Hyuna Jang (Author)
Hanseol Song (Translator)
Hanhee Song (Translator, Editor)
For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Chapter 1 Creation
Chapter 2 Cain and Abel
Chapter 3 The Flood
Chapter 4 Covenant
Chapter 5 The City and the Tower
Chapter 6 The Sons of God in the Book of Job
Chapter 7 Living in Faith
Chapter 8 The Word and the Apostles
Chapter 9 The Holy Ghost and Birth
Chapter 10 Growth and Environment
Chapter 11 The Last Day and Tribulation
Chapter 12 The Prince and the Sanctuary
Chapter 13 Prophet, Image, and Mark
Chapter 14 Prophet and Judgment
Chapter 15 Entering Paradise
Chapter 16 The Fall of Babylon
Chapter 17 Come out of Babylon!
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day” (Genesis 1:1-5).
Creation began as the Spirit of God moved above the surface of the waters. The earth was “formless and void.” “Darkness was upon the face of the deep.” “The deep” is associated with the waters and exists by the multitude of the waters. “God moved upon the face of the waters.” The light was created first and the darkness was separated from it. The face of the deep was no longer covered by darkness, but was revealed. God divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament by placing the firmament in the midst of the waters. It is written that He “let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear.” There is no mention about the waters of Heaven. Unlike the seas which were established from the beginning with many waters and given names, the waters of heaven are established until the end according the commandment of the Lord.
The forms were made by the Word of God. These forms took away the void by their fullness, which God saw to be good. God created with “let there be,” “division,” and “bringing forth.” “Let there be” is power, “division” is judgment, and “bringing forth” is the fulfillment of the power of creation. “Division” is the discernment of the attributes which strive against the Word. God prepared for the appearance of the forms by first creating light, and allowed the perception and understanding of the creatures to enter into the world of creation. Day and night began even before the sun, moon, and stars were created on the fourth day, and the days began to flow from then onward. All of creatures obeyed the Word of the Creator, following the Light who set itself as an example in the first day. The Light is the origin and sustenance of all creation. He is Christ Jesus, who came into the flesh among the men in the last day so that all of creation would be gathered together through him. The apostle John testified of he who is the beginning and the end, saying, “He was in the world, and the world was made by him. and the world knew him not” (John 1:10).
Even after light came into being, there still remained darkness which means that darkness by nature strives against the Word of God. It signifies the shortcoming and wickedness of creatures before God. God separated the darkness from the light to allow His creatures to live under the glory of His light. It is the power of the creatures to come into being as the Creator commands. There is no such power or glory for darkness, which is judged. It is innately void and disrupts forms.
“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (Genesis 1:26-27).
“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7).
The LORD God formed man out of the dust of the ground, but with His own image and His likeness. If man was not made to be like Him, he would merely be dust, and his understanding, glory, and power would be limited to the flesh. The flesh alone cannot be created into a true image. Flesh is merely the surface of one’s form, and dependence on the flesh binds one to the darkness. Darkness cannot fulfill the creative aspects of ‘being’, ‘dividing’, and ‘bringing forth,’ and can only deceive to bring about false forms. Darkness gains power and becomes ‘manifest’ through the flesh that is deceived. Deceit causes man to fall away from the nature of God and put on the nature of darkness instead. Whosoever is deceived loves the things of darkness and believes that darkness was his origin. God ordained a decree to protect the living. He made the seas to abide in the low places, the clouds to stay in the heavens, the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night for every living thing “who [had] breath” in them. The natural laws of the foundations of the earth which all creatures received in the beginning and man accepts without doubt are their obedience to God’s commandment for life, whereas the opening of the storage of the heavens, the perishing of many, the dividing of the sea are the obedience of the creatures to the judgment of God.
The mixing of the beings of light with darkness and the mixing of the waters under the firmament with the waters above the firmament cause the corruption and destruction of the creatures. The spirit of man comes from above and returns there, and the spirit of beast comes from beneath and returns there (Ecclesiastes 3:21). The spirit of beasts cannot fill emptiness with fullness. Though all flesh may perish, the heavenly spirits testify to the perfectness of the creation of God. The creation is a complete work that has been witnessed by the beings of heaven and cannot be denied by the eyes of flesh. God said “Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven” and “Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind” God first designed that which cannot be seen with eyes of flesh. Diverse “kinds,” previously unseen, were made known with the appearance of individuals. The individual can be identified in the flesh, but “kinds” are vast beings which transcends time and space through a suitable movement and form, like spirit unto flesh. God gave the proper knowledge, languages, and manners of living to each creature, and they present forms that are not shown. As an individual cannot deny its kind, flesh cannot deny spirit, and a lower being cannot deny a higher being.
Genesis 1 is alive with the fullness of creatures as they praise God, who is worthy of His rest. The light that became the beginning of creation, the waters that were divided between heaven and earth, the trees and herbs yielding seeds and fruits even without the sun and the moon, the living creatures that were brought forth by the Lord’s commandments, and the man who was created in the image of God all present the best conditions. In chapter two, there is some mention about dust and death, but they had no power to threaten man and Eden. Eden was a garment fit for Adam and the location was beautiful and perfect. It was in the mount of God, the firmament where none could be harmed by neither the angels of heaven nor the beasts of the earth. Adam was there with God and had dominion over lesser beings. In Genesis 2, the days which were recorded in heaven, beginning with the light of the first day of creation, began to flow alongside flesh with Adam’s birth. The fields were watered with the rivers of Eden. The living creatures in the field quenched their thirst from the river that flowed through Adam, who drank from the waters of the mount of God. As light shines from above, the laws of life were ordained in the sight of spiritual beings in heaven and then flowed unto earthly creatures through the knowledge and faith of man, who is made in the image of God.
Adam was superior to all creatures and had power over them, as he was from the Light who is above all creatures in understanding and perception and was before all. That there was honor and glory in his movement was because he was the son of God, whom he resembled. His understanding and knowledge was to the point where whatsoever he called every living creature, that was its name, and the creatures lived in order and peace and with one accord. His movement was pure, holy, and filled with the glorious image of his Father, and darkness and depth could not threaten him. This order that flows from what is above to below is a fulfillment for all creatures, and lets them worship God, who dwells in the highest place, with praise and glory.
Mistaking “living soul” as being the “living spirit” in chapter two is akin to misunderstanding the entire Bible. The spirit cannot die. In the same manner, angels do not die because they are spirit. The Lord was “a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death” and in His resurrection he saved the flesh that had been condemned to death (Hebrews 2:9). The saints profess the “living God” because He is the only God who is spirit, but at the same time he made flesh and came in the flesh. The gods of Gentiles are neither creators nor saviors, but spirits whose work depends on the flesh. The Bible gives understanding of the salvation of the soul, which is responsible for its own works and judged. Forgetting the salvation of the soul is the same as following after the gods of the Gentiles. The soul cannot be divided or added to. Each soul has unique features and its own name. Genesis chapter two was written with regard to the creation of the soul, whereas Genesis chapter one reveals the creation of the spirit. In chapter two, a warning is given regarding death. It was because if Adam did not abide in the word of the Lord, the breath of the Lord would cease to give life to his soul.
In chapter two the waters are not related to creation. There are no seas in Eden that draw power from the gathering of waters. In Eden, each soul is given a name by Adam that is suitable for it. This is allowed in a condition where man is not impacted by another speech or language, but resides in a state of purity. “And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.” When Adam gives a proper name to each creature, he is working in accord to the world of creation of chapter one. This is possible because his soul is living, which means that he is full of the Spirit of God. It is a likeness that was very good in the sight of God. Because of the breath of life that God breathed into his nostrils, time could not flow in him with the “shadow of death.” Because the Word of the Creator was in him, he obeyed the Lord and had the power to make all creatures obey him. He was qualified to enter God’s rest. God rested on the seventh day which He sanctified. God sanctifies some places because he will dwell there. The seventh day is the paradise where the Father and His son entered together. When man remembers the day of God’s rest, it is a memorial of the completeness of His creation and an act of glorification that God alone is worthy of. But when Adam disobeyed, he was no longer fit for Eden and was stripped of the paradise.
It is written, “And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life” (Genesis 3:22-24). God planted both the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden, but God gave no warnings about the tree of life. Eating the fruit of the tree of life was not a problem before Adam knew good and evil because death could not have power over him anyway. But after he came to know good and evil, he was not supposed to eat from the tree of life. Having knowledge of good and evil can allow one in the spirit of man to strive against the Spirit of God, which is evil. The death that came upon Adam was the death of both the soul and the flesh. His soul strayed from having the likeness of God and he could not fulfill the word of God as his pleasure. The subtle serpent said, “Ye shall not surely die,” because he himself was initially not a “living soul” and wanted to be the father of disobedience. When soul of man is put to death, he accepts the power of darkness. The nature of darkness includes deceit, hatred, quarreling, lies, corruption, and all sins. If man does not die in these conditions, the earth will be put under a curse and it will happen as thus: “men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.”
After Adam ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, death did not come upon him immediately, but a time and a new place was given to him. He was given the chance to choose good while he was in the days of the earth and the chance to enter into rest again. As Adam was driven away to the earth, God entered into days of sorrow and grief. God did not leave his son Adam be ruled by doubt, ignorance, sin, and death, but came into the days of the earth with him to work with him until he came back into eternal rest. Adam, His son, was the one who was to rejoice at and testify to the day of God’s rest. But he was made subject to death like the beasts of the field. He could no longer be perfect and his testimony was passed down through his children in the flesh. They had to pass the days of the earth until the assembly of God, which keeps His word and testimonies, could gather to its fullness. Each soul had to prove as the son of God that he is worthy to dwell in the mountain of God. They must overcome the nature of the darkness which strives against the Creator and His work, and they must have spiritual understanding while dwelling in flesh. Unlike Adam, who became a son of God without affliction, patience, or labor, his children must suffer affliction to be born as a son of God. This birth is “the mystery of God” that allows man to overcome flesh and forms him into the image of God. The seven spirits, seven lamps, seven eyes, and the ones who fill the number of fullness are the ones who will testify to this on the earth.
God made coats of skins to clothe Adam and his wife and showed them that man should cover his shamefulness by killing one’s own carnal nature. Even though man now had to drink water from the rivers like the beasts of the field, work for food like the beasts of the field, and multiply his seed in the flesh, he is still a son of God, made in His holy image.
The beasts could have harmed Adam, who lost his honor when he was driven out, but they could not harm the one who wore the coat of a beast. The serpent, the most subtle beast of the field, had plans for Adam’s seed. Because he is a lesser being than man, he uses man in order to exert power over him. If he has one outstanding trait, it is subtlety. He uses his wisdom for evil. God created evil and allowed it be used by the disobedient. But God breathed into man the desire for good and caused him to obey His commandments. Just as God made the serpent to crawl upon his belly and eat dust all his life, he exists by eating dust and depending on flesh. He gains power from those who live in the flesh. He establishes his image by dwelling in prideful minds that do not fear God. They are men of darkness who give the serpent power as their seed multiplies. He aims for many souls because greater numbers give him more power, and he intends to take the earth with overflowing waters. It is his plan against God, who seeks even one soul to turn and save.
The names that were given before Adam was made were already in place or given by God in the time of creation. These beings persist regardless of the changes that take place on the earth. God named both the male and female “Adam” (Genesis 5:2). This verse also corresponds to chapter two which says that God named the man “Adam.” They are one flesh and are subject to the spirit of man at the same time, and in turn, the spirit of man is subject to the spirit of God. Because the Sadducees did not know these laws, they asked the Lord foolish questions and the Lord said to them, “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God” (Matthew 22:29). Adam named the female “Woman” because he had knowledge of all these things. When Adam opened his eyes toward the flesh, he named the woman Eve, which was not the name of the spirit which is not the cognizance of their oneness in the spirit, but a name of the soul that acknowledges the features which separate them from one another. With the work of the soul they could affect just each other, but they could be one in spirit only when each soul obeyed the commandments of the Lord.
Its name encompassed its characteristics and its features and ordered it among the creatures. In Eden, Adam had the ability to name because he had knowledge about all of these things. But when Adam knew her in flesh and had children, he and his wife lacked knowledge concerning them even though they came out of them. When Eve conceived and bare Cain, she said, “I have gotten a man from the LORD.” Man’s task of naming things could no longer demonstrate power and knowledge on Earth like it could in Eden. The scripture says that Cain came from the evil one. Eve’s ignorance does not imply that people thousands of years after her will be any wiser; as the generations become increasingly evil and ignorant, God reveals some portions in order to give his children the knowledge to recover their status. The possibility of returning to Eden was the smallest in the time right after man was driven from Eden. On the other hand, the kingdom of Heaven is closest to the chosen people on the last day. This is knowledge concerning the grace of God and the spiritual battle. In the last days, John the Baptist came and cried, “Repent! The kingdom of heaven is near,” and Jesus came and preached the Kingdom of Heaven.
Eve was accustomed to peace and happiness in paradise and believed that it would continue to be so on earth, so she was not aware of spiritual battle. She was ignorant to the knowledge of affliction and mystery that the seed which would come from her body must pass through the arduous journey of life. All life comes into this world by God’s permission; yet some are from the evil one – the devil. After Adam and Eve came to know good and evil and multiplied their children by knowing each other in the flesh, the evil one had the opportunity to have seed of his own. The Earth became a battleground between good and evil. Eve might have been confident concerning her knowledge of Cain, whose flesh and bone was formed in her body. But she had forgotten that “things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Hebrews 11:3). She was not aware that new fleshly experiences are not knowledge but rather obstacles which hinder spiritual understanding. It was after she bore Seth and said, “For God hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew” that her contradiction was revealed. If Cain had been from the Lord, he would not have slain a righteous man. The devil was a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44) and an enemy of all blood; because of him, violence and deceit was rampant and God’s word was blasphemed.
On earth, even though man can give a goodly name to someone, it will have no meaning if his works do not follow thereafter. The Lord himself will give the most honorable name to each soul in the last day as He sees fit. Cain must have been satisfied by his name and even acknowledged that his evil deeds would be embedded in that name. He behaved according to whatever his mind desired, as though he had been permitted to do so by God. His evil deeds, which were not fit for his name, showed the ineffectiveness and boldness of the naming of man on earth.
Adam could freely eat of the fruits which grew naturally in Eden, but God said that he must now labor to eat. Cain distorted the meaning of this word to imply that man must now live for food. Cain blamed God for the curse and exalted man’s labor over God’s grace, which gives rain, wind, and sun and causes crops to grow. Cain ignored the truth that man must live to fulfil God’s word. Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. They did not eat meat in those times, so keeping sheep was solely for the purpose of making offerings to God. God provides man with abundant food and man lives for God; this is the best kind of blessing on earth. Abel believed this and was happy to walk in His providence. He knew that all sins shed blood and that blood must be paid for with blood. At that time, it was natural to have this kind of knowledge considering that man could communicate directly with God. Since Cain did not take pleasure in God’s word, he thought of God’s word not as a blessing but as a burden. His becoming a tiller from the very beginning shows that he did not consider making offerings to God. Like the wicked servant who let his one talent sit idle, rather than bringing the right offering, Cain would have made a detestable excuse along the lines of: “According to thy word which has been given to Adam, I tilled the ground: therefore it is right for you to receive my offering.” When God told Adam that he now must eat herbs of the field like the beasts, He was addressing the sustenance of his flesh. This was neither a commandment for man to keep or break nor was it able to redeem man from sin. The ones who mourn because of sin and are grieved for the holy name of God are able to dedicate their time to living for the Lord.
Cain thought it was reasonable to live for the flesh and give an offering to God with whatever remained, but it was according to the man-centered manner of his own mind and against the divine laws of heaven. After the flood, there rose a time to sow seeds and a time for harvest; before then, man could obtain food without doing so. As the trees of Eden brought forth fruit without the sun and the moon, the lands which followed along the rivers of Eden were also fertile in the same manner. If man had lived for God, these conditions would have continued.
Cain’s life, which was full of neglect and did not remember the LORD, led him to develop a nature of dissoluteness and violence. He became a selfish, self-centered man, lacking in love. Understanding was taken away from him, and a nature of cruelty and ignorance concerning sin prevailed in him. His desire went against holiness and leaned to the lower things and spread out toward wealth, lust, and superficiality. He forsook a longing for the homeland and lived on the Earth in contentment. He resisted against the law of the Spirit by the law of the flesh according to his own desire. Cain’s countenance fell when he and his offering were not respected because his own law did not win over the law of God. Because Cain was from the evil one, God searched Cain, found that his countenance had fallen, and gave him a commandment to avoid sinning further and perishing.
Abel kept his sheep with a careful and fearful mind so that he could make an acceptable offering to God. It was a savor that was acceptable to the LORD. The oil is a life of remembrance of the LORD, and is prepared on the Earth and allows the lamp of heaven to continue burning. God’s commandment to “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God” (Romans 12:1) can be fulfilled by living according to the Word of God and preparing one’s oil in that manner so that he will not be perplexed when the time comes to stand before God. Cain was confident in assuming that the Lord would accept his offering, but there was no oil in his offering. This example of the two men shows that the wicked man behaves pretentiously as though he is right and the good man walks more carefully in fear of God.
The wicked man does not concern himself with the commandments of God even if he does not have a good relationship with God, but is concerned with being justified in any manner. He seeks to find those who will comfort him and makes his own idols which can neither rebuke him nor search his heart. Because God will not accept him unless he turns back, he allies with others to assert his self-righteousness. Cain sought those who would affirm his righteousness. Rather than hearing the fact or the truth, he wanted to hear words that pleased him. Cain started to ignore his relationship with God and tried to turn to his relationship with people. He thought that if Abel told him he was right, he could win against God, because God accepted Abel. He talked to Abel most likely because he expected words of comfort. But he must not have heard the answer that he wanted to hear, and instead heard words that stung his evil conscience.
The words and thoughts of he who lives for the LORD and the words and thoughts of he who lives for himself cannot be in agreement. As God accepted one and refused the other, their spirits are different from one another. But the evildoer considers this or that to be the same and light and darkness to be one, and tries to see the righteous or the wicked as being together without sin or judgment. The man who follows flesh cannot be a witness to what is good or evil, but the man who follows the law of the Spirit has eyes of discernment. Cain killed Abel and buried him in the ground because he despised the testimony of the seven eyes of heaven. “The earth opened her mouth and received Abel’s blood,” which became the evidence against Cain who was now cursed. Cain could not kill the beasts as an offering unto God, but rather, he shed the blood of one who was made in the image of God.
There was no mention about the serpent after man was driven out, but its mark was clearly exposed in the steps of the first evil man. This mark includes contempt for the offering, living for oneself, lack of repentance, disregard for God’s commandment, desire for comfort without justice, attempts to gather the mouths of blasphemy, and murder of a witness of the Word. Considering that the average lifespan in those times was nearly a thousand years, Abel dying at such a young age without offspring was a great disaster. This was the beginning of the shedding of much blood, and indicated that in the history of man, evil would grow strong and persecute the righteous.
Cain was the first man who tried to build an assembly against God, and also the first man who left God. God’s words to Cain were different from His words for Adam. God said to Adam that the ground was cursed for his sake. He said to Cain, the murderer, that he was cursed from the earth. It was his status as a murderer that distinguished him from others. Because he was the one who shed blood, he would be cursed from the earth and would become a fugitive and a vagabond. In the order of all creatures, as a sinner, he was to follow providence in this manner. But Cain refused to do even this. Even though God did not drive him out from the face of the earth, he still said so to blame God for his fallen position and also to avoid the proper punishment due unto him. He sought a reason to depart from God rather than repentance. The wicked always thinks that his punishment is greater than his sin because of his hardened conscience, and thus denies God’s mercy.
Cain was merciless and cruel enough to deprive the life of another, but wanted an assurance for his own life and to live confidently as though he was a righteous man. Cain’s attitude was that heaven and earth should listen to the murderer and ignore the cry of the righteous. Cain wanted the order of all to be according to his evil nature. If he became a “fugitive” and a “vagabond” he was to acknowledge his state as a sinner and live for the mercy of God with a broken heart, but he did not want to live such a life. After he begged God for his life and received the mark of protection, he left God and built a city wherein he settled. If he were to become a fugitive and a vagabond as both God and he himself said, he could have had the chance to change his evil and dim nature, and could have tasted grief and the poorness of his spirit. Though in such a life there would have been afflictions and patience alike, it was the last chance for Cain, the man of flesh, to draw near to an honorable image. His refusal of it was his preparation for greater sin and eternal perishing.
The place where Cain the murderer hid from God and believed himself to be safe was where creatures resided in ignorance of shame. These creatures were the kind of being which would seek to satisfy their lusts. Since Adam and Eve were the only other people remaining, Cain was referring to these creatures when he said, “Every one that findeth me shall slay me.” Having smelled the blood of man, they freed themselves from man’s dominion and became violent. God gave Cain the mark so beasts could not kill him and prolonged his life to give him a chance in the spiritual battle. Yet, he used the mark to join with the creatures and built a city with them. Because it was right after creation, there remained power in man and beast. Among the beasts there were some with wisdom and particular features unlike today. Keeping in mind that the serpent walked and talked like man before he deceived the woman, the union of Cain and the beast must have happened more naturally than the union of the Canaanites and the beasts that happened later on.
The assumption that Cain would have taken a wife from among Adam’s daughters is unreasonable. It is hard to believe that Cain departed from God and Adam, waited a long time, and came back to Adam to seek a wife, or that Adam would give his daughter to the murderer. It wasn’t until a few generations later that the city of Cain and Adam’s children started to interact. As he was evil enough to kill his own brother, Cain may have been the same in the matter of taking a wife. He grew increasingly wicked and did whatsoever he desired after he departed from God. Unlike how the scripture records the resemblance of Seth, Adam’s son, to Adam who was made in the image of God, the likeness of Enoch, Cain’s son, is not mentioned. Seeing as giants came out from the union of the two generations, the appearance of Cain’s descendants must have been different from that of Adam’s descendants. Enoch’s appearance must have been influenced by that of his mother. In Adam’s generation, the only woman’s name that is mentioned is Eve, the first woman. But in Cain’s generation, although several women’s names were mentioned, the name of Cain’s wife was not mentioned. The reason that her name was not mentioned even though she had an important role in his generation was possibly because she had no name. Ever since the beginning, the beasts were known by their kinds and did not have individual names. Their generation might have continued through the men in Cain’s generation whose names are recorded in the Bible. This may be related to why Adam’s children reached to ten generations before the flood, but Cain’s went to only six.
The fact that almost all of the mythologies on the origin of nations are related to beasts and contain birth myths or stories of beasts transforming into man is related to the practices of the city of Cain. It ranges from the myths of dragons that copulate with indecency to satyrs which enjoy music and cling to copulation to stories of beasts and beauties. Dragons are one of the filthy and doleful creatures like owls, satyrs, and herons which dwell in the ruined places. They are creatures that cry out from dirty and dismal places (Micah 1:8, Isaiah 13:22), but are worshipped as fantastic, heroic, and mysterious creatures. The time when women’s names appeared among Cain’s children may have been the time when beautiful daughters were born. In Cain’s society, apart from giving birth to children and helping their husbands, women also existed for lust. They were famous like men and known in the neighboring area where Adam’s children lived. Their inclination was against chastity and they enticed men in the flesh, creating an atmosphere of lust. Their men made music and poems for them and boasted of their own works and valor. They were ignorant about judgment, punishment, and salvation, but were keen towards things that were related to carnal lust, fame, and materialism, and took interest in the unsteady ones among Adam’s children. In their city, a culture of occupation prevailed and made men famous, who became the forefathers of specific jobs. Jubal became the father of all who handled the harp and organ, and Tubal-cain was an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron. Because they did not fear God, they were stimulated by the imagination of their own minds, and considered following images and material goods to be progressive.
