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« Reply #126 on: April 17, 2021, 03:30:23 PM »
You might note I offer no interpretation, beyond noting how many others have differing ones.  It seems pointless to offer still another one, but I don't have one.

The folks who think they're right here are the ones starting the topic, and then avoiding the obvious.  You each can have YOUR interpretation based on YOUR denomination without deriding others like gymvol who have THEIR interpretation.  It's all opinion anyway.  Like what is your favorite color?  Can any answer be wrong?

But, perhaps volbrigade thinks HE has THE interpretation we should all heed.  It wouldn't be singular of course.
     Sniif Sniff, Ewwww, nope it does not pass the test.

Some one also needs to reread and think posts 34, 38, 40, 47, 49, 58, 60, 65, 71, 75, 77, 81, 94, 99, 101, 102, 104, 108, 110, 112, 118 and that is just a few you need to reread and think about in this tread alone. There are cpountless other threads that would do you good to reread and think about as well. That is if you would actually read them and put a thinking cap on.

Let me repeat this one as it applies to you as well. It is extremely telling that you have some issues that are brought about by an extreme lack of knowledge in many areas. It is also extremely telling that you want to judge others by their denominations when you are lacking any knowledge of them. It is extremely telling that you will not even tell others what your denomination (if you even have one) is and one has to wonder what you are trying to hide.  It is extremely telling you have no knowledge of Church history or even that of a simple timeline. It is also extremely telling you have no concept of many things you need to know to have a intelligent discussion about some things in the Bible examples include but not limited to some of the problems with the English translation in the words chosen such as what the Hebrews considered a day at the time, customs of the times, the history of the time, how some verses (Which is a modern invention) fits in with the surrounding text/ how they fit in with the bigger picture/etc., how when you instruct people or correct them that you should be very aware that you are using what is Biblically correct, how you use out of context Biblical references to lash out at others -such as someone who use to use a prophecy about a coming war to justify murder via abortion, etc., etc. IT is extremely telling you have no knowledge if who or why the books of the Bible were chosen and others were rejected as false. It is extremely telling that you want to condemn others for a splinter in their eye while ignoring your own. It is extremely telling that all you want to do is bicker and cause strife like Cincy and some of his band of disruptors that he has encouraged -funny for  two who went at each others throats so much now you are almost like buds. It is extremely telling that you have used colorful and hateful language responding to those who ruffled you feathers and whine so about what is mild in comparison response to you.

It is sad as I know you are not a unintelligent person, but you do not apply it and employee raw emotions that are fueled by much of the above. It is sad that you can not read and think about what is posted but instead react to the point one has to wonder who is throwing salt into you wounds behind the scenes or are you really just performing rectal acrobatics.

You are free to believe whatever you wish, but when you are wrong don’t be surprised when people  tell you so and offer some of why you are wrong, instead of imitating you and its By Satan it is because I said so. You are free to not like my lengthy post but if you don’t read them as you so claim then to judge their content is nothing short of hypocrisy. I will add if you have your own board you are free there to set your own rules, if you want me to post to suit you here you can pay me my prevailing contractor Sunday rate of pay, that seems fair to me otherwise your complaint is just cast aside.
President Harry S. Truman said: “The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount.  The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings…  If we don't have the proper fundamental moral background, we will finally wind up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the state.”


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« Reply #127 on: April 17, 2021, 03:33:17 PM »
You are welcome to tell me I'm wrong, and ignorant of "facts".  I'm also welcome to ignore it.  It's all opinion anyway, no matter how many times you insist YOUR church has it all right.

Do you disagree that we have extant MANY differing interpretations of the Bible?  It seems an obvious point to me.  


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« Reply #128 on: April 17, 2021, 03:38:50 PM »
Huh…?  Wha…?

Oh.  Sorry.  I fell asleep about a third of the way through…
By golly as his question in post 138 was clearly answered in detail it is obvious he has read nothing or he has a hole in his head and information goes straight though or he is just trolling, again or he is using this thread to run up his post count or....... 
President Harry S. Truman said: “The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount.  The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings…  If we don't have the proper fundamental moral background, we will finally wind up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the state.”


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« Reply #129 on: April 17, 2021, 03:42:19 PM »

