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Revelation 2

HANDOUT ONE

EARLY CHRISTIAN CHURCH

 

History and the Truth

 

As a means of finding truth, history hobbles towards the mark. So many issues plague the accuracy of its stories. The perspectives of witnesses color their memory even in the immediate wake of an event. Remove some weeks or years further from the occasion and the color darkens, often to a hue that is nearly opaque.

 

Yet witnesses are the stars in the dim sky of historical detail. Most history is rather gathered by distant researchers that must rely on the words of the long-dead. The character of their sources, especially if that character is devious, may not appear to the sincere historian. And the character of the historian, especially if his desire for notoriety exceeds his desire for truth, can rarely be perceived even by his peers. Much less will it be discovered by the reader.

 

The authority granted to men with vast stores of knowledge and widely regarded as leading professors exceeds by a great span what the facts would suggest is their due. These men, like others, are dependant on their sources. The vastness of their acquirements is itself a delusion, for the field of history presented by even a single century, and even in a single continent, is far greater than a man could master in six hundred years of intense study. Though the professor knows more than others, he knows less than enough to be sure he is right.

 

And so the givens in history are overthrown first here, then there. Academia has no doubt that its past champions were mistaken and those newly honored have found at last the way things were. Academia has utterly overestimated its ability to teach history, and this is the real cause of its over-crediting of those it has raised. When it believes its doctors, it flatters itself. Dictators have often been deluded in the same way.

 

Revelation, relying neither on the ken of an authority, nor on the depth of historical researches, offers an unpolluted stream of historical facts. As history is great, and prophecy succinct, the words of prophets can not substitute for careful examination of the annals and chronologies of the past. But those inspired words may correct the research indeed.

 

The second chapter of John’s Revelation of Jesus Christ covers, in less than 800 words, the history of more than 800 years. What aspects of history receive attention? Those most vital. How much weight should be given to the significance of the shortest phrases? More than we are able to give.

 

The following short article neither exhausts the field of research in this chapter, nor claims to be an authority on the meaning of the various symbols employed. Rather, it presents a chewable portion in a form that lends itself to quizzing and testing.[1] It is written to compliment a history class. May its findings be meat indeed to those that are hungering.

 

An Overview

 

A brief overview of Revelation Two will give the reader a framework for organizing the details in the prophecy. Ephesus, the first church, is presented as having descended from a pure and loving church to a formal church, holding truth still in high esteem, but lacking its early devotion.

 

Smyrna follows with a revival of the church caused, in some ways, by persecution as a power to keep the insincere in the ranks of the unbelievers. When Rome changed its policy of persecution to toleration, and then quickly to state-support, the age of Smyrna gave way to Pergamos. The church lost its purity. Those looking for what the world had to offer the church, found it. Leaders taught the church to unite with the state and a rift arose between the faithful and the majority.

 

When the state submitted to the church, Pergamos was swallowed up by Thyatira. Darkness enveloped Europe. The prophecy seems to have anticipated the designation of “dark ages” by offering to Thyatira the blessing of the Morning Star.

 

Ephesus – Revelation 2:1-7

 

Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write “These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil:”

 

God has always worked through channels in communicating truth. His messages to His church are, everywhere in Revelation 2 and 3, directed to the “angels” of the churches. “Angel” is a transliteration from a similar sounding Greek word meaning messenger. Jesus “holds the seven stars” in His own hand. The messengers are supported. What about the church? Jesus walks among the candles.[2]

 

To neglect or despise those whom God has appointed to bear the responsibilities of leadership in connection with the advancement of the truth, is to reject the means that He has ordained for the help, encouragement, and strength of His people. For any worker in the Lord’s cause to pass these by, and to think that his light must come through no other channel than directly from God, is to place himself in a position where he is liable to be deceived by the enemy and overthrown. AA 164

 

Jesus reminds the church that He knows. “All things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” Hebrews 4:13.

 

And He knows when His church is persecuted. That they were is signified by the word “patience.” Enduring as good soldiers the ill treatment of the enemy, the early church was quietly commended by the words “I know.”

 

Jesus weaves into this introduction a reflection on the early church that they may have read first as praise. “And canst not bear them that are evil.” The early church was strong on church discipline. Open sinners were not tolerated. They church profited from Paul’s counsel to “put away from among yourselves that wicked person.” I Cor. 5:13. They sought out the Achans. To some degree, these things were right.

 

While the servants of God are in constant danger of indulging a zeal that is wholly human, and while great harm is done by those who seem to be in their element in censuring, reproving, and condemning their brethren, there is fully as great danger of going to the opposite extreme, and making the sum and substance of Christian duty consist in love.