It appears that Adam’s children bear similar names to those of Cain’s children starting from Cainan, who was from the third generation of Adam. Cain’s descendants are Enoch, Irad, Mehujael, Methusael, Lamech and his children, which are five generations. Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, and Noah are the generations of Adam before the flood. Including Adam, all his children bore more sons and daughters after he bore his first sons, and so there would probably be more similar names besides these. It can be inferred from the names that from the time of Cainan the son of Enos, the descendants of Adam began to interconnect with Cain’s city in earnest and gave and took influence from one another. From the time of Enos, men began to call upon the name of the Lord. In this verse, considering these “men” to be Adam’s children goes against the flow which is most consistently shown by the Bible. It seems that way when one considers that in the time after Adam, who lived in the mountain of God, and the generations of his sons who still had spiritual power, his descendants began to call upon the name of the Lord even as their generations grew wicked.
Enos was born two hundred thirty five years after creation. Guessing that Cain was born when Adam was about a hundred years old, he was about two hundred eighty years old when Enos was born, around the age when he would have seen his great grandchildren. Until the year that Noah was born, almost all of Adam’s children except for Enoch and almost all of Cain’s children were possibly still alive. In these conditions, the intersection of the two generations brought about a rapid mixing of cultures. This also may have been impacted by how there were especially many women among Cain’s children in comparison to Adam’s. Adam’s children may have passed into Cain’s city for reasons such as preaching the word of God, curiosity for material culture, being deceived by lust, etc. As men among Cain’s descendants began to call upon the name of the Lord, even godly men among Adam’s children may have become less cautious and accepted their thoughts and cultures. The fact that Jubal the son of Lamech became a keeper of livestock, which Cain had not wanted to become, reflects this flow. Even during the time when meat was not allowed to be consumed, they might already have eaten meat or given offerings to idols in imitation of the godliness of Adam’s children. They also received influence from Adam’s children, but used it for their carnal culture.
Before the flood, “man” and “men” were used distinctly in a consistent manner. The ones that came through Adam and Eve were called “man” which is the name that God gave after He created the first man. The ones that came through Cain and his wife were referred to as “men,” the plural form. “Man” is used in all of the following verses:
“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…”
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them…”
“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul…”
“And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.”
“And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
“And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.”
“And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.”
“And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt.”
On the other hand, “men” is used in the following three verses:
“And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.”
“And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.”
In this manner, the two forms are used in these verses with a certain differentiation. But these distinctions disappeared for all the ones who came from Noah after the flood. The title “Sons of God” is not to be given to any creatures at random, but is reserved only for those who are created in His likeness and His image. It is said about the angels, “For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?” (Hebrews 1:5). Even angels who are created superior to man have never been called the sons of God, and even more so for the angels who have sinned. Neither angels nor cherubim can be restored to their former position once they sin. But for man, Jesus came down on Earth in flesh to save him and restore the positions of the sons of God. It is said, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Romans 8:17). Likewise, from the beginning to the end, “Sons of God” is a unique position which is given to the man who is born of God in his image. The Bible records this mystery of creation where man is born in the flesh and born again in the image of God. It is said, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:3).
Those who were born from the union of the sons of God and the daughters of men were called giants. The sons of God did not bring forth sons of God, but rather the disfigured forms. The sons of God with their holy image began to disappear and the men of strange images began to multiply. It was neither the angels nor any other creatures that made God grieve but the sons of God. He put His spirit in them and made them to walk with Him, but they followed after the flesh. God was disappointed, saying, “He also is of flesh.” The children of Cain and the giants were not the objects of God’s disappointment or happiness. Whereas they did evil and sinned according to their own desires, the sons of God had to be deceived for them to depart from God.
Before the flood, only two men among the children of Adam, Enoch and Noah, were documented as the preachers of judgment and doom. However, their words were not recorded in Genesis. The words of the other two, Lamech, Cain’s seed, and the other Lamech, Adam’s seed, held the prevalent thoughts of those days and showed the relationship of the influence that they traded between the two generations. Lamech, Cain’s son, must have been influenced by Adam’s side when he spoke about sin and punishment. But he still did not make any mention about judgments. He pretended to be a lawmaker and seated himself in the place of God. He confessed his evil deeds to his wives, who were weaker – objects of lust, lower beings – and showed himself off as confident, and made sin a subject of conversation. Adam’s descendant Lamech begot Noah and proclaimed, “This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD hath cursed” (Genesis 5:29). In comparison to the other Lamech, his words are gentler and make a direct reference to the LORD. But in comparison to the words of Enoch, his grandfather, his words fall short. Enoch said, “Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him” (Jude 1:14). If a righteous man in previous generations had spoken of such a dreadful prophecy, preaching a message of comfort right before judgment when sin is at its worst is going against the providence of the heaven. In Lamech’s words, there is no grieving of sin. His expression of the judgment of God as comforting cannot be regarded as so, because prophesying the destruction of one’s children, families, and neighbors is painful, not comforting.
The Lord’s Day, the Day of Judgment, is the day of darkness that every soul trembles at and fears. The righteous who prophesy of destruction cried out for people to repent in affliction, yet they became increasingly evil. Lamech, the father of Noah who preached a message of comfort rather than repentance in a time when sin was prevalent, was corrupted by the customs of the city of Cain, which was covered in sin and a desire for protection. The occupation-centered lives of Cain’s children spread to Adam’s children, who also began devoting all their efforts into their livelihood, not for the Lord. Lamech also lived with his livelihood as his main focus and became accustomed to customs of the flesh. He became self-centered and dull concerning sin. His thought was that since God cursed the earth and men must labor because of that, God should comfort men for the toil of their hands. People flocked to this message of prosperity, but none came to the message of judgment and destruction. The Lord remembered only Noah, the lonely prophet, and commanded him to build an ark. The Lord neither remembered Lamech, the father of Noah, Methuselah, relatives, brothers, or neighbors, nor issued them a commandment to build an ark. Lamech, Noah’s father, died five years before the flood, while Methuselah, the grandfather of Noah and the son of Enoch, died in the same year of the flood. It is rash for one to think that their deaths were to serve as a sign of the impending flood, as if one is attempting to predict the end times. God gave Noah the necessary measurements and raw materials, but not the time period. To believe that it was prophesied that Lamech and Methuselah would die before the flood is to assert the two men would have been exempt from the judgment. But the Bible warns us that the Final Day will come as a thief to those who expect visible signs.
Because the earth was not yet divided and people were far from the sea in those times, they would have believed that Noah was doing useless work. They were most likely proud of having technology for the sake of their prosperity, such as wheels to go about the earth. Much as worldly people today do not believe that people of Spirit will ascend on the last day, they did not believe that the ark would float over the earth. God condemned this world through one man who was ignored by all. The endurance of one righteous man who was not swept away by the waters of the earth is the heavenly victory of the sons of God. As God commanded Noah, the beasts, fowls, and everything that crept upon the earth came to Noah and into the ark after him. The men who yielded to the brutal nature came to destruction, but for Noah, who was perfect in those times, the beasts obeyed and gathered to him. This shows that God arranges order on the earth through the righteous. The law that God gives to the creatures for the sake of the righteous is the law of peace on earth that gives testimony to the order of His creation. This is the law which they obey according to the manner and power of the righteous and which the righteous obey.
The covenant is God’s promise to bless those who keep His word. There was no such covenant before the flood and everyone sinned according to their imaginations, so God made a covenant with Noah’s sons. In the Creation, God made land emerge from the water, and he made a border between the land and the water so the water would not overflow onto the land. For the creatures, the border, the foundation of which was laid in the beginning, is a blessing when it is kept and a curse when it is destroyed. “The world was filled with violence,” showing that all the souls fell into evil and were engulfed by the waves of destruction. Afterwards, God made a covenant with each soul so that they would never perish by great waters again. God said, “And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth” (Genesis 9:16).
God will remember the covenant whenever he sees the bow in the cloud. Before the flood, righteous men followed the invisible law that was engraved in their minds, but afterwards, God gave his commandments to all men, both righteous and evil. A righteous man will keep himself from being covered by the waters of the earth by abiding in this covenant. He will avoid the corruptions of the earth and dwell above as pure water. Just as clouds drop dew, his prophets are commanded by God to drop his word and prophesy (Ezekiel 20:46). As they disperse God’s word throughout the earth, the Gentiles will witness the glory of God and come forth like “the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth” (Jeremiah 51:16) to enter into his covenant.
God, who promised to never judge with water again, now washes and cleans souls with the baptism of the Spirit. The purifying of man and the perfecting of his weak flesh, which is the mystery of God, is contrary to the miracles which men of this world desire. Rather, they cannot understand this mystery since they want to be perfect and guaranteed an eternal blessing without labor or patience. Even the covenant, which God made with Abraham promising to give the land to his children, was not fulfilled until hundreds of years later. Patience was necessary to see the fulfillment of God’s covenant. The days of God are not like the days of man. God keeps watch over man and counts his days while the righteous man remembers His covenant and lives for it all his days in preparation to enter into the days of His rest. In Psalms, David said, “There were they in great fear: for God is in the generation of the righteous” (Psalms 14:5). Those who walk in the days of heaven live in this world as pilgrims who fear God to keep themselves from the world’s corruption. Although time passes by and generations come and go, God dwells in the generation of the righteous whom he prepared for the seventh day.
But the days of the wicked were removed from the days of heaven and will be remembered for judgment and revenge. The days of Cain’s cities flowed alongside the days of the children of Adam. When Adam’s children were enticed by the city of Cain, it demonstrated their worldly nature and they were cut off from the days of God. But God now gave man His commandments so that they can follow the flow of the spirits in heaven. Time had to pass before He saw His bow in the clouds, which started to form after the flood. In that time, there came and went men who loved God’s covenant. Likewise, there were many who distorted God’s covenant; they formed harsh waters which overwhelmed the earth again with their sins. Whenever they saw the rainbow above their heads on a clear day, they took it as the sign of God’s covenant and were arrogant as though God would not judge the world again.
When God left the bow in the cloud, it signified that He would allow man to keep his soul in His word. God gives His word to those who take pleasure in obeying, and he makes them His witnesses and keeps His covenant with them. Those who fulfill God’s word are like straight arrows which answer the thundering voice of God like lightning, “I am here!” Their spirits’ lamenting shows that the spirit of God is in them, and their words testify to the wickedness of the world. God said to Job, “Who can number the clouds in wisdom? Or who can stay the bottles of heaven, When the dust groweth into hardness, and the clods cleave fast together?” (Job 38:37-38). The “dust” growing into “hardness” and the “clods” which “cleave fast together” signify God’s creation of man with the dust of the earth. The dry dust cleaves together by the waters of the clouds that float in the heavens, which can also be stopped by One whose wisdom can number the clouds. David said, “Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?” (Psalms 56:8). The things which have cleaved together are recorded and receive the most recognition on earth, but the things which cannot be numbered by man are counted and recorded in heaven. These things which are recorded in heaven are the saints’ tears and prayers which have been poured out in brokenness of heart.
After the flood, people rapidly procreated, had many children, and lived in changed environments and habitats. God gave the weakened people a new, suitable environment. God delivered into their hands every beast of the earth, and every fowl of the air, all that moved upon the earth, and all the fishes of the sea for food and put into the beasts the fear and dread of man. Like Abel, Noah had an occupation that followed the providence of God. The seasons for sowing seeds and for harvest were signs that God would bring about in the new generation. Men began to spend more time looking for food than before and had to fight a harder spiritual battle during their shortened lifespan. In the former times, Adam’s children and Cain’s children – the godly seeds and ungodly seeds – could be discerned by external appearances, and when they mingled with one another they were all destroyed. But the generation after the flood was the generation of the parable of the wheat and the weeds, which was when deceitfulness and temptations were so abound and were difficult even for the angels to discern. As God sows the Word and harvests the wheat, man has time to sow and harvest. Abel gave his offering with oil and Noah treaded the winepress because they believed in the judgment of the Lord. It was written in Revelations that “a voice” commanded that the oil and wine be kept from damage (Revelation 6:6), as they hold the testimonies of the righteous from the beginning to the end. The oil is the savory scent of the offering of the righteous that God receives, and the wine is for the cup of vengeance.
Noah was not accustomed to the four seasons after the flood, as they were a new environment to him. Considering that God clothed Adam with a coat of animal skin after he stripped him of Eden, the weather before the flood must have been a bit colder. Because of the new drink and hotter weather, Noah appeared before his youngest son in an undesirable, unintended manner. It was Ham’s own nakedness and shamefulness to peek and make a mockery out of him because he did it while Noah was unaware. Even as Job said, “Thou renewest thy witnesses against me, and increasest thine indignation upon me; changes and war are against me,” the slowness of the righteous in adapting to this change often became the object of scorn to the ones who were quick to change. Seeing that neither Rechab and his families nor the Nazarites ate or drank that which was made from grapes, being drunk in the old times could be considered a more sober state than what is seen as sober today. Smoking, drinking, using drugs, thinking or practicing fornication, and playing games are not the only things that can deprive people of soberness, but also technology, entertainment, fictional works, excessive fondness, etc. Unlike Noah, who became drunk inadvertently, they willingly devote their body to those things. They make an agreement with their soul to fall into them, and see those who do not join them as strange.
If Ham was a man of soberness, he would not have slandered his godly father. Ham’s frivolous act was deterred by his brothers, but this culture of superficial gossiping spread throughout the world to this day. Later on, an inference to soberness was made in the warning that was given after Nadab and Abihu died because they made an offering with strange fire before the Lord. Man must stay sober to discern between what is holy and what is not. Nadab and Abihu lost this ability to discern because of strong drink (Leviticus 10:9). The soberness that the Bible speaks of is the separation of oneself from the corruptions of this world. The devils are at work in this world, using ungodly men to deceive godly men.
It was a sin for Ham to not discern between what was holy and unholy, but the greater sin was that, as an ungodly man, he mocked the godly man. He was concerned about godliness because he witnessed the dreadful judgment of God, yet he knew only in the flesh and not in the spirit. He was the archetypical false prophet, spreading his word among people and changing spiritual matters into words of the flesh. In the new generation where God spread His word to bring people into his covenant, Ham was the first disruptor of this covenant, distorting it and turning it into a story of the flesh. In the same way that Cain tried to ally with Abel, Ham sought the same interest with his brothers by mocking his father.
There was a long wait before Noah cursed Ham. It was after Ham became the father of Canaan and after he proclaimed his adherence to the side of evil by mocking his righteous father. Noah must have been grieved after seeing and hearing the evil deeds of Ham’s children. It must have been painful for Noah, who had lived a sorrowful life because of man’s sins, to see them imprint the recently washed earth with filthiness. The wicked behavior of Ham concerning Noah revealed that he was the father of Canaan not just in the flesh, but also in spirit. Canaan was often recorded separately from the rest of Ham’s genealogy because their deeds and acts were different. All three of Noah’s sons were of the same father, but only Ham was a carnal man like Cain. In the genealogy of Cain, the widely known daughters of Lamech, such as Naamah, must have been the objects of curiosity to those like Ham who followed after the carnal appearances. Likewise, Ham must have taken a lustful woman to be his wife and went into the ark with her. But the Lord smelled the sweet savor of Noah’s offering and his righteousness, remembered “all flesh,” and included both Noah and Ham in his merciful plan. The destruction of Canaan by Israel later on was not because they were impure seed or because of their appearance, but because of their evilness. The Lord made His chosen people to discern between the clean and unclean so they would not forget His grace by which all flesh was blessed. This discernment would also cause them to remember to separate themselves from being corrupted by this world. They were to distinguish and remove evil thoughts and filthy things within them by the commandments of God, and remember the things that should be offered and the things that would be rejected.
Shem and Japheth feared God and did not doubt the sovereignty of God and Noah when they saw all the people who were swept away by the waters. They understood the righteousness of God and the wickedness of the world and believed that man’s sin would bring forth God’s wrath and judgment. They believed that God does not look at the magnitude of numbers, but rather seeks those who walk in fear of Him. They believed that the token of God’s covenant was a token of blessing for those who walked in the way of the Lord. But Ham misunderstood the token of God. Ham’s mind was on the side of the many that died rather than the one righteous man. He doubted the judgment, justice, and grace of God that judged one man alone as righteous and destroyed all the others, including his relatives, neighbors, famous men, honored men, and friends who traded consolation with him. To him, Noah seemed as a powerless, pitiful prophet who was isolated by others, alone and without friends, and not capable of converting even one man. He may have believed that he was more peaceful and capable than Noah and that he could have gathered many people into the ark. He might have tried to claim that God and Noah could make mistakes as he mocked Noah in front of his brothers.
Shem and Japheth, who had unknowingly sinned by ear when they listened to Ham’s words, prevented themselves from sinning further with their eyes and mouths. If Ham was the darkness and the flooding waters, Shem and Japheth were the ones who eschewed. But after many generations passed, there were many like Ham throughout the earth that abandoned the testimony of judgment and were dragged into the culture of lust and entertainment. The world became full of blasphemy against the Word of the Lord. Ham’s wife must have influenced her husband and her children as a woman whose mind reflected the lifestyle of Cain’s city. Rather than rejoicing in salvation and thankfulness, she would have missed the city, the possessions, romances, songs, and stories and passed down these accounts to her children. They distorted the truth of the history of salvation, sin, and judgment, and perverted them into idolatry and lust. They created superstitious works and religious rituals with false divinities, and indulged in sins such as bestiality, homosexuality, incest, etc. Among the sons of Ham’s first son Cush, Nimrod was the first to be a mighty one in the earth. All nations, including Asshur the children of Shem, joined in the kingdom of Shinar, which Nimrod had built, to build a city and tower against God.
That an infamous name became famous in a city indicates that a culture of blasphemy prevailed in the souls of that city. Because there was no “mighty man before the Lord” before Nimrod’s time, he was able to gain that name quickly. He became a hunter and was opposed to the providence of nature, searching in the forests that still had yet to be filled with animals. Thus, he turned the men’s fear of the judgment of God toward himself by his proud and crude behavior. Men began to depart from quiet, spiritual lives and concerned themselves with lives of fame and vanity, and even sought to make a name for themselves through works that opposed God. They became famous through their occupations and pursued material wealth and fame. When man works for food and lives for God, man can build a loving fellowship and present a perfect offering of thanksgiving. However, the “we” in Shinar was not the “we” in a loving fellowship, but it was a deceitful union that incited vanity, rivalry, pride, and love of fame.
Their ideologies did not come out of unchanging, perpetual truth, but were subject to the work of their own hands. They made up ideologies and reasoning for the sake of brick and mortar. They became men of great claims. They imitated spiritual words with the ways of flesh, and they talked about heavenly things while holding worldly desires. Similarly to when Cain’s descendants called upon the name of the Lord and Adam’s children mingled themselves with them, when the kingdom of Shinar developed lofty ideologies even the descendants of Shem joined in. God gave man a spacious earth for him to spread out, and commanded to first love the ones who are near. The people of the Lord neither fear being alone, nor are tempted by the lofty things, because God the Most High is with them. At first Adam had only one relationship – with God! A relationship with God is the foundation of all and the most reliable and natural. From it comes the true relationship of man between one another, and peace is kept on earth. The alliance of men who are cut off from God requires external conditions and a common interest, and being filled with material possessions, secular knowledge, entertainment, and carnal things. These are afflictions of the spirit and hindrances to love and holiness.
The tower which the people of Shinar built was a tower of iniquities, and the name they made for themselves was an evil name. God said, “Now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do” (Genesis 11:6). Their sins were piled high, and yet they would not stop. God, who saw everything and knew everything, came down to observe their weakness in the flesh as a means to give them one last chance for mercy before judgment. Later on, God would come down before he destroyed Sodom to observe them carefully and affirm their destruction. God saw the city of Shinar and its tower and carried out His judgment by dividing them by their languages. It was to separate the people who kept His word from the people of other nations. After then, God separated Abraham from them because he followed His commandments. In the genealogy of Shem, it can be seen that the earth was divided in the time of Peleg. The languages and the earth were divided several hundred years after the waters had fully covered the earth. The waters of the rivers from the sea penetrated into the earth, covering every crevice and cleft.
When men tried to reach the heavens in their pride of having knowledge of skills and technology, the mount of God drifted farther away. The drifting away of Eden from the earth caused earthquakes by the wrath of God, as well as the “expansion of hell.” From this time and onward, man’s lifespan decreased to half as much as before – from four hundred years to two hundred years. In comparison to the average lifespan before the flood, this rapid drop is a great disaster. But men lived by their respective waters and were filled with pride in the abundance of material wealth which they acquired through overseas trade, and they set their own individual gods. Men depended on the waters of the seas and considered them as the origin of the rivers, having forgotten the waters that flowed from Eden. They even forgot the natural law in which water flows from above to below, as well as the waters of heaven above the firmament that rain down upon the earth. If the Lord had not been the water of life or the rock, all the nations of the earth and soul would have been perished. If the Word and His testimony had not flowed onto people through the prophets of the Lord, the earth would have dried up and souls could have become desiccated. By His word, blessing came upon every person, whether good or bad, and many kingdoms were built. But the kings and the people did not return their gratitude to the King of kings. As the Lord increased the depth of the rivers, the kings and the people were filled with pride by virtue of the many waters.
When all the nations and languages flowed into the kingdoms of the earth, the mount of God became more distant from them, but moved closer to the chosen ones. A spiritual division took place concerning the Word. They who belonged to the kingdom of the earth obtained riches, fame, and power according to their own portions, but the people of Zion had experienced its desolation early on. They were neither formed nor fitted to the image that the world wanted, so they were regarded to be of no use and were forsaken. The Lord purges them with flames to make them into his eternal treasures that can never be taken away and comforts them. It is said, “I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass; And forgettest the LORD thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? and where is the fury of the oppressor?” (Isaiah 52:12-13). The Lord calls upon the poor, the sick, and the abased, and fills His kingdom with each treasure that has not been corrupted by lust, greed, and vanity. They are the pure souls which have passed through tribulation.
After the incident at the Tower of Babel, many kingdoms and kings were established and people gathered under the power and honor of the rulers of the earth. Although people talked about their fear of God because of what they had learned from judgment by the flood, this fear was shifting to a fear of the rulers of the air. The arrival of the City of Zion, which belongs to the saints who await the kingdom of heaven, seemed far away to them. Just as God condemned the world through Noah, who was alone, He used Job to condemn the erroneous thoughts of his friends who had been swept away by the stream of the world, presenting the true examples of the people of Zion. Amidst the conflict between the rich, haughty inhabitants of the world and the people of the devastated Zion, God paired Job, who had lost everything but his life, with his confident friends, who had lost nothing. Just as in the very beginning of earth’s history, when the first persecutor and murderer of a righteous man was the man’s own brother, the ones who condemned and troubled Job were not his enemies. Rather, they were those who were close to him. This happened in the land of Uz, which was later inhabited by Edom, who hated and hindered his brother Israel. All of this foreshadowed a difficult path for those who carry forth God’s word. It is a mournful thing for the prophets to see that those who ought to return do not do so, but instead turn away and become rivals of the city of Zion, being carried away by the city of iniquity as it continues to devour souls.
Job’s tribulation and patience are examples of how those who love the commandments of the Lord are to suffer affliction, endure, and enter into glory. The desolation of Zion is the process of purifying those who love its laws with fire. The Word – the sword of the Spirit – cuts out every falsehood which perverts the truth, and even separates people who are close to each other. Those who persecute the righteous persecute the Word which lies in them. Even David testified, “For without cause have they hid for me their net in a pit, which without cause they have digged for my soul.” Satan’s purpose in declaring war against Job was to gain glory for himself by forcing words of blasphemy out of the mouth of Job. Satan made Job his only target because he had already gained power from the mouths of others. Although four disasters befell Job, the persecution came from his friends. When the four plagues occurred, “Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshiped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” But amidst the stinging, cruel, false words his friends gave to him, he cried out, “O earth, cover not thou my blood, and let my cry have no place.”
