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Home arrow Griffin's History arrow Comments on Revelation, Vol 1-Preface
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Written by J.H. Fisher   


 
TREATISE on the Book of Revelation

FIRST EDITION
1928

  
INTRODUCTORY

For many years, my mind has had constant calls to the things in the Book of Revelation, as written by the Apostle John. I have not been fully able to decide why I should have this great interest. It has been my hope and desire that it was of the Lord. Some one might say, "You better look after the more practical things." Well, that is just why I feel to encourage this study, because it brings us face to face with the practical things, such as God's holy judgments, the simplicity of the dear old church that Jesus built and died for. This shows me His most intense interest in this church. He has ordained that she shall be clothed with the choice beauties and riches of heaven.

"I love thy kingdom, Lord,
The house of Thine abode,
The church the blest redeemer saved,
With His own precious blood."

The little delicate woman called the Bride, the Lamb's wife, is the sweetest thing in time, and though delicate as a baby, and frail as a leaf, yet when strengthened by abiding faith in her loving, faithful omnipotent Husband, she can look the beast in the face with holy firmness and say to all his threats or flatteries--

"I loathe ye in my bosom,
I scorn you with mine eye,
I will taunt you with my latest breath,
And fight you till I die.
I will never ask you quarter,
I will never be your slave,
But I will swim the sea of slaughter,
Till I sink beneath the wave."

I want to glorify Christ in the church, and praise Him in the church, and use only the blessed sweet furniture that the mighty King has provided for His Queen. Close beside the blessed and beloved Son will you find his wife, and if we are to find her we must be sure that we find him first.

Babylon--Nebuchadnezzar.

"And having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it"-1 COR 2: 15. This great worldly king was the head or the first of the four great wicked heathen kings of ancient day, 604 years before Christ. There were four great worldly powers that came up before Jesus came and set up the kingdom of heaven, and these four powers were seen in a dream by this Nebuchadnezzar, and was interpreted by the Prophet Daniel That image was of metal and was mentioned in four distinct parts. This Nebuchadnezzar kingdom was the first part. Now we need to know this in order to enter into the study of the beasts of the Book of Revelation.

The first part of that terrible image or the head of the man was of gold; the second part, of silver; the third part, of brass, and the fourth, of iron. Again, this image is explained by Daniel as, first Babylon; second, Medes and Persians; third, Grecian; fourth, Roman empire.

Many figures of the kingdom of Jesus Christ are seen in the Old Testament, but the figure is not the real thing it self. There were many figures of Jesus over there, but the Son of God--son of Mary--was not over there, only in Spirit. Some students try to say that Jesus set up an invisible kingdom. That is a perversion of the use of figures, and flatly contradicts the facts, and would dethrone the very evidences of the royal kingdom of heaven. Daniel, the dear old truthful prophet of God, said, "In the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which Shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever."--Dan. 2:44. This kingdom was to be different from each and all that went before it, and was an additional kingdom, and therefore a fifth kingdom in addition to the four that went before. This Nebuchadnezzar kingdom was the first of the four worldly powers, and they are of the world, and show the wisdom and power of man, in his carnal state. Let us take an invoice of these four worldly kingdoms.

"All flesh is as grass, and the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away. But the word of the Lord endureth forever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you." Now all the great works of men that are wrought in the wisdom and purpose of men must fall to the earth.

These kingdoms of men show much work, labor and toil; and we see that they built fine works of art, and great cities, and had trained armies, and performed some of the most strange and surprising works; and some of these men made the people think that they were equal to the greatest God, for they claimed to do miracles. They taught the people that they were gods, and that they could punish or bless the people after death. Their kingdoms were full of darkness and lies. This Nebuchadnezzar brought his armies against the people of Israel, and overcame them, because God had forsaken them.

