HOSEA'S THIRD DAY:
"Come and let us return unto the Lord: for He hath torn and He will heal us; He hath smitten; and He will bind us up. After two days will He revive us: in the third day He will raise us up and we shall live in His sight." (Hosea Ch.6 v.1 & 2).
Now according to the Scriptural symbolism a "prophetic day" can be a period of 1,000 years.
"But beloved be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day". (2 Peter Ch. 3 v.8).
Having established that each of Hosea's days represents a period of one thousand years, we must now look back to find a time in the his-tory of our Israelite forefathers when the Lord 'smote' and 'tore' them. This period is quite clearly the time during which the Almighty permitted the Assyrian Empire, 'the rod of His anger', to conquer the Ten-Tribed Kingdom of Israel, and take them into captivity, never to return to the land of Palestine. These deportations began around 744 B.C. and climaxed in the destruction of the capital city of Samaria in 721 B.C. However the work of deportation, the 'smiting and tearing' of Hosea's prophecy only came to a final end around 676/675 B.C. If we measure 'two prophetic days' or two thousand years from that date we arrive at 1324 A.D., the year of the birth of John Wycliffe — the Morning Star of the Reformation.
Wycliffe was born into the very night of Papal darkness when the Pontiffs ruled supreme. The peoples of Europe and of these British Isles were sunken in the very depths of idolatry and superstition. These were the days of 'bleeding bones' and 'winking images', of superstitious relics, masses and indulgences. Not only was this the situation spiri-tually, but those who dared to oppose were treated in the most cruel manner, e.g. The Waldensians and the Albigenses of France and Italy against whom the Papal armies advanced without mercy. At the siege of the city of Beziers, when protests were made that in slaying the inhabitants indescriminateiy some Romanists would perish with the heretics, the Papal Legate commanded: "kill them all, God will know His own".
In addition the ruthless Inquisition was already commencing its long reign of terror. Man, women and children, rich and poor, high and low were arrested on the slightest suspicion of heresy, and tortured in the most cruel manner before being handed over to the secular authori-ties to be burnt at the stake at the so-called Auto da Fe, or Act of Wycliffe's great work in the midst of superstition and persecution was to translate the Holy Scriptures into the English tongue, so that the people of these islands might read and in reading find Christ, the one Mediator and only way to salvation. So great was the hatred of Papal Rome for John Wycliffe that over forty years after his death they ordered his body to be dug up from the grave and burnt and his ashes to be thrown into the River Swift.
Nevertheless the work of Reformation had begun, the seeds of the Gospel had been sown, as Wycliffe's Lollards or Poor Preachers went around the land distributing hand written copies of Scripture. In spite of the fires of Romish torture which would claim the lives of valiant men like William Sawtyre and Sir John Oldcastle, the ground work had been laid for the events which were to shake these islands a century later. True to the word He had spoken to Hosea the prophet, God had gathered the outcasts of Israel, deported, dispersed and blind to their national identity, into these islands, and then even in the very midst of superstition and idolatry He had sent John Wycliffe the Morning Star of the Reformation after 'two prophetic-days' had run their course.
Furthermore God had promised that during the 'third prophetic day' of Hosea's prophecy He would raise us up to live in His sight as a result of the great spiritual awakening which we call, the Reformation. Sure enough, our people having broken free of the chains of Rome, began from the days of Elizabeth I onwards to expand and spread abroad to become the greatest Christian Empire the world has ever seen. Wherever the British people, the nation of the Reformation and the Open Bible, established colonies, missionaries immediately followed bringing the Good News of Salvation to the heathen, and translating the Word of God into their languages. Truly we had been raised up to live in God's sight in the midst of the 'third prophetic day' and to fulfil our role as God's Witness Nation.