The furious attack of Satan against Job is evident in the words of his friends, who did not know what was happening in heaven or which side they were on. But Job perceived Satan’s works in the dishonest words of his friends. He thought about the subtle being who deceives men’s minds and words into spreading falsehood. God did not deprive man of wisdom like he did with the ostrich, but instead poured out upon him the spirit of honesty. However, man gradually loses it when he is deceived by the subtle being, which darkens the future of his descendants.
The cry of the righteous is a prayer which is poured out to God, the comforter of those who walk in his Word. Job confessed, “For I have not concealed the words of the Holy One,” and, “Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.” Job’s friends were concerned with instructing him, but Job was concerned with performing God’s word. Concerning his friends’ words, which were less truthful because of their intellectual vanity and exaggerations, Job asked, “How hast thou plentifully declared the thing as it is?” The statement “declare the thing as it is” shows a sincere attitude towards the Creator and His work, which gives man understanding and makes it possible for him to fulfill his creative work. This is the power of those who keep their souls from deceit. Looking for words of wisdom, Job leaned his ear to his friends, only to be disappointed. They tried to argue not for the truth but rather for the image of the world that is formed inside them.
Job said concerning their words, “How long will ye vex my soul, and break me in pieces with words? These ten times have ye reproached me: ye are not ashamed that ye make yourselves strange to me.” Although the arrows of words are sharp and cruel, they do not immediately shed blood, so people fire them ruthlessly. The shedding of blood first began with the serpent’s remarks. Blood has been shed ever since the serpent deceived Eve, which opened the path of the birth of fleshly seed. The Lord said, “That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” (Matthew 12:36). Even when men jest, slander, mock, or lie, they are participating in the bloodshed. They join in the argument against Zion directly and indirectly through both their idle words and their deliberate contentions. They shoot their words at the Word, aiming from near and afar. The name of the Lord who “was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood,” is “the Word of God” (Revelation 19:3). The dispute continues until the number of the martyred witnesses of His word is filled. “[On one side,] they persecute the Word, while on the other side, the Spirit of God rests in the righteous.” The “snow” and the “black ice” in the brook which Job revealed are the wickedness hidden in the people’s shallow words and thoughts that trickle forth. He cried out, “Come back!” like the cries of the prophets which foreshadowed the huge amount of bloodshed by stray words. Whenever one soul comes back, much bloodshed can be avoided.
Job’s friends preached the generally acceptable message that man should fear God and abandon evil; their words became poison for themselves because they condemned the righteous who walked in that path. Calling the righteous men evil and the evil men righteous is equivalent to despising God, who finds pleasure in the righteous. They regard truth and lies as the same because they consider truth and works to be unrelated. His friends neither remembered the good deeds that Job had done before God, nor regarded his benevolent mind as anything significant; this revealed their dulled attitude towards the word of God.
The difference between true prophets and false prophets lies in their deeds. The Lord spoke concerning them, “Ye shall know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16). The true prophet walks in the way of righteousness according to the commandments of God and teaches people to do the same. On the other hand, the ones who despise good and holy deeds have the spirit of a false prophet. The false prophets pretend that there are matters greater than walking in fear before God and make an effort to use lengthy words. Even while trying to instruct Job in righteousness, Job’s friends say, “What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?” and, “…how can he be clean that is born of a woman?” These are skeptical and doubtful thoughts that Job’s friends fell into because they did not take pleasure in the commandments of the Lord. This is different from the righteous who keep the Word of God with all their heart and lament their shortcomings. Eliphaz claims, “Is it any pleasure to the Almighty, that thou art righteous? or is it gain to him, that thou makest thy ways perfect?” However, the Lord accepts the praises of those who please Him (Psalms 103:21). The visions and dreams of those who do not keep the Word are from the devil who takes advantage of the double-minded. When Job cried out, “If I had called, and he had answered me; yet would I not believe that he had hearkened unto my voice,” he seemed paltry in comparison to Eliphaz who tried to amplify the authority of his words with visions which were not even from God. Yet, Job’s faith was accepted by God because there was nothing between him and God, save God’s Word.
Eliphaz’s cruel opening statement caused a dispute and led the flow of the argument astray. Bildad and Zophar followed Eliphaz’s lead and forsook sympathy. They were constantly cruel like Edom, Moab, and Ammon, who were all hostile toward their brother Israel after he had just escaped from bitter slavery. The prosperity of those who act according to the commandments of the Lord is for the blessing of everyone. Because Job’s words were consistent with his works, he could keep himself from being corrupted by the world; thus he could become an example to those who were lost. When they saw Job’s afflictions, they believed themselves to be righteous and became Job’s rivals because they followed the world, which judges by outward appearance.
Eliphaz, who led the dispute, was probably an influential wise man and a prominent speaker in those times. Esau must have been influenced by Eliphaz, since the names ‘Teman’ and ‘Eliphaz’ later appear in his family lineage. Esau is like Eliphaz in that he desired a blessing, but could not abandon his love for the world and failed to receive the everlasting blessing. Just as Eliphaz perverted his wisdom through his desire for a prosperity blessing, Esau sought and garnered approval from others but was dim concerning heavenly blessings. Esau’s words, “Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me” show that his thoughts are against the Word which commands, “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you” (John 6:27). Edom treated Israel, who ate manna in the wilderness, with contempt. When one fights against his brother, one is encouraging others to gather against him from afar. Concerning the bitterness that follows betrayal by a close one, David said, “He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.” Likewise, Jesus was betrayed by a disciple whom he had traveled and eaten with and even taught. It yet another offence against the providence of Heaven for Esau to be jealous of Jacob and relinquish his birthright which he had gotten for free. Though Jacob was the one who received the blessing of Heaven, in the end, it became a blessing for everyone. This blessing, which Jacob received instead of Esau because it requires labor, patience, and faith, would eventually be extended to all nations through the abundant grace of God. Because of Edom’s jealousy towards his brother, Edom’s wisdom was oriented towards the big city, spurring all the nations to flow into it.
Edom believed that they were safe from God’s vengeance, but God said that the sword of slaughter will be drenched in Edom first. It is said, “For my sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment. The sword of the LORD is filled with blood, it is made fat with fatness, and with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams: for the LORD hath a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Idumea” (Isaiah 34:6). God first executes his judgment on those who had more chances to turn back.
Since there were no truthful witnesses, Job had to look back on his actions and search inwards for any falsities or evils (Job 29-31). Job, fearing God, took heed all his life and he kept himself from sinning with even heart or mind. The way he lived his life made it fitting for God to call him “my servant.”
It is said, “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.” Men know nothing about this “day.” There are days which flow on the earth that cannot be fixed to the “present”. Both righteous and evil men come and go within those days. This does not seem fair to the righteous. It is distressing that deeds such as being patient and bearing losses or contempt, which are done for the sake of obtaining the unseen rewards, must disappear alongside the days of evil men. Job had a taste of such affliction and pleaded, “Are thy days as the days of man?” In the generation when Satan’s identity was hidden and a room in Heaven had been reserved for him, Job’s plea was full of despair and sighing. This battle is the spiritual battle of which those whose spirits do not mourn are unaware. Just like in Heaven, where God’s children stood silently like defendants as Satan spoke against them, Job endured Satan’s fierce attacks on earth and shed many tears as he prayed to God. It was said to His saints, “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
Job confessed, “He knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Because he had kept God’s Word, Job knew that he would not perish in the midst of the disasters. The Word, which had been his way of living for all of his life, comforted him in the midst of his tribulations. The apostle John said, “If our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight” (1 John 3:21-22). The sons of God came from afar to present themselves before God, which meant that their lives had made them worthy to be called His sons, they will pass the final tribulations, and be seated in the heavens. It is said, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God” (1 John 3:1), and “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11). The things which do not seem to be fair on the earth, where there is no present for either the righteous or the evil but only the past and the future, must arrive on the “day” and stand before the Lord. These must come to pass on the day that the sons of God present themselves.
Satan accused Job concerning his worthiness to enter into God’s rest. Job saw that the world was filled with deceivers and liars. He meditated about evil and gained understanding of “the crooked serpent.” The deep and vast knowledge of Job, which spans the heavens and the earth, was obtained not through worldly observation, but by living in fear of God. It is disadvantageous for Satan, who works by hiding and disguising himself, to have his nature and the footprints of his works revealed. The righteous man’s testimonies cause men to turn from evil and weaken Satan’s power. He mourns and prays for those who are on the path to ruin. Satan, who obtains his power through the multitude of evil people, is weakened in the battle against even one righteous man. In his despair, Job prophesied about the Redeemer’s coming, which was a brutal strike against Satan. In the furnace of affliction, the mouths of the righteous carry testimonies concerning the Lord Jesus Christ which are the finest of all words. David also prophesied the redemption of Jesus Christ amidst his trouble, saying, “My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.”
Though Satan took away Job’s possessions, his children, and his health, he could not take away his wisdom and fear of God. These things were nurtured in his private, continual relationship with God for the day when he stands before God. God commanded Satan to spare his life, which included his faith, prayers, and wisdom. Satan cannot deny the life which was carried out for the sake of standing before God.
After Satan received permission from God and smote Job intensely, time which seemed to be cut off from heaven fell upon Job, and he Job said, “He hath loosed my cord, and afflicted me.” For Job, living in fear of God was akin to moving towards God by pulling on a cord. When it seemed that Job had lived such a life in vain and failed to be God’s happiness, he suffered pain as though he were cut off from God. Those who are unrighteous desire to be cut off from the Lord, but the righteous desire to be His servant. Satan did not want heaven to record the days of Job which he had not intruded upon. Satan tried to make Job deny all his works that he had done before God amidst his troubles, barring them from adding to the glory of God. But Job confidently declared, “My desire is, that the Almighty would answer me, and that mine adversary had written a book. Surely I would take it upon my shoulder, and bind it as a crown to me.” (Job 31:35-36). Because his honest conscience was derived from God’s commandments which were engraved in his mind, if his friends’ reproaches were rooted in the Word, they would have been a comfort to him. The desire of the righteous is not for people to agree with him, but for the world to be filled with knowledge about God. God’s word is the Comforter to all who love the truth.
Job and his friends all claimed that they must fear God, but Job was the only one to stand before God. He who fears God walks before Him. Because He sees, he will not lie; because He searches, he will not covet or lust; and because He judges, he will abandon extravagance, pleasure, hatred, jealousy, and slander. Job says, “Is my complaint to man? and if it were so, why should not my spirit be troubled?” He knew who his enemy was because Satan was present when the sons of God stood before God. But Job’s knowledge about the enemy of the Creator and all His creatures was gotten through suffering tribulations and witnessing the unjust world. It does not seem fair that Job had to suffer long, tedious, and miserable nights because of a few words by Satan. This was predicted when man was deceived by a few words from the serpent and broke the commandment of the Lord in spite of His abundant love and His great creation. However, this suffering is the kind of suffering which God hearkens to, and it is for the sake of the victory of the soul.
God mentioned, among Job’s many works, how he sent for his sons and offered burnt sacrifices after they finished their feasting. His reason for doing this was, “It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.” Job worried not for their success or prosperity as worldly people do, but that they might have blasphemed God in their words or thought amidst the new culture that was flowing in. The culture of Babylon, which includes the celebration of special days and birthdays, might have been popular among the youth. Remembering the day someone came out of the womb of a woman could be irreverence towards God, who creates the spirits of men. Instead, it could be giving glory to the serpent, who works by relying on the flesh.
The people of Israel kept the days of purification whenever a child was born. This means that it is unclean to be born in a woman’s womb. Every man born in the flesh still has to be born again in the Spirit. The Lord said concerning Judas Iscariot, “Good were it for that man if he had never been born.” If a man cannot repent of his evil deeds, it is woeful for him to have been born in the flesh. In the Bible, there is no record of the chosen people celebrating birthdays while there are records of pagans, namely Pharaoh and Herod, celebrating their birthday. Ironically, a man was killed in both events; in the latter, John the Baptist was killed. Satan succeeded in drawing Job’s children into the culture of the world, and enticed them into feasting and indulging in earthly pleasures. Job offered many offerings for his seven sons after their feasts, and he also constantly walked before God even in the time he spent outside of making offerings. By doing so, he presented himself as an upright example to his children in all of his deeds. But Job’s children died by the wind as they were eating, drinking, and feasting despite the ruination of Job’s house by the Sabeans, the fire from heaven, and the Chaldeans. Job’s offerings, examples, and the plagues happening before their very eyes could not stop them as they were swept away by the culture. They may have thought that Job’s careful life and labor was vain when they saw that he had suffered so many afflictions in one sitting. It was a blasphemy before God for them to not join their father in his adversity and instead, follow after the lusts of their heart. They were accustomed to superficiality and neglect with their habit of feasting and celebrating.
The Chaldeans, who plundered Job in the third disaster, were the leaders of the City of Babylon in the land of Shinar. After they had failed in Shinar, they waited until many kingdoms had been formed. They quietly drew power to themselves as though they sought to steal the glory of the mountain of Zion. Coming in after the attack by the fearless Sabeans and the fiery destruction, the Chaldeans subtly made their attack look as though it was judgment from heaven, somewhere between natural and man-made disasters. They showed care in splitting into three bands just to smite the already-ruined Job. Job’s friends did not speak with regard to the evil invaders but only rebuked him. Babylon, which drew in Job’s children to ruin them and deprived Job’s friends of prudence, was increasing in power by consuming souls. Its attractive appearances, well-made images, valor, organization, manners, doctrines, paintings, and goods are the things that attract people. In later times, after having walked the long journey through the wilderness along with Israel, Akan perished right before entering the Promised Land because he was blinded by the beautiful clothing of Babylon and the lump of gold. Hezekiah was blinded by the polite ambassadors from the far-away Babylon and showed them all of the treasures in his dominion and the temple. He could not have imagined that Babylon would dive into the deepest parts of the kingdom and smite their children, rip up the women with child, and kill the elderly. Job’s children were unaware that ruin was upon them because they were steeped in the lavish culture of Babylon. In flesh, Job and his children were one family, but in spirit, one belonged to the afflicted Zion, while the other belonged to the hedonistic Babylon.
Job’s cry, full of sorrowful words such as death, darkness, night, graves, and mourning, is so woeful that it is impossible to find a joyful voice amidst his lament. God answers him with the words of life that such as song, light, gates, paths, joy, the morning stars, and the sons of God. God tells Job, who overcame the tribulations, about the knowledge that Adam would have had concerning all the creatures and the laws of the heavens and the earth. The morning stars would have joyfully sung together when the sons of God were born in His likeness. The sons of God would have shouted for joy in His love and power. The earth would have appeared in grandeur with abundance and blessings. The songs of eternity that were first sung in Heaven are pure and beautiful, belonging to the triumphant. Doubting this beautiful creation of the Lord and revealing the foundation of the world are followed by a costly penalty. No amount of suffering and torment could compensate for it. It is unfortunate for the creatures because their peace and their blessings are gotten through the mercy and grace of the Creator, not through their own wisdom.
God spoke to Job about the creatures. They are full of characteristics and features that man cannot understand. The beasts of the field are more confident in the field than man and act as though they are the hosts. The field was given to them from the beginning, and it is challenging for man to gain knowledge about them or rule over them. They know not the power which man had in Eden. “The [wild ass] scorneth the multitude of the city, neither regardeth he the crying of the driver.” They are far from being tamed, but rather, man should be careful to avoid following their dissolute habits. The wild goats and hinds “bow themselves, they bring forth their young ones” in secret, and “they cast out their sorrows. Their young ones are in good liking, they grow up with corn; they go forth, and return not unto them.” But man knows that his spirit comes into the world from above and returns to the One who gave it, and that he must endure the pain of multiplying his godly seed. They grow by eating the Word of God and spread out to the ends of the world. Job saw that the wicked lived confidently, well-accustomed to the wilderness like the wild asses. They fit well into the lifestyle of the field, preoccupying themselves with work and taking pleasure in their great harvest; however, it is not a life appropriate for the homeland.
The ostrich, which “leaveth her eggs in the earth, and warmeth them in dust, And forgetteth that the foot may crush them, or that the wild beast may break them,” is like the parents who offer their children to the customs of this world. They resemble the nature of Satan, who drags his seed into ruin. The beasts of the field, like the unicorn with its pompous horn and the horse which “mocketh at fear,” have great confidence and excellent adaptability because the field is the best place for their pride. But God’s pleasure and hope is not in them. They bring forth only worldly seed. The wild ass rejoices in loosed bands and the unicorn lifts his horn high, not knowing that their glory is temporary. The ostrich can run quickly without wisdom, and the horse rushes forward to war, ignorant of what is righteous. The hawk stretches her wings toward the south, but she does not know about judgment and justice. Regardless, all of these creatures praise their Creator with the life, knowledge, and strength given to them because the Lord made them with His Spirit and feeds them.
Unlike the beasts of the field, the behemoth displays an honorable, gentle, temperate, and harmonic figure. The scene of the strong behemoth eating grass like an ox is reminiscent of the peaceful scenery of Eden. God said to Job, “Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee”, although man was made last. Moreover, God said, “He that made him can make his sword to approach unto him.” In Eden, Adam’s task of naming the creatures was a mission of creation passed down to his seed. Every creature with its unique features came into order without conflict. The behemoth extends an atmosphere of majesty: he “moveth his tail like a cedar” and “his strength is in his loins” in the manner of a man who girds his loins in straightening his posture. The way the behemoth “drinketh up a river, and hasteth not” or how “he trusteth that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth” shows the misjudgment of a beast and the dullness of its yearning for its native land. Beasts lack knowledge concerning the Spirit of God, which can dry up the Jordan. His display of neglect in the way “he lieth under the shady trees, in the covert of the reed, and fens” contrasts with the way Israel hurriedly came out of Egypt and fearlessly crossed the Red Sea. Job’s friends spoke about fearing God and had lofty knowledge, but they were drunk with their satisfaction in this world and forgot that they must return to the eternal home. Eliphaz’s claim that a man who lives righteously “shall be in league with the stones of the field: and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with [him]” reflects the attitude of one who has lost his desire for his homeland. The behemoth, which remembers its home country but had adapted to the fields, should be disciplined. The being which rises out of the sea grows in power from many waters; by contrast, Job “can make his sword to approach unto [behemoth].”
God said concerning the leviathan, “Upon earth there is not his like, who is made without fear.” His power increases as people exchange goods, culture, ideologies, and idols through the sea, which began after the earth was divided. It is said in the Book of Psalms, “There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein.” Whereas the beasts of the field are carnal beings, behemoth, which has both fleshly and spiritual characteristics, contrasts with leviathan, which establishes himself in the waters. Just like how there was none that looked like the leviathan on the earth, Job was unique such that God said, “there is none like him in the earth.” This is a contrast between one righteous man and an evil being, but the evil being is so enormous and tough that he is a formidable adversary for a single righteous man to fight. While there was one righteous man in the generation who kept his faith in the flesh, all other souls gave their flesh to the evil one to form a massive image. God made the borders out of sand, which is like many souls, to contain the waters’ overflowing pride. In those times, Job was the only man who followed His law and did not give power to the beast. The disasters which befell Job were not because of his sins, as his friends claimed; rather, it was the manifestation of his solitary spiritual battle. Job, who did not delight in his abundant possessions, lost all of his possessions; he, who was heavy with his children’s iniquities, lost his children; and he, who restrained his flesh and walked humbly before God, lost his health. But amidst his tribulations, Job came to be known about the things he might have meditated more clearly than before. Job came to realize that the influence of evil which he had worried about had overwhelmed the world much faster than he had thought, consuming his family and his neighbors. He discovered the identity of the crooked serpent, and God meticulously elucidated his form to him. Although the Creator made nothing that looked like him upon the earth, many souls came to look like him.
The image of the leviathan shows the way sins and blasphemies committed in the flesh contribute to the fearsome war. Concerning the leviathan, God warns man against doing certain things because many souls act in those ways. They indulge in greed, fame, and pleasure and come to resemble his image. Although they compromise with jesting, entertainment, trading, profit, etc. the image of the beast cannot reward them, neither can it be ruled by them. No one can stand before God without overcoming this mighty image (Job 41:10).
The leviathan’s seeming figure and alluring light are like an advantageous high ground which draws in followers, in contrast with the figure of Jesus Christ. Unlike the image, which attracts a lot of zeal with its false light and reigns over people, the Creator, who is the true image, entered the world in lowly flesh. God said Job concerning the leviathan, “Lay thine hand upon him, remember the battle, do no more;” however, He left Jesus to be whipped, crowned with thorns, spat upon, mocked, nailed to the cross, and thrust through with a spear. Leviathan’s pride in his scales, which are “shut up together as with a close seal,” is reminiscent of the cold-hearted lawyers, contrasting with Jesus’ free salvation. Whereas law is for condemning man, the blood of Jesus has the power to save souls.
Because people were not free from law and sin, the Lord came down to earth to unbind them. But they denied Jesus, who is the true light, and loved the false light of the beast. They did not want to abandon their worldly desires, so they chose the freedom of the sin within them over the true freedom to resemble Christ. The “hoary” color which they believed and followed was not the color of the “firmaments” like sapphire or emerald, neither was it the color of refined precious stones or spirits. In the spiritual world, light and dark cannot be combined. The precious stones in the mount of God shine with excellent understanding because they receive the true light. The hoary color is the color of flesh which misleads people with dullness of being. It is also the color of the mist, darkness, despair, and the void. People came to love it because their understanding was darkened. They hate the heavenly Light which reveals everything inside them. Instead, they follow the false light that rises from the earth and conceals evil appearances and muddles shapes. Whereas the stones of the mount of God are purified with fire, the Spirit, and the Word to become precious stones for the houses in heaven, the haughty ones consume all of their strength to build houses on this earth. The ones who lift up their souls for falsehood, the ones who wait in hiding to take another’s spouse, the ones who dedicate their lives for perishable materials, those who deceive their souls with false zeal have flooded all the generations like the waters. They are the nations, multitudes, and languages that become the waters which carry the beast upon which Babylon sits.
God revealed His name gradually to His people who were on the earth. Until God appeared to man as JEHOVAH God of Hosts, the Spirit, and Jesus Christ the King of kings, He worked, was heard and seen by men, received affliction, and gathered people to Him. The righteous held the testimony of faith because they believed that God, whom they served, was the One who inspected and judged all their deeds. This God, who does all these things, is the one and only God, who is Creator and Savior. The nations made for themselves laws, statutes, and customs, but allowed sin in various forms to exist because their gods were idols which could neither see, nor judge. Believing that the One who made man sees all his deeds and walking before Him in fear was considered righteousness and faith before the Lord. The one who is known by God also knows how He is. God revealed Himself to those who were worthy of seeing him. Moses, Noah, Job, and Daniel followed God’s laws and many righteous people who had knowledge, faith, and righteousness saw Him in fear. Because doing according to His commandments gives man knowledge and understanding, the other nations said thus about His people: “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people” (Deuteronomy 4:6).
