"THE BOOK OF REVELATION" Chapter Eleven As the interlude between the sixth and seventh trumpets continues, two more visions are seen. The first involves John himself as he is given a reed and told to measure the temple of God, the altar, and those worshipping there. He is instructed, however, not to measure the court outside the temple, for it has been given to the Gentiles who will tread underfoot the holy city for forty-two months (1-2). This vision may illustrate that while the city of Jerusalem will undergo great persecution during the Jewish War, which lasted about 3 1/2 years (42 months), the true temple of God will not be destroyed (the church, cf. 1Co 3:16; Ep 2:19-22). Then there is the vision of the two witnesses, which falls into three sections. With power they prophesy 1,260 days (42 months), clothed in sackcloth. Identified as the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the throne of God, they have the power to devour with fire from their mouths those who wish to harm them. They also have power to stop the rain during the days of their prophesying, to turn water to blood, and to strike the earth with plagues (3-6). But when their testimony is completed, the beast from the bottomless pit makes war with them and kills them. For three and half days their bodies lies in the street of the great city that is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt (where Jesus was crucified, i.e., Jerusalem). Those who had been tormented by the two prophets rejoice, make merry and exchange gifts (7-10). However, after three and a half days they are raised to life and ascend into heaven, bringing great fear on those who saw them. In the same hour a great earthquake occurs in which a tenth of the city fell and 7000 men were killed. The rest were afraid and gave glory to God (11-13). The two witnesses are reminiscent of Moses and Elijah, also Joshua and Zerubbabel (cf. Zec 3-4) perhaps even John the Baptist and Jesus, but I do not believe they portend two literal persons. Rather, they represent the witness of the church, with the number two signifying the strength of their witness (e.g., "two or more witnesses"). When their testimony is completed, there will be a time of persecution by "the beast" (later identified as Rome, Re 17:7-17) and those of "the great city" (already identified as Jerusalem, Re 11:8). However, the witnesses (i.e., the church) will be victorious, symbolized by their resurrection and ascension to heaven. The interlude ended, it is time for the third woe and final trumpet. As the seventh angel sounded, loud voices in heaven proclaimed "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!" The twenty-four elders then fell on their faces and worshiped God, giving thanks to Him for having taken His great power and reigned. While the nations were angry, His wrath has come. So also has the time come for the dead to be judged (which may refer to the martyrs, who were now vindicated, cf. Re 6:9-11), His servants the prophets and the saints to be rewarded, and for the destruction of those who destroy the earth. Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, with the ark of the covenant in the temple, accompanied by lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake and hail (15-19). The physical temple in Jerusalem, which along with the ark (that had disappeared long before) was once the focal point of God's worship and reign, is no more. Now the temple and the ark are seen in heaven, perhaps symbolizing that the worship and reign of God has become universal rather than localized in a physical city and nation (cf. Jn 4:20-24). We have reached the climax of the first half of the Revelation, in which we have been shown judgment against unbelieving Israel, especially the city of Jerusalem. Through the visions of the seven seals and seven trumpets we learn of the arsenal at God's disposal: conquest, war, famine, pestilence, natural calamities, moral decay, external invasion. Just as God used such instruments in His dealings with the nations in the Old Testament, so His Son would use His power to reign over the nations with a rod of iron (cf. Re 1:5; 2:27; 3:21). Truly, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!" (Re 11:15). The destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, as foretold by Jesus in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21, exemplified the power of His reign over the nations. His victory over Rome described later in Revelation will confirm His power and dominion as King of kings and Lord of lords (cf. Re 17:14). We have also seen visions designed to comfort the saints being oppressed by their enemies, especially martyrs. God has taken notice of their suffering, and while persecution may temporarily be their lot, victory will ultimately be theirs! Those who suffer death at the hands of their enemies are promised salvation and the blessing of being in the presence and care of the Lord. Nothing can totally stop their witness, and nothing can keep God from remaining true to His covenant with them! POINTS TO PONDER * The remaining visions in the interlude between the sounding of the sixth and seventh trumpets, and what happens when the seven trumpet sounds * The significance of these visions, and possible explanations of what they mean as we summarize what we have seen in the first half of the book of Revelation OUTLINE I. MEASURING THE TEMPLE OF GOD (1-2) A. THE COMMAND TO MEASURE THE TEMPLE AND ITS OCCUPANTS (1) 1. John is given a reed like a measuring rod 2. Told to measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there B. THE COMMAND NOT TO MEASURE THE OUTER COURT (2) 1. Told not to measure the court outside the temple 2. For it has been given to the Gentiles, who will tread the holy city under foot forty-two months II. THE TWO WITNESSES (3-14) A. PROPHESYING FOR 1260 DAYS (3-6) 1. Two witnesses given power to prophesy, clothed in sackcloth 2. Identified as the two olive trees and two lampstands standing before God 3. Those trying to harm them are devoured by fire from their mouths 4. Having power: a. To shut heaven so no rain falls during their prophesying b. To turn water to blood c. To strike the earth with plagues as they desire B. KILLED AND DEAD FOR THREE AND A HALF DAYS (7-10) 1. Their testimony finished, the beast will kill them a. The beast that ascends from the bottomless pit b. Who will make war against them and overcome them 2. Their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city a. Spiritually called Sodom and Egypt b. Where our Lord was crucified 3. The peoples, tribes, tongues, and nation who dwell on the earth a. Will see their bodies three and a half days b. Will not allow them to be put into graves c. Will rejoice over them, make merry, and exchange gifts, because the two prophets had tormented those who dwell on the earth C. RAISED AND ASCENDED TO HEAVEN (11-14) 1. After three and a half days, the breath of life from God entered them 2. They stood, and great fear fell on those who saw them 3. A loud voice from heaven tells them to "Come up here" 4. They ascend to heaven in a cloud as their enemies saw them 5. In that same hour there was an earthquake a. A tenth of the city fell b. Seven thousand men were killed c. The rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven 6. The second woe is past; the third woe is coming quickly III. THE SEVENTH TRUMPET: THE KINGDOM PROCLAIMED (15-19) A. VICTORY PROCLAIMED (15) 1. The seventh angel sounded his trumpet and there were loud voices in heaven 2. Saying, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!" B. THE TWENTY-FOUR ELDERS WORSHIP GOD (16-18) 1. The elders fell on their faces and worshiped God 2. Giving thanks to the Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was and who is to come 3. Because He has taken His great power and reigned 4. The nations were angry, and His wrath has come 5. The time has come a. That the dead should be judged b. That His servants the prophets, the saints, and those who fear His name, should be rewarded c. That He should destroy those who destroy the earth C. THE TEMPLE OF GOD OPENED IN HEAVEN (19) 1. The temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple 2. There were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail REVIEW QUESTIONS 1) What are the main points of this chapter? - Measuring the temple of God (1-2) - The two witnesses (3-14) - The seventh trumpet: the kingdom proclaimed (15-19) 2) What was John given and told to measure? (1) - A reed like a measuring rod; the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there 3) What was he told to leave out? Why? (2) - The court outside the temple - It has been given to the Gentiles who will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months 4) What were the two witnesses to do? (3) - Prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth 5) How are they identified? (4) - As the two olive trees and two lampstands standing before God 6) What happens to those who try to harm them during this time of prophesying? (5) - They are devoured by fire from their mouth 7) What power do these two witnesses have? (6) - To shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy - To turn water to blood - To strike the earth with plagues, as often as they desire 8) What will happen when they finish their testimony? (7) - The beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war with them and kill them 9) Where will their dead bodies lie? (8) - In the street of the great city spiritually called Sodom and Egypt, where Jesus was crucified 10) How long will people see their dead bodies? (9) - Three and a half days 11) How will those on the earth react to their deaths? Why? (10) - They will rejoice, make merry, exchange gifts - Because the two prophets had tormented them 12) What happened to the two witnesses after three and a half days? (11-12) - The breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet - A loud voice from heaven called them to come up and they ascended to heaven in a cloud 13) What happened in that same hour? (13) - A great earthquake, in which 1/10 of the city fell and seven thousand men were killed - The rest were afraid and gave glory to God 14) What was heard when the seventh angel sounded his trumpet? (15) - Loud voices in heaven saying "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!" 15) What did the twenty-four elders do? (16) - Fell on their faces and worshiped God 16) For what did they give thanks? (17) - The Lord God Almighty took His great power and reigned 17) As expressed in their praise, what had come? (18) - His wrath - The time of the dead, that they should be judged - That He should reward His servants the prophets and the saints - That He should destroy those who destroy the earth 18) What was then opened in heaven, and what was seen in it? (19) - The temple of God; the ark of the covenant 19) What then followed? (19) - Lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail
