On the Revelation of Yahshua Christ, Part 14: The Two Witnesses

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On the Revelation of Yahshua Christ, Part 14: The Two Witnesses

Presenting Revelation chapter 10 and the vision of the angel with the little book which was opened, we made the assertion that this prophecy had begun to be fulfilled with the Protestant Reformation. It certainly describes some of the circumstances which had set the foundation for and which ultimately led to the Reformation, and that is the next significant development of European history in the wake of the Arab and Turkic invasions of Europe which were described in the prophetic visions of Revelation chapter 9.

History is never merely black-and-white, and once one begins to study it earnestly, one should rather quickly discover that there are ever-increasing degrees of complexity in the layers of circumstances and conditions which underlie and precipitate significant world events. So while the many visions of the Revelation describe future history and historical circumstances in broad strokes, we also have tried to avoid becoming mired in historical details as we endeavor to explain their fulfillment. But as we have already explained, an understanding of history is necessary in order to comprehend their fulfillment.

Now while we are about to further discuss the Reformation in relation to the two witnesses of Revelation chapter 11, and as we shall also discuss the Reformation in relation to the second beast of Revelation chapter 13, both of which visions also condemn the Roman Catholic Church, some background on some of the circumstances of the Roman Church should also be provided, so for that we shall briefly discuss some of the leading families of the Roman Catholic Church in the 15th century. Where there are centers of power and authority, the basest of men shall always aspire to attain control of them, which is the lesson of Judges chapter 9 and the Parable of the Trees of the Forest, where the bramble had rather incredulously came to rule over the mightiest of oaks.

In 1455 AD, Alfonso de Borgia became Pope Callixtus III. Shortly after he took office, he ordained his own nephew, Rodrigo de Borgia, as a deacon, and made him a cardinal later that same year. Soon after, Rodrigo was appointed as vice-chancellor of the Catholic Church, which was a very lucrative position. He continued in administrative positions under the next four popes until he himself became Pope Alexander VI in 1492. A much more remote descendant of these men became Pope Innocent X in 1655, which I only mention here in order to demonstrate how long it was that the influence of these families had endured within the Church. All three of these Borgia popes were initially educated as lawyers, and had accumulated great wealth in their offices within the Church. Rodrigo was also appointed as bishop of Valencia, and another uncle, the elder brother of Alfonso, was appointed the general of all Papal armed forces.

As Rodrigo Borgia was in a high administrative position within the Church, his son Caesar, born in 1475, was being educated for a career in the Church, and he was appointed as Bishop of Pamplona at the age of 15 and archbishop of Valencia at the age of 17. A year later, in 1493, he was also appointed bishop of Castres and Elne, which are both in southeastern France, and a year after that he received the title of abbot of the abbey of Saint-Michel-de-Cuxa in southwestern France. Later, upon becoming Pope Alexander VI, Rodrigo Borgia appointed Caesar as a cardinal, and another son was appointed as general of the armed forces of the Papal States. But in 1498 Caesar Borgia became the first known person in Roman Catholic Church history to resign that position, which he did in exchange for pursuing a career in the military. Thereafter he became a mercenary and a condottiero, which is a commander of mercenary armies usually employed in the service of a ruler, the use of which was widespread in medieval Europe.

The elder Borgia later supported his son as he was in the employ of the king of France, and as pope he manipulated his own foreign policy in his son’s favor. With the help of his father, in 1500 Caesar Borgia had taken the Romagna region in Italy, it was made into a duchy and he was appointed its duke by his father’s papal authority. From there Borgia had threatened Florence, and the famous Niccolo Machiavelli was a young diplomat in Florence who was sent to meet with him. Of course, Borgia would become an inspiration for him in his later writing. Over this incident, Borgia also apparently fell out of favor with the king of France, Louis XII. Then after Rodrigo Borgia’s death, when Julius II became pope, he had Caesar Borgia arrested and forced him to surrender all of his fortresses, after which he was sent to Spain where he was arrested once again. Having escaped, he died as a mercenary in the service of the king of Navarre in 1507.

The Borgia family had for enemies not only Pope Julius II, but also the de’ Medici, Della Rovere and other wealthy families of the time. Julius II, who was of the Della Rovere family, was the nephew of Pope Sixtus IV, Francesco Della Rovere. Although he was initially from a poor branch of the family, Francesco was elected pope in 1471. Within just a few months he appointed his nephews Giuliano (the future pope Julius II) and Pietro Riario to the offices of both cardinal and bishop, and he appointed four other cardinals from among his nephews of the Della Rovere and Riario familes. He also appointed Giovanni Della Rovere, who was not even a priest, to the office of prefect of Rome, and arranged for him to marry into the Montefeltro family, who were the dukes of Urbino. Later, in 1504, another Della Rovere with the name Francesco would become the Duke of Urbino, he would lose the position to Lorenzo de’ Medici in 1516, and gain it back from him in 1521, thereafter holding it until his death in 1538.