God found Abraham amidst all the people who were following after idols and separated him out from them. God chose Abraham and made him into a father of blessed people because he “kept [His] charge, [His] commandments, [His] statutes, and [His] laws” (Genesis 26:5). Even when no commandments or laws had been graven in stone, God put a fear of Him and eschewing of evil into the minds of man and the righteous lived according to this law. Though Abraham had wealth and honor, he gave up his life of glory and peace and lived a nomadic life of patience in pilgrimage for the sake of the blessing of his innumerable descendants of faith that would reach to the end of the world. Following in his steps, Isaac and Jacob also lived in tents as nomads in faith. By their patience and faith, all Gentiles were able to fulfill the blessing of becoming God’s children as their descendants. Their lives, which were for an unseen reward hundreds of thousands of years later on and seen as vague and abstract to unbelievers, separated them from those of this world. They became people of the Kingdom of God and examples for the men of faith following after them.
Righteous men such as Noah, Abraham, and Job were alone in each generation. This indicates that such lives were more difficult than lives in pursuit of a hard goal on the earth. Even so, they chose to become lonely men, because they could not look upon the iniquities of men and align themselves with them. Similarly to how there is no one who does not fear the powerful waves of the sea that rush in to swallow souls, they held fear and carefulness in keeping themselves from the tides of evil. The people of the world established nations rapidly and were confident in their own laws and customs, and raised armies which could make the righteous tremble. The evil men became rulers over them and could harm the righteous with force at any time. Abraham had a small number of trained servants, which prepared him for the forthcoming fight for the kingdom of Zion. If the nations had feared God and respected the law of God, Abraham would not have felt threatened by their evilness. The law that Abraham kept was different from their laws. It was kept only by Abraham and disregarded by everyone else.
God helped Abraham in this uneven battle. David said, “He sent from above, he took me; he drew me out of many waters; He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them that hated me: for they were too strong for me” (2 Samuel 22:17-18). Perceiving the dreadful power of the wicked is recognizing the wickedness that has spread throughout the earth. This perception comes about by keeping oneself pure before God in faith. If faith is distinguished just by the strength and boldness that one can feel externally, the wicked ones who are ignorant concerning sin will pretend as if they have more faith than the righteous ones who are careful about evil and its influence. Satan tempts man to leap down from a high place. What men claim as faith could be a deception created by Satan. It is testing oneself and God with ill-fitted bravery in abandonment of the pureness of the soul. No matter how great or small the faith, God values it for what it is. Faith shines by its pureness, much like how Paul commended Timothy’s “unfeigned faith.” This purity is keeping oneself from becoming polluted by the languages, customs, and doctrines of this world.
Being drawn into any culture that rushes in shows a lack of faith. This is because the cultures of this world are built with the imagination and words of men, not the commandments of God. The Lord “gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father” (Galatians 1:4). God created the visible forms in the manner of the kinds which are unseen, and as each form shows where it belongs by its specific characteristics, the soul likewise testifies to the unseen place that it belongs to by its deeds. As a result, it can be discerned as to whether a soul belongs above or below. A culture that impacts the behavior of souls incorporates the languages, speeches, and actions that each person presents, which is a huge amalgamation. When water is in the form of a dewdrop, it shows itself to be weak, but when it gathers into a gigantic sea, it becomes stirred up as “waves of pretentiousness.” This is not a realization or faith about one’s own self, but rather a false behavior arising from reliance on the worldly stream. It is not an elimination of fear, but hiding it in the form of dependence on a large, visible power.
A wicked culture is an evil that has been fused into the souls of the city. The Prophet Abraham, seeing the Egyptians and Philistines, testified that they had no fear of God and that they might desire another’s wife and kill her husband to take her from him. It is a feeling of being threatened by the dreadful flood of those evil cultures. God made His host by the seed of Abraham, who did not fall into this stream of evil, and punished both Pharaoh and Abimelech for presumptuously persecuting the righteous while they themselves lived in cultures of evil. He reprimands the tides of evil which threaten the people of the city of Zion who keep His commandments, and He also comforts His people. It is written, “Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you” (Isaiah 35:4).
When the Lord led Israel out of Egypt, He showed them a name that would be remembered throughout all their generations: “the Lord God of Israel who brought them up from Egypt, and brought them forth out of the house of bondage; and inherited the land of Canaan.” God made Israel His servant and not slaves to the flesh, to allow them to live in the spirit and give them the path to occupy the promise land. God made Himself known to His people by His work so that they could abide in His words and work and learn, understand, and teach the next generation. In doing so, they can serve God, who is the same yesterday and today. The people of Israel was called “the host of the Lord” after they came out of Egypt. God made Israel avoid war as much as possible, as they had just been freed from slavery. He trained them first through the journey of wilderness by the spiritual life until they would not fear in the face of any armies. Because God did not want them to fear going into war unprepared, He made Israel turn and performed a miracle whereby he split the sea, though the path through the Philistines was closer to them.
The armies of God advance forward by His command. They are the assembly of God who hear the trumpets of warning, marching, and convocation. It may seem like God’s host was made the most belatedly and feebly, but the Lord made them when He created heaven and earth, and their foundation is not on the earth, but in heaven. When God was finished with Creation, it is noted, “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them” (Genesis 2:1). God waited so long to allow His host to stand in the earth boldly, so that His people could walk in step with Him through a life of patience. Patience and waiting follows after faith so that man should not follow the thoughts of their heart presumptuously and impetuously. By first establishing His kingdom within themselves, the saints of the Lord can be made ready to possess the promised land.
Unlike the nations of this world, the battle that the host of Zion must take part in is to live in the wilderness towards victory. It is a purification of oneself from all the idols and bindings of the flesh. For this purpose God fed the people of Israel manna in the wilderness, the food of angels. Likewise, He feeds His saints with the spiritual sustenance of His word. It is said, “And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live” (Deuteronomy 8:3). Many of those who complained and missed the food that they had back in Egypt died of plagues. As slaves to the flesh, they missed the livelihoods that they had in Egypt eating all varieties of foods and being unable to offer a sacrifice to the Lord. They wanted to depart from God, who had led them by a pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire with great miracles, and turn back to the gods of Egypt who could not give them eternal blessings and depended on the flesh.
In a life of the wilderness, there is joy of eating the food of heaven and fruitfulness in moving forward under the protection of the Lord rather than savory delicacies or pleasures of the flesh. The goal of the host of the Lord is to save souls. A life of bearing the word of the Lord and testimony of Him is a token of a life of waiting for the city of heaven. The opposite token is a life of living for the flesh alone. Pharaoh did not allow Israel to offer sacrifices to God and made them concentrate only on physical labor to put this token of flesh upon them by force, which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon did likewise in making all the nations, languages, people, and multitudes stop working to bow down to the statues. The high mountains of the earth were jealous of the mountain of Zion and tried to hinder His laws and commandments from spreading out to the world from there.
The saints of the Lord are the sons of God who are in the Spirit of God, in the same way that Adam was in the Spirit of God and was His son even before he was moved to Eden. The Lord said, “The kingdom of God is within you.” The saints who have the kingdom of God within them are like the sanctuary of the Lord which He has sanctified in His holy mountain. Even when the Lord left his disciples, He said, “I go to prepare a place for you.” Similarly to how Adam was made without sin from the dust of the earth and moved to Eden in the “firmament,” God will move them to the place that He has prepared after He newly creates man with His word. It is written that building a house in the doomed city is shameful. In regard to those who have built their houses in heaven, it is said, “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life” (2 Corinthians 5:2-3).
If a man is not clothed with a house in heaven, his shamefulness will be seen by others. The things that are seen as glory and pride to eyes of flesh shall be exposed as shamefulness by God on His day of inspection. No one can become spiritual while living a life of flesh, and no one can build a house in heaven while in love with the world. A spiritual life is one that fulfills the word of God and uses it to draw near to Him. His fair grace allowed all who are born in the flesh to become His children in His likeness by His word. By this grace, even those who have little faith can become purified by believing and following His word, and have the chance to become His precious stones for the house of Heaven. But people like Cain who want a mark of protection just for the flesh will depart from the Lord and build a city for themselves according to their desires.
In comparison to how Noah building an ark seemed like nonsense to the men at a time when they were far from the sea, building a house in desolate Zion is regarded with contempt by the men of this world as the kingdoms of the world prosper. Living according to God’s word and keeping one’s soul holy is regarded as worthless by the generations whose goal is to obtain fame and riches. They, like Cain’s children, choose whatsoever occupation they desire, make and sell whatsoever they want, amass wealth, and do not refrain from pleasurable endeavors, gain, fame, and praise on the earth. Jobs are used as idols to deceive the saints until the end, and many of those who persecuted the apostles also did it by reason of their profit and occupations. Much as how the Hebrews endured scorn for living nomadic lives in search of green fields for their sheep to graze on, a life of roaming in accordance with God’s commandments was seen with derision.
When Adam was driven out from Eden, his desires were simple and pure. God gave the sun, rain, and wind so that man could have food. Even after working as much as was necessary for him to eat, there was still plenty of time left, and God made man spend much of his time praying, praising, meditating on His word, and being in fellowship. The forerunners of faith showed this kind of life by their example, the saints of the early churches lived so, and God fed them all. Paul said, “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” He worked just enough for his basic needs and then used most of his time for God. But in the affluent city of Babylon, they held contempt for working just enough to make a living. The rich man in the Gospel of Luke thought about better food, better clothes, and making a greater name for himself, whereas Lazarus ate to live, wore to cover his body, and gave thanks for his life. His soul was not subject to material wealth or the outward appearance, but was preserved in purity. The Lord said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God,” and the rich plummeted down to hell.
After receiving Paul’s preaching, many of those who used curious conjurations brought their books together and burned them in front of everyone, amounting to about fifty thousand pieces of silver’s worth (Acts 19:19). When they were empowered by the Holy Ghost, they did not hesitate to throw away their jobs and possessions. They did not sell the books and help the poor with the money thereof because they knew that salvation is for the souls of all. New jobs are being created without end and are enticing people with payment and reputation, even with intentions that seem to be of good will. When such things prevail and tempt man to depart from the commandments of the Lord and hinder the Spirit, the people of Zion confront these threats to their livelihoods by rejecting them. The culture and economic system encourages man to not live in pursuit of the kingdom of the Lord and His righteousness, but rather devote his time and mind to the world. In the rich city of Babylon, not only goods or thoughts are merchandise, but also souls (Revelation 18:13). The ones who stand on the holy mount of God prioritize keeping their souls, bodies, and spirits perfect over just preserving their lives on earth. No flesh can enter into Eden without first passing through the flaming sword which turns every way. It cuts down every selfish desire and falsehood that hinders the Holy Spirit.
The Lord said, “And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.” The days of the Son of man and the days of Noah are both days of judgment. The fact that there were many famous men in Noah’s days was a phenomenon unique to his time. Their forms were not according to what God had originally created, but they were attractive to look upon in the eyes of men. As the Last Day draws nearer, people who love this world and hold a form of godlessness become more welcoming to those men, while the godly men who follow the word of God slowly began to disappear. But God found those who had prepared themselves in holiness and made them carry His word along a steady course. Those who preached the word of God stood in purity only by the Word, much as how God spread out heaven and earth and created all the creatures by Himself. They feared God and resembled His nature, being meek, merciful, mournful, and honest. God breathed a zeal for His word into such people. They are people of the Spirit, not swept away by the changeability and flow of this world, keeping the image of God’s creation and testifying to it.
Discerning to whom God charged with His word helps to understand the authority of the word. Above all, God gave His words to the Jews. It is said, “What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God” (Romans 3:1). The history of the Jews is a history and testimony of the Word and all of scripture is recorded by Jews. Even among them, the Lord chose to have His word written down by those who were blameless in the law, were penitent-hearted, and feared God. In the lives of the Jewish people, the teaching of the law of God was their education and living and prophets could arise from them because they lived godly lives from an early age. Elisha was called in the middle of plowing, Jeremiah received his calling to preach the word of God from an early age, Amos was called to preach repentance while he was chasing the flock, and Isaiah replied boldly to the Lord, “Here am I; send me.” All these were only made possible because their lives were with the Word. Though the Lord’s disciples, the apostle Paul, and the bishops whom they laid their hands upon felt they were lacking, they were all used straight away according to their calling. Their calling was not from their sense of duty, or from their mind, but by the authority of the word which was in them. This can be distinguished from the false prophets of the end times who will grow in the customs of the world and pervert the word, pursuing their own authority.
God led the church of the wilderness with Moses, and for the church of Gentiles he gave His chosen apostles charge. The apostle John said concerning his experience, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life … declare we unto you.” The Lord said to His apostles, “When the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning,” (John 15:25-26) and, “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20). They abandoned everything and were cleansed from the sins of worldly knowledge, lust, and greed. To the saints who listened to them, John said, “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him” (1 John 2:27). This was taught so that the doctrine of the apostles would not be hindered by those who prioritized meeting in synagogues and the authority of man over the Word, and to keep the saints attached to the Word. The apostles said, “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach” (Romans 10:8). When the saints strive for perfection after the examples of the apostles, it allows the Word to gain power in the earth. That saints hears to the word that apostles preached and become one in Him allows the Word to gain power in the earth. Any action that presumptuously oversteps this duty hinders the free course of the Word.
After Paul healed a crippled man at Lystra, people tried to worship him and Barnabas. They subsequently rent their clothes and forbid them, stating that man should worship God only. But when Jews went to the people of Lystra and persuaded them, they stoned Paul to the verge of death. Paul had stayed there for a while and even performed miracles and healed people, who had even tried to serve him as a god, but they ended up trusting the Jews, who had just arrived, and stoned him. Neither Paul’s miracles nor his grief to the point of tearing his clothes could persuade them as much as the Jews’ deceitful words. The missionaries of today who go forth to the distant lands of idol-worshippers can build churches rapidly not because they have more power than the apostles, but because many of them are straying from the gospel and becoming joined to idols. Praising visible accomplishments and constructing churches makes it difficult to distinguish between true and false fruits. This is because although there are many who come into churches, those who come into the Word are few.
Missionaries who travel to uncivilized lands while carrying a materialistic and modern culture are responsible for the alteration of the gospel. The proliferation of such an environment diminishes the pure purpose of preaching the gospel and shifts dependence to the needs of men. The wisdom and thought of man surpass the gospel in priority. These become the main standard with which people measure fruitfulness. It is an act of passing on the course of Babylon for the people of well-developed cultures to come into poor countries and expand new interests, new technologies, and new cultures. It is evil enough that people in Christian countries go out and return with the cultures of Gentiles. But for the saints to trade interests and cultures with the culture of the Gentiles, which is built on the custom of idol worship, and for the saints to devise profitable methods with them is to build a tower against God. Even greedy people like Judas Iscariot can do missionary work for the poor. Adulterers, thieves, and hypocrites can call upon the name of the Lord and be charitable. But they spread the leaven of iniquities and do not allow even a single soul to be saved. It is said, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves” (Matthew 23:15). It is not as difficult to search over sea and land to gain converts as it is to make them people of the kingdom of heaven. People can be converted by using material wealth and favorable talk, but they cannot be made to repent and walk in His commandments. This is because the proselytizers themselves do not live such lives.
The growth of knowledge and faith requires a long period of time and the dispensation of grace. With the word of God, man obtains discretion, gaining wisdom and knowledge, and in living by it, he bears the fruit of the Spirit. Paul wrote concerning the temptations of new missionaries, saying, “Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.” The gospel that the apostles preached was of repentance, the commandments of Jesus, the kingdom of God, righteousness, resurrection, dispensation, temperance, and forthcoming judgment. These things were heard and hated by men of flesh and the lives of the apostles were often threatened as a result. The apostles were persecuted for putting the livelihoods of many people in jeopardy. This was in contrast to how many people today who believe that they have joined in the course of the gospel with their jobs or gifts.
The Lord saw the multitude that came to Him and said, “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:37-38). All those who hear this parable are either the wheat or the weed. They cannot be a harvester. In the same way that the word “work” conveys physical labor for many, when the saints hear the word “work,” it reminds them of preaching, and they regard themselves as the harvesters. It is because their concept of work is derived from the habits of the people of this world. They suppose that “work” means going, coming, planning, reporting results, etc. Regardless of whether the works have any worth or not, none of them testify to the urgency of the salvation of the soul. The Lord did not tell the repentant sinners to preach, but rather to not sin again. Preaching in the midst of sin and ignorance will cause everyone involved to go astray. The multitude that gathered to Jesus were the ones who believed that Jesus was he whom the prophets spoke of and all of Israel had long been waiting for. This multitude is the wheat. It is said, “Thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O LORD” (Joel 3:11). “Thy mighty ones,” the apostles and angels, will harvest them. The apostles have the same “measure” as the angels according to the commandments of the God. The Lord said to his disciples, “I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours” (John 4:38). In here, “other men” refers to the prophets, and “you” refers to the apostles of Jesus.
The church in Thessalonica showed itself to be a good example in its preaching of the gospel of the saints. Paul said, “From you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing” (Thessalonians 1:8). It can be seen that the church and the saints’ receiving the apostles’ preaching as the word of God, their subsequent abandonment of idols, and the persistence of their faith even in tribulation were known in outside regions, demonstrating to all the power of the Word. Like thus, those who hear the gospel join in the spreading gospel by repenting, turning away from old habits, and living with the word of God. The apostles endeavored to bear such fruit, and it was only through such that the word could run its course freely. But in some churches, those who loved having reputation among the people crept in unexpectedly, which hindered the course of the spreading of the gospel. They were not the ones who listened to the Word and did accordingly, but the ones who pretended to be like the apostles. The arbitrary reordering of the duty of the saints was a disregard for the authority of the word and threatened the authority of the apostles. These things happened especially to the gentiles who were not accustomed to the law of God. Paul proved himself as an apostle in regard to this, pointing out that man cannot build or tear down at whim.
His testimony, “have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord?” is true and was a unique privilege which was given to him by the Lord. All the apostles saw the Lord face to face after he resurrected, confirming their authority to witness. Today, when someone claims that he had a vision of the Lord, it is actually from lying spirits. After the apostles died, many men who wielded political or municipal power claimed themselves as successors of the apostles, and even among them there were some who claimed to have seen visions. This atmosphere tried to weaken the authority of the Bible so that it would become as one of those tools. In today’s churches, the Bible is not read as often as it should be and most of the saints dedicate their time to the culture of the world than to reading the word of God and living in it. As they presumptuously established their callings, more and more false prophets came abound.
Paul said, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” to Timothy, the godly man who was raised with the Word of God. Paul personally laid his hands upon Timothy and entrusted him with an obligation to preach the gospel. He requested him to teach the other faithful men what he heard while keeping his own self standing in the word of God, fighting against false doctrines and deceit. Those who were taught by the apostles and charged with the duty of bishopric were the ones who knew the holy Bible from their youth. God also gave the Bible to the Gentiles, allowing them to live in such an environment and freeing them from the ignorance and power of false words. In order to determine whether the gospel has spread to a certain area, it must first be known if the Bible is read in that area and the saints walk in the Lord’s commandments. This is what Satan tries to hinder and also the reason why the saints are persecuted. Simon, who thought that he could buy the power of the Spirit with money, was the primary example of today’s false prophets. Peter said to him, “Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money” (Acts 8:20). He believed and was baptized, but could not get rid of his old habits, and fell in danger of damnation.
The Lord said to His apostles, “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Saying that the goal of the church is missionary work is derived from those who both regard the “ends of the earth” as a geographical meaning and regard the apostles as the church itself. This meaning limits the church to the assembly of the earth. The “goal of the church”, if such a word can be used, should be related to the spiritual beings of the heavenly places. It is said, “To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:10-11), and it is also mentioned in the Book of Revelations which the apostle John wrote to the angels of the seven churches to prove this. The principalities and powers in heavenly places take pleasure in holiness, perfectness and fullness.
The flesh became corrupted and caused God grief, but He allowed them to become perfect in Jesus Christ, who is the firstborn of all the creatures. The flesh coming to the knowledge of the mystery of Christ and having the power of holiness on the earth is also the joy of the beings of heaven. Like “the sweet influence of Pleiades” which the Lord spoke to Job about, the church of Christ shines with a holy influence. The customs, the atmosphere, the languages, the nations, or the multitudes will not impact them. Like the stars which are in the high places but shine toward the earth and are for signs, the angels dwell in heaven and work on the earth for the church of Christ. In Revelations, the seven stars are the seven angels of the seven churches. Like the seven stars in heaven, the seven churches are in the shores of the sea in the shape of a ladle. They are to remember the dreadful judgment of God that “calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth” (Amos 5:8). But the corrupted stars which have lost their light and wander around are like the evil spirits which deceive men and try to quench the hope of the kingdom of heaven in man. The seven candlesticks are the seven churches. The candlestick is where one puts the candle. In Proverbs, it says, “The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD.” The spirit of man is in the earth, but has the mystery of knowledge through the Holy Spirit. Like the wheels with the spirit of the living creatures that Ezekiel saw, the spirit of man comes and goes to heaven and earth in the Spirit. Having power of this knowledge of mystery and the influence to stop the winds of the world is gaining the power of the Word in him which makes him to obey.
The church that can make known the manifold wisdom of God is not the church which is filled with ungodly people, but the church that gathers the godly people who walk after Holy Spirit even with just a few members. God has a “residue of spirit” and heavenly beings do not lack in number or power. The thing that is lacking and desirable for them to look into is the holiness of the saints who are in the flesh. Even when Israel lived in the wilderness, they served as the church of God (Acts 7:38) and their mission was not to preach, but to go forth according to the commandment of the Lord. Adhering to numbers is the way of Satan, who tries to rule over the flesh. Because Satan does not have his own portion in heaven, he deceives the souls of people as much as he can to receive glory from them for a fleeting moment. The heathens also used the word “church,” which could have various meanings such as the building itself (Acts 19:37).
If “the end of the earth” holds a geographical significance, the verse “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” can be misunderstood as the Lord not coming until the gospel has entered into every corner of the earth. This means that the saints could be sure that the Lord would not come for thousands of years, which invalidates the apostles’ warnings to stay awake because they do not know when the Lord is coming. On the contrary, the Lord said, “Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.” If the “ends of the earth” refer to a visual border, then either the Lord commanded His disciples to do what was impossible, or it meant that He gave the same duty and mission to all as successor to His apostles. But it is written, “Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us” (Acts 1:22).
God said that the ends of the earth stand as a garment (Job 38:14). The ends of the earth are where the men who had previously not been chosen and had no hope will be clothed with the Lord Jesus. Jesus went around only Judea and its provinces, but men from distant lands – even Greece – came to Him to hear the gospel. Jesus then said, “The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.” The Lord personally came and set a fire, and the fire will never cease. Adopting the ways of the world to draw unbelievers in, ceasing to rebuke sin, and filling them with words of pride will hinder the burning of this fire. Man presumptuously thinks that his own zeal will fuel the fire, but rather, the Bible warns against quenching the Spirit.
The Lord said, “I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?” The Canaanites who came from distant lands to hear the Word of the Lord were the ones that the Lord had personally kindled first. They are the fruit that was brought forth by the power of the salvation of the Lord that reaches to the ends of the earth. When the Canaanite woman entreated Jesus for her young daughter who had an unclean spirit, the Lord said, “It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs,” but seeing her faith, He answered her plea. Her response of “yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table” shows the kind of heart with which the Gentiles should come before the Lord. In Psalms, it is said, “The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.” The Lord said to the Canaanite woman, “O woman, great is thy faith.” The Lord received and praised her acknowledgement of her faith in her humbleness and despair, and her hope for salvation. Those who are in a lowly position have the chance to show Him even greater faith.
