18k)
Section VI. The Sign of the Cross (21k)

Chapter VI
Religious Orders

Section I. The Sovereign Pontiff (36k)
Section II. Priests, Monks, and Nuns (19k)

Chapter VII
The Two Developments Historically and Prophetically Considered

Section I. The Great Red Dragon (79k)
Section II. The Beast from the Sea (44k)
Section III. The Beast from the Earth (22k)
Section IV. The Image of the Beast (26k)
Section V. The Name of the Beast, the Number of His Name--the Invisible Head of the Papacy (47k)

Conclusion (28k)

Posted via email from The Last Chance Bible Study

Christianity: Christianity Through the Ages " The Earthly Life of Him Through Whom Christianity Began"(Chapter 3)

 

Christianity Through the Ages

by Kenneth Scott Latourette

Richard Heard, M.A., M.B.E., M.C., was a Fellow of Peterhouse, Cambridge and University lecturer in Divinity at Cambridge (1950). Published by Harper & Row, New York, 1965. This material was prepared for Religion-Online by Ted and Winnie Brock.

 

Chapter 3: The Earthly Life of Him Through Whom Christianity Began

 

Christianity begins with a historical figure in a distinct historical setting. The setting was Palestine at the time when the Roman Empire was in its youth. Palestine had been incorporated into that empire. It was seething with the unrest against Roman rule which within a generation of the crucifixion broke out in a revolt that was crushed by Roman arms. Among the Jewish people were a number of religious currents. A clique of worldly Sadducees controlled the central shrine, the Temple in Jerusalem. They were intent on maintaining their hold and identified it with the welfare of the Jewish people. The Pharisees, spiritual heirs of the movement to preserve the Jewish faith against the compromise with Hellenism which had followed the conquests of Alexander the Great and his successors and which under the Maccabees had become political, were adamant in their efforts to preserve loyalty to what they regarded as the law given through Moses and defended by the great prophets. Minority ascetic movements flourished. Among them were the Essenes and the monastic community, presumably Essene, which was brought to light in the 1940’s and 1950’s by the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, documents produced by them and preserved in the dry air of caves where their writers lived.

For our first-hand knowledge of the life of Jesus we are dependent chiefly on the Four Gospels which head the New Testament. They arose from the need to instruct inquirers and neophytes in the early Christian communities. Made up predominantly of the remembered sayings and acts of Jesus and of accounts of the crucifixion and resurrection, the Gospels are not formal biographies as the twentieth century understands biography. However, they give a vivid picture of Jesus, of His teachings, and of His death and resurrection. Composed chiefly from the reminiscences of eye-witnesses and intimate companions of Jesus, they enable us to know Him as well as though we had been in the inner circle of His disciples. In addition, in letters of early Christians are fragments of His teachings and especially of impressions which He made on those who knew him best.

We need here to rehearse, and that briefly, only such features of the story as determine the nature and course of Christianity. Jesus was reared in Nazareth, a hill town in Galilee. We know few details of His life before His emergence into the public eye. From His sayings and parables we can be sure that He was a keen observer of the life around Him and of the beauties of the rural scene that lay spread below Him on the plain of Esdraelon. He had learned to read, was a diligent student of the sacred books of His people, and worshipped regularly in the local synagogue. Presumably Joseph, the husband of Mary, died before her son began His public career, for we never hear of him after the childhood of Jesus -- except that fellow townsmen remembered him as the supposed father. Obviously the nativity story as told in Matthew’s Gospel could have come only from Joseph, just as that in Luke’s Gospel bears all the marks of having Mary as its source -- and, incidentally, provides a most illuminating picture of Mary’s characteristics. The home in which Jesus was reared was deeply religious. As we gather from the names of those who are called His brothers, it was in the Maccabean tradition of loyalty to the traditions of His people. The one concrete glimpse which we are given of His childhood discloses a highly intelligent lad who was already beginning to be aware of His mission.

We must remember that across the centuries the relation of the divine and the human in Jesus has been a mystery which Christians have sought to penetrate. They were early convinced that He was God incarnate, that in Him the eternal Word had become flesh. They were also certain that He was fully human. Thus the Epistle to the Hebrews, which begins by declaring that the Son was appointed by God to be the heir of all things, was the express image of God, and upholds the universe by His word of power, also insists that in every respect He was made like His brethren, that He suffered, was tempted as men are tempted, and "learned obedience by the things that He suffered." As we shall see later, a formula, that of Chalcedon, which the majority of Christians have accepted declares that Jesus Christ was "perfect in Godhead and perfect in manhood, truly God and truly man," in whom the two natures, divine and human, were not "separated into two persons" but were preserved and concurred in one person.

