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The Story of the Seer of Patmos - Contents
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    The condition of Christianity for two or more centuries following the accession of Constantine the Great, to the Roman throne may be learned from the message delivered to the church of Pergamos. The ten years’ persecution, which took place during the reign of Diocletian, failed to accomplish the design of its instigator, and a wonderful reaction followed. Constantine, wishing to gain favor above the very men who were foremost in the opposition to Christianity, espoused the cause of that despised sect, and MarginBut he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. Mark 10:28-30.
    2 Chronicles 6:8.
    He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. Revelation 2:11.
    Revelation 20:12-15.
    Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil. Hebrews 2:14.
    There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand. Proverbs 19:21.
    Because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the most High:
    Therefore he brought down their heart with labour; they fell down, and there was none to help. Psalm 107:11, 12.
    Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars. 2 Chronicles 16:9.
    Hebrews 11:15, 16.
    through him, Christianity was raised to the throne of Rome. Pergamos means “exaltation,” or “elevation” and it was when nominal Christianity became popular, and swayed the civil government, that the two-edged sword of the Word was necessary to separate between the true and the false. Naturally the number of converts increased rapidly, and church buildings multiplied. Officers in the church, under favor of the government, spread themselves like the green bay tree. The doctrine of Him who said, “He that is greatest among you shall be your servant,” was reversed, and the papal hierarchy grew apace. This was peculiarly true of the Roman See. Other dioceses attempted the same exaltation. Constantinople, Jerusalem, Ephesus and Alexandria,-all contended for supremacy, but Rome, the seat of the dragon, was finally the acknowledged head of the Christian church. God watched the church as it trod this dangerous path to worldly exaltation, and to Pergamos He sent this message: “I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling-block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.”
    SSP 53.2

    During the period of ecclesiastical history, when the message to Pergamos is applicable, the church was guilty of idolatry and fornication. Lest Christians should misunderstand the application, and be led to deny the charge, the Spirit of God cites them to the experience of Balaam with Balac, the king of the Moabites, at a time when Israel was about to enter the promised land. The following quoted paragraphs throw MarginAnd to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges. Revelation 2:12.
    Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. 1 Samuel 15:22.
    I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you where Satan dwelleth. Revelation 2:13.
    The dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. Revelation 13:2.
    Whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Matthew 18:6.
    1 Corinthians 5:1-6.
    Numbers 31:16.
    Numbers 25:1-5.
    Numbers 22:15-22.
    But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. Revelation 2:14.
    light on the work of Balaam in teaching Balac to cast a stumbling-block before Israel:-
    SSP 54.1

    “Balaam was once a good man and a prophet of God; but he had apostatized, and had given himself up to covetousness; yet he still professed to be a servant of the Most High. He was not ignorant of God’s work in behalf of Israel; and when the messengers (from Balac) announced their errand, he well knew that it was his duty to refuse the reward of Balac, and to dismiss the ambassadors. But he ventured to dally with temptation, and urged the messengers to tarry with him that night, declaring that he could give no decided answer till he had asked counsel of the Lord. Balaam knew that his curse could not harm Israel.... The bribe of costly gifts and prospective exaltation excited his covetousness. He greedily accepted the offered treasures, and did not change his course when met by the angel. While professing strict obedience to the will of God, he tried to comply with the desire of Balac.”SSP 55.1

    If in reading this paragraph the word “Balaam” is replaced by the “Church,” in the fourth and fifth centuries, and for “Balac” is read “Constantine,” or “the Roman Emperor,” the exact history of the church is portrayed. The church had known God, but it became covetous; while it still professed allegiance to the Most High. The church, tempted by the rich offers of the government, parlied with its ambassadors MarginJoshua 13:22.
    Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. Jude 11.
    Balaam answered and said unto the servants of Balak, If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the word of the Lord my God, to do less or more. Numbers 22:15-21.
    For every one of the house of Israel, or of the stranger that sojourneth in Israel, which separateth himself from me, and setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to a prophet to enquire of him concerning me; I the Lord will answer him by myself. Ezekiel 14:7.
    The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
    Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us. Ecclesiastes 1:9, 10.
    This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. Matthew 15:8.
    and refused to declare the statutes of Jehovah, and remain a separate and peculiar people. The union of Church and State was formed in order to obtain the privileges and protection of the civil power.
    SSP 55.2

