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On the Revelation of Yahshua Christ, Part 13: The Little Book and the Reformation
Here we shall proceed with our commentary on the Revelation of Yahshua Christ while urging our listeners, or readers, to bear in mind our assertion that these visions related by John each describe certain historical processes which become evident in the most significant events of history since the time when John had received them, at the end of the first century. For nearly as soon as the people of Yahweh God had overrun the Roman Empire, as it is described in Daniel chapter 2 and in Revelation chapters 6 through 8, two little horns came up which would make war against the Body of Christ, as it is described in Daniel chapters 7 and 8, and each of those horns are described as falling, or fallen, stars in Revelation chapters 8 and 9.
Hopefully, according to our last presentation here it is fully apparent that Revelation chapter 9 is a prophecy of the Mohammedan invasions of Christian Europe first by the Arabs, and then by the Turks. Once that is accepted, perhaps then it should also become evident that Christ Himself had dehumanized both Arabs and Turks in His Own description of their attacks on the body of His people, which is also His Body. The Arabs and Turks are not described as people gone astray who may be considered as candidates for conversion to Christianity, but as locusts and destroying plagues who would torment His people for their sins.
Then the reasons for the punishment of the Christians of Europe were spelled out explicitly in the final verses of Revelation chapter 9, and in them we see a refutation and condemnation which rebukes the dogmas and the authority of both the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox Churches. The Orthodox Church had been the first Protestant church, where it rebelled and separated itself from Rome in the 11th century. Perhaps at the time of the earlier Arab conquests, most of the citizens of the Empire were professing to be Christians, and they were all under the authority of the Roman pope. But by the time of the Turkic invasions, all of the citizens of the Empire were expected to be Christians, and were compelled to live and worship in compliance with Church doctrines and its own ecclesiastical authority. However they were not Biblical Christians, since few of them had any substantial access to Scripture. Their practices and their doctrines had come from the Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox authorities who were responsible for them.
So we read in those closing verses of Revelation chapter 9: “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.” While the Scriptures forbid all of these things, the Church law did not forbid them, and even encouraged many of them. But these sins cannot be blamed on pagans, since during the centuries preceding the Turkic invasions, beginning with the time of the emperor Theodosius I and the Edict of Thessalonica in 380 AD, the Byzantine emperors had closed down the schools of pagan philosophy and all of the pagan temples, and the Nicene Church interpretation of Christianity became the compulsory religion of the Empire.
The citizens of the Empire having no choice but to comply with the edicts of the Nicene churches, their acceptable practices and manner of worship were handed down directly from the synods and decrees of those churches, and whatever further embellishments they may have made until after the time of Justinian. Then Justinian decreed in his own laws the primacy of the bishop of Rome, making the pope the sole ecclesiastical authority over all the empire, and he also gave the bishop of Constantinople the second place, a circumstance which lasted until the so-called Great Schism of 1054 AD where eastern and western churches once again became divided. The Turkic invasions of Byzantine lands had begun around that same time.
So what greater rebuke could Rome, or especially Constantinople, to whom it is even more applicable, receive than those words of Christ at the end of Revelation chapter 9? The result of the invasion of the two hundred million horsemen from beyond the Euphrates, a process which took place over five hundred years, was the complete loss of the Byzantine Empire as it was overrun with Mohammedan bastards. But many of the areas governed by Rome in the west were also overrun with those same bastards. This was not a persecution of the Church for its righteousness, but a punishment of the Church for its wickedness, and for that the explanation comes from Yahshua Christ Himself.