What has been called the public ministry began dramatically. John the Baptist, who we are told was related by blood to Jesus, was preaching the impending judgement of God, urging repentance and moral reform, and baptizing in the Jordan River those who responded. Jesus, then about thirty years of age, was baptized. Presumably He sought the rite as an act of dedication, not of repentance, for, significantly, although He had a keenly sensitive conscience and urged his followers to repent, we have only one slight hint, and that capable of another interpretation, that He thought of Himself as less than perfect. The baptism was accompanied by a sudden and profound conviction of His peculiar relation to God. As a boy He had been partly aware of it, but now it came upon Him with such force that He was impelled to seek solitude to discern its meaning. Deep inner struggle followed and from it came a clear conviction about what that relation entailed. He won through to the knowledge that the relation did not exempt Him from the limitations common to mankind, that He must not compromise with evil to achieve worthy objectives, and that His reliance must always be entirely on God.

From His experience in the wilderness Jesus emerged, we are told, so matured that those with whom He had grown up in Nazareth could not believe He was the one whom they had known. He began preaching and teaching. His theme was the Kingdom of God. He announced that the Kingdom of God was at hand and, indeed, already present, although not as yet consummated. As He saw it, this was good news, news so wonderful that those who were gripped by it would give up all that they had to enter the Kingdom. Membership in the Kingdom demanded a complete shifting of values. Even to recognize the Kingdom what amounted to a new birth was essential -- entrance to it could be only by a change in perspective and purpose which could best be described as being born anew. That new birth was wrought by the Spirit, Who had come upon Jesus at His baptism. To prepare for it repentance, "a complete change of mind," was an inescapable prerequisite. Entrance must be by striving which might have in it agony. But it meant eternal life, life with God in fellowship with Christ. That life was marked by attainment to high ethical standards -- among them complete purity of heart, unswerving honesty, outgoing love, even for one’s enemies, and being perfect as God is perfect.

Yet Jesus was not a legalist. As He saw it, the kind of life demanded by the Kingdom is not a meticulous observance of set rules. That may lead to pride and self-righteousness, and Jesus had nothing but scorn for the self-righteous. He would not let rules, such as the strict observance of the Sabbath which had been one of the marks of those who had resisted Hellenizing tendencies, stand in the way of the welfare of individuals.

Jesus had a great yearning for the sick, the consciously unrighteous, and the underprivileged. He possessed remarkable powers of physical healing, the exercise of which was to Him one indication that the Kingdom of God was arriving. So far as our records enable us to know Him, He was at times physically weary but was never ill. He sought the wayward and those whom He described as lost. Through Him moral and spiritual transformation was wrought in harlots and gouging tax-collectors.

Jesus did not dodge evil. He recognized it and fought it, especially as it injured individuals. He advanced no philosophic or theological reason for its existence. One of His parables, that of the field planted with good seed and in which an enemy sowed weeds, seems to indicate His belief that both good and evil would continue to the end of time, both growing and reaching larger dimensions. Yet Jesus had no doubt of the ultimate triumph of good and the destruction of evil.

Jesus did not actively engage in the political struggles of his day. That is all the more significant in view of the seething currents which were soon to break out in futile resistance to the rule of Rome. Jesus clearly foresaw that disaster -- as any level-headed resident of Palestine should have done. By a tragic irony He was crucified on the charge, palpably false, that He had sought to stir up revolt.

What Jesus did, rather, was to offer His people another way, the only possible one consistent with His convictions; if followed, it would have averted the fateful outcome of the Roman-Jewish tensions. He offered it with the full realization that it would not be followed.