As we begin this book of Revelation, I have mingled feelings. I am actually running scared as we come to this, one of the great books in the Word of God. Candidly, I must also say that it is with great joy that I begin it. Let me explain why I say this.
It has long been my practice, when I need a time of relaxation, to read a mystery story, a detective story. I confess that mystery stories have been more or less a hobby of mine over the years.
I do not read much of Agatha Christie anymore for the very simple reason that I have read so many of hers that I can usually figure out who the killer is, who committed the murder. Now I read Dorothy Sayers. By the way, she is a Christian, and she gets a great deal of Scripture into her books. The unsaved are reading the Bible without realizing it. Anyway, I have always enjoyed mystery stories.
When I began my ministry, I was a single man, and on Sunday nights after the evening service, I would get into bed and read one of the mystery stories.
Well, about one o’clock in the morning I would get to the place where the heroine has been tied down to the railroad tracks by the villain, and old Number 77 is going to be coming along in about twenty minutes. She is in a desperate situation. I think that the hero is going to be able to get there and rescue her, but I find out that he is in that old warehouse down by the pier, tied to a chair under which is a stick of dynamite with the fuse already lighted! Well, I can’t leave the hero and heroine at one o’clock in the morning in that kind of position. But, since it is time for me to turn over and go to sleep, I slip over to the final page. A different scene greets me there. I see the hero and the heroine sitting out in a yard. I see a lovely cottage encircled by a white picket fence. They are married now and have a little baby who is playing there on the lawn. What a wonderful, comfortable scene that is!
So I would just turn back to the place where I stopped reading, and I would say to the hero and heroine, “I don’t know how you are going to get out of it, but I tell you this: It’s going to work out all right.”
My friend, I have a book in the Bible called the Book of the Revelation, and it tells me how this world scene is going to end. I will be frank to say that I get a little disturbed today when I see what is happening in the world. It is a dark picture as I look out at it, and I wonder how it is going to work out. Well, all I do is turn to the last book of the Bible, and when I begin to read there, I find that it’s going to work out all right. Do you know that? Emerson said that things are in the saddle, and they ride mankind. It does look that way. In fact, it looks as if the Devil is having a high holiday in the world, and I think he is, but God is going to work it out. God Himself will gain control—in fact, He has never lost control—and He is moving to the time when He is going to place His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, upon the throne of His universe down here. It does look dark now. I think that any person today who looks at the world situation and takes an optimistic view of it has something wrong with his thinking. The world is in a desperate condition. However, I’m no pessimist because I have the Book of Revelation, and I can say to every person who has trusted Christ, “Don’t you worry. It’s going to work out all right.” My friend, the thing is going to come out with God on top. Therefore, I want to be with Him. As Calvin put it, “I would rather lose now and win later than to win now and lose later.” I want to say to you, friend, that I am on the side that appears to be losing now, but we are going to win later. The reason I know this is because I have been reading the Book of Revelation. And I hope that you are going to read it with me.
As I have said, I approach the Book of Revelation with fear and trembling, not primarily because of a lack of competence on my part (although that may be self–evident), but many other factors enter into this feeling. First of all, there may be a lack of knowledge on the part of the readers. You see, the Book of Revelation is the sixty–sixth book of the Bible, and it comes last. This means that we need to know sixty–five other books before we get to this place. You need to have the background of a working knowledge of all the Bible that precedes it. You need to have a feel of the Scriptures as well as have the facts of the Scriptures in your mind.
There is a second factor that gives me a feeling of alarm as I enter this book. It is the contemporary climate into which we are giving these studies in Revelation. It is not primarily because of a skeptical and doubting age—although it is certainly that—but it is because of these dark and difficult and desperate days in which we live. We see the failure of leadership in every field—government, politics, science, education, military, and entertainment. Since the educators cannot control even their own campuses, how are they going to supply leadership for the world? Business is managed by tycoons. And the actors can be heard on the media talk programs. Listening to them for only a brief time reveals that they have nothing to say. They do a lot of talking, but they say nothing that is worthwhile. None of these groups or segments of our society have any solutions. They are failures in the realm of leadership. There is a glaring lack of leadership. There is no one to lead us out of this moral morass or out of the difficult and Laocoon–like problems which have us all tangled up. We are living in a very difficult time, my friend. In fact, I think that it is one of the worst in the history of the church.
Knowledgeable men have been saying some very interesting things about this present hour. Please note that I am not quoting from any preachers but from outstanding men in other walks of life.
Dr. Urey, from the University of Chicago, who worked on the atomic bomb, began an article several years ago in Collier’s magazine by saying, “I am a frightened man, and I want to frighten you.”
Dr. John R. Mott returned from a trip around the world and made the statement that this was “the most dangerous era the world has ever known.” And he raised the question of where we are heading. Then he made this further statement, “When I think of human tragedy, as I saw it and felt it, of the Christian ideals sacrificed as they have been, the thought comes to me that God is preparing the way for some immense direct action.”
Chancellor Robert M. Hutchins, of the University of Chicago, gave many people a shock several years ago when he made the statement that “devoting our educational efforts to infants between six and twenty–one seems futile.” And he added, “The world may not last long enough.” He contended that for this reason we should begin adult education.
Winston Churchill said, “Time may be short.”
Mr. Luce, the owner of Life, Time, and Fortune magazines, addressed a group of missionaries who were the first to return to their fields after the war. Speaking in San Francisco, he made the statement that when he was a boy, the son of a Presbyterian missionary in China, he and his father often discussed the premillennial coming of Christ, and he thought that all missionaries who believed in that teaching were inclined to be fanatical. And then Mr. Luce said, “I wonder if there wasn’t something to that position after all.”
It is very interesting to note that The Christian Century carried an article by Wesner Fallaw which said, “A function of the Christian is to make preparation for world’s end.”
Dr. Charles Beard, the American historian, said, “All over the world the thinkers and searchers who scan the horizon of the future are attempting to assess the values of civilization and speculating about its destiny.”
Dr. William Yogt, in the Road to Civilization, wrote: “The handwriting on the wall of five continents now tells us that the Day of Judgment is at hand.”
Dr. Raymond B. Fosdick, president of the Rockefeller Foundation, said, “To many ears comes the sound of the trump of doom. Time is short.”
H. G. Wells declared before he died, “This world is at the end of its tether. The end of everything we call life is close at hand.”
General Douglas MacArthur said, “We have had our last chance.”
Former president Dwight Eisenhower said, “Without a moral regeneration throughout the world there is no hope for us as we are going to disappear one day in the dust of an atomic explosion.”
Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler, ex–president of Columbia University, said, “The end cannot be far distant.”
To make the picture even more bleak, the modern church has no solutions for the problems of this hour in which we are living. There was a phenomenal growth in church membership, especially after World War II, but that took place for only a few years. The growth went from 20 percent of the population in 1884 to 35 percent of the population in 1959. That was the high point of Protestant church membership. And it would indicate the possibility of a church on fire for God. Then it had wealth and was building tremendous programs, but recently the church has begun to lose, and it certainly is not affecting the contemporary culture of the present hour.
As far back as 1958 the late David Lawrence wrote an editorial which he entitled “The ‘Mess’ in the World.” He described it very accurately, but even he did not have a solution for it. As we look out at the world in this present hour, we see that it is really in a mess.
For a long time now men in high positions have looked into the future and have said that there is a great crisis coming. (I wonder what they would say if they lived in our day!) As a result of this foreboding, there has been a growing interest in the Book of Revelation.
Although good expositors differ on the details of the Book of Revelation, when it comes to the broad interpretation, there are four major systems. (Broadus lists seven theories of interpretation and Tregelles lists three.)
1. The preterist interpretation is that all of Revelation has been fulfilled in the past. It had to do with local references in John’s day and with the days of either Nero or Domitian. This view was held by Renan and by most German scholars, also by Elliott. The purpose of the Book of Revelation was to bring comfort to the persecuted church and was written in symbols that the Christians of that period would understand.
Now let me say that it was for the comfort of God’s people, and it has been that for all ages, but to hold the preterist interpretation means that you might as well take the Book of Revelation out of the Bible, as it has no meaning at all for the present hour. This viewpoint has been answered and, I think, relegated to the limbo of lost things.
2. The historical interpretation is that the fulfillment of Revelation is going on continuously in the history of the church, from John’s day to the present time. Well, I believe that there is a certain amount of truth in this as far as the seven churches are concerned, as we shall see, but beyond that, it is obvious that the Book of Revelation is prophetic.
3. The historical–spiritualist interpretation is a refinement of the historical theory and was advanced first by Sir William Ramsay. This theory states that the two beasts are imperial and provincial Rome and that the point of the book is to encourage Christians. According to this theory, Revelation has been largely fulfilled and contains only spiritual lessons for the church today.
The system we know today as amillennialism has, for the most part, adopted this view. It dissipates and defeats the purpose of the book. In the seminary of my denomination, I studied Revelation in both Greek and English from the standpoint of the amillennialist. It was amazing to see how the facts of the Revelation could be dissipated into thin air by just saying, “Well, these are symbols.” But they never were able to tell us exactly what they were symbols of. That was their problem. The fact of the matter is that some very unusual interpretations arise from this viewpoint. One interpreter sees Luther and the Reformation in a symbol that to another student pictures the invention of the printing press! In my opinion, interpretations of this type have hurt and defeated the purpose of the Book of Revelation.
4. The futurist interpretation is the view which is held by all premillennialists and is the one which I accept and present to you. It sees the Book of Revelation as primarily prophetic. Most premillennialists follow a certain form of interpretation that conforms to the Book of Revelation. (We will see this in the outline of the book.) It begins with the revelation of the glorified Christ. Then the church is brought before us, and the whole history of the church is given. Then, at the end of chapter 3, the church goes to heaven and we see it, not as the church anymore, but as the bride which will come to the earth with Christ when He comes to establish His Kingdom—that thousand–year reign that John will tell us about. It will be a time of testing, for at the end of that period Satan will be released for a brief season. Then the final rebellion is put down and eternity begins. This is the viewpoint of Revelation which is generally accepted.
In our day there are many critics of this interpretation who not only attempt to discount it but say rather harsh things about it. One recent book of criticism, written by a layman, quotes me as being unable to answer his argument. Well, the fact of the matter is that he called me at home one morning as I was getting ready to go to my office. I wasn’t well at the time, and I didn’t want to get involved in an argument with a man who obviously was very fanatical in his position. In his book he makes the statement that I was unable to answer his question. If he misquotes the other Bible expositors as he misquotes me, I would have no confidence in his book whatsoever.
In his book he maintains that the premillennial futurist viewpoint is something that is brand new. I’ll admit that it has been fully developed, as have all these other interpretations, during the past few years. When I was a young man and a new Christian, I was introduced to the theory known as postmillennialism. The postmillennialists believed that the world would get better and better, that the church would convert the whole world, and then Christ would come and reign. Well, that viewpoint is almost dead today. After two world wars, a worldwide depression, and the crises through which the world is passing, there are very few who still hold that viewpoint. By the time I enrolled in the seminary of my denomination, every professor was an amillennialist, that is, they didn’t believe in a Millennium. It was to that view that most of the postmillennialists ran for cover. There was one professor in the seminary who was still a postmillennialist. He was very old and hard of hearing. In fact, when they told him that the war was over, he thought they meant the Civil War. He was really a back number, and he was still a postmillennialist.
At the risk of being a little tedious, I am going to give you the viewpoints of many men in the past to demonstrate that they were looking for Christ to return. They were not looking for the Great Tribulation, they were not even looking for the Millennium, but they were looking for Him to come. This expectation is the very heart of the premillennial viewpoint as we hold it today.
Barnabas, who was a co–worker with the apostle Paul, has been quoted as saying, “The true Sabbath is the one thousand years … when Christ comes back to reign.”
Clement (A.D. 96), Bishop of Rome, said, “Let us every hour expect the kingdom of God … we know not the day.”
Polycarp (A.D. 108), Bishop of Smyrna and finally burned at the stake there, said, “He will raise us from the dead … we shall … reign with Him.”
Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, who the historian Eusebius says was the apostle Peter’s successor, commented, “Consider the times and expect Him.”
Papias (A.D. 116), Bishop of Hierapolis, who—according to Irenaeus—saw and heard the apostle John, said, “There will be one thousand years … when the reign of Christ personally will be established on earth.”
Justin Martyr (A.D. 150) said, “I and all others who are orthodox Christians, on all points, know there will be a thousand years in Jerusalem … as Isaiah and Ezekiel declared.”
Irenaeus (A.D. 175), Bishop of Lyons, commenting on Jesus’ promise to drink again of the fruit of the vine in His Father’s Kingdom, argues: “That this … can only be fulfilled upon our Lord’s personal return to earth.”
Tertullian (A.D. 200) said, “We do indeed confess that a kingdom is promised on earth.”
Martin Luther said, “Let us not think that the coming of Christ is far off.”
John Calvin, in his third book of Institutes, wrote: “Scripture uniformly enjoins us to look with expectation for the advent of Christ.”
Canon A. R. Fausset said this: “The early Christian fathers, Clement, Ignatius, Justin Martyr, and Irenaeus, looked for the Lord’s speedy return as the necessary precursor of the millennial kingdom. Not until the professing Church lost her first love, and became the harlot resting on the world power, did she cease to be the Bride going forth to meet the Bridegroom, and seek to reign already on earth without waiting for His Advent.”
Dr. Elliott wrote: “All primitive expositors, except Origen and the few who rejected Revelation, were premillennial.”
Gussler’s work on church history says of this blessed hope that “it was so distinctly and prominently mentioned that we do not hesitate in regarding it as the general belief of that age.”
Chillingworth declared: “It was the doctrine believed and taught by the most eminent fathers of the age next to the apostles and by none of that age condemned.”
Dr. Adolf von Harnack wrote: “The earlier fathers—Irenaeus, Hippolytus, Tertullian, etc.—believed it because it was part of the tradition of the early church. It is the same all through the third and fourth centuries with those Latin theologians who escaped the influence of Greek speculation.”
My friend, I have quoted these many men of the past as proof of the fact that from the days of the apostles and through the church of the first centuries the interpretation of the Scriptures was premillennial. When someone makes the statement that premillennialism is something that originated one hundred years ago with an old witch in England, he doesn’t know what he is talking about. It is interesting to note that premillennialism was the belief of these very outstanding men of the early church.

McGee, J. V. (1991). Thru the Bible Commentary: The Prophecy (Revelation 1-5) (electronic ed., Vol. 58, pp. vii–xv). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
President Harry S. Truman said: “The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount.  The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings…  If we don't have the proper fundamental moral background, we will finally wind up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the state.”


