THE APOCALYPSE 7
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The sealing of the servants of God-going back to the inside of the scroll.

Verse 1 - The angels hold back the four winds. These are the wind trumpets of chapter 8 - the barbarian invasions that were to destroy the Western Roman Empire centered in Rome. The barbarians were now providentially held back for a period of about 50 years, from 325 to 375 AD, so that God's servants could be sealed under these entirely new circumstances.

The establishment of Christianity, so-called, and the rise to political power about 315 AD by the victory of Constantine was a tremendous change for the true people of God. There had to be a new sorting out and a new line up-a new feeling. Up to this point, Christians, real or pretended, were all one body in the eyes of the government, whether they joined the world and took the sword and entered politics or remained faithful to the Truth.

But now there is a complete open and public cleavage. The worldly and nominal - the overwhelming majority-rise to power. The faithful brethren disassociate themselves from these and call upon all others to stand with them against the new imperial apostasy - to come out and be separate.

The true brethren are the angel from the east (verse 2) who are to seal a symbolic 144,000 out of the tribes of Israel. This is spiritual Israel, which is now apostate - now raised to political power under Constantine. The faithful must be taken out of that formerly faithful, but now corrupt, body - the Laodecean state.

The latter part of chapter 7, verses 9-17, show the final result of the sealing - not only just of this 50-year period of sealing, but the end of the whole process down through the centuries-the great multitude glorified with the lamb.

Bro Growcott - Review of the Apocalypse



The Laodicean State is parallel with the Seventh Seal from its opening to the Fall of Babylon after the appearing of "THE ANCIENT OF DAYS."

A.D. 324 to the appearing of Christ "as a thief;"


1 And AFTER THESE THINGS I saw four angels standing <at> the four corners of the earth, <restraining> the four winds of the earth, that <a> wind blow <not against> the earth, nor <against> the sea, nor <against> any tree.

...meta tauta, "after these things"...the only things that can be intended, are those recited in the sixth seal which immediately precede the chapter.

Of Things Written on the inside of the Scroll


The arena upon which the predicted operation of sealing the servants of the Deity was to be performed was "the earth and sea." The reason given why the four angels were to restrain the four winds from blowing to the injury of these, is proof of this.

The blowing of the winds upon the earth and sea, by injuring them with the tempests they were capable of exciting, would have rendered the work of sealing impossible. Greece, Italy, Britain, France, Spain, Africa, the islands and coasts of the Mediterranean, the countries of the Danube, the Rhine, and the heights and valleys of the Alps and Appenines -- these constituting the western Roman empire, were "the earth and sea" upon which the apocalyptic tempests were forbidden to blow until the work of sealing should have been complete.

At the four corners of the terrestrial of this arena, stood four angels, or restraining powers, having a certain mission to execute in favour of the inhabitants of the earth and sea. In the period of the sixth seal, the Devil had come down to them with great wrath, knowing that he had but a short time (xii. 12); but that time had passed with the termination of the seal period, A.D. 324; and now a period of tranquillity was granted them, for the sake of those who might be separated among them as the sealed ones of the Deity.

History shows us that the first "wind" began to blow upon "the earth" A.D. 396. Hence, the interval between A.D. 324 and A.D. 396, a period of three score years and twelve, must be regarded as the time allotted for the work of

"sealing the servants of the Deity in their foreheads."

...The seventy-two years of the sealing were the first seventy-two years of the seventh seal-period; and though the Laodicean Catholic Apostasy imperialized in the heaven, richly deserved all the judgments restrained by the four angels, its adherents were spared the infliction for the sake of the servants to be sealed.

... in this opening period of the Seventh Seal, judgment was restrained, not for the sake of the Laodiceans, but on account of the sealing angel's work.

Eureka 7.1

.


Sealing the servants of the Deity


2 And I saw another angel <having ascended from sun's rising>, having <a> seal of the living <Deity>: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given <for them to injure> the earth and the sea, 

The death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus are essential and indispensable elements of the faith that seals the intellects of men... reject these facts and their doctrinal signification and no such professor can be saved -- he is unsealed with the seal from a sun's rising.

Eureka 7.2.




3 Saying, < Injure ye> not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, <while that we may seal the servants of our Deity upon> their foreheads.


But, besides the four angel-powers standing at the four corners of the earth restraining the four winds thereof, John saw a fifth, or "another angel."

