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Written by J.H. Fisher   

 

Chapter III—Two Stages Set

The first stage that I am to look at is laid down in the 4th chapter of Revelation. Let us read it carefully.

 "After this I looked, and behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which much be hereafter.  And immediately I was in the spirit: and behold, a throne was set in heaven, (not around God's eternal throne), and one sat on the throne."

This is no doubt intended to represent God, who is the first character to be seen in the three fold Godhead. 3. "And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper or sardine stone: and there was a rainbow around about the throne, in sight like unto and emerald."

There is no question but that this One on the throne is the eternal God. That is it is put there to represent God, the Father. Notice that he was to look upon like a jasper or sardine stone. What is a Jasper stone? Supposed to be the finest diamond or some very costly stone. In the making of the girdle of the Urim and Thummim, as a kind of breastplate for Aaron the priest, the first of the twelve stones was called a Sardius, and the last one was called a Jasper, these were the most costly stones known to the Jews, and in this figure he says that this one on the central throne was to look upon like a Jasper stone or Sardine stone. This is a very fit emblem of God, in His eternal purity and holiness, and power.

What is this rainbow? It is like an Emerald. What is an Emerald ? It is a precious stone of green color. I quote from Smith's dictionary. Green is the color of the growing grass, and means flourishing, immature, promising.

God showed Noah a rainbow to represent his promise to him, against utter destruction in that which was now coming forth. As God unrolls his providence, he places in the background, his rainbow of promise that he will not utterly destroy, but will save and protect and bless.

"And round about the throne were four and twenty seats and on the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold." Who are these twenty-four elders? They represent the witnesses of Jehovah in all ages, connecting the New Testament ministry with the old prophets, and lapping and linking together that chain of testimony that has not and never will leave the earth till all the work of God is finished indeed upon the earth. The old and the new thus laps over and together, so that these that are first, are also the last. The twelve Apostles were the last in Jewish covenant and the first in the new dispensation, like as Jesus was also the first and the last. He was the last in the old and the first in the new. They had crowns on their heads. So Paul was to have a crown, and so was all the true ministers when the chief Shepherd appears.

5. "And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God." There we find direct interpretation, these seven lamps represent the seven fold spiritual work that God will do in this universe. Notice these seven Spirits were to go into all the earth. And they will bring an olive leaf, which shows that his word does not return unto him void, but prospers in the thing whereunto he sent it. These are seven, complete, full, all, prospers in the thing whereunto they were sent. Brings back the children of God without the loss of one. But the raven never did come back. He was a destroyer.

What was these lightnings, thunderings, voices? This represents God's wrath against Sin that dragged down those characters that the seven Spirits did go after. At Mount Sinai, the thunderings of God's mighty power was to show the terrible wrath of God against sin in all its forms and power.

6. "And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal. What is this sea of glass? It is the righteousness that is in God that is yet to be brought forth in Christ, but we do not yet see Christ, for we have not yet reached the figures of redemption. In the fifteenth chapter of this rich Revelation there is a sea of glass mingled with fire. Because as we have not reached redemption, the chastening fire is not yet seen.

"And in the midst of the throne, and round about the: throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind." What are these four beasts? Elder Hassell says that the Greek word Zion here, should have been translated living things, and Wilson says, living ones. It is a very different Greek word to that Greek word from which the beast of the thirteenth chapter comes. In that place, the Greek word is therein, which means wild beasts or monsters. This also agrees with Mr. Wilson. These here shows to be proper beasts for they praise God in some sense as we will see presently.

7. The first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth was like a flying eagle.

8. "And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within; and they rested not day and night, saying, Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord, God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.

What are these beasts that are so mysterious? Some say the preachers. But we have that in the elders. And the beasts are a lower order in this figure. There are just two orders of things in one sense of God's great creation. Natural creation, and spiritual creation. To my mind this first stage sets forth natural creation and the next chapter sets forth spiritual creation. Each stage is to bring praises and honor to his great and perfect name, because it is due him. These four beasts are to declare the holiness of God both day and night. This to my mind represents God's great fourfold natural creation, commencing with the first which is the creation of heaven and earth. "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." Gen. 1:1.