The world will seem to be filled with the knowledge of the gospel if there are many people with great callings, but the sign before the Lord’s coming is shown to be the opposite: “That day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition” (2 Thessalonians 2:3). The falling away is considered as a ‘form of godliness’ when the saints are deceived by the mystery of iniquity. The enemies of the Word are not those who did not yet receive the Word, but the ones who corrupt it and forsake it. The Anti-Christ and the men who caught and killed the saints who had the word of the Lord both came out of it. The Lord said, “They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.” The coming of the Son of man will be as the days of Noah as the Lord said. The Lord seeks even one soul who will stand upright before the Lord. It is right to preach to those who have not yet heard the gospel, but those who have the proper qualifications for preaching are declining in number in an environment where preaching is considered as the primary goal for the saints and prioritized above keeping the commandments of the Lord.
The words “Spirit” and “Holy Ghost” are often used in conjunction with the phrases “walk after” and “filled with.” This is related to the manner of consistency of the saints and their fervent steadfastness. This spiritual experience is not the same as experiencing something mysterious for a brief moment. The spiritual life involves eating the word of God and living on its power daily. It is walking with the Spirit and being filled with Holy Ghost. After the Lord resurrected, it is written that “He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost” (John 20:22). The only Son of God, who is the Creator and who is “we” manifest in the flesh, overcame sin and the power of death for sinners. He resurrected in the flesh and gave breath to man which had been cut off from God, so that man could be made into a “living soul” again. His words “none of them is lost, but the son of perdition” means that all his disciples except Judas will see the resurrected Lord and become witness of all things. Judas was the only disciple who was not purified by the Word and, failing to repent for his sin, did not witness the Lord after he resurrected. The Lord commanded his disciples that “they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father,” after which they received the Holy Ghost as was promised.
“They went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following” (Mark 16:20). The Lord performed miracles to help those who lacked in faith, and gave such power to His apostles also. But as the word spread throughout the world and it became influential to many, the miracles, signs, speaking in tongues, and healings that the apostles performed slowly began to fade. The act of speaking in tongues that was mentioned in Acts referred to speaking in a foreign language. The instruction about tongues was given only to the church in Corinthians by Paul, and he said that the one who speaks in tongues should be able to translate for men and also stop before men. It goes against this instruction for people to speak in tongues loudly and in vain in today’s churches. In the Book of Acts, the Holy Ghost came upon Cornelius and his company after Peter began to preach the gospel to them. This happened to those who feared God, were godly, and loved the Word. Sometimes people mistake their changed form as being filled with the Holy Ghost, but even the unbelievers and evil ones can be changed as well. But they are far from loving the commandments of the Lord and still hold various iniquities within themselves. There are limitations to being changed without the Word.
The appearance of speaking in tongues and prophesying can be given regardless of how much faith someone has, and it can even reveal his spiritual ignorance and neglect. The false prophet Balaam also had visions and prophesied, but he could not see even one step ahead for his own sake and was killed by the sword of Israel. After Saul disobeyed the commandment of the Lord and God sent an evil spirit into him, he began to prophesy. When Paul insisted on his journey to Jerusalem despite the four daughters of Philip and the prophet Agabus beseeching him not to go up to Jerusalem, their prediction was no surprise to him and had no impact on his journey. This was because he was already bound in the spirit in his journey and the Holy Ghost had already revealed to him that there would be bonds and afflictions waiting for him in every city. During the journey, an angel said to him, “Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee,” and he bore many fruits in that journey.
In the early days when the Holy Ghost had come like fire, the dead were brought back to life and the sick could be healed even by touching the edge of an apostle’s garment, but towards the latter days of the apostles, the healing phenomena slowly disappeared. Even Paul had a thorn of Satan in his body, Timothy often had infirmities of the stomach, Trophimus was sick as well, and Epaphroditus was sick nigh unto death, but God had mercy on him. In this manner, the prediction of the waning of prophesies, speaking in tongues, and knowledge was fulfilled according to scripture, but the word of God remained and could be read by all the saints. As the word of God gained power in the saints, “above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth” was fulfilled. If man could take part in the nature of God and glorify Him with miracles and the doctrine of man, the apostles would have given emphasis and guidance on these things, and not have instructed man with tears to keep His word.
When the Gentiles first heard the gospel, it was likely for them to stumble because of their lack of knowledge of the word. Paul labored with all his strength, praying and preaching to prevent such from happening. He experienced abandonment by everyone in Asia. Because knowledge is not something that is acquired in one day, it is more concerning if the saints fall away for lack of knowledge. The prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children” (Hosea 4:6). He also said that God desires man to have the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. One cannot be a priest of God without knowing Him in accordance with the Bible. The apostle Peter told the saints that they are a royal priesthood, and that they are to build a holy temple with faith and knowledge concerning Him. The Lord gave the saints knowledge through the scripture to teach them how to live, so that they could build themselves up as the temple of Holy Ghost. The statutes, rituals, and visual miracles can give the quick satisfaction of having an appearance of holiness, but they cannot provide knowledge of Him. As time passed, the presence of the Holy Ghost worked through the scriptures that the prophets and the apostles passed down, which was the preparation of the Lord for the saints to live in fullness of the Spirit in becoming closer to knowing God.
The apostles repeatedly gave instruction to the believers. John said, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God” (1 John 5:13). Paul also said, “To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe,” (Philippians 3:1) and in a similar manner, Peter said, “Ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour” (2 Peter 3:2). The Apostle Jude entreated the saints, saying, “Remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 1:17). What the apostles worked consistently for was to make sure that the saints would keep themselves from deceivers and prepare themselves for the day of salvation. This indicates that the saints are still abiding in the flesh, and because of that they must resist the guile of the serpent who focuses on their weakness in flesh with works of deceit. They could be turned over to Satan if they use their flesh as a tool of sin while they are still in the flesh. Jude said, “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ,” and these follow after the manner of Sodom and Gomorrha. The iniquities of Sodom included following after strange bodies and filling themselves with pride in riches. Only about twenty years after Abraham had gone to war in helping Sodom for the sake of Lot and the king of Sodom had expressed his gratefulness, they perished. Until Lot escaped to Zoar, until the sun rose, nobody had come out of the city because they were confident in their sin, having no knowledge about judgment and destruction. In the same way that the angels of the Lord dragged Lot out of the city of Sodom before its destruction, in the end times, God dragged the righteous out of this world and lead them into heaven. The Lord came in flesh to become the way for all who are in the flesh. But it is said, “Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven” (Hebrews 12:26). This is to sift out those like Lot’s wife who are double-minded. It is to leave out those who continue sinning after receiving the grace of redemption by the blood of Jesus. God invited all, but chose only those who wore the proper garments (Matthew 22:9-14).
The apostles endured the spiritual travails of birth after the saints believed in the Lord. Paul said, “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you” (Galatians 4:19). Giving birth brings forth an image, and they labored to make that image resemble the Holy Father. The pain of giving birth is akin to the agony of death. But the greater pain of this labor is in birthing spiritual children. This is the pain that the Creator endured after man sinned, and the pain that apostles went through in subduing their flesh for His church. Like the parts that are formed in the womb of a woman, man is formed in His likeness by the Word that the apostles preached. It is written, “He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word” (Ephesians 5:26).
Paul said, “Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church.” The apostles called the saints that they gave birth to spiritually “my children” and “my little children.” They were so sincere as to leave everything, including their own lives, for the sake of the kingdom of God, and endured lives that were filled with hardships such as “hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace.” God kept His promise to them that “He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the LORD” (Psalms 113:9). The apostles counseled the saints so that they could endure tribulation and trouble by following their example. The Word, Jesus, the prophets, the apostles, and the Spirit who worked in them is the woman with child that John saw in Revelations. All the saints and churches are the child that the woman gave birth to who should drink the milk of the Word and grow and be formed into the image of the Lord.
The apostle John said, “Every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist” (1 John 4:3). After Jesus came in the flesh and bore the cross of affliction, He made the saints walk in His steps and His apostles became examples thereof. But the men who received the spirit of the antichrist do not receive the doctrine of patience, labor, and affliction, and deny the power of the Holy Ghost in helping them to overcome the lust of the flesh. Here, it is revealed as to who holds the knowledge of the mystery of the knowledge of Christ and who has been deceived by the mystery of iniquities. The word “mystery” is finally shown in the New Testament. When Jesus preached the gospel of the Kingdom of heaven, he used parables to explain the mystery of heaven. Afterwards the apostle Paul talked about it, and it is also mentioned in the Book of Revelations. The Lord said “unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them” (Mark 4:11-12). The knowledge of the mystery of the kingdom of God cannot be understood by man if he leads a sinful life. Like the disciples of the Lord and some of the people who came to the Lord to inquire about this knowledge so that they could understand, an attitude of faithfulness toward the Word is required. In regard to this knowledge, the Lord said, “For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath” (Matthew 13:12). This knowledge is not given with the division of Israel or Gentiles in mind, but is given depending on whether the person listens to the word of the Lord and does it or not. The Lord said to the Pharisees, “He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.” The knowledge of the mystery is neither something that is far nor hard to solve, nor is it an inexplicable phenomenon. It is in the man who listens to the Word and brings forth good fruits. It is a mystery because it is carried out through the way of the spirit while he is still in the flesh. The spirits have the power of influence. Men influence one another with his spirit, through his words, and his actions. The man who has the mystery of the kingdom of heaven is not moved by the currents of this world, but is rooted in the Word and becomes the light and salt of the world. He shines amidst the darkness and changes the vain words of the world to the truth, fighting the corruption of the world.
As the gospel spread out to the Gentiles, the mystery of God was revealed to them, which Paul charged as his ministry. When the Lord gave up his ghost on the cross, He “finished,” and the work that was charged unto Paul was the “fulfillment of the word.” This is about “the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints” (Colossians 1:26). It was not easy for him to let the saints of the church know about the mystery, and he even asked for prayer about it: “Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds” (Colossians 4:3). It is because the knowledge and wisdom of the mystery of God are obtained with time and dispensation to both the apostles and the saints. The apostle John testified “But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets” (Revelation 10:7), and after then he saw a vision of wonder in which a woman bare a male child. But even before it, he saw a vision where “the court which is without the temple… [was] given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.” John said, “even now already is it in the world,” Paul testified that “the mystery of Iniquity” was already working. This means that the evil spirit had already grown in power by deceiving the saints.
Even when the apostles were still alive, there were men who sought to deceive the people with the doctrine of man. They grew in number after the apostles died. They used the Bible not for its power in men’s lives to release them from sin, but for arguments and fabricating doctrines. In this setting, many terms and doctrines such as the trinity, predestination, infant baptism, and work-based or faith-based salvation were made up. These things are visual and worldly, following after man-centered doctrines that test faith. These things hinder saints from living in His word and participating in the nature of God, enforcing fear of the congregation. These doctrines were used for discerning heathens, hating, and killing because they were not from God. They defined God and made a name for God, praising it, and observing and testing each other. Even evildoers considered themselves as faithful men after the manner of these kinds of doctrines. The biblical phrases in the Book of Romans such as, “The just shall live by faith” and the phrase in Habakkuk which says, “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith” are not for the wicked, but for the righteous who fulfill the commandments of the Lord. But many people used these phrases as indulgences and became corrupted. People refused paper indulgences, but welcomed this invisible indulgence because they were deceived with false promises of freedom. Satan established a fear in the saints that made them hesitant to agree with doctrines that were according to the commandments of the Lord. Following His commandments was the true path to tasting the freedom and power of the Spirit, but they set up doctrines which denied them. The Lord redeemed the sinners with His blood, giving His grace of salvation to all so that He could bring them into His covenant, but they preached the doctrine of “once saved, always saved” even to those who did not live in His word.
Separating oneself from the culture of evil is living an earnest life of spiritual battles. Although there are a variety of words, thoughts, and customs on the earth, in the spiritual world, only good and evil fight. At the core of all disputes lies a conflict between a godly man and an ungodly man. It is said, “If one bear holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt do touch bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any meat, shall it be holy? … No. … If one that is unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean? … It shall be unclean” (Haggai 2:13). As a result, the spiritual battle waxes fierce. A man’s spiritual fight starts when his soul comes to the earth – namely, from his mother’s womb, and he grows for the people of Zion or for Babylon. Just as the duckling follows the first thing it sees when it is born, improper character that is overpowered by the flesh is caused by neglect by the parents. Before a child learns the culture of the world, the Spirit of God can be made manifest in him through contact with the Word.
The faithful breastfeeding of infants by the Jewish mothers follows this belief. A child who satisfies his need for breast milk has taken the first step to preserving the natural order that was given by God. In Psalms, the feeling of an infant’s satisfaction is expressed: “Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child.” For a mother to refuse giving breast milk to her child is for him to experience misery from his mother for the first time after his birth and be deprived of the great joy given by God. Hannah even stopped going up to Shiloh to give offerings until she had weaned Samuel; by the time she weaned Samuel he had grown enough physically and in understanding to be dedicated to the Lord and carry out errands for Eli. She carried out her breastfeeding in earnestness and peacefulness of spirit. As for Moses, he was with his mother Jochebed only during the time of his breastfeeding, after which he grew up in the palace of Pharaoh. However, his upbringing and example of faith surpassed the education of Egypt in which he had grown up for most of his childhood. Abraham held a feast on the day that Isaac was weaned because it was the greatest fulfillment that Sarah and Isaac accomplished together as mother and child, preparing him for the nourishing word of the Lord to fight against the harshness of the world. It is said, “Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.” Knowing to choose between good and evil starts at a very young age, namely, after the child is weaned. From then on, he receives the consequences of his actions according to what he did before the Lord.
Children are ready to receive the word of the Lord and live accordingly after they are weaned. Leading them astray by capturing their attention and interest with toys, pictures, images, and fictional stories prepares them for falsehood and shallowness. The host of God does not rely on horses and chariots. The more horses and chariots they have, the weaker their faith becomes, and the more instruments and skills they have, the more their carnal nature grows and the dimmer their perception becomes. God made man to be born from a woman’s womb and have time to grow in the flesh because man can still gain spiritual understanding within this process. By this way, man can prove his perfectness in overcoming the world as one of the sons of God. The world is a field wherein both good and evil are given a chance.
Although King Josiah of Judah began to reign when he was eight, he was a great king. Likewise, King Joash of Israel began to reign at seven and turned out to be a wicked king. “Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.” The people of Israel were taught the Word of God since birth, and it was not controversial for them to identify someone as good or evil. The way they openly called wicked people the ‘children of Belial’ showed that their society perceived good and evil and had clear standards from the word of God. When children grow up in a culture of superficial entertainment, they become unable to discern what is good. Growing only in body and not in faith or knowledge of God is a deformity to the spiritual eye. God said the following about Abijah the son of the evil King Jeroboam, “He only of Jeroboam shall come to the grave, because in him there is found some good thing toward the LORD God of Israel in the house of Jeroboam.” God, who sees even the “stones of darkness,” searches out all goodly forms amidst the darkness. But in regard to the seed of Babylon, it is said, “Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.” This is because nothing good can come from Babylon. It is a city with no future, preserved not for growth, but for destruction. Everyone in her, great or small and young or old, are all polluted by their iniquities. The children yearn for the world of adults and are influenced without constraint by their actions, words, and customs, causing them to have evil yearnings against the commandments of the Lord.
A child cannot grow when the word of God is regarded as distant and replaced with the prevalent words of the world. The commandments of God are not written with abstruse words, but in a language that even the slow can understand. It is not a matter of interpretation, but a matter of obedience or disobedience. When a child fears God and obeys His commandments, he grows in wisdom and knowledge. As soon as a child can understand words, he has the yearning, ability, and right to learn about the Creator. He was made to grow in the word of God. If he is ignorant concerning the Word after even a little time passes, his mind becomes filled with the corruption and falsehoods of the world, making it favorable for evil spirits to work in him. Failing to bring up a child in the Word will leave him alone to the plan of Satan, who actively works in the world.
The Lord instructed us to “[redeem] the time, because the days are evil.” Depending on how one spends his time, one lives either a godly life or an ungodly life and makes oneself a habitation of the Spirit or a place of the devil. The products of modern civilization, like technology and media, lead children closer to idols and falsehoods. In it, people make whatsoever they want, give it a name and meaning, and adore it. The idols of the end times, which gain power through technology, arts, academics, and cultures comparable to ancient sorceries, become deeply embedded in people’s lives. In ancient times, people made giant gold statues and bowed down before them. Nowadays, people’s devotion, labor, and participation are more willing, common, and worldwide. Culture is the field wherein Satan preaches his word to the souls. When a man departs from it and comes into the Word, Satan loses power.
In the time before Jesus, unclean spirits were not as commonplace as they were during the time of Jesus. They would wildly seek dwellingplaces and randomly enter into men, provoking their spirits and causing convulsions or making them deaf or mute. But today, they prepare the person’s speech, characteristics, and habits so they can enter his soul and make him suitable for condemnation. Children who grow up in the culture of the world rather than the word of God pollute their souls and are become the citizens of Babylon. The culture of Babylon can alter one’s desire and nature so the things that were regarded as evil by old generations can seem acceptable in the next generation. It causes men to consider something that God calls abominable to be good. Both the people of the old times burning their children as offerings to Molech or the parents today dedicating their children to the idols of falsehood are abominable in the eyes of other generations but acceptable in their own.
Games and animations, which deceive the souls of children, are full of content that go against the Bible. They recount stories about men and beast joining together to work towards a common goal, half-man half-beast creatures, and the union of man and beast; all of these stories are from the city of Cain and the idols and beasts of the Caananites. In these stories, the beasts are depicted as capable of crying, laughing, talking, jesting, fighting for righteousness, and nobility just like people. These beasts are presented as being more clever and righteous than man, having the same nature, and even being capable of saving man, ruling over him, and joining with him. Even before children develop the ability to discern what is real or fake, they come in contact with these strange images and stories and mimic the pictures and movements, acquiring sensual and crude dispositions. They become confused about reality and fantasy and empathize with images.
Like the people of old times with familiar spirits lending their voices to the devils so they could conjure up familiar spirits, imparting one’s mind to false stories and images is practically a form of idol worship of the devil. The culture of animation, which could have been regarded by people of old times as vain and blasphemous, was made into a part of daily life and stimulated with the advent of progressive education that was encouraged by proponents of evolution. Now, it has become more difficult to find someone who is afflicted by such a culture. Satan used children’s tendencies to follow and easily adapt to the first things they see by encouraging education centered on interests and tools designed to expose them to evil, and all the current generations have been influenced by this. If there is one thing about today’s society that is different from the idol worship of old times, it is that people today know that these things are false, but still present themselves before them and are absorbed by them. Knowing something is false but enjoying it is a willing participation, which puts a mark of the love of falsehood within him.
To the evolutionist, technology is almost like an idol. They believe that its use has brought progress to mankind, and that the development of technology is a sign of progress. This belief conflictingly regards former knowledge as old and outdated, although current knowledge will also be denied in the future. Knowledge which is dependent on technology leads man to a disposition against the truth of the creation of heaven and earth by the Word. Just as the people of Shinar tried to build the tower with brick instead of stone and mortar instead of pitch, a culture that depends on the progress of technology turns men into slaves of common goals. Modern education pursues fleeting rewards and visible results, is shallow, and causes people to become unstable and lose faith in the heavenly kingdom that cannot be seen.
Children playing games in peace and people sitting before TV’s are not peaceful scenes, but rather a scene of devils raging forth like roaring lions to swallow whole souls. Parents who grew up in the culture of Babylon provide the same environment to their children, thinking that their children should also enjoy it. In doing so, they hand down a resemblance of their souls’ image to them. Even though they are children, they are pure when they are not corrupted. But in Babylon, even children receive the spirit of lies, and parents, teachers, neighbors, and friends become false prophets. In the same way that Zion fulfills the mystery of God, or the birth of godly people, even Babylon, with its tempting material wealth, has the name ‘mystery’ because she gave birth to an image. It is said, “This is their resemblance through all the earth” (Zechariah 5:6), and its growth is the growth of evil and the growth of the weed. If no one chased after lies, the evil image could neither stand nor be able to exercise power over men.
In the beginning, one man built a city. He was born as a man, but abandoned his desire for the seventh day, the day of God’s rest, and was cut off from His hope. There were only lesser beings to deal with him. He joined and reigned over them and lived a life of lustful desire. He named the city after his son, and the city formed cultures and languages meant for below. Cain, who was born as a son of Adam, who was the son of God and even talked with God face to face, regarded his dignity to be trivial, and thus he became inferior even to his descendants. Because their custom had a propensity for lesser things and things of the future, they held unstable authority in the city, and they used violence, jobs, riches, fame, material wealth, and technology to gain power. Man sinned when Eve listened to the serpent instead of asking Adam and Adam listened to the woman instead of asking God.
When power flows from man to woman, from adults to children, from the wise to the foolish, and from man to the beast, that city leans towards destruction. It is said, “As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths” (Isaiah 3:12). Wisdom comes from above, and obtaining knowledge is a creative fulfillment which flows from above to below. The flow of knowledge from the intelligent to the ignorant and the wise to the dull, and the course of reproach from the honest to the dishonest and the pure to the corrupted prevents man from becoming deceived by lesser and evil things. When this order is flipped, destruction is imminent.
The cultures that encourage interest in gender accelerate this phenomenon. When a mother is not prepared with the Word and lacks power to bring up her child as a part of the host of God, she and her child will become followers of this evil course. It is said, “Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety” (1 Timothy 2:15). When God scatters the seeds of the Word all over the earth, and Satan comes down to the earth to swallow up the seeds of the Word, the godly mother must bear godly seed. She knows how to not surrender her child to the language and culture of the world and how to bring her child up with the Word.
God created evil to set apart the creatures that disobey the Word of God. While this separation is being carried out on earth through man, all creatures must bear their affliction. Those who belong to good are afflicted for the sake of good, and those who belong to evil are afflicted for the sake of evil. Some are afflicted for the salvation of their soul and some for lust and fame. In the same way that the features of the serpent were changed after creation, evil became a creature that could influence even the features of man. The serpent, which was full of subtlety from the start, was changed to a dirty and cursed form right away and its fate was sealed. It was for him to work against God as the enemy of all the righteous. The sons of God who were in the likeness of God gradually began to lose their holy image over time by the imagination of their minds. Although evildoers claim that they were born with a specific state of being, the Bible testifies that they oppose their nature. They are the ones who do not trust the commandments of forbiddances set by God. God has reasons for why man is forbidden from certain things, and if one tries to experience those things in person he will face terrible consequences. When Eve heard that if man went against God’s forbiddance of the tree he will become like God and she found it pleasing to the ears, what was forbidden became desirable to her. When she followed after this erroneous desire, more things became tempting and forbidden to man.
The world brings forth in many alternate forms the things which God has forbidden. The things which men question as to whether they should or should not do are also different forms of these. People believe that the Bible did not say anything about smoking, drinking, games, and TV because their understanding became dulled by their desire. “For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.” His body and soul have become accustomed to the world and his faith and knowledge have not matured. If his soul is not deceived, it becomes part of his nature to be apt to hate the things that are ungodly and harmful to the soul. The soul of the one who loves God comes to resemble His image, and is pleased by what pleases God and abhors what God abhors. But the one who is double-minded becomes blind to the words that the Bible has clearly mentioned and distorts it according to his lust. The ‘want’ that departed from the commandment of God is the lust that was caused by leaning his ear to the world. As the serpent asked Eve, “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” they would probably ask themselves something like, “Verily, has the Lord said to keep His commandments?”
The doctrine of the devil causes people to forget the abundant grace of the redemption of the Lord and makes the commandments of Jesus seem burdensome. This is the doctrine of the evil one that worked in Cain, who considered the grace of salvation as an assurance for sin. These kinds of people even made up doctrines and claim that the Lord redeemed man’s sins not just for the past, but also for the present and future. This doctrine for the sins which one has neither committed nor repented of is the deception of the devil, which claims that God should submit to the power of sin. These doctrines have many who rush to them because they are acceptable to men without broken hearts or mourning because of sin. True freedom comes from fulfilling His word. God gave ‘shall not’s’ for man so that he will not fall into deceitful ‘wants.’ The laws of the world changes from time to time, and when the kingdom rushes forward to destruction, the evil laws prevail. It is said, “Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief by a law?” But those who disobey hold the errant, perverse nature of man over the commandments of the Lord.
