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Christogenea on Talkshoe: Revelation Chapters 10 and 11 – February 18th, 2011
Last week we discussed Chapters 8 and 9 of the Revelation of Yahshua Christ. It is my persuasion that with that program we saw with all certainty the fulfillment of prophecy in history whereby we have every reason to believe the Bible, and know that our God is true. This is the very challenge that Yahweh our God Himself gives to us, addressing the idols of the people, the false gods, in Isaiah Chapter 41, verses 21 through 29, where the King James Version says “21 Produce your cause, saith the LORD; bring forth your strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob. 22 Let them bring them forth, and shew us what shall happen: let them shew the former things, what they be, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare us things for to come. 23 Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods: yea, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold it together. 24 Behold, ye are of nothing, and your work of nought: an abomination is he that chooseth you. 25 I have raised up one from the north, and he shall come: from the rising of the sun shall he call upon my name: and he shall come upon princes as upon morter, and as the potter treadeth clay. 26 Who hath declared from the beginning, that we may know? and beforetime, that we may say, He is righteous? yea, there is none that sheweth, yea, there is none that declareth, yea, there is none that heareth your words. 27 The first shall say to Zion, Behold, behold them: and I will give to Jerusalem one that bringeth good tidings. 28 For I beheld, and there was no man; even among them, and there was no counsellor, that, when I asked of them, could answer a word. 29 Behold, they are all vanity; their works are nothing: their molten images are wind and confusion.” If one can elucidate the things of the past and also reveal the things of the future, then one is God indeed. Revelation Chapter 8 describes perfectly – well over 400 years in advance – the invasions of Rome by the Goths and the Vandals, then the rise of Justinian and the year of the dull sun which we have seen was attested to by the Byzantine historian Procopius, which took place circa 537 AD. In Chapter 9 we saw a description of the scourge of Mohammedism, and the Arab and then the Turkic conquests of much of Christendom. In verses 20 and 21 of Chapter 9 we see the reasons why this scourge was brought upon our people, where we read “20 And the rest of the men, those who had not been killed by these plagues, did not even repent from the works of their hands, that they do not worship demons and idols, things of gold and things of silver and things of copper and things of stone and things of wood, things which are able neither to see nor to hear nor to walk. 21 And they did not repent from their murders nor from their drugs nor from their fornication nor from thefts.” This is a description not only of ancient paganism, but of both Romish and Eastern Orthodox Catholicism as well. For the Catholic religion, as it is called, is full of the idols and superstitions and vices of the pagan world. The saint-worship of the Catholics is the idol-worship of the fallen angels, as elucidated by Paul of Tarsus in his epistles to the Colossians and the Corinthians, which are also the ancient pagan religions of Mesopotamia and Canaan. Fornication is also race-mixing, evident in passages such as 1 Corinthians 10:8 and Jude 7, and while the Bible divides the world among the sons of Adam, yet the Catholics seek to divide it among whomsoever they can coax or subdue into their own organization. The use of drugs is to belittle the power of God, and is therefore sorcery. Thus we see that the stage is set for Revelation Chapter 10, where we see the opening of the “little book”, which is the Bible, and the revolt of many – but I must say not all – of the Children of Israel from the Romish Church beast. One of the goals of the Reformers was to do away with a lot of these things for which men are condemned, as described here at the end of Chapter 9 – especially the idolatry.
X 1 And I saw another mighty messenger descending from heaven cloaked in a cloud, and a rainbow upon his head and his face like the sun and his feet like pillars of fire, 2 and holding in his hand a small book having been opened. And he set his right foot upon the sea, then the left upon the land, 3 and he cried out in a great voice just as a lion roars. And when he cried out, the seven thunders uttered their voices. 4 And when the seven thunders uttered, I was about to write, and I heard a voice from out of heaven saying “I have sealed the things which the seven thunders have uttered, and you should not write these things!”
In an 8th century letter by an English bishop named Cuthbert, we have the following where he is speaking of Bede, the famous English cleric and historian, and we must hear it bearing in mind that these men are English Roman Catholic bishops: “In those days, moreover, beside the lessons which we received from him and the chanting of the Psalms, there were two works very worthy of mention which he endeavoured to accomplish, to wit the Gospel of St. John, which he translated into our [Saxon] tongue for the profit of the Church, and certain extracts from the books of bishop Isidore....” So we see that translating the Bible, or portions of it, was a wholly acceptable endeavour undertaken by Romish Catholic priests in the 8th century AD. In fact, in his Ecclesiastical History, Bede often described men who were well versed and who read the Scriptures not only in Latin, but also in Greek. Yet shortly after these times, the Romish Church turned in a direction which was absolutely contrary to the Spirit of Scripture, and it made an effort to repress the Word of God, and keep it from the ears of the people.