However at this point it was far from finished. But first we must mention that while Christianity today is labelled an aggressor for its role in the Crusades by antichrist revisionist historians and Jewish and Mohammedan propagandists, the Crusades were only a series of attempts to quell and reverse the Mohammedan aggression which had already been conducted against Christians for hundreds of years. The Arabic conquests began in the 7th century AD, when they began to seize Christian lands and subject Christian people to their contrived religion, which is really an oppressive form of Judaism for the goyim. So the First Crusade was a belated response to that aggression, in the late 11th century AD. Over the four-hundred year period in the interim, and until they were finally defeated by the Venetians in the 18th century, Arab and Turkic pirates persistently raided the islands and coasts of Europe kidnapping White Christians, seizing many hundreds of thousands of men, women and children for their slave trade. But the Crusades were destined to fail, as it is the explicit will of Yahshua Christ to punish Christian Europe for its idolatry, and the Arabs and Turks are the implements which He chose in order to effect that punishment, as we have seen in Revelation chapter 9. In that same manner He had also employed the Canaanites, Philistines, Assyrians and Babylonians and others to punish the children of Israel in ancient times. But even if they were executed with good intentions, the failure of the Crusades are an additional rebuke and refutation of papal authority, since if the popes truly did speak for God, if they truly were the vicars of Christ, then they would never have failed.
But the Turks did not stop punishing Christian Europe with the fall of Constantinople and the subsequent subjection of practically all of the former Byzantine lands. Rather, while the greater portion of their significant territorial gains had been achieved with the fall of Constantinople and the rest of Greece, they continued to fight for control in the Balkans and although they did not achieve it, they also continued to seek expansion against the Germans, Hungarians, Poles, Lithuanians and Russians in Eastern Europe for several centuries longer. In the Mediterranean, they conducted war against the Venetians until 1718. As recently as 1683 the Ottomans had Vienna under siege, and the Austrians were rescued only by the Polish king Jan Sobieski, who led an army of over twenty three thousand soldiers to the city. This was not even a decade after the Poles and Lithuanians were forced to surrender control of most of Ukraine to the Turks. After the defeat in Vienna, the Turks continued to make war in the Balkans and against Serbia and Russia. To their shame, England and France were sometimes allied with the Turks against the Russians, and France had been allied with the Turks even earlier, under king Francis I in his war against the German Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, Henry VIII of England and the pope of Rome. The Ottomans held as subject states the Balkan nations, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine, or kingdoms which are in those areas that we now know by those names today, for most of that same period, and Ottoman aggression in Europe did not end until the outcome of the so-called First World War in 1918.
But secondly, and more significantly in the history of Western Europe and the west in general, with the appearance of Justinian there arose a little horn which would also make war against the saints for a very long time, as Daniel chapter 7 had prophesied. So now the next historical processes presaged in the prophecies of the Revelation, here in chapters 10 and 11, describe circumstances which relate to that little horn of Daniel chapter 7. But as we have promised, we will complete the proofs of our association of that little horn with Justinian when we present our commentary for Revelation chapter 13.
Now with this we shall commence with our commentary for Revelation chapter 10, which describes the next significant event, or process, in European Christian history:
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 [or “having”, the mss. which follow Andreas of Caesareia have “he had”] in his hand a small book having been opened. And he set his right [C wants “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 [א wants “the”] seven [P47 wants “seven”] thunders uttered their voices.
In Volume I of Bede’s Ecclesiastical History, in the edition which was translated by J. E. King and published by Harvard University Press in the Loeb Classical Library, in the introduction to the work there is a reproduction of an 8th century letter which was written by an English monk named Cuthbert, who was speaking of the recently deceased Bede, a famous English theologian and historian. So, bearing in mind that both of these men were English Roman Catholic clerics, Bede having been a priest and Cuthbert perhaps only a lector, we read: “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, saying, “I will not that my children should read a lie and herein labor without fruit after my death.’” Cuthbert cited those words from Bede, while attesting that Bede was able to translate the gospel of John, ostensibly from Latin, into the Saxon tongue “for the profit of the Church”, so that Bede’s children, a reference to his students and followers, would not have to struggle in lies. We present this as one witness among many, that in the early 8th century, the time in which Bede had written, it was considered fruitful for a priest to translate the Scriptures into the vernacular tongue so that they may be read and understood by the common people. So it is evident in history that translating the Bible, or at least portions of it, was a wholly acceptable endeavor undertaken by Roman Catholic priests and others in the 8th century AD. Our reasons for stating this shall hopefully become evident as our commentary on this chapter progresses.