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Pt 2
« Reply #130 on: April 17, 2021, 03:42:26 PM »
There are six striking and singular features about the Book of Revelation.
1. It is the only prophetic book in the New Testament. There are seventeen prophetic books in the Old Testament and only this one in the New Testament.
2. John, the writer, reaches farther back into eternity past than does any other writer in Scripture. He does this in his Gospel which opens with this: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Then he moves up to the time of creation: “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3). Then, when John writes the Book of Revelation, he reaches farther on into eternity future and the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
3. There is a special blessing which is promised to the readers of this book: “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand” (Rev. 1:3). It is a blessing promise. Also, there is a warning given at the end of the book issued to those who tamper with its contents: “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Rev. 22:18–19). That warning ought to make these wild and weird interpreters of prophecy stop, look, and listen. It is dangerous to say just anything relative to the Book of Revelation because people today realize that we have come to a great crisis in history. To say something that is entirely out of line is to mislead them. Unfortunately, the most popular prophetic teachers in our day are those who have gone out on a limb. This has raised a very serious problem, and later on we will have repercussions from it.
4. It is not a sealed book. Daniel was told to seal the book until the time of the end (see Dan. 12:9), but John is told: “Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand” (Rev. 22:10). To say that the Book of Revelation is a jumble and impossible to make heads or tails out of and cannot be understood is to contradict this. It is not a sealed book. In fact, it is probably the best organized book in the Bible.
5. It is a series of visions expressed in symbols which deal with reality. The literal interpretation is always preferred unless John makes it clear that it is otherwise.
6. It is like a great union station where the great trunk lines of prophecy have come in from other portions of Scripture. Revelation does not originate or begin anything. Rather it consummates and concludes that which has been begun somewhere else in Scripture. It is imperative to a right understanding of the book to be able to trace each great subject of prophecy from the first reference to the terminal. There are at least ten great subjects of prophecy which find their consummation here. This is the reason that a knowledge of the rest of the Bible is imperative to an understanding of the Book of Revelation. It is calculated that there are over five hundred references or allusions to the Old Testament in Revelation and that, of its 404 verses, 278 contain references to the Old Testament. In other words, over half of this book depends upon your understanding of the Old Testament.
Let’s look at the Book of Revelation as an airport with ten great airlines coming into it. We need to understand where each began and how it was developed as it comes into the Book of Revelation. The ten great subjects of prophecy which find their consummation here are these:
1. The Lord Jesus Christ. He is the subject of the book. The subject is not the beasts nor the bowls of wrath but the Sin–bearer. The first mention of Him is way back in Genesis 3:15, as the Seed of the woman.
2. The church does not begin in the Old Testament. It is first mentioned by the Lord Jesus in Matthew 16:18: “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
3. The resurrection and the translation of the saints (see John 14; 1 Thess. 4:13–18; 1 Cor. 15:51–52).
4. The Great Tribulation, spoken of back in Deuteronomy 4 where God says that His people would be in tribulation.
5. Satan and evil (see Ezek. 28:11–18).
6. The “man of sin” (see Ezek. 28:1–10).
7. The course and end of apostate Christendom (see Dan. 2:31–45; Matt. 13).
8. The beginning, course, and end of the “times of the Gentiles” (see Dan. 2:37–45; Luke 21:24). The Lord Jesus said that Jerusalem will be trodden down of the Gentiles until the Times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
9. The second coming of Christ. According to Jude 14–15, Enoch spoke of that, which takes us back to the time of the Genesis record.
10. Israel’s covenants, beginning with the covenant which God made with Abraham in Genesis 12:1–3. God promised Israel five things, and God says in Revelation that He will fulfill them all.
Now I want to make a positive statement: The Book of Revelation is not a difficult book. The liberal theologian has tried to make it a difficult book, and the amillennialist considers it a symbolic and hard–to–understand book. Even some of our premillennialists are trying to demonstrate that it is weird and wild.
Actually, it is the most orderly book in the Bible. And there is no reason to misunderstand it. This is what I mean: It divides itself. John puts down the instructions given to him by Christ: “Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter” (Rev. 1:19)—past, present, and future. Then we will find that the book further divides itself in series of sevens, and each division is as orderly as it possibly can be. You will find no other book in the Bible that divides itself like that.
To those who claim that it is all symbolic and beyond our understanding, I say that the Book of Revelation is to be taken literally. And when a symbol is used, it will be so stated. Also it will be symbolic of reality, and the reality will be more real than the symbol for the simple reason that John uses symbols to describe reality. In our study of the book, that is an all–important principle to follow. Let’s allow the Revelation to say what it wants to say.
Therefore, we have no right to reach into the book and draw out of it some of the wonderful pictures that John describes for us and interpret them as taking place in our day. Some of them are symbolic, symbolic of reality, but not of a reality which is currently taking place.
The church is set before us in the figure of seven churches which were real churches in existence in John’s day. I have visited the ruins of all seven of them and have spent many hours there. In fact, I have visited some of them on four occasions, and I would love to go back tomorrow. To examine the ruins and study the locality is a very wonderful experience. It has made these churches live for me, and I can see how John was speaking into local situations but also giving the history of the church as a whole.
Then after chapter 3, the church is not mentioned anymore. The church is not the subject again in the entire Book of the Revelation. You may ask, “Do you mean that the church goes out of business?” Well, it leaves the earth and goes to heaven, and there it appears as the bride of Christ. When we see her in the last part of Revelation, she is not the church but the bride.
Then beginning with chapter 4, everything is definitely in the future from our vantage point at the present time. So when anyone reaches in and pulls out a revelation—some vision about famine or wars or anything of that sort—it just does not fit into the picture of our day. We need to let John tell it like it is. In fact, we need to let the whole Bible speak to us like that—just let it say what it wants to say. The idea of making wild and weird interpretations is one of the reasons I enter this book with a feeling of fear.
It is interesting to note that the subject of prophecy is being developed in our day. The great doctrines of the church have been developed in certain historical periods. At first, it was the doctrine of the Scripture being the Word of God. This was followed by the doctrine of the person of Christ, known as Christology. Then the doctrine of soteriology, or salvation, was developed. And so it has been down through the years. Now you and I are living in a day when prophecy is really being developed, and we need to exercise care as to what and to whom we listen.
When the Pilgrims sailed for America, their pastor at Leyden reminded them, “The Lord has more truth yet to break forth from His Holy Word…. Luther and Calvin were great shining lights in their times, yet they penetrated not the whole counsel of God…. Be ready to receive whatever truth shall be made known to you from the written word of God.” That, my friend, is very good advice because God is not revealing His truth by giving you a vision or a dream or a new religion. Therefore, we need to be very sure that all new truth comes from a correct interpretation of the Word of God.
As I have indicated, the twentieth century has witnessed a renewed interest in eschatology (the doctrine of last things) which we call prophecy. Especially since World War I, great strides have been made in this field. New light has fallen upon this phase of Scripture. All of this attention has focused the light of deeper study on the Book of Revelation.
In the notes which I have made on this book, I have attempted to avoid the pitfall of presenting something new and novel just for the sake of being different. Likewise, I have steered clear of repeating threadbare cliches. Many works on Revelation are merely carbon copies of other works. In my own library I have more commentaries on the Revelation than on any other book of the Bible, and most of them are almost copies of those that have preceded them.
Another danger we need to avoid is that of thinking that the Book of Revelation can be put on a chart. Although I myself have a chart and have used it in teaching, I will not be using it in this study. The reason is that if it includes all it should, it is so complicated that nobody will understand it. On the other hand, if it is so brief that it can be understood, it doesn’t give enough information. I have several charts sent to me by different men in whom I have great confidence. One of them is so complicated that I need a chart to understand his chart! So, although I won’t be using a chart, I will use the brief sketch below to attempt to simplify the different stages of the Revelation and also give the overall picture.

As you can see, it begins with the cross of Christ and His ascension. In chapter 1, we see the glorified Christ. In chapters 2–3 we see the church. In chapters 4–5 we see that the church is in heaven. Then on earth the Great Tribulation takes place, chapters 6–18. In chapter 19 we see that Christ returns to the earth and establishes His Kingdom, and chapter 20 gives us the thousand–year reign of Christ. Then the Great White Throne is set up, the place where the lost are judged, and in chapters 21–22 eternity begins. That is the Book of Revelation.
Stauffer has made an important observation:

  Domitian was also the first emperor to wage a proper campaign against Christ, and the church answered the attack under the leadership of Christ’s last apostle, John of the Apocalypse. Nero had Paul and Peter destroyed, but he looked upon them as seditious Jews. Domitian was the first emperor to understand that behind the Christian movement there stood an enigmatic figure who threatened the glory of the emperors. He was the first to declare war on this figure, and the first also to lose the war—a foretaste of things to come.

The subject of this book is very important to see. To emphasize and reemphasize it, let me direct your attention to chapter 1, verse 1—“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass” (italics mine). Let’s keep in mind that this book is a revelation of Jesus Christ. In the Gospels you see Him in the days of His flesh, but they do not give the full revelation of Jesus Christ. There you see Him in humiliation. Here in Revelation you see Him in glory. You see Him in charge of everything that takes place. He is in full command. This is the unveiling of Jesus Christ.
Snell has put it so well that I would like to quote him:

  In the Revelation the Lamb is the center around which all else is clustered, the foundation upon which everything lasting is built, the nail on which all hangs, the object to which all points, and the spring from which all blessing proceeds. The Lamb is the light, the glory, the life, the Lord of heaven and earth, from whose face all defilement must flee away, and in whose presence fullness of joy is known. Hence we cannot go far in the study of the Revelation without seeing the Lamb. Like direction posts along the road to remind us that He, who did by Himself purge our sins, is now highly exalted and that to Him every knee must bow and every tongue confess.

To that grand statement I say hallelujah! For the Lamb is going to reign upon this earth. That is God’s intention, and that is God’s purpose.
As I have said, the Book of Revelation is not really a difficult book. It divides itself very easily. This is one book that doesn’t require our labor in making divisions in it. John does it all for us according to the instructions given to him. In verse 18 of the first chapter the Lord Jesus speaks as the glorified Christ: “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” Notice the four grand statements He makes concerning Himself: “I am alive. I was dead. I am alive for evermore. And I have the keys of hell [the grave] and of death.” Then He tells John to write, and He gives him his outline in chapter 1, verse 19: “Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter.” My friend, this is a wonderful, grand division that He is giving. In fact, there is nothing quite like it.
He first says, “I am he that liveth.” And He instructs John, “Write the things which thou hast seen.” That is past tense, referring to the vision of the Son of Man in heaven, the glorified Christ in chapter 1.
Then He says, “I was dead, and, behold, I am alive.” And His instruction is, “Write the things which are.” This is present tense, referring to Christ’s present ministry. We are going to see that the living Christ is very busy doing things today. Do you realize that He is the Head of the church? Do you know the reason the contemporary church is in such a mess? The reason is that the church is like a body that has been decapitated. It is no longer in touch with the Head of the church. We will see Christ’s ministry to the church in chapters 2–3.
Thirdly, Christ said, “I have the keys of hell and of death.” And when we get to chapter 5, we will see that no one could be found to open the book but one—the Lord Jesus Christ. So chapters 4–22 deal with the future, and Christ said to John, “Write the things that you are about to see after these things.” It is very important to see that “after these things” is the Greek meta tauta. After what things? After the church things. So in chapters 4–22 he is dealing with things that are going to take place after the church leaves the earth. The fallacy of the hour is reaching into this third section and trying to pull those events up to the present. This gives rise to the wild and weird interpretations we hear in our day. Why don’t we follow what John tells us? He gives us the past, present, and future of the Book of Revelation. He will let us know when he gets to the meta tauta, the “after these things.” You can’t miss it—unless you follow a system of interpretation that doesn’t fit into the Book of Revelation.
As you will see by the outline that follows, I have used the divisions which John has given to us:

      I.      The Person of Jesus Christ—Christ in glory, chapter 1.

      II.      The Possession of Jesus Christ—the church in the world is His, chapters 2–3.

      III.      The Program of Jesus Christ—as seen in heaven, chapters 4–22.

McGee, J. V. (1991). Thru the Bible Commentary: The Prophecy (Revelation 1-5) (electronic ed., Vol. 58, pp. xv–xxiii). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
President Harry S. Truman said: “The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount.  The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings…  If we don't have the proper fundamental moral background, we will finally wind up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the state.”