Pope Innocent III stated in 1199: “... to be reproved are those who translate into French the Gospels, the letters of Paul, the psalter, etc. They are moved by a certain love of Scripture in order to explain them clandestinely and to preach them to one another. The mysteries of the faith are not to be explained rashly to anyone. Usually in fact, they cannot be understood by everyone but only by those who are qualified to understand them with informed intelligence. The depth of the divine Scriptures is such that not only the illiterate and uninitiated have difficulty understanding them, but also the educated and the gifted.” (Denzinger-Schönmetzer, Enchiridion Symbolorum pp 770-771, from Bridging the Gap - Lectio Divina, Religious Education, and the Have-not's by Father John Belmonte, S.J.
The Council of Toulouse, which met in November of 1229, about the time of the crusade against the Albigensians, set up a special ecclesiastical tribunal, or court, known as the Inquisition (Lat. inquisitio, an inquiry), to search out and try heretics. Twenty of the forty-five articles decreed by the Council dealt with heretics and heresy. It ruled in part: Canon 1. We appoint, therefore, that the archbishops and bishops shall swear in one priest, and two or three laymen of good report, or more if they think fit, in every parish, both in and out of cities, who shall diligently, faithfully, and frequently seek out the heretics in those parishes, by searching all houses and subterranean chambers which lie under suspicion. And looking out for appendages or outbuildings, in the roofs themselves, or any other kind of hiding places, all which we direct to be destroyed. Canon 6. Directs that the house in which any heretic shall be found shall be destroyed. Canon 14. We prohibit also that the laity should be permitted to have the books of the Old or New Testament; unless anyone from motive of devotion should wish to have the Psalter or the Breviary for divine offices or the hours of the blessed Virgin; but we most strictly forbid their having any translation of these books. [Source: Heresy and Authority in Medieval Europe, Edited with an introduction by Edward Peters, Scolar Press, London, copyright 1980 by Edward Peters, ISBN 0-85967-621-8, pp. 194-195, citing S. R. Maitland, Facts and Documents [illustrative of the history, doctrine and rites, of the ancient Albigenses & Waldenses], London, Rivington, 1832, pp. 192-194.]
These edicts of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries were among the first responses of a tyrannical church against people who read the Scripture and disagreed with Rome in the interpretation of its meaning. There were bishops who actively sought to destroy Bibles, and even demanded that people turn them in. It was also in the twelfth century that the independent Culdee Church of Ireland and Scotland, which was never related to the Romish Catholics, had been subjugated to Rome. While Rome sought “one true church”, to the contrary Paul told the Corinthians that “there must also be sects among you, in order that those approved will become evident among you”, at 1 Corinthians 11:19. And from his work we also learn of the people of Beroia that “These were of more noble a race than those in Thessalonika, who accepted the Word with all eagerness, each day examining the writings, if these things would hold thusly. So the many from among them believed, and of the noble Greek women and men not a few”, at Acts 17:11-12. The Body of Christ is a collection of stones which builds itself into assemblies of Yahweh (KJV 1 Peter 2:5, 9: “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”) Also, Paul says in Ephesians Chapter 4 “But speaking the truth with love, we may increase all things for He who is the head, the Christ, from whom all the body is being joined together and is being reconciled through every stroke of assistance according to the operation of each single part in proportion; the growth of the body creates itself into a building in love.” Christians were expected to study the Scriptures for themselves, and to arrive at their own conclusions, and act according to those conclusions. In that manner, we understand that God is in control, and not man. The Romish Catholic Church clearly did not like that idea, since it was little but a professional pagan priesthood which feared losing control over the people.
Therefore the angel with the small book which was open, which descends out of heaven, symbolizes the Word of God in the hands of the people, in the form of the Bible, which the people at least in some degree had, as is evident in Bede, and which the Romish Church tried to take away. The invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg circa 1440, upon which one of the first mass-produced books was a copy of the Latin Vulgate Bible, and which a short time later launched a revolution in the distribution of printed matter, especially the works of Christian writers such as Luther and Erasmus, assured that the Bible would forever remain a fixture in Christian homes.
5 And the messenger, whom I saw standing upon the sea and upon the earth, raised his right hand to heaven 6 and swore by He who lives for the eternal ages, who created the heaven and the things in it and the earth and the things in it and the sea and the things in it, that there shall no longer be delay, 7 but in the days of the sound of the seventh messenger, when he is about to sound the trumpet, then the Mystery of Yahweh is completed as He had announced by His servants the prophets.