4 And when the seven [P47 once again wants “seven”] thunders uttered, [P47 inserts “and”] I was about to write [P47 inserts “these things”], and I heard a voice from out of heaven saying “I have sealed the [P47 and א have “whatever”] things which the seven [P47 wants “seven” here also, as does C] thunders have uttered, and you should not write these things!”
The Majority Text manuscripts which follow Andreas of Caesareia have the final clause to read “… and after these things you write!” The King James Version did not follow along with this reading although it frequently followed those manuscripts.
In all three places where the seven thunders are mentioned, the 3rd century papyrus P47 wants the word for seven. Whatever the thunders had said, it is evident that it shall not be revealed. Here perhaps Yahshua Christ is informing us that there are aspects of this history that we may never know in this life, which by the will of God are purposely being withheld from us. Beyond that we may only conjecture, and that would probably lead us into folly.
Elsewhere in his Ecclesiastical History, Bede had described men who were well versed and who read the Scriptures not only in Latin, but also in Greek. For example, in Book 5 chapter 8, Bede described an archbishop Bertwald who was “ a man instructed in the Latin, Greek and Saxon tongues and of much learning besides in many ways.” Throughout his history of the church in Britain, Bede was an unabashed Roman Catholic apologist, constantly defending the popes and the Roman Church. So he did not translate Scripture in defiance of the Roman Church, but rather, his having translated Scripture is a certain indication that in his time it was fully acceptable to do so. Yet a few short centuries after Bede’s time, the Roman Church turned in a direction which was absolutely contrary to the spirit of Scripture, and it made an overt effort to repress the Word of God, and keep it from the ears of the people.
Bede was a Roman Catholic apologist to the point of great fault, whereby when Augustine of Canterbury, who was sent by Pope Gregory to gain the Saxons in Britain for the Roman Church, had threatened the monks of the British Church with violence, and when the Saxon king Ethelfrith had made good on Augustine’s threat by murdering the unarmed monks and as many as twelve hundred of their fellows, Bede was brazen enough to call Augustine’s words a “prophecy” and claim that they were fulfilled [Ecclesiastical History, Book 2 Chapter 2]. Augustine had made his threat when the British monks refused to reckon the date for Easter according to the method of the Roman Catholic Church and to observe the rite of baptism, while also refusing to acknowledge Augustine as their archbishop, which is a Roman Catholic office. So it is also evident that through the Saxons were the Roman popes able to eventually subjugate the British churches throughout the island.
So while the Roman Catholic Church seemed to encourage the translations of the Scriptures, or at least, not to inhibit them, they evidently took offense to Christians who would interpret them differently than the Roman Church itself. This situation did not come without cost to the Roman Church, which had strove for centuries to consolidate its power everywhere in Europe. In fact, in his history Bede had frequently mentioned the British Church in Britain, which was independent of and averse to the Roman Church, having several theological differences which were apparently irreconcilable and which the men of the British church had persistently refused to negotiate.
Aside from the contention with the British Church, of which even Bede had acknowledged the existence from the 2nd century AD (Book 1, Chapter 29), access to the Scriptures by both common people and monks began to cause many other divisions, which the Roman Church was compelled to declare as heresies and determined to stamp out. During the time period which is evidently the subject of prophecy here, in the 10th century arose the Bogomils, a Gnostic sect with followers throughout the northern Byzantine Empire, Serbia, Italy and France, which persisted until the 13th century. Then in the 11th century there arose a sect called the Patarines in northern Italy, who were early local church Reformers in Milan but who had evidently never spread beyond that city.
In the 12th century there appeared in France the sect of the Petrobrusians, named for a monk called Peter of Bruys, who had rejected certain Roman Catholic dogmas, and the veneration of crosses and other idols. They also rejected ecclesiastical authority. For that they may be considered to have been early Reformers. Peter was murdered by a mob of Roman Catholics in 1131 AD. Soon after him arose the sect of the Henricans which was named for Henry of Lausanne in France, who was an ascetic traveling preacher that rejected ecclesiastical authority. Later in his life he had apparently adopted the positions of the Petrobrusians. He died in prison in 1148 and some followers persisted for at least a few years beyond that.