The way which Jesus offered to the Jews arose from His conception of His mission, reached only after intense thought and prayer and with much inward struggle. The title given to Him was Christ, the anointed of the Lord, or, in Aramaic and Hebrew, the Messiah. Various meanings had been given the term by Jewish leaders and in popular Jewish thought. In general, they included the reestablishment of the kingdom which had had David as its most revered monarch, and through that kingdom a world-embracing regime of righteousness and peace. In the day in which Jesus lived, among the devout Jews the hope of the early appearance of the Messiah was widespread. Jesus was affected by that hope, especially since in His infancy, so we are told, He was greeted as the instrument for the establishment of the kingdom, and in His public ministry His healings and His teaching, given with a sense of authority, stimulated many to hail Him as the Messiah. Precisely what went on in His mind we can probably never know fully. From the records, we can be confident that Jesus refused to fit into any of the stereotypes which contemporaries had of the Messiah. He had come to the conviction that the mission given Him by His Father differed basically from the popular conceptions -- even those held by His immediate disciples. He saw that the road assigned him led inevitably to the cross and to apparent complete frustration. Here seems to have been a conclusion first reached in the temptations which followed His baptism. We have a hint of it -- and of the continuing inner struggle by which it was confirmed -- in the reported sharp rebuke to Peter when that bewildered and loyal friend expressed his horror that the role of the Messiah must be climaxed by the cross. Here may be the reason for the fashion which Jesus chose for His final entry into the city, humble and without an armed company to support Him. Here, too, may be a clue to the report that when He approached Jerusalem on that fateful visit Jesus wept over it, saying that even then it might know what made for peace, but that it was blind and was faced with complete destruction. Jesus was well aware that the response which greeted Him could only be the prelude to His seeming failure. Possibly this is part of the reason for His agony in Gethsemane. He knew that He had failed in His appeal. But He could even then have escaped and, accompanied by the eleven, have gone to the other side of the Jordan to the hills, which were clearly seen in the light of the full Pascal moon. There, temporarily relieved of his enemies, He might teach until at least some would understand Him. Should He do so, and there continue His mission? On Him, too, rested the burden of man’s sin and the tragedy which that entailed for mankind. The conviction He had previously reached was reaffirmed, perhaps because when He saw the approach of the lights of the soldiers brought by his betrayer He knew that escape was impossible.

At His crucifixion, we are told, Jesus prayed: "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do." He was stating a fact, for the priests, Pilate, the multitude, and the soldiers were not aware that they were committing man’s greatest crime, the crucifixion of the Son of God. Yet in His plea for their forgiveness Jesus was exemplifying the love of God which had expressed itself in the incarnation. Here, too, is much of the history of Christianity. Man has been blindly and tragically misusing God’s greatest gift. That gift had come through the self-giving love of the infinite God. Through misusing it men have brought on themselves the judgement of God.

The issue is made the more poignant because Jesus had not taken the steps which human wisdom would have dictated to give permanence to His mission. He had written no book in which to record His teachings. So far as our records permit us to know, He had given little or no thought to a continuing organization. He had chosen twelve to be with Him, seemingly symbolic of the twelve tribes of Israel and with the hint that here was to be a new Israel. But, if so, none of the twelve really understood Him. When one of the eleven impulsively sought to fight to prevent His arrest, Jesus commanded him to put up his sword. All our records unite in saying that the friends of Jesus were completely discouraged and felt themselves impotent to prevent the tragedy. We read that two of the wealthy and deeply religious intelligentsia who had hoped that in Jesus might be fulfilled the dream long cherished by the devout in Israel could do no more than ask for His dead body and give it decent burial.

Yet the records also agree that seeming failure was what to the faithful became thrilling triumph. The faithful were assured that the crucifixion, far from ending all, was the necessary preliminary to the resurrection. Here was not the end of the life they had known but a radiant life, a continuation of Him Whom they had known and loved, with the assurance that through faith in Him all men might have the victorious, self-giving life which they saw in Him. Soon, fulfilling the promise which Jesus is said to have given them, the Spirit took possession of them, sent by Jesus and the Father, Who began to bring the fruits in them which they had already seen in Jesus.

In the life, teachings, seeming frustration by the cross, resurrection, and transforming power of the Spirit is the epitome of the history which is to be our theme in the chapters that follow. Here, as the Christian sees it, is the fashion in which God has dealt with men and continues to deal with them. Here, if he is correct, is the clue to the history not only of Christianity but of all mankind as well. Again and again we will see God’s good gifts perverted by men’s blindness and sin to work incalculable harm in individuals, in groups, and in entire peoples and nations. Repeatedly we shall see issuing from the Spirit Who is inseparably related to the Father and the Son healing for individuals, for segments of mankind, and for mankind as a whole.

