When Dreams Become Doctrine

When dreams become doctrine

Most Protestants have never heard of “Aerial Toll Houses.” The idea of Aerial Toll Houses are built upon some personal revelations of Eastern Orthodox saints, Tradition and a verse or two from scripture. Father Thomas Hopko stated on an episode of The Illumined Heart that virtually every church Father held some form of this doctrine. According to Eastern Orthodox Tradition the soul, when it leaves the body, must go through a series of “Aerial Toll Houses” which are essentially check points and the last chance demons have to encourage you to sin. Eastern Orthodoxy believes these check points are spiritual, not literal, and will affect how one receives Particular Judgement. It is believed that a departed soul awaits The Last and Final Judgement of Christ in a conscious blessed or tormented state, depending on your deeds and moral behaviour. Justification is always a future event for the Orthodox. When the soul and body separate it is believed, that demons have 20 “last ditch” efforts to rob you to your merit (so to speak) after physical death. The most detailed vision of Aerial Toll Houses was given to Gregory of Thrace in the 10th century which include:

  • At the first aerial toll-house, the soul is questioned about sins of the tongue, such as empty words, dirty talk, insults, ridicule, singing worldly songs, too much or loud laughter, and similar sins.
  • The second is the toll-house of lies, which includes not only ordinary lies, but also the breaking of oaths, the violation of vows given to God, taking God’s name in vain, hiding sins during confession, and similar acts.
  • The third is the toll-house of slander. It includes judging, humiliating, embarrassing, mocking, and laughing at people, and similar transgressions.
  • The fourth is the toll-house of gluttony, which includes overeating, drunkenness, eating between meals, eating without prayer, not holding fasts, choosing tasty over plain food, eating when not hungry, and the like.
  • The fifth is the toll-house of laziness, where the soul is held accountable for every day and hour spent in laziness, for neglecting to serve God and pray, for missing Church services, and also for not earning money through hard, honest labor, for not working as much as you are paid, and all similar sins.
  • The sixth toll-house is the toll-house of theft, which includes stealing and robbery, whether small, big, light, violent, public, or hidden.
  • The seventh is the toll-house of covetousness, including love of riches and goods, failure to give to charity, and similar acts.
  • The eight is the toll-house of usury, loan-sharking, overpricing, and similar sins.
  • The ninth is the toll-house of injustice- being unjust, especially in judicial affairs, accepting or giving bribes, dishonest trading and business, using false measures, and similar sins.
  • The tenth is the toll-house of envy.
  • The eleventh is the toll-house of pride- vanity, self-will, boasting, not honoring parents and civil authorities, insubordination, disobedience, and similar sins.
  • The twelve is the toll-house of anger and rage.
  • The thirteenth is the toll-house of remembering evil- hatred, holding a grudge, and revenge.
  • The fourteenth is the toll-house of murder- not just plain murder, but also wounding, maiming, hitting, pushing, and generally injuring people.
  • The fifteenth is the toll-house of magic- divination, conjuring demons, making poison, all superstitions, and associated acts.
  • The sixteenth is the toll-house of lust- fornication, unclean thoughts, lustful looks, unchaste touches.
  • The seventeenth is the toll-house of adultery.
  • The eighteenth is the toll-house of sodomy: bestiality, homosexuality, incest, masturbation, and all other unnatural sins.
  • The nineteenth is the toll-house of heresy: rejecting any part of Orthodox faith, wrongly interpreting it, apostasy, blasphemy, and all similar sins.
  • The last, twentieth toll-house is the toll-house of unmercifulness: failing to show mercy and charity to people, and being cruel in any way. (source Wikipedia)

To better understand the Eastern Orthodox position I have read two titles, one that should be foundational for anyone interested in understanding Orthodoxy, the second deals with the subject of Aerial Toll Houses specifically. They are, Orthodox Dogmatic Theology by Michael Pomazansky and The Soul After Death by Seraphim Rose (often considered a Saint). I’ve read through both titles making plenty of notes along the way but for the sake of this blog post I’ll keep it short and simple.

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Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky on the subject of toll-houses from Orthodox Dogmatics:

“Due to the availability of the Lives of Saints, the account of the toll-houses by the righteous Theodora, depicted by her in detail by Saint Basil the New in his dream, has become especially well known. Dreams in general express the state of soul of a given man, and in special cases are also authentic visions of the souls of the departed in their earthly form. The account of Theodora has characteristics both of one and the other. The idea that good spirits, our guardian angels, as well as the spirits of evil under heaven participate in the fate of man (after death) finds confirmation in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. Lazarus immediately after death was brought by angels to the bosom of Abraham. In another parable the unrighteous man heard these words: “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee” (Luke 12:20); evidently, the ones who “require” are none else than the same “spirits of wickedness under the heavens.”

In accordance with simple logic and as also confirmed by the Word of God the soul immediately after its separation from the body enters into a sphere where its further fate is defined. “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement,” we read in the Apostle Paul (Heb. 9:27). This is the Particular Judgement, which is independent of the universal Last Judgement. [end quote]

We see an argument being made from selected traditions, upon a dream and poor eisegesis and use the above example as a typical misuse of the Bible. Let me point out the portion from Hebrews where we read of the result of Christ’s atonement:

“For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.”

The offering Christ made on behave of His people always results in the perfection and sanctification of them. In contrast to the Eastern Orthodox teaching scripture states we are sanctified by Christ alone through faith.

“…with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)”

For a more detailed response A. W. Pink’s Exposition on Hebrews is to be recommended. Using the text of Hebrews Pink demonstrates the fallacious use of Hebrews 9.27 for the shameless proof-texting it is. 

First, that the “offering” (verse 25) and “suffering” (verse 26) of Christ are inseparable. It was in and by His suffering that the Lord Jesus offered Himself unto God, and that because He was Himself both the Priest and the Sacrifice. Aaron “offered” repeatedly, yet he never once “suffered,” for he was not the sacrifice itself. It was the bullock which was slain, that suffered. But Christ being both Priest and Sacrifice could not “offer” without “suffering,” and herein does the force of the argument principally consist. The very especial nature of Christ’s offering or sacrifice, which was by the shedding of His blood in death, precluded a repetition thereof.

Second, the apostle’s argument here is also built on the fact that there was a necessity for the expiation of the sin of all that were to be saved from the foundation of the world. Sin entered the world immediately after it was founded, by the apostasy of our first parents. Notwithstanding, numbers of sinners, as Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham and the spiritual remnant in Israel had their sins pardoned and were eternally saved; yet no sacrifice which they offered could remit moral guilt or redeem their souls. No; their salvation was also effected by virtue of the sacrifice of Christ. Hence it follows unavoidably that unless the merits of His own one offering extended unto the taking away of all their sins, then either He must have suffered often, or they perish. Contrariwise, seeing that elect sinners were saved through Christ “from the foundation of the world,” much more will the virtues of the Great Sacrifice extend unto the end of the world.

“But now,” not at the beginning of human history; “once,” that is, once for all, never to be repeated; “in the end of the world,” or in “the fullness of time” (Gal. 4:4). This expression “end of the world” or more literally, “consummation of the ages” is here used antithetically from “since the foundation of the world” which usually has reference to the first entrance of sin into the world. and God’s dispensation of grace in Christ thereon; as “before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4, etc.) expresses eternity and God’s counsels therein. The Divine distinctions of time with respect to God’s grace toward His Church, may be referred to three general heads: that before the law, during the law, and since the incarnation of Christ unto the end of the world. This last season, absolutely considered, is called the “fullness of times” (Eph. 1:10), when all that God had designed in the dispensation of His grace was come to a head, and wherein no alteration should be made till the earth was no more.

“Hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” He “appeared” here on earth (the Greek word is quite different from the one used in verse 24): of old He had been obscurely shadowed forth in types, but now He was “manifest in flesh” (1 Tim. 3:10). The end or purpose of this appearing of Christ was to “put away sin”—the Greek word is a very strong one, and is rendered “disannuling” in Hebrews 7:18. Let it be carefully noted that this declaration is made only as it respects the Church of Christ. He made a complete atonement for all the sin of all His people, receiving its wages, expiating its guilt, destroying its dominion. The results are that, when God applies to the penitent believer the virtues of Christ’s sacrifice, all condemnation is removed (Rom. 8:1), and its reigning power is destroyed (Rom. 6:14).