The King James Version reads the end of verse 6 as “there should be time no longer”, yet the Greek word is often used to signify delay, and that is how it is read here. Bertrand Comparet asserted that this verse should read “there shall be one more time”, and made a ridiculous argument in spite of all the translations that he himself cited to the contrary. In truth, there is no way that ὅτι χρόνος οὐκέτι ἔσται could ever mean “there shall be one more time”, a rendering which adds “one” to the text and ignores the negative οὐκ, and Comparet was wrong. Yet χρόνος, literally “time”, is also “delay”, and just as properly here. The Greeks had a couple of verbs derived from χρόνος which meant “to delay” or “to waste time” (χρονίζω, χρονοτρίβεω), and at χρόνος, IV., Liddell and Scott have: “delay, loss, of time.” Since in context, “time” makes no sense here, “delay” would be a proper translation, and Rotherham, Smith & Goodspeed, and Moffatt, among those whom Comparet cited, have all translated the clause quite well.
The interpretation vindicates the translation. The seventh messenger does not sound until the end of Chapter 11, in verse 15. This is a complex issue. In Daniel Chapter 7, verses 13 through 21, we see that after the beast empires lose their dominion, the kingdom is handed over to the saints of the Most High, Daniel 7:22. This will be spoken of at length in the commentary for Revelation Chapter 13. It was the Reformation which began this process. The Reformation freed the main body of the people of God – the Saxon people – from the power of the second beast of Revelation 13 which is also the little horn of Daniel Chapter 7 – which is the Romish Church papacy. Once this happened, the Saxon peoples of northern Europe did indeed gain world hegemony, and they are still the greatest cultural influence in the world today even though they are not more than a twentieth of its population. However today there are other prophecies which are unfolding and are affecting us, and those will be discussed in the later chapters of the Revelation, especially at Chapter 17.
The Mystery of Yahweh is the concealment and the later revelation of His people. The concealment happened after the Assyrian deportations of Israel, and the revelation would happen in the Gospel. Therefore Luke 2:30-32 reads thus, where Sumeon exclaims in part: “my eyes have seen Your Salvation, which You have prepared in front of all the people: a light for the revelation of the Nations and honor of Your people Israel!” As a second witness, here is the Christogenea New Testament translation of Ephesians 3:1-7: “For this cause I, Paul, captive of Christ Yahshua on behalf of you of the Nations, if indeed you have heard of the management of the family of the favor of Yahweh which has been given to me in regard to you, seeing that by a revelation the mystery was made known to me (just as I had briefly written before, besides which reading you are able to perceive my understanding in the mystery of the Anointed,) which in other generations had not been made known to the sons of men, as it is now revealed in His holy ambassadors and prophets by the Spirit, those Nations which are joint heirs and a joint body and partners of the promise in Christ Yahshua, through the good message of which I have become a servant in accordance with the gift of the favor of Yahweh which has been given to me, in accordance with the operation of His power.” It is fully evident, that by the prophecies of the Old Testament the Children of Israel would be revealed in their fulfillment of the Word of Yahweh upon receiving the Gospel, and that is what was elucidated in the Reformation, even if they themselves did not realize that revelation. The people that we see building the Kingdom of God after the eclipse of the papacy, these are the people of God, evident in Daniel Chapters 2 and 7 and here in Revelation Chapter 10.
8 And the voice which I heard from out of heaven speaks with me again and says: “Go take the book which is opened in the hand of the messenger who is standing upon the sea and upon the land!” 9 And I went to the messenger, saying to him: “Give to me the small book!” And he says to me: “Take and eat it, and your belly shall be bitter, but in your mouth it shall be sweet as honey.” 10 And I took the small book from the hand of the messenger and I devoured it, and it was in my mouth as sweet honey, and when I ate it, my belly had become bitter. 11 Then they say to me: “It is necessary for you to prophecy again concerning many people and nations and tongues and kings!”
Men loved to read and to speak the Word of God. But as the apostle Peter warned us, at 1 Peter 1:3-9:: “Blessed is Yahweh, even the Father of our Prince Yahshua Christ, who according to His great mercy has engendered us from above into a living hope through the resurrection of Yahshua Christ from among the dead, for an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and unfading, being kept in the heavens for us who are being preserved by the power of Yahweh through faith for a salvation prepared to be revealed in the last time. In which you must rejoice, if for a short time now it is necessary being pained by various trials, in order that the test of your faith, much more valuable than gold which is destroyed even being tested by fire, would be found in praise and honor and dignity at the revelation of Yahshua Christ, whom not having seen you love, in whom now not seeing but believing you rejoice with an indescribable and illustrious joy, acquiring the result of your faith: preservation of your souls.” Likewise James said “Blessed is a man who endures trial, because being approved he shall receive the crown of life which He promised to those who love Him.” (James 1:12) We do not realize these trials when we embrace the things of the world and join ourselves to the world, so long as we have the things of the world. But when we pursue the things of God, then we realize them, and pray that He keeps us from them, covering ourselves with the Blood of the Lamb.