Another event in the tenure of Francesco Della Rovere as Pope Sixtus IV was the indirect support of nephew Girolamo Riario in the Pazzi conspiracy, an assassination attempt which sought to eliminate the de’ Medicis as the rulers of Florence, but which was only partially successful and failed to meet its objectives. While the pope would not approve of the assassination directly, he is said to have avowed support for anyone who could eliminate the de’ Medicis. The duke of Urbino at that time, Federico da Montefeltro, had also directly supported the plot. When the conspirators failed to kill Lorenzo de’ Medici, in a Church at a Sunday High Mass, they were attacked by mobs and as many as thirty of them were killed that day, most of them hanged and left to rot. By that October, as many as eighty others were executed. The entire Pazzi family and all memory of them were erased from Florence. Pope Sixtus IV put Florence under interdict, and excommunicated Lorenzo de’ Medici, who had escaped being slain in the church. The kingdom of Naples and duchy of Urbino began to make war against Florence. Lorenzo put himself into the hands of the king of Naples seeking peace, and the king interceded with the pope without success. The entire history reads like a movie script for 1920’s New York gangster families, without the modern conveniences.

The Pazzi conspiracy failed, and subsequently four members of the de’ Medici family rose to become popes themselves. The first of these was Giovanni de' Medici, who became Pope Leo X upon the death of Della Rovere Pope Julius II in 1513. He was actually first ordained by another member of the Riario family, Raffaele Riario. This same cardinal Raffaele Riario had been spared by Lorenzo de’ Medici in the aftermath of the failed Pazzi conspiracy in 1479. Within three months of his having been elected pope, Giovanni ordained a first cousin, Giulio de' Medici and made him a cardinal. Giulio’s father had been killed in the Pazzi conspiracy. Then two years after Giovanni’s death in 1521, Giulio was elected as Pope Clement VII in 1523. Two more distant de’ Medicis also became popes, Pius IV in 1559 and Pope Leo XI, a nephew of Leo X, in 1605, although he was rather aged and pope for a only 27 days before he died of illness.

While we cannot possibly provide all of the details here, many other notable and wealthy families provided popes, cardinals and bishops to the Roman Church at this time, and the greater number of them were both related to one another in marriage or in political alliances, and at the same time they were involved in plots against one another for their own gain. Once they attained power, they operated their offices like criminal syndicates. They promoted brothers, nephews and cousins to the positions of bishops and cardinals not for any reason of piety or care for the common people, but only so that they could better amass and maintain their own power and wealth. Some of these families, such as the Orsini family, held influential positions for many centuries. Members of the Orsini family include five popes: two in the 8th century, and one each in the 12th, 13th and 18th centuries. Also among members of this family were nearly three dozen cardinals and numerous other political figures. One of several events which had led to the failed Pazzi conspiracy was the death of Pietro Riario in 1474, who was archbishop of Florence. Lorenzo de’ Medici successfully lobbied to attain the appointment of his brother-in-law, Rinaldo Orsini, as his replacement. Pope Sixtus IV had instead supported Francesco Salviati Riario, who was a friend of Franceso de' Pazzi and who had later joined the conspirators.

At least five other families, four of them Italian, had more than one member sit in the chair of the pope in the late medieval period. The exception was the French house of Roger, which produced two popes in the 14th century, Clement VI and his nephew, whom he also made a cardinal, Pope Gregory XI. In the 13th century the Fieschi family produced Popes Innocent IV and Adrian V, who was made a papal chaplain and then a cardinal by Innocent IV. The Conti di Segni family also had two popes in that century, Innocent III and Gregory IX, who was made a cardinal by his cousin Innocent III. In the 15th century, two relatives of Pope Gregory XII of the Corraro family of Venice had followed him as pope, Eugene IV and Paul II. The Piccolomini family produced Pope Pius II, who ruled from 1458 to 1464 AD, and his nephew Pope Pius III, who ruled for less than a month in 1503. The house of Carafa in Naples produced Pope Paul IV in the 16th century and Pope Innocent XII towards the end of the 17th century. Nearly all of these families which had produced more than one pope were clear cases of nepotism and Church politics catering to individuals who were otherwise poorly qualified for any office within the Church.