Later in the 12th century there arose in northern Italy the sect of the Arnoldists named for Arnold of Brescia, an early Reformer. During this period there also arose the much more significant sect of the Cathars, or Albigensians, mostly in northern Italy and France. The earliest of them may have existed as early as the 10th century, in Limousin in France. They were Gnostics who were apparently influenced by the Bogomils, and their sect endured until the Inquisitions of the 14th century.
Another significant sect which became a threat to the ecclesiastical authority of Rome at this time is the Waldenses, who are also called Waldensians and Vallenses or Vaudois, among other variations. They are claimed to have been followers of Peter Waldo, who is described as having given away his property to preach apostolic poverty. But that view of their origins may be disputed as a Roman Catholic fable, and the French version of their name, Vaudois simply means "people of the valleys". The designation seems to actually have described early Christians who had always resisted, or who perhaps had always been indifferent to the Roman Catholic Church and its dogmas. In historical times the sect was rather large and found spread across southern Europe, but mostly in the French and Italian Alps. They were certainly among the early Reformers. As many as eighty Waldenses are said to have been burned at the stake in Strasbourg in 1215 AD, merely for having beliefs which were contrary to Roman Church doctrine. Persecuted and having kept themselves underground, Waldenses in France evidently became part of the Calvinist movement in the 16th century while others evidently joined the German and Swiss Reformed churches.
But what does all of this have to do with the angel who had a little book? We would assert that the little book represents our Christian Bible, the Word of God, and the fact that it is described as having been opened is a prophecy of assurance that the Word of God would be available to His people. But at this very time, and inspired by these many sects, the Roman Catholic Church began to overtly prohibit any access to the Scriptures by the people.
The Roman pope Innocent III issued a statement in 1199 AD saying, in part, that: “... 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.]
Subsequently the Council of Toulouse in France, which met in November of 1229, around the time of a crusade against the Cathars or Albigensians, had 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. Among its rulings were the following:
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, even monks and other clerics, who read the Scripture and disagreed with Rome in the interpretation of its meaning. From this time there were bishops who actively sought to destroy copies of the Bible, and even demanded that people surrender them. It was also in the twelfth century that the independent British churches of Ireland, Scotland and Wales, which were never subordinate to the Roman Catholic Church, had been forcibly subjugated to Roman authority. This struggle would last for several hundred years, as the Fifth Lateran Council attempted once again to prohibit the printing of Bibles, which we shall discuss further and in detail in our commentary on Revelation chapter 11.
But even this did not prevent further sects from forming, and in the 13th century there appeared the Apostolic Brethren in northern Italy, when their eccentric founder Gerard Segarelli began promoting a life of homeless wandering and poverty. When he was burned at the stake the short-lived movement of the Dulcinians arose from this sect. Around the same time arose the sect of the Beghards (who were men) and Beguines (who were women), in the Low Countries of Belgium and the Netherlands. Some of them persisted until as late as the 19th century.
During this same century the Bosnian Church resisted both Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox rule. The nature of the church is debated but many scholars have associated it with the Gnostic Bogomils, the Patarines, and even Manichaeism. Little is known of this church, but both the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox Churches had declared it to be heretical.
In the 13th century there also arose a sect, or more likely a movement, which called itself the Brethren of the Free Spirit. It had followers in western Europe in northern Italy, Bohemia, Germany, France and the Low Countries, and its beliefs were similar to a modern New Age hippie cult. It endured into 15th century, but we really would think that it is still with us and even more popular today. In 1312 AD this sect was condemned in a bull issued at the Council of Vienne in France.