Therefore the Word of God is sweet in our mouths, but bitter in our bellies. If we have joined ourselves to the things of the world, it pains us to hear it, but if we enjoy hearing it, it pains us to live by it because of the strife which we get from the world. Ezekiel put it this way, at Ezekiel 2:8-3:3: “2:8 But thou, son of man, hear what I say unto thee; Be not thou rebellious like that rebellious house: open thy mouth, and eat that I give thee. 9 And when I looked, behold, an hand was sent unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book was therein; 10 And he spread it before me; and it was written within and without: and there was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe. 3:1 Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel. 2 So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that roll. 3 And he said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness.”
The desire of the Germanic peoples to read and their will to follow the Word of God once they were able to read their Bibles, caused them to revolt from the tyrannical Romish Church, which in turn caused great wars throughout Europe, notably the Thirty Years' War in Germany, the destruction of the Huguenots under Catherine di Medici in France, and all the blood-letting of the English Reformation and its temporary reversals in the 16th century. There are estimated to be as many as 12 million deaths in the Thirty Years' War alone, all because the popes thought they had a right to rule over men. None of this is Christian. The powers of evil which wanted to oppress the people – combined with the Nicolaitans among our own people who forever seek to rule over us – these would have stamped out the Word of God, totally removing it from our lives and replacing it with church law and papal decrees.
XI 1 And he had given to me a reed like a staff, saying “Arise, and measure the temple of Yahweh and the altar and those worshipping at it. 2 And the court outside the temple leave out that you should not measure it, because it has been given to the heathens, and the Holy City they shall trample for forty and two months.
God does not dwell in a house built with hands, but He dwells in us, and therefore temple of Yahweh is an allegory for His people in the world. The 42 months is the same as the 1260 days which follow in verse 3 below. 42 times 30 days equals 1260 days, and we shall see the same measurements of time again – though not necessarily of the same periods – in Revelation Chapter 13 where Daniel Chapter 7 shall also be discussed. The word heathens does not necessarily mean to describe aliens. It is basically nations or people, however I have translated it as heathens whenever I felt that the word was used to describe a people or nation in opposition to the will of God or apart from those people seeking to follow the will of God. Here we see a vision of the core of His people Israel – the temple of God where Yahweh dwells - who would be separated from the beast church, while those outside would continue to be trampled by it. This does not mean that there are no Israelites in those nations which remained Catholic after the Reformation, but rather it is only an allegorical picture so that we may look back at the history of our race and understand what it is that has happened to us.
3 And I shall give to My two witnesses that they shall prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days cloaked in sackcloth. 4 These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands which are standing before the Sovereign of the earth.
The two witnesses are the two olive trees, which are also the two lampstands. These are Israel and Judah. At Isaiah 43:10-12 Yahweh says: “Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. 11 I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour. 12 I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God.” We are told in Zechariah Chapter 4 that “These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth”. Since Yahshua Christ is the Lord of the whole earth, then the Saxon peoples have proven themselves to be the Children of Israel by becoming the primary vessels of Christendom. Isaiah 62:1 says of Zion that the salvation thereof would be as a lamp that burneth. Christ said at Luke 8:16 “Now no one lighting a lamp conceals it in a vessel or sets it under a couch, but sets it upon a lampstand, that those entering in would see the light. 17 For there is nothing secret which shall not become evident, nor hidden which shall not be known and brought to light.” Yahshua said again at Matthew 5:14-16: ““14 You are the light of the Society. A city sitting upon a mountain is not able to be hidden. 15 Neither do they ignite a lamp and set it under a basket, but upon a lampstand, and it gives light for all those in the house. 16 Thusly you must give your light before men, that they may see your good works and they may honor your Father who is in the heavens.” The Saxon peoples are that shining city on the hill, the lamp which could not be hid, and they are the Light of the World, for only they out of all of the world's people have tried to civilize the entire globe and bring it under the rule of law, for better or worse. This all began after the Reformation took place, when the Children of God laid aside the paganism of the Romish Church and embraced the Word of God.