Posted via email from The Last Chance Bible Study

ClarenceLarkin: Dispensational Truth XVII The Judgments

Dispensational Truth
XVII
The Judgments





Resurrections and Judgements


The common opinion that the Millennium is to be ushered in by the preaching of the Gospel, and that after the Millennium there is to be a "General Resurrection" followed by a "General judgment, " and then the earth is to be destroyed by fire is not scriptural.

There can be no "General" judgment because the Scriptures speak of one judgment as being in the "Air" (1Thes. 4:16, 1Thes. 4:17; 2Cor. 5:6-8) ; another on the "Earth" (Matt. 25:31-33) ; and a third in "Heaven, " the earth and its atmosphere having fled away. Rev. 20:11-13. And to-make sure that these three separate judgments should not be combined into one General judgment scene, three different Thrones are mentioned.

1. The "Judgment Seat of Christ." 2 Cor. 5:10. "In the Air." For "Believers" only.
2. The "Throne of Glory." Matt. 25:31, Matt. 25:32. "On the Earth." For "The Nations."
3.The "Great White Throne." Rev. 20:11, 12. "In Heaven." For the "Wicked Dead."

The Scriptures speak of

Five Separate judgments.

They differ in five general aspects. As to "Subjects, " "Time, " "Place, " "Basis of judgment" and "Result."

Judgment No. 1.

1. Subjects-Believers as to "SIN."
2. Time-A.D. 30.
3.Place-Calvary.
4.Basis of judgment. Christ's "FINISHED WORK."
5. Result-

1. Death as to Christ.
2. Justification as to the Believer.

This judgment is PAST. The Bible proofs of the results of this judgment are Rom. 10:4.

"For Christ is the END OF THE LAW for righteousness to every one that Believeth."

"Christ Hath Redeemed us from the CURSE OF THE LAW, being made a curse for us; for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree." Gal. 3:13.

"Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, BEING DEAD TO SINS, should live unto righteousness." 1Pet. 2:24.

"There is therefore NOW no condemnation (judgment) to them which are IN CHRIST JESUS, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the Law of the 'SPIRIT OF LIFE' in Christ Jesus hath made me FREE From the Law of 'Sin and Death."' Rom. 8:1, Rom. 8:2.

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me,

HATH EVERLASTING LIFE
and shall not come into condemnation
(judgment) but
IS PASSED
From Death Unto Life."

John 5:24.

The "Believer's" judgment for Sin then is PAST, and was settled at the Cross.

But we must not forget that the judgment of the Believer is threefold.

1. As a "Sinner."
2. As a "Son."
3. As a "Servant."

As we have already seen his judgment as a "Sinner" is Past. Let us look at his judgment

2. As a "Son."

As soon as the sinner accepts Christ as his personal Saviour that settles the "Sin" question for him. For if our iniquities are laid on Him (Jesus), then they are not on Us. Isa. 53:5, Isa. 53:6. But the "Sin" question, and the "Sins" question are two different things. Christ died on the Cross to atone for "sin, " to pay the penalty of Adam's disobedience in the Garden of Eden. "Sin" is that tendency in mankind to do wrong which we call "Natural Depravity." We do not get rid of this "tendency" by the "New Birth, " but we get a "counteracting force" called the "New Nature." We become a "dual personality, " composed of the "Old" and "New Natures, " and which shall predominate depends on which we feed and which we starve. This explains the "warfare" that Paul describes as his experience, after his conversion, in Rom. 7:1-3. This warfare will continue until the "Old" nature is eradicated at death.

"Sins" are the outward acts of wrong-doing that we commit as the result of our tendency to sin. These sins must be put away daily by "confession."

"My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an 'Advocate' with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." 1John 2:1.

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1John 1:9.

Our judgment as "Sons" is for "unconfessed sins." The punishment is chastisement. This explains much of the chastisement of Christians, and should show them that they are "Sons" and not "Bastards." Heb. 12:5-1 Heb. 12:1. Paul says-

"If we would 'judge ourselves' we should not be judged. But when we are judged we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned (judged) with the world." 1Cor. 11:31, 1Cor. 11:32.

Our duty then as "Sons" is to "self-judge" ourselves daily, "confess our sins, " and so avert the chastisement of our Heavenly Father.

3. As a Servant.

This leads us to-

Judgment No. 2.