1. First then we see that this is what might be called the Mineral kingdom. This includes the rock, the ocean, the water, the sand and all inanimate matter. Also the air, sun, moon, stars.

2. The second part of God's creation is the seed placed in the soil to produce growth, this is the vegetable kingdom, and in this we see the grass for the stock spring forth, also the wheat and the corn, and all cereal food for man and the beasts of the field.

Think of the amount of food that has come from the earth. How many bushels of wheat has been taken from the bowels of the earth? Think how much grass and hay that cattle and herds have consumed upon the earth. In this same realm think of the trees that have grown upon the earth, houses built from them, and the ships, and the amount of wood that is burnt in one winter. Then how much wood from the entire earth since God made man upon it. God first created the earth and water, and then made a seed and from this combination, there has come all the vegetable growth on the face of the whole earth. There was very little mesquite timber in Texas when I was a boy, but now there are thousands of acres covered with it.

3. Now we will rise another step higher, and come to the creation of the animal life which is higher than the vegetable life. Who can explain life? Yet it is a force with all nature to give glory to God to whom belongeth all the glory and honor. "God created great whales and every living creature that moveth." Think of the cattle that is above the grass and the springs of water in the valleys, which run among the hills." How many animals have been on the earth since God made the animals? The lions, tigers, elephants, the cattle by the thousands of head. How did they live after they came on this stage of action?  They lived on the other two lower kingdoms, the vegetable and the mineral. They ate this grass of the vegetable kingdom, and drank this water of the mineral kingdom. How many lambs, goats, cattle, fowls, fishes have been consumed upon the earth since this man and other animals began to eat? See the wisdom of God in the adaptation of the two lower kingdoms to the needs of this kingdom. Each lower kingdom is adapted to the supply of the one above it. The one below can not reach up to the kingdom above it, but the one above reaches down to the one below it.

The grass seed draws up the moisture and begins to swell, and to grow up as the wisdom of God has taught it to thus do to give glory to God to whom belongeth all the glory and wisdom and deep intelligence of Jehovah. God has intended that it shall exhibit his deep wisdom. So, the grass can not act in rising to the higher realm above it, yet the higher acts on the lower. The cow acts on the grass to raise it up to higher level.

4. But now I must rise one step higher and show another realm of God's creation. "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." God made this last like an eagle as to height, far above all the other three realms. This is the human kingdom. This makes four departments of natural creation. 1. The mineral kingdom. 2. The vegetable kingdom. 3. The animal brute creation. 4. The human kingdom or mankind.

There is a marked difference in each kingdom that gives it a distinction from the others either above or below. This man has authority over all the others, and is qualified to rule over them in a measure, by the fact of REASON. This quality is not found in either of the others. Thus God placed man over the work of his hand. Let us review. "When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man that thou visitist him?

"For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and has crowned him with glory and honor." "Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: "All sheep and oxen, yea and the beasts of the field; "The fowls of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the sea "O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth." Ps. 8. Yes, all the earth, not in part of it. It must all give Him praise. And it does and is crying out in its realm and way saying, both day and night, holy, holy, holy art thou Lord God Almighty. Let me further prove that all this combined host of natural creation is constantly giving God glory and praise.

"The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth his handy work." "Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge." "There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. "Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun." Now this says through all the earth, and also says to the end of the world. So I take it that God's four fold creation is declaring his praise and honor, everywhere, both day and night.