The apostle Paul writes to his son Timothy, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine.” This work is just as essential to the prosperity of the church as is the exercise of gentleness, forbearance and love. Those who are consecrated to God will be as faithful to reprove and rebuke sin with all long-suffering and doctrine, as to comfort and encourage the desponding, and strengthen the weak. All who love God will show their abhorrence of sin.  {ST, May 5, 1881 par. 16}

 

Those who occupy responsible positions as guardians of the people are false to their trust if they do not faithfully search out and reprove sin. Many dare not condemn iniquity, lest they shall thereby sacrifice position or popularity. And by some it is considered uncharitable to rebuke sin. The servant of God should never allow his own spirit to be mingled with the reproof which he is required to give; but he is under the most solemn obligation to present the Word of God, without fear or favor. {2BC 996.6}

 

But the faithfulness in reproving did not appear in such bright colors in the context of the rebuke that follows two sentences later. But before the correction, Jesus exposes one of the tricks of modern Catholicism. That He did it long ago ought to encourage us.

 

and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.

 

The Roman argument runs thus: “You say you believe the Bible but not the church that gave you the Bible. You believe in prophets and their inspiration, but not the inspiration that works through the traditions and councils of the church. But how do you know which books belong in the Bible? There are many books that are not in your Bible. It was the Catholic Council of Nicea that determined which books were canonical. You, our Protestant brother, acknowledge the authority of the church by your very acceptance of the traditional canon. You are inconsistent, for you place implicit trust in the decision of that council, but not in the councils before or after it. You acknowledge the authority of the church in this instance and use that as an excuse for not acknowledging it in other instances.”

 

Must we admit the logic of this collection of thoughts? The whole of it hinges on the idea that the canon was determined by the Council of Nicea in the 4th century. The whole of the argument falls with this simple fact: The first century Christians knew who the real apostles were. That “tried them which say they are apostles, and are not” and found them to be liars. The Bible canon confirmed by the Council of Nicea denies in this message to the Ephesians that the proper Biblical writers were not identified until two hundred years after their death.

 

Adventist have a special insight into the fallacy of the papal pretension. It could be conceived that three hundred years from now academic leaders might be quibbling over whether or not Conflict and Courage was really written by Ellen White, or whether it was written some decades after her death by some one pretending to be her. But it would not follow that we questions about the same today. There is, in the Advenitst church, no significant question as to which items came from Ellen White’s pen.[3]

 

The simple answer to the argument is this: The Bible claims to be its own interpreter. It acknowledges that the early Christian church correctly identified false apostles. We believe the early church did this correctly because the Bible says that it did, and not because the Bible said that it always would. On the contrary, the very commendation of Ephesus for this point stands as evidence that a later age of the church would not be reliable in its decisions. The Bible, and the Bible only, is the source of our doctrine regarding the canon.

 

Nevertheless I have [somewhat] against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.  

 

A few unfaithful members laid the foundation of the great apostasy. It fell to the larger and otherwise faithful members to prepare the ground for the growth of that apostasy. Heartless religion creates a void that must be filled.

 

If the Holy Spirit does not fill it, then forms and rites will supply His place. It was the loss of the early church’s first love that, according to the True Witness of Revelation Two, constituted its fall. Coldness of heart led to faulty religion. While the reverse may be the way that apostasy is perpetuated, this pattern describes the normal mode of apostasies origin.

 

The question “what if” baffles historians. It poses no difficulty for prophets. The message to Ephesus shows that a church may repent from its fall and “do the first works.” That should encourage the lukewarm church of today. And She might profit by the warning extended to the Ephesians. Their status as God’s church, as a candlestick in the sanctuary, might be revoked in the case of impenitence. This loss of God’s favor is threatened almost as a destiny. It would happen “except thou repent.”

 

An idea of the meaning of love could be extracted from the counsel to the church that had lost it. What were they to do to make that wrong right? “The first works.” Love as a statement of affection is often unaccompanied by “acts that prove it true.” The counsel of John, the writer of the Revelation, is to “love not in word, but in deed and in truth.”

 

The completeness of Christian character is attained when the impulse to help and bless others springs constantly from within. It is the atmosphere of this love surrounding the soul of the believer that makes him a savor of life unto life and enables God to bless his work. Supreme love for God and unselfish love for one another –this is the best gift that our heavenly Father can bestow. This love is not an impulse, but a divine principle, a permanent power. The unconsecrated heart cannot originate or produce it. Only in the heart where Jesus reigns is it found. {AA 551}

 

While a lack of heaven’s love was the great fault of Ephesus, the hate of the church for sin brought a praise. There is a place for hating deeds of certain men. God hates their deeds as well.

