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Notes for

The Revelation

Chapter Twelve

1. 2 Corinthians 11:2-3 Each Christian is Christ’s bride

For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you [engaged you to be married] to one Husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ [for the wedding/judgment]. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

The story of the Bible is very simple. Our Father loves us and has given us His Son to be our "Husband" and therefore we are accepted into the family because of Him. We bring nothing with us to the wedding except a love for His Son shown by wearing the "dress" He has given us.

There is an enemy who hates the Son and he would like to stop the wedding. He cannot hinder Christ's plan and he cannot kill us directly, so he tries to eliminate us by tempting us into dangerous areas where we cause our own deaths.

All we have to do is listen to the voice of the Spirit of God and obey Him and we cannot be touched.

What the "dress" means

Because we are all born "in sin", meaning that we are born with a sinful nature, or disobedient spirit, inherited from Adam and Eve, we need to be changed into Christians. This can only be done by the action of a Creator, so Jesus constantly approaches us from birth to death with the offer of the change. If we accept, then He uses His creative power and instantaneously changes our disobedient spirit into an obedient one by giving us a part of Himself. This is done by exchange, which means that He takes our disobedient spirit into Himself and keeps it under control, while giving us Himself. By virtue of the engagement, we now have the delightful task of requesting Him to use His power and overcome any temptation before us. In short, to save us! But we must choose to be saved at each temptation for He will not work against our individuality.

Then He takes on the process of educating us to fit in with His family. We begin to learn the culture and the manners of heaven (this process is called "sanctification" by the theologians), and it of course, requires time. While we are going through this "school" we are used by Him to impress others and lead them into acceptance of His offer of "engagement to marry".

Last of all, just before the final ceremony of the wedding, He plans to change our earthly bodies into ones which will be able to handle the excitement of living eternally in the universe as free agents. This will be done "in the twinkling of an eye" as the Spirit so expressively puts it.

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2. Under the symbols of a great red dragon, a leopard-like beast, and a beast with lamblike horns, the earthly governments which would especially engage in trampling upon God's law and persecuting His people, were presented to John. The war is carried on till the close of time. The people of God, symbolized by a holy woman and her children, were represented as greatly in the minority. In the last days only a remnant still existed. Of these John speaks of them as they "which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ."

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3. Micah 5:2-4 The prophecy of Christ

But you, Bethlehem Ephratah, though you be little among the thousands of [villages in] Judah, yet out of you shall He come forth to Me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

Therefore will He give them up, until the time that she which travails [in childbirth] has brought forth: then the remnant of His brethren shall return to the children of Israel. And He shall stand and feed in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD His God; and they [the last of His brethren] shall abide: for now shall He be great to the ends of the earth.

The church is clothed with the righteousness of Jesus (the sun) and reflects it back to the world (the moon). She is crowned as a ruler (a guide) in God's kingdom and the twelve stars on her crown represent the twelve major sections, or characters, within the church (Revelation 7).

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4. The dragon is said to be Satan (Revelation 12:9). It was he that moved upon Herod to put the Saviour to death at Bethlehem. Matthew 2:16. But the chief agent of Satan in making war upon Christ and His people during the first centuries of the Christian Era was the Roman Empire, in which paganism was the prevailing religion. Thus while the dragon, primarily, represents Satan, it is, in a secondary sense, a symbol of pagan Rome.

Later, the professed Christian church of Rome took over the persecution, working through the Roman state. This is shown in picture form as a "beast" with a scarlet-covered "woman" riding its back. (Revelation 17:3-4).

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5. Heads, seven of them, show the various earthly kingdoms Satan has used in his control of the world. They are as below:- (we have seen some of them in the book of Daniel):-

1. Babylon

2. Medo-Persia

3. Greece

4. Pagan Rome

5. Papal Rome (in its civil character)

6. Materialism (today's great head)

7. ? One yet to come

Horns are smaller powers used by Satan when he cannot get a worldwide power in sole command.

Crowns are used in these symbolic pictures to show us which part of Satan’s kingdom (head or horn) is in control. Over the centuries this power has changed hands physically, but under all lies the strength of the evil one.

The body shown in our picture is that of a leopard to fit in with later descriptions of Satan's kingdom.

"crowns" - for their presence (and absence) see 13:1; ..... 17:3; and 17:12.

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6. Matthew 2:7-16 The death of the innocents

Then Herod, when he had privately called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when you have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was...

And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary His mother, and fell down, and worshipped Him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented to Him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way...

Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts [suburbs] thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.

Herod did not try to kill Jesus while He was in the stable. It takes about four months by camel to come from Babylon to Jerusalem (Ezra 7:9), and it had taken some time for the wise men to prepare for their trip, which was a slow one as they travelled at night following the star. They told him of this and he added more time to their reckoning so that he could be sure of getting the child. Jesus was with His mother in a house when they arrived and could have been anything from six to nine months old.