    The following paragraph, read in the same way, gives the second step in the transaction, when Church and State joined hands:-SSP 56.1

    “Disappointed in his hopes of wealth and promotion, in disfavor with the king, and conscious that he had incurred the displeasure of God, Balaam returned to his self-chosen mission. After he had reached home, the controlling power of the Spirit of God left him, and his covetousness, which had been merely held in check, prevailed. He was willing to resort to any means to gain the reward promised by Balac.... He immediately returned to the land of Moab, and laid his plans before the king.... The plan proposed by Balaam was to separate them (Israel, the church) from God by enticing them into idolatry.... This plan was readily accepted by the king, and Balaam himself remained to assist in carrying it into effect. Balaam witnessed the success of his diabolical scheme.”SSP 56.2

    The scheme was that Israel should be invited MarginThis is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord. Isaiah 30:9.
    Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? James 4:4.
    Numbers 23:11.
    Numbers 24:10, 11.
    to a feast of the Moabites, where meats sacrificed to the heathen gods, were eaten, and that Israel should be caused to commit adultery with the inhabitants of Moab.
    SSP 56.3

    The church between 312 and 538 a. d. joined hands with the civil power. It took of the wealth of the State, and asked for civil protection. Then it was that the spiritual sins of idolatry and fornication were introduced. Idolatry was the love of money, the world, and all false worship which took the place of the worship of Jehovah. It is fornication in the eyes of God when His people are wedded to any power save the arm of Omnipotence.SSP 57.1

    If ancient Israel had remained true to the teachings of their leader, the temptations of the Moabites would have fallen on deaf ears. The same is true of the church to which all this history is sent as an allegory. The doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, as described under the church of Ephesus, was a mingling of the pure teachings of Christ with the philosophy of the Greeks. If this doctrine had not been accepted in the church which claimed to be following the Saviour; if the children and the young people had been fed on truth instead of the mixture of good and evil, as represented by the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, the church would never have fallen. The message to Pergamos applies in the fourth and fifth centuries; it has also been the experience of each separate Protestant denomination, and it is a warning to all churches to the end of time. Any interpretation of this period that does not correspond with the history of Balaam is not according to the mind of the Lord, for God has given Balaam’s history as a MarginFor if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
    For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.2 Peter 2:20, 21.
    Matthew 12:43-46.
    Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the Lord in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the Lord. Numbers 31:16.
    They called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods.
    And Israel joined himself unto Baal-peor: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel. Numbers 25:1-3.
    Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:
    Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness. 2 Peter 2:14, 15.
    O my people, remember now what Balak king of Moab consulted, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him from Shittim unto Gilgal; that ye may know the righteousness of the Lord. Micah 6:5.
    Revelation 17:2-5.
    Revelation 18:2, 3.
    test by which we may know the true interpretation.
    SSP 57.2

    “Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth,” which is the two-edged sword. From the midst of the church, which fell because of its union with the State, God separated, by His Spirit, a little company whose history may be read in a part of the message sent to the church of Thyatira.SSP 58.1