God forsook the Jews because they would not keep His laws, and forgot His mercies and went after other gods that had no power nor ability to do anything for the people; and therefore God suffered them to be taken by this wicked king. The Jews were full of presumption, like some of God's people are today. They presumed that God would have mercy on them, like He did in the days of David; and they still pre sumed that God would provide for them, even in the midst of their idolatry. How can God's people that are full of serf-esteem feel like God must take care of them, although they are-ready to persecute and rail on the dear servants of God that are going on treating them kindly? "Be not de ceived, for God is not mocked." David said, "Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins: let them not have dominion over me; then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the GREAT TRANSGRESSION." You will generally find some pet idol with the fellow that is full of bitter persecution and non-forbearance. But the kingdoms of this world are to have some power over God's children that run after the world. Beware!

Medes and Persians, Grecian Empire.

The Medes and the Persians were the second part of that terrible image that Nebuchadnezzar saw, and that Daniel interpreted. It was the second division of the man image, arms and breast. This was of silver. One arm represented the Medes and the other arm represented the Persians. They united and then overthrew the Nebuchadnezzar, or Babylonian government, as it was properly called. God's children go into Babylon when they mix up the truth with idolatry.

Daniel and the three Hebrew children flourished under the Medes and Persians as they did under the Babylonian kingdom. The three children were cast into a hot, fiery furnace; but were delivered from it by the presence of the Son of God. Under this second kingdom Daniel was cast into the den of lions as a persecution against him, because he obeyed and prayed to his God, which was the God of his former people. Daniel saw a vision this silver kingdom as a ram with two horns: Then he saw a terrible goat with a notable horn between his eyes, coming at the ram, and did run to him and destroyed him and stamped upon him. This rough goat was the first king of Grecia, or rather, Alexander the Great. The boys have read about Alexander the Great that never was defeated in battle? This was a strange man. He died about the same age that Jesus died--about thirty-three or thirty-two years old. He was hailed as a god, and had statues built to worship him. After he died from a drunken revel, his kingdom gradually weakened and began to go down. Alexander took the kingdom from the Medes and Persians in the year 334 BC The Roman Empire began to show up about 200 BC This great world power did not gain much authority till the Caesars came to the throne. Julius Caesar was the greatest of all the great rulers of Rome, and the later rulers desired to be called Caesar. His nephew took the kingdom after Julius was assassinated in the senate chamber. This nephew was named Augustus Caesar. He reigned till old age. He had a most glorious reign, and it was called the age of peace. Jesus Christ was born during the reign of Augustus. There were no wars in his reign.

Jesus Christ came into the World to redeem His people and to set up and build His kingdom. He did not set it up like these other kings set up their kingdoms. He did kill His enemies, but always made this enemy alive and turned him to be a friend, as He did Saul of Tarsus. He did not take all the territory He could, but chose a little few that were weak, that the power might be seen to be in Him, and not in the subjects of this kingdom. He was not born in a royal palace, as worldly kings are, but born in a manger among the stock. He came of poor parentage; but was born a Jew. He was a descendant of Abraham. Jesus Christ waged a terrible war in the setting up of His kingdom. "Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels." As Jesus set up His kingdom He cast everything out of the territory where He had appointed for His reign and kingdom. This is the fifth kingdom. It was to stand forever, and was not left to other people. The reflex influence from this kingdom was to break in pieces and consume all these that went before it, in as much as each of, the other four overcame the one that went before it. Not that He was to instantly destroy all temporal governments, as the Advent people explain this Scripture.

This kingdom that Jesus set up is the most wonderful, charming, blessed thing that has ever come to earth except Himself. It is compared to a bride, a wife, field, garden house, temple, sanctuary, vineyard, candlestick, flock and many other beautiful things that are intended to symbolize the rich and holy perfection of the Son of God, Jesus is first, and the church is next, We should see Jesus in some sense before we are to see His wife. Jesus is the first and the last, the "alpha and the omega."
When we see Jesus we fall dead at His feet, but when He touches us and lets us see His bride, we are transformed, and filled with the sweetest of joy, and see her "as fair as the moon, as clear as the sun, and as terrible as an army with banners." This is so because she is the beloved wife of the eternal perfect Husband, who is all the fullness of the God head bodily. Let me see His smiling face in peace and the whole world is turned into a paradise of delightful praise.
Roman Empire.