The "third part of the stars" is a reference to the number of the angels which Lucifer was able to convince regarding his plan for an independent state. It was this group who followed him in his rebellion against God.

Jude v6

And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation .....

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7. Psalm 2:7-9 The proof of Sonship

I will declare the decree: the LORD has said to Me, You are my Son; this day [the day of the resurrection] have I begotten you [publicly]. Ask of Me, and I shall give you the heathen for Your inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. [Remember how Jesus fights?].

Acts 4:23-30 The Christians quoted Psalm 2 as applicable to the resurrection

And being let go, they [Peter and John] went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, You are God, which have made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: Who by the mouth of Your servant David have said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against His Christ.

For of a truth against Your holy child Jesus, whom you have anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles [the Romans], and the people of Israel, were gathered together, to do whatever Your hand and Your counsel determined before to be done. And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant to Your servants, that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching forth Your hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of Your holy child Jesus.

Revelation 2:26-27 The same "power" is given to the saints

[Jesus says], He that overcomes, and keeps My works to the end, to him will I give power over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of My Father.

Matthew 5:43-45 God's "rod" of love - the strongest power in the universe

You have heard that it has been said, You shall love your neighbour, and hate your enemy. But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

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8. Daniel 7:25-26 The great persecution

And he [the papal power] shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time [1,260 day/years].

The promised end result

But the judgment shall sit, and they [the saints of God] shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it to the end.

Being in "the wilderness" is a term the Spirit uses to describe the condition of the children of God (and also of the false church) when they can no longer actively work in the world.

The accession of the Roman Church to power marked the beginning of the Dark Ages. As her power increased, the darkness deepened. Faith was transferred from Christ, the true foundation, to the pope of Rome. Instead of trusting in the Son of God for forgiveness of sins and for eternal salvation, the people looked to the pope, and to the priests and prelates to whom he delegated authority.

They were taught that the pope was their earthly mediator and that none could approach God except through him; and, further, that he stood in the place of God to them and was therefore to be implicitly obeyed. A deviation from his requirements was sufficient cause for the severest punishment to be visited upon the bodies and souls of the offenders. Thus the minds of the people were turned away from God to fallible, erring, and cruel men, nay, more, to the prince of darkness himself, who exercised his power through them.

Sin was disguised in a garb of sanctity. When the Scriptures are suppressed, and man comes to regard himself as supreme, we need look only for fraud, deception, and debasing iniquity. With the elevation of human laws and traditions was manifest the corruption that ever results from setting aside the law of God.

Those were days of peril for the church of Christ. The faithful standard-bearers were few indeed. Though the truth was not left without witnesses, yet at times it seemed that error and superstition would wholly prevail, and true religion would be banished from the earth. The gospel was lost sight of, but the forms of religion were multiplied, and the people were burdened with rigorous exactions.

They were taught not only to look to the pope as their mediator, but to trust to works of their own to atone for sin. Long pilgrimages, acts of penance, the worship of relics, the erection of churches, shrines, and altars, the payment of large sums to the church - these and many similar acts were enjoined to appease the wrath of God or to secure His favour; as if God were like men, to be angered at trifles, or pacified by gifts or acts of penance!

In lands beyond the jurisdiction of Rome there existed for many centuries bodies of Christians who remained almost wholly free from papal corruption. They were surrounded by heathenism and in the lapse of ages were affected by its errors; but they continued to regard the Bible as the only rule of faith and adhered to many of its truths. These Christians believed in the perpetuity of the law of God and observed the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. Churches that held to this faith and practice existed in Central Africa and among the Armenians of Asia.

But of those who resisted the encroachments of the papal power in Europe, the Waldenses of Switzerland stood foremost. In the very land where popery had fixed its seat, there its falsehood and corruption were most steadfastly resisted. For centuries the churches of Piedmont maintained their independence; but the time came at last when Rome insisted upon their submission. After ineffectual struggles against her tyranny, most of the leaders of these churches reluctantly acknowledged the supremacy of the power to which the whole world seemed to pay homage. There were some, however, who refused to yield to the authority of pope or prelate. They were determined to maintain their allegiance to God and to preserve the purity and simplicity of their faith. A separation took place. Those who adhered to the ancient/ faith now withdrew; some, forsaking their native Alps, raised the banner of truth in foreign lands; others retreated to the secluded glens and rocky fastnesses of the mountains, and there preserved their freedom to worship God.