1. Subjects-Believers as to "WORKS."
2. Time-After The Church is caught out
3. Place-"Judgment Seat of Christ" (in the Air).
4. Basis of Judgment-Their "WORKS."
5. Result-Reward or Loss.

This judgment is FUTURE.

"We must all appear before the 'Judgment Seat of Christ, ' that every one may receive the things 'done in the body' according to that he hath done, whether it be 'good' or 'bad' (worthless)." 2Cor. 5:10.

The pronoun "We" occurs 26 times in the chapter, and in every instance it means the Believer, and the Epistle is addressed to the "Church" and "Saints" at Corinth, so the judgment here spoken of is for Believers "only." The "Time" of this judgment is when the Lord comes (1Cor. 4:5), and the "Place" is "in the air" (1Thes. 4:17) and before the judgment Seat of Christ.

It will not be a judgment in the sense of a "trial" to see whether the judged are innocent (saved) or guilty (lost), for it is a judgment it of the "saved only." It will be like the judges' stand at a Fair, or Race Track, where rewards are distributed to the successful contestants. Paul describes such a scene in 1Cor. 9:24-26.

It is not a judgment for sin, but for "works." This judgment is described in 1Cor. 3:11-13.

"Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones (valuable building stones, as marble, etc.), wood, hay, stubble; every man's 'Work' shall be made manifest; for the 'Day' (judgment Day) shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by 'fire, ' and the fire shall try every mans work, of what sort it is. If any man's work 'abide' which he hath built there upon he shall receive a 'reward.' If any man's work shall be 'burned' he shall suffer 'loss; ' but 'he himself shall be saved; ' yet so as by fire."

The result of this judgment is "reward" or "loss." All our "bad" and "dead works, " represented by the wood, hay and stubble, will be consumed, and only our "good works" shall remain. There is much which passes for Christian service which is merely human and secular, and does not count in our eternal reward. For those who deserve a "reward" it will be

The Crowning Day.

After the Grecian games were all over the runners, wrestlers, and successful contestants assembled before the "Bema, " or Judges' stand, which was an elevated seat on which the Umpire sat, and the winners received a "corruptible crown" of "laurel leaves." Some had no reward, they had lost the "Victor's Crown." But while there was no reward there was no punishment, they were not cast out.

The New Testament speaks of Five Crowns.

1. The Crown of "LIFE."

This is the "Martyr's" crown, and is mentioned twice.

"Blessed is the man that endureth temptation (testing), for when he is 'tried' (at the judgment Seat of Christ), he shall receive the 'Crown of Life' which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him." James 1:12.

"Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer; behold, the Devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried (tested) and ye shall have tribulation ten days; be thou faithful 'unto death, ' and I will give thee a 'Crown of Life."' Rev. 2:10

Notice it does not say "until" death, but "unto" death. They were not to recant but to remain faithful unto a martyr's death. To recant was to lose the crown. This refers to the martyrs of the Tribulation Period.

2. The Crown of "GLORY."

This is the "Elder's" or "Pastor's" crown, given by the Chief Shepherd when He shall appear. But it is not for those who serve for "filthy lucre" or "lord it over God's heritage." 1Pet. 5:2-4.

3. The Crown of "REJOICING."

This is the "Soul Winner's" crown. 'Those brought to Jesus by us will be our "crown of rejoicing" at His Coming. 1Thes. 2:19, 1Thes. 2:20. Phil. 4:1.

4. The Crown of "RIGHTEOUSNESS"

This is the crown of those who "love His appearing" and will be given in "that day"-the Day of His Appearing. 2Tim. 4:8.

5. The Crown "INCORRUPTIBLE."

This is the "Victor's" crown, and is for those who "keep under their body." 1Cor. 9:25-27. Who do not yield to their fleshly lusts. Who do not permit themselves to be diverted from the Master's work by worldly amusements and pleasure, nor saturate their body with drugs.

If we do not want to be "ashamed at His Coming, " 1John 2:28, let us see to it that we keep our body "under" and so live that we shall secure a crown.

Judgment No. 3.

1. Subjects-The JEWS.
2. Time-"The Great Tribulation."
3. Place-Jerusalem and Vicinity.
4. Basis of Judgment-Rejection of the Godhead.
5. Result-Their Conversion and Reception of Christ as TheirMessiah.

This judgment is FUTURE.