... having ascended from sun's rising... Having once ascended, is the force of the tense or time of anabanta. When John saw him he was up. He was not down east, and about to set out on his ascent. John ... saw him in the west -- "having ascended from sun's rising." His back was therefore towards the sun rising, and his face consequently westward. His ascending from east to west had been completed when John saw him in this scene. The phrase quoted shows this. The exact rendering of anabanta relieves us of a great difficulty.

... an ascended angel in the west. There we find one in activity who had already arrived from the east. We find him there, too, just at the right time -- the time the Woman turned her back upon the emperors and courts and fled into the western wilderness, where she had henceforth two wings of the Great Eagle -- a place which had been prepared of Deity, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days (xii. 6,14).

We find him effecting her transition from imperial sunshine, and developing her as the Mother of the Servants of the Deity being sealed in their foreheads; and thus, by the sealing, constituting them "the remnant of Her seed, who keep the commandments of the Deity, and have the testimony of the Anointed Jesus" (xii. 17). In other words, the persecuted woman and the remnant of her seed, are identical in time, place, and persons, with the sealed ones, or 144,000.

...In his address to the four angels, he commands them not to injure any thing, "while that WE may seal the servants of OUR Deity in their foreheads." Here, the "we" and the "our" are indicative of a plurality associated in the sealing operation upon the foreheads of men. The agency divinely appointed for the carrying on of this work when the apostles and their inspired colaborers should have been withdrawn from the scene, was that enjoined by Paul in 2 Tim. ii. 2, where he says to his son in the faith,

"The things which thou hast heard of me with many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men who shall be able to teach others also."

... there was extant at this time a class of true believers, or Brethren of Christ, Christadelphians, who refused to identify themselves in fellowship with those "Fellowservants," who now styled themselves the "Holy Apostolic Catholic Church;" -- a class which included the "few names," the "little strength," and the "loved, convinced, and instructed," who still lived to witness the Jews after the flesh, and the heathen humiliated, and compelled to do homage to "the Galileans."

Only twenty one years had elapsed since the beginning of the emblematic cry of the symbolic souls underneath the altar. In this sanguinary period, some of their number had been killed by the enemy; but he had not succeeded in exterminating them all. There were many survivors of the Christadelphian class, styled "the Brethren;" yet, compared with contemporary "Fellowservants," they were what would now be called "a contemptible few."

But few and contemptible as they may have been in the judgment of "the Synagogue of the Satan who say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie," they were the enlightened few, beloved, convinced and instructed by the Lamb.

They were those of the fourth century who had responded to the counsel of the Spirit in Apoc. iii. 18-20. They had bought of Him "gold tried in the fire," that they might be "rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom" promised in verse 21: they had bought of Him also, 

"white raiment that they might be clothed, and that the shame of their nakedness appear not;" and they had "anointed their eyes with eye salve, that they might see."

The effort made in the Diocletian and Galerian persecution of the fifth seal period to destroy every copy of the Holy Scriptures that could be found, while it failed, served to endear these writings to the faithful, and to stir them up to a more diligent study of their contents.

Eureka 7.2.



There was, then, in this sealing period, a class of men "completely fitted" by scripture study, for the "good work" of sealing those of their contemporaries who were teachable. They were Paul's "faithful men, able to teach others;" and who in this crisis of Laodiceanism, heard the voice of the Spirit, who had come into them, and supped with them, and they with Him (iii. 20).

...They are devoted students of the scriptures themselves, and earnest in their endeavors to induce all within the sphere of their influence to study them also; and to enable them to understand them that they may believe and obey the truth.

Eureka 7.2.



The Laodicean State


Thus, the Church having lost sight of the faith; having transmuted baptism of believing adults into rhantism of unconscious babes; and substituted priestism for the word; she was repudiated by the Spirit as an unbaptized apostate, "wretched, and pitiable, and poor, and blind, and naked."

As, therefore, she was no longer competent to teach "the words of eternal life;" and that He might still have a light in the world -- a "name" and a "tabernacle," in which heavenly place his sealed ones might dwell (Apoc. xiii. 6); and that an enlightened agency might be organized for the developing from succeeding ages and generations those, "whose names had been written (gegrammenoi) in the book of life" -- He stirred up faithful men to an active and energetic testimony against "the Church," who unveiled its imbecility and folly; and showed their contemporaries of the fourth century a more excellent way.

They went forth mighty in the word with their faces westward, convincing and converting catholics from the error of their superstition; teaching them "the things concerning the kingdom of the Deity, and the name of Jesus Christ;" and then immersing the taught "both men and women" (Acts viii. 12).