Studying this history, it is evident that the prominent families vying with one another for control of the Roman Catholic Church in the late medieval period, and often earlier, were political opportunists who often operated as criminal syndicates, and once they achieved power they employed marriage alliances, nepotism, and even violence in order to maintain it. They also leveraged control of the papal office to install their own relatives into positions in secular offices. They employed pluralism, the practice of one official holding multiple offices, to increase their own personal power and wealth. Along the way, they had no inhibition to robbery and rapine. These are the families which had provided the bishops, cardinals and popes who promoted practices such as pluralism, simony, the selling of indulgences and other means of profiting from the common people, and those are the practices which the Reformers had sought to eliminate.

Some of these families, such as the de’ Medicis and Borgias, had obscure origins. The Borgia family is said to have contrived a false genealogy claiming descent from a 12th century Spanish nobleman, but Pope Julius II and others of their rivals had openly accused the Borgias of being Jews, or Marrano Jews. The de’ Medicis, who came to prominence in Florence as bankers and, as their name suggests, as physicians, may also be suspected as having been Jews. But in any event, a study of this history also gives further light into the words of Christ where He said in Revelation chapter 9 that “20… the rest of the men, those who had not been killed by these plagues, did not even repent from the works of their hands… 21 And they did not repent from their murders nor from their drugs nor from their fornication nor from thefts.”

[Among our primary sources for this discussion of the leading families of the Roman Catholic Church in the 15th century have been the Encyclopaedia Britannica online, Wikipedia, and the 9th edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica from our own library.]

There is a lot more which could be said concerning the Roman Church in the period, but with this background we shall commence with our commentary and Revelation chapter 11. The chapter division itself is unfortunate. This is the same messenger, or angel, who had the little book in chapter 10, who had been speaking to John at the end of that chapter, and here the same vision continues.

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 [P47 wants ‘the court’] outside the temple leave out [literally cast out] that you should not measure it, because it [P47 and א insert ‘also’] has been given to the heathens [literally ‘nations’], and the Holy City they shall trample [A has ‘measure’] for forty and [א and the MT want ‘and’; P47 has the symbol μβʹ in place of spelling out the numbers] two months.

We must not think that this temple represents a church or any other concrete edifice or institution. Yahweh our God does not dwell in a house built with hands, as we read in the words attributed to the martyr Stephen, in Acts chapter 7 where he said: “48 But the Highest does not dwell in things made by hand, just as the prophet says: 49 ‘The heaven is for Me a throne, and the earth a footstool for My feet. What sort of house will you build for Me? says Yahweh, or where is the place of My resting? 50 Has not My hand made all of these things?” Rather, Yahweh dwells within His people, and therefore temple of Yahweh is an allegory for His people in the world who have turned to Him. This we learn in the words of Christ, in John chapter 14 where the apostle Jude had enquired of Christ and we read: “23 Yahshua replied and said to him: ‘If one would love Me he shall keep My word, and My Father shall love him and We shall come to him and We shall make an abode with him. 24 He not loving Me does not keep My words. And the word which you hear is not Mine but is of the Father who has sent Me.’” Then, as John had later written in chapter 4 of his first epistle: “15 He who shall profess that Yahshua is the Son of Yahweh, Yahweh abides in him and he in Yahweh. 16 And we know and we believe the love which Yahweh has for us. Yahweh is love, and he abiding in love abides in Yahweh and Yahweh abides in him.”

Each one of the children of Yahweh who love Him and keep His commandments is a stone in a spiritual temple, in which dwells Yahweh God Himself. This is found in 1 Peter chapter 2, where the apostle speaks of men who encounter the Gospel of Christ: “4 Coming forth to Him a living stone, indeed having been rejected as unfit by men but honored elect before Yahweh, 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. 6 Wherefore it is contained in the Scripture: ‘Behold, I place in Zion an honored elect corner stone, and he believing in Him shall by no means be ashamed.’ 7 Therefore the honor for you is for those who believe, but [for] they who do not believe: ‘The stone which the builders have rejected, this has come to be for the head cornerstone’ 8 and ‘a stumbling stone and a rock of offense.’” Likewise, Paul of Tarsus used a similar analogy where he informed his readers in chapter 3 of his first epistle to the Corinthians: “9 For we are fellow workmen of Yahweh, Yahweh’s husbandry; you are Yahweh’s building. 10 In accordance with the favor of Yahweh that has been given to me, as a skilled architect I have laid a foundation, whereas another builds it up. But each must look at how he builds it up.” Then in chapter 5 of his second epistle to them he wrote: “1 Therefore we know that if perhaps our earthly house of the tabernacle would be destroyed, we have a building from Yahweh, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

With this understanding, we shall interpret the model of the temple here in this pattern: that the temple, the place where Yahweh dwells, which is typically in the inner portion of a city, are the children of Israel in the medieval Roman world who had accepted and believed the Gospel of Christ, and endeavored to keep His commandments and conform themselves to Him so that He would dwell within them. But here we see that the Holy City and court outside the temple shall be trampled by the nations, or heathens, for forty and two months. So now we shall examine those terms, and what they may signify.