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9. The "war" in heaven was fought as it should be fought here on earth. With words of entreaty, imploring sinners to repent and be saved on the one hand, and lies and pressure on the other. When the rebellious angels refused and the loyal ones decided to stay by God then a "marking" and a "sealing" took place. The fallen angels found that they could no longer enter heaven (the same way Adam and Eve found themselves unable to pass the sword of sinlessness at the gates of the garden), and so they left heaven and approached the people of the other worlds. It was not until the events of Calvary that they also closed their ears to the sophistry of the adversary. The entire universe has been engaged in a "school" of learning since sin first manifested itself and all that is left now is for the people of this world to make up their minds and the controversy is over.

Hebrews 4:12 The purpose of the Bible

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Revelation 19:11-15 He is the Word and fights with the word

And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written, that no man knew, but He Himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called The Word of God.

And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron [absolute justice and absolute mercy]: and He treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

Revelation 2:16 He fights friend and foe with the word of God

Repent [He said to the church at Ephesus] ; or else I will come to you quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.

Matthew 4:4 This is how He overcame temptations

But He answered [the devil] and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.

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10. Genesis 3:1 A dragon is a serpent with wings and legs.

Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, Yes [this is really a snort more than a word], has God said, You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

Jude v6 "cast out" Jude says that they "left"!!

And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, He has [p]reserved in everlasting chains under darkness to the judgment of the great day.

Names in the Bible often indicate character, or behaviour. Click on the names for some meanings for this diversity bestowed on Lucifer.

Satan "prevailed not" because Jesus used the word of love against him. The Son of God and the faithful angels pleaded broken-heartedly for their former friends to repent (change their minds) and stay in heaven where they belonged. Satan and his followers had to refuse again and again and, in the end, left in a great huff.

See "Why was sin permitted?" for more on this.

The saints of God do NOT often prevail because they do not use that word as it should be used.

Luke 10:18-21 Christ takes no pleasure in the fall of an adversary

And He said to them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give to you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject to you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank you, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hid these things from the wise and prudent, and have revealed them to babes [simple believers]: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in Your sight.

Ezekiel 18:30-32 Why will you die?

Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, says the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby you have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dies, says the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live you.

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11. John 10:17-18 He had the power within Himself

Therefore does My Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again. No man takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of My Father.

Romans 1:3-4 The Son of God with power ... by the resurrection

Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.

"Now" refers to the fact that Jesus had proved His position in heaven as God's only begotten Son by coming out of the grave unaided. It was His own strength as "God" that allowed Him to do so. Although the other children of God are also called "sons" none of them have the divinity that He has.

The accuser of the brethren

A great way to recognize a satanic follower is their disposition to accuse. God accuses no one and His children do not either. Those who love their enemies try to cover up their faults rather than broadcast them to the world. The end result of accusation is death, for if the person accused does not stop the action, then force must be used to obtain that end. Fines and imprisonment may work on some, but the last resort must be to kill the person so that they cannot re-offend.

Satan is "cast down" to the earth by virtue of the fact that the inhabitants of the universe have now seen his character as a liar and a murderer fully exposed when he sent Jesus to the cross. At that point each one of the sinless beings in the universe decided for God so completely that they were "sealed" into their decision. Satan cannot reach them any more with his insinuations and therefore he now concentrates solely on the inhabitants of the earth.

See "I Protest" for more on this subject.

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12. "you that dwell in them" One of the few references in the Bible to beings other than the angels living in the universe.

Revelation 5:13 "under the earth" = deep space

And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be to Him that sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb for ever and ever.

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13. 2 Timothy 3:12-13 God’s promise

Yes, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution [but need not fall under it for its purpose is to manifest characters]. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

This time of persecution "such as never was" will be caused by a voice calling from the east and the north as we saw in Daniel 11. With the king of the north geographically down in Libya and Ethiopia that places the source of the voice in the promised land of Israel. What this means prophetically is that a call from a small group of God’s people for the professors of Christianity to honour His law will trouble all the false religious systems and they will go forth with great fury to destroy this irritant, thus showing their allegiance to the god of force.

In the process the king of the north will plant his palace or doctrine between the seas of people of the world and God’s mountain, or true church, trying to stop the spread of the truth. In this futile effort the religions of the world and the governments of the world will unite and pass religious laws to enforce their ideas (the clay and the iron of Daniel 2). But the last part of the verse tells us that the king of the north will not be successful. They, the people of God, will give a loud cry to all the world so that every one may make a decision as to what is the truth, for this is how real Christianity fights, with words, not swords. Then shall the end come.

The issues will be love and freedom OR hate and force

As a power from beneath is stirring up the children of disobedience to make void the law of God, and to trample upon the truth that Christ is our righteousness, a power from above will be moving upon the hearts of those who are loyal, to exalt the law, and to lift up Jesus as a complete Saviour. Then, unless divine power is brought into the experience of the people of God, false theories and ideas will take their minds captive, Christ and His righteousness will be dropped out of the experience of many, and their faith will be without power or life.