Thus, many Laodiceans bought gold tried in the fire, and white raiment, and anointed their eyes with eyesalve, and became rich, clothed, and seeing; they heard the voice of the spirit in having the word preached, and opened to them, and "he dwelt in their hearts by faith" (Eph. iii. 17); and thus, with this potent seal, they were sealed in their foreheads as the servants of the Deity to the number, symbolically expressed, of "144,000 of all the tribes of the sons of Israel."

Between "the Church," then, and the Ecclesia, an antagonism was established by the sealing, direct, uncompromising, and irreconcilable, on all points of faith, practice, discipline and policy, which has continued to this day; and will continue till "the Church" is abolished by the Ecclesia; and the homage of emancipated and enlightened nations be willingly and joyfully given to Jesus and the sealed.


Eureka 7.3.



In proportion as these Sons of Israel [the fellowservants] enjoyed any intervals of exemption from persecution, they became more litigious in their tempers, and more worldly minded. But now that the restraint was entirely removed by Constantine, the churches endowed, and riches and honours profusely heaped upon the clergy; when he authorized them to sit as judges upon the consciences and faith of others, he confirmed them in the spirit of this world -- the spirit of pride, avarice, domination, and ambition.

Eureka 7.4.



144 000 Sealed

John says: "I heard the number of them who had been sealed;" and then informs us that the number amounted to 144,000. As we are expounding a revelation hieroglyphically communicated, we must not suppose that this is the literal number of the sealed. Like all other numbers in the apocalypse, it is symbolical or representative; and subject to the like rule for its interpretation. They do not represent less numbers than themselves, but more. This remark, however, does not include the thousand years, which is the numerical symbol representative of "the Day of Christ," comprised between the binding of the Dragon, and his release for a little season.

The 144,000 represent the whole number of the redeemed. This appears from ch. xiv. 3, where they are styled hoi egorasmenoi, "the redeemed" (or those acquired by the Lamb by a ransom or price paid, his blood) "from the earth." The real, or exact, number of the "redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish, and without spot" (1 Pet. i. 18,19), we are told in Apoc. vii. 9, is "a great multitude which no man could number."

Abraham was invited to number the stars, if he were able, which, of course, he was not able to do; upon which he was told, "So shall thy seed be" (Gen. xv. 5). Paul tells us, we are Abraham's seed, if we be Christ's; otherwise, we are not; and in Rom. iv. 18, informs us, that the promise embraces whole nations of mankind, which, in the day of Christ, when he dwells in the midst of Zion, will "be joined to Yahweh and be his people" (Zech. ii. 11; Apoc. xv. 4).

The number of the redeemed, saved, or sealed, it is impossible for any but the Deity to define. He has chosen to be reticent upon this point -- to conceal it by saying nothing about it, further than to let us know that no man can count them.

It is clear, then, that 144,000 is only a definite number representative of a much larger multitude, which the Deity himself alone can define to a man; for

"known unto him are all his works from the beginning of the world"

or aion (Acts xv. 18) and every redeemed man is one of his works, as saith Paul,

"we are his workmanship" (Eph. ii. 10).

...The holy root of the Good Olive Tree is 12; which, when multiplied into itself, produces 144, thousands, furlongs, or cubits, as the number or mensuration may be in the premises.

Eureka 7.5.



4 And I heard the number of them <who had been> sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four <thousands having been sealed out of every tribe of Israel's sons.>

5. <From Judah's tribe, twelve thousands having been sealed; from Reuben's tribe, twelve thousands having been sealed; from Gad's tribe, twelve thousands having been sealed;>

"Israelites indeed in whom there is no guile" See Eureka 7.4 note Ex 12:38



Had it not been for the sealing of the 144,000, at the period under consideration, real christianity would have soon become extinct. But by this divine interposition, the Ecclesia was extricated from her great peril; and enabled to maintain a testimony for the truth for many ages after. 

Eureka 7.3.



In Romans 11, Paul, speaking to the Gentile element of Israel, exhorts them not to boast against the branches of the good olive tree, broken off because of unbelief in the word of the kingdom; and adds,

"Thou standest by faith; be not highminded, but fear: for if the Deity spared not the natural branches" of the good tree, "take heed lest he also spare not thee."

The goodness of Deity had been manifested to the pagan Gentiles in inviting them to fellow-citizenship with those Israelites who had already become Christians in offering them repentance and remission of sins, and a right to incorruptibility and life in the kingdom of Christ and of the Deity, on the same terms. It was, nevertheless, possible to place themselves in a position such as the Jews were in at the time of the breaking off by the Roman power. They had become faithless, and were broken off in consequence.