The sighing of the winds, the lowing of the ox, the rising sun, the flash of lightning, the movements of the ants, the singing birds, the bursting and rolling of the waves of the ocean show some manner in each realm by which is seen and heard the heavens and earth giving God the praise that belongeth unto him. If we had an open eye in its fullest measure we with the same eye within and without, could see God in the twig as it grows, in the water as it flows, in the sun as it shines, in the instinct of the bird as it builds the nest for the little coming egg, in the strange waters that fall out of the sky, in multitudes of life that fills the ocean, with its mighty monsters larger than any land animals, in the mighty cyclone, the terrible earthquake that tears up earth and destroys cities, in the bringing in of a flood of waters to cover the whole earth and still the earth abides forever, in the little tender sprout that yet grows to make the hardest wood to build the titanic ships, in the air that travels, in the steam that condenses, in the smoke that rises, and the rock that sinks in the water, in the clouds that sail over our heads, in the mighty depths of the ocean for thousands of miles covering more earth by three times than is upon the land, in the sun whose circuit is under the whole heavens, and in the stars that can be seen at night, and the lovely moon whose pale face is a double figure of the church, and the law of Moses; in seeing the mysteries that join with the saints, not by intelligence as they do, but in its sphere gives praise, glory, honor and credit to the Almighty. It never ceases, for it rolls on both day and night and has never ceased a single moment since God made it. But saints cease their praise and worship at times.

Now I will again review and give a few special reasons why I think that these four beasts represent God's natural creation.

1. Because the natural is to come before the spiritual, so this strange view comes before the one in the next chapter in which redemption and salvation is so wonderfully set forth.

2. The next reason that I will assign is, that, while God by his power made the earth, yet it is the same place on which he saves his people, and in which they first have their natural existence, then after that they receive a standing by regeneration in the spiritual realm.

3. The third reason that I will give, is that they are of a lower order than the elders (man), for they are called beasts, living ones, but not as high as the order of the elders. But not as wild beasts of destruction, and it is said to be good and very good.

4. The fourth reason that I wish to give is, that as I mentioned before, they are said to rest not day or night, saying holy, holy, holy, etc. So the great universal creation of God never ceases both day and night to declare the glory of God and to show forth his handy work.

5. Another reason that I will give is that the Psalmist says, "All thy works shall praise thee, 0 Lord; and thy saints shall bless thee." (Worship thee). The trees, the natural creation in its original realm, does not WORSHIP God, but it does PRAISE him. See Ps. 145:10.

6. Another reason that I will give is that in the last verse here of this chapter, where the elders tell us the meaning of this display, they say, "Thou art worthy O Lord, to receive glory honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." This shows beyond all doubt that this first stage setting that John beheld, was to show the mighty works of God in natural creation.

7. Now the last special reason that I want to give is that I am anxious to again emphasize the nature and fact even in its strangeness that all creation does praise God all the time both day and night. "The heavens declare it." This statement is made whether we hear the heavens declare it or not, for it says that heavens declare it. Who will dare to say that the heavens does not declare it. (The evolutionists deny it). "The firmament showeth his handy work." It may not have been shown to us but the divine record says it was shown. God saw it. "Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge." Did you hear it utter it, or was you so blind that you did not see nor hear this utterance?

We now come to this second stage, or rather the second exhibition on the same platform. We read.

"And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the back side, sealed with seven seals." This book to my mind is the book of life and providence, or the covenant of grace, sealed from the human race, because of the fact that man had sinned. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice. Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much (sad outlook), because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. And one of the elders saith unto me, weep not, behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. (Rainbow is fulfilled). Who is this lion of the tribe of Judah? Let the next verse Ill for he is not only a lion, but also a lamb. And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns, (all power), and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth." All the earth, (every atom shall praise him). And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne". The last verse in this chapter says that the beasts said Amen, and the elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever."

Here is that character in him that is called both a lion and a lamb, that is the charm and delight of the universe. He is the maker of the book of life and holds the seven chains around the covenant of grace. "Thou hast made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure, and this is all my salvation and my desire, although he make it not to grow."

This is that book sealed with the seven attributes of Jehovah for the upholding, directing, governing, disposing of all natural creation and spiritual creation.

This other first stage showed creation, and now we come to the second stage that is to show redemption. Here is this Redeemer who was not seen on that first stage, but here He is the chief character. He performs a work that nothing in the universe could do. Why so? Because he is this twofold man that was not found in heaven, neither could he be found in earth, but when the lion and the lamb nature came together, first creation and the second nature, then we find in this combination something that was never seen in heaven nor earth before. Heaven and earth came together and made this new man. "Truth shall spring out of the earth, and righteousness shall look down from heaven." Ps. 85:10. Humanity and Divinity. These two natures make up the lion and the lamb, making one man, but two natures. "Mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other."

