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Sixth Edition, 1915
By Dr. John Thomas (first edition written 1861)



Chapter 12

Section 6

The Woman Pregnant



"And being pregnant she cries being in pangs and straining to bring forth" - verse 2

En gastre echousa, literally, having in belly. She contained something within the pale of her communion afterwards to be manifested, or brought forth. She contained it, according to the fitness or decorum of the symbol, previous to her cries in parturition. She did not cry being in pangs and straining to bring forth after her investiture with the solar mantle of imperialism. Her being invested with the sun was consequent upon her giving birth to what was contained within her, and its being placed upon the Italian throne. Had her child not been born, the "great sign in the heaven" would not have there appeared. The Italian throne in Rome had first to be vacated by its pagan occupant, before anything produced from the Laodiceanized Christian Body, pre-figured by this woman, could be herpasthe, carried up from its birth-place in the Roman heaven to godship and its throne - pros ton Theon, kai ton thronon autou. Hence the "great sign" described in the first verse, was representative of the consummation of certain antecedents; and though first stated, was the last thing in the situation developed before the world. The woman's pregnancy, then, preceded her cries. With what was she pregnant? This is now the question to be solved.

Zion and Jerusalem not only signify the geographical and topographical things so called, but all those, whether Jews or Gentiles, who have acquired citizenship in the Commonwealth of Israel by adoption through Jesus Christ. These all constitute a community, which in Isaiah 66:7, and Jer. 6:2, is likened to "a comely and delicate woman". In the former text the Spirit saith of her, "before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child." It was the same comely and delicate woman the exile in Patmos saw in the heaven invested with the sun. Isaiah's woman and John's woman are both represented as pregnant, and bringing forth, or giving birth to, a man child. But the difference existing is this, that John's woman brought forth under the Sixth Seal, A.D. 312-313; while Isaiah's woman brings forth, under the Sixth Vial at "the time of the dead." There is difference also in the things brought forth. Isaiah's woman brings forth a multitudinous man child; that is, a nation, the "holy nation" (1 Pet. 2:9) consisting of the children of Zion, whom the earth is made to bring forth in one day. This nation is "born at once" before the travailing of Zion in the bringing forth her children after the flesh. As the saints are still mostly in the grave, and Israel and Judah in captivity among the nations - entombed in national graves - Zion is now a pregnant woman waiting until her time come to be delivered.

But we have to do with the comely and delicate Zion-woman as pregnant neither with Israel and Judah, nor the Saints, but with some other thing. What was that thing?

In writing to the Corinthian section of the Zion-community, Paul says, "I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present a chaste virgin to Christ" (2 Cor. 11:2). By this we are taught, that the "One Body," likened to a woman, is to be considered in the absence of Christ, not as a married, but as an espoused woman - a bride elect. Paul desired that she might be presented in all the purity of her original espousals, when she was "sanctified and cleansed in the laver of the water with doctrine" (Eph. 5:26). But, though this was his desire, penetrating the darkness of the future by the light of the Spirit, he could not forbear the expression of his fears lest the fate of Eve, the espoused of the first Adam, who was corrupted from the simplicity of the truth, should become the unhappy condition of the betrothed of the second Adam. "I fear," says he, "lest by any means, as the Serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ."

What Paul feared, and to prevent which he was "jealous over all with a godly jealousy," was even then secretly at work, impregnating the Christian Eve with principles which in fruition caused her to give birth to a Cain, who has been murdering his brother Abel for fifteen hundred years. It was even then at work. He styles it "the Mystery of the Iniquity" - the secret principles of that lawlessness which would develop itself into the Lawless One, or Man of Sin - anthropos tes hamartia - THE MAN OF THE APOSTASY. The seed-germ of this man was already in the womb of the espoused. "The mystery of the iniquity is already effectually working," says the apostle in 2 Thess. 2:7. Yes, it was this working, which, in verse 9, he styles "the inworking of the Satan," gave him so much trouble, and caused him such great anxiety, as evinced in his epistles. The principles of the apostasy were being inwrought, as he informs us, "with all power, and signs, and miracles of falsehood, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish." So effectual and specious was this inworking that, as Jesus predicted, even the elect would be endangered (Matt. 24:24). How could it be otherwise when, as Paul said to the Star-Angel of the Ephesian section of the betrothed Woman, "Of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them" (Acts 20:30). These StarAngel men had been made overseers of the ecclesia of the Deity by the Holy Spirit. They were the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, who had been supernaturally qualified by spiritual gifts "for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ" (Eph. 4:12). With all the sanction of these gifts from the ascended Lord himself, they had been recognised by the flock they episcopized as the ministers of Christ. How unlikely therefore, that they would speak perverse things, and, becoming deceivers, rend the flock as grievous wolves, instead of feeding it, as they were exhorted to do by Paul. But, unlikely as it might seem, such was the fact. It is true that the Lord had bestowed upon them spiritual gifts; but these gifts did not act compulsorily upon those who had them. They did not compel them to speak only the truth, and to use them aright; they only qualified them so to do if they were disposed; but if, under the temptation of the flesh, they were indisposed, they could falsely teach, and speak perverse things, and misapply the signs and miracles they were able to work, to confirm what they said; for Paul says plainly that "the spirits (or spiritual gifts) of the prophets are subject to the prophets" (1 Cor. 14:32): the prophets were, therefore, responsible for the right use of them. They could abuse them, and many of them did, to the overthrow of the faith of those who heeded them.