While the Church is being judged at the judgment Seat of Christ in the air, the Jews will be judged under Antichrist on the earth. The Jews are an "earthly" people; and as all the promises to them are "earthly, " it follows that their judgment must be of an "earthly" character. The basis of their judgment is their "rejection of the Godhead." In the days of Samuel they rejected God the Father. 1Sam. 8:7. In the days of Christ they rejected God the Son. Luke 23:18. In the days of Stephen they rejected God the Holy Spirit. Acts 7:51, Acts 7:54-56. For their sin they have been scattered among the nations until the Times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. When the Times of the Gentiles are about to end the Jews will be gathered back to the Holy Land "unconverted, " and caused to "pass under the rod." Ez. 20:34-36. They will be cast into God's "Melting Pot" (Ez. 22:19-21), and pass through an experience spoken of by Jeremiah and Daniel as the "TIME OF JACOB'S TROUBLE." Jer. 30:4-6. Dan. 12:1.

Christ calls it "The Great Tribulation, " and He and Zechariah the Prophet associate it with the "Return of the Lord." Matt. 24:21-23. Zech. 14:1-3.

The human agent the Lord will use will be Antichrist, the awfulness of whose rule will be supplemented by the pouring out of the "Vials of God's wrath" upon the earth. Rev. 15:1, Rev. 15:5-7; Rev. 16:21. See the chapter on "The Tribulation."

The result of these terrible judgments will be that the Jews will call in their misery upon the Lord. Zech. 12:10. Then Christ will come back to the Mt. of Olives (Zech. 14:3) and the Jews will look upon Him whom they "pierced" (Zech. 12:10), and a nation, the Jewish Nation, shall be "born (converted) in a day." Isa. 66:8. This will complete the judgment of the Jews. See the chapter on the Jews.

Judgment No. 4.

1. Subjects-The Nations (Gentiles).
2. Time-The "Revelation of Christ."
3. Place-The "Throne of His Glory." On the Earth-"Valley of Jehoshaphat."
4. Basis of judgment-Their Treatment of Christ's Brethren-The Jews.
5. Result-Some Nations "SAVED, " Others "DESTROYED."

This judgment is FUTURE.

The account of this judgment is given in Matt. 25:31-33. The description of this judgment, and of the one given in Rev. 20:11-13 are combined by many, and taken to teach the doctrine of a general judgment. But when we compare them, they differ so widely, that it is evident that they do not describe the same event. What God has put asunder let no man join together. The following comparison will show the difference in the two accounts:

Matt. 25:31-33. Rev. 20:11-13.
1. No Resurrection. 1. A Resurrection.
2. Living Nations judged. 2. Dead judged.
3. On the Earth. Joel 3:2. 3. Heaven and Earth Gone.
4. No Books Mentioned.

4. Books Opened.

5. Three Classes Named. "Sheep, ""Goats, " "Brethren." 5. One Class Named. "The Dead."
6. Time-Before the Millennium 6. Time-After the Millennium.


This comparison reveals the fact that one of these judgments is "on the earth, " the other in the "heavens, " and that they are separated by 1000 years.

The Greek word "ethnos" here translated "Nations, " occurs 158 times in the New Testament. It is translated "Gentiles" 92 times, "Nation" or "Nations" 61 times, and "The Heathen" 5 times, but it is never in any instance (unless it be this) applied either to the "dead" or the "resurrected."

As this is a judgment of nations only, the Jews cannot be in it, for they are not reckoned among the nations. Num. 23:9. And as the Church will be associated with Christ in this judgment, for the "Saints" (the Church) shall judge the "World" (the Nations), (1Cor. 6:2), the Church cannot be in this judgment either. As we have seen the Church and the Jews have been already judged, so the "Judgment of the Nations" cannot be a general judgment. Who then, is asked, are meant by the Sheep? Do they not represent the Righteous, and all the Righteous from the beginning of the world to the end of Time? And do not the Goats in like manner represent all the Wicked?

If the Sheep are the Righteous, and the Goats the Wicked, then who are the Brethren? If they are the "followers of Christ, " as some claim, they should be classed with the Sheep. The Scriptures teach that the Righteous are saved by "faith, " and the Wicked are lost because they "reject Christ, " but in this judgment scene the Sheep inherit a "Kingdom" and the Goats are commanded to "depart, " because of their treatment of the Brethren.