The eternal prescience, or wisdom of God, looked out from the ancient regions of past eternity, and chose, elected, predestinated, loved, decreed, ordained to make manifest on human creatures, not only his power and wisdom, but also his mercy, love, kindness, peace, and joy, by Jesus Christ.

"Jehovah in counsel, resolved to fulfill,
The scheme from eternity, laid in his will,
A scheme too profound, for seraphs to pry,
And all for the lifting of Jesus on high."

Here is the meaning of the work of the Lion-Lamb, who though having all power in heaven and in earth, laid aside the eternal glory that he had with the Father and became a man in the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of man.

"And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in the earth, and things under the earth. That every tongue should confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Phil. 2:6-11.

This is He in whom dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. He suffered the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God. The story goes that there was once a great king that made a law that if any one was found in his garden eating his fine fruit, that both of his eyes should be put out. On the very next day his own son was found in said garden eating the king's fruit. The son was placed in the chair to have his eyes removed. One eye was taken out and just before they commenced on the second eye, the king commanded that they remove the son, and the king then had one of his own eyes removed to save the son total blindness. Thus he spared his son. But God did not spare His Son in the least. Notice how it reads: "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall he not with Him freely give us all things." Rom. 8.
No, it is not so that Jesus was spared. He gave up both eyes, both hands, both ears, mouth, head, both feet and both hands were nailed to the cross, his very body pierced till the blood flowed out, and gave up his entire being in suffering, till he called out in anguish, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"

Let us see if we can answer this question. Yes, it was because of our sins, iniquities and depravity, that the Father did forsake Him. The answer is, sin.

The enmity of the carnal mind shall never now prevent the Spirit of eternity from going into all the earth to find and bring home the heirs of mercy. None shall be forgotten or left to perish. He says, "I give unto them eternal life and they shall never perish." Here is our hope dear children, in this promise of the faithful God.

When the Lamb took the book out of the hand of him that sat on the throne, what followed?

"And they sung a new song, saying, "Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; for thou wast slain, and has redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests; and we shall reign on the earth."

Here is the Bible doctrine of redemption. Not a redemption of old Babylon and every thing on the earth, but God's chosen people seen and known in the covenant of grace, were here redeemed, out of, not that all nations and peoples were redeemed as Arminian preachers teach us, but redeemed out of every kindred, people, and tongue, and nation. This is the doctrine of the church in all ages. Yet there have been times, when it seemed that the Baptists that we trace in history, were general Baptists, that is they were called this because they held to the doctrine of a general atonement, which is not the view now held by the sound Primitive Baptists. Hast made us kings and priests. Yes, this way. The priests of the Catholic church nor any other church or preacher, can pray your sins away, but if you feel your need of grace, and have been shown that you are a sinner, you act as a priest for yourself, to pray for the forgiveness of your sins, and as our feeble prayers are answered we are not looking to a common preacher or priest to get us to heaven. Then too, God's people are kings, in that they are to reign over this old body and bring it under control. Thus they reign as priests as they crucify this old flesh.

Then it says they are to reign on the earth. Now this is so or the Bible is a hoax. God's people are right now reigning on the earth, if they bring under this old man and keep him crucified. But there is yet a greater reign spoken of, to be treated later on.

"And I beheld and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders, and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands and thousands."   What did they say?

"Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing. And every creature, (not the elect saints only) which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever."  When we reach the analysis of this however, you will see as before explained there is some difference in the praise by the beasts and the elders and angels.

 "And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever." There is a difference between praise and worship. In the chapter before on this line is seen at verse 9-10, where the beast praised him, and the elders worshipped him.

Now, I wish to say in all candor, that I hope no one will think that I in my humble ideas feel as if they carried any dictation. You have as much right to your views as I have to mine, and I only ask that I be allowed the same privilege that others take with a free people, the right to believe as I see it.