Although blind to their actual identity, Israel and Judah had been accepting and then in turn spreading the Gospel for 1260 years, or in some cases a little longer, which represents the time from the Passion of Christ and the spread of the Gospel into Europe, to the time when His people began to demand that they live by the Word of God and not the word of tyrants. Yet as the spread of the Gospel into Europe was a process which took several centuries, so was the Reformation and the break from the Romish Church a process which took several centuries.
5 And if one wishes to harm them fire proceeds from their mouths and devours their enemies, and if one should wish to harm them, thusly is it necessary for him to die. 6 They have the authority to shut heaven, in order that water would not rain in the days of their prophecy, and they have authority over the waters, to turn them into blood and to smite the earth with every calamity as often as they should desire.
The fire is the Word of God to those who resist it, and these two witnesses would prevail over all who opposed them in bringing it to light. The rain is the Word of God to those who accept it, and there would be no fruit on the earth lest it come from Israel and Judah. The little book would be open, and no one could stop it, thus we see that in spite of the enemies of God, the Reformation would succeed in getting the Word into the hands of the people and keeping it there.
7 And when their testimony should be completed, the beast which ascends from out of the bottomless pit shall make war with them and shall conquer them and shall slay them. 8 And their bodies upon the streets of the great city, which is called spiritually Sodom and Egypt, where also their Prince has been crucified. 9 And those from among the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations shall see their bodies for three and a half days and they do not allow their bodies to be buried in a tomb. 10 And those dwelling upon the earth rejoice over them and they delight and they shall send gifts to one another, because these two prophets had tormented those dwelling upon the earth.
The forces behind popery who seek to oppress the nations are the same forces which were behind the crucifixion of the Christ. The testimony of the people of God was completed upon the manifestation that they would seek to live by the Word of God, and not by the oppressive will of the unchristian popes. Whether they knew it or not, and they certainly did not, this alone proves that the Saxon peoples are indeed the people of God – the actual children of Israel – because it fulfills the prophecy of God concerning Israel, that they would return to Him through His Christ. This is evident in part at Hosea 2:7 where it says of Israel “And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find them: then shall she say, I will go and return to my first husband; for then was it better with me than now.”
The beast which ascends out of the bottomless pit will be fully elucidated in Revelation Chapter 20. This represents the antichrist jews and the jewish money powers which were isolated from Christian society and which have now surreptitiously infiltrated the papacy and sought to oppress the people of Europe. When all of these aspects of the Revelation are understood in harmony, after Chapters 12, 13 and 20 are fully elucidated, they shall all be much clearer as a whole, as a cohesive body of prophecy. For the jews and their power to corrupt through usury were excoriated from Christian society with laws governing their unchristian practices from the time of the Council of Nicaea through the time of Theodosius II, and they began to break these bindings with the Di Medici popes, who themselves came from a jewish banking family, and have their very name from the practice of sorcery.
11 And after the three and a half days a Spirit of life from Yahweh entered into them, and they stood upon their feet, and great fear had fallen upon those watching them. 12 And I heard a great voice from out of heaven saying to them: “Come up here!” And they ascended into heaven in a cloud, and their enemies watched them. 13 And at that hour there was a great earthquake and a tenth of the city fell and there had died in the earthquake seven thousand names of men, and those who remained became terrified and gave honor to the God of heaven. 14 The second woe has departed. Behold, the third woe comes quickly!
It must be mentioned, that prior to the beginning of the16th century there were already great oppressions of those in Europe who disagreed with Rome on theological grounds. There were persecutions of the sects of the Albigenses and Waldenses, for instance, and there were also the Hussite wars against the followers of Jan Huss in Bohemia. Bertrand Comparet related this three-and-a-half days in which the two witnesses lay dead to the space of time between the convention of the 5th Lateran Council and Martin Luther's nailing of his 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. I would agree with the identification, but only in part. Before the 5th Lateran Council, originally convened by Pope Julius II, there was a strong move for reform centered in France where King Louis XII had earned the name “Father of the People”, and he stood opposed to the rule of the pope. He also supported several cardinals who sought reforms and broke from the pope. The Venetians were his allies. The bishops of France sided with him. Threatening to March on Rome, he had taken Milan and Ravenna. An ecclesiastical council hostile to the Pope was called at Pisa in Italy, but being threatened with violence by the local populace it was moved several times, eventually it failed, and it was dissolved without accomplishment. Louis then suffered a damaging military defeat at the hands of the Swiss, which put an end to his ambitions. The 5th Lateran Council was called by Julius with an aim to further solidify the power of the papacy, and to answer the calls for reforms. Julius convened the Council but died almost as soon as it began, on February 21, 1513.The 5th Lateran Council did indeed go on to change the face of Romish Catholicism, but probably not as even Julius intended.