If the New Israelites by adoption through Jesus, became faithless of the Word, the same fate awaited them; for they only stood in the favour of Deity by faith. Therefore, Paul adds,

"if thou continue not in his goodness, THOU ALSO SHALT BE CUT OFF."

The "goodness" he refers to is, the exhibition of the goodness of the Deity set forth in the gospel of the kingdom, the belief of which "leads to repentance." We have seen that they did not continue in his goodness, but had turned their backs upon it, and bartered off faith in that goodness for irrational sacramentalism, and the wealth and honour of the state. The gospel, which is the "Deity's power for salvation," had no power over them. They had failed to continue "to stand" in it, and to hold fast to it, or keep it in mind.


...But, there were many centuries and generations to come and pass away before

"the Mystery of the Deity should be finished, as he had declared the glad tidings to his servants the prophets" (Apoc. x. 7);

and he did not intend in breaking off the unbelieving tribes of Israel's sons, to leave himself without witnesses and a testimony against Lo-ammi the Apostate. For this reason, the symbolic sealing angel proclaimed an arrest of judgment, that time might be afforded for taking out from the apostate tribes a "REMNANT," which would be more and longer faithful to the commandments of the Deity, and the testimony of Jesus Christ (Apoc. xii. 17).

To afford scope for this, he said to the four angel-powers, standing ready for the work of judgment at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds,

"Injure ye not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, while we may seal the servants of our Deity in their foreheads." 

This sealing work accomplished, and there would be no cause for longer restraint upon the howling, and sweeping, and uprooting tempests, which were to signalize the breaking off of the decayed and sapless branch apocalyptically styled the tribes of Israel's sons.

The judicial visitations of the first six seals were against the worshippers of the gods; while the more terrible judgments of the trumpets and vials, and thunders, were and are the indignation and wrath of the Lamb upon the apostate symbolical "tribes of Israel's sons," repudiated by the Spirit as "men of corrupt minds, reprobate, or of no judgment, concerning the faith," and therefore no longer the people of the Lord.

Eureka 7.4.



144 000 Sealed

John says: "I heard the number of them who had been sealed;" and then informs us that the number amounted to 144,000. As we are expounding a revelation hieroglyphically communicated, we must not suppose that this is the literal number of the sealed. Like all other numbers in the apocalypse, it is symbolical or representative; and subject to the like rule for its interpretation. They do not represent less numbers than themselves, but more. This remark, however, does not include the thousand years, which is the numerical symbol representative of "the Day of Christ," comprised between the binding of the Dragon, and his release for a little season.

The 144,000 represent the whole number of the redeemed. This appears from ch. xiv. 3, where they are styled hoi egorasmenoi, "the redeemed" (or those acquired by the Lamb by a ransom or price paid, his blood) "from the earth." The real, or exact, number of the "redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish, and without spot" (1 Pet. i. 18,19), we are told in Apoc. vii. 9, is "a great multitude which no man could number."

Abraham was invited to number the stars, if he were able, which, of course, he was not able to do; upon which he was told, "So shall thy seed be" (Gen. xv. 5). Paul tells us, we are Abraham's seed, if we be Christ's; otherwise, we are not; and in Rom. iv. 18, informs us, that the promise embraces whole nations of mankind, which, in the day of Christ, when he dwells in the midst of Zion, will "be joined to Yahweh and be his people" (Zech. ii. 11; Apoc. xv. 4).

The number of the redeemed, saved, or sealed, it is impossible for any but the Deity to define. He has chosen to be reticent upon this point -- to conceal it by saying nothing about it, further than to let us know that no man can count them.

It is clear, then, that 144,000 is only a definite number representative of a much larger multitude, which the Deity himself alone can define to a man; for

"known unto him are all his works from the beginning of the world"

or aion (Acts xv. 18) and every redeemed man is one of his works, as saith Paul,

"we are his workmanship" (Eph. ii. 10).

...The holy root of the Good Olive Tree is 12; which, when multiplied into itself, produces 144, thousands, furlongs, or cubits, as the number or mensuration may be in the premises.

Eureka 7.5.



5. <From Judah's tribe, twelve thousands having been sealed; from Reuben's tribe, twelve thousands having been sealed; from Gad's tribe, twelve thousands having been sealed;>

"Israelites indeed in whom there is no guile"

The Apocalyptic Urim and Thummim

12 stoned breastplate

It may be remarked here that the Apocalyptic Urim and Thummim, or 144,000, are presented before us in two states. In the present state, in which they are being sealed, and in the future state, with the Lamb on Mount Zion (Apoc. 7 and 14). The two states are divided by the resurrection.