It was by the inworking of these unfaithful teachers constituting "the Satan", "the Serpent," that the Christian Eve was "corrupted from the simplicity which is in Christ. " The depths of the Satan as they taught (Apoc. 2:24) impregnated her with the mystery of iniquity. They formed within her the embryo of the Man of Sin. They preached a Jesus which was not according to the Jesus Paul preached; they taught another gospel than that proclaimed by him; and denied a future resurrection of the dead; or, which was equivalent thereto, said that it was already past. The inworking of this mystery, or perverse teaching, showed itself very early in the history of the Christian Eve. The first intimation on record of this subverting of souls is found in Acts 14:1-5. In this place we are told that certain who believed were not satisfied with the sufficiency of the simplicity which is in Christ for salvation. The belief of "the things concerning the kingdom of the Deity and of the Name of Jesus Christ;" and the immersion of such a believer for salvation from the sins of the past-did not satisfy them. They required that Moses should be obeyed as well as Jesus; and that no gospel short of this would save any one: "Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, and keep his law, ye cannot be saved. " This was their perversion of the gospel, which Paul terms "another gospel," the preachers of which, though of celestial angelic origin, he pronounced "accursed."

But these accursed preachers did not regard the anathema of Paul. They did not desist from the sowing of tares; but continued to heap tradition upon tradition until the distinctiveness of the truth was lost in "the commandments and doctrines of men" (Col. 2:22); and the way of truth came to be evil spoken of. Many followed their pernicious ways. Nor were the apostles able to extinguish their evil influence. Their reasonings and denunciations and threatenings, although sanctioned by the Spirit, failed to check or restrain the rapidly developing apostasy. Whole houses were subverted from the faith by these mercenary, unruly and vain talkers and deceivers (Tit. 1: 11): and as error always progresses more rapidly than truth, the apostles found their influence waning, and the faithful falling into a minority; which steadily increased until there remained but few names who had not defiled their garments; and only a little stength to maintain the truth before the world (Apoc. 3:4,8).

From these premises then, we perceive, that the Zion-woman community was no longer, as a whole, "a chaste virgin." She had been corrupted and defiled by the subtilty, or "slight of men and cunning craftiness, whereby they laid in wait to deceive," after the example of the beguilement of Eve. Hence, the woman community, originally a chaste virgin, and all her constituents virgins undefiled, came to be pregnant with a multitude of "children tossed to-and-fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine." These were tares, or "children of the wicked one, and sown of the enemy, the devil" (Matt. 13:38,39). In the seven Apocalyptic Epistles, the constituents of this embryo apostasy are termed "liars," "Nikolaitanes," blasphemers, spurious Jews, "the synagogue of the Satan," "Balaam", "that woman Jezebel", "her children", "the Satan", "the dead," "the wretched and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. " In the pentecostal beginning, these constituents were not found in the Christian Eve. Then "the multitude of them that believed were of one heart, and of one soul" (Acts 4:32). They had not yet been distracted and thrown into confusion by "grievous wolves," and "men speaking perverse things to draw away disciples after them," for their own glory and advantage, reckless of the truth. But, in the course of three hundred years, all this was changed. The multitude of them who styled themselves Christians, were destitute of all unity of heart and soul; and had degenerated into a "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked" set of catholic politicians. These gave character to the woman-community in the beginning of the fourth century. The Christadelphians or Brethren of Christ, at that crisis, were the "few names left, who had not defiled their garments." These alone were the pillar and support of the truth;" and but for them, it would have died out from among men; and there would have been no woman to fly into the wilderness, and to be sustained there 1,260 years. But the Deity had reserved to Himself a remnant, styled "the remnants of her seed, who keep the commandments of the Deity, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Ch. 12:17).

Thus the woman, who had become excessively attenuated, as it were skin and bone, a living skeleton, in all the period of her pregnancy, was grieved with a multitude of nominal professors ready for "any enterprise by which they might acquire power and office in the state. This was the party with which she was pregnant. It styled itself "the HOLY APOSTOLIC CATHOLIC CHURCH;" and only waited for a catholic man of power to lead them in their attack upon the pagan Roman government. This was -ME COMING MAN" of the fourth century - a leading politician, a Man of Power, who should be able to make the party to which he should belong the ruling Dower of the state. With this party, waiting for the Manifestation of its chief, the woman was pregnant before "she cried being in pangs and strained to bring forth."





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