In the 14th century there arose a sect called the Friends of God, who were Christian mystics in Germany and Switzerland who evidently also became early Reformers. Several notable leaders and members were burned at the stake towards the end of the century. Later in this century, in England, John Wycliffe was dismissed from a post at Oxford University in 1381 for his criticism of the Roman Catholic Church. His followers, disparagingly called Lollards, were early Reformers and Protestants in England. Wycliffe, an iconoclast who rejected many Roman Catholic dogmas, had also justly argued that Scripture was the authority for Christians, and not the office of the papacy. He died in 1384, the same year that the Wycliffe Bible is esteemed to have been first published.
Also in the 14th century there had appeared the sect of the Strigolniki in Russia. They renounced ecclesiastical hierarchies, sacraments, priests, idols and other Orthodox dogmas, which can classify them as early Reformers. Although even some Orthodox bishops had publicly supported them, the sect seems to have diminished when they were denounced by Photius, the Metropolitan of Kiev and all Russia, in the mid-15th century.
In the 15th century Jan Hus, a Czech priest and theologian, became the key figure in a Bohemian Reformation. Hus was an important figure, having been a master, dean and rector at the Charles University in Prague. His studies led him to oppose many Roman Catholic dogmas, including simony and the selling of indulgences, nearly a hundred years before Martin Luther had done the same. In 1415, Hus was burned at the stake for his heresies against the Roman Church. But from 1420 through 1431 his followers revolted against the Church and also successfully defended themselves against papal Crusades on five occasions, known as the Hussite Wars. From that time, Bohemia and Moravia remained independent of Rome until 1620, when during the Thirty Years’ War the Protestants were defeated by the Habsburgs and forced to return to the Roman Catholic Church.
We are not going to speak of later sects, as the next century brings Martin Luther and the formative years of the Reformation. But while Rome sought to exert complete control over “one true church” in whatever nations the pope could convert a king to Roman Catholicism, to the contrary Paul of Tarsus had 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 works as they were recorded by Luke in Acts chapter 17, 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.”. The Body of Christ is a collection of stones which builds itself into assemblies of Yahweh, as we read in 1 Peter chapter 2: “5 and yourselves as living stones are built a spiritual house for a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to Yahweh through Yahshua Christ.” The name Peter is from the Greek word πέτρος, which is a stone. But where Christ had said, as it is recorded in Matthew chapter 16, that “upon this rock I will build my church” He used the term πέτρα, which was used to describe bedrock or a large shelf or ledge of rock. The Roman Catholic Church makes false claims based on a blatant misinterpretation of that passage, but in his epistle, Peter admits being but a stone and explains that all Christians are but stones in the same building.
Likewise, Paul of Tarsus expressed a similar sentiment in Ephesians chapter 4 where he wrote: “15 But speaking the truth with love, we may increase all things for He who is the head, the Christ, 16 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.” Like the Beroians, the apostles of Christ had expected for Christians to study the Scriptures for themselves, and to arrive at their own conclusions, and act according to those conclusions. In that manner, we may understand that God is in control, and not man. But apparently that concept was not amenable to the medieval Roman Catholic Church, which was little but a professional pagan priesthood which feared losing control over the people. The fact that it was, and still is a pagan institution was expressed by Yahshua Christ Himself in those closing verses of Revelation chapter 9.
Therefore the description here of 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 had in some degree, as it is evident in Bede, and which the Roman Church had tried in earnest to take away. The invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg around 1440 AD, 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 in spite of the decrees of the Roman Church.
5 And the messenger, whom I saw standing upon the sea and upon the earth, raised his right [A and the mss. of the MT following Andreas of Caesareia want “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 [A and the mss. of the MT following Andreas of Caesareia want “and the earth and the things in it”] and the sea and the things in it [א and A want “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 [the MT mss. following Andreas of Caesareia have “should be”] completed as He had announced by His servants [P47, P85 and א insert “and”; the text follows A, C and the MT] the prophets.