2 Timothy 3:1-5

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men [and women] shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

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14. Isaiah 63:1-4 Jesus was solo while on earth

Who is this that comes from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in His apparel, travelling in the greatness of His strength?

I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.

Why are you red in your apparel, and your garments like him that treads in the wine vat?

I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with Me: for I will tread them in My anger, and trample them in My fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon My garments, and I will stain all My raiment. For the day of vengeance is in My heart, and the year of My redeemed is come.

This "flying into the wilderness" (the equivalent of His crucifixion) is the result of the "war" and is the isolation which lies ahead of us. We will do our work and then quickly, very quickly, flee into the wilderness to wait the end. The survivors of the "holocaust" will be mostly alone, and we must be prepared for that situation.

The "time, times and half a time" are now 42 months or 3 1/2 years. We are not told when it will start, therefore we cannot know for sure that we are in it, or the end of the period. All we need to know is that we will be "nourished" during it. Some of the Christians giving the loud cry will finish before others and enter their personal "wilderness", but all that matters is that each one gives the witness that is required of them. The Spirit has it all under control. We are simply being told that there will come an end to what will appear a seemingly endless horror.

We will not be free from suffering; but while persecuted and distressed, while we may endure privation and suffer for want of food we will not be left to perish. That God who cared for Elijah will not pass by one of His self-sacrificing children. He who numbers the hairs of our head will care for us, and in time of famine we shall be satisfied. While the wicked are dying from hunger and pestilence, angels will shield the righteous and supply our wants. To him that "walks righteously" is the promise:

Isaiah 33:16

Bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure.

Isaiah 41:17

When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue fails for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.

Habakkuk 3:17-18

Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls;

yet they that fear Him will "rejoice in the Lord" and joy in the God of their salvation.

Psalm 121:5-7

The Lord is your keeper: the Lord is your shade upon your right hand. The sun shall not smite you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve you from all evil: He shall preserve your soul.

Psalm 91:3-10

Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings shall you trust: His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flies by day; nor for the pestilence that walks in darkness; nor for the destruction that wastes at noonday. A thousand shall fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come nigh you. Only with your eyes shall you behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because you have made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the Most High, your habitation; there shall no evil befall you, neither shall any plague come nigh your dwelling.

Yet to human sight it will appear that the people of God must soon seal their testimony with their blood as did the martyrs before them. They themselves begin to fear that the Lord has left them to fall by the hand of their enemies. It is a time of fearful agony. Day and night they cry to God for deliverance. The wicked will exult, and the jeering cry will be heard: "Where now is your faith? Why does not God deliver you out of our hands if you are indeed His people?" But the waiting ones remember Jesus dying upon Calvary's cross and the chief priests and rulers shouting in mockery...

Matthew 27:42

He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He be the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him.

Like Jacob, all will be wrestling with God. Their countenances express their internal struggle. Paleness sits upon every face. Yet they cease not their earnest intercession.

Could men see with heavenly vision, they would behold companies of angels that excel in strength stationed about those who have kept the word of Christ's patience. With sympathizing tenderness, angels have witnessed their distress and have heard their prayers. They are waiting the word of their Commander to snatch them from their peril. But they must wait yet a little longer. The people of God must drink of the cup and be baptized with the baptism. The very delay, so painful to them, is the best answer to their petitions. As they endeavour to wait trustingly for the Lord to work they are led to exercise faith, hope, and patience, which have been too little exercised during their religious experience. Yet for the elect's sake the time of trouble will be shortened.

Luke 18:7-8 We have the word of Jesus on it

Shall not God avenge His own elect, which cry day and night to Him? . . . I tell you that He will avenge them speedily.

The end will come more quickly than men expect. The wheat will be gathered and bound in sheaves for the garner of God; the tares will be bound as fagots for the fires of destruction.

The heavenly sentinels, faithful to their trust, continue their watch. Though a general decree has fixed the time when commandment keepers may be put to death, their enemies will in some cases anticipate the decree, and before the time specified, will endeavour to take their lives. But none can pass the mighty guardians stationed about every faithful soul. Some are assailed in their flight from the cities and villages; but the swords raised against them break and fall powerless as a straw. Others will be defended by angels looking like men of war.

In the hour of peril and distress "the angel of the Lord encamps round about them that fear Him, and delivers them." Psalm 34:7.

With earnest longing, God's people await the tokens of their coming King. As the watchmen are accosted, "What of the night?" the answer is given unfalteringly, "The morning comes, and also the night." Isaiah 21:11-12. Light is gleaming upon the clouds above the mountaintops. Soon there will be a revealing of His glory. The Sun of Righteousness is about to shine forth. The morning and the night are both at hand - the opening of endless day to the righteous, the settling down of eternal night to the wicked.

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