The First Resurrection
The First Resurrection is the resurrection of the martyrs who did not worship the beast.
“Those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received the mark on their foreheads, they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.”
Thousands of saints were killed in the papal inquisitions of the Middle Ages, and thousands more were killed during the Reformation. The earliest Protestants, the Waldensians, were burned at the stake in the 12th and 13th centuries. In 1198, Pope Innocent III declared, “Anyone who attempts to construe a personal view of God that conflicts with Church dogma must be burned without pity.” Many, even bishops, who did not believe that the bread and wine consecrated during the mass became the physical body and blood of Christ were burned at the stake, and many others were drowned because they tried to baptize through immersion in rivers.
The apostle John said that the great harlot — the Catholic Church — was “drunk with blood of the saints.”
In 1467, after the Moravian brothers declared their independence from the pope, they were hunted in the woods of Bohemia for three and a half years. Then, in 1471, their oppressors, Archbishop Jan Rokycana and King Prodebrady, died. This ended the “time, times, and half a time” and marked the start of “the First Resurrection,” the reign of the martyrs with Christ for 1,000 years.
John said, “They heard a loud voice saying, “Come up here!” They went up into heaven in the cloud, and their enemies saw them.” The Hussite martyrs ascended straight to heaven and began the 1,000-year reign of the martyrs with Christ. Their blood speaks for the truth for 1,000 years.
A Tenth of the City Fell
After the saints were set free from the beast, the apostle John said, “In that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell, seven thousand were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.”
This is the second “hour” described in the Book of Revelation.
In Revelation 16:18, the battle of Armageddon is also described as a “great earthquake” where a third of mankind died.
A tenth of Europe, a tenth of the great city, died in the Reformation wars that broke out among the Catholics and the Protestants.
- In France, religious wars killed three million people from 1562 to 1598. Thousands of Waldensians were murdered in Merindol in 1545, and thousands of Huguenots were killed in the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre of 1572, which “printed on Protestant minds the indelible conviction that Catholicism was a bloody and treacherous religion.”
- Religious freedom in northern Europe came at a great cost, with decades of rebellions, wars, and bloody persecutions.
- Germany and central Europe suffered tremendous violence in the Thirty Years War of 1618–1648. In 1620, the Protestants in Bohemia were defeated at the Battle of White Mountain and were forced to return to Catholicism. The deaths in Germany were the most numerous: one third of the German population died.
In total, one-tenth of the population of Europe died in these wars. A tenth of the city fell.
John said “seven thousand” were killed in the earthquake. This expression comes from 1 Kings 19:18, where God said, “I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal.”
These were the 7,000 who did not worship the beast.
They Will Hate the Harlot
After the protests of Jan Huss and Martin Luther, the whole of Europe changed. The Hussites broke free from the Papacy in 1471, and the Lutherans broke free in 1520 when Martin Luther burned the Papal Bull in front of a crowd in Wittenberg. Some European states, like Sweden and England, established their own churches.
By the end of the 16th century, the political relationship between the states of Europe and the pope had also come to an end. These relationships began after the East–West Schism of 1054 and became stronger with Hildebrand in 1073. John said the ten kings would reign with the beast as for one hour, but in one hour, the harlot and all her wealth will be laid to waste.
John said the ten kings, the ten states of Europe, “will hate the harlot.” They “made her desolate and naked” — they took away her wealth and splendor and exposed all her corruption. They “ate her flesh,” meaning they destroyed her power. They “burned her up with fire.” This was the punishment required of a priest’s daughter who had become a prostitute. Mystery Babylon was a great harlot.
John described “the smoke of her burning,” and the angel said, “Pay her back double according to [her] deeds.”
Those who made their living by the sea, selling salvation, watched her burn from a distance: “The merchants of the earth weep and mourn for her because no one buys her cargo anymore — gold and silver and precious stones and pearls and fine linen and purple and silk and scarlet.”
John Lothrop Motley, in his book The Rise of the Dutch Republic, described the Reformation scene in the Netherlands, saying: “… pictures, statues, organs, ornaments … of richest material glittering with pearls, rubies and other precious stones were scattered in heaps of ruin upon the ground.”
The angel who spoke to John rebuked the harlot, saying, “The fruit that you long for has gone from you.” The Catholic Church did not seek the fruit of the Spirit but power over men and material gain.
The denial of the harlot was described in Revelation 18: “I am a queen and not a widow.” The Catholic Church tried to insist that it was still the true bride of Christ.
Come out from Her, My People
The vivid descriptions of the Church as a great harlot gave the Protestant reformers the confidence to leave the Church that claimed to hold the keys of salvation for every man. The corruption of the Church was first prophesied in the Book of Daniel. Daniel said the power of the holy people would be completely shattered after “a time, times, and half a time.”
In Revelation 18, the Spirit of Christ, the Angel of God, called out from heaven, saying, “Come out from her, My people, so that you do not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues — fallen, fallen is Babylon the great. She has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison of every unclean spirit and every hated bird.”
The corruption of the Church was reflected in the immorality of the clergy and the doctrines of the Church. The most obvious offense in doctrine was the sale of the forgiveness of sins, called indulgences. Many pagan practices of the Roman Empire were brought into the Church. Christmas and Easter both had their origins in Roman pagan festivals. Hosea prophesied about the pagan religion of the New Covenant Church, saying, “Go again and love a lover, just like the love of the Lord for the children of Israel, who look to other gods and love the raisin cakes of the pagans.” The most difficult corruptions of doctrine, however, were the image of the Beast — the Trinity doctrine — and the mark of the beast — the changing of God’s commandment regarding the Sabbath day.
Hosea called God’s people Jezreel, meaning “God scatters,” as many denominations were formed as the saints heard Christ’s call to leave the Church. They continued to hold onto corrupt doctrines, though. Mystery Babylon was “the mother of harlots and the abominations of the Earth.”
After breaking free from the pope, the saints began cleansing the Holy City. Many denominations, like the Pentecostals and Baptists, were named for their emphasis on restoring the truth.
The Wind Carried Them Away
King Nebuchadnezzar saw the kingdoms against the saints as a great image that was struck by a stone during the Reformation. That stone was the Spirit of Christ. Daniel said, “The wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found.”
When, however, did these earthly powers no longer control the saints?
In the Holy Roman Empire, the Lutheran Church was not officially recognized until the Peace of Augsburg of 1555. Calvinism was not recognized until the Peace of Westphalia in 1648.
There was more religious freedom in the British commonwealth, where the Church of England was established by King Henry VIII. Dissenters who were dissatisfied with the Church of England began new denominations to pursue the apostolic truth. In 1617, Sabbath keeping began at the Mill Yard Seventh Day Baptist Church in London. The Quakers pursued a Pentecostal experience. Edward Burrough, who died in 1663, wrote, “We spoke with new tongues as the Lord gave us utterance and His Spirit led us.”
All these new denominations, however, were persecuted. The Seventh Day Baptists in England were fined for not keeping Sunday rest. The Quakers were sent to prison because they refused to fight against other Christians. As a result, many believers went to America to find greater religious freedom.
In the United States, many more denominations were born, including the Seventh Day Adventists and Pentecostals. Most of these new denominations had non-Trinitarian beginnings, and they believed themselves to be the true elect of God.
In 1844, Ellen White became a driving force of the Seventh Day Adventist Church when she began seeing visions during church services. She believed that those who kept holy the Sabbath day were the end-time saints in the Book of Revelation “who keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus.”
In 1906, at Azusa Street in California, thousands reported receiving a spiritual gift of speaking in other tongues.