THE LITTLE BOOK:
The next prophecy we want to examine in relation to the Protestant Reformation is that of the 'Little Book':
"And I saw another angel come down from heaven clothed with a cloud; and a rainbow was about his head, and his face was as it were the sun and his feet as pillars of fire, and he had in his hand a little book open; and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth, and cried with a loud voice as when a lion roareth. — — — And the voice which I heard from heaven spake to me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth. And I went unto the Angel, and said unto him, give me the little book. And he said unto me, take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was to my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it my belly was bitter. And he said unto me, thou must prophesy again before many peoples and nations and tongues and kings'. (Revelation Ch.10 v. 1-3 & 8 -111)
In this prophecy concerning the Reformation there are a number of points we must consider. The first of these is the identity of the mighty angel who holds the 'little book' in his hand. Whilst it is true to say that the word 'angel' can be rendered 'messenger', surely much more is implied in the text under consideration. Some in the past have claimed that the angel represented Luther or one of the other great Reformers or Bible Translators, however, so tremendous was the task of Reformation, that only a divine being was capable of accomplishing it, even our Lord Jesus Christ, the 'messenger' of the new Covenant. The angel is described as being clothed with a cloud, a terminology never used to describe any created angel, but one which reminds us that our Lord is coming 'with clouds' to set up His Kingdom on earth (Rev. Ch.1 v.7) and that He is the one who makes 'the clouds His chariots", (Psalm 104 v.3). We also notice that the angel has a rainbow around his head reminding us that He is the one who has entered into Covenant relationship with Israel, the people of the Reformation. The angel is then described as having his face as the sun and his feet as pillars of fire. Once again these are the symbols of deity and speak to us of the faithfulness and invincibility of our dear Redeemer King.
Having looked at the angel we must no go on to examine the 'little book'. The fact that it is described as a 'little book OPEN' implies that there was a time when the book had been closed. There-fore the prophecy can only apply to one Book, the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, given under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit for the guidance and instruction of God's people, and closed to that same people during that period of history when Rome reigned supreme, and which has rightly earned the title the 'Dark Ages'. The apostacy of Christendom that followed on from the days of the Emperor Constantine was largely due to the fact that the Bible was a closed book. Translated from the original Hebrew and Greek into Latin by Jerome, it was of little value to the mass of the people, many of whom could not read and write, and those who could were fluent only in their own native tongue. Not content with this the Papacy saw fit to issue a number of formal decrees forbidding the Scriptures to the people. One such declaration was that of the Council of Toulouse in 1229 which stated:
'We prohibit also the permitting of the laity to have the books of the work of cleansing the sanctuary and seeking to re-establish the Biblical pattern has continued until this very day as truth has been progressively revealed.
Now with regard to the command to 'leave out the Court of the Gentiles', I believe that this refers to the clear cut division of Christen-dom into two irreconcilable parts, Reformed and Roman. True to the command not to measure the Gentile Court, the Reformers did not attempt to reform or reconstitute Rome from within, but rather re-jected the entire system as being Anti-Christ and made a complete and total separation from it. It is of great interest to note that this division saw the Reformation firmly established in Britain, Holland, northern Germany and Scandinavia where the descendants of the Lost Tribes of Israel dwelt, whilst the Reformed faith failed to make a lasting impact in such lands as Spain, Portugal and Italy, the nations of the Gentile Court, the territories of the old Roman Empire.
As to the treading down of the Holy City for '42 months', we know that this refers to the period when the Papacy would have un-limited power to persecute the people of God. If we take it that each of the 42 months contained 30 days, this gives us a period of 1260 days, and on the basis of Exekiel Ch. 4 v.6 we can take each day to represent a year, prophetically. So the Papal Beast was to exercise this persecuting power and authority for 42 prophetic months of 1260 years. The following two time measures will illustrate the point.
TIME MEASURE I:
606 A.D — Decree of the Emperor Phocas makes the Pope 'Uni-versal Bishop'.
1260 (42 months)
1866 A.D. — Last two Protestants burned by Papal Decree at Bar letta, Italy.
TIME MEASURE II:
610 A.D. — Death of Emperor Phocas
1260 A.D. (42 months)
1870 A.D. — The city of Rome captured and incorporated into the United Kingdom of Italy. The Pope loses his temporal powers and becomes the "Prisoner of the Vatican". The Decree of Papal Infallibility is issued.