    God calls to each church, no matter how low the ebb of spirituality, and those who have an ear turned heavenward, hear. “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.” As the sins of the church of Pergamos are given in the form of a parable, so the blessings to the repentant ones of this period are offered in figure. Those who had in sin partaken of food offered to idols, are offered in exchange the “hidden manna.” Manna is the bread of heaven, and as it was the only food necessary to nourish the multitudes of Israel during their forty years’ journey, it became a fit emblem of Christ, the bread sent down to the world. Eating flesh sacrificed to idols brings death, but hidden manna brings life. “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but My Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.” A union of Church and State crushes the spiritual life of any church. Why will men eat the food of idolatry when the MarginFor the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 1 Timothy 6:10.
    O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea. Isaiah 48:18.
    Psalm 119:11.
    So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate. Revelation 2:15.
    Numbers 23:1-6, 14-17, 29, 30.
    No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Matthew 6:24.
    Jeremiah 7:17-19.
    Deuteronomy 4:23-28.
    That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past. Ecclesiastes 3:15.
    Hebrews 4:12.
    bread of heaven is free to all? Why do Christians in the education of their children, cultivate in them an appetite for “food sacrificed to idols,” instead of spreading the table with manna which will give life to the soul?
    SSP 58.2

    The lesson for the church as a whole is total separation from the civil power. The lesson to the home and to the individual is complete separation from the world. Cling to God; for He has the hidden manna. Feed the children on MarginRepent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. Revelation 2:16.
    Deuteronomy 13:6-11.
    Isaiah 17:6.
    The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people. Deuteronomy 7:7.
    Luke 12:32.
    Isaiah 1:18.
    Isaiah 43:26.
    Moses said unto Aaron, Take a pot, and put an omer full of manna therein, and lay it up before the Lord, to be kept for your generations. Exodus 16:32, 33.
    Revelation 19:12.
    He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it. Revelation 2:17.
    Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. John 6:31.
    I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. John 6:51.
    hidden manna; for it is well adapted to supply every need. God is teaching in these words a wonderful lesson on the laws of physical growth by simplicity of food; of mental growth by purity of food,-food unadulterated with heathen teachings,-and a spiritual lesson of marriage with the Lamb, instead of with the dragon.
    SSP 59.1

    The keen heart searching of the Spirit, represented by the sword with the double edge, is shown in the second reward which is offered the repentant soul. To him is given a white stone, and in the stone a new name, which is known only to the one who receives it. As Zerubbabel was called a signet, or stone of sealing, represented as worn upon the hand of the Lord, so is each one who chooses to follow Christ in preference to the world. The stone is white, of dazzling purity. There are seen in it none of the tints which are admired by human eyes, but it is a stone free from all signs of impurity, and on it is impressed, by the power of God, the name which is known only to the individual and his Redeemer. Others may pronounce that name, it is true, but its significance is a secret between Christ and the individual. The one who receives it has been guilty of idolatry and fornication, and none other save his Lord can know the soul experience which brought the new name. Once it was Jacob, supplanter. None but the bearer knew how applicable was the name. Every time it was pronounced by friend or foe, it was an open rebuke from God. And when at the close of the night of wrestling, the angel said, “Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel”-a prince of God,- MarginIsaiah 52:11, 12.
    Jeremiah 50:8.
    Jeremiah 51:6, 45.
    2 Corinthians 6:14-18.
    2 Timothy 3:15, 16.
    Corn shall make the young men grow, and new wine the maids. Zechariah 9:17 [margin.]
    In the divisions of Reuben there were great searchings of heart. Judges 5:15, 16 [margin.]
    Ephesians 6:17.
    Revelation 2:17.
    Haggai 2:23.
    Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death. Song of Solomon 8:6.
    Malachi 3:17.
    We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:18.
    O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely. Song of Solomon 2:14.
    Matthew 11:27.
    1 Peter 3:4.
    1 Corinthians 6:18-20.
    Genesis 32:24-29.
    Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto him: he found him in Beth-el, and there he spake with us. Hosea 12:4.
    none but Israel knew the depth of meaning in that new name.
    SSP 60.1

    When the Jewish nation lived near to God, and the voice of Jehovah could be heard, every child was named under the direction of the Spirit. To-day heaven has a new name carved on a pure white stone for each sinner who repents, and the deeper the crimson dye of sin, the purer the stone will appear by contrast. “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.”SSP 61.1

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