The new pope was Leo X, whose real name was actually Giovanni de' Medici. He was only thirty-seven years of age when elected, and not even ordained as a priest. He was elected March 11, 1513, and first presided at the 5th Lateran Council in its seventh session, on April 27, 1513. Among the decrees made at the council were the following:
A Bull published by Leo X on May 4th, 1515, which sanctioned the Monti di pietà, which were financial institutions under Church supervision which were to provide loans to the needy much in the manner of pawn shops, and which had attracted both support and opposition from within the church since their establishment in Italy 50 years earlier. This allowed the Romish Church to enter down the slippery slope of the approval of usury. The bull gives the decision that this practice is perfectly lawful, and that such loans are not in any way to be considered an act of usury. All who, after this decree, continue so to stigmatize such loans, whether laymen, priests, or religious, incurred the penalty of excommunication.
A Bull concerning the freedom of the Church and the dignity of bishops.
A Bull requiring that before a book could be printed, the local bishop had to give permission.
A Bull condemning the French Pragmatic Sanction which sought to prevent the papacy from extending its power.
A Bull promulgating a decree advocating war against the Turks in order to reclaim the Holy Land to be funded by the levying of taxes for three years.
Another Bull concerned preaching, which while sounding good on its face, left the Church and the Papacy free from any possibility of future criticism. “That preaching, at this time, had fallen on evil days we should know even though the council did not explicitly say so--it is a commonplace of all the contemporary literature. While too many priests are too ignorant to preach, says the council, very many others do no more than divert themselves, learnedly or foolishly, whenever they find themselves in a pulpit. So the council recalls the simple ideal and, passing to abuses that call for correction, it sharply forbids the common practice of preachers' prophesying, e.g., that the last day is at hand, that Antichrist is abroad, that the Divine wrath is about to consume us, etc. "Those who have made such predictions are liars." The preacher is forbidden to draw from Holy Scripture conclusions as to any future happenings, or to say he has been sent by God to say this, or that he knows it by a revelation. A second chronic source of mischief in the Middle Ages is also rebuked--preachers are strictly forbidden to preach about the sins of other clergy, "publicly defaming the character of bishops, prelates and others in authority." By "the preacher" is meant, given the age, a friar of one of the four mendicant orders, for almost the whole of what preaching was done was their work. Their superiors are now warned to see that they are fit and competent for the office, and the preachers are bidden to show the local bishop these testimonies to their piety and fitness. Preachers who offend against the decree are, of course, to be stringently punished.” [From The Church in Crisis: A History of the General Councils: 325-1870 by Philip Hughes, Chapter 18. The Fifth General Council of the Lateran, 1512-17 ]
Usury, abhorred by Yahweh, became legitimate. Preaching and Bible publishing were restricted, or in reality actually outlawed. Of the other decrees made by this council, Christusrex.org, quoting that same book by Philip Hughes, says the following: “Little wonder that, as the historians have read the decrees, they discount as platitude the conventional expressions of horror at abuses, and sneer at sternly worded reform laws which are peppered with exceptions, and legal loopholes to make disobedience lawful. The magnificent gesture, only too often, peters out in the feeble conclusion, 'We therefore ... repeating all our predecessors have said, renew all they have decreed....' Certainly, to read the opening passage of the decree that is to provide better bishops for the future, and better abbots, is an experience to try one's patience; or to read the reforms imposed on the cardinals of the Roman Curia, solemnly saying their servants must not wear long hair or grow beards and the like, while at every step, in the gravest matters, the most extraordinary exceptions are legalised. All the main topics that had caused reformers and saints to groan for a good two hundred years and more are mentioned--benefices (sees among them, of course) given to bad men or to good men otherwise altogether unsuited; plurality of benefices (whose duties are incompatible) given to the favoured minority; abbeys given 'in commendam,' that is to say to clerics not monks at all, whose sole purpose is to take from the monks their revenue, for the profit of the absentee secular priest or bishop. All these wonders by means of papal dispensations. So, no more abbeys are to be dealt with in this way, 'unless' (almost the key word in this unhappy legislation) 'in consideration of the present state of things ... it should be considered expedient to do otherwise.' Pluralities of incompatible offices--to be a bishop in Spain and at the same time an archbishop in France and an abbot in Italy, to hold canonries in half a dozen cathedrals at once -- dispensations for these are to be limited, and so, 'those who hold more than four such, are to resign all but four' within a given space of time, two years. Monasteries given in commendam for the future are to go only to cardinals and well-deserving persons, and the commendatory's financial hold on the abbey is somewhat restricted.”