THE TWO WITNESSES:
"And I will give power unto my two witnesses and they shall prophecy one thousand two hundred and three score days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees and the two candle-sticks standing before the God of the earth. And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them he must in this manner be killed. These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophesy; and these have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues as often as they will. And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, Where our Lord was crucified. And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and a half and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put into graves. And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry and send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. And after three days and a half the spirit of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them". (Revelation Ch.11 v.3-12)
The prophecy of the Two Witnesses immediately connects with the prophecy of the Measuring Rod, due to the time factor of 1260 days during which the Witnesses were to carry out their work. As we have already seen this period of 1260 days is the same period as 42 months and both refer to a time span of 1260 prophetic year-days, during which the Papal Antichrist would have the power to persecute and wear out the saints of God. Now let us identify who these Witnesses are, who operate during this period of history. The word 'witness' is used in the Old Testament to describe the nation Israel: "Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord that I am God". (Isaiah Ch. 43 v.12). The word is also used in the New Testament to describe the first Christians:— "Ye shall be witnesses to me", (Acts Ch. 1 v.8). The prophecy must therefore refer to the faithful Christians of Israelite descent gathered in these islands and scattered in various parts of North Western Europe in this New Covenant age, who had kept the truth of God alive by their witness and testimony during the dark night of Papal persecution and superstition. This remnant testimony, this witnessing 'new covenant' church are described as carrying out their work clothed in sackcloth, empowered by the Spirit of God. They had no easy task, standing for truth against error in the midst of the fiercest opposition, and only the power of the Holy Spirit, the same power promised by Jesus to His followers in Luke Ch. 24 v.49 could have sustained them in their struggle with the Papal Beast. However the Witnesses are described as being two in number, and are likened to two olive trees and two candlesticks. This symbolism takes us back to an Old Testament prophecy given in Zechariah Ch.4 v.2-14, where the prophet was given a vision of two olive trees on each side of a candlestick into which they channelled the oil for burning. John the Revelator tells us earlier in his Revelation vision that a candlestick re-presents a church. The two olive trees which supplied the oil and light of illumination to this witnessing remnant of Christian Israelites must surely refer to the Old and NewTestaments for it was these same Scrip-tures of Truth which gave the Witnesses their spiritual knowledge and understanding and which upheld them even in the martyr fires.
Now let us look at the nature and scope of the Witnesses work and ministry. We are told that they have the power to shut heaven, so that there will be no rain, and that they have the power to turn the waters to blood and bring plagues upon the earth. These three characteristics of their work and witness remind us of Moses who in his stand for God had power to afflict Pharaoh's Egypt with plagues including the turning of the waters of the River Nile into blood. We are also reminded of Elijah the prophet who by the word of command withheld the rain from the territories of Ahab and Jezebel. Similarly, because the nations of Europe refused to heed the witness of the Waldensians, Albigenses, Lollards and Hussites, God withheld the spiritual rain of blessing and revival from the lands of the Papal Pharaoh, whilst the rivers and seas of the territory of the Roman Jezebel were drench with blood by way of wars, crusades, revolts and civil commotion. The whole of Europe rejecting the words of the Witnesses was given over to spiritual, moral and political plagues of the worst kind imaginable.
We are told that when the work of the Witnesses was complete, they were to be overcome by the Beast from the abyss or bottomless pit and be dead for a period of three and a half years. History de-clares that the Beast who slays the Witnesses is in fact the Papacy, the eighth system to rule in Rome, that vast politico-religious amalgam of evil which emerged on the ruins of the Rome of the Caesars, following the seven previous types of government which had prevailed in that city; Kings, Consuls, Dictators, Decemvirs, Military Tribunes, Military Emperors and Despotic Emperors. It was Martin Luther the great Reformer who declared on visiting Papal Rome:— "If there is a hell, this city is built upon it". The work of the witnesses was in fact complete, when having grown in proportion to the rising tide of error, they began with one voice to identify the Papacy as the Beast of Prophecy. From that time forth, a war of extermination was waged against them by the Roman Church so successfully that it resulted in their death for a period of three and a half years.
We must now ask ourselves, if there ever was a time in history when the voice of the Witnesses was silent for exactly three and a half years, and the answer is a resounding, Yes! In December 1513, a Papal Bull was issued summoning. the remaining Bohemian Protestants to appear and state their case before the ninth session of the Fifth Lateran Council, which was to be convened on May 5th, 1514. On that day no witnesses appeared in the Lateran Church in Rome, so much so that it was boldly proclaimed by the emissaries of Rome:— "This is an end of resistance to Papal rule and religion, nobody opposes any more". In truth the Witnesses lay dead before their foe the Beast. We are told in the prophecy that their bodies were to be in the street, or more literally, the meeting place of the great city which is called Sodom and Egypt where their Lord also was crucified. This once more enables us to identify the great city as Rome, which until then had reigned supreme over the Kingdoms of the earth, and which the Wit-nesses had referred to as Sodom because of the impurity and immor-ality of the system, and as Egypt on account of the idolatry which characterised it. The reference to our Lord's crucifixion shows us how in persecuting His saints, Rome crucified afresh the Lord of
Glory and how Christ Himself identifies with the sufferings of His martyrs during this Reformation period. The street, or meeting place referred to was the headquarters of the Papacy where the great Church Councils were held.