The Lord said that he did not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it. The Holy Spirit will abide in whosoever has repented of his sins, accepted Jesus, and had his sins washed away by His blood. He is a doer of the law which has been engraved upon his mind, not the law written in stone. When the people caught a woman in the act of adultery and brought her to Jesus to stone her and asked him about the law, the Lord stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger. Even the law given to Moses was written by the finger of the Lord upon stone. They read and memorized the Law of Moses day and night, but did not even try to come close or bow to read what the Lord, the Word who came in flesh, was personally writing on the ground. It was about the law of grace which would be graven upon the heart of man, who was made of the dust of ground, being weak in flesh. It was the covenant that would be fulfilled when man repented with a broken heart. The Lord gave commandments that would make man perfect in the flesh which had caused sorrow for God. The Lord said to the woman, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” The man who has the word of God engraved into his heart has the power to free himself from the temptations of former sins. When a man who has been forgiven takes this opportunity with thankfulness and rejoicing, he will become an abomination to the people not because of his sin, but because of the testimony of Jesus. He will be scorned and persecuted not as a sinner, but for the Word of God. Those who have the law of the Lord engraved upon their hearts belong to this world no more. They are held in contempt as if they are more evil than those who violate the law of the world. Consequently, they will taste affliction, but will possess the joy of heaven. The man who is refined by the word will be comforted by the word.
People believe that if things like divorce or adultery are not forbidden, they can love more sincerely, but the Bible says that a man of genuine love will not abandon his wife, neither will he harbor a heart of lust toward another woman. The Lord said, “Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.” The husband or wife who seeks impulsive feelings instead of being concerned with bearing and bringing up godly children has fallen into the habits of the flesh. It is sensual and according to the imagination of the mind, and from neither the commandments of the Lord nor knowledge of Him. It is said, “And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth” (Malachi 2:15). If man was only of the spirit, he would have no need to be born in the flesh from the loins of a man through the womb of a woman. God therefore utilized this method so that even the flesh could bear “godly seed.”
Those who insist on pursuing liberal love deny the unconditional love and advocate their whimsical feelings. Trusting in and obeying the commandments of God makes man follow after His providence, “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.” Paul, who walked the path of affliction for the sake of the souls that he loved dearly, said, “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:16). Likewise, the love that springs up from the innermost and the keeping of the Lord’s commandments are both in accord with one another in a holy nature. As one dwells on earth where the battle between good and evil goes on, freedom is not having everything that one desires, but knowing how to choose what is good for one’s soul. That which is good for the soul leads him not to destruction, but to salvation. God made His people whom He purchased with the blood of His Son to be in holy matrimony with Him, not to follow after the way of the world. Because husband and wife are one body and cannot be separated, it is an unconditional love that cannot be severed. Likewise, by walking in His commandments, the saints can abide in the covenant of marriage with Him.
The Lord performed the first miracle at a marriage feast in Cana of Galilee, showing the grace and power of salvation. Regardless of their roots, a married couple that is given power through the blood of Jesus will bear godly seed. It is said, “I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed: for the LORD dwelleth in Zion” (Joel 3:21). God made the covenant of the blood of circumcision to be a token for the seed that came out of Abraham’s loins, and now, even those who had never received the covenant could rise to the place of salvation by being washed of their sins by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord called even the countless nations and multitudes to bring them in as His children and make them into the people of Zion. The prophet Zechariah prophesied, “In that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts,” and regarding Zion, the high city of the Lord, he said, “It shall be said, This and that man was born in her: and the highest himself shall establish her.” Peter said, “For this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead” (1 Peter 4:6).
The Lord said to his disciples, “Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.” Inside the deep were many waters, nations, and souls. They were the ones that had neither been called nor known the Lord. “Darkness was upon the face of the deep,” but the Light was now shone upon them. Simeon testified, “Mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.” For a fisherman to pull his net in is to give all a chance. Although this is a harsh method for the good, it is for the sake of a greater joy. It is said, “Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins. Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.”
The signs that Jesus spoke of were things that were internal and painful. Jesus said that the external strife, such as when “nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places” were merely the beginning of affliction. The true signs and afflictions are in these verses: “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake,” “then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one,” and “many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” Like the suffering of Job, the trouble that the persecuted will endure will be extreme, but this will come upon to those who are able to receive it. These persecutions will not come upon a multitude of people at the same time. One side will cry out “Peace!” while people on the other side are suffering persecution.
The Lord and the apostles informed the saints in advance of the hardships that they will endure as Christians so that they will not fear when they are going through them. The harm in having false knowledge about the tribulation is that it makes the saints consider the tribulation that they will confront in their battle of faith to be light. Focusing on worrying about the plagues which may or may not come is neglecting the spiritual fight, making him worthy to receive the plagues meant for the wicked. Knowledge of tribulation prevents the saints from stumbling in difficult times, and allows them to fight for the Kingdom, not by their own will, but by the will of God. The saints receive affliction and tribulation for the sake of the word of the Lord, which is faith, and also partaking in the tribulation of the Lord. A saint has time to devote to the Lord in the day that is called ‘today.’ Peter said, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy” (1 Peter 4:12-13). The ones who walk in the word of the Lord will be persecuted. In the same way that a burning lamp passed between the pieces of Abraham’s sacrifice in the covenant, every soul who abides in the covenant of the Lord will be refined by the fire of the Holy Ghost. As Abraham drove the fowls away when they came down upon the carcasses in the evening, so will the saints drive away all false things and persevere in His Word to the end.
If one does not have knowledge about the destruction of man, one cannot recognize even if the plague has come. Pharaoh neither knew nor admitted that the plagues had consumed them and made Egypt desolate until his servants pleaded, “Knowest thou not yet that Egypt is destroyed?” and even afterwards, he ended up perishing among them. Some humble themselves before even small signs of plagues and fear God, glorifying Him, but the evil do not realize that destruction has fallen upon him and blaspheme Him right up to the front steps of death and pestilence. When God decreased man’s lifespan from nearly a thousand to about four hundred years, they were still full of pride and gathered to build a tower that would reach up to heaven. Even when the Lord decreased man’s lifespan to one hundred twenty years, they did not realize that a plague had come upon them, and build nations of iniquities. Going from a lifespan of one thousand years to one hundred twenty years is nothing short of a disastrous plague, the equivalent of dying as a child in today’s time. In the time of Jesse, the father of David, eighty years was considered to be very old, which means that it decreased again by one third from one hundred twenty years. The man who can enter into the coming thousand-year kingdom, where man’s longevity is like that of trees, is the one who can live all his life for the Lord. However, the man of flesh does not learn the fear of God and humbleness in the short and vain years that he is in the world, but holds greater affection for the flesh and clings to earthly things. Paul, in reference to those who chased after secularism and said things like, “Let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die,” called such people ‘beasts’ (1 Corinthians 15:32). The wicked blaspheme in the time of trouble because they do not have the hope of the eternal kingdom of heaven.
Ever since the gospel was preached to the Gentiles, the word ‘tribulation’ has appeared often, especially in relation to the Gentile church. Paul counseled that “we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” after he had been stoned in Lystra. After Stephen’s martyrdom, saints had confidence in the faith in the impending tribulation and hardship that the saints would have to go through for the church that had become the body of Christ. They “scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen,” travelling and preaching the word. It is said, “When he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished” (Daniel 12:7). Although persecution may scatter the saints, it causes each soul to lean more on the Lord and become one in the Spirit.
They did not have knowledge of the coming affliction even when the Lord had taken on the cross, and even when the Lord had resurrected they believed that the Kingdom of the Lord would come immediately. But after they endured tribulation because of their hope in the kingdom of God, they came to understand the knowledge of the mystery of affliction and believed that many bodies should gather together as a dwelling for Him and enter therein. In the time that God waits with longsuffering patience for all souls to be saved, the people of evil do even more wickedly and the time of adversity passes on for the righteous. The apostles showed themselves as examples for those who live in the Spirit to not be afraid of the fiery trials of the flesh.
The Kingdom and patience cannot be kept apart, and these things are the mark of a Christian. The saints who suffer through tribulation in the Lord also receive comfort from God who is rich in compassion. The Lord promised the church in Philadelphia that He “also will keep [them] from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon the entire world, to try them that dwell upon the earth” because they kept the Lord’s word in faith and patience and did not deny His name. And the Lord said to the church in Smyrna, “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer.” The faithful saints are exempt from the plague which will come upon those who will receive the cup of wrath of God. The Lord will shorten the period of tribulation for the sake of His chosen ones when it comes. The tribulation that can come upon the chosen ones are the first five seals in the Book of Revelation, which includes natural disasters and martyrdom, and even amidst these things their souls will be preserved. Thus, the Lord told his saints to not fear. As it is written, “[A good man] shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD” (Psalms 112:7). The people of faith are not disconcerted according to the knowledge of salvation that they received from the Lord. The Prophet Isaiah said, “Wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD is his treasure.”
The church in Thessalonica had the “work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” and resembled those of Philadelphia and Smyrna in having endured tribulation. Unlike other churches that were rebuked by the apostles for lewdness, envy, slandering, and heresies, they received no small commendation and were comforted, since they had been purified by tribulation. Their tribulation did not come in suddenly and inexplicably, but had been predicted. On the tribulation that they received, Paul said, “So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer.” With the sorrow of the beloved brothers and sisters that they had lost in that tribulation, they were greatly concerned about the end times and the coming of the Lord, and Paul comforted them and said, “Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” (2 Thessalonians 1:6-9).
The world makes man worry about jobs, possessions, fame, etc., and causes him to live for those things. As a result, the world becomes a place of hardship to the saints who dwell in heaven and reject the customs of the world. But staying within the world is also an adversity. If Paul was worried even about things like marriage because he considered the possibility of there being an affliction of flesh, other things will be all the more so. Man can choose to live either the lives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who lived nomadically in tents for the eternal blessing, or the lives of Cain and Esau who lived for the worldly pleasures. But everyone’s lives will be counted up by the Lord and each will receive judgment according to his work. The day of the Lord is the day that each soul will come to face the Lord.
“The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” which gives man knowledge about the end times. But the princes of the earth tried to prevent the prophecies of the end times from being known by the prophet Daniel. This is because they do not want men to be woken and live for the Kingdom of Heaven. They elicit the minds of the kings and the people to find pleasure and live for it, because they want the kingdoms of the earth to last longer. The Lord fulfilled his words, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up,” but men, using the customs of this world, put to waste their sanctuary which the Lord purchased with His blood. Daniel saw that the prince who put this sanctuary to waste was that of Greece. The one who talked to him said, “Now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come.” The coming of the prince of Greece indicates that he will gain the power to steal away many souls from Israel and the kingdoms of the earth. Because Israel had been tainted by Tyre’s materialism, they were quick to adopt the Greek’s idolatries in the future. The prophet Joel said, “What have ye to do with me, O Tyre, and Zidon, and all the coasts of Palestine? will ye render me a recompence? and if ye recompense me, swiftly and speedily will I return your recompence upon your own head; Because ye have taken my silver and my gold, and have carried into your temples my goodly pleasant things: The children also of Judah and the children of Jerusalem have ye sold unto the Grecians, that ye might remove them far from their border” (Joel 3:4-6).
The pristine location of Tyre on the coasts drew in trade from many nations, including Judah, which made it the primary culture of materials and trade in the world. Even the countries that do not appear in the records of the Bible, including northern countries such as Javan, Tubal, Meshech came to Tyre and traded. Judah was also drawn into them, and Tyre considered the ruination of Israel as a chance for her to be filled, saying, “Aha, she is broken that was the gates of the people: she is turned unto me: I shall be replenished, now she is laid waste” (Ezekiel 26:2). While Tyre was the gate of trade in material wealth, Jerusalem was the gate of the word. Wanting Jerusalem to be laid to waste is despising the flourishing of Zion and longing for the prosperity of secular culture. Polluted by this secular culture, Israel forgot to prepare for the kingdom of heaven through the work of storing treasure in heaven and fulfilling the word of God. God wanted the kingdoms of the earth to return majesty and glory to the Lord and prosper, but all failed to do so except for Michael, one of the chief princes of Israel. They made the tide to turn in the direction opposite to Zion and formed their own course against God. Hence, the prophets warn the people of their situation where they must separate their souls from countries, nations, and languages. It is a proclamation that because the time of destruction is near, the ones who fear the Lord should gather to the mount of Zion where His laws and His words come from.
In the Book of Ezekiel, it is said, “Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee.” This shows that a prophet has a standing that is comparable to that of princes. The princes have duties similar to the prophets’ work in the sanctuary of the Lord. With regard to the prince of Tyre, it is written, “Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick” (Ezekiel 28: 18). As princes lead the multitudes in a fixed direction, the prophets testify of this course to the people and allow them to avoid it. The spiritual battle partakes in the flowing currents of the earth. The princes of peoples and nations, customs hidden in souls, ideologies, and languages all eventually reveal what they are fighting for. The saying “power is divine” is accordance with the testimony in the Bible which says that power is given from God. The disruption of power leads to chaos. When people do not honor their kings, children do not honor their parents, or young people do not honor their elders, the natural order is disrupted. This order is the earthly foundation, and when it is shaken, the earth is likewise shaken.
When those in power do not fear God and abuse their power by making people go astray from God, they pollute the sanctuary and lose the glory of their kingdom. While the prince of Tyre adorned himself with the knowledge of the treasures of heaven in the mount of God and deceived souls with secular blessings, Daniel, through fasting, prayer, and in the days of vexation, saw and preached not the blessings of the present but the blessings and the judgment which are to come for all nations. He was hated by men and suffered persecution and humiliation by being cast into the den of lions, branded as a sinner. It seemed foolish of him in comparison to how the prince of Tyre gathered many souls before him. Prophets must fight the spiritual battles with the sword of the Word, which is wrestling against “principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” The prophets break apart the evil practices and customs of nations, and entreat people to turn the course of evil back to right. Those who are fond of the conveniences of the world follow in the course of the princes of worldly kingdoms, and those who are godly follow in the course of the prophets of God. While the sons of God overcome the flesh and put it into submission, living in earnestness and sorrow, the princes and people of the earthly kingdoms build up gold and silver with their worldly knowledge.
The testimony of Joel that Tyre sold “the children also of Judah and the children of Jerusalem … unto the Grecians, that [it] might remove them far from their border” was prophesied in the time that Tyre was being destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar even before the coming of Greece. On earth, the kingdoms are set up in the order that they should appear, but the battles of the princes of this world for the course of events goes on even before then. Daniel saw in a vision the four winds of heaven striving against each other upon the great seas. The country that the Lord fights against is in the present time of a prophet, and the prophet and his nation fights spiritual battles in the Lord for the Kingdom of Heaven. In the same way that the angel Gabriel came to Daniel at the end of his prayer, the prayers of the prophets come to the souls’ aid in their spiritual battles. The kings of Media and Persia influenced Israel in their reconstruction of the temple, with Cyrus and Darius having helped especially actively. They had in their hearts a fear of God, the Lord of Hosts. After these kings, the prince of Greece came as prophesied by Daniel and the prophecy was fulfilled which said that “out of one of [the horns] came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land. And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them.”
Daniel said that the fourth kingdom is “dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.” This refers to a power that can swallow the souls of kingdoms and smash anything into pieces. For the kings of the earth, a greater act of rebellion against God than fighting to expand territory is to defile the temple and force the decrees of man in the churches. Politics conspiring with religion and treading on the court of the temple indicates that the leaven of Herod and the Pharisees and Sadducees which the Lord had warned of has already permeated throughout. The saints have failed to serve the invisible God perfectly, having fallen into the culture of material wealth and commerce. At the time that Jesus came, the Sadducees, who were spiritually ignorant bureaucrats, revealed that the influence of the he-goat Greece had dug in deeply in Israel. The Jews had been polluted by the ideologies of the kingdoms of the earth even to the point of openly saying, “We have no king but Caesar.” As Israel grew sick of the law of the Lord, the images of appearance-based, hypocritical structures of Greece started to gain power within them.
The Gentile kings’ allying themselves with one another was for them to overflow in numbers for their own profit. There were kings among the tribe of Judah who abandoned the laws of God and confided with them. King Ahaz allied with other countries and followed after their gods despite God giving him a great sign. He was said to “refuseth the waters of Shiloah that go softly” and allied Israel with Syria. As a result, God allowed Assyria to come up over Judah and “reach even to the neck.” His son Hezekiah became king during times of difficulty, but overcame by relying on the Lord. When Assyria threatened him with a great army, King Hezekiah and his servants and the people blocked all the fountains and the brook that ran through the midst of the land, saying, “Why should the kings of Assyria come, and find much water?” (2 Kings 32:4). Hezekiah stopped the course of the waters of Gihon and made it run straight under the western part of the city of David to make his people stay upright and not be shaken or deceived by the intimidation of their allies and enemies. He commanded the people to walk in the law of the Lord, and did not let the waters of Zion leak out. But he was off his guard concerning the people of Babylon that came with friendly and elegant dispositions, and dragged into the midst of the city the waters of Babylon that swallow souls. The prophet Isaiah predicted the destruction of Judah by Babylon. To this Hezekiah replied, “Is it not good, if peace and truth be in my days?” The state of not having been deceived by Babylon is shown not just by the firmness of one’s faith, but also zeal for the salvation and peace of the next generation. But the zeal of the great King Hezekiah did not reach up to this point, and Israel’s miserable desolation became imminent.
Ezra and Nehemiah sometimes called the kings of Media and Persia kings of Assyria or also kings of Babylon, and Ezekiel called Pharaoh “the Assyrian.” This can be understood as all of them belonging to the same course which goes toward the “great river.” Even the people of God, whom He made cling to him as His girdle, became marred and useless when they became polluted by the waters of the river Euphrates. All the kings became strong by taking in the streams originating from Eden, but turned to this great river where they will cross through dry land and gather together in the time of Armageddon. It is said by the prophet Jeremiah, “A drought is upon her waters; and they shall be dried up: for it is the land of graven images, and they are mad upon their idols” (Jeremiah 50:38). In John’s vision, when the sixth angel poured out the vial into the Euphrates, John saw the way for the kings of the east being prepared as the river dried up. It is an imitation of how God miraculously dried up the Red Sea and caused His people to walk across in faith. As the Egyptians had tried to test the waters and drowned, so were the men who crossed the Euphrates over dry ground. They crossed not by faith, but rather by the deception of the serpent who “cast out of his mouth water as a flood” to hinder the birth of the sons of God and dry the great river.
The power of Greece, the he goat, extends to the final days in the coming of the Lord and buries souls in academia, cultures, religion, thoughts, and livelihoods to bring about prosperity. Paul testified of how the Athenians were too superstitious in all things. His spirit was stirred in him when he saw the city entirely given to idolatry. Being superstitious is the opposite of being religious. The man who has religious inclinations has a fear of God, but the superstitious man is sensual, inclined towards the carnal things, and chases after and believes in whatsoever his eyes and mind desire. He fears not God, but fears the things that should not be feared. People of sincere faith fit themselves to the commandments of God, but the superstitious try to make gods after their own emotions and thoughts. Ezekiel saw people who sat facing eastward and crying for Tammuz. The tears and grief and emotions which were to be genuine were being offered to the idols. The Bible calls the Grecians “Canaanites” as well, as they are dull in the spiritual things and bright in the carnal matters. Rome rose out of the he goat, Greece, and with its strong power she scourged Jesus Christ and nailed him to the cross, and persecuted and killed all the apostles who received the word. Rome’s superstitious kings and heretics twisted the Word of God and disguised themselves as believers, entering deep into the temple and treading within. This little horn deceives the saints by acting as though she is doing something for God and His people. Like the kings of Media and Persia, the kings of Rome who went forth out of the prince of Greece as the horns also influenced the saints, but in an evil manner.
Constantine proclaimed himself as a Christian and came into the church and ordained statutes according to his own will. When weighed against the Bible, he cannot be a saint, but rather a cruel murderer and worshiper of goddesses and the sun. In the Conference of Nicea that took place in 325 AD, they established Christianity as the state religion and resolved to keep Sunday, “the day of sun,” holy, and also ordained a Sunday as the day of Easter. Easter appears only once in the Bible in the Book of Acts, where it was an event that the pagan king Herod kept, and the ceremonies in it signified the memorial of the goddess Ashtaroth. Statutes that differentiated Sundays as holy were promulgated in 321 AD. The establishment of statutes regarding specific days and seasons put snares in the lives of faith that man should live out in holiness every day to enter the eternal rest with labor and longsuffering. Paul warned the Gentiles because it was a dangerous matter for them to be bound by such snares (Galatians 4:10-11). Although the apostles prayed at a designated time during the day, they did not ordain days or times for the saints to gather for worship, saying, “Ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1).
As routine worship and decrees of doctrines were instituted, there was a decrease in the number of saints who offered their minds and bodies as holy temples throughout the whole week. As the leaven of Herod spread out, there were a greater number of people who considered external conditions, such as keeping the laws of man, as proof of faith rather than living a godly life. As a result, there was an increase in the number of double-minded people who stopped drinking, smoking, lying, fornicating, and reviling within the walls of the churches, but continued to do all these things outside. God wanted seven days, but for the saints to devote only one to the Lord and the remaining six to the world caused them lose their holy image and gain the likeness of this world. The world deceived the saints with entertainment and various interests and started to cause the customs of the Canaanites to grow in the secular life of the saints. According to the Mosaic Laws, the priests offered burnt offerings in the morning and the evening and made sure that the fire was not quenched day and night. Living for the Lord every day allows man to keep himself from the wickedness of the world and the temple holy. Only those whose temple – namely, their mind and body – is sanctified can enter into the seventh day.
The Lord said, “Then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be,” and, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place.” The prophet Daniel asked about the end times, but was told that it was sealed. The One who talked to Daniel said, “Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand. And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days” (Daniel 12:12). There will be two kinds of men in the final days: the ones who become clean and white, and the wicked ones who continually do evil. The world boasts of individualism, diversity, and liberty, but all will fall into one of these two kinds. Nevertheless, it is said, “None of the wicked shall understand.”
Adding one thousand two hundred ninety years to the time that “the daily sacrifice [was] taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up” equals one thousand six hundred and eleven. This is the year that the Lord gave His word in one language to all the nations. When the people gathered in Shinar to build a tower against God, He divided the languages and scattered them abroad. They raised a commotion as though they were collaborating to accomplish a noble task, but God made their words useless to each another. In the final days, God utilized one language to gather His congregation into His word. God appointed neither Hebrew nor Greek to spread the word of the Lord throughout all nations, but a language that could be used universally. In the early churches, one of the signs that the Holy Ghost had come upon the godly disciples who gathered in the word of the Lord was when they started to speak in tongues. Just as most of the saints of today cannot speak in foreign languages straight away, so is the manner of becoming filled with Holy Ghost. In the final days, the faith of the saints will grow as they gain knowledge through the Bible, which is the one and only true testimony. As they carry out the commandments of the Lord, they will be built into the holy habitation of the Holy Ghost. It is said, “Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.” The ‘waiting’ of the saint is for rest, salvation, and eternal blessing. Adding one thousand six hundred eleven to the number of the time that the daily sacrifice was taken away is one thousand six hundred fifty six, which is the same number of years as the year that Noah came into the ark and was saved. This means that man should keep himself, with the word of God, from being corrupted by the world and fulfill the salvation of his soul.