"Charles the Great in 789 issued the first law in Europe for baptizing infants."--Orchard; Craig, p. 288.
"In 1644 Massachusetts passed a law banishing all who opposed infant baptism." Armitage, page 302; Craig, P. 288.
God set up a government under Moses and left it with the people. When Moses went out, that government went to destruction to the extent that the government was left to the people. But in Daniel 2:44 we read that the true antitypical kingdom is not to be left to other people. That was the only temporal government that the God of heaven ever authorized or aided in starting. In this church and state were united. But in the gospel kingdom Jesus set up a mountain that was above and higher than all the greatest institutions that either God or man had ever started. "The mountain of the Lord's house was established in the top of the mountains."

Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world." All temporal governments are of this world-even the United States. So the New Testament kingdom is indeed the kingdom of heaven--not a kingdom of heaven. The Jewish kingdom, at its best, is only a figure, a symbol, a picture, a type of this true kingdom, which is not a type of anything. Jesus was not a figure or a type, but the substance, and the answer to all figures as to creation, redemption, salvation, and is therefore King sad Ruler.
Next to Jesus, in the Bible, we look for His church in one sense, the church includes all that were-chosen in the eternal covenant of grace. But the church usually means the organic institution that Jesus set up in answer to all the fig ures of the kingdom, such as the tabernacle, the temple, Sarah, Eve, Rebekah, Rachel, Ruth, and also the ceremonial covenant of Moses and Aaron. Jesus, who is greater than Solomon, built the true temple. Jesus, who is greater than Moses, set up the true covenant, and is the answer to all the offerings in the old Covenant.
Now I am saying this in order to get my readers to traveling with me in my definitions. If you agree with me on these definitions we will be together when I speak of Christ or the church. The church does not save sinners, but Jesus saves sinners.

Our God has never had any controversy against civil gov ernment as such, only as it persecuted His Church, or ministers. Whenever this thing takes place in either the Old Testament or the New Testament, the Lord by His perfect foreknowledge has them already foreshown as bad, fierce beasts. These beasts are used to represent temporal govern ment, without a single doubt, on this plain simple point.

Now we will read: Daniel spoke and said, "I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of heaven strove upon the great sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from the other. The first was like a lion," (Nebuchadnezzar), "and had eagle's wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man; and a man's heart was given it." This was the Babylonian government that persecuted and overthrew the Jew's government. God con denses history by using these beasts to represent them, and much is thus to be said in little.

"And, behold, another beast, a second, like to the bear," (Medes and Persians), "and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it, between the teeth of it; and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh. After this I beheld, and lo, another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads, and dominion was given to it." This was Alexander the Great at the head of the Grecian Empire.
After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly, and it  had great iron teeth:. it devoured and broke in pieces, and  stamped the residue with the feet of it; it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.,, --Dan. 7:3-7.

This last is, without doubt, the great iron kingdom, the Roman Empire. Here now are four beasts that were ex plained by the angel to Daniel. "These great beasts which are four, are four kings which shall rise out of the earth."--Daniel 7:17. This settles it that the beasts represent corrupt gov ernments. "The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth."--Dan. 7:23. Here now it is settled beyond all question that these terrible beasts stand for kingdoms of men that are to rise out of the earth and were to be wicked in their nature and should persecute the saints and rule over them by wicked devices.
So again when we come to the Book of Revelation, these beasts are corrupt, worldly powers that are to fight against each other, and rule over the saints, and do all they can to stop the true worship of God and overthrow the kingdom of Christ. But they can not overthrow His kingdom; it is able, by the power of God, to run up stream against the power of man; even the gates of hell shall never prevail against it. "God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God shall help her, and that right early."

These beasts of Revelation are simply temporal govern ments that were foreseen by the old Prophet John, that con denses the lines of history for us so we can see it in its working, and nature, and extent. The Book of Revelation is a condensed history, first, of the wicked governments of earth, and of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, that was to go on in the midst of opposition and gain the victory in spite of the opposition. J. H. Fisher.
 

Last Updated ( Thursday, 02 November 2006 )
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