“A Great Storm Approaches” Part 10

The Image of the Beast to receive life

The following was taken from The Herald of Christ Kingdom, Feb 1920 “The Revelation of Christ
Jesus
”, Pages 42-45

Regarding the significance of this movement of the Protestant denominations, as bearing on a partial
fulfillment of this vision of the "
Image of the Beast," and its effects at the time and since upon
intelligent, enlightened Christians, the following words of Pastor Russell are very instructive:

"
Thus, A. D. 1846, the end of the *2300 days [years, Dan 8:13, 14], found an unorganized
nucleus of Christians
, who not only agreed with the 'Disciples,' regarding simplicity of church
government, the discarding of all creeds but the Bible, and the abolition of all titles by its ministers, but
with the 'Baptists' relative to the outward form of baptism, and with, Luther in regarding the Papal system
as the Man of Sin, and the degenerate church the mother of harlots and abominations. These, standing
aloof from any compromise or affinity with the world, taught vital piety, simple trust in the omnipotent
God, and faith in His unchangeable decrees; and, in addition, while recognizing Christ as Lord of all, and
now partakers of the Divine nature, they were guarded against the unscriptural as well as unreasonable
theory that Jehovah is His own Son and our Lord Jesus is His own Father (
the false doctrine of the
Trinity
); and they began to see that eternal life and immortality are not present possessions, but are to
be expected only as gifts of God through Christ in the resurrection.

*From the going forth of the command to restore Jerusalem in 454 B.C. to 1846 A.D. when the
sanctuary was to be cleansed, 2300 years elapsed
.

"
And, as though God would arrange that thereafter there should always be a class representing
His Sanctuary cleansed, kept separate from the various sects, this very year 1846 witnessed the
organization of Protestant sects into one great system, called
The Evangelical Alliance. This
organization, mindful of the new views (of the cleansed Sanctuary) clearly defined its faith in human
immortality, adding it as the ninth article of its creed. Thus it separated, and has since kept separate from
other Christians, a company of God's children-the Lord's cleansed Sanctuary--a sanctuary of truth. And
to this cleansed Sanctuary class other meek and faithful children of God have been added daily ever since;
while from it have been eliminated such as lose the spirit of meekness and love of the truth. To maintain
their standing as the cleansed Sanctuary, against organized opposition and great numbers, becomes a
severe test of courage and faith, which only a few seem able to endure: the majority follow the course of
their predecessors, and endeavor to make themselves respectable in the eyes of the World." --
Studies,
Vol. III, 119, 120
.

We will now consider the special characteristics described in the symbols of this vision of the
"
Image of the Beast," for it is only by an understanding of their meaning that we will be able to
discover what has been fulfilled, and to discern those things that await fulfillment
.

One of the most significant things mentioned is that when this "Image" is fully developed it will
"
both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast [bow down
to its decrees] should be killed
." The meaning of this is that it will assume and exercise authority in
both civil and religious matters. This will require a union of church and state. The assumption and exercise
of such authority would mark it as having symbolical "
Beast" qualities. This, we have noted in a previous
exposition, was a power usurped and exercised by Papacy in the "
dark ages," and still claimed by it.
Therefore, to be an image or likeness of Papacy would require on the part of organized
Protestantism, co-operation in some very marked way with the civil governments in a similar -
exercise of power
. The being clothed with such power is described in the symbol as that of giving breath
(
life) to the Image.

OBSERVATIONS BY PASTOR RUSSELL

Concerning how this "life" is to come and its likeness to Papacy's once exercise of power, Pastor Russell's
words written in 1910 will be more than interesting at this time. The words referred to are a comment on
an incident that took place at that time at a clerical conference of ministers of different denominations in
New York, presided over by the Protestant Episcopal Bishop, David Green All the speakers were
advocating and pledging themselves to work for a union of Protestant churches. We quote the account of
the incident referred to: "Speaking for Presbyterians, the Rev. Dr. George Alexander, moderator of the
New York Presbytery, declared they stand ready to meet Episcopalians half way. Bishop Greer had
mentioned the moderator by name, saying he wished he might have the privilege of laying on of hands
upon such a leader as he. Replying, the veteran Presbyterian leader said he would not seriously object."