 

But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate. 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 tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. 

 

The Nicolaitanes were an antinomian sect in the early church. Their views, like those of any group, can not be well summed up in a word. But this generalization characterizes them enough to understand the meaning of the phrase “deeds of the Nicolaitanes.”

 

Paul wrote that “I would not have known sin if the law had not said ‘thou shalt not covet.” Those who do not recognize law will naturally commit unlawful deeds. That God hates unlawful deeds is clear enough from the testimony of Enoch: “”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.”

 

The early church had Nicolaitanes in their neighborhood, but they hated unlawful deeds. It remained for a later age to turn against the law of God.

 

Those in the early church that would overcome the loss of their first love were promised access to the tree of life. In this promise one may see an allusion to the glowing deception of natural immortality. God, by offering access to the tree of life, would lead the early church to recall that only those that eat from that tree will “live forever.” Gen. 3:22. The next message, so the Smyrnan church, reminds the church again that immortality does not belong naturally to the race. There the promise is:

 

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.

 

Smyrna – Revelation 2:8 to 11

 

The shortest of the messages to the churches was written to the brethren of the second age. Smyrna is not faulted. She was, in general, a pure church. Jesus introduces himself to the saints of that age as one that has faced the foe of death, has succumbed to a mortal wound, and has risen again.

 

And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive. I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich)

 

In works and tribulation, the persecuted church differed from the first church in magnitude. They are noted for their poverty. This brought a more severe judgement at the hand of an informed Roman court. Evils that would lead to the banishment of the rich led their poor neighbors to the scaffold. In the business of being rich “towards God” this church stands in double contrast to the church of the last age. Laodicea is rich in ways that do not matter, put poor in the matters of faith and love. Smyrna was poor in ways that matter to men only, and rich in the virtues that are of great price.

 

and [I know] the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but [are] the synagogue of Satan. 

 

Those looking for the Antichrist power of Bible prophecy have at times pointed their fingers at Islam. Even a few scholars within Adventism have done the same. But the True Witness communicated this startling truth to Smyrna: The church of Satan pretends to be Jewish. We are in the book of Revelation where symbols abound. The Jew of Revelation is that Israelite “indeed” as was Nathaniel under the fig tree. He is that man that has “circumcision of the heart, whose praise is not of men but of God.” He is a member of that group of faithful men of whom it can be truly said “and so all Israel shall be saved.” With his house of Israel the New Covenant has been made.

 

In simple terms, the church of Satan claims to be Christian. And that claim is blasphemy.

 

Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast [some] of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. 

 

When we read that it is the Devil that casts some into prison, we read also that God allowed it for a purpose – “That ye may be tried.” This is the sense of a similar passage in Daniel that foretold a period of persecution. (See Daniel 11:33,35). The question of the trial was, “will you be faithful unto death.” Faithfulness is everywhere the Christian’s condition of salvation in the Bible.

 

Our trials are metered. So speaks Paul when he assures us that God will not allow “us to be tempted above what we are able, but will with the temptation make a way of escape that we may be able to bear it.” For the fourth century church the period of intense persecution was cut short by the terminal illness of the man that was behind it. While on his death bed he thought that perhaps the God of the Christians was punishing him for the ongoing persecution. He ordered an end to the persecution in his half of the empire. Two years later Constantine came to power and brought an end to it in the other half.

 

The ten years (under the figure of days) spanned from 303 to 313. This period, prophesied some 220 years before it came to be, stands as a monument to God’s foreknowledge. The years of persecution were followed by a remarkably different experience for the church. The Pergamos period was characterized by peace without and war within the confines of the church where once an inner peace and unity had braved foes without.

 

 

HANDOUT TWO

EARLY CHRISTIAN CHURCH

 

 

Pergamos – Revelation 2:12-17

 

And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; I know thy works and where thou dwellest, [even] where Satan’s seat [is]:

 

Jesus presents Himself in the character of one causing division to the church era inaugurated by Constantine. He came “not to send peace” to that body of professed followers who were themselves largely dwelling in the heartland of Satan’s kingdom.[4]

 

Remember that it was “Satan” that persecuted the church in Smyrna. The Roman emporers, from their seats of authority in Rome, ordered the inauguration and the cessation of the ten-year massacre. From these facts we can easily deduce “where Satan’s seat is.” In the areas near and around Rome we would look to find God’s true people during the fourth and fifth centuries.

 

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.