“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement: so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (verses 27, 28). In these verses the apostle concludes his exposition of the causes, nature, designs and efficacy of the sacrifice of Christ, wherewith the new covenant was dedicated and confirmed. In them a three-fold confirmation is made of the uniqueness and sufficiency of the Savior’s atonement. First a comparison is drawn: pointed by the “as” and “so”. Second a declaration is made as to why Christ died: it was to “bear the sins of many.” Third, the resultant consequence of this is stated at the end of verse 28. [end quote]

In “The Soul After Death” Seraphim Rose relies on similar argumentation for Aerial Toll Houses. A few quick points:

  1. Rose explains the “out of body” or after death occult experiences and, using descriptions of the accounts, explains how they are similar to Eastern Orthodox teaching. He struggles to create differences between the two beliefs but they are very similar.
  2. Rose (and Pomazansky) rarely quote scripture and when they do it’s out of context.
  3. Eastern Orthodox experiences of Toll Houses are accepted without criticism. The occult experiences are outright denied even when strikingly similar. One troubling detail, the Orthodox are surrounded and attacked by demons, while the non Orthodox are usually at peace and rest.
  4. Rose accepts the teaching on Toll Houses without attempting to provide argumentation for it. It’s accepted without pause.
  5. The emphasis throughout both works is the sinner and the sinners ability to perform works and to live morally, almost as if training to outrun their attacks after death, thus escaping the snares of demons.
  6. St. Mary, Guardian Angels and Saints are viewed as guiding and guarding the soul after death with the prayers of the faithful living relieving the suffering of departed souls. These are the means by which God is said to save a soul, through St. Mary, Angels and the intercession of Saints, what is often lacking is an emphasis on Christ alone to save. There is an edifice built around Christ that obscures Him.
  7. Christ is mentioned in the “out of body” occult experiences more often than in Rose’s account of the Eastern Orthodox description. That is the impression.
  8. The final court of appeal for both Rose and Pomazansky are the subjective experiences recorded in Eastern Orthodox tradition.

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In chapter 10, Rose uses the letters of John of Shanghai and San Francisco (St. John Maximovitch) as an authority to provide more details of this teaching.

According to John of Shanghai and San Francisco the soul is hindered by the body and becomes more active after death. This struck me as a Gnostic holdover. It is admitted that all cultures have after death or “out of body” experiences and again, the Eastern Orthodox teaching is not examined but stated and believed without criticism. In the letters we read that a soul has two days to linger on earth, visiting places that were special to the individual when alive, but on the 3rd day the soul moves into “another spheres” and “passes through legions of evil spirits which obstruct its path and accuse if of various revelations…”

According to The Soul After Death the soul visits heavenly habitations and hell for 37 days, still not knowing where it will end up… On the 40th day the soul will stop in heaven or hell until the Last or Final Judgement. This is considered a taste of blessedness or torment. The Priest may offer a Liturgy (similar to the Roman Catholic Mass) and prayers on behalf of the deceased resulting in a change in the departed soul.

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A word in closing: 

I’m left haunted by this seemly pagan teaching founded on a dream, a nightmare and forced upon the scriptures. It maybe true, that this doctrine of Aerial Toll Houses is not considered universally “orthodox” by the Orthodox, but it is still embraced by millions of Eastern Orthodox believers. It is considered “dogma” by a large portion of the Eastern Church. It’s soul shaking to think that for 1,500 years Christians in the East have believed in such a doctrine, one that utterly lacks confidence in Christ to save, that places such emphasis on fallen sinners to evade demons and find rest for their wicked souls. It’s haunting to think that even after death we have to struggle to prove our faithfulness to Christ before we can enter our eternal rest. There is no rest in Christ for the Orthodox. The idea that demonic powers are seeking to “devour the soul of the spiritually weak,” even after death, robs Christ of His promises to save by faith alone. Simple, heartfelt faith in Christ’s work on the Cross is almost never in view. For the Orthodox the sinner is on a constant hamster wheel of merit and faith, faith and merit never finding rest.

I will end with 1 John 5.11-13 and with an old prayer:

“And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”

Let us prayer:

O God, most high, most glorious, the thought of Your infinite serenity cheers me, for I am toiling and moiling, troubled and distressed, but You are for ever at perfect peace. Your designs cause You no fear or care of unfulfilment, they stand fast as the eternal hills. Your power knows no bond, Your goodness no stint. You bring order out of confusion, and my defeats are Your victories: The Lord God omnipotent reigneth.

I come to You as a sinner with cares and sorrows, to leave every concern entirely to You, every sin calling for Christ’s precious blood; revive deep spirituality in my heart; let me live near to the great Shepherd, hear His voice, know its tones, follow its calls. Keep me from deception by causing me to abide in the truth, from harm by helping me to walk in the power of the Spirit. Give me intenser faith in the eternal verities, burning into me by experience the things I know; Let me never be ashamed of the truth of the gospel, that I may bear its reproach, vindicate it, see Jesus as its essence, know in it the power of the Spirit.

Lord, help me, for I am often lukewarm and chill; unbelief mars my confidence, sin makes me forget You. Let the weeds that grow in my soul be cut at their roots; grant me to know that I truly live only when I live to You, that all else is trifling. Your presence alone can make me holy, devout, strong and happy.

Abide in me, gracious God.

Yours in the Lord,

jm

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Maundy Thursday

“Today is Maundy Thursday…” no it’s not, stop it!

“I love it when you call me big Papa..” – Pope Francis

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“…the acceptable way of worshipping the true God, is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imagination and devices of men, nor the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representations, or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scriptures.”

( Jeremiah 10:7; Mark 12:33; Deuteronomy 12:32; Exodus 20:4-6 )

AGAINST TRANSUBSTANTIATION

FIFTY-FIVE THESES AGAINST TRANSUBSTANTIATION
Rev. Prof. Dr. F.N. Lee

First. Together with Holy Scripture, I assert the real presence of Christ, personally, at His Sacraments and in His Word and through His Spirit. Exactly that assertion of the omnipresence there of the Son of God, impels me to deny His physical presence in and under the sacramental elements, or even in the Bible as His Holy Word. Christ Himself insists against any view of a merely `local presence’ either in Jerusalem or in Samaria: “God is Spirit; and they that worship Him, must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” John 4:20-26.

Second. Long before the incarnation of God the Son, He was indeed really present at the Old Testament preachings of His Word and at the administration of His Sacraments of Circumcision and of the Passover. Moreover, such presence must have been Spirit-ual and could not have been fleshly or physical. For the Son had then not yet become flesh.

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False doctrine, a plague.

Third. John chapter six has nothing to do with the Lord’s Supper, which was instituted only later at the very end of Christ’s earthly ministry. The RC Church and other groups which appeal to that passage to try to establish that Christ is physically present in the bread and the wine at His Supper, err greatly. For John 6:9-13 is not sacramental. Nor is it an account of transubstantiating bread and fishes into Himself, but rather a description of His miraculous multiplication of five loaves and two small fishes into many more untransubstantiated loaves and fishes sufficient to feed about five thousand mature men and perhaps also their womenfolk and their children. John 6:10 cf. Matt. 14:14-21 & Mark 6:36-44 & Luke 9:14-17.

Fourth. From John 6:26 onward, Jesus said to the folk: “Truly I tell you, you seek Me …because you ate of the loaves and were filled.” Then, in 6:32, Jesus implied that He Himself is the bread from heaven. He did not anabaptistically bring His flesh with Him from heaven-but only His Own Person, and indeed in a Spirit-ual way. He took upon Himself flesh for the first time not in or from heaven, but only from and within the womb of Mary as His earthly mother.

Fifth. In 6:33, He says that the bread of heaven is not His earthly flesh but He Who [personally and now incarnately] came down to give life to the world. When in 6:34, the believers said to Him `Lord, give us this bread evermore!’- Jesus did not pick up a piece of earthly bread and turn it into Himself. Instead, in 6:35, He said to them `I am the bread of life’ [and not `I will become the bread of life’]; he who comes to Me [and not `he who comes to a piece of earthly bread that I will turn into Myself] shall never be hue.” Yet the latter indeed does happen, between Masses, to those that from time to time come and receive the RC Mass.

Sixth. In John 6:48f, Jesus added: “I am that bread of life.” He did not say: `Earthly bread will become Me.’ Of Himself He then said: “This is the bread that comes down from heaven [not `that earthly bread will become Me just whenever an earthly priest so alleges’]. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever [not `even if any man eats the Mass on earth, he might still end up in hell’]. And the bread that I will give [not `the bread which an earthly priest may give’], is My flesh which I will give for the life of the world.”

Seventh. In John 6:52-58, “the [unbelieving] Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, `How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”‘ This shows that they had a carnal, cannibalistic, materialistic, and `localized presence’ misunderstanding of what Jesus was saying.

Eighth. In 6:53, “Jesus said to them,`Very truly I tell you, unless you keep on eating the flesh of the Son of man and keep on drinking His blood [not `unless you from time to time keep coming to Mass’], you have no life in yourselves. Whoever keeps on eating My flesh and keeps on drinking My blood, has everlasting life. “‘ That cannot truthfully be asserted of all who are merely regular communicants. “For My [then and there untransubstantiated!] flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who keeps on eating My flesh and keeps on drinking My blood [rather than keeps on having the dark-red wine withheld from him by a creaturely earthly priest], keeps on dwelling in Me [not physically but spiritually!], And I in him [not physically but spiritually!] ….