As the gold wire has been twined and interwoven with the blue, and the purple, and the scarlet, and fine twined linen of the Vail, as far as the Lord Jesus is concerned, the Ephod is perfected; but, in relation to his brethren, the gold is in their moral texture only as a principle -- a tried faith; but when by Spirit of holiness they are quickened, a golden thread of incorruption, as it were, will be interwoven throughout all their material substance, and they will be like Jesus, immortal.

By being born of water, then, the true believer, and only such, is even now invested with the Ephod, and a light of the Urim and the Thummim of the Square of Twelve... identify the saints as the Urim and Thummim of the foursquare of the Body of the Christ.

The Spirit by Isaiah addressing the widowed Jerusalem, which shall hereafter be married to the Elohim of the whole earth, saith,

"I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires. And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones. And all thy children shall be taught of Yahweh; and great shall be the peace of thy children" (liv. 11).

In this, the children of Jerusalem the exalted, "the Mother of us all," are compared to precious stones of fair colours, or lights, Urim, without defining the Thummim, or full number of them.

Peter styles the saints "living stones;" and all that are built upon the foundation that Jesus is the Christ, and stand firm by the truth, Paul calls "gold, and silver, and precious stones." And when he teaches, that they are citizens of the commonwealth of Israel, he says in effect, that they are Thummim, or individual elements of the precious stones, whose rootfulness of number is twelve, and its symbolical square 144,000.

Eureka 7.4



6 <from Asher's tribe, twelve thousands having been sealed; from Nephthalim's tribe, twelve thousands having been scaled; from Manasseh's tribe, twelve thousands having been sealed>;

7 < from Simeon's tribe, twelve thousands having been sealed; from Levi's tribe, twelve thousands being sealed; from Issachar's tribe, twelve thousands having been sealed; >

8 <from Zebulon's tribe, twelve thousands having been sealed; from Joseph's tribe, twelve thousands having been sealed; from Benjamin's tribe, twelve thousands having been sealed.>

The Tribes of the Apostasy


That the tribes from which "the Remnant of the Woman's Seed" was to be separated were not the tribes of Israel after the flesh, appears from the specification of them. The reader will see from the following table, that the lists enumerating and specifying their names, vary according to the speaker or writer passing them in review. Thus:

Apocalypse Ezekiel Jacob Moses

1. Judah 1. Dan 1. Reuben 1. Judah

2. Reuben 2. Asher 2. Simeon 2. Issachar

3. Gad 3. Naphtali 3. Levi 3. Zebulun

4. Asher 4. Manasseh 4. Judah 4. Reuben

5. Nepthalim 5. Ephraim 5. Zebulun 5. Simeon

6. Manasseh 6. Reuben 6. Issachar 6. Gad

7. Simeon 7. Judah 7. Dan 7. Ephraim

8. Levi 8. Benjamin 8. Gad 8. Manasseh

9. Issachar 9. Simeon 9. Asher 9. Benjamin

10. Zebulun 10. Issachar 10. Naphtali 10. Dan

11. Joseph 11. Zebulun 11. Joseph 11. Asher

12. Benjamin 12. Gad 12. Benjamin 12. Naphtali


In the apocalyptic specification Levi and Joseph are inserted, and Ephraim and Dan omitted. Ephraim and Dan are both inserted in Moses' distribution of the tribes into Four Camps. This diversity shows that two different organizations called Israel are signified; nevertheless, though diverse, yet related according to the principles I have before explained.

In the apocalyptic Israel, the tribe of Levi is not Yahweh's especial inheritance, lot, or clergy, as in the natural Israel; although, after the destruction of Jerusalem, the "Jews of the Satan's synagogue," who set up for apostles, and by the saints in Ephesus were found to be "liars," claimed to be the Lord's clergy, as at this day, in place of the natural tribe of Levi.

"Yahweh's inheritance is his people;" not a particular tribe of them. Joseph is inserted instead of Ephraim in the apocalyptic polity by which the division of the natural Israel into two nations and kingdoms under Judah and Ephraim is repudiated.

The future union of the natural Israel under Jesus and his Brethren is foreshadowed in the union of the symbolic Israel. In the regeneration, when the apostles sit on the twelve thrones of the House of David ruling the twelve tribes, there will be but one nation and kingdom in the land upon the mountains of Israel, with Yahweh's servant as their Prince for ever (Ezek. xxxvii. 15-28).

In Ezekiel xlviii, the two tribes omitted by John are inserted, because Ezekiel is treating of the allotment of the land of Israel among the natural tribes restored from their long dispersion. Levi has no allotment of territory as under the Mosaic law.