"THE BOOK OF REVELATION" Chapter Ten Just as there was an interlude between the sixth and seventh seals that included two visions designed to comfort the saints, so we find an interlude between the sixth and seventh trumpets with three visions that would have similar effect. Chapter ten contains the first vision in this second interlude, in which John describes a mighty angel coming down from heaven and standing with his right foot on the sea and his left on the land. Of particular note is a little book in the angel's hand. When the angel cried out with lion-like voice, seven thunders uttered their voices, but John is forbidden by a voice from heaven to write the things which the thunders uttered. At this point the mighty angel swears by God that there will be delay no longer, for when the seventh angel sounds his trumpet the mystery of God will be finished, as God declared to His servants the prophets (1-7). Then the voice from heaven tells John to take the book from the angel. As he does so, the angel tells him to eat the book, with a warning that while it will be sweet as honey in his mouth, it will make his stomach bitter. When John eats the book, he is told that he must again prophesy about many peoples, nations, tongues and kings (8-11). The significance of eating the little book is clear enough, for it symbolizes John mastering the contents of the message (cf. Eze 2:1-3:11). As to its contents, it may pertain to the prophecies of chapters 12-22, which certainly contains prophecies of peoples, nations, kings, etc. While the sounding of the seventh trumpet would indicate the mystery of God was finished regarding the judgment of Israel, John would be shown more things to proclaim regarding the judgment of Rome starting in chapter 12. The significance of the seven thunders may forever remain an enigma. Summers believes that John was forbidden to record their utterances because there would be delay no longer and the time for warning was over. Hailey suggests that it may indicate that God has many unrevealed weapons in His arsenal of judgments to be used at His discretion, and that man cannot know all of God's ways. This vision appears designed to impress upon John that with the sounding of the seventh trumpet his work will not be over. Indeed, in chapters 12-22 we shall see the revelation of God's judgment against pagan Rome and ultimately the world. POINTS TO PONDER * The first vision of the interlude between the sounding of the sixth and seven trumpets * The significance of the little book given to John to eat OUTLINE I. THE MIGHTY ANGEL WITH THE LITTLE BOOK (1-7) A. THE ANGEL, THE BOOK, AND THE SEVEN THUNDERS (1-4) 1. John describes another mighty angel coming down from heaven a. Clothed with a cloud b. A rainbow on his head c. His face like the sun d. His feet like pillars of fire e. A little book in his hand f. His right foot on the sea, his left foot on the land g. Who cried out with a loud voice, as when a lion roars 2. When the angel cried out, seven thunders uttered their voices a. John prepared to write what he heard b. But a voice from heaven instructs him to seal up the things uttered by the seven thunders, and not write them B. THE ANGEL AND HIS OATH (5-7) 1. John sees the angel lift his hand to heaven 2. The angel swears by God that there will be delay no longer a. For in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be finished b. As God declared to His servants the prophets II. JOHN EATS THE LITTLE BOOK (8-11) A. JOHN IS INSTRUCTED TO EAT THE BOOK (8-9) 1. The same voice from heaven instructs him to take the book from the angel's hand 2. He is told to eat the book, which will be sweet as honey in his mouth, but will make his stomach bitter B. JOHN EATS THE BOOK (10-11) 1. Taking it from the angel's hand, he ate it 2. It was sweet as honey in his mouth, but his stomach became bitter 3. He is told: "You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings." REVIEW QUESTIONS 1) What are the main points of this chapter? - The mighty angel with the little book (1-7) - John eats the little book (8-11) 2) How does John describe the angel which comes down from heaven? (1-2) - Clothed with a cloud - A rainbow on his head - His face like the sun - His feet like pillars of fire - A little book in his hand - His right foot on the sea, his left foot on the land - Who cried out with a loud voice, as when a lion roars 3) When the angel cried out, what happened? (3) - Seven thunders uttered their voices 4) What did John start to do? What was he told? (4) - To write what he heard - To seal up and not write what the seven thunders uttered 5) What did the mighty angel swear by God? (5-7) - That there should be delay no longer - That in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be finished, just as God declared to His servants the prophets 6) What is John then told to do? (8) - To take the book from the mighty angel 7) What is he told to do with the book? What did he do with the book? (9-10) - To eat the book - He ate the book, which was sweet as honey in his mouth, but made his stomach bitter 8) What was he then told? (11) - He must prophecy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings
"THE BOOK OF REVELATION" Chapter Nine Following the ominous warning of the angel (eagle) in the previous chapter, the fifth angel sounds his trumpet. John sees a star fallen from heaven, to whom is given the key to the bottomless pit. As the pit is opened, smoke rises that darkens the sun and air. Then locusts with power like scorpions came out of the smoke, to whom was given power to harm only those who did not have the seal of God on their forehead. Their power was limited only to torment, not kill, and only for five months. Even so, men wished they could die. John describes the appearance of the locusts, and identifies their king as the angel of the bottomless pit whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon and in Greek is Apollyon, both meaning "destruction". Thus ends the first "woe", with two more to come (1-12). When the sixth angel sounds his trumpet, John hears a voice from the four horns of the golden altar before God. It tells the sixth angel to release four angels who have been bound at the river Euphrates. These angels had been prepared for the hour, day, month and year, to kill a third of mankind. At this point John hears the number of an army of two hundred million horsemen. Describing the colorful breastplates of those on the horses, he also relates how the lion-like heads of the horses blew fire, smoke and brimstone which killed a third of mankind. They also did much harm with serpent-like tails. Despite these two "woes", the rest of mankind did not repent of their idolatry, murders, sorceries, sexual immoralities and thefts (13-21). As one can imagine, attempts to interpret these visions have been many and some quite fanciful. Together with the first four trumpets, I suggest the fifth and sixth trumpets signify tools at God's disposal to bring wrath upon the persecutors of His people. Though allowed to go only so far, Satan's influence can have the effect of weakening a nation from within. There is also the threat of external invasion by enemy forces. Therefore I concur with others that the vision of locusts from the bottomless pit symbolizes the hellish rottenness and internal decadence that would weaken the enemies of God's people from within. The two hundred million horsemen symbolize external invasion as another instrument God would use. Together with natural calamities, (depicted in the first four trumpets), these combined to bring down apostate Israel (cf. Mt 12:43-45; Lk 21:20-24). As Christians in John's day were oppressed by what seemed to be invincible opponents, visions like these would remind them that those "who do not have the seal of God on their forehead" (Re 9:4; 7:3) would be susceptible to God's wrath. POINTS TO PONDER * The sounding of the fifth and sixth trumpets * The significance of the visions when the two trumpets sounded OUTLINE I. THE FIFTH TRUMPET: LOCUSTS FROM THE BOTTOMLESS PIT (1-12) A. THE "STAR" FALLEN FROM HEAVEN (1-2) 1. With the sounding of the fifth trumpet... a. John saw a star fallen from heaven to the earth b. To whom was given the key to the bottomless pit 2. When the bottomless pit was opened... a. Smoke like that of a great furnace arose out of the pit b. The sun and the air were darkened because of the smoke B. THE "LOCUSTS" AND THEIR POWER (3-10) 1. Out of the smoke locusts with great power came upon the earth a. Power like scorpions b. Commanded not to harm the grass, any green thing, or any tree 2. The extent and nature of their power a. Could harm only those who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads b. Could not kill, but only torment them for five months c. Men will seek death, but death will flee from them 3. The locusts described a. Their shape like horses prepared for battle b. On their heads were crowns of something like gold c. Their faces were like those of men d. Their hair was like women's hair e. Their teeth was like lions' teeth f. With breastplates like those of iron g. The sound of their wings like chariots with many running horses h. With tails like scorpions, and stings in their tails (though limited in power) C. THE "KING" OVER THEM (11-12) 1. The angel of the bottomless pit 2. Whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon -- The first of three woes is past; two more to come II. THE SIXTH TRUMPET: THE TWO HUNDRED MILLION ARMY (13-21) A. THE FOUR ANGELS BOUND AT THE EUPHRATES (13-15) 1. With the sounding of the sixth trumpet... a. John heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar before God b. Speaking to the sixth angel who had the trumpet c. Telling him to release the four angels bound at the river Euphrates 2. The four angels released... a. Who had been prepared for the hour, day, month, and year b. Who were to kill a third of mankind B. THE ARMY OF TWO HUNDRED MILLION HORSEMEN (16-19) 1. John heard the number of them 2. What he saw in the vision... a. Those on the horses had breastplates of fiery red, hyacinth blue, sulfur yellow b. The horses had heads like those of lions c. Out of their mouths came fire, smoke, and brimstone 3. The power of this great army... a. A third of mankind killed by the fire, smoke, and brimstone b. The power to harm is in their mouth and tails like serpents' heads C. THE FAILURE OF THE SURVIVORS TO REPENT (20-21) 1. Those not killed did not repent of their idolatry 2. Nor did they repent of their murders, sorceries, sexual immoralities, or thefts REVIEW QUESTIONS 1) What are the main points of this chapter? - The fifth trumpet: locusts from the bottomless pit (1-12) - The sixth trumpet: the two hundred million army (13-21) 2) When the fifth angel sounded his trumpet, what did John see? (1) - A star fallen to heaven to whom was given the key to the bottomless pit 3) What came out of the pit when it was opened? (2-3) - Smoke which darkened the sun and air; locusts with power like scorpions 4) What were the locusts allowed to harm? (4) - Only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads 5) What other limitations was placed upon their power (5-6) - Could not kill, but only torment for five months 6) How are the locusts described? (7-10) - Their shape like horses prepared for battle - On their heads were crowns of something like gold - Their faces were like those of men - Their hair was like women's hair - Their teeth was like lions' teeth - With breastplates like those of iron - The sound of their wings like chariots with many running horses - With tails like scorpions, and stings in their tails (though limited in power) 7) Who was their king? What was his name in Hebrew and Greek? (11) - The angel of the bottomless pit - In Hebrew, Abaddon; in Greek, Apollyon 8) What did John hear when the sixth trumpet sounded (13-14) - A voice from the four horns of the golden altar before God - Telling the sixth angel to release the four angels bound at the river Euphrates 9) What were the four angels released to do? (15) - To kill a third of mankind 10) What did John hear next? (16) - The number of the army of horsemen: two hundred million 11) What were the colors of the breastplates of those on the horses? (17) - Fiery red, hyacinth blue, sulfur yellow 12) What were the heads of the horses like? What came out of their mouths? (17) - Like the heads of lions; fire, smoke, and brimstone 13) Who was killed by the smoke, fire, and brimstone? (18) - A third of mankind 14) Where was the power to do harm in the horses? (19) - In their mouths and in their tails 15) Of what did those who were not killed not repent? (20-21) - Idolatry, murders, sorceries, sexual immorality, theft