Ninth. Jesus then insisted: “`He who keeps on feeding on Me [and not `he who from time to time consumes transubstantiated bread and wine’], even he shall keep on living by Me [not `by the Mass’]. This is that bread which came down from heaven [and not `you must physically eat my flesh which came forth from Mary!’] …. He who keeps on eating of this bread [namely the Christ from heaven], shall continue living for ever [and not `might end up in heaven after a reasonable term in purgatory, yet could possibly still end up in hell for ever’]!”

Tenth. In John 6:61f, when even His disciples kept on murmuring about this, Jesus said to them [altogether Proto-Calvinistically and totally untransubstantiatingly]: “It is the Spirit Who keeps on enlivening! The flesh profits not at all! The words which I have spoken (or keep speaking) to you, they are Spirit and they are life! But there are some of you who do not believe” [such as Judas Iscariot whom Rome would have us believe nevertheless physically ate and drank the Divinity and also the very flesh and blood of Christ]. Compare John 6:64-71.

Eleventh. Literalistic transubstantiation would imply Judas was a God-eating cannibalistic infidel who here physically ate God and the flesh and drank the blood of Jesus, Who had as then not yet died. But He would then (against His Own Word in Lev. 26:29 & Dent. 28:53) have had to have given a piece of His flesh and siphoned off some of His blood for Judas’s faithless consumption thereof!

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Twelfth. While insisting on Christ’s Spirit’s presence during preaching (I Cor. 2:1-4. c f. Gal. 3:1) and at water baptism (Acts 1:5 cf. I Cor. 12:13), I deny (even with the RC Church) that Jesus is physically present in or under the baptismal water. Similarly, while insisting on His Holy Spirit’s presence at His Supper, I deny that Jesus is physically present in or under the sacramental bread and wine. Indeed, I particularly deny that either the water or the wine become transubstantiated into His physical blood.

Thirteenth. It is obvious when Christ instituted the Supper and metaphorically or non-physically yet really called the bread His flesh-that His Own flesh had not yet been broken. He was, even after His consecration of the elements, in fact Himself still physically holding in His hand that which the Holy Bible still called bread and wine. Matt.26:26-29 & Mark 14:22-25 & cf. I Cor. 10:17f & 11:23-28.

Fourteenth. I heartily agree that the Ante-Nicene Fathers with their high view of Holy Scripture taught the real presence of our Saviour at His Table. For they believed what Holy Scripture here teaches. The Ante-Nicenes, holding with Holy Scripture to Christ’s Spirit-ual presence, therefore denied His physical presence in the bread and the wine. Indeed, even no Post-Nicene Church Father advocated transubstantiation-until Radbertus in 831, and more particularly Lanfranc in 1049 A.D. Nor was this false theory ever Eastern-Orthodox theory-nor even official RC theory until it became so in 1215 A.D.

Fifteenth. After the completion of the New Testament Scriptures, Clement of Rome (who was later regarded by the RC Church as her fourth pope), wrote around A.D. 99 to his “dear brethren” alias to his fellow Christians in his Letter to the Corinthians (cps. 1 & 40) that “it behooves us to do all things in order, which the Lord has commanded us at stated times. He has enjoined gifts and services to be performed …at the appointed times and hours.” Cf I Cor. 16: If. There is no mention of John 6:32-63; nor even of the Lord’s Supper; and still less of transubstantiation.

Sixteenth. Perhaps around A.D. 100, one reads in The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles (ch.14): “On the Lord’s [Day] gather yourself together and break bread [but not `Physically eat the flesh of Christ’], and give thanks! …. For this is that which was spoken by the Lord: `In every place and time, present to Me a pure offering!’ [Mal. 1:11 ]. Again, there is no mention of John 6:32-63; and still less of transubstantiation.

Seventeenth. Around A.D. 107, Ignatius wrote in his Letter to the Philadelphians (ch. 4): “Take heed then to have but one Eucharist! For there is one flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup to [show forth] the unity of His blood.” The later and longer (Pseudo-)Ignatian version adds: “One loaf also is broken to all.” Once again, there is here no mention of John 6:32-63; and still less of transubstantiation.

Eighteenth. In his Epistle to the Trallians (ch. 8), Ignatius declares: “Be renewed in faith; THAT is the flesh of the Lord – and in love; THAT is the blood of Jesus Chris!” Here again, there is no mention of John 6:32-63; nor of transubstantiation; and still less of any withholding of the cup from the laity.

Nineteenth. Irenaeus pointed out in his Epistle To Smyrna 6:2 to 7:1 that heretics “have no regard for love; no care for the widow or the orphan or the oppressed; of the bond, or of the free; of the hungry, or of the thirsty [cf. Acts 6:1f & I Cor. 11:21A. They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not profess the Eucharist to be the flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ Who suffered for our sins.” Here, there is no mention of John 6:32-63; nor of transubstantiation. Interestingly, in the Longer Version, there is no mention whatsoever even of the Lord’s Supper.

Twentieth. Not in the Ignatian but in the later Pseudo-Ignatian `longer version’ of an Epistle to the Ephesians (ch. 5), one reads: “If any one be not within the altar, he is deprived of the bread of God.” But even then, there is no mention of John 6:32-63 and still less of transubstantiation. Indeed, none of the extant writings of the Apostolic Fathers-those authorities who knew the Apostles personally -even once quote from John chapter six to prove anything at all!Pope Francis celebrates Mass during meeting with Augustinian priests in Rome

Twenty-first. In the A.D. 165 Justin Martyr’s First Apology (ch. 65), Justin says that “bread and a cup of water and wine are brought to the presiding brother. He receives them and presents praise and glory to the Father of all things through the Name of His Son and of the Holy Ghost …. And when he [the one presiding] has concluded the prayers and thanksgivings, all the people express their assent. And when the one presiding has given thanks and all the people have assented, they whom we call deacons give to each of those who are present a portion [not of any transubstantiated flesh or blood but a portion] of the bread and wine mixed with water.”

Twenty-second. Justin adds in ch. 66: “This food is called among us Eucharistia, of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true …and who is so living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common bread and common drink” and still less as bread and wine transubstantiated into blood-yet indeed as uncommon bread and drink! “We have been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His Word and from which our [own] blood and flesh by assimilation [but not by transubstantiation] are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus Who was made flesh …. Jesus commanded them to do as follows: `He took bread [and not at all His flesh nor His blood] and gave thanks and said, “This do in remembrance of Me: this is My body [not `this becomes My body’].””‘

Twenty-third. Notice here that Justin claims that the elements (although not common bread and common drink) are indeed truly “bread” and “drink” and not physical flesh and blood. As even Gelasius Bishop of Rome observed in A.D. 490: “By the Sacraments we are made partakers of the divine nature, and yet the substance and nature of bread and wine do not cease to be in them.”

Twenty-fourth. Justin concludes in ch. 67: “On the day called Sunday, all …gather together to one place, and the Memoirs of the Apostles or the Writings of the Prophets are read …. Then we all rise together and pray …. When our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought” etc. Here again, there is no mention whatsoever of John 6:32-63; nor of transubstantiation.

Twenty-fifth. In Justin’s Dialogue with Trypho the Jew (ch. 41), he says that the Old Testament “offering of fine flour …was prescribed to be presented …as a type of the bread of the Eucharist, the celebration of which our Lord Jesus Christ prescribed in remembrance of the sufferings He endured” precisely “so that we may give thanks to God for having created the world for us” and “for having destroyed completely the principalities and powers by Him Who suffered according to His will …. Of the offerings given to Him in every place by us (the nations)-the offerings, that is of the bread of the Eucharist and likewise of the cup of the Eucharist – of these He foretells (in Mal. 1:11). Here again, there is no mention of John 6:32-63; nor of transubstantiation.

Twenty-sixth. In ch. 70, Justin defends Christians against the false charge of their enemies that God’s people were cannibals and drinkers of human blood. He does so, by saying that Isaiah 33:13-19 alludes “to the bread which our Christ gave us to eat in remembrance of His being made flesh for the sake of His believers.”

Twenty-seventh. In ch. 117, Justin told the Jew Trypho that “God, anticipating all the gifts which we bring through this Name and which Jesus the Christ enjoined us to present, i.e. the bread and the cup in the Eucharist, and which are presented by Christians in all places throughout the world, bears witness that they are well-pleasing to Him.” Here again-there is absolutely no mention of John 6:3263; nor of transubstantiation.

Twenty-eighth. Also the A.D. 180 Theophilus in his Letters to Autolycus (111:4) rebukes the “godless lips [which] falsely accuse us who are worshippers of God and are called Christians …that we eat human flesh.” However, if it had then been their teaching that in the Eucharist the bread and wine cease to exist by getting transubstantiated into human flesh and blood – Theophilus could not here have resented the false accusation of the Pagans that Christians are cannibals, as being “most barbarous and impious” (as he here indeed does).