The 144,000 sealed ones being separated by the truth believed and obeyed from the apocalyptic tribes of apostate sons of Israel, become themselves exclusively the Foursquare Community, or "Israel of the Deity." They are not his kingdom, but "the Heirs" of it, through the gospel thereof they believe.

They constitute the only temple, or habitation, he has upon earth. He dwells in them, and walks in them, by the truth believed, which is his moral power, or spirit. The Spirit in Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." Hence, in the individual, or community, in which the truth dwells, the Deity dwells. It is a body anointed with the truth, and therefore the Body of the Anointed, or Christ. Being founded upon the Square Root -- upon the Root and Offspring of Israel -- it is regarded as consisting of twelve tribes, though no fleshly, territorial, or political divisions among the faithful exist; for

"they are all one in Christ Jesus."

Eureka 7.7.


Historical testimony

325 to A.D. 396

The historian Socrates informs us that Constantine, anxious for peace and desirous to procure the concord and harmony of the churches of his empire, invited Acesius, one of the Novatianist bishops, to attend the Council of Nice, A.D. 325, which he did. When the Nicene creed had been composed and subscribed by the synod, Constantine appealed to Acesius, and asked him whether he assented with them to the creed? He replied:

"The Synod has determined nothing new, my prince; for thus heretofore, even from the commencement and times of the apostles, I traditionally received the definition of the faith, and the time of celebrating Easter."

When therefore the emperor further asked him, "For what reason then do you separate yourself from communion with the rest of the church?" he related what had taken place during the persecution under Decius; and referred to the rigidness of that canon which declares, that it is right to account unworthy of participation in the divine mysteries persons who, after immersion, have committed a sin, which the sacred scriptures denominate "a sin unto death" (1 John v. 16): that they should indeed be exhorted to repentance, but were not to expect remission from priests, but from the Deity, who is alone able and has authority to forgive sins.

When Acesius had thus spoken, Constantine said to him, "Place a ladder, Acesius, and climb into heaven alone."

The Novatianists had now been before the public about seventy five years. They were very numerous, but seem to have abounded most in Rome, Constantinople and Asia Minor. Morally, they were a considerable improvement upon the adherents of the State Church, being careful to retain none among them whose characters were not reputable in the estimation of good men.

Doctrinally, however, they do not appear to have differed materially from the so-called "orthodox." Indeed their close agreement with state-churchmen in opinion concerning the Deity, and the time of observing the Passover, exempted them from persecution in common with other sects. Persecution, however, sometimes afflicted them; but it does not appear to have befallen them because of their testimony for Jesus Christ against iniquity in high places, but, because of their sympathy with the Homoousians, or Consubstantialists, who were sure to come to grief when the Arians became the guardians of the imperial conscience.

The reply of Acesius to Constantine shows a unity of faith between the Novatianist Dissenter and the National Religionist, quite incompatible with the required intelligence of an angel-sealer of the servants of Deity in their foreheads. Had Acesius, as a type of his brethren, been "sealed in his forehead," he certainly could not have assented to the Nicene Creed as a scriptural definition of "the faith" taught by the apostles, nor would he have troubled himself about the celebration of Easter.

The apostolic faith was as little comprehended by church and dissent at this crisis, as by their representatives in our day. Hence, the statement of it by the Nicene Fathers was poor and meagre in the extreme; and, as the symbol of their spiritual intelligence, justifies in a great degree the judgment of Sabinus, a bishop of the Macedonian sect contemporary with the council, who styles all that were convened there "idiots and simpletons," and "such as had no intelligence in the matter."

The historian Socrates, however, is quite restive under this opinion, and cites the declaration of Eusebius Pamphilus who was present, that "some were eminent for the word of wisdom, others for the strictness of their life; and that the Emperor Constantine himself being present, leading all into unanimity, established unity of judgment, and conformity of opinion among them."

But, with all deference to Socrates, the testimony of Pamphilus rather confirms the judgment of Sabinus; for, if the Nicenists had been truly wise in the word, it would not have required the superior wisdom of an unbaptized semi-heathen emperor to lead them into unanimity, and to establish unity and conformity among them.

Imperial sunshine had more to do with the creed than

 "the wisdom from above, which is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy" (James iii. 17): 

which Constantine to his sorrow found was by no means characteristic of the three hundred and eighteen fathers of this Council of Nice.

...one of the laity who was a man of unsophisticated understanding, and had stood the test of persecution in his confession of faith, reproved these reasoners; telling them that Christ and his apostles did not teach us the dialectic art, nor vain subtleties, but simple-mindedness which is preserved by faith and good works." This man spoke like one of the Angel-sealers, the words of truth and soberness.