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Pt 3
« Reply #131 on: April 17, 2021, 03:42:30 PM »
The last section deals with the consummation of all things on this earth. This is what makes Revelation such a glorious and wonderful book.
In the first division of the Book of Revelation we will see the person of Christ in His position and glory as the Great High Priest who is in charge of His church. We will see that He is in absolute control. In the Gospels we find Him to be meek, lowly, and humble. He made Himself subject to His enemies on earth and died upon a cross! We find a completely different picture of Him in the Book of the Revelation. Here He is in absolute control. Although He is still the Lamb of God, it is His wrath that is revealed, the wrath of the Lamb, and it terrifies the earth. When He speaks in wrath, His judgment begins upon the earth.
The person of Jesus Christ is the theme of this book. When the scene moves to heaven, we see Him there, too, controlling everything. Not only in Revelation but in the entire Bible Jesus Christ is the major theme. The Scriptures are both theocentric and Christocentric, God–centered and Christ–centered. Since Christ is God, He is the One who fills the horizon of the total Word of God. This needs to be kept in mind in a special way as we study the Book of Revelation—even more than in the Gospels. The Bible as a whole tells us what He has done, what He is doing, and what He will do. The Book of Revelation emphasizes both what He is doing and what He will do.
The last book of the Old Testament, Malachi, closes with the mention of the Son of Righteousness which is yet to rise. It holds out a hope for a cursed earth, and that hope is the coming again of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Book of Revelation closes with the Bright and Morning Star, which is a figure of Christ at His coming to take the church out of the world. The Rapture is the hope of the New Testament, just as the revelation of Christ was the hope of the Old Testament. And the Book of Revelation will complete the revelation of Christ.
Notice also that there is a tie between Genesis and Revelation, the first and last books of the Bible. Genesis presents the beginning, and Revelation presents the end. Note the contrasts between the two books:
In Genesis the earth was created; in Revelation the earth passes away.
In Genesis was Satan’s first rebellion; in Revelation is Satan’s last rebellion.
In Genesis the sun, moon, and stars were for earth’s government; in Revelation these same heavenly bodies are for earth’s judgment. In Genesis the sun was to govern the day; in Revelation there is no need of the sun.
In Genesis darkness was called night; in Revelation there is “no night there” (see Rev. 21:25; 22:5).
In Genesis the waters were called seas; in Revelation there is no more sea.
In Genesis was the entrance of sin; in Revelation is the exodus of sin.
In Genesis the curse was pronounced; in Revelation the curse is removed.
In Genesis death entered; in Revelation there is no more death.
In Genesis was the beginning of sorrow and suffering; in Revelation there will be no more sorrow and no more tears.
In Genesis was the marriage of the first Adam; in Revelation is the marriage of the Last Adam.
In Genesis we saw man’s city, Babylon, being built; in Revelation we see man’s city, Babylon, destroyed and God’s city, the New Jerusalem, brought into view.
In Genesis Satan’s doom was pronounced; in Revelation Satan’s doom is executed.
It is interesting that Genesis opens the Bible not only with a global view but also with a universal view—“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). And the Bible closes with another global and universal book. The Revelation shows what God is going to do with His universe and with His creatures. There is no other book quite like this.


  I.      The Person of Jesus Christ—Christ in Glory, Chapter 1
    A.      Title of the Book, Chapter 1:1
    B.      Method of Revelation, Chapter 1:2
    C.      Beatitude of Bible Study, Chapter 1:3
    D.      Greetings from John the Writer and from Jesus Christ in Heaven, Chapter 1:4–8
    E.      The Post–Incarnate Christ in a Glorified Body, Judging His Church (the Great High Priest in the Holy of Holies), Chapter 1:9–18 “we know him no longer after the flesh”
    F.      Time Division of the Contents of Apocalypse, Chapter 1:19
    G.      Interpretation of the Seven Stars and Seven Lampstands, Chapter 1:20

  II.      The Possession of Jesus Christ—The Church in the World, Chapters 2–3
    A.      Letter of Christ to the Church in Ephesus, Chapter 2:1–7
    B.      Letter of Christ to the Church in Smyrna, Chapter 2:8–11
    C.      Letter of Christ to the Church in Pergamum, Chapter 2:12–17
    D.      Letter of Christ to the Church in Thyatira, Chapter 2:18–29
    E.      Letter of Christ to the Church in Sardis, Chapter 3:1–6
    F.      Letter of Christ to the Church in Philadelphia, Chapter 3:7–13
    G.      Letter of Christ to the Church in Laodicea, Chapter 3:14–22

  III.      The Program of Jesus Christ—The Scene in Heaven, Chapters 4–22
    A.      The Church in Heaven with Christ, Chapters 4–5 “I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am there ye may be also”
      1.      Throne of God, Chapter 4:1–3
      2.      Twenty–four Elders, Chapter 4:4–5
      3.      Four Living Creatures, Chapter 4:6–11
      4.      Book with Seven Seals, Chapter 5:1–4
      5.      Christ: the Lion of the Tribe of Judah and the Lamb Which Has Been Slain, Chapter 5:5–10
      6.      Myriads of Angels of Heaven Join the Song of Praise and Redemption, Chapter 5:11–12
      7.      Universal Worship of the Savior and Sovereign of the Universe, Chapter 5:13–14
    B.      The Great Tribulation in the World, Chapters 6–18
      1.      Opening of the Seven–Sealed Book, Chapters 6–8
        a.      Opening of the First Seal, Chapter 6:1–2 (Rider on a White Horse)
        b.      Opening of the Second Seal, Chapter 6:3–4 (Rider on a Red Horse)
        c.      Opening of the Third Seal, Chapter 6:5–6 (Rider on a Black Horse)
        d.      Opening of the Fourth Seal, Chapter 6:7–8 (Rider on a Pale Horse)
        e.      Opening of the Fifth Seal, Chapter 6:9–11 (Prayer of the Martyred Remnant)
        f.      Opening of the Sixth Seal, Chapter 6:12–17 (The Day of Wrath Has Come—Beginning the Last Half of the Great Tribulation)
        g.      Interlude, Chapter 7
          (1)      Reason for the Interlude between the 6th and 7th Seals, Chapter 7:1–3
          (2)      Remnant of Israel Sealed, Chapter 7:4–8
          (3)      Redeemed Multitude of Gentiles, Chapter 7:9–17
        h.      Opening of the Seventh Seal—Introduction of Seven Trumpets, Chapter 8:1
      2.      Blowing of the Seven Trumpets, Chapters 8:2–11:19
        a.      Angel at the Altar with Censer of Incense, Chapter 8:2–6
        b.      First Trumpet—Trees Burnt, Chapter 8:7
        c.      Second Trumpet—Seas Become Blood, Chapter 8:8–9
        d.      Third Trumpet—Fresh Water Becomes Bitter, Chapter 8:10–11
        e.      Fourth Trumpet—Sun, Moon, Stars Smitten, Chapter 8:12–13
        f.      Fifth Trumpet—Fallen Star and Plague of Locusts, Chapter 9:1–12
        g.      Sixth Trumpet—Angels Loosed at River Euphrates, Chapter 9:13–21
        h.      Interlude between the Sixth and Seventh Trumpets, Chapters 10:1–11:14
          (1)      The Strong Angel with the Little Book, Chapter 10:1–7
          (2)      John Eats the Little Book, Chapter 10:8–11
          (3)      Date for the Ending of “The Times of the Gentiles,” Chapter 11:1–2
          (4)      Duration of the Prophesying of the Two Witnesses, Chapter 11:3–12
          (5)      Doom of the Second Woe—Great Earthquake, Chapter 11:13–14
        i.      Seventh Trumpet—End of Great Tribulation and Opening of Temple in Heaven, Chapter 11:15–19
      3.      Seven Performers During the Great Tribulation, Chapters 12–13
        a.      The Woman—Israel, Chapter 12:1–2
        b.      The Red Dragon—Satan, Chapter 12:3–4
        c.      The Child of the Woman—Jesus Christ, Chapter 12:5–6
        d.      Michael, the Archangel, Wars with the Dragon, Chapter 12:7–12
        e.      The Dragon Persecutes the Woman, Chapter 12:13–16
        f.      Remnant of Israel, Chapter 12:17
        g.      Wild Beast Out of the Sea—a Political Power and a Person, Chapter 13:1–10
          (1)      Wild Beast, Description, Chapter 13:1–2
          (2)      Wild Beast, Death–Dealing Stroke, Chapter 13:3
          (3)      Wild Beast, Deity Assumed, Chapter 13:4–5
          (4)      Wild Beast, Defying God, Chapter 13:6–8
          (5)      Wild Beast, Defiance Denied to Anyone, Chapter 13:9–10
        h.      Wild Beast Out of the Earth—a Religious Leader, Chapter 13:11–18
          (1)      Wild Beast, Description, Chapter 13:11
          (2)      Wild Beast, Delegated Authority, Chapter 13:12–14
          (3)      Wild Beast, Delusion Perpetrated on the World, Chapter 13:15–17
          (4)      Wild Beast, Designation, Chapter 13:18
      4.      Looking to the End of the Great Tribulation, Chapter 14
        a.      Picture of the Lamb with the 144,000, Chapter 14:1–5
        b.      Proclamation of the Everlasting Gospel, Chapter 14:6–7
        c.      Pronouncement of Judgment on Babylon, Chapter 14:8
        d.      Pronouncement of Judgment on Those Who Received the Mark of the Beast, Chapter 14:9–12
        e.      Praise for Those Who Die in the Lord, Chapter 14:13
        f.      Preview of Armageddon, Chapter 14:14–20
      5.      Pouring Out of the Seven Mixing Bowls of Wrath, Chapters 15–16
        a.      Preparation for Final Judgment of the Great Tribulation, Chapters 15:1–16:1
          (1)      Tribulation Saints in Heaven Worship God Because He Is Holy and Just, Chapter 15:1–4
          (2)      Temple of the Tabernacle Opened in Heaven that Seven Angels, Having Seven Golden Bowls, Might Proceed Forth, Chapters 15:5–16:1
        b.      Pouring Out of the First Bowl, Chapter 16:2
        c.      Pouring Out of the Second Bowl, Chapter 16:3
        d.      Pouring Out of the Third Bowl, Chapter 16:4–7
        e.      Pouring Out of the Fourth Bowl, Chapter 16:8–9
        f.      Pouring Out of the Fifth Bowl, Chapter 16:10–11
        g.      Pouring Out of the Sixth Bowl, Chapter 16:12
        h.      Interlude: Kings of Inhabited Earth Proceed to Har–Mageddon, Chapter 16:13–16
        i.      Pouring Out of the Seventh Bowl, Chapter 16:17–21
      6.      The Two Babylons Judged, Chapters 17–18
        a.      The Apostate Church in the Great Tribulation, Chapter 17(1) Great Harlot Riding the Wild Beast, Chapter 17:1–7
          (2)      Wild Beast Destroys the Great Harlot, Chapter 17:8–18
        b.      Political and Commercial Babylon Judged, Chapter 18
          (1)      Announcement of Fall of Commercial and Political Babylon, Chapter 18:1–8
          (2)      Anguish in the World Because of Judgment on Babylon, Chapter 18:9–19
          (3)      Anticipation of Joy in Heaven Because of Judgment on Babylon, Chapter 18:20–24
    C.      Marriage of the Lamb and Return of Christ in Judgment, Chapter 19
      1.      Four Hallelujahs, Chapter 19:1–6
      2.      Bride of the Lamb and Marriage Supper, Chapter 19:7–10
      3.      Return of Christ as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Chapter 19:11–16
      4.      Battle of Armageddon, Chapter 19:17–18
      5.      Hell Opened, Chapter 19:19–21
    D.      Millennium, Chapter 20
      1.      Satan Bound 1000 Years, Chapter 20:1–3
      2.      Saints of the Great Tribulation Reign with Christ 1000 Years, Chapter 20:4–6
      3.      Satan Loosed After 1000 Years, Chapter 20:7–9
      4.      Satan Cast into Lake of Fire and Brimstone, Chapter 20:10
      5.      Setting of Great White Throne Where Lost Are Judged and Follow Satan into Lake of Fire and Brimstone, Chapter 20:11–15
    E.      Entrance Into Eternity; Eternity Unveiled, Chapters 21–22
      1.      New Heaven, New Earth, New Jerusalem, Chapter 21:1–2
      2.      New Era, Chapter 21:3–8
      3.      New Jerusalem, Description of the Eternal Abode of the Bride, Chapter 21:9–21
      4.      New Relationship—God Dwelling with Man, Chapter 21:22–23
      5.      New Center of the New Creation, Chapter 21:24–27
      6.      River of Water of Life and Tree of Life, Chapter 22:1–5
      7.      Promise of Return of Christ, Chapter 22:6–16
      8.      Final Invitation and Warning, Chapter 22:17–19
      9.      Final Promise and Prayer, Chapter 22:20–21

McGee, J. V. (1991). Thru the Bible Commentary: The Prophecy (Revelation 1-5) (electronic ed., Vol. 58, pp. xxiii–xxxii). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
President Harry S. Truman said: “The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount.  The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings…  If we don't have the proper fundamental moral background, we will finally wind up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the state.”