Unlike the secrets of the end times that were far from Daniel and sealed from him, the writers of the New Testament said, “Whoso readeth, let him understand.” This is to say that the secrets were opened to all generations since the start of the writing and reading of the gospels and the time is at hand. There will be eyes that will see the abomination of desolation standing where it ought not to stand. The abomination will be standing on the holy temple of the Lord. The Lord said, “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto” (Luke 21:20). When Syria surrounded Israel and caused a great uproar, Elisha prayed that the young man standing next to him would have his eyes opened. The man then saw thousands upon thousands and tens of thousands upon tens of thousands of the angels of God who sat upon flaming chariots. Although it may seem that the whole world is evil, those whose spiritual eyes are opened can see the imminence of their victory. The saints should eschew the worldly things and cultures that are called progressive and should not put their desires in possessions. Those things pull them away from the hope of heaven and make them depend on earthly matters, causing the soul to fall asleep. The spirit of the false prophet will work in double-minded people, and it will work in the souls until it has formed an image and gained enough power. They will be deceived and deceive according their desire, and preach a different Jesus that the apostles never preached. The Lord said, “And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not.”
Saints should pray that their “flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation.” Winter and sabbath day are times of no work after the harvest has passed. It is already too late for one to escape in those days. It is said, “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.” As there are four seasons on the earth, there are also seasons for every soul to sow seeds, bear fruit, and harvest, as well as the coming of winter. Winter is the season when there are no more chances to bear fruit. The saint shall show God everything that he has done and receive a reward or punishment according to his fruit. The Sabbath day is the day when the men of God remember the rest of God and do not work. They do not pray for the salvation of souls. John said, “There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.” This includes the men whom Paul delivered to Satan – that is to say, the men who corresponded to this sin. Those who worked hard to enter into God’s rest will rest eternally with him, but there will be woe for those who mocked His rest. Once the door is closed it will never be opened again. The time that the Lord harvests is when the wheat and the weeds are separated forever. It is when a soul becomes firmly formed into the image of good or evil.
Before the time of harvest, there will be the sounding of a trumpet in warning. The people of the world cannot hear the trumpet of God or the trumpet of the angels. The prophets hear them and sound their trumpets to the people, but those whose souls are fall asleep do not repent. In the final days, these words shall be fulfilled: “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” The reason that man needs time is so that he can repent and turn his life in dedication to the Lord. But in the days of the Lord, there will be no more time to do so. The imminence of the final days contains a man’s life, habits, and appearances. It is a situation where only the evil self remains and mocks the patience and longsuffering of God, to whom “a day is as a thousand years and a thousand years is as a day,” and the time that has been appointed to him have come to an end.
The Bible makes mention of salvation only of the spirit. Paul and the brethren gave the fornicating, greedy, carnal men over to Satan in reflection of the word of God. It is said, “In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (1 Corinthians 5:3-5). This appears to mean that they condemned him with one heart and one will in their faith in the Lord Jesus. As it is said, “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?” (1 Corinthians 6:3). Their condemnation of the fornicator was in carrying out their right of judgment as witnesses on the earth in reflection of the commandments of the Lord. They no longer prayed for the resurrection of his body, but constrained their hope only in the salvation of his spirit. They may have driven him out of the church. If they had left him in the church, his iniquities would have spread out as leaven. His fornication was an act of sin against his own body, but spreading the influence of sin would mean his spirit working for the power of evil, putting him on Satan’s side. On the salvation of the spirit alone, Peter mentioned, “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison” (1 Peter 3:19). They were all those who had been destroyed by water, and among them there were some who had called upon the name of the Lord. They were preached to by the Spirit of the Lord Jesus and had the chance to be saved.
The Book of Revelation explains to whom the plagues will come upon. On the seventh seal, before the seven angels blew the seven trumpets, the smoke of incense rises up to God with the prayers of the saints. It is written, “The angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.” The plagues will afflict the saints fall upon those who have shed blood. The saints whose prayer went up were bearers of the incense of Christ, and their prayers were for repentance, salvation, and the Kingdom of Heaven. The prayers of Samuel, Ezekiel, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, etc. are examples of such. They repented of their own sins and the sins of their people and nation, made a supplication for the mercy of the Lord, and exalted His name for the grace of his unfailing mercy. Those who pray for these things are poor in spirit, mourn, meek, hunger and thirst after righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, or persecuted for righteousness’ sake (Matthew 5). These traits may seem insignificant and the power of their prayer may seem to be feeble, but they have the power to bring forth thunder, hail, lightning, and earthquakes in His Day of Wrath, and give them the authority to judge with the Lord. On the other hand, the prayers for success, fame, and riches are limited to the powers and rewards on earth and cannot save one’s soul in the days of pestilence.
John saw the power of the two witnesses, who were “the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.” They witness before the bodies on earth preparing the oil for the lamp of heaven. “These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will” (Revelation 11:6). Moses and Elijah did such signs and preached the gospel of the law and repentance, which troubled the people of Israel. When they finish their testimony, “the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.” After the true prophets who preached repentance and living in holiness are killed, they that dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another. They will be glad that there is no more rebuking of sins, having received the spirit of the false prophet and their conscience being pierced no longer. The gospel of repentance and the law will disappear from the mouth of men.
It is said that “their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified” as a spectacle, which is the people openly refusing the gospel and declaring the death of the gospel of repentance and God’s commandments. Sodom is a “city of pride, full of bread and idleness,” and Egypt is the country that despised the people of God in haughtiness with the knowledge of man. The location of the Lord’s crucifixion was in Golgotha, and the ones who killed Him were the rich, the powerful, the religious leaders, the soldiers, and the multitudes. They were the people of the city of ruin, and the Lord was crucified where their power lay. It is written, “After three days and an half the spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.” Their standing upon their feet indicates them having been resurrected in the body and as the host of the Lord on the earth. The Lord says to His servants, “stand upon thy feet.” The land where the true prophets stand upon is the holy place where the host of the Lord stands upon. When the two prophets ascended into heaven, there was “a great earthquake,” and “in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.” They are the fruit of the gospel of repentance.
The testimony of John in accordance to that of Zechariah which speaks of the two who were anointed by oil: the “two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves” and the “two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof.” Zechariah also saw two other women who had no oil and “had wings like the wings of a stork: and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heaven” with the strength of the wind – that is, with the strength of the flesh. The ephah is their “resemblance through all the earth.” They are the false prophets that are in contrast to the two olive trees. They make man despise the commandment of the Lord and they deprive him of a heart of repentance. They deceive man to hinder him from preparing the oil so that his lamp will never be lit. Their lifting up the ephah into the air seems like a spiritual fulfillment in the sight of worldly men. Satan works in the men of disobedience from his realm up high in the air as the “prince of the power of the air.” It is where he strives to gather those who harbor false faiths, regard the unholy things as holy, and consider the things not of the Spirit to have its power.
False prophets have not been purified by the fire of the Word. Their comfort and happiness is not from the Spirit, but drawn from sorceries associated with sin. The comfort of the Spirit comes upon the man who is brokenhearted and fulfills the commandments of the Lord. The saint does not fall because the word of the Lord is a lamp to his feet. Even though certain temptations may befall him, the commandments of the Lord will comfort him if he perseveres in them. This is because his affliction is the mark that signifies the keeping of His commandments, and the Word testifies to the righteousness of His work. The one who fears God worries about whether his works are righteous before God or not. The greatest comfort to him is for the Lord to attest to his righteousness. As a result, he reads and meditates on the Bible day and night, living in His Word. When man does not keep His commandments, he forgets God (Deuteronomy 8:11). In keeping His commandments one must bear one’s own cross, but the burden of the Lord is light (Matthew 11:28-30). The Lord took on all the burdens that man could not bear. If man knows that all sins are evil and lead to death, he will realize the immense grace he received with the redemption by the blood of the Lord. Taking his cross with the joy of redemption will allow him to prepare for the “salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5). The path of the cross is a path of meekness, shamefulness, mocking, and troubles, but one that pushes man onward to the Kingdom of Heaven. It purifies him to perfection, making him resemble the image of God.
After this, John saw the wonders in heaven, which were written as thus: “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Satan fought against the angels in Heaven and will now fight against the saints on the earth “which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” In the former times, when Satan had not yet come down to the earth after losing his fight against the angels, he too had a portion, and when the nations of idol worship feared God, He accepted them and turned His eye from their faults. But after Satan was driven out of heaven, he no longer had power or his own portion in heaven. He had no place to dwell in heaven, none of the idols or gods could obtain a portion in heaven, but instead there awaited the fiery wrath of the Lord for the men who followed them. Paul testified to this and said to the Athenian idol worshipers, “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent” (Acts 17:30). In the old times, the elders of the Midianites and the Gentiles who worshipped idols praised the Lord at the same time, God put his words into the diviner Balaam, and the Lord accepted the sacrifice of the lords of the Philistines for the ark of the Lord, but these things are no longer allowed after the coming of Jesus Christ and manifestation of God. God made it so that “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow” before the Lord Jesus.
Even far back in the Old Testament era, there was a man who held monotheistic faith – Naaman. He was born in a nation of idol worship and grew up according to it, but he forsook all customs and habits and obeyed humbly before God in faith. The Lord said, “Many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.” Naaman said to Elisha, “Thy servant will henceforth offer neither burnt offering nor sacrifice unto other gods, but unto the LORD.” He also said, “In this thing the LORD pardon thy servant, that when my master goeth into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leaneth on my hand, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon: when I bow down myself in the house of Rimmon, the LORD pardon thy servant in this thing” (2 Kings 5:18). When the Lord gives the sword of the Spirit to the saints for them to fight, the saints are to bow down before idols no more because of the powers of the earth. Seeking to be worshipped, however, Satan will craft lies, deceiving people with the face an angel to make it seem as though he still has a portion in heaven. The false gospel will prevail on the earth which will overflow with the people who falsely call upon the name of the Lord.
Chapter 13 in the Book of Revelation reveals the works of Satan on the earth. He knows how to prevail over the saints who are in the flesh. He attacks the weaknesses of the flesh using lust, greed, vanity, etc. A beast rises up out of the sea, “having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy Head is power.” These are the heads of power that contend against Jesus, the head of the church. The horns are the kings that lifted themselves up against the Lord, the King of kings. The beast was in the likeness of a leopard because he gained power through the spots and blemished of many peoples, languages, and nations. His feet were as the “feet of a bear” that sneaks toward its prey. His mouth was as the “mouth of a lion” that roars and tears his prey into pieces. John saw “one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast, and they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?” In Hebrews, it is said, “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.” Those who are deceived cannot have such power and become slaves of sin again. Their obstinate selves oppose God and allow Satan’s words to gain power in this world.
The beast that Satan gave power to is the prince of Babylon. The princes have names like how the stars also have names. Some of their identities or names were revealed in the Bible, such as the prince of Tyre, Lucifer the prince of Babylon, the prince of Meshech and Tubal, etc. They are cut off from the days of heaven because they all went against the kingdom of heaven and sought their own glory. Satan is the devil, the dragon, the old serpent that has no name. He gives his power to the arrogant princes and is worshiped in return. After “the thousand year kingdom” when there are no beasts or false prophets, only Satan alone will remain and fight against the city of God. This indicates that Satan and the beast are different beings. The prince of Babylon, the head that was “wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed,” remains until the end and covets the glory of Zion. Jesus, the King of kings, came down and broke the heads of the kings of the earth and brought the kingdom of heaven into the saints’ hearts, but many saints followed after the statutes of Babylon.
“Another beast came up out of the earth,” and his work is to “make men worship the former beast,” and cause them to have the name of the beast and the mark of the beast. It is written that “every one” will receive it. Among the rich, the poor, politicians, economists, saints, unbelievers, the high, the low, the old, the little, etc. there are no exceptions. It is not a mark that a certain kind of people can physically force upon someone. The power of the beast who came out of the earth is not in accomplishing everything by itself, but in deceiving men, gaining power from them, and making him receive the mark of the beast. Receiving the mark of beast takes place by the agreement of the soul. The saints are accustomed to the culture of the city of Babylon and will receive the mark of beast by their words, minds, and lives. If there was no beast that had risen from the earth, the image of the beast from the sea could not have been established in souls. The impudent words of the souls that do not harbor the fear of God give their power to the beast, and their huge numbers make an immense flood that overflows the earth. But they that keep the commandments of God and place their faith in Jesus will neither worship the beast nor receive the mark. This is “dying in the Lord” and where “the patience of the saints” is. This is their “labours and their works.”
In regard to the beast that rose out of the sea, “power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God … and his tabernacle” (Revelation 13:5-6). The courts of the temple of the Lord are the place where His saints delight to walk and praise the Lord (Psalms 100:4). But the Gentiles defiled it with pagan doctrines, forms, and idols, causing the saints to reject the commandments of the Lord and tread therein with sins of fornication, hatred, and theft according their former customs. Even when Judah and Israel sinned, God removed them from the land and uncovered their nakedness by letting the Gentiles defile the land. Forty two months is three and a half years, and one year is often counted as one day in the Bible, so three and a half years can be counted as three and half days. It was three and a half days after the two witnesses, the two olive trees, fought with the beast and were killed when “the spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet.” The Lord was crucified in the place where they were killed and their bodies were displayed in the city. It is also after three and half days that the apostles saw the resurrected Lord. This is the time of the power of darkness. When the multitude came to the Lord to arrest Him, He said, “This is your hour, and your power of darkness.”
At this time, “The beast was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”
John said, “Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast.” All of scripture says that understanding comes from the word of the Lord, the testimony of the Lord, the law of the Lord, and the statutes of the Lord. Job said “the fear of the LORD, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.” David said, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.” The man who has understanding has an excellent capacity to discern between good and evil, because he follows the word of the Lord. The number, name, and mark of the beast are all evil things, and the evil man cannot count the number thereof because he has no understanding.
The differences in the lives of the unbelievers and the lives of the children of the kingdom of heaven result in their receiving different marks. It is said that “no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” It is said in Psalms, “Thou brakest the heads of leviathan in pieces, and gavest him to be meat to the people inhabiting the wilderness” (Psalms 74:14). The people who live in the wilderness are the nomads who wait for the kingdom of heaven and eat the food of life, which is the food of the wilderness. They do not need lavish houses, clothes, or food, since God provides for them. When the saints live at ease on the earth, their work of buying and selling becomes bound to brutish instincts. The saints are to eat and drink in remembrance of the Lord and to live for Him. When they do not eat thankfully before the Lord, but instead concern themselves with outward appearance, or talk about worldly things, or do it in remembrance of themselves, it is not keeping the feast of the Lord.
In the time of Israel’s captivity in Babylon and the prevalence of secularism among the people of Israel, Ezekiel worried greatly and lamented, consumed the bread and water of trouble, and lived frugally to the point of bearing his possessions upon his shoulders so he could perform the commandments of the Lord while moving from place to place. Paul said, “They that have wives be as though they had none; And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away” (1 Corinthians 7:29-31). Though the power to win over the saints was given to the beast, the saints who dwell in heaven have been given far greater power. The apostle James said, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” As the Lord taught to pray, saying, “[His] is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever,” the saints who follow the laws of the Spirit dwell in His power and glory. They neither belong to this world, nor are subject to the world and sin any more.
Chapter 13 in the Book of Revelation reveals the deceiver and the ones who are being deceived. The ones who do not belong to them are the true prophet and the victorious saints. All of scripture is filled with testimonies on what the true prophets preached and how they lived. The true prophets were despised and belittled because the world hated their words and considered them to be trivial. When the world proclaimed victory the prophet cried defeat, and when it announced peace he cried destruction and judgment. When people were happy he told them to mourn, and when they mourned he told them to repent, and when they spoke of their righteousness he pointed out their sins. Thus, the people could not bear his words and would kill the prophets as though they were not worthy to live. John the Baptist, who was the greatest among those that were born of women, rebuked Herod for taking the wife of his brother and was subsequently cast in prison and executed by the request of a mere damsel who danced for Herod. All of the prophets in the Bible suffered humiliation and were afflicted because they rebuked the sins of the people. Those that have received the spirit of the false prophets do not give their lives for the word of God, but seek to satisfy their bellies. They fear men and seek the glory of men.
The beast that came up from the earth – that is to say, the false prophet – had “two horns” like a little lamb and attempted to mimic the works of Jesus. Jesus came from above as the manifestation of God and gave eternal life by washing the sins of the repentant by His blood. His words form the image of God in man. It is said, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29). However, the beast speaks to establish in people the image and the number of the beast that came up from the sea. He has the power to do miracles in the “sight of the beast,” not in the sight of the holy. The eyes which cannot discern the forms of the beast follow its nature and grow in its likeness. The image of the beast can talk, which is the sign that it has been given life. He seeks out those who do not carry the mark or the number of the beast or worship its image to put them to death.
In addition, “he causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads.” No one receives the mark knowing that it is the mark of the beast. Their understanding has been darkened by their worldly living and their lack of wisdom prevents them from realizing that they are receiving the mark. They disregard working for the fulfillment of the number seven, and instead accomplish everything in high regard for the number of the beast, six. The saints lose their purity and holiness as they live predominantly for the flesh and put aside seeking the kingdom of God and his righteousness. Similarly to how Cain lived for himself, gave a detestable offering to God, and killed Abel who had offered a righteous sacrifice, the people of flesh will gain power, creating an atmosphere where the people of the kingdom of God will be persecuted. Cain fulfilled the number of the beast with his spirit, soul, and body by failing to give a proper offering to God, murdering a man, and living for the sake of earthly pleasures.
Man can fulfill the number of God’s rest through perfect body, soul, and spirit. Seven is the number that the spirits in heaven testify of. Those who belong to the seven lamps, seven spirits, and seven eyes which are in heaven follow the laws of the Spirit, having the power of the Holy Ghost and testifying to the good and evil on the earth. Joshua destroying the city of Jericho after compassing it seven times, Elisha bringing the dead child back to life after causing him to sneeze seven times, and Naaman being healed after washing himself in the Jordan River seven times testify the spirit of heaven. If they had stopped at six, the number of the flesh, they would not have obtained the power to revive, heal, and conquer. But those who follow their own minds reject the perfect number with their flesh and cannot receive the power of heaven. This is because they follow the “resemblance through all the earth” and become polluted by evil spirits.
The false prophet seeks to kill those who do not receive the mark of the beast, but the plagues of the Lord come upon the ones who receive it. If someone was persecuted and killed because he kept his soul pure for the sake of the Lord and His commandments, he will be taken away from the evil to come, as was said by the prophet Isaiah. While the men who have the seal of God are the ones who kept the word of God and had the testimony of Jesus, everyone who will receive the mark of beast are counted as “anything that defiles, whatsoever works abomination, or makes a lie.” They are not recorded in the Book of Life of the lamb and cannot enter into the New Jerusalem. It is not a multitude of a specific generation, but “all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” The power of the beast works in everyone who disobeys.
The beast from the earth creates a false fire as though it were by the Holy Ghost. Jesus came down from heaven in person to minister and ignite a fire on the earth, and made “ministers as a flame” and gave the fire of the Spirit to those who believed in Him. But the beast deceives people into believing that its false fire came down from heaven by itself. The saints who do not have the power of the Spirit reside in sin, and give room for the devil by wishing for a spiritual experience while living at ease on the earth. When God created the earth, He washed the ground by bringing it forth from the waters, and when it was defiled He washed it again. Now, God made man be born again in the Spirit and become a godly seed. He preserves them from the time of judgment in the future when He will destroy the earth with fire. It is said, “Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men” (2 Peter 3:7). In the same way as when Elijah prayed and “the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, the wood, the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench,” the fire of the Spirit will utterly consume nations, peoples, languages, and multitudes. It is said, “Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is” (1 Corinthians 3:13).
The beast “was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition.” “All that dwell upon the earth” shall wonder whose names are not “written in the book of life from the foundation of the world” when they behold the beast that “was, and is not.” They are in wonder because they themselves are like the beast. They will realize that they have come to resemble the image of the beast in devoting their time, hearts, and bodies to deceptions. The beast was, if seen in the past, but is not, if seen in the present. But it still is, for sake of the testimony of judgment of the void. Every creature will be witnesses of the Lord God in the void that God alone saw, judged, and removed in the beginning. With regard to evildoers, David said, “At evening let them return; and let them make a noise like a dog, and go round about the city,” and the prophet Isaiah said, “Before the morning he is not. This is the portion of them that spoil us, and the lot of them that rob us.” Their souls enter into destruction, and their spirits cry in affliction and emptiness and wretchedness. They will enter into an evening without the coming of morning and be cut off from the everlasting hope of the seventh day.
God asked Job, “Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days; and caused the dayspring to know his place; That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, that the wicked might be shaken out of it?” After God created the earth, the evening passed and morning came, bringing about the first day. The morning was wrapped in fullness like a woman with child. When Adam was formed from dirt, he was promptly moved to the paradise and did not see the night. But on the earth, the morning does not come without the night passing first. Night is the time when the watchman waits attentively. He who can command the morning, who can see the new, pure day is the son of God.
When the time is at hand, realizing that keeping one’s own soul pure is more urgent than converting men is becoming aware of the course of evil. Noah, Abraham, and Lot were remarkable primarily because they kept their souls pure and saved themselves. The Lord makes a request of the prophets who separate themselves from the customs of iniquity, saying, “let them return unto thee; but return not thou unto them,” and promises that He will preserve them. They became the prophets of the Lord because they kept themselves from the evil stream with the word of God. A prophet is someone who alone fulfills the word of God. The apostle John could see the beast coming up from the sea while he was standing on the shore because he himself had not been swept away by the wave.
The prophets preached with all their might to avert the destruction of the people, but they neither listened to their witnessing, nor repented. As a result, they became alone and their lives were often put in danger. The petition of the prophet Jeremiah, who said, “O LORD, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived; thou art stronger than I, and hast prevailed: I am in derision daily, every one mocketh me” was a lamentation about how his labor was in vain and the crumbling of his hope of the people returning to the Lord. The Lord deceives his prophets and prevails over them because His love is strong and His zeal of salvation is exceeded to them. The prophets taste the grief and bitterness of the Almighty when those who ought to turn back hear the warning trumpet of the judgment of God, yet do not turn back. Job said, “He hath bent his bow, and set me as a mark for the arrow.” They were placed into trouble and persecution, but God gave them the power of judgment. The Lord said to Jeremiah, “For, behold, I have made thee this day a defenced city, and an iron pillar, and brasen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, against the priests thereof, and against the people of the land And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the Lord, to deliver thee” (Jeremiah 1:18-19). Jeremiah was thrown into prison several times and narrowly avoided death in his hardships. The strength of the kings, the officials, the priests, and the people appeared to overpower Jeremiah and treated him in whatsoever way that they desired. His words were ignored and he was deemed a criminal, but in the end, he saw victory – that is, the fulfillment of the word of God.
The Lord said to Jeremiah, “Take the wine cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send thee, to drink it,” and Jeremiah took the wine cup of His fury from His hand and made “all the kings of the north, far and near, one with another, and all the kingdoms of the world, which are upon the face of the earth” drink. This is similar to what happened in the vision of the prophet Ezekiel, when the hand of Lord came from between the cherubim with coals of fire and gave them to Ezekiel, who was clothed in linen. Ezekiel then scattered them all over the city. If these things are examined in order, it appears as thus: In the beginning, the prophet receives the word of the Lord and warns the people to repent. But they do not turn back and instead, persecute the prophet. Hence, the prophet cries out in his misery and agony, and appeals to God for justice against the adversaries of the word. Finally, the prophet takes the instrument of affliction from the Lord and executes plagues upon all the nations and people whom he warned. In this process, the visible characteristics of the prophet are his call for repentance, his persecution, and his appeal to the Lord for His judgment. His fulfillment of the judgment of the Lord is not seen by the flesh, but only the persecution, up to the prophet’s martyrdom can be seen. Their appearance of weakness in being persecuted on earth for the word of the Lord is a mark of great power in heaven that carries out the judgments of the Lord over all the earth. The apostle Paul, who endured great tribulation for the sake of the Gospel, said, “From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus” (Galatians 6:17).