The Greek word ἔθνος in the plural is heathens here, but it does not necessarily mean to describe the aliens, such as the Arabs and Turks. It is basically only nations or people. However in certain instances in Scripture it may be interpreted as heathens whenever it is apparent that the word was used to describe a people or nation who are in opposition to the Word of God or who stand apart from those people who would comply with the will of God. But even then, the word is always used within the scope of the Adamic οἰκουμένη, or dwelling space. Here that οἰκουμένη can only be the world which had been ruled over by the series of empires in the vision of Daniel, and since the last of them, the Roman empire, has been the subject of the prophecies here in the Revelation, then it must be restricted to that context. So the word heathens here can refer to both people of other races who are already within the borders of the old Empire, of which there were many, and also to people of the other families of Genesis chapter 10 or even to the Israelites who are not faithful to Christ.

So here we see a vision of the faithful from among the children of Israel – who are the temple of God where Yahweh dwells – who are being distinguished from the beast Church and the balance of people within the lands which had been ruled over by the Empire, which we shall be able to better identify in Revelation chapter 13, while all those outside of the faithful would continue to be trampled by it. As we have seen in our brief survey of some of the significant families ruling the Church in the 15th century, they certainly were acting as heathens trampling the Holy City. The Roman Catholic priesthood was always a heathen, or pagan priesthood, and it never represented God or Christ even if many of the men within its offices at any given time were sincerely faithful to Christ and endeavored to do well. The very fact that these profane families were able to rule the Church in the manner in which they had for so many centuries by itself condemns the entire Roman Church and all who had cooperated with it, all of its priests, bishops and cardinals.

But neither does this mean that there are no truly faithful Israelites in those nations which remained Catholic after the Reformation. Rather, it is only an allegorical picture so that we may look back at the history of the Christian nations and understand what it is that has happened to the children of Israel. The entirety of the children of Israel are the Holy City here, as it is they who are born from above and it is they who descend from heaven. We shall discuss this further in Revelation chapter 21, where the Bride of Christ is depicted as a city descended from heaven. That city has the names of each of the twelve tribes of Israel on its gates, and it is built upon twelve foundations having the names of each of the twelve apostles of Christ, whereby it is apparent that the mission of the apostles was to gather the children of Israel of those twelve tribes to Christ.

Finally, the forty-two months is the same period of time as the twelve hundred and sixty days which follow in verse 3 below. There are twelve hundred and sixty days in a period of forty-two months of thirty days. We shall see the same measurements of time once again – though not necessarily of the same periods – in Revelation chapter 12, and in Revelation chapter 13 where Daniel chapter 7 shall also be discussed.

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 [א wants ‘which are’] standing before the Sovereign [the MT manuscripts which follow Andreas of Caesareia have θεός, which is ‘God” here in the King James Version, rather than κύριος or ‘Lord’, for which we have ‘Sovereign’] of the earth.

Here it is explained that the two witnesses are the two olive trees, which are also the two lampstands. These are Israel and Judah. First, where it is addressing the children of Israel in captivity, in Isaiah chapter 43 the Word of Yahweh says: “10 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.” Later, in Zechariah chapter 4 in a description of two olive trees with two golden pipes which dispense oil into lamps, we read that “14… 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 Germanic and related nations in Europe have further proven themselves to be of the children of Israel by becoming the primary vessels of Christendom. They had proven that earlier in history, as they were the stone cut out of the mountain without hands which had overrun and destroyed the Roman Empire. Their having accepted the Gospel of Christ, and in turn their having maintained that Gospel and the Word of God in the prophets which we know as the Bible, that in itself is the act of their having prophesied. So in their acceptance of Christ, the tribes of Israel and Judah in their captivity had functioned as the two witnesses.

In Isaiah chapter 62 we read of Zion, the mountain from which the stone was cut, that the salvation thereof would be as a lamp that burneth: “1 For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.” So the allegory which Yahshua Christ had used in Luke chapter 8 is more meaningful in this context, where He said: “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.” Once again, in Matthew chapter 5 we read: “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 Germanic and related peoples of Europe, once they accepted Christ, had become 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 planet and bring it under the rule of law, for better or worse. This all began after the Reformation had taken place, when the children of God had endeavored to depart from the paganism of the Roman Church and sought to embrace the Word of God. But of course the Reformation was not all beneficial, since the liberty which it provided to Christians also afforded the enemies of Christ the opportunity to corrupt all of Christendom. In the Reformation, many of the Reformers had for allies the Jews of Europe who also sought to destroy the power of the Roman Church, and they used the opportunity to gain power for themselves.