"THE BOOK OF REVELATION" Chapter Eight Following the "interlude" of the previous chapter, in which reassuring and comforting scenes concerning the saints were seen, the seventh seal is now opened. For about a half hour, there is silence in heaven (1). In contrast to all that happened before, the silence must have been striking! Possibly it signifies awe in heaven for what has already been revealed, or for what is about to be revealed. When God acts, those on earth should be in awe (cf. Hab 2:20; Zec 2:13). Should we not expect a similar reaction from His creatures in heaven (Zep 1:7)? Seven angels are seen standing before God to whom are given seven trumpets. Before they sound the trumpets, another angel with a golden censer comes and stands before the altar. To this angel is given much incense to offer along with the prayers of the saints upon the golden altar before the throne. The smoke of the incense and the prayers of the saints ascend before God from the angel's hand. Then the angel takes the censer, fills it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. Noises, thunderings, lightnings and an earthquake follow, and the seven angels with the seven trumpets prepare to sound (2-6). The scene appears to suggest that the sounding of the seven trumpets and the things to follow is God's response to the prayers of the saints. It is reminiscent of what Jesus taught in His parable of the persistent widow: "And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?" (Lk 18:7; cf. also Re 6:9-10). As the first four angels sound their trumpets in turn, the environment in particular is impacted: * The first trumpet - Hail and fire, mingled with blood, are thrown to earth; a third of the trees and all the green grass were burned up (7). * The second trumpet - Something like a great burning mountain is thrown into the sea, turning a third of it into blood; a third of the sea creatures died, and a third of the ships were destroyed (8-9). * The third trumpet - A great burning star named Wormwood falls on a third of the rivers and springs of water; a third of the waters became wormwood (a bitter wood) and many men died from the bitter water 10-11). * The fourth trumpet - A third of the sun, moon, and stars are struck, so that a third of them were darkened; thus a third of the day and night did not shine (12). The first four trumpets may signify natural calamities that God would use in His judgment against apostate Israel who oppressed His people. They are reminiscent of the Egyptian plagues (cf. Exo 9-10), brought now against herself that is later called "Egypt" (Re 11:8). That only a third is affected, along with the symbolism of trumpets, suggests that the purpose of these judgments would be to warn, giving many opportunity to repent. Before the final three trumpets sound, an angel (or eagle, in some mss) flies through the midst of heaven with loud voice proclaiming a three-fold woe on the inhabitants of the earth (13). While the first four trumpets were bad enough, the worst was yet to come! POINTS TO PONDER * The opening of the seventh seal, the angel with the golden censor, and the sounding of the first four trumpets * The possible significance of the silence in heaven and the first four trumpets OUTLINE I. THE SEVENTH SEAL - SILENCE IN HEAVEN (1) A. THE LAMB OPENS THE SEVEN SEAL (1a) B. SILENCE IN HEAVEN FOR ABOUT HALF AN HOUR (1b) II. PREPARATION FOR THE SOUNDING OF THE SEVEN TRUMPETS (2-6) A. SEVEN ANGELS PREPARED (2) 1. Seven angels who stand before God 2. To them were given seven trumpets B. THE ANGEL WITH THE GOLDEN CENSER (3-6) 1. Came and stood before the altar 2. Was given much incense to offer... a. With the prayers of all the saints b. Upon the golden altar before the throne 3. The smoke of the incense and the prayers of the saints... a. Ascended before God b. From the angel's hand 4. The angel took the censer... a. Filled it with fire from the altar b. Threw it to the earth -- Accompanied by noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake 5. The seven angels with the seven trumpets then prepared themselves to sound III. THE FIRST FOUR TRUMPETS (7-12) A. THE FIRST TRUMPET: VEGETATION STRUCK (7) 1. Hail and fire, mingled with blood, thrown to the earth 2. A third of the trees burned up, and all green grass burned up B. THE SECOND TRUMPET: SEAS STRUCK (8-9) 1. Something like a great burning mountain thrown into the sea 2. A third of the sea became blood; a third of the creatures in the sea died; a third of the ships destroyed C. THE THIRD TRUMPET: RIVERS AND SPRINGS STRUCK (10-11) 1. A great burning star fell on a third of the rivers and springs of water 2. Named Wormwood, a third of the waters became wormwood; many men died from the bitter water D. THE FOURTH TRUMPET: HEAVENS STRUCK (12) 1. A third of the sun, moon, and stars struck 2. A third of them were darkened, so that third of the day and night did not shine IV. THREE-FOLD WOE ANNOUNCED (13) A. AN ANGEL (EAGLE?) FLYING THROUGH HEAVEN (13a) B. PRONOUNCING A THREE-FOLD WOE (13b) 1. "Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth" 2. "Because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!" REVIEW QUESTIONS 1) What are the main points of this chapter? - The seventh seal - silence in heaven (1) - Preparation for the sounding of the seven trumpets (2-6) - The first four trumpets (7-12) - Three-fold woe announced (13) 2) What happened when the Lamb opened the seventh seal? (1) - There was silence in heaven for about half an hour 3) What did John see next? (2) - Seven angels standing before God, to whom were given seven trumpets 4) What did another angel do? What was given him? Why? (3-4) - Come stand before the altar with a golden censer; much incense - To offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar before the throne 5) What did the angel then do with the censer? What then happened? (5-6) - Filled it with fire from the altar and threw it to the earth - There were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake - The seven angels with the seven trumpets prepared to sound 6) Describe what happened when the first angel sounded (7) - Hail and fire, mingled with blood, were thrown to the earth - 1/3 of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass 7) Describe what happened when the second angel sounded (8-9) - Something like a great burning mountain was thrown into the sea - 1/3 of the sea became blood, 1/3 of sea creatures died, and 1/3 of ships destroyed 8) Describe what happened when the third angel sounded (10-11) - A great burning star (named Wormwood) fell from heaven on 1/3 of the rivers and springs of water - 1/3 of the waters became wormwood, many men died from the bitter water 9) Describe what happened when the fourth angel sounded (12) - 1/3 of the sun, moon, and stars were struck - 1/3 of them were darkened, and 1/3 of the day and night did not shine 10) What did John next see and hear? (13) - An angel (eagle?) flying through the midst of heaven - Pronouncing a three-fold woe upon the inhabitants of the earth because of the three remaining trumpets about to sound
"THE BOOK OF REVELATION" Chapter Seven Between the sixth and seventh seals, there is an interlude in which John sees two visions. They may be designed to answer the question raised at the end of the previous chapter: "For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?" (Re 6:17) In the first vision John sees four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the winds from blowing on the earth, sea, or on any tree. An angel arises from the east having the seal of the living God, who cries out to the other four angels not to harm the earth, etc., until the servants of God have been sealed on their foreheads. John then hears the number of those who are sealed. They are 144,000 of all the tribes of the children of Israel, with 12,000 from each tribe. Of interest is the fact that Ephraim and Dan are not mentioned, while Levi and Joseph are counted as tribes. This suggests to many that the 144,000 of Israel is symbolic (1-8). The second vision reveals a large innumerable multitude of all nations standing before the throne and the Lamb. Clothed with white robes and palm branches in their hands, they cry out "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" They are joined in their praise by angels, the elders, and four living creatures. John is then told by one of the elders that those arrayed in white robes have come out of the great tribulation, with their robes washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb. Before the throne of God, they serve Him day and night in His temple. Future blessings are then described: God will dwell among them, they shall be free from hunger, thirst, and the heat of the sun. The Lamb will shepherd them and lead them to fountains of living waters, and God will wipe all tears from their eyes (9-17). What do the two visions mean? The 144,000 of Israel sealed on earth may represent faithful Jewish Christians in Palestine leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. They are sealed and thereby spared from God's wrath (cf. Eze 9:1-11). Eusebius says that Jewish Christians were able to flee to Pella before the Romans overwhelmed Jerusalem, just as Jesus urged His disciples to do in Lk 21:20-24. The second vision provides hope for any who must pass through "the great tribulation" (not just Israel, but "of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues"), for it would not be limited to Palestine, but would spread throughout the Roman empire. Provided they have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb, they are assured that they will serve God in His temple in "the intermediate state" (between death and the resurrection). They are also promised future blessings in "the eternal state" (after the resurrection and judgment, cf. Re 7:16-17 with Re 21:1-4). Thus it would be Jewish Christians in Palestine, and Christians among all nations willing to remain faithful, who would be able to stand in the day of God's wrath! POINTS TO PONDER * The identity of the two groups in the two visions seen in this chapter * The comfort promised those who would pass through the great tribulation OUTLINE I. THE 144,000 SEALED ON EARTH (1-8) A. THE ANGELS RESTRAINED (1-3) 1. John saw four angels at the four corners of the earth a. Holding the four winds of the earth b. That the winds would not blow on the earth, sea, or any tree 2. John saw