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I FIRST BEGAN THE STUDY OF GOD’S WHITE STONE IN REV. 2 MANY YEARS AGO, AT MY FIRST PASTORATE, BECAUSE OF A GEOLOGIST IN THE CHURCH THAT ELUDED TO THE WHITE STONE VERSE,IN A BIBLE STUDY LESSON I HEARD HIM GIVE. I LATER WAS STUDYING THE REVELATIONS AT D.B.U., UNDER DR. BELL, WHO IS ONE OF THE FOREMOST NEW TESTAMENT AUTHORITIES OF OUR GENERATION. OUR STUDY, CONCERNED THE BACKGROUND MATERIAL OF THE BOOK, BECAUSE THE REVELATION CANNOT BE UNDERSTOOD APART FROM IT’S SETTING, JUST LIKE OTHER BOOKS IN THE BIBLE.


GOD WOULD MAKE A PROMISE, AND THAT PROMISE WAS MADE TO THE INDIVIDUAL, WHO IS INVOLVED IN LIVING THE VICTORIOUS CHRISTIAN LIFE. WE LEARNED THAT CHRISTIANS WERE UNDERGOING GREAT SUFFERING, AT THE HANDS OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE, PARTICULARLY IN THE PERSECUTION OF DOMITIAN AND NERO. AT THAT TIME, LITTLE GROUPS OF CHRISTIANS WOULD GATHER IN A HOME TO WORSHIP GOD, SING, PRAY AND STUDY GOD’S WORD. NOW, YOU HAVE TO REMEMBER, THAT MANY STATEMENTS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, WERE ADDRESSED TO THE CHURCH AS LOCATED IN A PARTICULAR HOME OR HOUSE, BECAUSE IN THOSE DAYS, CHRISTIANS WERE INVOLVED IN THE BUSINESS OF BUILDING CHURCHES, NOT CHURCH BUILDINGS. AT THAT TIME, THE CHURCH AT JERUSALEM HAD APPROXIMATELY 12,000 MEMBERS BEFORE IT EVER HAD A BUILDING. NEVER-THE-LESS, WHILE THIS SMALL GROUP OF CHRISTIANS WERE ENGAGED IN WORSHIP, THERE WOULD COME TO THEIR EARS THE SOUND OF THE IMPLEMENTS OF WAR. THE DOOR WOULD BE BROKEN DOWN AND ROMAN SOLDIERS WOULD SUDDENLY BE UPON THEM. BABIES WOULD BE HELD BY THEIR FEET, HANDS AND THEIR HEADS DASHED AGAINST THE WALL, TO THEIR DEATH. AT SPEAR-POINT, THEY WERE DRIVEN TO THE ROMAN JAIL AND CAST INTO A DARK AND FILTHY DUNGEON WHERE THEIR BODIES WERE INFESTED WITH LICE BY DAY AND NIBBLED ON BY RATS, AT NIGHT. MANY TIMES, THE MEN AND WOMEN WERE CROWDED TOGETHER IN SMALL CELLS WITH NO SANITATION FACILITIES; ALL OF THIS FOR NO OTHER CRIME, THAN THE FACT THAT THEY WORSHIPED GOD. ON A SPECIAL ROMAN FESTIVAL DAYS, THIS LITTLE NOMADIC GROUP OF CHRISTIANS WOULD BE BROUGHT INTO THE COLISEUM THAT STILL STANDS TODAY IN ROME. FAMILIES WOULD BE HERDED INTO THE CENTER OF THE ARENA AND AT A SIGNAL FROM THE ROMAN RULER, IRON GATES WOULD BE RAISED AROUND THE WALLS AND WILD, HALF STARVED BEASTS FROM THE JUNGLE WOULD BE TURNED UPON GOD’S PEOPLE. A BABY WOULD BE TORN FROM IT’S MOTHER’S ARMS; AND THE FATHER WOULD WATCH HELPLESSLY AS HIS FAMILY WAS TORN TO SHREDS. TEEN-AGE BOYS AND GIRLS WOULD GO DOWN IN SCREAMS WHILE THEY WERE EATEN ALIVE. AFTER A WHILE, NOTHING WOULD BE LEFT EXCEPT A FEW BLOODY RAGS AND THE ECHO OF SOBS AND ALL THESE PEOPLE WERE PERSECUTED FOR, WA WORSHIPING A TRUE AND LOVING GOD. WHEN BEASTS WERE DRIVEN FROM THE ARENA, THE BARS WERE LIFTED IN FRONT OF THOSE WHO SURVIVED AND ROMAN ARCHERS MARCHED INTO THE ARENA AND USE THEM FOR LIVE TARGET PRACTICE. A SOLDIER WOULD RAISE HIS BOW; AN ARROW HISSES THROUGH THE AIR TO LODGE IN A SHOULDER, THEN ANOTHER ARROW IN A THIGH, THEN A LEG, UNTIL THE BLOOD DRIPPING FROM THE ARROWS. THEN FROM THE SHEER LOSS OF BLOOD AND WEIGHT OF THE ARROWS, THE CHRISTIAN’S HEAD WOULD DROP FORWARD, GASPING IN DEATH, BUT NOT ALL OF THE PEOPLE WERE PUT TO DEATH LIKE THIS, MANY WERE BURNED AT THE STAKE. A ROW OF STAKES WOULD BE SET UP AND GOD’S PEOPLE WERE BROUGHT OUT TO BE BOUND WITH ARMS AND LEGS TIED TO THESE STAKES. BRUSH WAS PILED AT THEIR FEET AND AT A SIGNAL, A SLAVE CAME AND STUCK A TORCH TO THE BRUSH AND THE ODOR OF BURNING FLESH FILLED THE AIR. MANY OTHERS WERE PLACED ON A CHOPPING BLOCK TO HAVE THEIR HEADS SEVERED FROM THEIR BODIES. ALL THIS, FOR NO OTHER CRIME, THAN SIMPLY BEING A CHRISTIAN. THE HEIGHT OF BARBARISM FOR THESE ARISTOCRATIC ROMANS CAME, IN WHAT WAS DONE TO THE CHRISTIAN WOMEN. MANY OF THEM WERE BROUGHT TO A ROMAN COURTYARD BY NIGHT TO BE NAILED UPSIDE DOWN TO CROSSES.


YOU WILL REMEMBER THESE EARLY CHRISTIAN WOMEN DID NOT CUT THEIR HAIR, AND AS THEY WERE NAILED TO THESE CROSSES AROUND THE COURTYARD WITH THEIR HAIR HANGING DOWN, THEIR BODIES WERE SATURATED WITH WHALE OIL AND AT A GIVEN SIGNAL, A SERVANT CAME WITH A TORCH AND SET FIRE TO THEIR HAIR AND THEY BECAME LIVING TORCHES, FURNISHING LIGHT FOR THE WILD ROMAN ORGIES.

WHAT A PRICE TO PAY, FOR LOVING THE LORD!!