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« Reply #132 on: April 20, 2021, 04:49:08 PM »

Hieromonk Job and Priest Athanasius Gumerov answer questions about the New Testament's most mysterious book, the book of Revelations, written by St. John the Theologian.
Is it a good idea to try to explain the Revelations of St. John the Theologian?
Priest Athanasius Gumerov: Any explanation of the Holy Scriptures requires spiritual maturity and special theological preparation. Otherwise it is easy to stray from the truth and do harm to one’s spiritual life. This especially applies to the Book of Revelations. It this book is much that is hidden and mysterious. Therefore it is necessary first of all to use the works of the holy fathers and authoritative Orthodox exegists. The work, Explanation of the Book of the Apocalypse [Revelations], by St. Andrew, Archbishop of Cesarea is the most valuable in this regard. In Russian are the books: The Lord’s revelation about the seven Churches of Asia (experience of explaining the first three chapters of Revelations) by A. Zhdanov; Explanation of the Revelations of St. John the Theologian by Bishop Peter; On the final fate of the world and man by N. Vinogradov; Collection of articles of explanation and instruction on Revelations, compiled by M. Barsov; The Apocalypse of St. John the TheologianExperience of Orthodox Exegesis by Priest N. Orlov; The Apocalypse, or Revelation of St. John the Theologian, by Archbishop Averky (Taushev) [this book has been translated into English by the St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood].
What does the “wormwood” star mean in Revelations?
Hieromonk Job (Gumerov): And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; and the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter (Rev. 8:10-11). It can be seen from the text that this event must be related not to the present, but to future eschatological times. Archbishop Averky (Taushev) explains this passage thus: “Some think that that is a meteor that will fall upon the earth, and the water sources on the earth will be poisoned. But perhaps this is also one of the newly invented weapons of a future, terrible war.” Wormood (Hebrew laana; Greek apsintos) in the Bible is a symbol of the Lord’s punishment: And the Lord said to me, Because they have forsaken my law, which I set before them, and have not hearkened to my voice; but went after the lusts of their evil heart, and after the idols which their fathers taught them to worship: therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Behold, I will feed them with trouble and will cause them to drink water of gall (Jer. 9:13–15).
What is the “sea of the dead” in the Book of Revelations? And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works (Rev. 20:13).
Hieromonk Job (Gumerov): The word sea in the Bible has several symbolic meanings: 1) It is something that is of enormous size (Job 11:9; Is. 11:9; Hab. 2:14). What thing shall I take to witness for thee? what thing shall I liken to thee, O daughter of Jerusalem? what shall I equal to thee, that I may comfort thee, O virgin daughter of Zion? for thy breach is great like the sea: who can heal thee? (Lam. 2:13). 2) It is an image of the nations: And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues (Rev. 17:15; compare: 13:1—And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy). Both meanings are in complete agreement with each other and can be used in an explanation of the passage you cite. In this passage, the thought is expressed concerning the general resurrection: all people without exception will resurrect and stand before God’s Judgment.
How can we understand the words Gog and Magog in Revelations?
Hieromonk Job (Gumerov): In the book of the Prophet Ezekiel, Gog is the prince of the land of Magog: And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, and say, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal (Ezek. 38:1–3). In Revelations these two names symbolize the pagan peoples, who under the leadership of the antichrist will act against Christ’s Church in the end times.
In Revelations are mentioned the 144,000 righteous ones who will be saved. What will happen to all the other Orthodox Christians?
Priest Athanasius Gumerov: And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel (Rev. 7:4). Biblical scholars suppose that this number is symbolic and expresses the highest degree of fullness: 12 x 12 x 1000. The number 12 symbolizes the entire people of God (Joshua 4:8; Ezra 8:35; Acts 26:7; James 1:1, and others). The Apostle John calls “Israelites” the representatives of the new Israel.
Some exegists understand those sealed by the Angel to be the most perfect Christians of the last times, and not just those who will be saved.
Hieromonk Job (Gumerov)Priest Athanasius Gumerov
Translation by OrthoChristian.com


President Harry S. Truman said: “The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount.  The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings…  If we don't have the proper fundamental moral background, we will finally wind up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the state.”


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The Despised God
« Reply #133 on: April 23, 2021, 11:03:59 AM »

In On the Orthodox Faith, St. John of Damascus declares: ‘The Son is the image of the Father, and the Spirit the image of the Son’. Such statements are easily read and passed over as among the more obvious Trinitarian statements. I add to this statement another from St. Irenaeus: “That which is invisible of the Son is the Father, and that which is visible of the Father is the Son.” Of course, St. Irenaeus’ statement represents a very early expression, since he was writing over 120 years before Nicaea. Both statements, however, are essential to understanding the heart of the Christian gospel.
That Christ is the precise image of the Father is put forth in the book of Hebrews (1:3). This is refined in Nicaea’s language of “homoousios” (“same substance”). But while that language speaks of “being” or “substance,” we easily lose sight of what is being put forward. Christ not only reveals the answer to the question, “Who is God?” but also the question, “What is God like?” It is this latter understanding that plays such an important role in St. Paul’s treatment of Christ Crucified.
St. Paul identifies Christ as the “Wisdom of God,” and the “Power of God” (1 Cor. 1:24). And in doing so, specifically links this with “Christ Crucified.” The crucifixion of Christ for Paul is more than an event that accomplishes salvation – it is an event that reveals Him in His fullness. The Christ of the Cross is the humble and self-emptying Christ (Phil. 2:5-11). He is the God whose “strength is made perfect in weakness.” And it is this very image that St. Paul points to as the character of his own imitation of Christ.
It is also an image that is properly used for our understanding of God. St. Paul again offers this:
…God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. (1Co 1:27-29)
It is quite possible (and not uncommon) to read such a passage as God being primarily concerned for His glory. But that very thought belies its own failed assumptions. The “glory” of God is not the glory of wondrous success, shining fame and an incomparable reputation. Instead, we are told that we behold the glory of God “in the face of Jesus Christ.”
For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. (2Co 4:6-7)
There are not infrequent attempts to create an antinomy of the theology of the Cross and a theology of glory. It is a false distinction when we understand that Christ Crucified is the revelation of the glory of God.
It is not just seen in the Cross. There is an unrelenting theme throughout Scripture in which God accomplishes His work through that which is least and broken. Whether it is choosing the second son rather than the first, Joseph as slave and prisoner to be first in Egypt, Moses who stutters when he speaks, young David rather than his brothers, Israel itself as an insignificant nation, Abraham and Sarah who are too old to have children, and so on, the pattern is clear. Mary the Mother of God says it well in her hymn of praise:
He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, And exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, And the rich He has sent away empty. (Luk 1:51-53)
It is easy to recognize this as the way in which God deals with His creation, but it is yet something else to recognize that this is so because it is who God is. We are told that God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. We do well to understand, however, that this is so because God Himself is humble.
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Mat 11:29)
We are invited not only to be meek and lowly, but to learn such meekness from the heart of God.
For many, such meekness in Christ is treated as something of a disguise, or a temporary work for the purpose of salvation. They all too quickly turn away from this understanding to assert that “He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead!” But there is nothing to indicate that the definition of glory is somehow being altered for the sake of the Second Coming. As for the imagery of the Revelation of St. John, it should be read through the Cross rather than used as a corrective for the Cross.
The unfailing and living witness of the Orthodox faith is that the friends of God are foolish, weak, base and despised. That is the narrow way. Interestingly, it is a way that is the most open for all to walk. We need not be wise, strong, and well-thought-of. It turns the world upside-down and our lives along with it.
Right now the world is desperate for a few fools.

The Despised God - Glory to God for All Things (ancientfaith.com)
President Harry S. Truman said: “The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount.  The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings…  If we don't have the proper fundamental moral background, we will finally wind up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the state.”


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« Reply #134 on: April 23, 2021, 01:49:36 PM »

I just scrolled passed six posts by Dan which are much to long.  If someone can't make a point in a few short paragraphs then they can't make their point at all.

No one reads all the long drawn out stuff he posts anyway it's a waste of time and space.
If everyone is thinking alike then somebody isn't thinking.