another angel ascending from the east a. Crying with a loud voice to the four angels granted to harm the earth and sea b. Instructing them not to harm the earth, sea, or trees until the servants of God were sealed on their foreheads B. THE 144,000 SEALED (4-8) 1. John "heard" the number of those sealed 2. Those sealed were 12,000 each of the tribes of Israel: a. Judah g. Simeon b. Reuben h. Levi c. Gad i. Issachar d. Asher j. Zebulun e. Naphtali k. Joseph f. Manasseh l. Benjamin II. THE GREAT MULTITUDE IN HEAVEN (9-17) A. JOHN SEES A GREAT MULTITUDE (9-12) 1. Which none could number, from all nations, tribes, peoples and tongues 2. Standing before the throne and before the Lamb a. Clothed with white robes b. With palm branches in their hands 3. Crying with loud voices: "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" 4. Angels, the elders, and the four living creatures also join in with praise a. Falling on their faces before the throne and worshipping God b. Ascribing blessing, glory, wisdom, thanksgiving, honor, power, and might to God B. THE GREAT MULTITUDE IDENTIFIED (13-17) 1. Asked by one of the elders, John puts the question back to him 2. The elder identifies the great multitude: a. Those who come out of the great tribulation b. Who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb c. Who are before the throne of God and serve Him day and night in His temple 3. The elder describes their future blessedness: a. The One on the throne will dwell with them b. They shall not hunger nor thirst anymore; the sun nor any heat shall strike them c. The Lamb will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of water d. God will wipe away every tear from their eyes REVIEW QUESTIONS 1) What are the main points of this chapter? - The 144,000 sealed on the earth (1-8) - The great multitude in heaven (9-17) 2) What does John see next? (1) - Four angels at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds from harming the earth, sea and any tree 3) What did an angel ascending from the east cry out? (2-3) - "Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads." 4) Who and how many were sealed? (4) - 144,000 of the tribes of Israel 5) In the list of those sealed, what two tribes of Israel are missing? (5-8) - Ephraim and Dan 6) What two names are used for tribes which were not normally listed among the twelve tribes of Israel? (5-8) - Levi (the priestly tribe which did not receive a land inheritance) - Joseph (the father of Manasseh and Ephraim, whose two sons made up two tribes) 7) After the 144,000 are sealed, what does John see next? (9-10) - A great multitude of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues - Standing before the throne and the Lamb - Clothed with white robes and palm branches in their hands - Ascribing salvation to God on the throne and to the Lamb 8) Who else joins in with praise to God? (11-12) - Angels, the elders, the four living creatures 9) Who does the elder identify as the great multitude? (13-14) - Those who come out of the great tribulation, who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb - Who are before the throne of God and serve Him day and night in His temple 10) What future blessings are they promised to receive? (15-17) - The One on the throne will dwell with them - They shall not hunger nor thirst anymore; neither the sun nor any heat shall strike them - The Lamb will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of water - God will wipe away every tear from their eyes
"THE BOOK OF REVELATION" Chapter Six In this chapter the Lamb looses six of the seven seals on the scroll. The first four seals reveal four horses and their riders (cf. Zec 6:1-8), commonly referred today as "The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse". Notice what is said about the different riders: "...a crown was given to him..." (the rider on the white horse) "...it was granted to the one...there was given to him..." (the rider on the red horse) "...a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying" (the rider on the black horse) "...power was given to them..." (riders on the pale horse - Death and Hades) Who had the power to give a crown, to grant such authority? Who in the midst of the four living creatures might have spoken? Who had power to give to Death and Hades? When we consider that Jesus is the ruler of the kings of the earth (Re 1:5), that He has the keys of Hades and of Death (Re 1:18), and that He was in the midst of the four living creatures (Re 5:6), it seems clear that the answer is Christ! In other words, the horses and their riders were acting upon the authority and power given them by Christ. Therefore I suggest the following explanations for the first four seals (1-8): The white horse and its rider - Represents military conquest, such as God used to bring judgment upon Assyria (Isa 10:5-7,12-13,15-16) and Babylon (Isa 13:17-20). The red horse and its rider - Represents civil war, in which people would kill one another, such as God used in His judgment against Egypt (Isa 19:1-4). The black horse and its rider - Represents famine, where necessities (wheat and barley) would be scarce, while luxuries (oil and wine) might be in abundance but of little interest to the hungry. God had used famine in His judgment upon Israel (Jer 14:11-12). The pale horse and its riders (Death and Hades) - Represents death brought about by the sword, hunger, death (pestilence), and beasts of the earth. Such severe judgments God had brought upon Jerusalem in the past (Eze 5:17; 6:12; 14:21). Some see the fulfillment of these things in the Roman advance on Jerusalem during A.D. 67-70, as described by Flavius Josephus in his book, The Wars Of The Jews (Bass, Gentry). With the fifth seal (9-11) we are told why God would bring such judgment. Souls have been slain for the word of God and their testimony, and when the time is right the wicked will be avenged (cf. Lk 18:7-8). Meanwhile, souls of the slain are comforted with white robes and rest. Who were these souls? Perhaps Christians who had already paid the supreme price for following Jesus, such as Stephen (Ac 7:54-8:2), James (Ac 12:1-2), Antipas (Re 2:13). The sixth seal (12-17) describes cosmic disturbances and the despair of those trying to hide from God's wrath. Is this scene depicting the end of time (cf. 2Pe 3:7-12)? The language is reminiscent of that describing God's judgment upon Babylon (Isa 13:1-22) and Samaria (Hos 10:7-8). Jesus used similar language to warn people of the impending destruction of Jerusalem (Lk 23:28-30). Therefore I believe it refers to judgment upon unbelieving Israel for persecuting God's people in the 1st century. The guilty would not escape the Lamb's wrath! Who would stand in that day? The answer is in the next chapter. POINTS TO PONDER * The meaning of the four horses and their riders * The reason for the judgment and wrath described in this chapter OUTLINE I. THE FOUR HORSES AND THEIR RIDERS (1-8) A. FIRST SEAL - RIDER ON THE WHITE HORSE (1-2) 1. The Lamb opens the first seal 2. One of the four living creatures says "Come" 3. John sees a white horse and its rider a. The man had a bow b. A crown was given to him c. The man went out conquering and to conquer B. SECOND SEAL - RIDER ON THE RED HORSE (3-4) 1. The Lamb opens the second seal 2. The second living creature says "Come" 3. John sees a fiery red horse and its rider a. The rider was granted to take peace from the earth, and for people to kill one another b. A great sword was given to him C. THIRD SEAL - RIDER ON THE BLACK HORSE (5-6) 1. The Lamb opens the third seal 2. The third living creature says "Come" 3. John sees a black horse and its rider a. A pair of scales is in the hand of the rider b. A voice in the midst of the four living creatures says "A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine." D. FOURTH SEAL - RIDER ON THE PALE HORSE (7-8) 1. The Lamb opens the fourth seal 2. The fourth living creature says "Come" 3. John sees a pale horse and its rider a. On the horse sits Death, and Hades followed with him b. Power was given to them over a fourth of the earth c. Power to kill with the sword, with death, and by beasts II. THE SOULS UNDER THE ALTAR (9-11) A. THE FIFTH SEAL - SOULS UNDER THE ALTAR (9-10) 1. The Lamb opens the fifth seal 2. John sees under the altar those who had been slain a. For the word of God b. For the testimony they held 3. They cried with a loud voice: a. "How long, O Lord, holy and true" b. "Until you judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" B. THEIR CONSOLATION (11) 1. A white robe was given to each of them 2. They were told to rest a little while longer, until both their fellow servants and brethren would be killed III. COSMIC DISRUPTIONS IN THE DAY OF THE LAMB'S WRATH (12-17) A. THE SIXTH SEAL - COSMIC DISRUPTIONS (12-14) 1. The Lamb opens the sixth seal 2. Cataclysmic events occur: a. A great earthquake b. Sun becomes black as sackcloth of hair c. Moon became like blood d. Stars fall to the earth, like ripe figs shaken from a tree by a mighty wind e. Sky receded as a scroll when rolled up f. Every mountain and island moved out of its place B. THE REACTION OF MANKIND (15-17) 1. Great and small, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and rocks of the mountains 2. They cry out to the mountains and rocks: a. "Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!" b. "For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?" REVIEW QUESTIONS 1) What are the main points of this chapter? - The four horses and their riders (1-8) - The souls under the altar (9-11) - Cosmic disruptions in the day of the Lamb's wrath (12-17) 2) Who opens each of the seals in this chapter? (1,3,5,7,9,12) - The Lamb 3) What is seen when the first seal is opened? What was given to him? (1-2) - A rider with a bow on a white horse; a crown, who then goes forth conquering 4) What is seen when the second seal is opened? What was given to him? (3-4) - A rider on a red horse; authority to take peace from the earth, that people should kill one another; a great sword 5) What is seen when the third seal is opened? What is heard? (5-6) - A rider with a pair of scales in his hand on a black horse; "A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine." 6) What is seen when the fourth seal is opened? What was given to them? (7-8) - Death riding on a pale horse, followed by Hades; power over a fourth of the earth, to kill with the sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth 7) What is seen when the fifth seal is opened? What are they saying? (9-10) - Souls under the altar who had been slain for the word of God and for their testimony - "How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" 8) How are they consoled? (11) - A white robe to each of them, told to rest a little while longer - Until the number of their fellow servants and brethren who will be killed is completed 9) What is seen when the sixth seal is completed? (12-14) - A great earthquake, sun becomes black, the moon becomes like blood, the stars of heaven fall to the earth, the sky is receded as a scroll, every mountain and island moved out of its place 10) What do the people on earth try to do? What do they say? (15-17) - Hide themselves in the caves and rocks of the mountains - "Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!" - "For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?"