We must allow a sense of liberty to encourage freedom in research in order to reach the end to be attained in research. But I feel sure that my view does not in the least mitigate the regular fundamental principles of doctrine as held by the great body of Primitive Baptists. This idea of standing still, and leaving half of the Master's field unplowed is to me a mistake. But this book of Revelation is far too much for me, but as the great Sir Isaac Newton said, "I feel paid if I get just a little pebble, not knowing what all is yet in the ocean before us."

Now, further speaking of the four living creatures, we see that all inanimate nature, with its other parts of creation, shows that behind it there is a great Designer, Creator, Governor, Builder. "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world, are CLEARLY SEEN, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse." Rom. 1.

If we fail to see God in all creation, we have no excuse, for it is because of the blindness of sin. The grass points upward as if to say yonder is the mighty being that made us, the trees reach upward, the birds rise toward the sky as if they would approach the great Creator, and sing their beautiful songs in the echo that goes up from a thousand ocean shores, and from all heavenly bodies declaring that yonder is the mighty One that has made us and not we ourselves. Notice how this reading in the Revelation runs: "And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and ALL that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever." These all creatures were no doubt all of natural creation--repeats itself when it says: "And the four beasts said Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever." It seems to make a little distinction between the beasts that praise him and the elders that must both praise and worship him. The natural creation knows not of the spiritual worship of God, but in as much as all his works shall praise him, and creation being God's work it must praise him in some sense. But not as the children of God praise him, but yet declares his glory.

David says: "Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light. Praise him ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens, Let them praise the name of the Lord: for he commanded and they were created. He hath also established them for ever and ever: he hath made a decree, that shah not pass. Praise the Lord from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps. Fire, and hail; snow and vapor; stormy wind fulfilling his word. Mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars, Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, flying fowl. Kings of the earth, and all people, princes, and all judges of the earth, Both young men and maidens; old men and children. Let them praise the name of the Lord: for his name alone is excellent. His glory is above the earth and heaven."  Ps. 148:3-13.

This does not mean that wicked men in their wickedness praise God, but is showing how nature in its natural phase, proves the greatness of God and all natural things before and separate from sin were expressing the glory and honor of God, But God will judge all sin, and get glory in overthrowing it. This proves that we should be diligent in praising God continually. Praise him in health, in sickness, in loss as well as gain, praise him in the day and in the night, in rainy and in dry weather, in the cold, and in the heat.

Let everything that has breath praise the name of God both now and for ever and ever.

Jesus came to do what the Father had given him to do. God had made this old earth a stage for the work of Jesus, and tho handy work of God is seen in all that God created and made. Man has become a sinner, and since the Spirit comes to sinners to give them faith, they are to worship God, by faith. But this faith is not given to the natural creation, so that it does not worship God, neither does it praise him by faith, but only as an evidence like an advertisement tells of some great business, so the universe is an evidence that advertises the power, skill, and glory of the eternal God, and in our deep feelings of love and respect to Jehovah, We see these excellent qualities as expressed by the Psalmist. Each small thing in God's creation shows more of his wisdom, and deep purpose that reflects honor upon his mighty name.

The angel said to John: "come up higher," that is, if he is to see the great wonders of God. We need to be going UP. We are so low in our sins and weakness, that in order to get into the sight of the great and glorious things, we must come up higher. Come on up brethren, let us put on the whole armour of God for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. I am so poor and weak that when I would tell of the chief excellence of God, it gets away from me, and I am not able to explain half what I see. But I desire to come up higher, and get nearer to the good things of glory, I want to praise and worship him, and glorify his good name, and encourage the little ones to come on to higher things.

The low things tend to cripple me, and hobble me, and hold me back from the sweet and holy things of God.

"To thee my spirits fly,
With infinite desire;
And yet how far from thee I lie!
Dear Jesus raise me higher."

A whole extra chapter on spiritual creation would fit in here very appropriately, but we desist.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 02 November 2006 )
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The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.