Eureka 7.8.



The Donatists


Ecclesiastical historians take little notice of this terrible people, on whose account the four angels at the four corners of the habitable or Roman earth were commanded to restrain those awful tempests, which, in due time, swept the Latin world with hurricanes of wrath.

What has come down to us concerning them is derived principally from Optatus and Augustine, who wrote against them, and denounced them as schismatics and puritans. The learned Du Pin has noticed them, and, though an adversary, seems to have spoken of them without prejudice.

"Hitherto," says he, "we have only represented the Donatists as a faction that separated from the (catholic) church, without taking notice of any particular doctrine whereby they were distinguished. Indeed, they did not teach any thing that was contrary to the (apostle's) creed; but they were so rash as to affirm that all the churches everywhere which had embraced the communion of Coecilianus (bishop of Carthage) and his party, ceased to be the true churches of Jesus Christ; that thus the catholic church was only found among themselves, having ceased to exist in other parts of the world.

Besides which, being very fond of the ancient doctrine of the African Ecclesias, that immersion and the other sacraments conferred out of the ecclesia were null and void, they reimmersed such as had been immersed by the catholics, trampled upon their eucharist as a profane thing, and maintained that the consecrations, unctions, and ordinations performed by the catholics were of no avail.

They burned or scraped the altars which the latter made use of, as being polluted by impure sacrifices, and broke their (communion) cups. They looked upon the vows made in their communion as of no value; in a word, they would not communicate with them. They maintained that the ecclesia ought to be made up of just and holy men, or, at least, of those who were such in appearance; and that, although wicked men might lurk in the ecclesia, yet it should not harbor those who were known to be such."

...Behold, too, how energetic their testimony against the barren formality or sacramentalism which reigned on every side. They repudiated it as abhorrent to spiritual purity. Did a courtly bishop consecrate an altar for the exposition thereon of the bread and wine? If that piece of ecclesiastical furniture came into their possession, they regarded the thing as polluted by impure sacrifices, and either burned it as church trumpery, or, if deemed convenient as a table, they scraped it clear of all imaginary sacramental unction ere they recognized it as fit for the use of those "who worship Deity in spirit and in truth."

... when we take into account, not only their rigid discipline, but also that they were a proscribed sect, and frequently the subjects of severe and sanguinary persecution from the catholic rulers, there is good reason to conclude that we have before us in the Donatists the very people foreshadowed in the servants to be sealed.

... they urged the unscriptural nature of the alliance which had recently taken place between ecclesia and state. ..."What hath the emperor to do with the ecclesia?".


..They had learned from the scriptures that the principles of the doctrine of Christ were pure, peaceable, impartial, without hypocrisy, and full of good fruits; and that the rulers and courts of the nations were the concentrics of spiritual wickedness and political abomination; and that the overseers, or shepherds, of Christ's flock had no divine call within those circles but to reprove them.

...Constantine's son and successor Constans, also exiled Donatus and many of his brethren, whom he severely afflicted. This was the kind of treatment they experienced at the hands of "christian emperors," who smiled with the benignant and genial sunshine, irradiable only by worldrulers in the darkness of high places, upon the metaphysical and courtly episcopal sycophants, who constituted "the tail" -- the lying prophets (Isa. ix. 15) who caused the people to err; the tail of "the Serpent, who cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the Woman, that he might cause her to be carried away thereby" (Apoc. xii. 15).

Donatus and his brethren, however, were not so easily to be swept away; for the more friendly "earth helped the woman, and opening its mouth, swallowed up the flood." The enemies of the truth are not omnipotent, and rarely wise. Sooner or later retribution comes upon them; for "precious in the eyes of Yahweh is the death of his saints."

The cruelties and injustice of the Constantine Family upon the Angel-Sealers of the Deity's servants; and the blasphemies of their catholic parasites, returned upon their own heads in the massacre of the imperial princes, and their eclipse by Julian; who, disgusted with their wickedness and hypocrisy, apostatized from the Apostasy to the more decent philosophy of the Antonines.

This same "apostate," who rightly expelled all bishops from court, and sent them to look after their flocks at home, recalled the real servants of the Deity from exile in A.D. 362, and bid them enjoy the rights and privileges which their hypocritical persecutors had wrested from them.

***

But, when the apostasy had recovered its position in the state, and was again clothed with imperial sunshine, persecution revived against them. The emperor Gratian published several edicts against their peace, and A.D. 377, deprived them of their conventicles, and prohibited all their assemblies.