Note that it says that before the trumpet sounds, the mystery of Yahweh shall be revealed. The King James Version has the end of verse 6 to read “there should be time no longer”, which does not seem to fit the context here. According to Liddell and Scott, the Greek word χρόνος is literally time, but it was also used to signify a delay, or loss of time, and that is how it is read here. Bertrand Comparet had asserted that this verse should read “there shall be one more time”, and he made an incredible argument in spite of all the translations that he himself cited to the contrary. In truth, there is no way that the phrase ὅτι χρόνος οὐκέτι ἔσται could ever mean “there shall be one more time”, a rendering which adds the word one to the text and ignores the negative particle οὐκ, and Comparet was plainly wrong. The Greeks had verbs derived from χρόνος which mean to delay or to waste time (which are χρονίζω and χρονοτρίβεω), and in their definition for χρόνος, Liddell and Scott have: “IV… delay, loss, of time.” Since in this context, time makes no sense here, delay would be a proper translation, and Rotherham, Smith & Goodspeed, and Moffatt, whom Comparet cited, have all translated the clause quite well. Many other translations also correctly have delay here, rather than time.
The interpretation vindicates the translation. The seventh messenger does not sound until the end of chapter 11, in verse 15. So when that trumpet sounds, then there shall be no more delay, however in the meantime, there is a delay as we read here at the beginning of verse 7 the words “but in the days of the sound of the seventh messenger…”, as if it would be at some time distant from the events prophesied here at this time. 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, in 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 and related peoples who had overrun the Empire – from the power of the second beast of Revelation 13 which is also the little horn of Daniel chapter 7, which is the Roman Church papacy. Not all of the people of God were able to break free, but the Roman Church never again had the power which it once had. Then 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 Christendom, and those will be discussed where they are prophesied in the later chapters of the Revelation, especially in chapter 17.
The Mystery of Yahweh which has been completed is the concealment and the later revelation of His people, as Yahweh Himself had promised in the books of the prophets. Yahweh God had promised to gather His people in Christ, for example in Ezekiel chapters 34 through 37. The concealment happened from the time of the Assyrian deportations of Israel, and the revelation would happen in their willing acceptance of the Gospel of Christ. Therefore we read in chapter 2 of the Gospel of Luke: “25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Sumeon and this man was righteous and devout, expecting the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it was forewarned to him by the Holy Spirit, not to see death before he should see the Anointed Prince. 27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and in there being introduced to the parents of the child Yahshua, upon their doing that which is according to the custom of the law concerning Him, 28 then he took Him into his arms and praised Yahweh, and said: 29 ‘Now release Your servant, Master, in peace according to Your word: 30 Because my eyes have seen Your Salvation, 31 which You have prepared in front of all the people: 32 a light for the revelation of the Nations and honor of Your people Israel!’”
As a second witness, we read in Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians, in chapter 3: “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 identity of the so-called “lost” children of Israel would be revealed in their fulfillment of the Word of Yahweh upon receiving the Gospel of Christ, 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, which is evident in Daniel Chapters 2 and 7 and here in Revelation chapter 10. The Roman Catholic Church forced its interpretation of Christianity onto many peoples, but breaking free of the Roman Church the children of God held onto the open book, their Bibles, and sought to worship Him in the manner which they believed that He had prescribed, even if they were not entirely correct.
8 And the voice which I heard from out of heaven speaks with me again and says: “Go take the [א and the MT insert “small”; the text follows A and C] 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 [P47 and א want “small”; the text follows A, C and the MT] book!” And he says to me: “Take and eat [literally devour, κατεσθίω] it, and your belly [A has “heart” here] shall be bitter, but in your mouth it shall be sweet as honey.” 10 And I took the small [P47, א and the traditional MT mss. want “small”; the text follows A, C and the MT mss. of Andreas of Caesareia] 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 [א has “full”, where according to the NA27, a later correction to the mss. has “full of bitterness”, but according to the NA28 an even later correction has only “bitterness”. These differences are evident in the margins of the manuscript.]. 11 Then they say [the MT mss. following Andreas of Caesareia have “he says”] to me: “It is necessary for you to prophecy again concerning many people and nations and tongues and kings!”