Ezekiel also had a vision about the mark as John did, with the main difference from the one John saw being that in the former, the Lord commanded one to put the mark on people’s foreheads, but in the latter vision, the false prophet deceived the people into receiving the mark of the beast. John revealed the process by which men will receive the mark by the work of the false prophet, and Ezekiel revealed the situation in which men will receive the mark by the work of the true prophet. The purpose of Revelations is for the saints to not to be deceived and to keep the commandments of the Lord, and the visions of Ezekiel reveal the nature of sin and its consequences. The man who is clothed with linen and has a writer’s inkhorn by his side receives the commandment to “go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof,” and does accordingly. This mark is not visible. God said to Ezekiel, “Now, thou son of man, wilt thou judge, wilt thou judge the bloody city?” The man with a writer’s inkhorn by his side is clothed with linen because he will perform the duty of the Lord from the holy place with perspiration – that is, a great slaughter. The writer’s inkhorn is a writing instrument made for the words of the Lord. In the same way that the writer writes down the words of the Lord without missing a single letter, the one who has the word of the Lord within is given the power and authority of judgment and places the mark with discernment of the word. Those who receive this mark are they that belong to the seven eyes who hold the testimony of heaven, and their lamentation for the spirits on the earth is their testimony of its wickedness. They were the ones who cried out for the salvation of souls amidst the flesh. Their appeal for the sinners is an intercession on their behalf for the weakness of their flesh, and their heart of grief and affliction for sins comes from the Holy Spirit within them.
When Ezekiel saw the glory of God in the vision of the temple, he said, “And it was according to the appearance of the vision which I saw, even according to the vision that I saw when I came to destroy the city” (Ezekiel 43:3), which indicates that he was the man who was clothed in linen that would fulfill the duty of destroying the city. The verse “And I heard him speaking unto me out of the house; and the man stood by me” has some resemblance to Paul’s confession when he said, “I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth.)” Just as the Lord saved Lot because he was afflicted by all the abominations of Sodom, the ones who receive the mark are those that cry out and lament because of all the detestable and abominable sins being committed in the cities. All of the false prophets who deceived men with their words will be slain. God said, “Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary.” His command to slay starting with the old is because they had more time to repent, and because they did not repent they added more sins to their lives by negligence. He commanded to begin at the sanctuary because those who called upon the name of the Lord in vain and those who should have turned back but did not will be killed first. While the men were slaying, Ezekiel cried out, “Ah Lord GOD! wilt thou destroy all the residue of Israel in thy pouring out of thy fury upon Jerusalem?” Stephen said, “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge,” but the souls under the altar cried, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” In this manner, they cry out as though in contrast to one another, but they are one. While man is in flesh, there is intercession for the weakness of his flesh, but in the spiritual world there is only justice and judgment, to which the man with the writer’s inkhorn is loyal.
The man with the writer’s inkhorn by his side gives out the marks prior to the plague in a similar manner to the part in the Book of Revelation when, prior to the plague being poured out into the earth, the angels held the four winds of the earth so the wind would not blow on the earth or sea or on any tree and a seal could be placed on each of the servants of God on their foreheads. In terms of differences, the man and the cherubim are involved in the Ezekiel’s judgment, whereas in the Book of Revelation, the angels and four beasts are involved. These four beasts have faces like cherubim and six wings like seraphs. Even in the incident at Korah, when the plague had begun to spread by the wrath of the Lord, Aaron, the head priest, took a censer and put fire into it from the altar, putting on incense and going out to the congregation hurriedly to make atonement for them. In Ezekiel’s vision, the coals were passed on without incense, from the hand that was between the two cherubim to the man who was clothed in linen. This was a situation of judgment where the time for intercession or prayer had not yet been given. In the Book of Revelation, the beast gives the vials of the seven plagues to the angels, but the angels blow the trumpets first. This is a warning about the impending judgment and plagues, which the people of the Holy Spirit will hear.
The apostle John said, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet” (Revelation 1:10). The man who can stand in the day of the Lord will hear the trumpet of the angels and deliver the message to all the ears of flesh. With the language that all flesh can understand, he would cry something along the lines of, “Repent, for the wrath of the Lord has come, and the plague is imminent!” Jeremiah said, “O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war.” The prophets Isaiah, Ezekiel, Joel, Zephaniah, Zechariah, etc. all heard the trumpet in spirit, and as the faithful watchmen of the Lord they warned of the dreadful day of judgment of the Lord. The Lord said to Isaiah, “Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth” (Isaiah 21:6). The faithful watchman stood upon the wall and watched day and night, and when he saw two riders on a chariot, one rider on a donkey, and one rider on a camel, he cried out, “Lion!” The one who responded to him, saying, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground,” is also the prophet himself. The one who watches out, cries out, listens, and proclaims is the one who is alone – he is the prophet of the Lord, the faithful watchman. The Lord has commanded him to cry out regardless of whether they listen or not.
After God drove out man, He placed a cherub east of the Garden of Eden. The position of the man and that of the cherub were opposite to one another from the time that man came out of Eden, which was for the cherub to prevent the man from entering into Eden. Likewise, when the man who was equipped with a writer’s inkhorn entered into the temple to carry out his duty, the location of the cherub was moved to the threshold for the same reason. Even so, the cherubim are created with the faces of four creatures on one body. Moreover, God “[rides] upon a cherub” (Psalms 18:10). The cherubim demonstrate the extent of God’s power and mercy upon all creatures of flesh in the heavens and the earth. In the same way that God the Creator came down on earth as a man and sent the Holy Ghost after He ascended, there is a sequence of events to God revealing his presence to man in different figures; nevertheless, He is one God. Going through time is a matter concerning man’s flesh and the limitation of man’s perception. The Almighty God shows His wondrous wisdom and power through working in such a man.
The cherubim use their wings to cover the firmament where His throne stands in order to clothe with mercy all flesh that live beneath His glory. When God appeared to Moses, He hid him inside the cleft of a rock and covered his face with His hands. The wings of the cherubim are connected so that they can cover the firmament perfectly and move as one. The cherubim going straight according to the direction of their heads are like the members following Jesus, the head of the church. In his first vision, Ezekiel saw and spoke about the living creatures, but when he saw that the face of a bull was replaced with that of a cherub, he said that they were living creatures and cherubim. It had come to pass that there was no more need of the blood of the sacrificial bull, and that it had been replaced with the faces of the cherubim which allowed man to enter into paradise. The Lord came in flesh and was slaughtered as a lamb to become the way into paradise. Because it was the first time that man had seen cherubim since God placed them to forbid man from entering, Ezekiel was surprised, saying with certainty, “I knew that they were the cherubims.” When the cherubim lifted their wings, the firmament of heaven was opened before Ezekiel’s eyes and he saw the One who sat upon the throne.
It can be perceived through Ezekiel’s testimony about the prince of Tyre that the cherubim are in the mount of God and at the same time concern themselves with the history of the earth. This means that the rulers of the earth received the spirit of the beings who have a definite standing in the mount of God. Because the cherubim are near the precious stones in the mount of God, they are surrounded in radiance and honored. However, when they glorify themselves and use their prestige for their own riches and honor in the earth, their wisdom will become corrupt. In the same manner as how God regarded the filthiness of the prince of Tyre and banished him from the mount of God, He likewise punished the princes of Judah when they fell into iniquity by destroying them with Babylon. The destruction and calamity brought upon them signified that the honor and portions of their rulers had been dragged down. The hands between the cherubim have the power of judgment, which is the power of the clouds that are with them – the waters of heaven. The cherubim are involved in the plagues that fall on the earth when the wrath of the Lord is kindled by the sins of man. Diseases, disasters, etc. are plagues that fall upon all flesh. When men settled east of Eden and raised a culture of iniquity, and built a tower even farther from the east, the east wind of the wrath of the Lord grew in force. But God rides upon a cherub, flies on the wings of the wind, and “scattereth the east wind upon the earth” with his light giving His mercy so that not all flesh will die by the plague.
The cherubim are uninvolved in battles, unlike the angels or stars, but are related to the moving of the throne of the Lord, and the wheels are with them. Daniel said, “His throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.” The wheels that carry the throne of the Lord, with Whom there is no shadow of turning, go straight to the four directions as they see, and do not turn. They are called, “O wheel,” as their faithful performance has become their name. The spirit of the living creature is in the wheels, as the spirit of the living creatures is in fulfillment of the commandments of the Lord. There is a wheel in the midst of the wheel, as the soul’s spirit is in the spirit which the Lord sent. The spirit makes him carry out the commandments of the Lord. It is said that because the spirit was present in Joshua and Caleb, they followed the Lord in earnest.
The cloud and the cherubim go with the movement of the throne. The angel that the apostle John saw who was clothed with the clouds was clothed with the glory of the Lord. The clouds testify to His presence, blessing, and wrath and show His glory. They require neither fastening together as the bricks of the towers of man do, nor solid form. Yet, they move according to the Lord’s steadfast commands. Though man could not see cherubim, the Israelites witnessed the cloud of His glory several times and bowed down before His presence. The clouds that had not yet been made during creation began to form after the flood in the time that the Lord began to cleanse each soul with the baptism of the word. These are the “so great a cloud of witnesses” of the Lord who testify to the evilness of the earth, and who had separated themselves from the waters of the earth. While the great waters of the earth carry Babylon, the waters of heaven surround the city of Zion. The head of the beast that came up from sea is full of the names of blasphemy, which are the names of those who worship the image of the beast and give him power. They are the children born of Babylon, who sits upon the beast. Ezekiel heard the noise of the wings of the cherubim and described it as thus: “The noise of their wings, like the noise of great waters, as the voice of the Almighty, the voice of speech, as the noise of an host.” This is the power and strength of those who were persecuted for the name of the Lord. The prince of Tyre said, “I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas” because he presumptuously believed that he could gather all these waters to himself. God asked Job, “Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds, that abundance of waters may cover thee?” The voice of him who trembles at His word and carries out His commandments will be carried up to the clouds and he will be covered by many waters of heaven, becoming joined to His assembly. God said to Job, “Who can number the clouds in wisdom? or who can stay the bottles of heaven, When the dust groweth into hardness, and the clods cleave fast together?” God creates forms on the earth using the waters of heaven which do not have names or forms.
David said, “Ascribe ye strength unto God: his excellency is over Israel, and his strength is in the clouds” (Psalms 68:34). The nations that put their trust on the Lord and keep His commandments are the excellence of the work of the Lord. The Lord speaks to His people from the midst of the clouds and those who keep His testimonies and statutes are the arrows that fly true. It is said, “The clouds poured out water: the skies sent out a sound: thine arrows also went abroad” (Psalms 77:17). The clouds cover the faults of the flesh for the sake of the Lord’s mercy. The Lord “opened the doors of heaven, And had rained down manna upon them to eat.” But when the wrath of the Lord comes upon them, it prevents the prayers of the saints from passing through and carries out plagues as commanded. Jeremiah said, “Thou hast covered thyself with a cloud, that our prayer should not pass through.” God said, “I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it,” and Elijah prayed for no rain for three and a half years, and it was so. Ezekiel saw that the idol worshipers also made thick clouds of incense to rise. When the world is full of these clouds, it is in a dark, murky age of heathens. The idol worshipers could not loose themselves from their sins and become true witnesses. The rising of the clouds of incense of those who had fallen away signify the idol of falsehood gaining power. When the zeal of His people is weaker than that of the heathen, God will become angry. The Lord said, “I would thou wert cold or hot.”
The other entity that keeps the way of the tree of life is a flaming sword that turns every which way. The turning of the sword in all directions indicates a fervent spiritual character, and the sword itself is related to battle. There is no shadow of turning with God (James 1:17), who is a spirit. He is just and no darkness can be hid before Him. The flaming sword that turns every which way will be won by the angels and the host of His ministers who fight with the sword of Spirit. When Joshua conquered Jericho, he saw a man who stood with his sword drawn in his hand. He was the angel that came to fight for Israel as the captain of the host of the LORD. When Israel fought against Amalek, it is said that “the LORD cast down great stones from heaven upon them unto Azekah; they were more which died with hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword.” When Barak the judge fought against Sisera, it is said that “they fought from heaven; the stars in their courses fought against Sisera.” When the army of David fought against the Philistines, the Lord went ahead and fought for David who heard the sound of someone going forth above the mulberry trees. The spiritual beings, including stars and angels, join in the battles of the earth for the victory of Zion, and the Lord Himself fights as well. God asked Job, “Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?” The belt of Orion is bound tightly in the same manner as when God said to Job, “Gird up thy loins now like a man.” The belt of Orion who lifted the sword up high will not be loosened until the fight is finished.
The Lord said to His disciples before departing, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you” (John 14:18). The Lord fulfilled His promise promptly. Like the Word which became flesh and walked by their side, He came again as the Word of the Holy Ghost, the comforter, and resided in the saints. The saint now has proof of both the flesh and the spirit that will make him worthy to enter the kingdom of heaven. The Lord said to His disciples, “He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one,” to make them realize that the spiritual fight is more important than the matters of the flesh. The Lord gave the sword of the Spirit to His people so that they could engage in battle. Those who have been forgiven by the blood of Jesus will be given the Tree of Life by fighting on with the sword of the Word. This can be accomplished by living out His commandments. It is said, “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city” (Revelation 22:14).
Before the judgment and destruction of the earth, the Lord will first destroy Babylon. An angel cried unto the fowls, “Ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great” (Revelation 19:18). Just like how the fowls’ eating the flesh is not visible, the burning and annihilation of Babylon should not be expected to be a visible event. If Babylon were to be physically burned, there would be no fleshly being left. For the people of Zion, leaving Babylon is not equivalent to going out of the world. They are watchful concerning their body to separate and distinguish themselves from the world. In the same way that all falsehood and sins are cut away by the sword of the spirit, the fall of Babylon will be felt painfully by those who fight the spiritual battle.
In former times, one nation and one king acquired exceptional power and were exalted above all others; this power was to be evenly distributed in the time of the ‘ten kings.’ When a king’s power is scattered, the power of the country, the people, and the king is weakened and the power goes downwards; this happens because they do not give glory back to God on high. The kings united and turned the course away from Zion towards Babylon, but Babylon cannot give power or glory back to them. Babylon relies on riches, and the more riches they got, the weaker each generation of kings become. Through materialism, the people become spiritually dim, proud, restless, and harsh. The feelings of joy, rest, sadness, affection, loneliness, love, and grief that men undergo become dulled. Though they eat, they still feel empty; though they earn, they are never satisfied. Man’s rest does not come from the tranquility or peacefulness of the soul, but from relying on technology, superficial interests, and entertainment. The rulers forsake the Lord’s commandments in fear of the people. Although Babylon appears to be peaceful on the outside, it is devoid of honor or power. The city which fears neither God nor the kings of the earth has no defenses. Because the great city, which boasted its power, could not give power anymore, the ten kings hated Babylon and destroyed it. Their power is to be given to the beast that Babylon sits upon, and Babylon is to be cast into the sea. The country and its kings, people, and souls are to fall simultaneously.
After the fall of Babylon, “the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.” The beast and the false prophet are both taken and “cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse.” The Lord said, “I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:47-48). Also, “whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the [world] to come” (Matthew 12:32). Those who despise and blaspheme His Word will be slain by the sword of the Spirit that comes out of His mouth. The prophet Isaiah said, “He shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.” Those who do not fight the spiritual battle do not know that their souls are condemned to death. It is said, “She that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth” (1 Timothy 5:6).
The battle of Gog and Magog happens after the fall of the beast, the false prophet, and all who were deceived by them and received the mark of the beast. When they all perish, it will seem as though the history of man in flesh has ended. After they are gone, the beings which still remain are to be deceived by Satan not through lust, greed, or any other traits pertaining to a beast but by denying the Spirit of Jesus. However, the kingdom of a thousand years must come before the battle. This kingdom is a peaceful time, free of deceit or falsehood, and “as the days of a tree are the days of [His] people.” All who lost their lives since Abel for the sake of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus will be resurrected and given the years and blessings which they had lost. They are the ones who did not worship the image of the beast or received its mark. The faithful Lord will keep his promise that “every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life” (Matthew 19:29). It is also written, “On such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:6). During that time, Satan is shut up in the bottomless pit.
After the thousand year period is over, Satan will be released from his prison and go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them to battle; they will be as numerous as the sand of the seashore (Revelation 20:8). These are the spirits which accustomed themselves to earthly kingdoms rather than being born again in the Holy Ghost. Because they are spirit, they know that they will lose the battle. Even so, they blaspheme the Lord and join Satan because they do not have the hope of resurrection of the flesh. Even if they are saved, they cannot obtain the glory of those who are resurrected in both flesh and spirit. Therefore, they desire a world that is ruled by the spirits of evil and will fight for Satan. The spirits of the saints who proclaim their salvation while under the yokes of sin also belong to them.
When it is written that Satan and Gog went up to the “breadth of the earth,” it implies that their dwelling was under the earth. In the same way that Satan was in the bottomless pit, they had been imprisoned under the earth. Jesus preached to the spirits of the people who died in the flood (1 Peter 3:19-20) and “when he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men” (Ephesians 4:8). But those who rejected his words were left behind. The spirits that refused the kingdom of the Lord Jesus and the spirits of those who blasphemed the Holy Ghost will hear Satan and join him. The saints who were given to Satan by Paul and church will be among them if their spirits are not saved in the day of Jesus. This testimony instructs that those whose flesh has been delivered over to Satan must take heed with their spirit so that they do not fight for Satan. Otherwise, they may speak as though they testify of Christ, but they will instead cause corruption with the sins that are integrated in their lives and become involved in Satan’s plan to expand his power on earth. Jude said, “Others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh” (Jude 1:23).
Furthermore, Ezekiel prophesied thus about the war of Gog: “After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them. Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee” (Ezekiel 38:8-9). When he said, “the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword,” it implies that many nations turned back from idolatry. It is written that “they shall dwell safely” because they have been redeemed from all the idols, languages, and corruption and refined and Gog will threaten them. When Satan and Gog went up onto the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. The devil was cast into the lake of fire, which is where the beast and the false prophet also are. There, they will be tormented forever. The dead and the small and great will stand before God and be judged according to their works. Whosoever is not found in the book of life will also be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15).
After Adam was made from the dust and received the spirit of God and lived in Eden, there was rain on the earth, the rivers flowed, and the trees and grasses grew and bore fruit. In the same manner, when the sons of God dwell in the kingdom of God, received with the glory of the resurrection of the flesh, there is rain on the earth and blessings for all the nations on the earth. It is said, “The nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory” (Revelation 21:24). The prophet Zechariah said, “And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain” (Zechariah 14:17). They are the ones who will give tribute to those who have been resurrected in the flesh. Job lamented, if he had been born dead, “For now should I have lain still and been quiet, I should have slept: then had I been at rest, with kings and counsellors of the earth, which build desolate places for themselves Or with princes that had gold, who filled their houses with silver: Or as an hidden untimely birth I had not been; as infants which never saw light” (Job 3:13-16). If he had come out of the womb dead, he would have had no work of the flesh, so his salvation would have been limited to his spirit at most and his ultimate glory would have been limited as well. In the weakness of his flesh, Job wished for this amidst his tribulation, lamenting that it would have been better. But the Lord spoke of the glory of the saved ones who endure affliction, saying, “Notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than [John the Baptist].” Seeing that the kings that gave tribute were the ones whose spirits alone were saved, one cannot fathom how the great the glory of the saints is when they are saved in both the flesh and the spirit.
John heard a voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities” (Revelation 18:4). Receiving the mark of the beast and worshiping its image will be considered praiseworthy and usual in that city, but the people of Zion will bear shamefulness for their refusal of those sinful acts. Paul spoke of the shame that the saints will have to bear, saying, “For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name” (Hebrews 13:15). God commands His people to repay Babylon in a vengeful manner for her wicked deeds. It is written, “Put yourselves in array against Babylon round about: all ye that bend the bow, shoot at her, spare no arrows: for she hath sinned against the LORD” (Jeremiah 50:13). This commandment is not given to the ones who call upon the name of the Lord while living in extravagance, greed, vanity, and lasciviousness. Only those who have endured persecuted for their faith in the Lord and those who have triumphed over the number, mark, and the name of the beast are able to follow this commandment. They know what they lost and how they must “reward her even as she rewarded [them]” (Revelations 18:6). Those who live in Babylon cannot avenge themselves against her and fire their arrows toward her, but will become the targets of the arrows of God’s vengeance themselves.
The false prophet claims that Babylon is a safe place. People consider being swept along the stream to be safe. In Babylon, it is impossible for anyone to serve as an upright example to others because they all have become polluted by the works of man, having lost the purity to discern as witnesses of the truth. The apostle John said, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (1 John 2:16). Because this world has become a field of war to those who go forth toward the kingdom of heaven, Paul said, “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me” (Philippians 1:29-30). The world strayed away from God and could not fulfill the perfect number – that is, the day of His rest. When a person fits himself into the world, he is fitting himself into the imperfect number, which is the number of the beast. It is the number of the shameful nakedness and fiery destruction that lasts for eternity. The day that Job confronted will come upon all saints who will stand before God and receive their due compensation according to their works.
David said, “Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth. The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath. He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries. He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head” (Psalm 110:3). In order to revive man, who wastes away like the dew of the morning, the Lord who had the “dew of youth” came and suffered through the night of affliction, becoming the eternal High Priest. Like the first creation, when the creatures saw the morning in their submission to the Creator without passing the night, the ones who follow Him and carry out His word will win over the power of darkness and “shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning.” They were unknown on the earth, had no fixed dwelling places, and were despised, but they are the clouds of glory which surround the Lord who is the true and perfect image and true light. They are the people of the covenant in whom God saw His bow. In every generation, they were weak and lonely, but because of this they putting their trust on the Lord more and mourned greatly, and preserving their souls in purity. The Lord Jesus is their King and rules over them. They will gather in the shining New Jerusalem and walk in the light of glory.
Even in the time of the evil king Ahab when Elijah thought that he was the only righteous man left, the Lord, in his grace, had “left [Him] seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.” It is not hopeless for one to see oneself being alone for the sake of the Word of God, but rather a victory of the Word that each soul can see from where his feet stand. Standing upon a high mountain, John saw the holy city, the New Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. The paradise, which had been stripped off of man because of his sins, will come down for those who are prepared as the pure bride in the time that the Lord promised. Those who dwell in high places and keep themselves from the overflowing waters, who have overcome the name and the number of the beast, will be clothed with the holy city. There are no seas in the new heaven and new earth. The saints who have triumphed will stand on the peaceful sea of glass, where there is no more temptation or suffering, but only joy. And they will praise and worship the Lord Jesus Christ, the great King of kings, the Lord of hosts, God – whose might and power lasts forever and ever.
And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
Who are the Sons of God? What is Babylon? And ultimately, what must one do to avoid the corruption of this world and be saved? This extensive Biblical commentary explores a diversity of topics from Genesis to Revelation, going into a spiritual discussion on some of its most difficult content. The Cry of Zion is the collection of From Creation of the Flood, the Sons of God and The Last Day. Translated from Korean through close collaboration between the translators and its author, the English edition of The Cry of Zion presents the complexity of the original text to a wider audience.