Twenty-ninth. At that same time, in his Against Heresies IV: 17:5f, Irenaeus wrote that Jesus “took that created thing bread and gave thanks and said `This is My body [not “this becomes My body”]!’ …. It behooves us [Christians] to bring a present to God, and in all things to be found grateful to God our Maker in a pure mind and in faith without hypocrisy-in well-grounded hope, in fervent love-presenting the first-fruits of His Own created things. And the Church alone presents this pure gift to the Creator-presenting it to Him with thanksgiving. But the Judaists do not offer thus. For their hands are full of blood. For they have not received the Word through Whom it is presented to God_ We [Christians] give His own to Him, announcing consistently the fellowship and union of the flesh and Spirit.” Hence we Christians present to the Triune God His Own creatures of bread and wine. And we proclaim the fellowship of the flesh with the spirit, in that the flesh of every believing human being is receptive to the Spirit. Here again in Irenaeus, neither John 6:32-63 nor tansubstantiation are mentioned at all.

Thirtieth. Around A.D. 190, in his Instructor (I:6), Clement of Alexandria repeatedly mentions John six (but not in connection with mature faith nor as regards the Lord’s Supper). Yet in his Instructor, Clement does say that “blood is figuratively termed wine” and that “the Lord’s blood is figuratively represented as milk” and that Christ “washes …His garment in wine [and] His robe in the blood of the grape” (Gen. 49:11). Indeed, in II:2, Clement distinctly says that “to drink the blood of Jesus is to become partaker of the Lord’s immortality” (which no apostate from the eucharist ever did) – “the Spirit being the energetic principle of the Word, as blood is of flesh …. The mixture of both-of the water and of the Word- is called Eucharist, renowned and glorious grace; and they who by faith [and not ex opere operato] partake of it, are sanctified.”

Thirty-first. So too in Clement’s A.D. 194 Stromata (I:1 & 10 and IV:26): “The Saviour, taking the bread, first spoke and blessed. Then, breaking the bread, He presented it so that we might eat it according to reason, and that knowing the Scriptures we might walk obediently …. Moses says Melchizedek King of Salem, Priest of the Most-High God, who gave bread and wine – furnished consecrated food for a type of the Eucharist.” Here, there is no transubstantiation but only the ProtoProtestant doctrine of the real Spirit-ual presence of God at the Lord’s Supper to the eye of faith.

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Thirty-second. In his A.D. 207 Against Marcion III:19-22, Tertullian wrote that “God …called His body bread” and that “He has given to His body the figure of bread, Whose body the Prophet of old [Jer. 11:19] figuratively turned into bread …. With this agrees also the prophecy of Malachi [ 1:11 ]: `I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord [to the Judeans]; neither will I accept your presents. For from the rising of the sun [in the East] even unto the going down of the same [in the West] -My Name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place a gift shall be presented to My Name, a pure presentation’ -such as the ascription of glory and blessings and praises and hymns.” No mention here of the Lord’s Supper, and still less of the Mass!

Thirty-third. Also again in his Against Marcion IV:40, Tertullian insists: “The Law prefigures His passion …. Moses had declared that there was a sacred mystery: `It is the Lord’s Passover’ [Lev. 23:5]…. When He [viz. Jesus Christ] so earnestly expressed His desire to eat the Passover, He considered it His Own Feast …. Having taken the bread and given it to His disciples, He made it His own body by saying, `This is My body’ [and not `this now becomes My body’] that is, the figureof My body. Yet there could not have been a figure, unless there were first a veritable body.”

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Thirty-fourth. Tertullian continues: “In order however that you may discover how anciently wine is used as a figure for blood, turn to Isaiah [63:1] who asks, `Who is this that comes from Edom, from Bosra, with garments dyed in red, so glorious in His apparel, in the greatness of His might? Why are Your garments red, and Your raiment like his who comes from the treading of the full wine-press? … He represents the bleeding condition of His flesh under the metaphor of garments dyed in red-as if reddened in the treading and crushing process of the winepress from which the labourers descend reddened with the wine-juice like men stained in blood.”

Thirty-fifth. “Much more clearly still, does the book of Genesis [49:11] foretell this, when (in the blessing of Judah out of whose tribe Jesus Christ was to come according to the flesh), it even then delineated Christ in the person of that patriarch, saying: `He washed His garments in wine, and His clothes in the blood of grapes.’ In His garments and clothes, the prophecy pointed out His flesh and His blood in the wine. Thus did He now consecrate His blood in wine- Who then (by the patriarch) used the figure of wine to describe His blood.”

Thirty-sixth. We would also cite Tertullian’s On the Resurrection of the Flesh (ch. 37), where he declares “`The flesh profits nothing’ [John 6:63] …. W e ought therefore to desire Him in order that we may have life, and to devour Him with the ear and to ruminate [or `chew the cud’] on Him with the understanding and to digest Him by faith. Now just before the passage in hand, He had declared His flesh to be `the bread which comes down from heaven’ [John 6:5 I] …. Because He perceived that they were going to be scattered from Him, He says: `The flesh profits nothing.”‘ A stronger argument against the later error of transubstantiation, is hard to imagine!

Thirty-seventh. Only in the A.D. 251f Cyprian do we find the very first beginnings of unbiblical sacramentalism in relation to the Lord’s Supper. This is clear from his statement in his Treatises IV: 18. There he writes: “We ask that this bread should be given to us daily – so that we who are in Christ and daily receive the Eucharist for the food of salvation, may not by the interposition of some heinous sin be prevented …from partaking of the heavenly bread …. He Himself predicts and warns, `I am the bread of life which came down from heaven. If any man eat of My bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread which I will give is My flesh, for the life of the world’ [John 6:58]. When therefore He says that whoever shall eat of His bread shall live for ever, as those who partake of His body and receive the Eucharist by the right of communion are living, so on the other hand we must fear and pray lest any one …being withheld from communion and separated from Christ’s body-should remain at a distance from salvation.”

Thirty-eighth. Nevertheless, in other cases, Cyprian cites from John chapter six with no reference to the Lord’s Supper whatsoever. See for instance his Epistles 72(73):11 and his Treatises II:7 & IV: 14 & XII:I :T:22 & XI:3:T:19.

Thirty-ninth. Yet even in Cyprian, there is still no trace of the mass or of any transubstantiation. Consider, for instance, his Epistle 63:2f (62:2f) to Caecilius, where Cyprian insists: “Nothing must be done by us but what the Lord first did on our behalf, as that the cup which is offered in remembrance of Him should be offered mingled with wine …. We find in Genesis [9:20f] also, in respect of the Sacrament in Noah, this same thing was to them a precursor and figure of the Lord’s passion; that he drank wine …. Noah, setting forth a type of the future truth, did not drink water but wine, and thus expressed the figure of the passion of the Lord.PoperyCardinals

Fortieth. He continues: “Also in the priest Melchizedek we see prefigured the Sacrament of the offering of the Lord-according to what Divine Scripture testifies and says: `And Melchizedek King of Salem brought forth bread and wine ` [Genesis 14:18] …. Our Lord Jesus Christ,” he explains, “offered a sacrifice to God the Father – and offered the very same thing which [the High Priest] Melchizedek had offered, that is, bread and wine – to wit, His body and blood.”

Forty-first. Cyprian goes on: “In the blessing of Judah, also this same thing is signified, where there also is expressed a figure of Christ …. When the blood of the grape is mentioned [Gen. 49:11], what else is set forth than the wine of the cup of the blood of the Lord? … When the water is mingled in the cup with wine, the people is made one with Christ, and the assembly of believers is associated and conjoined with Him on Whom it believes …. In this very Sacrament, our people are show to be made one – so that in like manner as many grains collected and ground and mixed together into one mass make one bread, we may know that there is one body with which our number is joined and united.”

Forty-second. Also in his Epistle 75(69) to Magnus, Cyprian says: “When the Lord calls bread which is combined by the union of many grains, His body-He indicates our people whom He bore as being united. And when He calls the wine which is pressed from many grapes and clusters and collected together, His blood-He also signifies our flock linked together by the mingling of a united multitude.” Clearly, Cyprian is devoid of transubstantiationism.

Forty-third. The A.D. 254 Origen, in his Commentary on Matthew XI: 14, states: “The food which is sanctified by the Word of God and prayer, as respects its material part, goes into the stomach; but as regards prayer which is added to it, according to the proportion of faith, profits. It enlightens the mind which beholds that which is profitable. Nor is it the matter of the bread but the words spoken over it which profit men who do not eat unworthily. And these things I speak of the typical and symbolical body No worthless person is able to eat it. For if it were possible for one who continues worthless to eat of Him Who became flesh, Who was the Word and the living bread – it would not have been written that `every one who eats of this bread shall live for ever’ [John 6:51 ].” This is the very opposite of transubstantiation!

Forty-fourth. Also in Origen’s Commentary on John, and specifically on chapter six thereof, there is no hint of ex opere operato sacramentalism. Nay more, in 1:23 & VI:26 & X:13 (“the Word of God is not flesh and flesh only”), there is not even a hint of it referring to the Lord’s Supper. So too the remaining references to John chapter six in Origen’s Commentary on Matthew (XII:5 & XII:33 & IV: 14).