With this it is evident that unrestrained Pharisaism has fully come into Catholicism with the 5th Lateran Council. But quite importantly, also at the council, Leo accepted the submission of two of the surviving rebel cardinals, and received them as priests as they read a prepared statement of contrition and repudiation of their acts against the papacy. It is reported that thousands of people flocked to the Vatican to witness this event and to “gloat over this spectacle of humiliation”. Surely “those dwelling upon the earth rejoice[d] over” the death of the rebellion against unbridled papal power. The idea of constructive reforms was indeed dead, and now the power of the pope was greater than at the start. Also, since bishops would have to approve the printing of books, the people may never see another Bible, since Bibles were already virtually banned from the people by prior decrees.
Several months after the closing of the Fifth Lateran Council, Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. Luther’s theses were publicized in response to the church’s failure to reform. They were nailed to the door on All Saints’ Day, 1517, when pilgrims were going to Wittenberg for indulgences. An example of the importance that the Church placed on collection of indulgences is found in the preaching of men such as Johann Tetzel, who was more pompous than a modern day televangelist in asking for money. He made claims such as that indulgences make the sinner “cleaner than when coming out of baptism”, that “the cross of the seller of indulgences has as much power as the cross of Christ” and that indulgences make the sinner “cleaner than Adam before the Fall”. He is quoted as having said “Listen to the voices of your dear dead relatives and friends beseeching you and saying, ‘Pity us, pity us. We are in dire torment from which you can redeem us for a pittance’” and “as soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs”. Tetzel became so unpopular with the people that he had to hide in the Dominican convent at Leipzig for fear of popular violence. It was in this convent, during Luther’s debate in the city with Johann Eck on the subject of indulgences, that he died” (Who's Who p.667, from http://www.christchurchreformed.com).
“Indulgences in the last century of the Middle Ages were given for all sorts of benevolent purposes, crusades against the Turks, the building of churches and hospitals, in connection with relics, for the rebuilding of a town desolated by fire, as Bruex, for bridges and for the repair of dikes, such an indulgence being asked by Charles V. The benefits were received by the payment of money and a portion of the receipts, from 33% to 50%, was expected to go to Rome. The territory chiefly, we may say almost exclusively, worked for such enterprises was confined to the Germanic peoples of the Continent from Switzerland and Austria to Norway and Sweden. England, France and Spain were hardly touched by the traffic” (Schaff, History of the Christian Church). The Romish Catholic Church was using indulgences to loot and pillage the Christians of the Germanic nations.
For Rome, Luther’s theses were an economic argument. For Luther they were theological. Rome was taking payments when Jesus Christ had already made the payment; Rome was charging for God’s free gift; Rome was making people feel guilty for not doing enough when Jesus has already done it all for those who trust in Him. “There is no reason to believe that [Leo X] ever fully appreciated the moral dimensions of the crisis that exploded during his pontificate; he appears to have regarded it instead as a temporary interruption of his fund-raising strategy” (Idiots Guide to the Popes and the Papacy, 156, from the website at http://www.christchurchreformed.com)).
Leo X, the di Medici pope, presided over the 5th Lutheran Council for nearly four years, and during that time Italy and all of the supporters of the papacy rejoiced. If it were not for Martin Luther, all opposition to the papacy was stifled at this time. The Children of Israel would not have the Word of God, but would rather remain oppressed by the tyranny of the Romish Church and the jewish money power. Here, Israel and Judah appear to lay dead in the streets while the powers of the adversary prevailed.
Now while we can agree with Comparet that this period of the 5th Lateran Council was a period where the two witnesses - Israel and Judah - lay prostrate before the beast, perhaps this is only one of the two witnesses, Judah. Perhaps the other one, for Ephraim as representing Israel, happens just forty years later. For there is another period, a little later in England, where it also looked as though the Romish Catholic Church might prevail over the true saints of God, and it certainly warrants mention here.
It was the wantoness of Henry the 8th which brought England to break away from the Popes of Rome. Yet under his successor, Edward the 6th, a very young ruler who died after an illness at 15 years of age, who when he fell ill, with his regency council, which was mostly Protestant, drew up a plan for succession which was an attempt to prevent his half-sister Mary from gaining the throne, and returning the country to Romish Catholicism. The plan named his cousin Jane Grey as his heir, however the plan failed and Mary succeeded to the throne anyway, after Jane Grey ruled for a mere nine days.