But in spite of the devils, and in spite of the fact that they were still blind to their own true identity, the children of Israel and Judah had been accepting and then in turn spreading the Gospel of Christ for twelve hundred and sixty years, or in some cases a little longer, a period 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 in Scripture rather than by the word of tyrants. In that, they proved their identity as true Israel, and their having fulfilled these prophecies in turn proves that God is true. This is the same twelve hundred and sixty year period during which the woman that fled into the wilderness would be nourished by angels, which we shall read and discuss in Revelation chapter 12. Yet as the spread of the Gospel into Europe was a process which took place over several centuries, so was the Reformation and the break from the Roman Church a process which took place over several centuries.

5 And if one wishes to harm them fire proceeds from their mouths [literally mouth] and devours their enemies, and if one should wish to harm them, thusly is it necessary for him to die. 6 They have the [א and the MT want ‘the’; the text follows P47, A and C] authority [or power, ἐξουσία] 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.

This we interpret as an assurance that in spite of all opposition, the two witnesses of Yahweh, Israel and Judah, would prevail and succeed in the mission for which He created them. The Word of God is like fire to those who resist it, and these two witnesses would prevail over all who opposed them in bringing it to light. As Christ said in Luke chapter 12, “49 “I have come to cast fire upon the earth, and what do I purpose if already it is ignited?” 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. As Christ said in Matthew chapter 5, speaking only in reference to the children of Israel: “44 Now I say to you: love your enemies and pray for those persecuting you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father who is in the heavens, because His sun rises upon evil and good and rains upon righteous and unrighteous.” Of course, Christ was not speaking in reference to the enemies of God, from which He Himself has promised to save the children of Israel. The little book would be open, and no man could stop it, thus we see that in spite of the enemies of God, the Reformation would succeed in getting the Word of Yahweh God into the hands of the people and keeping it there.

7 And when their testimony should be completed, [P47 and א insert ‘then’] the [A inserts ‘fourth’] beast which ascends from out of the bottomless pit shall make war with them and shall conquer them and shall slay them. [The mss. of the MT which follow Andreas of Caesareia want the last phrase, “and shall slay them”, which the King James Version did not follow here.] 8 And their bodies [A, C and the traditional MT mss. have ‘body’; the text follows P47 and א, and the MT mss. which follow Andreas of Caesareia] upon the streets of the great city, which is called spiritually Sodom and Egypt, where also [P47 and the MT mss. which follow Andreas of Caesareia want ‘also’] their [P47 and א have ‘the’] Prince has been crucified.

The same people who were responsible for crucifying Christ would also be behind the persecution of the two witnesses. This is seen first in the reference to the “beast which ascends from out of the bottomless pit”. As Christ had told His enemies in Jerusalem, in John chapter 8, “23… ‘You are from of those below; I am from of those above. You are from of this Society; I am not from of this Society.’” Secondly, it is seen where the city in which Yahshua Christ had been crucified is referred to as “Sodom and Egypt”, and it is upon the streets of that city where these two witnesses would be slain. But Christ was not slain in Rome, and the city in which Christ was slain was already completely destroyed by the Romans at the time when John had received and recorded the Revelation. So this cannot be a reference to the old Jerusalem, and it must instead be an allegory describing a realm which is governed by the same people who were responsible for the crucifixion of Christ. Then finally, once we realize that the fulfillment of this prophecy is in the Reformation, we must also come to realize that those men who ruled Rome and who sought to persecute the Reformers were indeed related to those enemies of Christ who had Him crucified.

As we had discussed at length in the final presentation of our commentary on the Wisdom of Solomon, which was titled Requiem for the Wicked, Solomon began his book with an account of how impious men seek to oppress the righteous and to live by the law of their own strength, by which they may imagine that might makes right. Then it ends with an illustration of the fate of the wicked of Sodom and of Egypt. So Wisdom begins by making examples of particular types of individuals, and it ends by making examples of particular nations which had generally followed in the same patterns of wickedness which was attributed to those types of individuals. So Solomon had upheld Sodom and Egypt as examples of the ends of nations which had followed those same patterns of idolatry. Now here in Revelation chapter 11 in the words of Yahshua Christ, where He prophesied the persecution of His two witnesses, He equated His enemies, those who oppose the teachings of His Gospel, as being spiritually akin to Sodom and Egypt, and it is apparent that they would also oppose God and seek to establish their own law by which they would oppress the people. Sodom and Egypt are symbols of the tyranny by which the wicked men of this world would oppress the righteous. Reading the histories of the medieval popes and the ruling families within the Roman Church, they fit this description perfectly. From this prophecy, we may indeed suspect that at least many of them were Marrano Jews or other descendants of the ancient Edomites and Canaanites.