 

Antipas was a faithful martyr. One might infer here, as from I Corinthians 13, that unfaithful martyrs have bled in vain. Who was this Antipas? The compound word can be broken down into its parts—“anti” and “pas”. The latter is plural for pa, or father. The former means, as elsewhere, against.

 

Persecution after the time of Constantine targeted men that opposed the apostate church’s hierarchy. Where did this persecution rage? In the land where the hierarchy wielded the greatest power. In fulfillment of this prophecy noble reformers were martyred for their work in Italy. Bold above others, these included Arnold of Brescia who preached in Rome itself before sealing his testimony with blood.

 

The body of Christians that dwelled in Milan, Italy, maintained their independence for centuries before being overwhelmed. The faithful among them that survived retreated to the Italian Alps. Living among the valleys there they came to be known as vaudois, or Waldensians.

 

This prophecy of Pergamos identifies the Alpine churches as the church of Christ, the successor to the faithful Smyrnan church. Their very existence as an apostolic body silences the Roman argument that the Papal church alone can trace its history to the time of Peter, James, and John.

 

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.

 

The fourth century church suffered from doctrinal division. The effect of this division, over the course of two centuries, was a change in the church’s relation to the false doctrines. The false teacher were permitted to abide in Pergamos (v. 14) and permitted to teach in Thyatira (v. 20). See notes on Thyatira for the meaning of the remainder of the verse.

 

So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.

 

The downward doctrinal progression appears also in a comparison of Ephesus to Pergamos. The first church hated the deeds of the Nicolaitanes. The third permitted them to teach. God, on the contrary did not change. He hated “the deeds” of the Nicolaitanes (v. 6) and their doctrines (v. 15).

 

The comparison of the verses yields a conclusion that the Nicolaitanes wicked, or lawless, deeds were, at the least, consistent with their teachings. Already in the fourth century teachers were arising to positions of trust in the diocese of Milan that challenged the validity of God’s law. Ambrose, faithful in many other ways, was among those that seemed to have lost a sense of the immutability of the Ten Commandments. He is credited with having said “when in Rome, do as the Romans” in reference to the observance of the first day of the week (a Roman practice) in place of the seventh (the habit of Milan).

 

Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

 

Mark the word “them.” While false teachers had invaded the church, they were not identified with the church by Jesus. While the church was responsible to repent for having allowed them to teach, they were addressed as outside of the fold, as a “them” rather than a “you.” Paul makes this clear enough. “Mark those that cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you have learned…for they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus.” Romans 16:17-18.

 

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

 

Jesus identified his teachings as the living bread that comes down from heaven. Those that resisted the corruptions of their times would be blessed with spiritual insights into the meanings of the word of God, even into portions that were “hidden.” We find, in fulfillment of this promise, that the Waldensians were granted insights into that book that was to remain sealed for centuries more…the book of Daniel.

 

and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it

 

Such a name Jesus has (see Revelation 19:12). Names unknown to others must serve a purpose other than that of identification. They signify character. Where else in the Bible do we find a character written in stone? The Ten Commandments were just such a “name” as God offers to the overcomers in Pergamos. He will write his law in their hearts.

 

The promise to overcomers is nothing more or less than the New Covenant made with Israel. And who is this Israel that receives the New Covenant promise in Hebrews 8 and 10? The name Israel means “overcomer.” The Covenant is with those that win through Jesus.

 

Thyatira – Revelation 2:18-29

 

And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass; 

 

The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD’S throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men. Ps. 11:4.

 

As the history of the church approached its lowest ebb, God warned the wicked and comforted the faithful with the assurance that He stood as witness. Justice would be meted out. Martyred men are represented in chapter six as claiming the promise in the eyes of fire. “How long, O Lord, Holy True, does thou not judge and avenge our blood?”

 

I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.

 

As the Waldensian[5] movement grew in grace and in knowledge, their missionary zeal corresponded to their understanding. From the next verse (v. 20) we can date Thyatira from the sixth century. By the ninth century the church at the base of the Alps had been so far corrupted by her false teachers that the larger portion of her adherents submitted to the papal chair.

 

The minority, mentioned in Pergamos, retreated to the Alps. Rendered free from much of the corrupting element by the separation, the Waldensians were inspired with new life and began a zealous international missionary activity. The word “works” are mentioned twice, at the first and at the last, as an indication that God noticed the revival.

 

Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.