Mary began her short and tumultuous reign at 37 years of age, arriving in London amid a scene of great rejoicing. Again, with a victory of Catholicism over the Reformation, “those dwelling upon the earth rejoice[d] over” the subjection of the Children of Israel to the earthly power of the Pope. Following the disarray created by Edward VI's passing of the succession to Jane Grey, Mary's first act was to repeal the Protestant legislation of her brother, Edward VI, hurling England into a phase of severe religious persecution. Mary issued a proclamation that she would not compel any of her subjects to follow her religion, but by the end of September leading reforming churchmen, such as John Bradford, John Rogers, John Hooper, Hugh Latimer and Thomas Cranmer were imprisoned. This was done in her first Parliament, in October of 1553. Another of Mary's first actions as Queen was to order the release of the Roman Catholic Duke of Norfolk and Stephen Gardiner from imprisonment in the Tower of London, as well as her kinsman Edward Courtenay. Her primary goal was the re-establishment of Catholicism in England, something to which she was totally committed. While Edward was king, he repeatedly harassed her to give up Catholicism, and she steadfastly refused. Her persecutions came more from a desire for what she considered to be purity in faith than from vengeance, yet nearly 300 people, including former Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer and many of the most prominent members of society, were burned at the stake for heresy, earning Mary the nickname, “Bloody Mary” (britannia.com and en.wikipedia.org). Church doctrine was restored to the form it had been in 1539.
The English Church was officially returned to Rome in 1554, under an agreement with Pope Julius III. Under the Heresy Acts, numerous Protestants were executed in the Marian Persecutions. Many rich Protestants, including John Foxe, chose exile, and around 800 of them left the country. The first executions occurred over a period of five days in early February 1555: John Rogers on February 4th, Laurence Saunders on February 8th, and Rowland Taylor and John Hooper on February 9th. The imprisoned Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer was forced to watch Bishops Ridley and Latimer being burned at the stake. Cranmer recanted, repudiated Protestant theology, and rejoined the Catholic faith. Under the normal process of the law, he should have been absolved as a repentant. Mary, however, refused to reprieve him. On the day of his burning, he dramatically withdrew his recantation. All told 283 persons were executed, most by burning. The burnings proved so unpopular, that even one of her husband's own ecclesiastical staff condemned them. She was married to Prince Philip of Spain. Philip's advisor, Simon Renard, warned him that such “cruel enforcement” could “cause a revolt”. Mary persevered with the policy, which continued until her death. Her policy exacerbated anti-Catholic and anti-Spanish feeling among the English people.
Queen Mary died at the age of 42, from an influenza epidemic, on November 17th, 1558. This ended three-and-a-half years of persecutions and executions of Protestants. The victims of the persecutions were honored as martyrs. During this period, it looked as if England may remain Catholic, and therefore under the rule of the Pope. Mary's husband, Philip, had attempted to concoct a plan that would prevent Edward the 6th's and Mary's other half-sister from succeeding, but he failed. Elizabeth I ascended to the throne and England returned to Protestantism, this time permanently.
15 And the seventh messenger sounded the trumpet, and there were great voices in heaven saying “The Kingdom of the Society of our Prince and of His Anointed has come, and He shall rule for the eternal ages!” 16 And the twenty-four elders who are sitting on their thrones before Yahweh fell upon their faces and worshipped Yahweh, 17 saying: “We thank You, Prince Yahweh the Almighty, He who is and who was, because You have taken Your great power and You have reigned. 18 And the heathens had been angry, yet Your anger has come, and the time to judge of the dead and to give the reward to Your servants the prophets and to the saints and to those who fear Your Name, to the small ones and to the great ones, and to destroy those destroying the earth!”
While it was far from over, the success of the Protestants over the Romish Church ensured the rise to world hegemony of the Christian Saxon peoples, who constitute the true kingdom of God. Now we possess the kingdom of God on earth permanently, however we are also under many other prophecies which are still being fulfilled, and our final restoration does not come until Babylon finally falls. That will be discussed at length in later chapters of the Revelation.
19 And the temple of Yahweh who is in heaven opened, and the ark of His covenant is seen in His temple, and there were lightnings and noises and thunders and an earthquake and a great hailstorm.
The symbolism of the Ark of the Covenant is an assurance that these people who are Christians and bear the witness of the Gospel are those same people who were in the Exodus with Moses and wandered in the desert forty years. The perfect harmony of these Scriptures with history should dispel all of the notions of the futurists, and this – we pray – shall be made even clearer upon discussion of the next two chapters of the Revelation.
The Children of Israel, as soon as they departed from the Catholic Church and sought the Will of God, in a few hundred years built the greatest nations that the world had ever known. However once Satan was let out of the pit, the great civilization of Protestant Christendom began to decay. The only hope that we have for salvation in this world is to reject the things of this world, and return to Yahweh our God.