These words in verses 8 through 11 are spoken in reference to the trials to come which are alluded to in verse 7 where it mentioned “the days of the sound of the seventh messenger”. Throughout history men have loved to read and to speak the Word of God. But men usually do not realize that the calamities which come upon the world are trials which they must endure, if those men have embraced the things of the world and have joined themselves to the world, so long as they enjoy the things of the world. But when they pursue the things of God, then they do realize them, and should pray that He keeps them from trial, covering themselves with the Blood of the Lamb. As Solomon had written in Ecclesiastes chapter 1: “18 For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.”
The apostle Peter warned of trials, which all Christians must face, in 1 Peter chapter 1: “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 had written in chapter 1 of his epistle: “12 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.”
Paul had also often warned of the trials which Christians must suffer in the world, as did Yahshua Christ Himself. Therefore the Word of God is sweet in their mouths, but bitter in their bellies. If men have joined themselves to the things of the world, it pains them to hear it, but if they enjoy hearing it, it pains them to live by it because of the strife which they shall receive from the world. The Word of Yahweh explains it in these very terms in Ezekiel chapters 2 and 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. [The trials of these last three trumpets in the Revelation are also described as woes.] 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.”
By that passage in Ezekiel, it is also made manifest that the little book certainly is the Word of God found in our Bible. The desire of the Germanic peoples to read, and their endeavor to follow the Word of God once they were able to read a Bible, caused them to revolt from the tyrannical Roman Church, which in turn caused great wars throughout Europe, notably the Thirty Years' War in Germany, the destruction of the Huguenots under Catherine de' 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 asserted that they themselves had a right to rule over the minds and hearts of all men. None of this is Christian. The powers of evil which wanted to oppress the people - together with the Nicolaitans among Christian clerics who forever seek to rule over their brethren - these would have stamped out the Word of God, totally removing it from the lives of men and replacing it with church law and papal decrees. However the Word of God prevailed, and the papal mafia could not prevent the opening of the Little Book.
Addendum to the Commentary for Revelation Chapter 10
We had mentioned the Roman Catholic subjugation of the independent churches of Ireland without supplying a citation, so here we shall quantify and expand on that assertion. In his Watchman’s Teaching Letter number 18 for October, 1999, which was written just before the time when I began to proofread and edit for him, Clifton Emahiser had been seeking to elucidate the fact that there was a Celtic Church, or perhaps churches, in Ireland, Scotland, Britain. Wales and elsewhere which were independent of the Roman Catholic Church from very early times. As we have already mentioned here, this was also apparent in histories of Bede. So in that lesson, Clifton wrote:
To start this lesson, I am going to quote from the book, The Story of the Irish Race, by Seumas MacManus (assisted by several Irish scholars), pages 327-328:
“Then he (King Henry II) won Rome too. He had a synod of the Irish ecclesiastics — all but the Primate Gelasius, and the other northerns — called at Cashel, where, following the example of their chiefs the Bishops acknowledged Henry as lord supreme in Ireland. At this synod they passed decrees for the bettering (?) of church discipline, which, being sent to Rome, confirmed the fact that Henry was carrying out his undertaking, and reforming morals (?) in the land, and evoked from Alexander the Third the letter confirmatory of Adrian’s (an English Pope’s) Bull.
Here I hope to corroborate Clifton’s citation with some Irish history from the period. In the Annals of Ireland by the the Four Masters, translated by Owen Connellan and published in 1846, there is no mention of the Synod of Cashel, which is said to have been held in 1172 AD. But the chronicles which are recorded in the Annals only begin in 1171, although they sometimes mention earlier events, and also contain copious footnotes discussing earlier history. The first synod which is mentioned, on page 6 of Volume I, was held in 1173 AD in Connaught (Connacht), in western Ireland. However in reference to the year 1172 we read in part: “The people of Anghaile (Anally) and Muintir Megiollgain, were treacherously plundered by the son of Annadh O’Rourke and the English, who took much cattle and booty. They afterwards marched to Ardagh of bishop Mel, plundered all the country, and slew Donal O’Ferrall, chief of Anally.” Throughout the Annals it is apparent that the Irish were always divided against one another.