Forty-fifth. Also in the A.D. Novatian’s Treatise Concerning the Trinity (ch. 14), the whole thrust is against transubstantiation. Asks Novatian: “If Christ is only man-how is it that `even as the Father has life in Himself, so has He given to the Son to have life in Himself [John 5:26] – when man cannot have life in him[self] after the example of God the Father, because he is not glorious in eternity but made with the materials of mortality?If Christ is only man-how does He say: `I am the bread of eternal life which came down from heaven’ [John 6:51], when man can neither be the bread of life (he himself being mortal)? Nor could He [then] have come down from heaven-since no perishable material is established in heaven!”

Forty-sixth. The A.D. 265 Gregory Thaumaturgus in his Twelve Topics 10:E cites John 6:55f only to establish Christ’s Deity and without reference to His Supper. The A.D. 315 Lactantius in his Divine Institutes IV: 15 refers John chapter six – simply to the miraculous but not at all to the Sacrament of the Eucharist. And the A.D. 320 Eusebius in his Evangelical Demonstrations VIII: 1, states that Christ “gave again to His disciples the symbols of the divine economy- and appointed them to eat bread as a symbol of His Own body.”

Forty-seventh. This brings us to Nicaea. (A.D. 325). Suffice it to say that even a century later, also the great Augustine follows his fellow-African theologians the older Tertullian and Cyprian in their non-transubstantiationistic theory of Christ’s real presence at the Lord’s Supper. Thus he says that Judas ate only the bread of the Lord, while the other apostles ate the Lord Who was the bread. Indeed, in his 25`h Treatise on the Sixth Chapter of John, he rhetorically asks: “Why do you prepare the teeth and the belly?” And then he himself answers: “Believe-and you have eaten!” See too his Christian Doctrine III:3f

Forty-eighth. It was only in A.D. 831 that (by Radbertus in his book The Body and Blood of the Lord) one first finds propounded the most novel notion that “the substance of bread and wine is effectually changed (efcaciter interius commutatur) into the flesh and blood of Christ”-so that once the priest has consecrated it there is “nothing else in the eucharist but the flesh and blood of Christ.” Transubstantiation was never accepted in any part of the Church Catholic whether Greek, Roman, or Proto-Protestant (alias Culdee or Waldensian etc.), until the Roman Church proclaimed it dogmatically as an article of her faith at the 4th Lateran Council in 1215.

Forty-ninth. Even since A.D. 831, many Roman Catholics still opposed such transubstantiation. So: Ratramnus, Berengarius, John Scotus Eriguena, Rabanus Maurus, Walafrid Strabo, Christian Druthmar, Florus Magister, Eusebius Bruno (Bishop of Angers), Frollant (Bishop of Senlis), and Elfric. Also, according to the famous RC Cardinal Bellarmine in his De Sacramento Eucharistea (111:5 and 4 dII q.6 art. 1,2 and q. 3 art. 1,2 and I:5) – even the celebrated Cardinal Cameracensus said: “Transubstantiation cannot be proved from Holy Writ …. To this Cardinal Roffensis, Cardinal Cajetan and also Scotus all concur.” Indeed, the RC scholars Gabriel, Nicolus, Cusanus, Tapper, Hessel and others all present the “Protestant” interpretation of John 6:54. See Dr. P.G. Logan’s Ph.D. dissertation The History and Doctrine of Transubstantiation, Sydney, 1994, pp. 84f.

Fiftieth. As Dr. Calvin says in his Commentary on John 6:53f “This sermon [of Christ] does not refer to the Lord’s Supper, but to the continual communication which we have apart from the reception of the Lord’s Supper …. As far as young children are concerned, Christ’s ordinance forbids them to participate in the Lord’s Supper – because they cannot yet try themselves or celebrate the remembrance of the death of Christ …. It is wrong to expound this whole paasage as applying to the Lord’s Supper.”

Fifty-first. In his Institutes of the Christian Religion (IV:18:5), John Calvin argues: “If Christ is sacrificed at each mass, He must cruelly be slain every moment in a thousand places. This is not my argument, but the apostle’s: `Nor yet that He should offer Himself often’; `for then must He often have suffered since the foundation of the world’ (Heb. 9:25f)… Though they [the Roman theologians] insist a hundred times that this sacrifice is bloodless (anaimakton), I will reply that it depends not on the will of man to change the nature of sacrifice. For in that way, the sacred and inviolable institution of God would fall. Hence it follows, that the principle of the apostle stands firm: `without shedding of blood is no remission’ (Heb. 9:22).

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Fifty-second. The true presence of our Saviour in the Lord’s Supper, then, is aptly professed in the Westminster Confession of Faith (29:2): “In this Sacrament, Christ is not offered up to His Father, nor any real sacrifice made at all for remission of sins of the quick or dead (Heb. 9:22f); but only a commemoration of that one offering up of Himself, by Himself, upon the cross, once for all, and a spiritual oblation of all possible praise unto God for the same (I Cor. 11:24-27). So that the Popish sacrifice of the mass-as they call it-is most abominably injurious to Christ’s one only sacrifice, the alone propitiation for all the sins of the elect (Heb. 7:23-27 & 10:11-18).”

Fifty-third. Westminster says (29:6): “That doctrine which maintains a change of the substance of bread and wine into the substance of Christ’s body and blood (commonly called Transubstantiation by consecration of a priest or by any other way is repugnant not to Scripture alone but even to common sense and reason; overthroweth the nature of the Sacrament; and hath been and is the cause of manifold superstitions, yea of gross idolatries(Acts 3:21; I Cor. 1:24f; Luke 24:6,39).

Fifty-fourth. The words of the Westminster Confession (29:7) aptly summarize the eucharistical teachings of the Holy Scriptures as well of the Ante-Nicene Church: “Worthy receivers, outwardly partaking of the visible element in this Sacrament (I Cor. 11:26f), do then also inwardly by faith really and indeed, yet not carnally and corporally but Spirit-ually, receive and feed upon Christ crucified and all benefits of His death: the body and blood of Christ being then not corporally or carnally in, with, or under the bread and wine; yet as really but Spirit-ually present to the faith of believers in that ordinance, as the elements themselves are to their outward senses (I Cor. 10:16).”

Fifty-fifth and finally. Let all heed Jesus, Who said: “The hour is coming, and is now, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit…. …. God is Spirit; and they that worship Him, must worship Him in spirit …. It is the Spirit Who enlivens. The flesh profits nothing. The words which I spoke to you, they are Spirit!” John 4:23f & 6:63.

Impassibility

Impassibility (from Latin in-, “not”, passibilis, “able to suffer, experience emotion”) describes the theological doctrine that God does not experience pain or pleasure from the actions of another being. – Wiki

Sermons on the subject here.

Praise Him!

Rev. 4.1-3 “Where God is rightly seen, He will be seen exceeding stately and Glorious: O so wonderful! whom nothing can resemble, whom no tongue can express, nor eye behold, nor heart conceive! what were it to imagine thousands of mountains of the most previous stones imaginable, and thousands of Suns shining in their brightness? these are inconceivably short of God, and the Glory that is in Him; what an excellent happiness to be capacitate (to speak so) to know Him, as we are known of Him? Wonder and admire at Him, who is glorious in Holiness, fearful in Praises, doing wonders, terrible in Majesty, and in all perfections past finding out: To Him be praise for ever. Amen” – James Durahm, Commentary Upon The Book of the Revelation

Hanserd Knollys – Revelation 7 & 8

Why go to all this trouble selecting choice quotes and blogging them? To slowly introduce you to Hanserd knollyKnollys’ work a little at a time. Any emphasis was added, thanks.

Rev. 7.1:

This chapter consists of two general parts; first, Christ’s special care of his churches and saints in those evil times, which were to come shortly. {Re 1:1} Secondly, the peaceable and flourishing condition of the church of God, after those evil times, which of the Roman pagan persecutions are past; Re 7:9-17.

Rev. 7.3:

Till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads; that is all God’s faithful servants, both ministers and people, who were to be secured and preserved from these hurtful angels, as (Re 7:5,6) following. Whereby they were distinguished from all others, whom the four angels were permitted to hurt. (Re 9:4) And was it commanded them, that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads; (as Eze 9:4-6). These sealed ones were the seed of Abraham, Israelites indeed, the children of Abraham by faith, (Ga 3:7,26,28,29 Re 14:1-5, etc) that is, a certain number known unto God and Christ, put for an indefinite number, not known unto any but God the Father, Word and Holy Spirit. (Re 7:9)

Rev. 7.10:

and unto the Lamb, who is the Savior of sinners, (Mt 1:18) neither is there any other Savior. (Ac 4:12) This Jesus was the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world; (see Re 5:9) in God’s purpose and decree of the salvation of his elect, chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. (Eph 1:4-6) Salvation, first, from wrath to come, (1Th 1:10) that is, from, hell, called the second death. (Re 20:6)

Secondly, from the law, not from evangelical obedience unto the moral part of the law (for we are not without law to God, but under the law to Christ; 1Co 9:21), but from the ceremonial part of the law, (Ro 7:6) and from the curse of the law. (Ga 3:13)

Thirdly, from Satan, being delivered out of his kingdom and dominion, and translated into the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ (Col 1:13) Fourthly, from the servitude of sin, (Ro 6:16,20,22,23) that is, from the dominion and reigning power of sin, (Ro 6:11-14) and from law and captivating power of sin. (Ro 7:22-25 8:2) The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus, hath made me free from the law of sin, etc. and also everlasting and eternal salvation in heavenly glory, called everlasting life, (Joh 3:16) and eternal life, (Ro 6:23 1Jo 5:11,12) through Jesus Christ.