9 And those from among the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations shall see their bodies [literally body, only the MT mss. which follow Andreas of Caesareia have the plural] for three and a half days and they do not allow their bodies [plural here in all mss.] to be buried in a tomb. 10 And those dwelling upon the earth rejoice over them and they delight and they shall send [א has ‘they send’; the traditional MT mss. have ‘they shall give’] gifts to one another, because these two prophets had tormented those dwelling upon the earth.

So the two witnesses, Israel and Judah, would testify for twelve hundred and sixty days, which we may roughly equate to the period during which all of the nations of Europe were turned to Christ, and then they would lie dead for three and a half days, or, in keeping with the same reckoning of a prophetic day for a year, they would lie dead for three and a half years. We shall interpret this three and a half years to represent certain periods of persecution during the Reformation of the 16th century in which it seemed that the Roman Church would indeed prevail and maintain its control of Christendom. The testimony of the people of God was completed with the growing prevalence among them of the attitude that men should seek to live by the Word of God, and not by the oppressive will of the Roman Church. So in spite of their ignorance of their descent from the ancient children of Israel, this alone proves that the Germanic and related 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 Christ, proving that He is God.

This is evident in part at Hosea 2:7 where it speaks of Israel as the wayward wife of Yahweh saying “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.” Then later in that same chapter, after describing the punishment for her sins, we read a promise made to the same children of Israel, and it continues to describe them as the wife of Yahweh: “19 And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies. 20 I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the LORD.” That betrothal is the reason why Yahshua Christ is described as the bridegroom, and He is the bridegroom of those same ancient children of Israel.

In relation to the invasions of the Empire by the Arabs and Turks, we have already discussed the nature of the beast which ascends out of the bottomless pit, which represents those races who are not of God. This shall be more fully elucidated in our commentary for Revelation chapter 20. While in Revelation chapter 9 the allegory describes the Arabs and Turks, it also described the power behind them, as Mohammedanism is a product of Judaism. Here, this allegory describes the antichrist Jews and the Jewish money powers which were isolated from Christian society and which had eventually infiltrated the Church, its administrative offices, and the office of the pope, and through those offices had sought to oppress the people of Europe. When all of these aspects of the Revelation are understood in harmony, after the visions in chapters 12, 13 and 20 are fully elucidated, they shall all be much clearer as a whole, as a cohesive body of allegory and prophecy.

The Jews and their power to corrupt European society through usury were removed from society with Christian laws that governed many of their wicked practices, which had been instituted from the time of the Council of Nicaea through the time of the emperors Theodosius II and Justinian, and they began to break or evade these restrictions with the Borgia, Della Rovere and de' Medici popes, who themselves came from family of bankers, and who had their very name from the practice of sorcery. The mere fact that there were men who sought to live by the Word of God rather than by papal bulls would torment the rulers of the Roman Church, just as we read in the Wisdom of Solomon, as we would translate verse 12 in Wisdom chapter 2 where it depicted the wicked as saying: “Therefore let us lie in wait for the righteous; because he is intractable to us, and he is opposed to our works: he reproaches us for our transgressions of the law, and imprecates the transgressions of our education.”

11 And after the [א and the MT mss. following Andreas of Caesareia want ‘the’] three and a half days a Spirit [or breath, πνεῦμα] of life from Yahweh entered into them, and they stood upon their feet, and great fear had fallen upon those watching them.

This vision evokes the Word of Yahweh in Ezekiel chapter 37, in the vision of dry bones where we read: “4 Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. 5 Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live…” Then a little further on, “9 Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.”

This is not coincidental, as it is explained in that vision that the dry bones represented “the whole house of Israel”, which would include Judah, and that Judah and Israel would be made into one stick, and no longer be two different nations, once they were reconciled to Yahweh their God, which is in Yahshua Christ. Ezekiel chapter 37 being a prophecy of the receiving of the Gospel of Christ, we also see the fulfillment of that prophecy here in the opening of the little book and the breaking of the stranglehold which the Roman Church attempted to place on the Word of God. Where the two witnesses overcome those who want to kill them, the Word of God prevails and His Spirit, or breath, may enter into the dry bones of His people.

12 And I heard a great voice from out of heaven saying to them [A wants “to them”]: “Come up here!” And they ascended into heaven in a cloud, and their enemies watched [P47 has ‘measured’, μετρέω] them.

We shall give an overall interpretation of the history behind the fulfillment of this prophecy after this part of the vision ends in verse 14. When the two witnesses lie dead in the streets, but are revived and ascend to heaven, the Word of God prevails and those witnesses rise into the seats of power and government over the children of Israel, diminishing the power and dominion of the Roman Church.