|by||Dave Miller, Ph.D.|
Muhammad was the founder of the religion we know today as Islam. Through the centuries, much has been written that is critical of Muhammad’s multiple marriages. It is estimated that he had as many as nine wives simultaneously. The reported total number of wives is at least twelve: Khadijah, Sawdah, A’ishah, Hafsah, Zaynab, Umm Salamah, Zaynab, Juwariyah, Mariyah, Safyyah, Umm Habeeba, and Maymunah (Brooks, 1995, pp. 77-88). The usual Islamic response to this criticism is that Muhammad did not form these marriages out of lust or a desire for sex. Rather, the marriages were due to: (1) the desire to form alliances with diverse clans due to the swift expansion of Islam, thereby bringing peace with enemies by marrying their daughters; (2) the need to emancipate conquered clans by linking them to Muslim family clans; and (3) Muhammad’s desire to render benevolent assistance and care to widows (especially widows of men killed in battle), or to a displaced slave or captive (e.g., Pickthall, n.d., pp. 300-301). Muslim apologist Osama Abdallah offered the following justification for Muhammad’s polygamy:
Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him was a Messenger of God (filled with sympathy and mercy to people) and a leader for all Muslims. He didn’t practice polygamy for the sake of sexual pleasure at all. Most of his wives were either widows (older than him in age, too) or divorced women (also most of them were either older or same age). Only one of his wives was a virgin, and he only married her because her father was his best friend. He wanted to strengthen that relationship. And it was her father who offered her to our Prophet peace be upon him anyway. If our beloved Prophet peace be upon him really seeked [sic] sexual pleasure, then he would’ve married young virgins from the Muslims. Back then, people loved Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him so much, that they would literally do anything for him. Certainly fathers would’ve given him their young virgin daughters if he wanted to. Many people offered him their young virgin bosomed daughters anyway to raise their families’ honor, but our Prophet never seeked [sic] that sexual privilege in life.Another defense of Muhammad’s polygamy is seen in the following general advocacy of the institution of polygamy [NOTE: “B.A.P.U.H.” stands for “Blessings and peace be upon him”]:
Because Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him was a smart political leader and a wonderful humble merciful true Messenger of Allah Almighty, he chose to marry the weak from his people to encourage the Muslim men to do the same; to create a balance in the Muslim society. Again, another emergency case that existed during Islam’s weak times that forced the Muslims (including Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him) to practice polygamy (Abdallah, n.d.).
The ProphetB.A.P.U.H in his lifetime took eleven women in marriage. Majority of these marriages as described above were contracted due to cultural, social, political and moral necessity. In war when a large number of men are killed, the women outnumber men and in this situation, polygamy becomes a social and economic necessity. In case of chronically ill and infertile wife, polygamy prevents break up of marriage as the husband can contract another wife to have children. Polygamous instinct of men as compared to women is also recognised in science. Restriction of number of marriages to one for some men would most certainly encourage society to embark on adultery and prostitution. The modern world where such restrictions have been legally imposed is full of evidence to such evils. It is universally recognised that laws, orders and limitations imposed on ordinary people are not enforced on special people chosen from among the people by themselves or by the Almighty Allah. Let us first take the rights of the leaders chosen by people such as kings, presidents, prime ministers, chief justices and general managers. They all enjoy special privileges, usually defined by the constitution or parliament of the country. When we do not object to these privileges given to ordinary men, how can we question the privileges given to the prophets? (“Polygamy,” n.d.).Notice that the latter remarks justify Muhammad’s excessive polygamy on the basis of his special status as the prophet of Allah.
Of course, no one is in a position to know what was in Muhammad’s mind at the time these relationships were formed. Hence, no one can prove his motives to be either legitimate or illegitimate. If Muhammad’s polygamy is justifiable on the grounds that he was simply extending assistance to war widows, why not allow all Muslim men to take as many widowed wives as Muhammad? Even Muhammad could not accommodate all the widows of war. If their deprived and needy status was truly the issue, surely God would want all widows to be cared for in a similar fashion—thus opening the door to Muslim men besides Muhammad to marry more than four wives. The same may be said if polygamy is justifiable on the grounds of forming political alliances. Why not allow all Muslim men to assist with the strengthening of alliances, as well as the emancipation of conquered clans?
Regardless, these alleged justifications do not account for all of Muhammad’s marriages. A’ishah was only six years old when Muhammad claimed to receive dreams instructing him to marry her. He was past fifty at the time. What possible rationale can be offered to legitimize this intention? Much is made of the fact that Muhammad did not consummate the marriage at this point. Yet, it is admitted that he did so within three years when A’ishah was nine (see al-Bukhari, Vol. 5, Bk. 58, #234; Vol. 7, Bk. 62, #64). But whether he did so or not, the propriety of such a marriage, both in terms of the age of the child as well as the disparity in their respective ages, is appalling, repugnant, and, to say the least, unacceptable to the unbiased observer.
An even greater objection centers on Muhammad’s conduct with regard to the wife of Zayd, the freed slave whom Muhammad had adopted and reared as his own son. Seeing Zaynab, Zayd’s wife, in her home (some accounts say partially unclad) during Zayd’s absence, sparked the circumstances that led to Zayd divorcing his wife in order to accommodate Muhammad’s desire to have her. The shock waves that reverberated across the community elicited a string of curt, even stinging, revelations: (1) Surah 33:37, which declared the marriage of Muhammad to Zaynab as a “done deal”; (2) Surah 33:4-5,40, which clarified the previous revelation that forbade men from marrying the wives of sons by birth (4:23). The new revelation insisted that adopted sons were not included in the previous prohibition; (3) Surah 33:50-51, which granted special dispensation to Muhammad to exceed the Quran’s restrictive limitation of no more than four wives (4:3); and (4) Surah 33:53, which made three sweeping declarations. First, it chided visitors to Muhammad’s home for delaying their departure and overstaying their welcome. The guests who came to celebrate Muhammad’s marriage to Zaynab lingered longer than the Prophet preferred, delaying his desire to be alone with his newest wife. Second, it required all future conversations with Muhammad’s wives to be conducted with a veil or curtain separating the guest from the wife. Third, no Muslim was ever to marry one of Muhammad’s wives. Also, henceforth, Muslims were to invoke blessings on Muhammad (vs. 56).
Once again, for the unbiased, objective observer, this event brings the credibility of Muhammad and his revelations into serious question. In the first place, the Bible consistently represents God as impartial and perfect in justice (e.g., Deuteronomy 10:17; Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11; Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 3:25; 1 Peter 1:17). The God of the Bible simply would not grant special dispensation to one man over others. He would not exempt one person from a law while expecting others to keep it. Prophets and inspired spokesmen of God in the Bible were never given the right to sidestep laws of God—let alone laws that all men are under obligation to obey.
