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Christ, they still emphatically teach the conscious state of the soul after death. The account of the rich man and Lazarus is either a parable or a real history. It can not be successfully proved that it is a parable. In fact, Jesus did not say so. His lan
. guage would rather indicate that it was a true narrative of what actually took place. “There was a certain rich man,
and there was a certain beggar named Lazarus,” said Jesus, and then gave an account of their death, and future state. But should we admit the whole account to be a parable, that would not lessen the argument one jot or tittle. Christ chose either a falsehood or truth for the base of his parable. Mark that thought. I repeat: The basis of the parable is either a positive falsehood or a positive truth. If such a state of things does not exist after death, then Christ falsified. But if Christ, who is the fountain-head of all truth, told the truth, then the very state of things here described does exist after the death of the body. Every pious soul cries out, “Let God be true, though every man
“There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day.” Here we have a man rich in this world's goods. He had all that heart could wish. He fared sumptuously. But one thing he neglected-salvation; neglected to lay up treasure in heaven-eternal riches. A poor beggar lay at his gate full of sores. If this rich man had been a child of God he would
have taken this poor man in and dressed his sores, and fed him from his bountiful table. But he was too proud and selfish. The starving beggar desired simply the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover, the dogs came and licked his sores. Oh, how sinful and haughty was that man!
But the time came when “the rich man died, and was buried.” His mortal body returned back to dust. But did that end his existence? Was his soul buried in the grave, too? No. "In hell (Hades) he lifted up his eyes being in torments.” Mark the fact, that while his body was buried his soul was in torment.
Now let us glance briefly at the other side. “And it came to pass that the beggar died.” Did that end his existence ? No. He “was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom (rest].” At death the real inner man departed. He did not go down with the decomposing body, but was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom, the Paradise of God. Here he was "comforted,” while the rich man "afar off” was in a state of torment. This narrative of the Savior perfectly concurs with the multiplied scriptures already cited which so clearly teach the conscious state of the soul after death. Other important truths in this lesson will be considered in future chapters.
In Rev. 5 the plan of redemption is symbolically brought to view as a book sealed with seven seals. Finally the Lion of Judah (Christ) prevailed to
The seven seals cover the time of its
accomplishment from the incarnation of Christ to the end of time. The opening of each seal brings a new epoch through which the church was to pass. At the opening of the first seal a white horse is seen; “and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer." Rev. 6:1, 2. This signifies the triumphs of Christ's kingdom in the early morning of the Christian era. White horse denotes its strength and purity.
The opening of the second seal brings to view a red horse, and a time of great slaughter. See Vs. 3, 4. This was fulfilled in the bloody persecutions of pagan Rome against the primitive Christian church. Tens of thousands were slain by that iron power.
Next came a black horse (Rev. 6:5, 6), which sig. nifies the great apostate church which supplanted the true. Black denotes the awful dark heresies and superstitions which during the dark ages hid the brilliant radiancy of gospel light and salvation from the earth, a time of awful spiritual famine.
Following this a pale horse, and his name that sat on him was Death. He killed men with the sword, with hunger, with death, and with the beasts of the earth. Vs. 7, 8. An apostate church-the Roman Catholic—whose history can be clearly traced from about A. D. 270; grew up by degrees; and when this sect became universal, the imperial spirit and head of Rome, which under the Cæsars was the persecuting power against the early Christian church, revived, and clothed itself in a Christian garb, and began to persecute the seed of the woman, the church, worse than when clothed in heathen garb. This was popery. Rev. 6:8 was fulfilled to the letter under the reign of the papacy. Some authorities place the number at 55,000,000 who suffered martyrdom at the cruel hands of Rome; and in the exact manner herein described. This brings us to consider the fifth seal.
“And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the Word of God, and for the testimony which they held: and they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.” Rev. 6:9-11.
Here the souls of that great multitude who were slain under the second and fourth seals are brought to view; viz., the thousands and millions who were slain for the Word of God, and for the testimony which they held during the reign of heathen Rome and papal Rome. They were the disembodied spirits of that host who laid down their lives for the gospel. They were conscious. They were at rest. They were “under the altar.” Upon the altar would signify labor, sacrifice, and service. But under the
altar signifies that their labors were done. “And it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season.
You see they were at rest. “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord:... that they may rest from their labors." Chap. 14: 13. In that home of the soul "the wicked cease from troubling; and there the weary be at rest." Yes, "they rest to.
” gether; they hear not the voice of the oppressor. The small and great are there; and the servant is free from his master.” Job 3: 17-19. Oh, how comforting these scriptures, when we believe the truth, since life and immortality are brought to light in the gospel. These souls were not on the earth, for they spoke of them “that dwell on the earth.” Their bodies had been slain on the earth. But their mur. derers could not kill the soul. Mat. 10: 28. Their souls still lived, and were conscious.
While thus reigning with the Lord these souls desired of him to know when he would avenge their blood on them that dwell upon the earth. They were told that they should rest a “little season, their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. This, of course, referred to a second bloody martyrdom that would take place. This, no doubt, was fulfilled after the sixteenth century reformation, when tens of thousands of Protestants laid down their lives before the papal power was broken. This may also include the putting to death of God's saints just before the end. God will avenge the blood of the