And have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Which they did, first, by faith, applying the precious blood of Jesus, in the promises of the new-covenant of grace: And secondly, by sufferings, wherein they overcame all their persecutors; viz. Satan and all his instruments, by the blood of Christ, and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives unto death. (Re 12:11)

Rev. 8.1:

Now the sealed book was fully opened by our blessed Lord Jesus, the Lamb of God, and the Lion of the tribe of Judah; who is God blessed forever, (Ro 9:5) so that the first principal vision in this prophecy of the Revelation, is fully ended. And here begins the second principal vision thereof, that is, the seven trumpets, from Re 8:8-13:18. The first thing that followed the opening of the seventh seal

was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour By heaven, here we are to understand the church of God, (compared by Christ unto heaven, Mt 25:1 16:18,19 in contradistinction unto the world, called earth. Re 8:13 Re 12:12) And by silence in heaven, we may understand the cessation from churches sufferings, sorrows, weeping, and crying, during the short time of peace, quiet, and rest, which was but half an hour; that is, half the time of the reign of Constantine the Great, who reigned about thirty years, whereof the former fifteen years the church of God had rest from persecution, and peace to serve and worship God, under his government:

And then began the grand heresy of the Arians, whereby the churches rest, and peace was disturbed, interrupted, and troubled by Constantia, Constantine’s sister, whom he greatly favored; and Constantius his son and successor became so eager in maintaning the Arian heresy, and the Arian bishops, that St. Hierom (in Chronicis), said, Omnes poene toto Orbe Ecclesiae Aria-norum consortio polluuntur; Almost all the churches in the whole world are polluted by the agreement of the Arians. Historians relate, that Paul the Patriarch of Constantinople, and Athanasius the Patriarch of Alexandria, who were most eminent opposers of the Arian heresy, were both banished by the Emperor; and some historians testify, that the persecutions of orthodox bishops, ministers, and Christians, by the Arians, were as bloody and barbarous, as the Ten Pagan Persecutions.

Rev. 8.2 & 3:

These seven Angels were the messengers of God, who are ready to declare or do his revealed will; and therefore are said to stand before God; by whom we may understand literally the holy angels, and mystically the faithful ministers of God, called angels. (Re 1:20) Seven is a complete or perfect number, as of churches, ministers, seals, angels; so here of trumpets, (and after of vials, Re 15:1,6,7). With these seven trumpets those messengers of God were to sound seven alarms to the church, and also to the world; and they having received orders from Christ, prepared themselves to sound one after another. {read Re 8:6} By this other angel, we are to understand Jesus Christ, called the Angel of the Covenant, (Mal 3:1) and the High Priest of our profession. (Heb 3:1) The Antitype of Aaron, and all the true High Priest under the law, {Heb 7:25,26} as appears also by his standing at the altar. {Ex 40:5} The golden altar of incense, which typed out the deity of Christ, in whom all the fullness of the Godhead dwelt bodily, (Col 2:9,10; see Re 6:9). And by incense, here we may understand mystically the merits of Christ intercession for the saints, as the mediator of the new covenant of grace between God and the saints. Incense, literally, that mentioned, (Ex 30:34,38) but here typically, the virtue and efficacy of Christ’s intercession for the saints. See more in the exposition of the next verse. See KNOLLYS on “Rev 8:4”

Rev. 8.6 & 7:

The seven angels having attended and waited on the Lord for his orders, and having received their commission from Christ, do now prepare themselves to sound their trumpets, orderly one after another. And the first angel sounded. By angel, here we may understand Athanasius, Paulus, Hilarius, Ofius, Paulinus, and other faithful ministers of the gospel, who lifted up their voice like a trumpet, and did bear their testimony publicly against arianism and other errors; and we may also by this angel, understand the kings of the Goths and vandals, whose religion was Arianism; they sounded a terrible alarm to the Roman Empire by their invasions. Upon which followed hail, and fire mingled with blood; that is, great storms of persecution, (Pleffaeus his Mystery of Iniquity, and Heirom de Chronicis), and bloody wars. (See Alaricus in Chronicis Regnorum Veterum and Helvicus in Theat Hist). Alstedius, Genserick, Atyla, and others, with their armies, destroyed Valence, that bloody Arian emperor, who caused eighty supplicants (that were sent to him from some Orthodox bishops, and other banished Christians) to be murdered.

And all green grass was burned up; that is, the ordinances of God, which are as green pastures, where Christ feeds his sheep and his lambs. (Ps 23:1,2 Re 12:6,14) But now both the doctrine and the ordinances of the gospel, were so corrupted that they were like grass, scorched with the heat of the sun, and so burnt up and withered, that the flocks of Christ’s pastures sheep could not feed. (Am 8:11-13 Isa 40:28-31 Zec 11:8,9) The eastern bishops and churches being so corrupted with errors and heiresses, and western bishops and churches being more orthodox and less corrupted; the bishops of Rome began to contend for supremacy, and at last obtained it. Plessaus’s Mystery of Iniquity, (pp. 4, 44).

(Not sure what Plessaus’s means. If any reader of this post knows please comment.)

Rev. 8.8 & 9:

By this second angel, we may likewise understand both ministerial and political angels, who gave the second alarm to the church of God, and to the Roman papal empire; especially the faithful ministers of the fourth century in the western church. And as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea, This great mountain was the patriarch of Rome, burning with pride and ambition, loving to have the preeminence and the supremacy over God’s clergy. Was cast into the sea. By sea, we may understand their ecclesiastical jurisdiction, over all peoples, tongues, nations and languages, which are the sea of many waters. upon whom the Roman whore sitteth. {Re 17:1,10,18} And especially their corrupted worship. (read Re 13) (Alsted in Chronicis Ordinum inter Monachos; and Socrates, Lib. 5. Of his Ecclesiastical History, Anno 395, 396.)

And the third part of the sea became blood; (like one of the plagues of Egypt). (Ex 7:10,11) That is, a great part of the worship and ordinances of God were so corrupted and polluted by the inventions of men of corrupt minds, and by the superstitious and idolatrous traditions of the Roman papal clergy, that many who drank of those mystical waters died, etc. One part were sealed and secured; another part were preserved by the incense of Christ’s mediation and intercession; and a third part, whose names were not in the Lamb’s Book of Life, were false worshippers, and they died, etc. {Re 13:8,15-17 14:9-11 8:9} By those creatures, we may understand the Roman clergy, who had life; that is, who formerly seemed to be lively and zealous defenders of the faith, died; that is, some recanted, others where corrupted, and others were destroyed, etc.

By this third angel, we may understand the ministers of the next century, namely, Augustinus, Hieronymus, Prosperus, Optatus, etc. The great star that fell from heaven was Nestorius, the then Bishop of Consiantinople, and several ministers with him, who corrupted the doctrine of the gospel, touching original sin, justification, election, satisfaction for sin and free-will, and polluted the pure worship of God, by bringing in penance’s, holy days, fasts, and feasts of their own inventions; Also superstitions, the worshipping of angels, praying to saints deceased, etc. These heterodox prelates and priest, are said to fall from heaven; that is from the true church, sound doctrine, pure worship, and heavenly life. And of shining stars to become burning lamps; that is, they lost all that spiritual light which they had by the gifts of the Spirit, {as 1Co 12:4,8} but being learned men, they kept the lamp-light of their acquired arts. Which they had from the school-men; and thereby they flamed and shined like a burning lamp; (as the lamps of the five foolish virgins did, until they went out). {Mt 25:1-2,8-11}

Rev. 8.11:

Historians tell us, that in this century came in Extream Unction, in imitation of the sacred ordinance of anointing the sick (or infirm) with oil. (Jas 5:14-16) Falex, Patriarch of Rome, appointed the Chancel or Choire to be separated from the Stoney Church, for the second service, and sacrament to be said and administered in the Chorie or Chancel, as the most holy place in the temples of stone, called the church, the parish church, etc. And the patriarch Gregory, caused the image of the virgin Mary to be carried in procession; and candles were then brought into the temples or churches for Candlemas-day (Cent. Magd. Cent. 5). At that time also, Benedict the Father of Monks, and little Denis the maker of cycles for Easter, are said to live. Thus popery crept gradually into the church by the fall of the stars, angels, ministers, etc.