Second, how can Zaynab’s divorce from Zayd be morally justifiable on any grounds? Observe carefully the wording of the Surah that speaks to this point:
And it becometh not a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His messenger have decided an affair (for them), that they should (after that) claim any say in their affair; and whoso is rebellious to Allah and His messenger, he verily goeth astray in error manifest. And when thou saidst unto him on whom Allah hath conferred favor and thou hast conferred favor: Keep thy wife to thyself, and fear Allah. And thou didst hide in thy mind that which Allah was to bring to light, and thou didst fear mankind whereas Allah had a better right that thou shouldst fear Him. So when Zeyd had performed the necessary formality (of divorce) from her, We gave her unto thee in marriage, so that (henceforth) there may be no sin for believers in respect of wives of their adopted sons, when the latter have performed the necessary formality (of release) from them. The commandment of Allah must be fulfilled. There is no reproach for the Prophet in that which Allah maketh his due (33:36-38).One cannot help but be suspicious. This surah is worded the way one would expect it to be worded if it were produced by a man, unguided by God, who was seeking to justify his desire for another man’s wife. Likewise, the unbiased observer surely is stunned, incredulous, and dismayed at the lax attitude toward divorce. Absolutely no justification existed for Zayd to divorce his wife—except to make her available to Muhammad, under the guise that it was an unhappy marriage (see Pickthall, p. 300).
What a far cry from the teaching of the New Testament. Jesus declared in no uncertain terms: “Whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery” (Matthew 19:9, emp. added). Jesus gave one, and only one, reason for divorce in God’s sight. In fact, even the Old Testament affirmed that God “hates divorce” (Malachi 2:16). The teaching of the Bible on divorce is a higher, stricter, nobler standard than the one advocated by the Quran. The two books, in fact, contradict each other on this point.
Separate from the question of Muhammad’s motives for contracting multiple marriages (whether to unite clans or aid widows), the more pressing question pertains to whether polygamy, itself, is a legitimate social institution—i.e., is it sanctioned by God? It certainly is true that plural marriages were commonplace in the Old Testament. Some prominent men of the Bible are said to have contracted multiple marriages, including Abraham, Jacob, David, and Solomon. Yet, this circumstance is simply reported (along with other violations of divine law) without any indication that God approved of it. One does not find the Bible stating explicitly that polygamy is God’s will. But that is precisely what the Quran does: “And if ye fear that ye will not deal fairly by the orphans, marry of the women, who seem good to you, two or three or four; and if ye fear that ye cannot do justice (to so many) then one (only) or (the captives) that your right hands possess” (Surah 4:3).
In contrast, quite the opposite is the case in the Bible. God ordained the institution of marriage at the very beginning of the Creation. He enjoined strict heterosexual monogamy (e.g., Genesis 2:24). Whatever human beings did throughout the centuries prior to Christ’s advent in their relaxation of the divine will on this point, God legislated one man for one woman for life. Disobedient man introduced polygamy into the world (Genesis 4:19). God tolerated (not endorsed) this sordid state of affairs prior to Christ, but with the institution of New Testament Christianity, God’s original intention for the human race received definitive reaffirmation and reinstatement: “Let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband” (1 Corinthians 7:2). Polygamy is sinful. Every New Testament passage that addresses the marriage relationship presupposes monogamy (e.g., Matthew 5:31-32; Mark 10:1-12; Ephesians 5:22-33; 1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6; Hebrews 13:4).
Even as the church is represented as the bride of Christ (e.g., Ephesians 5:23-32), Jesus would no more have multiple brides than He would endorse men having multiple wives. In fact, God would be guilty of being a respecter of persons if He allowed men to have a plurality of wives, while disallowing women from having a plurality of husbands. Likewise, who could successfully deny that polygamy is damaging to the psyche and self-worth of women?
The Hadith confirms that Muhammad’s polygamy created jealousy, bickering, and bitter rivalry among his wives (see Brooks, p. 83). In fact, the Quran itself reflects this turmoil on the occasion of Muhammad adding to his harem the Coptic Christian slave girl, Mariyah. The bitter jealousy of his wives caused him to separate from her initially, only to reinstate her standing when the newly received surah commanded him to do so (Surah 66). The result was that Muhammad lived a month with Mariyah—undoubtedly spiting his other wives. Another surah then followed that reprimanded the wives and ordered them to make a choice as to whether they desired to be married to Muhammad (Surah 33). Was this special treatment extended to Mariyah, which punished the other wives by depriving them of their usual turn with Muhammad—a violation of the equal treatment clause of the Quran (Shorrosh, 1988, p. 65; cf. Lings, 1983, pp. 276-279)? Additionally, the consensus of the Islamic community has ever been that A’ishah was Muhammad’s favorite wife and that she received preferential treatment—a circumstance in direct violation of the Quran.
CONCLUSIONThe religion of Islam and the Quran have a great many features that the Christian mind (i.e., one guided by the New Testament) finds objectionable. Polygamy is simply one among many such “difficulties.” The Bible and the Quran are in significant conflict on this subject.
REFERENCESAbdallah, Osama (no date), “When is Polygamy Allowed in Islam?” http://www.answering-christianity.com/polygamy.htm.
al-Bukhari, Sahih (no date), The Hadith, http://www.sahih-bukhari.com/.
Brooks, Geraldine (1995), Nine Parts of Desire (New York, NY: Anchor Books).
Lings, Martin (1983), Muhammad (Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions International).
Pickthall, Mohammed M. (no date), The Meaning of the Glorious Koran (New York: Mentor).
“Polygamy” (no date), http://www.answering-christianity.com/islam_polygamy.htm.
Shorrosh, Anis A. (1988), Islam Revealed: A Christian Arab’s View of Islam (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson).
Charles Taze Russell
|by||Brad Bromling, D.Min.|
Not all religious groups claim to foretell the future. Those that do can be exposed as false if they fail a simple test. If their prophecies fail, God has not spoken through them (Deuteronomy 18:22). Hence, they are of human origin.
In his six volumes, Studies in the Scriptures, Charles Taze Russell (founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses) made many predictions that were tied to specific dates (e.g., 1878, 1910, 1915). As these volumes were reprinted, some of the dates were changed because the original dates passed without the predictions being fulfilled. In time, all of the dated prophecies failed and the movement had to reinterpret the predictions or ignore them altogether.
One example (of many) is striking. In Volume II, Mr. Russell predicted:
In view of this strong Bible evidence concerning the Times of the Gentiles, we consider it an established truth that the final end of the kingdoms of this world, and the full establishment of the Kingdom of God, will be accomplished near the end of 1915. Then the prayer of the Church, ever since her Lord took his departure—“Thy Kingdom come”—will be answered; and under that wise administration, the whole earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord—with knowledge, and righteousness, and peace (Psa. 72:19; Isa. 6:3; Hab. 2:14); and the will of God shall be done “on earth, as it is in heaven” (p. 101, emp. in orig.).Realizing that even as late as 1995 (when this article was written), the world still does not know the peace promised in this “prophecy,” the Jehovah’s Witnesses have had to “spiritualize” what Russell plainly intended to be taken literally. But, say what they will, an objective observer must conclude that this prophecy failed and that the prophet was false.
Atheism’s Contradictory Supernatural “Natural” Explanations
|by||Eric Lyons, M.Min.|
Atheism contends that a supernatural Creator does not exist. Allegedly, a supernatural Being is unnecessary in our material Universe. Everything can be explained purely naturally through a study of the natural world. In short, nature exists “naturally,” not supernaturally.
If such is the case, however, then how did nature get here to begin with? In nature, matter and energy do not appear from nothing (so says the First Law of Thermodynamics).1 In nature, nothing always comes from nothing and something always comes from something. So from whence came the first “something”? That is, where did nature itself come from? According to some of the world’s foremost atheistic evolutionists, something came from nothing. Atheistic cosmologist Stephen Hawking stated on national television in 2011, “Nothing caused the Big Bang.”2 In the book The Grand Design that Dr. Hawking co-authored, he and Leonard Mlodinow asserted: “Bodies such as stars and black holes cannot just appear out of nothing. But a whole universe can.”3 So, although it is not natural for something to come from nothing, many atheists assume that it did “in the beginning.”
And what about the first life form? From whence did it arrive? According to atheistic evolution, life was not created supernaturally by a supernatural Creator, rather life came from non-life; it spontaneously generated “naturally.” But does life ever come from non-life naturally? Never. As evolutionist Martin Moe observed, “[A] century of sensational discoveries in the biological sciences has taught us that life arises only from life.”4 It would take a miracle for life to come from non-life, yet atheists contend that no God exists to work in such a supernatural manner. So how did the first life get here? Atheists (who have “refused to have God in their knowledge”—Romans 1:28, ASV), contend that it must have arisen naturally, yet it did so in a way that breaks the natural Law of Biogenesis.5
Atheism can continue to deny the existence of a supernatural Creator, but it does so in the only way possible—illogically and self-contradictorily. Rather than irrationally endowing nature with the ability to act supernaturally while alleging nothing supernatural exists, the reasonable person should conclude that what happened supernaturally must be the effect of a supernatural Being at work.