...Their mission, or angelism, antecedent to the loosing of the winds against the Catholic Apostasy of the Roman West, was nearly accomplished; and the 144,000 almost sealed.

...The Emperor Honorius, stirred up against them by two clerical councils, the one A.D. 404, and the other A.D. 411, adopted violent measures against them. Many he fined, banished their pastors, and some he put to death.

...The sanguinary tyranny of the Augustinians, and not the logic of their adversaries, caused their decline. But, the Deity was not unmindful of them in trouble. He had prepared the winds to blast their profligate oppressors. He "hurled a great mountain burning with fire into the sea" (Apoc. viii. 8), which stained it with the blood of their enemies, and subverted their rule over the Roman Africa.

Under the protection of the Vandals, who invaded that country A.D. 427, they revived and multiplied, and flourished for a hundred and four years.

In 534, the power of their protectors was overturned, and left them again exposed to catholic malignity. Nevertheless, they remained a separate body until the close of the sixth century, when Gregory, the Roman Pontiff, used various methods for suppressing them.

After this, but few traces of them under the name of Donatists, are to be found in history.

Eureka 7.10.



9 <AFTER THESE THINGS, I saw, and behold, a great multitude, (which, that it be numbered, no one was competent to do) out of every nation, and tribes, and peoples, and tongues, who had been standing before the throne, and before the Lamb, having been clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; >

The word clothed is in the perfect participle passive, showing that when they shall be seen in fact, in the palm-bearing attitude, they will have been raised to the divine nature, as Christ now is.

This is the pure, incorruptible, and spotless, white robe which they receive who, in a doctrinal and moral sense, have, in the present state,

"washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."

The scene is postadventual and postresurrectional; and furthermore, it belongs to the epoch when the resurrected shall celebrate their first Feast of Tabernacles.

This is indicated by their having "palms in their hands;" for palm-bearing belongs to the celebration of that festival in type and antitype.

Eureka 7.11



10 And <vociferating> with a loud voice, saying, be ascribed to him who sits upon the throne of our Deity, and unto the Lamb!

11 And all the angels stood <in the circle of> the throne <and of the elders> and <of the four living ones>, and <they> fell before the throne <upon their face>, and <did homage to the Deity; >

12 Saying, Amen <( "So let it be!>): <The blessing, and the glory, and the wisdom, and the thanksgiving, and the honour, and the power, and the majesty, be to our Deity for the cycles of the cycles! So let it be!">

13. <And one from among the elders was speaking, saying to me, "These who have been clothed with white robes, who are they, and whence came they?>"

14. <And I answered him, "Sire, thou hast known." And he said to me, "These are they who came out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes, and made their robes white in the blood of the Lamb>.

The Intervening Period


The interval, therefore, is long, [more than] 1513 years elapsing between the end of the sealing scene, and the manifestation of the "great multitude" as palm-bearers.

The reader, however, is not to suppose, that there was no sealing of servants for the Deity in their foreheads after A.D. 395.

The sealing continued in all subsequent generations, and will continue until the Ancient of Days comes; when "the door will be shut," and entrance into his presence as a glorified constituent of the Royal Name, will be denied to every applicant (Matt. xxv. 1-13).

In the chapter before us, the initial and terminal epochs only were exhibited to John, the first described in the first eight verses; the last in the concluding nine; the interval being about to be unfolded in symbolic detail in other scenic representations.

The sealing and the palm-bearing are two piers, from which springs an aionial arch, which bridges over the times of the trumpets, vials, and seven thunders; and consequently spans the aion of the Woman in the wilderness; the partly contemporary aions of the two witnesses, the Beast of the Sea, the Beast of the Earth, the Imperial Image; and the aion of the judgment of the Scarlet-colored Beast and its drunken ecclesiastical rider.

When all these aions, or cycles, have described their appointed circuits, we shall have traversed the grand aionial arch; and have reached the festive celebration which introduces the nations to the Eighth Day of Holy Convocation -- the Millennial Sabbatism, or Rest, that remains for the people of the Deity (Heb. iv. 9).

Eureka 7.13.



15. <On account of this, they are before the throne of the Deity, and they shall minister to him day and night in his temple; and he that is sitting upon the throne shall pitch his tent over them>.

16 They [of v 14] shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun <smite>, nor any heat [of persecution from the woman clothed with the sun].

17 <Because the Lamb in the very midst of the throne shall tend them, and lead them to living fountains of waters, and the Deity shall wipe away every tear from their eyes.">