George S. Patton


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Before the Judgment Seat of Christ
« Reply #135 on: May 01, 2021, 04:18:41 PM »

For a Christian ending to our life: painless, unashamed, and peaceful; and a good defense before the dread judgment seat of Christ, let us ask of the Lord.
From my childhood, I have memories of the phrase, “Great White Throne of Judgment.” It comes complete with an abundance of frightening images and threats. It is the last possible moment before all hell breaks loose and the preachers at long last get one right. Of course, that same childhood heard lots of predictions about troop movements in the Middle East, explanations of Gog and Magog, and warnings about where everything was leading. The future was not a happy place. At this point in my life as an Orthodox Christian, it is hard not to hear echoes of these frightful threats in the prayer regarding the “dread judgment seat of Christ.”
I’ve only been in front of a judge twice in my life: for a speeding ticket and to testify in a child custody case (worse than a speeding ticket). It was dreadful.
But what is this dread judgment seat? Do we have any examples? The answer is actually quite clear, and it is not what the preachers imagined (based on their misreading of Revelation).
The dread judgment seat of Christ is actually something quite familiar, something that enters our life any number of times and on a regular basis. I suggest that you rid yourself of what you think a “throne” is, for the throne of Christ is nothing other than His Cross.
From the Feast of the Elevation of the Cross:
Today the Cross is lifted up,
and all the world is sanctified.
For You, while enthroned with the Father
and with the All-holy Spirit,
by stretching out Your hands thereon,
have drawn the whole world to Yourself,
that it might know You, O my Christ.
Therefore, grant divine glory
to those who trust in Your goodness.
The irony of this identification (Cross and Throne) is revealed on the very day of the crucifixion. Kings are normally crowned while sitting on a throne. This King is crowned as He “sits” upon the Cross. It is proclaimed for all to see: “King of the Jews.” Orthodox iconography makes the irony yet more clear, by changing the description hanging above the crucified Christ into the “King of Glory.” The Cross is His throne and the Cross reveals His glory.
My childhood Christianity made a huge distinction between the Jesus of the Cross and the Jesus of Judgment Day. For all intents and purposes, they were two different entities. Jesus on the Cross was meek and mild. This, however, was treated like a temporary feint. The “real” Jesus was the one who was coming again and there was to be nothing meek or mild about that coming. The Cross was past tense. The coming throne could be seen in Revelation 20, and this was taken to be the true and permanent revelation of Christ.
There is so much lost in this modern mis-reading of Revelation. The champion of that book is the “Lamb who was slain,” and it is this Lamb who is most closely associated with “Him who sits upon the throne.” The Great Irony of the Christian gospel, is that all of these images of power are most clearly manifest in the Crucified Christ. Thus St. Paul says that he is determined to know only “Christ Crucified.” (1 Cor. 2:2) St. Paul does not treat this as a temporary, passing image, but the very image of God: “Christ crucified…the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (1 Cor. 2:2-3). This is not a momentary diversion. The Lamb is slain from the foundation of the world. It is an eternal image and revelation.
It is Christ Crucified that reveals all things to be what they truly are. It unmasks every pretense of uprightness and self-justification. It welcomes the thief while the hypocrisy of others drives them away. This is the judgment that we avoid. Think back to the last argument you had. Perhaps you were in the right. Take that argument and stand before Christ on the Cross. For myself, I cannot imagine any such argument that I’ve had that isn’t revealed in its absurdity and emptiness in that context. Presently, we live in a world of arguments. Enslaved to our own shame and anger, we are slowly pulling each other down towards an abyss of meaninglessness. All of this is taking place in the presence of the Crucified Christ. It takes place before the dread judgment seat.
Understanding the nature of the judgment seat reveals why it is rightly called “dread.” It is not some fearful pronouncement we need fear so much as the truth of ourselves that is revealed in that place. The image of judgment in Matthew 25 (the sheep and the goats) is often drawn on by the imagination. Interestingly, the parable combines both the concept of “ontology” (our being) as well as “character” (our actions). It begins with sheep and goats – that is, what we actually are (ontology). And that description is revealed in the character of our actions: what did we do to the least of these in our lifetime? This is revealed to have been nothing other than the treatment of Christ Himself. We can say that we moment by moment stand before the dread judgment seat of the Crucified Christ. He is present in every opportunity of love and sacrifice, of mercy and generosity. With every embrace of Christ, our path moves more steadily to the right, becoming the path of a sheep. With every rejection, the path moves towards the left, the path of a goat. And with every opportunity, we not only move on that path, we become what the path reveals.
There are some who treat the parable as a reference to the heart of each individual – of the “sheep” or “goat” within. Very few of us are all goat, even fewer all sheep. It is similar to Solzhenitsyn’s reflection:
If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart? – The Gulag Archipelago
At the first revelation of the judgment seat, outside Jerusalem in 33 AD, most fled like frightened goats. The Beloved Disciple and the Mother of God remained steadfast, having long before settled the matter in their hearts. She was enduring the sword that would “pierce her own soul,” while St. John refused to abandon the One who loved him. He is given paradise that day in becoming the new son of that Holy Mother. That reality would later win him the footrace with Peter to the empty tomb.
Peter had encountered the Crucified Christ three times in the evening before (in the guise of those who accused him of being a follower of Jesus). With each challenge he bleated (like a goat), “I don’t know Him.” Such is the mercy of the Crucified Savior that Peter was not given over to the judgment of his own fear. A final question is put to him three times on the shore of the Galilee: “Peter, do you love me?” His answer impels him on the path of a sheep, one that will ultimately lead to his own crucifixion some 40 years later.
It is essential, I think, that we acknowledge that this judgment begins within our hearts. As we meet Christ in the disguise of shame (poor, hungry, naked, in prison) we are brought face to face with our own shame. It is invariably the case that those who are the kindest and most generous to the poor, hungry, naked and in prison, are those who themselves are poor, hungry, naked and in prison. I have witnessed this countless times. We should fear our excellence and our competence above all things.
Humility alone stands unashamed before the dread judgment seat of the Cross. And this is the greatest irony. For humility is nothing other than the voluntary bearing of a little shame. It has nothing in common with the modesty of the excellent. Be careful not to remove Christ from the Cross as you stand there. Many Christians have done frightful, angry and boastful things under the sign of a naked Cross.
The Elder Sophrony once said, “God never judges twice.” That which we bring before Christ now, we will never hear about again. Without shame or fear, those who willingly bear a little shame in this life will have none in the next. Peter’s judgment is instructive: The one who had denied Christ is not upbraided about that three-fold incident. He is asked, “Do you love me?” It was doubtless the most searching question that could have been spoken. It is the likeliest form that the judgment will take for us all. Many times each day.

Before the Judgment Seat of Christ - Glory to God for All Things (ancientfaith.com)

President Harry S. Truman said: “The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount.  The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings…  If we don't have the proper fundamental moral background, we will finally wind up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the state.”


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« Reply #136 on: May 08, 2021, 06:30:58 PM »
Holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian John was born in Galilee of a wealthy and influential family. His father’s name was Zebedee. He first followed St. John the Baptizer (John 1:35–39), then began, while a very young man, to accompany Jesus. John was present, with others, at His miracle at the wedding of Cana and His first cleansing of the temple (John 2). With his brother James and their partners Simon Peter and Andrew, John was a fisherman. All four abruptly left everything to become His disciples (Matt. 4:18–22). John was appointed one of the Twelve and was also one of the inner circle of Christ’s close friends, along with his brother James and Peter. As such, he witnessed the Transfiguration, the raising of Jairus’s daughter, and the Lord’s struggle in Gethsemane (Mark 9:1–13; 5:35–43; 14:32–42). Like his brother James, John was of impulsive and warm temperament. He wanted to call down fire from heaven to destroy a Samaritan village that had rejected Christ (Luke 9:51–56). As a result our Lord nicknamed the brothers Boanerges—“sons of thunder.” John had a special friendship with Peter (see Luke 22:8; John 13:23–25; 18:15–16; 20:2–8; 21:20–24; Acts 4:1f). Along with Peter he was later sent to investigate the state of new Samaritan converts (Acts 8:14). John was our Lord’s special close friend (the one “whom [Jesus] loved,” John 13:23). With the other apostles he remained at Jerusalem after the Lord’s Ascension, caring for the Theotokos, whom Christ had committed to his care from the Cross (John 19:26–27). After her repose, John preached the gospel in Asia Minor, caring especially for the seven churches there (see Rev. 1:11, 2—3). He wrote his apostolic memoirs as the Gospel of St. John, as well as three epistles. When persecution broke out against the Church in the late first century, John was exiled to the island of Patmos (Rev. 1:9). It was from there that he received the vision of Christ’s glory and wrote the Apocalypse or Revelation. John was a man of great zeal for the truth. Once when he found the heretic Cerinthus in the public baths, he abruptly left there, saying, “My friends, let us hurry and go lest the bath should fall in on our heads wherein Cerinthus, the enemy of truth, is!” He was also a man of great love, and love was his special theme. When he was so old and infirm that he could scarcely speak anymore and had to be carried to church, he would simply say to the assembled church, “Little children, love one another.” When asked why he said only this, he replied, “Because it is the Lord’s command, and if you keep it, it is enough by itself.” He lived his whole life in chastity and died in peace about the year 100.
President Harry S. Truman said: “The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount.  The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings…  If we don't have the proper fundamental moral background, we will finally wind up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the state.”