Rev. 8.12:

By this fourth angel we may understand Gergorius a man of greatlearning who opposed John Bishop of Constantiople; that took the name of universal bishop, (Gegor. Lib. 4, Epist. 32,34,36,38, ad Johnnem Constant Lib. 7, Epist. 30, also Cent. Magd. Cent. 6 cap. 1:7). And other faithful ministers, who opposed innovations in worship, and unsound doctrines at that time. By the sun, moon, and stars, in the heaven of the visible church on earth, we are to understand all sorts of spiritual light, which God hath ordained and set in the church; that is, the Holy Scripture of truth. (Ps 119:105,130) The able ministers of the New Testament. (Mt 5:14) A third part of these were smitten, so that a third part them was darkened.

Rev. 8.13:

By this angel, we may understand Christ or some of his holy angels, or some of his prophetical angels; that is, some of his ministers, or messengers: And for the better understanding of this verse, I shall premise a few things; First, that heaven and earth, in this prophecy, of the Revelation, are often used metaphorically. (read Re 6:12,13,14 7:1-3 9:1) Secondly, that the inhabitants of the earth are put in opposition to them that dwell in heaven. {Re 12:12} Thirdly, as by heaven is meant Sion so by earth we may understand Babylon. {Re 17:15,18 Re 18:2,10} Now I proceed; by the inhabitors of the earth, here we are to understand those people who are members of, and continue in the anti-Christian state of the Roman papal church, (called mystery Babylon, Re 17:5 the great whore and mother of harlots) both ministers and people, who have been made drunk with wine of her fornications, (Re 17:1,2) and do worship the beast, or his image, (Re 13:1,7,8) or received the mark in their forehead, or in their hand. Those are the persons and people against whom these three woes are denounced by Christ and angels. (Re 18:13 14:9-11) If any man worship the Beast and his Image, and receive his Mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture, etc.

Hanserd Knollys – Revelation 6

Selected notes from Knollys exposition of Revelation. Emphasis added.

 

hanserd-knollys

Rev. 6.1:

The Lord Jesus Christ having prevailed to open this sealed book of the Revelation, which God gave him, and he took it out of his right hand. Now John saw him open one of the seals; that is, the first in order of the seven seals of this book; It is a Hebraism, the Jews used so to express; and call the first of times, things or persons, as Ge 1:5 one day, that is, the first day. It is also a Helenism; the Greeks used to express and call the first of Sabbaths, (Mr 16:2) πρωῒ τῆς μιᾶς σαββάτων, early upon one of the Sabbaths, that is, upon the first Sabbath (Mr 16:9) For that first day of the week was the first Christian Sabbath, called the Lord’s Day.

Rev. 6.2:

It is usual in the prophets to signify great and wonderful transactions and dispensations of God, by warlike horses. (Zec 6:2,3,6,7) So in this chapter. (Re 6:4,5,8) By this white horse we may understand the ministry of the gospel of peace and grace, especially the powerful operation of the Holy Spirit in the word preached. (Heb 4:12 1Th 1:5) Notwithstanding all the opposition and persecution of the Roman pagan emperors, and the Roman papal potentates.

Rev. 6.4:

By this red horse we may understand the bloody sufferings of the churches, ministers, and members of Christ, by the persecutions of the Roman pagan emperors, who were called the ‘red dragon’ (Re 12:3) who killed many of the saints and servants of God; but yet they overcame and conquered at last, by the blood of the blessed Jesus, and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives unto death. (Re 12:7,11)

And power was given to him that sat thereon, to take peace from the earth. This power was two-fold, first, that dominion, rule, and authority, which the fourth beast in Daniel’s vision had given unto him of God; that is, the Roman pagan monarchy (compare Da 2:40 with Da 7:23), in all political, civil, and lawful administrations. Secondly, that tyranny and cruelty, which the Roman pagan emperors exercised over the Christians by their soldiers and magistrates, by God’s permission in matters ecclesiastical, or idol-worship (as in Heb 11:35,36,37, &c.), mystically signified by ten days. (Re 2:10) By the earth we may understand the churches of God on earth, and literally the inhabitants of the earth: the Roman pagan emperors took peace from the churches of God on earth, by their bloody persecutions of the primitive Christians: And they took peace from the inhabitants of the earth, by their wars in several countries, cities, and towns.

Rev. 6.5:

by this black horse, we may understand scarcity of food, some kind of famine. (As Zec 6:2 Job 3 La 4:8,9 5:9,10)

Rev. 6.8:

This pale horse (by a metonymy of the effect) doth signify the several kinds of death, which effected by the sword, the famine, the pestilence, and the wild beasts.

Rev. 6.10:

The testimony which those martyrs held, was two fold; first, negative; they would not worship idols. (as Da 3:16,17,18) Positive; they did worship the only living God in Spirit and in truth. (Joh 4:22,23,24 Da 6:13-16) Both Eusebius and Mr. Fox, in their Histories of the Church, testify, that thousands in a day were killed for professing themselves Christians; and in that some places of Roman Empire whole churches full of Christians were burned together, and whole cities where burned for refusing to worship idols, and whole legions of soldiers were destroyed for being Christians, and worshipping God.

Rev. 6.11:

By white robes, we may understand, first, those garments of salvation, and robe of Christ’s righteousness. (Isa 61:10) Secondly, the bride’s attire, white clean (without spot, So 4:7), which is the righteousness of the saints. {Re 19:8} Thirdly the martyrs integrity and innocency in all their sufferings: having washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (Re 7:14)

Rev. 6.12:

sixth Seal St. John had the revelation of the great revolution of the Roman pagan empire, which should put an end unto the bloody persecutions of the heathen emperors, and all their tyrannical torturing of the Christians by cruel deaths; which revolution is there set forth in a prophetical style and manner of speaking. For when the Prophets did foretell the destruction of Kingdoms, or some great changes and revolutions therein they used such figurative and metaphorical terms, words and expressions, as are in the following verses; viz.

Rev. 6.16 & 17:

These idolatrous potentate kings, priests, and captains, in the day of God vengeance (his temple vengeance) seek for hiding places, but find none. They had rather the rocks and mountains should have fallen on them and destroyed them, than to be brought before the judgment of seat of God and Jesus Christ, whose name they have blasphemed, whole churches, ministers, and members, they had persecuted, imprisoned, martyred and murdered, by their edicts, decrees, laws, and soldiers, and by the judges, juries, and the false witnesses. (Am 9:1,2,3) This great day of God, and the Lamb’s wrath, was at last acknowledged and confessed by those persecutors. This dreadful dispensation of God’s wrath happened in the days of the 10th and last bloody persecution of the Christians, when Diocelsian was Emperior; as all historians testify.

Hanserd Knollys – Revelation 5

Hanserd_Knollys_webSelected comments from Knollys work on Revelation chapter 5.

Rev. 5.1:

Every vision of God in his word consists of two general parts: first, something seen; and secondly, something heard:

And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne, a book written, etc. The prophets and apostles being in a trance had their eyes open. (Nu 24:4 Ac 10:10-11) So had this apostle here, not the eyes of the body, but of the mind.

this was the Book of Revelations, a mystical and prophetical book, containing the Revelation of those things which were shortly to be fulfilled, and come to pass, see Re 1:1,19 4:1. This book was full, no place left void to add anything unto it, (Re 22:18) Whosoever shall add to these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book,

Rev. 5.4 & 5:

It appears that St. John was very much troubled, for he wept much: The servant of the Lord was very sensible, what a loss it would be to him, and to the church of God, if this sealed book should not be unsealed, and the mysterial prophecies therein should not be opened; therefore he wept and mourned.

The apostle is forbid to weep.

John’s affectionate sorrow might hinder him from attending unto the glad tidings brought unto him: Therefore the elder first prohibited him from weeping: Tears and sorrows may hinder choice Christians, and indispose them to receive spiritual comforts. The elder having shut the floodgate of the Apostle’s sorrow, he bids him attend diligently to what he had to say unto him.

Rev. 5.6:

In the midst of the throne, and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders stood a Lamb. The Lord our Passover, who was sacrificed for us. (1Co 5:7) Christ standing in the midst of the throne, signifieth, first, that he is equal with God the Father, (Joh 10:30 Php 2:6) and partaker of the same glory, dominion and authority with the Father. (Mt 28:18-19) Secondly, that Christ is exalted on the right hand of God, (Heb 8:1 12:2) and so St. Stephen saw Jesus Christ standing on the right hand of God. (Ac 7:56) Christ’s standing in the midst of the four living creatures, and twenty four elders, doth signify his gracious presence in the church, (called the throne of God,)( Jer 17:12) with his ministers, (called pastors, teachers, and elders,)(Eph 4:11-13 Ac 20:17) to present their persons, prayers, and all their spiritual services and sacrifices at the throne of grace, with his incense unto the father with acceptance. And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar, which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God, out of the angels hand. (Re 8:4 Eph 2:18 Heb 13:15 1Pe 2:4-5)

Rev. 5.8:

This verse contains a preparation unto a new and spiritual song of praise and thanksgiving unto Christ our Redeemer, (Re 5:9-14) (who had taken this book to unloose the seals, and to open the mystical and prophetical visions and revelations therein contained). And this spiritual song of praise consists of three parts, whereof the church, her ministers and members bear the first part. (Re 5:8,9,10) The holy angels, and spirits of just men made perfect, bear the second part, (Re 5:11,12) and all God’s good creatures bear the third part. (Re 5:13,14)

Rev. 5.9:

Singing and praying are two distinct ordinances under the gospel, (1Co 14:14-15) and two distinct parts of the worship of God, both which are to be performed by the anointing of the spirit, (Col 3:16 Eph 5:18-19) in the churches of saints. This is called a new song, because, first, it contains new matter of praise and thanksgiving unto God, as Ps 98:1 etc. and secondly, the hearts (the harps) of these singers were put into a new spiritual frame by the fresh anointing of the holy spirit; John had been weeping much, and now God gave him the garments of praise for the spirit of mourning, to comfort him, (Isa 61:1-4) and so he as prepared to bear his part in this new song of praise and thanksgiving.