In truth, both Heaven and Earth reveal that “the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:3). Rather, the supernatural “God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).
1 See Jeff Miller (2013), “Evolution and the Laws of Science: The Laws of Thermodynamics,” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=9&article=2786.
2 See “Curiosity: Did God Create the Universe?” (2011), Discovery Channel, August 7, emp. added.
3 2010, New York: Bantam Books, p. 180.
4 “Genes on Ice” (1981), Science Digest, 89:36, emp. added.
5 For more information on the Law of Biogenesis, see Jeff Miller (2013), “The Law of Biogenesis—Parts 1 & 2,” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=4165&topic=93.
Are There Modern-Day Apostles?
|by||Dave Miller, Ph.D.|
The incredible diversity of viewpoint that exists in religion today is startling and disconcerting. We are witnessing a breakdown of respect for authority in American culture, as well as a tremendous increase in personal opinion and feelings as the standard of authority. Consequently, we now have a veritable smorgasbord of doctrinal variety in religion. Such is the nature of pluralism. One is likely to see anything and everything perpetrated in the name of religion and/or Christianity. The only solution to such a situation is to reaffirm the inspiration and authority of the Bible. The Bible is the only written document on this planet that is the standard of authority in life and in religion (see Miller, 1996, pp. 430-446,462-471).
THE DEFINITION OF AN APOSTLESuch being the case, we must go to the Bible to determine God’s will with regard to modern-day apostles. When we do so, we first learn that the word “apostle” comes from the Greek word apostolos, which means “one sent from or forth, a messenger, delegate” (Arndt and Gingrich, 1957, p. 99; Thayer, 1901, p. 68). The term is used in the New Testament in two distinct senses. It can refer to an individual who is sent by other humans to accomplish a particular mission or task. The term is so used to refer, for example, to Barnabas (Acts 14:14). He was an “apostle” in the sense that he accompanied Paul on an evangelistic trip. Jesus is said to be our “Apostle” in the sense that He was sent to atone for our sins (Hebrews 3:1).
The term “apostle” also is used in a second sense—what we might call an official sense. That is, “apostle” can refer to individuals who were officially and divinely selected to serve as Jesus’ original representatives—“ambassadors” (2 Corinthians 5:20). Jesus handpicked the original twelve apostles (Matthew 10:1-5; Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:12-16; 9:1-2). Of these original twelve, Judas betrayed the Lord as predicted by the Old Testament (Psalm 41:9; John 13:18-19; 18:1-5). Instead of repenting, he cinched his apostasy by committing suicide (Matthew 27:3-5; John 17:12). Consequently, a successor to Judas was selected by divine decree (Acts 1:16-26).
Only one other apostle in the official sense is alluded to in the New Testament—Paul. His appointment to apostleship was unique and unparalleled in that he was chosen for a specific first century task (Acts 9:15; 22:14-15; 26:16-18; 1 Corinthians 15:8-9; Galatians 1:11-12,15-16). Christ selected him to introduce the message of Christianity to the Gentile world (Romans 11:13; 15:16; Galatians 2:8; Ephesians 3:8). Paul was careful to document the fact that his apostleship was by divine appointment (e.g., Romans 1:5; 1 Corinthians 1:1; Galatians 1:1,16).
THE QUALIFICATIONS OF AN APOSTLEWhen one assembles all the relevant New Testament data, at least three qualifications emerge as prerequisite to one becoming an apostle in the official sense (Hayden, 1894, p. 33, expands these credentials to seven in number). First, an apostle had to have seen the Lord and been an eyewitness of Christ’s resurrection (Acts 1:22; 22:14; 1 Corinthians 9:1). Second, an apostle had to be specifically selected by the Lord or the Holy Spirit (Matthew 10:5; Mark 3:13-14; Luke 6:13; Acts 1:26; 9:15; 22:14-15,21; 26:16). Third, an apostle was invested with miraculous power to the extent that he could perform miracles. The power to perform miracles included the capability to confer the ability to work miracles to other individuals through the laying on of his hands (Mark 3:15; 16:17-20; Luke 9:1-2; John 14:12,26; 15:24-27; 16:13; Acts 2:43; 4:29-31,33; 5:12,15-16; 6:6; 8:14-18; 19:6; 2 Timothy 1:6; Romans 1:11; Hebrews 2:3-4). Jesus referred to His bestowal of miraculous capability upon the apostles when He promised they would be “endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49).
THE WORK OF AN APOSTLEThe apostolic office was unquestionably a temporary office for the early church (though apostolic appointment was for life). Its essential purpose was twofold. First, apostles were commissioned by Jesus to launch the Christian religion (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:46-48). This purpose was achieved by means of the initial presentation of the Gospel to the whole world (Colossians 1:23), and the establishment of the church of Christ (Acts 2). Second, apostles were largely responsible for making the New Testament available—first in oral form and, more specifically, in written form (1 Corinthians 14:37; Galatians 1:12; Ephesians 3:3-4; 1 Thessalonians 5:27; 2 Thessalonians 2:15; 3:14; 1 Peter 1:12; 2 Peter 1:12-21; 3:15-16).
These two central tasks are set forth clearly in the New Testament. In Matthew 16, Jesus declared that He would build His church after His resurrection from hades (vs. 18). He then explained that it would be the apostles who would instigate initial entrance into Christ’s church (hence the significance of “keys”—vs. 19). This commencement of the Christian religion and the church of Christ would be achieved by means of the apostles “binding” and “loosing” the doctrinal tenets and principles of Christianity that Heaven had previously bound or loosed [the Greek uses the perfect passive and should be translated “will have been bound/loosed in Heaven” as in the NASB (cf. Matthew 18:18-20; John 20:22-23)]. Peter and the apostles articulated the terms of entrance into the kingdom of Christ for the first time on the Pentecost that followed Christ’s resurrection (Acts 2:14ff.).
In Ephesians 4, after summarizing Christianity in terms of seven core concepts (vss. 1-6), Paul described the initial sequence of events that recounted the advent of Christianity (vss. 7-16). Paul noted that: (1) after His crucifixion, Jesus descended into the Hadean realm; (2) He then was resurrected; (3) He ascended back to Heaven; (4) upon His ascension, He dispensed gifts; (5) the apostolic office was included in the reception of these miraculous capabilities; (6) the purpose of these gifts was to equip and edify the church; (7) the preparation provided to the infant church by these gifts was temporary (“till” is an adverb of time connoting when the miraculous gifts were to terminate), in that the same preparation soon would be available through the completed revelation, i.e., “the faith.” [By “completed revelation” we do not mean completed canon. We mean that all of God’s communication to humanity would have been revealed. See the New Testament discussion contrasting “mystery” with “made known” (Romans 16:25-26; 1 Corinthians 2:7-10; Ephesians 3:1-11). In the meantime, the process of producing copies of the various New Testament documents and circulating them far and wide would have been occurring rapidly and extensively from the very moment of their production by the inspired writers (cf. Colossians 4:16, 1 Timothy 5:18, where Luke 10:7 is already known and classified as “Scripture,” and 2 Peter 3:15-16, where Paul’s epistles are already circulated and recognized as “Scriptures”). Further, the reference to “the faith” in Ephesians 4:13 cannot refer to a time when all people or all Christians will achieve unity in faith. Such a circumstance will never occur. Paul was referring to the time when all people would have access to all of God’s communication to man, thus giving them the potential for attaining spiritual maturity (“a perfect man” vs. “children“). See Miller, 2003].
Once all of the information necessary to the promotion of the Christian religion was revealed to the early church (through oral means made possible by the distribution of the gifts), the church would have the means available to grow and mature in Christ (cf. 1 Corinthians 13:8-13). While prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers [the words “pastors and teachers” share the same article in the Greek, and so should likely be construed to mean “pastor-teachers,” i.e., a single function in which pastors (those selected by the local congregation to serve as elders or shepherds) were endowed with the miraculous ability to teach inspired information not yet made available in written form] were part of this early development of Christianity (Ephesians 4:11), the office of an apostle was the primary means by which Christ accomplished the inauguration of His religion.
The apostles had the sole responsibility of executing the will of the Son of God in founding, organizing, and fully equipping the church of Christ on Earth, that she might fulfill her heaven-borne mission, until Jesus comes again (Hayden, p. 22). That is why Paul could say two chapters earlier that the household of God (i.e., the church) was built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets (Ephesians 2:20; cf. 3:5; Revelation 21:14). That is why he informed the Corinthian Christians:
God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? (1 Corinthians 12:28-30).The apostles are said to be “first” in the significance and criticality of their divinely appointed role. The apostles specifically described their unique role in the early church as entailing giving themselves to “the word of God” and “the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:2,4).