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« Reply #137 on: May 27, 2021, 06:57:33 PM »
We continue with the greeting of St. John the Theologian to the seven Churches which are in Asia (Rev. 1:4).
St. John conveys grace and peace to Christians from the Most Holy Trinity in these words:
Grace be unto you, and peace, from Him Which is, and Which was, and Which is to come; and from the seven spirits which are before His throne; And from Jesus Christ, Who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the Prince of the kings of the earth (Rev. 1:4-5).
Let’s examine the name of Christ, “Prince of the kings of the earth.”
Prince of the kings of the earth”
In the Old Testament, God announced the Messiah through the mouths of the prophets: I will make Him My Firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth (Ps. 88:28); I shall give thee the heathen for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession (Ps. 2:8-9, cf. Dan. 7:14, Is. 9:6-7). The Old Testament prophecies are fulfilled in the New Testament. Christ rejected all the kingdoms of the Earth and their glory, which the devil had offered Him (Mt. 4:8-10), and after His Resurrection and Ascension sat down at the right hand of God the Father, above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion (Eph. 1:21). He is the head of all principality and power (Col. 2:10, cf. Phil. 2:8-10), the KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS (Rev. 19:16).
He wages battle against forces hostile to Him, which are sometimes served by the kings of the earth. “Kings of the earth” should immediately remind us of Ps. 2:2: The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against His anointed (Christ). But their efforts are in vain. Christ is the Prince of the kings of the earth, whether they want it or not. He is obviously stronger. He is God, and allows them to act as far as it is part of His Divine plans.
Praise of Christ
After the epistolary introduction to the book, that is, the address and greeting, follows the praise of Christ. Similar praises (so-called “exclamations”) are preserved in Orthodox worship to this day (at the end of prayers, litanies). This praise glorifies Christ as Redeemer. Some scholars suggest that this glorification used to be part of the Sacrament of Baptism.
Let’s read the end of the fifth and the sixth verses:
Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen (Rev. 1:5-6).
But Christ not only “loved” us, He still loves us now. The love of God in Jesus Christ is something permanent and uninterrupted.
He washed us from our sins in His own blood
He washed us from our sins in His own blood. Our liberation from sin was accomplished on Golgotha. The effect of Christ’s sacrifice is actualized for us in our faith and repentance, in Baptism and the Eucharist.
We find these words from the Apostle PaulThe blood of Christ, Who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, shall purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God (Heb. 9:14). This is the result of what is written: To Him Who washed us from our sins in His own blood! In the world above, Christ offered His Blood as a sacrifice for us, entering into the Heavenly Tabernacle. And here, on Earth, we receive the Body and Blood of Christ unto the remission of sins and the purification of conscience, because the conscience is unclean precisely because of sin.
In this Sacrament we receive such a strong assurance of the purification of our hearts that we need no other proofs. I think every one of us has experienced at least once in life the feeling of true, undoubted purification of soul after communing of the Holy Mysteries of Christ. Of course, Communion always has the same power, as Christ always has the same Divine power. But sometimes the Lord reveals to us in a special way the greatness of this Mystery, and we sense with all our heart how we are changing: As the burden that lies upon our soul vanishes, our mind is enlightened, this or that passion is weakened or completely falls away, and the conscience is cleansed. At such moments, to our every “Lord, have mercy,” we hear the response: “Your sins are forgiven you. Go in peace.” In such moments, you want to die—not in the sense of “not living,” but of being released from the body to be with the Lord.
But, According to your faith be it unto you (Mt. 9:29). The believer is cleansed as much as he wants it and as much as he believes in it. The Lord doesn’t save a man without the man himself.
Kings and priests
And hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father (Rev. 1:6). “Hath made” can be taken as an indication of the new creation in Christ. Through Baptism, people die to the old and rise again to the new world; they enter the Kingdom of God.
In what sense are we kings and priests?
The meaning of the royal priesthood can be found in the Old Testament. The Lord promises a kingdom and a priesthood to His people: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation (Ex. 19:6); But ye shall be named the Priests of the LORD: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves (Is. 61:6). In the New Testament, the Apostle Peter sees the Old Testament promises fulfilled in Christians: But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him Who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light (1 Pt. 2:9).
Man was originally created as the king and priest of creation. “The work of a priest is to offer sacrifice; that is, to be a mediator between God and creation, a ‘sanctifier’ of life through its inclusion in the Divine will and order. This double function was inherent in man from the very beginning… Man is king and priest by nature and by calling,” writes Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann.
Man’s priestly calling was betrayed and lost in the Fall. In fact, the Fall of man consisted in his renunciation of his priestly vocation. Man chooses a non-priestly relationship with God and the world and becomes a consumer. This situation is amended by the Sacrifice. The priesthood of Adam is restored and fulfilled in Christ.
“This calling consists in sanctifying and transfiguring yourself and your life and the whole world, given to each of us as our kingdom. We sanctify ourselves by constantly offering our lives, our work, our joys and our sufferings to God, leaving them ever open to God’s will and grace; trying to be what we have become in Christ: the temple of the Holy Spirit; the transformation of our life into the kind of life the Holy Spirit has made it: into the Liturgy, service to God, and union with Him. The world is trying to be ‘people for others,’ not in the sense of constant participation in public or political affairs— to which Christianity is often reduced in our time—but in trying to be always, everywhere and in everything witnesses of Christ’s Truth, which is the only true life, and bearers of sacrificial love, which is the ultimate essence and content of the human priesthood,” writes Protopresbyter Alexander.
The priesthood is the offering of sacrifices. What sacrifices can a layman offer to God?
In the Old Testament prophetic texts, you can see many mysterious prescriptions for future sacrifices of a spiritual nature. A sacrifice unto God is a broken spirit (Ps. 50:19); the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice (Ps. 140:2); offer God a sacrifice of praise (Ps. 49:14); Offer the sacrifices of righteousness (Ps. 4:6); Accept, I beseech thee, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O LORD (Ps. 118:108). The semantic concept of these phrases, woven into the ornate canvas of the Messianic prophecies of the Psalter, testifies to the time of their fulfillment with the coming of the Messiah, that is, Christ. This, according to many interpreters, is also indicated by the mysterious inscription of many psalms: “For the end.”
Were these ancient prophecies fulfilled with the coming of Christ? Yes, they were. Let us open the New Testament. The Apostle Peter writes: Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ (1 Pt. 2:5). What kind of spiritual sacrifices are these? In the Epistle to the Hebrews, the Apostle Paul calls to us: By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name (Heb. 13:15). This is the fulfillment of David’s prophecies! “By Him,” that is, by Jesus Christ, our praise of God becomes a real, spiritual sacrifice, glorifying His name. Like the fire that continually burned in the Tabernacle, we can and must offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually.
The Apostle also writes: But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased (Heb. 13:16). I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service (Rom. 12:1). I have written the more boldly unto you … because of the grace that is given to me of God, That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the Gospel of God (Rom. 15:15-16).
These are our New Testament sacrifices: praising God, good works, communication (alms and heartfelt participation in the needs of others), the sanctity of the body, and the labor of ministering the Gospel! And with them, other spiritual virtues, which, if done in the name of Christ and in the Holy Spirit, become new, pleasant sacrifices for God, “as an odor of spiritual fragrance.”
Man—the church of God
It must be noted that the Patristic spiritual experience—the incarnation of the Gospel—exactly confirms the apostolic words. St. Maximos the Confessor writes about it beautifully:
“The holy church of God is a man: The altar represents the soul, the Divine altar table the nous, and the church the body; because the church is the image and likeness of man, created in the image and likeness of God.”
The fact that these words are not just words can be confirmed by opening the lives of the saints. The life of every saint is a Divine service.
St. John Chrysostom counts up to ten types of spiritual sacrifices offered on the altar of the heart: the sacrifice of the Eucharist, the sacrifice of martyrdom (Rom. 12:1), the sacrifice of prayer (Ps. 140:2), the sacrifice of exclamation, or praise (Ps. 26:6), the sacrifice of righteousness (Ps. 4:6), of mercy (Jas. 1:27), of praise (Ps. 49:14), of preaching (Rom. 15:16), and the sacrifice of a broken spirit and humility (Ps. 50:19). Man, in the Christian understanding, is the church of God, in which spiritual sacrifices are constantly offered.
Our priesthood also consists in special access to God, which man was denied in his old state. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God (Eph. 2:18-19).
This is also our participation in the Liturgy, after all, the Liturgy cannot be served without the laity. The Liturgy is a mystery performed by Christ in community. For this mystery to be fulfilled, both the community and the head of the community (a bishop or presbyter appointed by him) are necessary. If they are there, we serve the Liturgy. We serve as its full-fledged participants. The laity participate in the Liturgy as a royal, spiritual priesthood; the bishops and presbyters as the hierarchical priesthood.
The royal priesthood of the laity and the professional (hierarchical) priesthood complement each other; they don’t contradict one another. “The royal priesthood is the true image of the Christian life, and the professional priesthood is the form of the Church’s existence,” writes Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann.
In general, the only absolute priesthood is the high priesthood of Christ. Our Church’s priesthood is the priesthood of Christ, which He exercises in the Church through people who are especially appointed to this ministry.
In the next article, we will speak about our royal status and its fulfillment in the Church.
To be continued…
Sergei Komarov is a well-known Orthodox writer and catechist based in Moscow.
Sergei Komarov
Translation by Jesse Dominick

Sretensky Monastery

President Harry S. Truman said: “The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount.  The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings…  If we don't have the proper fundamental moral background, we will finally wind up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the state.”


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« Reply #138 on: June 15, 2021, 06:34:50 PM »

Today we will finish reading St. John the Theologian’s greeting to the seven Churches which are in Asia (Rev. 1:4).
At the end of the greeting, St. John praises Christ: Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen (Rev. 1:5-6).
Thus, Christ has made us “kings.” What does that mean? Let’s talk about our royal status and its fulfillment in the Church.
The fallen king
Man received royal authority from God at his creation. God, “the King of kings,” created Adam in His own image. Man bears within himself the image of Him Who has power and authority. Man is given the authority to replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth (Gen. 1:27-28). Man is king of the earthly world. Everything is created for him.
But after the Fall, he became a fallen king. The fall of man is firstly the loss of his royalty. And instead of being the king of creation, he becomes its slave. In the Fall, Adam renounces the authority given him from above; he renounces his “anointing.” He is no longer the benefactor of creation. Instead of leading the world to perfection through his personal growth in God, man now wants to receive earthly goods from creation, to own it for himself. But neither he nor creation has life within itself—and with the Fall of man, death reigns. Adam becomes a mortal slave of the kingdom of death.
Christ accomplishes the atonement of man as King. In Christ, the true nature of man is restored and his royal status is returned to him. This theme requires some explanation.
The Divine and human kingship of Christ

The Gospel repeatedly emphasizes the royal dignity of Christ. During His entrance into Jerusalem, He is greeted as the King that cometh in the name of the Lord (Lk. 19:38). There is also Christ’s answer before Pilate: Thou sayest that I am a king (Jn. 18:37). As we read these passages, we tend to attribute the kingship of Christ to His Divine nature. But the kingship of Christ is not just His Divine, but also His human dignity. All power is given unto Me in Heaven and in earth (Mt. 28:18), He says about His deified human nature first of all. “This must be understood in reference to human nature (the God-Man); because the authority that He had from eternity as God, and the power and glory and the Heavenly height and dignity, He now receives as Man,” says St. Gregory Palamas, interpreting these words of Christ.
In the Resurrection of Christ, human nature receives the royal dignity it lost in the Fall. Christ is the King, the New Adam, the perfect man. He restores human nature in Himself to that glory, power, and kingship to which the Lord calls it.
But how can we unite ourselves to this kingship? In the Sacraments of Baptism and Chrismation. In giving a man new birth, they recreate him as a king. We are anointed for kingship, as kings once were.
An important remark: The royal anointing makes us spiritual kings, but that kingship that Christ gives us is a crucified kingship—that of the Cross. Christ’s crowning as King—is the Cross. And the only path for us to be crowned together with Him, for the restoration of our royal dignity—is to take up our cross and follow after Christ.

This is the subjective side that depends on us. There are objective and subjective sides to our salvation and our spiritual reign. The objective side is realized by the Holy Spirit, Whom we receive in Chrismation. And the subjective depends on our effort—on how much we love the Kingdom prepared for us and will live according to its laws.
But our Kingdom is not of this world! And our King, Who made us kings, is the Crucified King. It is precisely Christ’s death on the Cross that made it possible for us to receive the Holy Spirit, by Whose action we become kings and priests. St. John the Theologian’s words about the royal dignity are also connected with the theme of the Cross: Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen (Rev. 1:5-6). First about the Blood of Christ, then about our reign. One flows from the other.
The most accurate definition of our royal dignity, restored to us by the royal anointing, is the words of the Apostle Paul: The world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world (Gal. 6:14).
Our reign over sin, demons, and the devil
Our royal dignity also consists in reigning over sin, demons, and the devil—by the power of Christ. We must overcome sin with Christ’s help. The devil and the demons have already been defeated by Christ—but they are allowed to work on us for the sake of our humility, self-knowledge, and the activation of our power and will. From Christ we have the power and authority to overcome them. We receive this power in the Sacraments.

The full realization of our kingdom and priesthood will come only in the future age. For example, it says in Rev. 5:8-10: The four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
Archimandrite Iannuary (Ivliev) translates and comments precisely on this: “’Thou hast created out of them (i.e., out of all the nations) a kingdom and priests to our God, and they will reign on earth.’ This will happen only after the Second Coming of Christ.”
Royalty is power and authority
Thus, royalty is the power and authority that comes from God. We receive this spiritual power and authority in the Church. The more someone belongs to the Church, the closer he is to it, the more he has this power and authority.