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 [א has “those who remained were in fear”] and gave honor to the God of heaven.

On the “names of men”, as we had explained where the word for names is used similarly in Revelation chapter 3, following a Hebraism the plural form of the word, ὀνόματα, is used to describe persons reckoned by name, according to Joseph Thayer and examples provided from the book of Numbers in the Bible. Therefore here in Revelation 11:13 the King James Version has only “of seven thousand men”, but the Greek as it is translated in the Christogenea New Testament has “seven thousand names of men”, where in order to represent every Greek word in the original a literal translation was preferred.

As for the earthquake, the loss of control of much of Europe in the Reformation had been very costly to the Roman Church and its rulers, and literally shook its foundations. So perhaps this represents the change in government which occurred throughout much of Europe as control shifted from bishops and other clerics into the hands of secular princes and Protestant leaders. The seven thousand may represent men who supported the Roman Church or who were part of its organization, but who had fallen from power at this time.

14 The second woe has departed [א has “passed”. Behold, the third woe comes quickly!

The Mohammedan invasions of Europe and the Reformation which followed are the final woes in the first six trumpets which had come out of the seventh seal of the scroll described in Revelation chapter 5. The seventh trumpet representing the third woe shall reveal seven vials of the wrath of God which shall be poured out upon the earth. While that trumpet is sounded at the end of this chapter, before the descriptions of the seven vials there are several digressions in which the Revelation provides other visions containing prophecies of historical events which overlap all of these things, and the first vial is not poured until Revelation chapter 15.

It must be mentioned, that prior to the beginning of the 16th century there were already oppressions of people in Europe who had disagreed with Rome on theological grounds. We have already discussed many of these early sects, some which were heretical, and some which had aspired to bring reform to the Church. Significant examples are the persecutions of the sects of the Albigenses and Waldenses, and also the wars against the followers of Jan Huss in Bohemia. But these affected only a relatively small number of people compared to the Reformation of the 16th century.

Bertrand Comparet had related this three-and-a-half days in which the two witnesses lay dead to the space of time between the convention of the Fifth Lateran Council and Martin Luther's nailing of his ninety five theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. Here I shall wholeheartedly agree with his identification, but only in part. Before the Fifth Lateran Council, which was 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”, as 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. King Louis XII then suffered a damaging military defeat at the hands of the Swiss, which had put an end to his ambitions.

The Fifth 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 he died almost as soon as it began, on February 21, 1513. The Fifth Lateran Council did indeed go on to change the face of the Roman Church, but perhaps not as Julius had intended. The new pope was Leo X, whose real name was Giovanni de' Medici. The rival Borgia crime family had already supplied one pope, Alexander VI (1492-1503) to the Catholic church. The rival Della Rovere clan had supplied two, including Julius. The papacy had long been a lucrative business for these wealthy and influential families. Giovanni was from a political and banking family which had for some time been the rulers of Florence. He was only thirty-seven years of age when he was elected, and he was not even ordained as a priest. He was elected March 11, 1513, and first presided at the Fifth Lateran Council in its seventh session, on April 27, 1513. Among the decrees made at the council were the following:

  • A Bull was 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 Roman Church to enter down the slippery slope in the approval of usury. The bull issued a 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, continued 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 was issued.

  • A Bull requiring that before a book could be printed, the local bishop had to give permission. Given prior papal bulls barring the distribution and translation of Scripture, this would effectively prohibit any printing of the Bible.

  • 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, had made the Church and the Papacy free from any possibility of future criticism. Of this, Philip Hughes wrote in his Church history: “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.’ [Erasmus of Rotterdam was at this time writing about such things, and stands as an example - WRF] 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.”

    [Source for content of papal bulls: 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]

So at this time the definition of usury was changed by the Roman Church, and the practice of usury, which is abhorred by Yahweh God and which was outlawed by early Christian Byzantine emperors, had suddenly become legitimate. Preaching and the publishing of Bibles were restricted, or in reality actually outlawed. Of the other decrees made by this council, Church historian Philip Hughes, wrote 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.” [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]

With this it is evident that finally, unrestrained Pharisaism had fully penetrated Catholicism with the Fifth 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 by Philip Hughes 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 apparent death of any possible and meaningful reform or rebellion against unbridled papal power. The opportunity for 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 which the council upheld.

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. The story has it that 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 the 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”. [The Story of Christianity: Volume 2: The Reformation to the Present Day, by Justo L. Gonzalez, p.27, Readings in Western Religious Thought: The Middle Ages through the Reformation, edited by Patrick V. Reid, p. 300.]