THE DURATION OF AN APOSTLEOnce the church of Christ was established and Christianity was given its initial presentation (cf. Colossians 1:23), the apostolic office faded from the scene along with the age of miracles. As an eyewitness of Christ’s resurrection, Paul referred to himself in relation to the other apostles as “last of all” (1 Corinthians 15:8). Neither apostles nor miraculous gifts was needed any longer. They had served their temporary purpose (Mark 16:20; Acts 4:29-31; 13:12; 14:3; Romans 15:18-19; Hebrews 2:3-4; cf. Exodus 4:30). Miraculous gifts functioned as scaffolding while the church was under initial construction, and were removed once the structure had been completed (1 Corinthians 3:10; 13:11; Ephesians 4:13-14). The book we call the Bible is the totality of God’s written revelation to the human race. Consequently, people now have access to everything they need (2 Peter 1:3) to enter into a right relationship with God via Christianity and the church of Christ. The apostles “had no official successors. From the nature of their duties, there could be no succession” (Hayden, pp. 20-21). Apostles, quite simply, are no longer needed!
NO APOSTLES TODAYUnfortunately, several groups that claim affiliation with the Christian religion allege to have apostles among them, including Catholicism, Mormonism, and some pentecostal groups. This claim is unbiblical. No person living today can meet the qualifications given in Scripture for being an apostle. No one living today has been an eyewitness of Christ’s resurrection. Christ has selected no one living today for the apostolic role. No one living today possesses the miraculous capabilities of an apostle. We should not be surprised that people would falsely claim to be apostles. Jesus warned that false prophets would come in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they would be ravening wolves (Matthew 7:15). Paul described some of his opponents in these words:
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).Further warning was issued to the Galatian churches: “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8). Anyone claiming to be an apostle today who teaches anything in addition to the New Testament is clearly not an apostle of Christ!
Peter added his voice on the same subject: “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction” (2 Peter 2:1). No wonder John admonished: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1; cf. Matthew 24:11,24). In the Revelation, the church at Ephesus was commended because they “tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars” (Revelation 2:2).
Catholicism maintains that Peter was the supreme bishop, even over the other apostles, and that every pope since Peter is an apostolic successor to Peter. The pope is selected after literally hours and days of deliberation by cardinals in the Vatican. The only apostle in the Bible that was not handpicked by Christ in person was Matthias. Yet he was not selected by mere men deliberating and debating his potential. He was selected by the casting of lots—which was simply another way for Jesus to do the selecting (Acts 1:26; cf. Proverbs 16:33).
It is incredible to think that any human beings living today would presume to appoint apostles. In pinpointing the credentials of an apostle, Luke (Acts 1) made it abundantly evident that to qualify as an apostle a person would have to have seen the Lord and been an eyewitness of His resurrection. That is why Paul was careful to state: “Am I not an apostle? …Have I not seen the Lord?” (1 Corinthians 9:1, emp. added). In recounting his conversion, he quoted Ananias as having said, “The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth. For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard” (Acts 22:14-15, emp. added). What alleged modern-day apostle could make such a claim?
The New Testament also makes clear the fact that an essential characteristic of an apostle was that he had been selected by Deity. When Jesus was on Earth, He handpicked the first twelve apostles. After His departure from Earth, the disciples cast lots to select a successor to Judas. Their method allowed no input from mere humans—except in the recognition that two men possessed all the qualifications necessary to be an apostle. Casting lots allowed God to do the selecting. Divine control in the selection process by casting lots was common in Old Testament history (see Leviticus 16:8; Numbers 26:55; 33:54; 34:13; Joshua 14:2; 18:6,10; 19:51; cf. Acts 13:19; 1 Samuel 14:42; Nehemiah 10:34; Psalm 16:5). Solomon claimed: “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord” (Proverbs 16:33). Indeed, Peter’s prayer on the occasion shows that the decision already had been made by the Lord before the actual casting of lots: “…show which of these two You have chosen” (Acts 1:24, emp. added). The summary statement regarding Matthias—“he was numbered with the eleven apostles” (Acts 1:26; cf. Matthew 28:16; Mark 16:14; Luke 24:33)—gives way to a return to the expression “the twelve” (Acts 6:2; cf. Acts 2:14). The text states: “You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen to take part in this ministry and apostleship” (Acts 1:24-25). Paul also was handpicked by Jesus—to be a “chosen vessel” (Acts 9:15). No human being on Earth today can claim he has been personally singled out and chosen by Jesus to be an apostle.
A third proof that no apostles exist on Earth today is the fact that New Testament apostles were empowered by God—not only to perform miracles—but also to convey miraculous power to other people who then could work miracles themselves. This characteristic is demonstrated in detailed fashion in Acts: “Now when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money” (Acts 8:18). The issue of modern-day apostles may be settled very quickly! To authenticate their claim to be apostles, they must be able both to perform miracles as well as confer miraculous power to others. The apostles of Jesus in the New Testament demonstrated their apostolic status without hesitation. Anyone today who claims to be an apostle should be willing to do the same. No such ability exists today.
ORIGINAL APOSTLES WERE SUFFICIENTA fascinating passage in the New Testament sheds further light upon this notion of modern-day apostles. That passage is Matthew 19:28. There Jesus informed Peter and the other apostles: “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” A related passage is Luke 22:29-30 which says, “And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as my Father bestowed one upon Me, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
These verses are Christ’s figurative declarations describing the role of the twelve apostles in the establishment of the church and the dissemination of the gospel proclamation (cf. Bales, 1957, pp. 187-223). The “regeneration” refers to the Christian era, which began at Pentecost, during which time spiritual regeneration became possible through the blood of Christ (Titus 3:5). It is an equivalent expression with the “time of reformation” (Hebrews 9:10). The throne of Christ’s glory refers to His present location at the right hand of God (Acts 2:34-36; Ephesians 1:20; 1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 1:13; 8:1; 10:12-13). The “judging” done by the apostles refers to the rule that the apostles exerted while they were on Earth, setting in place the features of New Testament Christianity (Matthew 16:19; John 20:22-23). The “twelve thrones” refers to their complete authority from Christ to implement Christ’s will until the end of time—which they presently do today through their authoritative writings—found only in the New Testament. The “twelve tribes” is a figurative way to refer to the church—the spiritual Israel (Galatians 6:16; James 1:1; cf. Romans 2:28-30; Galatians 3:29).
Neither Christ nor the original apostles needs successors or representatives on Earth today. They continue to rule and reign over the kingdom through the work that they achieved in the first century, and that is preserved for all in the New Testament. Christ is now on His throne ruling and reigning. The apostles also are on the thrones assigned to them by Christ. To suggest that the apostles have modern-day successors is to discount and discredit the current rule of the apostles. Neither Christ nor the apostles has abdicated their authority or their current rule to any humans on Earth.
Additionally, the fact that Jesus declared that all twelve apostles would occupy thrones in the kingdom proves that Peter had no greater authority than the other apostles. The apostles were equal in their reception and wielding of the authority delegated to them by Christ. Yet the Catholic Church claims that the immediate successors to Peter were Linus (from A.D. 67 to 79), Cletus (from A.D. 79 to 91) and Clement (from A.D. 91 to 100). They agree that the apostle John would have still been alive throughout this period (see G.C. Brewer’s discussion as quoted in Bales, pp. 208-210). The doctrine of the primacy of Peter means that the first three of the alleged successors of Peter would have exercised authority over the still-living apostle John—who had been handpicked by Christ Himself! The very John whom Jesus placed on one of the twelve thrones would have been under the authority, knowledge, and power of three popes who had not been selected to be among the original Twelve! (see also Hayden, pp. 22-33). Hayden aptly summarized the New Testament position regarding modern-day apostles:
The thirteen apostles chosen, ordained and endowed by the newly crowned Messiah faithfully and fully executed their commission. When they entered into everlasting rest, the church was established, with all needful ministries to edify, extend and perpetuate it throughout all coming centuries. Then the extraordinary, which was necessary to found a new institution, was succeeded by the ordinary, which is sufficient to teach, regulate and govern the subjects of Christ’s kingdom according to the laws that went forth from Jerusalem. The revelation of God was completed. The word of faith is henceforth nigh every believer, even in his mouth and in his heart. The apostolic office ceased, and evangelists and pastors became the permanent teachers and superintendents of the church (pp. 33-34).
REFERENCESArndt, William and F.W. Gingrich (1957), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press).
Bales, James (1957), The Kingdom: Prophesied and Established (Austin, TX: Firm Foundation).
Hayden, W.L. (1894), Church Polity (Kansas City, MO: Old Paths Book Club).
Miller, Dave (1996), Piloting the Strait (Pulaski, TN: Sain Publications).
Miller, Dave (2003), “Modern-day Miracles, Tongue-Speaking, and Holy Spirit Baptism: A Refutation—Extended Version,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2569.
Thayer, Joseph H. (1901), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1977 reprint).