Furthermore, their enemies did not allow the Witnesses to be buried in that even although they had been silenced, the Church con-tinued to issue Edicts against heresy, even ordering the bones of the martyrs to be exhumed and burnt, and forbidding 'Christian' burial to those accused of heresy. The prophecy also tells us how the enemies of truth celebrated and exchanged gifts because the Witnesses who had tormented them were now silent. How true this was, and once again secular history records how the leaders of apostate Christendom cele-brated with lavish banquets and costly gifts the silencing of those who by their faithful declaration of the Gospel had been a constant torment to them.
Then, true to the prophecy, exactly three and a half years after the failure of the Witnesses to testify on May 5th, 1514, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the Church door in Wittenberg, and the Wit-nesses once again stood upon their feet, never to be silenced again until the evil system of Popery is finally destroyed by the Lord Jesus with the "brightness of His coming". Even the Pope of Rome himself declared in 1523 at the Diet of Nuremberg, "the heretics Jerome and Huss seem now alive again in the person of Luther". Luther also stated:— "the old divinely ordained witnesses confirm our doctrine and the bodies of these saints arise as it were amongst us, with the newly vivified Gospel and awaken much confidence". Even the title, 'Protestants' adopted by the Reformers comes from a Latin word meaning, "Witness".
Whilst we do believe the fulfilment of the three and a half years to have been from May 1514 to October 1517, it is of interest to note in a purely British context, that a period of three and a half years in the history of our own land passed from the burning of John Rodgers the first martyr of Bloody Mary's reign in February 1555 until the last martyrs perished in the flames at Canterbury in 1558.
The final verse of the Witnesses prophecy tells how they "ascended up into heaven in a cloud and their enemies beheld them". The "heaven" referred to here is not the dwelling place of God, for their enemies could not have viewed them there, but rather it refers, as on other occasions in the Book of Revelation, to the political heavens, to which the followers of the Reformed faith were now elevated. No longer were they despised, persecuted and downtrodden, their bodies and their precious Bibles burned. Instead, the Reformers and their followers now attained the highest offices of state in Britain, Holland and the Scandanavian nations, whilst the Bible became the guide for conducting the affairs of state in these territories where the yoke of Rome had been broken.
THE GREAT EARTHQUAKE:
"And at the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand; and the remnant were affrightened and gave glory to the God of heaven". (Revelation Ch.11 v.13)
The earthquake here mentioned comes about as the direct result of the resurrection of the Witnesses at the time of Martin Luther. The earthquake therefore takes place subsequent to the events of 1517. In Scriptural symbolism an earthquake always stands for a great religious or political upheaval, and even secular historians tell us that this is exactly what the Reformation proved to be. It was the complete over-throw of the existing religious and political order of the Papacy and the Holy Roman Empire, which had held undisputed sway over Western Europe until that time.
The city which suffers as a result of the earthquake is of course the "great city" spoken about throughout the Revelation visions, Papal Rome, the seat of the Beast. The tenth part of the city which fell, no doubt refers to the breaking of the Papal authority both tem-poral and spiritual over the territories of North West Europe which embraced the Reformed faith.
The prophecy then goes on to speak of the slaying of seven thou-sand men in this great earthquake. The number used reminds us of the seven thousand faithful Israelites who in the days of Elijah the prophet refused to bow down and worship the image of Baal or em-brace the idolatrous religion propagated by Ahab and Jezebel. However the word here for thousand in the original is "Chiliads" a sub-division of a people, e.g. provinces, counties, etc., and provides us with the key to the direct fulfilment of the prophecy in Reformation times. In the year 1579 the cruel tyranny of Roman Catholic Spain over the Netherlands resulted in seven sub-divisions or provinces, re-belling and throwing-off the shackles of both Spain and the Roman Church to form the United Provinces. They were:
It was from these same United Provinces, a century later that God sent the deliverer, William III, Prince of Orange who defeated Popery in these islands on the banks of the River Boyne in July 1690, thereby saving us from tyranny and arbitrary power, and preserving the Pro-testant character of our Royal Throne, so that even to this day the sovereign of this United Kingdom must at the Coronation swear to be a "faithful Protestant".
The concluding lines of the prophecy, to the effect that the rest were "affrightened and gave glory unto God", speak to us of the further progress of the Continental Reformation in Scandinavia, Switzerland, and amongst the Huguenots of Frane, in fact everywhere that pockes of Israelites, "the remnant of the woman's seed, were to be found.
THE CONTINUING REVIVALS
"Then shall we know if we follow on to know the Lord: His going forth is prepared as the morning; and He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former lain together unto the earth". (Hosea Ch. 6 v.3)
This prophecy which follows on from that of the raising up of John Wycliffe during the "third day" tells us of the continued revivals that God has promised to send His national people Israel up to, and until, the return of the Lord Jesus.