Rev. 5.10:

This verse contains a third reason of this new song of praise and thanksgiving. They were not only redeemed from all misery, sin, curse, and eternal death; but honoured with many glorious dignities, and spiritual privileges. The saints are kings, and Jesus Christ is King of saints. (Re 15:3) the Lord’s redeemed ones have a heavenly kingdom prepared for them. (Lu 12:32 Mt 25:34) And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom, under the whole heaven, shall be given to Christ and his saints. (Da 7:13-27 Mic 4:8 Zec 14:9) In that day there shall be one Lord, and his name one. There shall be one fold, and one shepherd. (Joh 10:16) And priests unto God, a royal priesthood, (1Pe 2:4-9) to offer up spiritual sacrifices; that you should show forth the praises of God, (1Pe 2:9) who hath called you, etc. they believed upon the scripture ground, before mentioned, and therefore did they speak, (2Co 4:13) that is, the primitive saints believed that they shall reign with Christ on earth, and the latter day saints also have scripture ground to believe, that they shall reign with Christ on earth.(Re 20:1-4) And they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years; ta cilia eth that is, those thousand years between the resurrection of Christ’s two prophetical witnesses, etc. and the rest of the dead, who lived not until those thousand years were finished. (Re 20:5,6)

Hanserd Knollys – Revelation 4

CORRECTION: I have found TWO dates given for the publication of this work by Knollys. The first was 1698 and is incorrect, it has to be, Knollys believed the second coming would be in 1689! He published this work believing Christ would return the following year.

Quotations from Hanserd Knollys Exposition of the Book of The Revelation, 1688.

The Visions and Prophecies of CHRIST
Are opened and Expounded,:
SHEWING
The great Counterfeits of our LORD Jesus Christ
for his Church over all His and Her Adversaries, PAGAN,
ARIAN and PAPAL and the glorious State of the
Church of God in the New Heavens and New Earth, in
these Latter Days.

revelation4

Rev. 4.1:

One glimpse of the glory of God in the Revelation of Jesus Christ, (2Co 4:6) doth cause his saints and servants to look for more, (Ps 63:1-2) To see thy power and thy glory, as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. Stephen had heaven opened, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus Christ standing on the right hand of God. (Ac 7:55-56) Peter also saw heaven opened, (Ac 10:11-16) and St. John beheld a door opened in heaven; that is, he had an open vision of unseen glory, as Stephen had, and a revelation of things that should come to pass.

Rev. 4.3:

Christ is said to have a rainbow upon his head, (Re 10:1) The rainbow was a token of Gods covenant with Noah, (Ge 9:11-16) and was applied by the prophet for the everlasting comfort of the church of God, (Isa 54:5-10) and signifies that God and Christ is ever mindful of the new covenant, and will perform his word to a thousand generations. (De 7:9 Ps 111:5) God will not break his covenant, (Ps 89:30-35) and Christ is the mediator of the new convenant between God and his people. (1Ti 2:5-6 Heb 8:6)

Rev. 4.5:

By the lightnings, and thunderings, and voices which proceeded out of the throne, the Church of God, that is, from Christ and the elders; we may understand the dispensations of the gospel, that cometh not in word only (signified by voices) but in power, (1Th 1:5) (expressed by lightnings and thunders) such are the right and just censures of Christ and his church, (1Co 5:4-5) against those in the church that are hereticks, schismaticks, or scandalous sinners; and the seven lamps of fire are the Seven Spirits of God. (See Re 1:14)

Rev. 4.6:

This sea of glass beareth some resemblance unto the sea of brass in Solomon’s Temple, (1Ki 7:2-3) like crystal, that is, clear and perspicuous; such is the gospel of the grace of God, (2Co 3:18) wherein we have an open vision of Jesus Christ, who is the image of the unseen glory of God. (2Co 4:6) By this sea of glass we may understand the pure worship of God under the gospel, (Re 15:3-5) mixed with fire; that is, with fiery trials, persecutions and sufferings for Christ, on which the victors stood with Christ, singing, praising and worshipping him.

Rev. 4.7:

ONE, that is, the first living creature was like a lion the lion is a kingly beast for courage and boldness, (Pr 21:1-2 2Sa 17:10) and turneth not away for any. (Pr 30:30) When he roareth the beasts of the forest do tremble. (Am 3:8) So the elders that rule well in the churches of saints have boldness for Christ, (as Peter and John had,)(Ac 4:13) and the church prayed God to give his ministers boldness (Ac 4:19,29) which holy boldness the ministers of Christ are to exercise, both in preaching the word, and in ruling and governing the church and flock of Christ, (1Ti 5:20 2Ti 4:2 Tit 1:13 3:10) according to Christ’s institutions.

By the ox, here is signified the pastors that labour in the word and doctrine, (1Co 3:9 9:4-11 1Ti 5:17) etc.

“the third living creature had a face as a man” Whereby the deacons of the churches of saints are fitly resembled, whose office, ministry, and work, is to attend the outward affairs of the church of God, and to serve tables in the daily ministration

The eagle flieth aloft towards heaven, (Pr 25:3) She mounteth up on high, (Job 39:27) whereunto the teachers in churches of saints are fitly resembled, who give attendance to reading, expounding, interpreting and teaching, (Ac 12:6-7 1Ti 4:13-15)

More to come…

Institutes of the Christian Religion, Deluxe Edition

Christianbook.com has the single volume edition of Calvin’s Institutes on sale for $16.99. Years ago I purchased the two volume set by McNeill and Battles and read it through a few times. More recently a good friend sent me the sinlge volume, unabridged, 1845 Beveridge calvintranslation (with the older styled cover) and I do prefer it to the two volume set. A few quotes from Amazon will help explain why one might prefer Bereridge over other editions.

Reformed Christian scholar and theological philosopher Paul Helm:

“Incidentally, if you have the need of a translation of the Institutes, then the reissue of the Beveridge translation (newly published by Hendrickson) may be just the thing. It has new indexes, and has been ‘gently edited’, which means, I hope, only the removal of typos and other detritus. (I have not yet had the chance to check). Beveridge is superior to Battles in sticking closer to the original Latin, and having less intrusive editorial paraphernalia.”

Richard A. Muller, on the two translations (from the preface of The Unaccommodated Calvin):

“I have also consulted the older translations of the Institutes, namely those of Norton, Allen and Beveridge, in view of both the accuracy of those translation and the relationship in which they stand to the older or ‘precritical’ text tradition of Calvin’s original. Both in its apparatus and in its editorial approach to the text, the McNeill-Battles translation suffers from the mentality of the text-critic who hides the original ambience of the text even as he attempts to reveal all its secrets to the modern reader.”

from J.I. Packer in the foreword to A Theological Guide to Calvin’s Institutes:

“No English translation fully matches Calvin’s Latin; that of the Elizabethan, Thomas Norton, perhaps gets closest; Beveridge gives us Calvin’s feistiness but not always his precision; Battles gives us the precision but not always the punchiness, and fleetness of foot; Allen is smooth and clear, but low-key.”

David Calhoun:

“Let me just say a few words about English translations. The first was Thomas Norton back in the sixteenth century. Calvin was very fortunate with his first English translator. Norton did an exceptionally good job. Very soon after the completion of the Institutes in 1559, which was written in Latin, it was translated by Calvin into French and then quite soon into English. John Allen was the second translator. John Allen and Henry Beveridge were both nineteenth-century translators. The Beveridge translation is still in print. It was until fairly recently anyway. Those are not bad but not very good either. Ford Lewis Battles’ 1960 translation is the one that we are using. Even though it has been criticized some, it is by far the most superior translation that we have at present.”

This edition has some nice features as well:

– An eight-page, four-color insert on coated stock, including a frontispiece featuring the title page of the original publication and a timeline of the Reformation and of John Calvin’s life

– Two ribbon markers

– Gold foil and embossing

– Linen end sheets

Even if you disagree with Calvin…you should read him. His influence on the church cannot be ignored.

Yours in the Lord,

jm