Philip Schaff spoke of indulgences in his church history: “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. Cardinal Ximenes [a Spanish reformer who died in 1517] set forth the damage done to ecclesiastical discipline by the practice and, as a rule, it was under other pretexts that papal moneys were received from England.” [Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, p. 761.]

The Roman Catholic Church was using the deceit of 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. Among his protests were the correct assertions that Rome was taking payments when Jesus Christ had already made the payment; that Rome was charging for God’s free gift; and that Rome was making people feel guilty for not doing enough when Jesus has already done it all for those who trust in Him. To paraphrase another writer: “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.” [The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Popes and the Papacy, B. Toropov and G. Tobin, p. 156.]

Leo X, the de' Medici pope, had presided over the Fifth 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 Roman Church and the Jewish money power. Here, Israel and Judah appear to lay dead in the streets while the powers of the adversary prevailed.

However while we can agree with Bertrand Comparet that this period of the Fifth 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, suffered similarly just forty years later. For there is another period, a little later in England, where it also looked as though the Roman Catholic Church might prevail over the true saints of God, and it certainly warrants mention here.

It was the wantonness and lust of King Henry VIII which had first brought England to break away from the Roman Church. His successor, Edward VI, was a very young ruler who died after becoming ill at 15 years of age. His regency council was mostly Protestant. Together they drew up a plan for succession which was an attempt to prevent Edward's half-sister Mary from gaining the throne, and returning the country to Roman 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 Roman 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, Thomas Howard, 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 the 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”. Church doctrine was restored to the form it had been in 1539. [Compiled from articles found at britannica.com and en.wikipedia.org.]

The English Church was officially returned to Rome in 1554, under an agreement with Pope Julius III, Giovanni del Monte. Under the Heresy Acts, numerous Protestants were executed in the Marian Persecutions. Many wealthy 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 as they were 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 sentiments 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 popes, the crime families of Rome who sought to oppress all of Europe. Mary's husband Philip, had devised a plan that would have prevented Edward VI 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! [א inserts ‘Truly!’]” 16 And the twenty-four elders who are [P47, A and the MT mss. following Andreas of Caesareia want “who are”; the text follows א, C and the traditional MT mss.] sitting on their thrones [P47 wants “on their thrones”] before Yahweh [א inserts “then”] fell upon their faces and worshipped Yahweh, 17 saying: “We thank You, Prince Yahweh the Almighty [P47 has “Lord God, the Almighty God”], He who is and who was, [P47, א and C insert ‘and’; the text follows A and the MT; the King James Version follows some late mss., as well as the Vulgate and other versions, here where it inserts ‘and art to come’] because You have taken Your great [P47 has ‘abiding’] power and You have reigned.

While it was far from over, the success of the Protestants over the Roman Church ensured the rise to world hegemony of the Germanic nations of Christendom, who constitute the true kingdom of God. Now they possess the kingdom of God on earth permanently, according to the promises in Daniel. However they are also subject to many other prophecies which are still being fulfilled, they are fallen into a state of national sin, and their final restoration does not come until after Babylon finally falls. That shall be discussed at length throughout the later chapters of the Revelation in prophecies which describe that very process.

18 And the heathens [literally nations] had been angry, yet Your anger has come, and the time [C has ‘lot’ or ‘portion’, κλῆρος rather than καιρός] 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!”

The heathens who had come to control the Roman Church were indeed angry, and would make war against the Christian nations of Europe who sought to break free of that control. That war would decimate a great portion of Germany, and return parts of it to the Church. We shall discuss this period further in our commentary for Revelation chapter 12, and later when the seven vials are described with the beginning of chapter 15. This time of Yahweh’s anger would span several centuries, and apparently Christians still suffer in it today.

19 And the temple of Yahweh who is [P47, א, and the MT want “who is”; the text follows A and C] in heaven opened, and the ark of His covenant [P47 and the traditional MT mss. have “the ark of the covenant of the Lord”; א has “the ark of the covenant of God”] is seen [C has “given”] in His temple, and there were lightnings and noises and thunders and an earthquake [the traditional MT mss. want the words “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 who bear the witness of the Gospel of Christ are those same people who were in the Exodus with Moses and wandered in the desert for forty years. The perfect harmony of these Scriptures with history should dispel all of the notions of the preterists, the futurists, and this – we pray – shall be elucidated even more clearly upon our 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 their God in His Word, in a few hundred years built the greatest nations that the world has ever known. However once Satan is let out of the pit, the great civilization of Protestant Christendom would also begin to decay. The woman in the wilderness of Revelation chapter 12 would ultimately become the whore in the wilderness in Revelation chapter 17, and she still is a whore.

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