Having been the Duke of Normandy since 1150 AD, Henry II, became king of England in 1154. He came to control parts of both Wales and Scotland, and the duchy of Brittany in France. Then with the Norman Invasion of Ireland, as the Normans had been invited by a deposed Irish king of Leinster in the east, in 1172 Henry himself landed on the island with a large fleet, whereby he came to control much of the eastern half of Ireland. The Annals record the landing of Henry with two hundred and forty warships at Waterford in the southeast of the island, and placed it at the end of 1171. The Synod of Cashel was called at the request of Henry II and assembled in 1172, and the Annals make no mention of it. Cashel was in the south-central portion of the island, only about 40 miles northeast of where Henry landed at Waterford.
But the Annals of the Four Masters, as they are popularly called, are drawn from clerical sources which were written at Clonmacnoise and Lough Ribh (Ree) which are in the middle of the island near to Anally, and at Lough Erne in Fermanaghin in northern Ireland, and at Kilronan in Roscommon in the northwest. All of these places were far north of Cashel and Waterford, and far west of Dublin, so they would include the northerners who did not appear at the synod, as Clifton cited from the account provided by Seumas MacManus. So it is apparent that the areas where the Annals were written were not yet under English rule in 1172, and therefore no mention of the Synod of Cashel is made. Simply because the bishops who were at Cashel declared Henry II to be “lord supreme in Ireland” does not mean that other Irish bishops accepted it, and in fact it was not true for some years after the synod.
However there is another synod which is mentioned in 1177, on page 11 of Volume I, where the English apparently did control a larger portion of the island, and we read in part: “Cardinal Vivianus came to Ireland on the first Sunday in Lent, and convened a Synod of the Irish bishops and abbots at Dublin, in which they enacted many ecclesiastical regulations not now observed.” This alone shows that the Roman Catholic Church had authority only over the churches of Ireland which were under English rule, and that Roman authority must have been new to the Irish churches, which were not yet giving it any respect.
But by the year 1201, in the rule of Henry’s son John, the English came to control practically all of the island, while conflicts continued with some local Irish chieftains. John had been given the title Lord of Ireland during the rule of his father, Henry II, and retained it in the rule of his brother, Richard I and throughout his own rule after Richard died in the aftermath of the 3rd Crusade. The extent of John’s control is reflected where it is apparent from the Annals that the Roman Church had begun to impose its authority as far west as Connacht. So in the Annals, on page 29 of Volume I, we read in that year that a Roman Catholic cardinal had come to Dublin and convened a synod “… which was attended by the bishops, the abbots, and the clergy of the various orders, and also many of the nobility of Ireland. At this convention many regulations between the clergy and laity were satisfactorily arranged.” So the Roman Catholic Church evidently held this synod to consolidate greater control over the churches and people of Ireland, and then we read where it had asserted that authority in the west also, where it next says: “In a fortnight afterwards, the cardinal convened a synod of the clergy and nobility of Connaught at Tuam, where the necessary regulations were enacted.” A fortnight is a period of two weeks. The earlier synod at Connaught, in 1177, seems to reveal that the churches of Ireland were highly organized before any Roman intervention, while this later synod certainly seems to indicate a shift from the independence of the churches of Ireland to subordination to Rome under the rule of the English.
The independent churches of Ireland had a monastic tradition which was evidently brought to the island from the east in the early centuries of Christianity. From before the time when Rome had even accepted Christ, Irish monks had been preserving and studying not only the Scriptures and early Christian writings, but also a wealth of pagan Classical and Hellenistic Greek and Classical Latin literature, much of which was not preserved in the wars of medieval Europe on the continent. Coming to control the churches of Ireland, the Roman Catholic Church could also more tightly control the dissemination of Scripture which it had sought to control everywhere else at this same time, as we have already seen in the decrees of Innocent III in 1199 and the Council of Toulouse in 1229. But in spite of all its power, the little book remained open, the Church could not prevent it, and that more than anything else had enabled the coming Reformation.
This concludes our commentary on Revelation chapter 10.