The comment by Pastor Russell is as follows:

"Here we have exactly what we have been looking and waiting for since 1881, when we announced the
Federation of the Protestant Churches to be set forth in the Bible as one of the prominent features of the
harvest of this Gospel Age. We then pointed out that the attempt to organize Protestantism, first made in
1846 through the Evangelical Alliance, would reach consummation soon.' We pointed to the Scriptures
which indicate that this Protestant Federation will so considerably resemble the Roman Catholic Institutions
as to properly deserve to be called its -'
Image,' and that the 'Image' already existed in a disorganized
condition, as represented in the terms of Protestant orthodoxy and their co-operation with Catholicism.
We pointed out that the important matter waited on and necessary to the power and activity of
the Protestant
'Image' is the 'life' which it is to receive from the Protestant Episcopal System."--
Z. '10-308.

Speaking of the time when this Apostolic (?) succession will be conferred, he further remarks:

"Then, they think, we will present to the world a large system and a bold front and command their
attention to the voice of the Church and the Voice of God coming down through the
'apostolic
succession'
--just as the Catholics do--a mild 'Image' of Catholicism, but full of its power and vigor. . .
To us the Scriptures indicate that the prosperity of the Federated Protestant '
Image' will for a, little time
be so great, so pronounced, and its arrogance become so great that the sympathy of the masses will be
entirely alienated and turned into bitterness. Hence the Scriptures show us that the climax will come
suddenly, unexpectedly, '
In one hour.'--Rev 13:15-17."--Rev 18:10. Z '10-309.

Since these words were written in the light of history unveiling prophecy, the correctness of this writer's
interpretation of this vision is becoming more and more confirmed. Concerning developments in the social
and political world that seemed to Pastor Russell would hasten rapidly the vitalizing of the "
Image," his
words written at an earlier date than this (1910) are now under present conditions very significant and
more -confirmatory of the correctness of the interpretation.

We quote these words:

"
Meantime Socialism (which, although not so intended by its best and ablest leaders, is incipient
anarchy, because even its best propositions would prove unworkable under present selfish
conditions)
will be making strong headway throughout Christendom, and will be causing more
and more perplexity to the great, the rich, the mighty, the wise, the influential, according to the
course of this world
. The quickened 'Image' will be closely related to the chief captains of
industry, finance and politics, and the dread of Socialism and irreligion and anarchy will draw
them more and more closely together and make each the more energetic in support of the other
.

"
As a result of these conditions we may expect an increasing disregard of the rights and
constitutional prerogatives of all who are not directly active supporters of the powers that be,
political, financial and religious.
The freedom of speech and freedom to 'circulate literature will
be greatly abridged, under the plea that such abridgment is necessary for the public welfare,
which in some respects will be the truth
. Anything not fully in line with the rulers of that time will be
reckoned as in opposition; and notwithstanding our disposition for peace, and our good will toward all
men of all classes and stations, the Watch Tower publications [those of Pastor Russell] will probably come
under the ban with those of Socialism -- though their teachings be as opposite as the poles. The period
following will seemingly be the time when the door will be closing-and opportunities for service will be-
increasingly diminish, though opportunities for suffering for the Truth's sake may increase."--
Z. '04-198,
199
.

The effects of this giving of life to the Image of the Papacy, is the "
causing of all who will not worship
[bow down to it] to be killed
." While this feature was fulfilled in both a literal and symbolical sense by
Papacy (i. e., Papacy did both literally and symbolically kill), yet we would expect the symbolical feature 'to
be the one more particularly described in the "
Image." -Regarding this we quote again the above author:

"Doubtless, some of the first enactments will be against anarchy, social evils, immoralities, etc., and be
very gratifying to all lovers of peace and order. Subsequently, however, we may be sure that this power
will be exercised against Socialists, as being of a class calculated to disturb the public peace and to
unsettle the present order of things. Still further along,
all who are dissenters from the Church
confederation will come under the ban and under the pressure, with a realization that liberty of
thought on religious subjects has much to do with all liberty, and with the thought that the
repression of liberty must mean the suppression of all religious teaching along independent
lines, or, as we say, Scriptural lines…
,

"So far as we are concerned these restrictions and suppressions must not move us to an- abandonment
in any degree of the wisdom that cometh from above, which is first pure, then peaceable, easy of
entreatment and full of mercy, and good fruits."--
Z. '05-100.

We will continue once again with our next post.


                                              
PREVIOUS PAGE  INDEX  NEXT PAGE