All the contusion is caused by trying to make a judgment of "nations" mean a judgment of "individuals." The Sheep represent one class of Nations, and the Goats another class, while the Brethren represent the Jews (Christ's brethren).

We must bear in mind the time and place of this judgment. The time is at the "Revelation of Christ, " when He comes to set up His "Millennial Kingdom" on the earth. The place is the "Valley of Jehoshaphat" in the vicinity of Jerusalem.

"For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather ALL NATIONS, and will bring them down into the 'Valley of Jehoshaphat, ' and will plead with them there for MY PEOPLE and for my heritage ISRAEL, whom they have scattered among the Nations, and parted my land." Joel 3:1, Joel 3:2.

This prophecy clearly states that there is to be a "Judgment of Nations" on the earth in the "Valley of ehoshaphat" at the time of the restoration of the Jews to their own' land, and that the basis of judgment is the treatment by the nations of Christ's brethren-The Jews.

During the "Tribulation Period" the Nations that treat the Jewish People kindly, feeding and clothing them, and visiting them in prison, will be the "Sheep Nations, " while those who neglect to do so will be the "Goat Nations."

At the "Judgment of Nations" the King (Christ) will say to the "Sheep Nations, " inasmuch as ye have been kind to My brethren (the Jews), "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." This Kingdom is the "Millennial Kingdom" that the "Sheep Nations" as Nations will "inherit" and possess during the Millennium. And as they are to be among the "saved nations" of the New Earth (Rev. 21:24) it can be said of them that they, or at least the righteous individuals of them, shall enter into life eternal. Matt. 25:46.

Christ's sentence upon the "Goat Nations" will be-"Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire ' prepared for the Devil and his angels, " and "these shall go away into everlasting punishment." The "Goat Nations" will at once be destroyed as Nations, not one of them shall get into the Millennium, and the wicked individuals that compose them will perish and be eternally lost.

Judgment No. 5.

1. Subjects-The Wicked Dead.
2. Time-During the Renovation of the Earth by Fire.
3. Place-Before "The Great White Throne."
4. Basis of judgment-Their "Works."
5. Result-Cast Into the "Lake of Fire."

This judgment is FUTURE.

The account of it is given in Rev. 20:11-13. It will take place at the close of the Millennium a 1000 years after the judgment of the Nations, and before the "Great White Throne."

The "Great White Throne" will not be on the earth, for the "Great White Throne judgment" will take place during the renovation of the earth by fire, for the "renovation" of this Earth is reserved or kept until the time of that judgment, which Peter calls "The Day of judgment and Perdition of Ungodly Men" (2Pet. 3:7), because the judgment of the "Great White Throne"is the judgment of the wicked dead.

All the Righteous dead will arise at the First Resurrection. If any Righteous die between the First Resurrection and the Resurrection of the "wicked" or Second Resurrection, they will rise with the wicked dead at that Resurrection. The words-"Whosoever was not found written in the Book of Life (vs. 15), implies that there will be "some, " probably very few, Righteous at the Second Resurrection.

At the close of the Millennium and just before the renovation of the earth by fire, the living Righteous will probably be translated, and the living Wicked or Ungodly will be destroyed in the flames that will consume the earth's atmosphere and exterior surface.

The Wicked or Ungodly will not be judged to see whether they are entitled to Eternal Life, but to ascertain the "degree" of their punishment. The sad feature of this judgment will be that there will be many kind and lovable people there who were not saved, and who will be classed among the "ungodly" because they rejected Christ as a Saviour. The "Books" will be opened in which the "Recording Angel" has kept a record of every person's life, and they will be judged every man according to his "works." Some will be sentenced to a more severe punishment than others, but none will escape. The worst of all is, that those who were not so bad must spend eternity with the ungodly, and that in the "Lake of Fire." Their punishment includes the second death, which means that they shall lose their resurrection bodies, in which they were judged, and become "disembodied spirits" again, and so exist in the "Lake of Fire" FOREVER.

The "Fallen Angels" (not the Devil's angels), who are "reserved in everlasting chains under darkness" will be judged at this time, which Jude calls the judgment of the "Great Day." Jude 6. When this judgment is over the Devil and his angels, and all the ungodly, will have been consigned to the "Lake of Fire, " and the Universe purged of all evil, and righteousness shall reign supreme on the New Earth.


The Judgment Of Reward

Posted via email from The Last Chance Bible Study

Translate

Search This Blog