Sure enough, from the time that Wycliffe opened up the Scrip-tures in their own tongue, the Lord God began to visit His people as rain upon parched ground. Over a century after Wycliffe, William Tyndale produced an even more accurate English translation of the Scriptures from the original Greek and Hebrew texts, whilst in 1611, there came into being our present King James Authorised Version, the work of some forty-seven learned divines. Truly, Israel/Britain had become the people of the book. As that Bible was read by the Anglo-Saxon and kindred people, they began their exit out of the Dark Ages of counterfeit Papal religion and began to come into the blessings, both temporal and spiritual, promised by God through His prophets to Israel.
God now raised up to bless our land the Puritans and Covenanters of the 17th century. Then He sent us those great Revivalists John and Charles Wesley, George Whitefield and Jonathan Edwards, whose preaching throughout the 18th Century turned Anglo-Saxon Israel back to God, whilst Papal Europe descended into all the horrors of the French Revolution. Throughout the 19th Century as Britain and the United States continued to expand into the "nation and company of nations", promised to the patriarchs, God continued to send great spiritual leaders like General Booth, Moody and Spurgeon. Then in this 20th Century as the return of the Lord drew nearer, God restored the sign/gift ministry to our people by raising up George and Stephen Jeffreys to go across the land proclaiming the Foursquare Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Saviour, Healer, Baptizer and Coming King.
We were now indeed a people blessed by the "former and latter rain", for no other race on the face of the earth could have produced such a list of godly men in both quantity and quality. No other race has enjoyed such a cycle of revival blessings, bringing to multiplied thousands the blessings of salvation and redemption promised long ago to our forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. If there was no other way to identify "lost" Israel in the world to-day we have but to look and see which nations accepted the blessings of the Reformation, threw off the yoke of Roman bondage and made the Bible their national guideline. The nations of Celto-Anglo-Saxondom are indeed the nat-ions of the Reformation, the People of the Book, Israel - Redeemed, Regathered and Revived.
CONCLUSION — THE COMING REFORMATION
"The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of a valley which was full of bones — and lo they were very dry — He said unto me prophesy unto the bones and say, 0 ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord; Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones: Behold I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: And I will lay sinew upon you, and I will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin and put breath in you and ye shall live and know that I am the Lord. So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone; And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. Then He said unto me: Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God; Come from the four winds, 0 breath and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them and they lived and stood upon their feet, an exceeding great army. Then He said unto me, these bones are the whole House of Israel".
(Ezekiel Ch. 37 v.1-11)
Sad to relate, these same people of the Covenant are found to-day in exactly the state that Ezekiel the prophet was shown them, as a "valley full of dry bones". The enemy has sown tares amongst the wheat whilst we slept, and to-day we are seeing a veritable harvest of modernism, rationalism, ritualism, ecumenism and resurgent Romanism in the lands of Celto-Anglo-Saxondom which God has so richly blessed. The wonderful truths which began to be rediscovered at the Reformation are counted as of no importance to-day, the liberties and freedoms pur-chased with the blood of the martyrs are scorned and despised by the apostate clergy of our main denominations who almost stumble over each other in their unholy haste to return in submission to Popery. The result is that the great mass of our nation is spiritually dead (only 14 % attend a Christian Church of any kind) and the cry of our people might well be, "our bones are dry and our hope is lost", BUT, God has pro-mised in this wonderful prophecy to "breathe upon these slain", to send one more mighty outpouring of His Spirit, the former and latter rain together, the greatest Reformation and Revival since Pentecost, the result of which will be that our people in all their lands will once again "stand upon their feet a mighty army". In that day the true Gospel shall indeed be preached in power and demonstration, the idols and abominable things shall be totally removed from the midst of the "nation and company of nations", the false religious leaders shall be swept aside, and the hearts of our people shall be turned in repentance to a loving, heavenly Father.
It will come to pass that this race divinely chosen, will become a holy nation of priests and kings to rule the world for a thousand years and bless all individuals and peoples, just as God intended them to do under the headship of Christ the King. To those who answer the .11 NOW and make their calling and election sure by faith, repentance and obedience, and who devote their time and talents to proclaiming this Good News of the Kingdom, God has promised blessed positions of rulership and authority in the coming Millenium or Kingdom Age. There is so much to inspire us to stand firm for the Truth and to press on to victory over sin, disease and death toward the ultimate Reformation.