 

Note the comparison:

 

Pergamos                                             Thyatira

“hast there them”                                                                “sufferest to teach”

that hold the doctrine of Balaam                     servants are seduced by Jezebel’s teaching

(Balaam was a prophet)                                    (Jezebel calls herself a prophetess)

Balaam taught Israel (from the outside)        Jezebel taught Israel (from the inside)

To eat food offered to idols                              To eat food offered to idols

To commit fornication                                       To commit fornication

 

The church did not go through a significant doctrinal change from Pergamos to Thyatira. In 538, when the state was placed under the power of the church by the victories of Justinian’s armies, the Roman power mounted the throne. This is the difference between Balaam and Jezebel. The former seduced the faithful from a retreat outside the camp.

 

God spoke in justice and fought against Balaam with the sword. He died at the hand of an avenging army. Joshua 13:22.

 

Jezebel, on the other hand, had married the king. For more on how her reign paralleled the 1260 days of papal supremacy, see the article “1260, 1290, and 1335.” Her authority carried civil power. And she claimed for her teachings that divine infallible authority, the kind possessed by prophets.

 

And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

 

For a church that has dished out anathema’s almost innumerable, God’s threat carried a penalty related to the crime. “Her children” are manifestly “the churches” that have adopted her theories regarding religious coercion. They are part of the seed of the serpent, the synagogue of Satan, and they will be crushed in accord with the promise of Genesis 3.

 

Spiritual fornication, as evidenced from the life of Jezebel and various Old Testament prophecies, is the marriage of the church to the civil power. It is committed “with the kings of the earth” and the union brings forth illegitimate children. For more on this, see the Bible Study “Laws of Heredity.”

 

Neither Balaam nor Jezebel are presented as practicing the most open forms of idolatry. They taught the church to “eat food offered to idols.” New Testament treatment of this practice was condemned in Acts 15 by a vote of the world church. But Paul explained in I Corinthians 8 that idols are not really anything. Food offered to them is just food. If it is eaten unawares, it is as good as other food.

 

Why then was it condemned? Gray areas in doctrine and practice tend to corrupt the church. God bade the church stay away from them. Revelation 2 reveals that ignoring this counsel brought idolatry into the church.

 

In other words, idolatry entered in forms that seemed harmless. From meeting to pray at the graves of martyrs to honoring their memory with flowers, venerating the saints grew into a church tradition. Even today the church members of the Roman faith are not taught, not to worship idols, but to honor relics.

 

In Revelation 2 God reveals that he will punish all approaches to idolatry, however gray and unrebukable they may seem to Jezebel.

 

But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.

 

Not all the church of the plain adopted the innovations of the false teachers. God required nothing more of the faithful than that they keep the truth that had been delivered to them.

 

And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto 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.

 

Jesus here points to other saints than those appearing in the Catholic calendar.

 

“Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a twoedged sword in their hand; To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; To execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the LORD.” Ps. 149:6-9. For more on this passage, see the study “Church Fellowship.”

 

And I will give him the morning star.

 

On a personal level, the individual overcomers were offered a special experience with Jesus, Peter’s “day star” that would arise in Christian’s hearts. Historically, the Waldensian missionaries were cheered with the news that Wycliffe, Huss, Jerome, and the Moravians after them, were fighting the powers of darkness. The first of these, Wycliffe, has often been labeled “the Morning Star” of the Reformation.

 

His work preceded by two centuries that of the more famous reformers. The “morning star” refers, in popular astronomy, to the planet that reflects brightly the light of the son in those early morning hours when other stars are fading and the sun has not yet appeared.

 

Concluding Note:

 

These pages are nothing akin to an exhaustive study of Revelation 2. On the contrary, they focus uniquely on those points of historical application required for the class Early Christian Church.

For the Word Doc, click here: Rev_2_-_Ephesus_to_Thyatira


[1] it belongs to another class, Revelation, to give evidence for what this paper assumes, namely that the four churches in Revelation 2 cover a period of history spanning from the first Christians to the eve of the Reformation.

[2] The last verses in Revelation one explain that the candlesticks represent the churches.

[3] There is, on the other hand, debate as to the source of her material…whether it came from Inspiration, or was borrowed, etc. There is not nearly as much excuse for these questions as surface students would believe. I include in the term “surface student” a number of respected professors that have treated this subject with so little caution as to have been easily tricked by an enemy with a vested interest in undermining the Testimonies.

[4] God had promised at the very outset of the Great Controversy to place enmity between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. God’s people were placed on the offensive in the conflict. We find Abraham called to leave the area of Shem’s descendants to resettle among the cursed children of Ham and Canaan. In like manner God called his faithful witnesses in early Christendom to plant their banner, not in some distant field far from the See of Rome, but under the nose of that power.

[5] I here use the name given later for the body that existed before. At this time, the sixth century, the Waldensians were not yet in the Alps, were not called Vaudois, and do not show up in history as a separate body except in their refusal to submit to the pope at Rome.

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