Our God is the King of kings and Lord of lords (1 Tim. 6:15). We are the image of God, and that means we bear within ourselves the imprint of His royalty. And for this image, darkened within us by sin, to shine within us again, we need a Savior. He returns to us our “royal priesthood” that was once lost in sin. And the words of St. John the Theologian will come true in us according to the measure of our nearness to Him: He hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father.
In the next article, we will talk about the seventh verse: Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him (Rev. 1:7). To understand these words, we’ll have to delve into the Old Testament, with which the book of Revelation has many connections.
To be continued…
Sergei Komarov is a well-known Orthodox writer and catechist based in Moscow.
Sergei Komarov
Translation by Jesse Dominick

Sretensky Monastery

President Harry S. Truman said: “The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount.  The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings…  If we don't have the proper fundamental moral background, we will finally wind up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the state.”


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« Reply #139 on: June 29, 2021, 06:26:20 PM »
Today Is The Sunday of the Dread Judgment, and it is natural for us to speak of the Dread Judgment and of the signs of the end of the world. No one knows that day; only God the Father knows; but the signs of its approach are given in the Gospel and in the Revelation [Apocalypse] of the holy Apostle John the Theologian. Revelation speaks of the events at the end of the world and of the Dread Judgment principally in images and in a concealed manner; but the Holy Fathers have explained it, and there is an authentic Church tradition that speaks to us both about the signs of the approach of the end of the world and about the Dread Judgment.
Before the end of life on earth there will be confusion, wars, civil strife, famine, and earthquakes. Men will suffer from fear; they will expire from the expectation of calamities. There will be no life, no joy of life, but a tormenting state of falling away from life. There will be a falling away not only from life, but from faith as well: when the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth? (Luke 18:8).
Men will become proud and ungrateful, denying the Divine Law: together with a falling away from life there will be also a dearth of moral life.
There will be an exhaustion of good, and a growth of evil. The holy Apostle John the Theologian, in his divinely-inspired work, the Revelation, also speaks of this time. He himself says that he "was in the Spirit," which means that the Holy Spirit Himself was in him when the fate of the Church and the world was revealed to him in various images, and that is why it is God's Revelation.
He represents the fate of the Church in the image of a woman who, in those times, hides in the wilderness: she does not show herself in public life, just as in Russia today.
Those forces that are preparing the appearance of Antichrist will have a leading significance in public life. Antichrist will be a man and not the devil incarnate. "Ann" is a word meaning "old," or it means "in place of" or "against." That man wants to be in place of Christ, to occupy His place and possess that which Christ ought to possess. He wants to possess the same attraction and authority over the whole world.
And he will receive that authority before his own destruction and that of the whole world. He will have a helper, a Magus, who, by the power of false miracles, will fulfill his will and kill those that do not recognize the authority of Antichrist. Before the destruction of Antichrist, two righteous men will appear who will denounce him. The Magus will kill them and their bodies will lie unburied for three days, and Antichrist and all his servants will rejoice exceedingly. Then suddenly, those righteous men will resurrect, and the whole army of Antichrist will be in confusion and horror, and the Antichrist himself will suddenly fall dead, slain by the power of the Spirit.
But what is known about this man, Antichrist? His precise ancestry is unknown. His father is completely unknown, while his mother is a defiled, pretended virgin. He will be a Jew from the tribe of Dan. There is an indication of this, in that Jacob, when dying, said that [Dan], in his posterity, would be a serpent by the way… biting the heel of the horse (and the rider shall fall backward) (Gen. 49:17). This is a figurative indication that he will act with craftiness and evil.
In Revelation, John the Theologian speaks of the salvation of the sons of Israel, that before the end of the world a multitude of Jews will be converted to Christ; but the tribe of Dan is not included in the enumeration of the tribes that are saved.
Antichrist will be very intelligent and gifted with the ability to deal with people. He will be charming and affectionate.
The philosopher Vladimir Soloviev worked extensively on this subject in order to present the advent and the personality of Antichrist. He made careful use of all relevant materials, not only Patristic, but also Muslim, and produced a very striking picture.
Before the advent of Antichrist, his appearance is already being prepared in the world. "The mystery is already at work" (cf. II Thess. 2:7), and the forces preparing his appearance struggle above all against lawful royal authority. The holy Apostle Paul says that Antichrist cannot appear until "he that restrains" is removed. John Chrysostom explains that "he that restrains" is the lawful, godly authority.
Such an authority struggles with evil. The "mystery" working in the world does not want this; it does not want an authority that wars against evil; on the contrary, it wants an authority of iniquity, and when it succeeds in bringing this about, then nothing will stand in the way of the coming of Antichrist. He will be not only intelligent and charming: he will be compassionate, he will be charitable and do good, for the sake of consolidating his power. And when he will have strengthened it sufficiently, so that the whole world acknowledges him, then he will show his real face.
He will choose Jerusalem as his capital, because it was here that the Saviour revealed His Divine teaching and His Person, and the whole world was called to the blessedness of goodness and salvation. But the world did not accept Christ and crucified Him in Jerusalem; while under Antichrist, Jerusalem will become the capital of the world that has recognized the authority of Antichrist.
Once having attained the summit of power, Antichrist will demand that men acknowledge his attainment as something to which no other earthly power and no other man could possibly attain, and he will demand that men bow down to him as to a superior being, a god.
Soloviev describes well the character of his activity as Supreme Ruler. He will do what pleases men, on the condition that they recognize his Supreme Authority. He will let the Church function, and allow her to hold Divine services, he will promise to build magnificent temples—provided he is recognized as the "Supreme Being" and that he is worshipped. He will have a personal hatred for Christ. He will live by this hatred and will rejoice at seeing men apostatize from Christ and the Church. There will be a mass falling away from the faith; even many bishops will betray the faith, justifying themselves by pointing to the splendid position of the Church.
A search for compromise will be the characteristic disposition of men. Straightforwardness of confession will vanish. Men will cleverly justify their fall, and an endearing evil will support such a general disposition. Men will grow accustomed to apostasy from the truth and to the sweetness of compromise and sin.
Antichrist will allow men everything, if only they "fall down and worship him." This is not something new. The Roman emperors were similarly prepared to grant the Christians freedom, if only they recognized [the emperor's] divinity and divine supreme authority; they martyred Christians only because they professed: "Worship God Alone and serve Him Alone."
The whole world will submit to him, and then he will reveal his hatred for Christ and Christianity. Saint John the Theologian says that all who worship him will have a mark on their forehead and right hand. It is not clear whether this will be an actual mark on the body, or if this is a figurative expression of the fact that men will acknowledge in their minds the necessity of worshipping Antichrist, as well as submit their wills to him. And when the whole world manifests such a complete submission—of both will and conscience—then the two righteous men [already] mentioned will appear and will fearlessly preach the faith and expose Antichrist.
Holy Scripture says that before the coming of the Saviour two "lamps," will appear, two "burning olive trees," "two righteous men." Antichrist will kill them by the power of the Magus. Who are these men? According to Church tradition, these are the two righteous who never tasted of death: the Prophet Elias and the Prophet Enoch. There is a prophecy that these saints, who had not tasted of death, will taste it for three days; but after three days they will resurrect.
Their death will be a great joy for Antichrist and his servants. Their rising three days later will bring them unspeakable horror, terror and confusion. And then will come the end of the world.
The Apostle Peter says that the first world was created out of water and perished by water. "Out of water" is also an image of the chaos of the physical mass, while "perished by water" is [an image] of the Flood. And now the world is reserved unto fire.....The earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up (II Peter 3:7-10). All the elements will melt. This present world will perish in a single instant. In an instant everything will change.
And the sign of the Son of God will appear, that is, the sign of the Cross. The whole world, having willingly submitted to Antichrist, "will break out in lamentation," Everything is
finished. Antichrist is slain. The end of his kingdom, the end of the war with Christ. The end, and accountability for one's whole life, an account to the True God.
Then, from the mountains of Palestine, the Ark of the Covenant will appear. The Prophet Jeremiah hid the Ark and the Holy Fire in a deep well. When they took water from that well, it burst into flame. But the Ark itself they did not find.
When we look at life today, those able to see, see that everything foretold about the end of the world is being fulfilled.
Who then is this man — Antichrist? Saint John the Theologian figuratively gives him the name 666; but all attempts to understand this designation have been futile.
The life of the contemporary world gives us a fairly clear understanding of the possibility of the world burning up, when all the elements shall melt with fervent heat. Atomic fission gives us that understanding.
The end of the world does not signify its annihilation, but its transformation. Everything will be changed, suddenly, in the twinkling of an eye. The dead will resurrect in new bodies — their own, but renewed — just as the Saviour arose in His Body, and on it were the traces of the wounds from the nails and the spear; but it possessed new properties, and in this respect it was a new body. It is unclear whether this will be an altogether new body or that with which man was created.
And the Lord will appear on the clouds with glory. How will we see Him? With our spiritual eyes. Even now, at death, righteous people see that which other people around them do not see.
The trumpets will sound, loud and powerful. They will trumpet in men's souls, in their conscience. Everything in the human conscience will become clear.
The Prophet Daniel, speaking of the Dread Judgment, relates how the Ancient of Days, the judge, is on His throne, and before Him is a river of fire. Fire is a purifying element. Fire scorches sin, it burns it up, and woe also burns it up; if sin has become natural to a man, then it burns up the man himself as well.
That fire will flare up inside a man: on seeing the Cross, some will rejoice, while others will fall into despair, confusion, terror. In this way, men will immediately be separated. In the Gospel narrative, some stand to the right of the Judge, some to the left — their inner consciousness separated them. The very state of a man's soul casts him to one side or the other, to the right or to the left.
The more consciously and persistently a man strives toward God in his life, the greater will be his joy when he hears the words: "Come unto Me, ye blessed"; and conversely, those same words will call forth the fire of horror and torment on those who did not want Him, who fled or fought or blasphemed Him during their life.
The Dread Judgment knows no witnesses or charge-sheets. Everything is recorded in men's souls, and these records, these "books" are open. Everything becomes clear to all and to oneself, and the state of a man's soul assigns him to the right or to the left.
Some go to joy, others to horror.
When the "books" are open, it will become clear to all that the roots of all vices are in man's soul. Here is a drunkard, a fornicator; some may think that when the body dies the sin dies as well. No; the inclination was in the soul, and to the soul the sin was sweet.
And if [the soul] has not repented of that sin and has not become free of it, it will come to the Dread Judgment with the same desire for the sweetness of sin and will never satisfy its desire. In it will be the suffering of hatred and malice. This is the state of hell.
The "fiery Gehenna" is the inner fire; this is the flame of vice, the flame of weakness and malice; and there will be [the] wailing and gnashing of teeth of impotent malice.
St. John of Shanghai
Fr. Alexander.org

President Harry S. Truman said: “The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount.  The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings…  If we don't have the proper fundamental moral background, we will finally wind up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the state.”


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