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(13:1; 17:3) is the Roman emperor; that the
seven heads are seven emperors ; that the wom an (17:3-9) is the city of Rome; that the ten horns (13:1; 17 :3-12) are imperial governors ? all this is now beyond dispute." (Quoted by M. |)ods, Intro, to N. T., p. 239.) "We may feel satisfied," declares Dr. L. A. Muirhead, "that : lie first beast is in general the Roman empire embodied in the person of the emperor, while the second (the lamb that spake as a dragon) is the priesthood of the imperial Cultus. AVe may be satisfied also that under the imagery of the first beast the author must have thought of both Nero and Domitian. It was under Domi tian that persecution of the Christians became a part of the imperial policy." (Die. of Apos , ch. art. "Apocalypse"). In the Apocalypse there are six references to a "book of life" (3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12, 15; 21:27). God is represented as having a register of His redeemed and accepted people. Only those whose names are in this book have any right to enter into the city of God (21 :27). All whose names are not in this book shall wor ship the beast and be cast into the lake of fire (20:15). Not one whose name is in the book shall worship the beast or his image or receive his mark upon their forehead and hand (3:5; 13:8; 17:8). In other words, John believes that the persecutions of his day will sift the false church members from the true, and thai not one genuine Christian shall worship the em peror 's image. Combining these ' ' book of life ' ' texts with the statement in 20:4, "and such as worship not the beast," we conclude that in this fourth verse we have a comprehensive de scription of all the faithful of John's day; some of whom actually suffered martyrdom, while others although enduring manifold per secutions were permitted to die in peace. This conclusion has an important bearing on the meaning of "the rest of the dead" in vs. 5, which we consider later. The word translated "beheaded" means to have the head cut off with the pelelcus, or axe, "the traditional instrument of capital punish ment in republican Rome, which, though under the empire superseded by the sword, still lin gered in the memory of the provincials." In 6:9-11 these martyrs are spoken of as those "that had been slain for the word of God; and for the testimony which they held;" they had been killed and their blood'cries out to God for vengeance. In 13:15-18 we are in formed that all who refused to worship the image of the beast were decreed to be killed. "And he (the beast) causeth all, the small and the great, the rich and the poor, and the free and the bond, that there be given them a mark on their right hand, or upon their forehead ; and that no man should be able to buy or sell, save he that hath the mark, even the name of the beast or the number of his name . . . and his number is 666." Six hundred and sixty -six is undoubtedly a symbol for the Emperor Nero; for the Hebrew letters for "Neron-Cae sar" make 666. And Nero here stands for the persecuting power of Rome, for it was he who began the policy of persecution and was him self the embodiment of its worst features, and his evil spirit reappeared in Domitian. In Revelation we have thirty references to a blood-thirsty beast of irresistible strength and cruelty who has caused an image of himself to be erected in the provinces, and all who refuse to worship the image shall suffer boycott, loss of property and death. A careful study of these references forces us to the conclusion that the beast is the persecuting Roman government under Nero and Domitian. This conclusion is confirmed by the testimony of Irenaeus (180 A. D.) and many others that the Apostle John wrote Revelation in the closing years (90-95 A. D.) of the reign of Doraitiau. "So far as we ean discover, no persecution was directed against the Christians as Christians till Domi tian's time." (It. H. Charles, art. "Revela tion," Encycl. Brit.) Indeed, many modern scholars believe there is sufficient evidence to fix the date of tho book definitely between 93 and 95 A. D. The "beast from the sea*' of chapter 13 represents the persecuting Roman government; while the "beast from the land" of the same chapter is the native council of Asia, which executes the commands of the "beast from the sea." "The false prophet" is, perhaps, not to be regarded as an individual but as a class or system, and represents the religious policy and power of the native coun cil of Asia. About these details we cannot be dogmatic, but we can accept with assurance the general statement that the martyrs and confessors whom John saw enthroned in heaven were the victims of Nero and Domitian. The Christians in Asia in 90-95 A. P., to whom John writes, were distressed by the delay of Christ's second coming, by the bitter hostility of the Jews, by their own low spiritual vitality, by pagan persecution here and there even unto death, and by the dark prospect of greater per secution ahead. John's immediate purpose was to encourage and strengthen these Christians in their trials, and he accomplished his purpose by giving through the opened door of heaven pictures of the glorified state of those who were faithful even unto death. The vision in chap ter 20 of the martyrs and confessors reigning with Christ is one of these pictures, of which there are many scattered throughout the book. (To be continued.) THE PROPOSED PROGRAM OF THE SYS TEMATIC BENEFICENCE COM MITTEE. "Great men are not always wise," said Elihu the Buzite to Job's three friends. True then; true still. Some are reat in learning, knowl edge, speech, wealth, position and authority but lacking in genuine wisdom. And even the wisest and best are liable to make mistakes and sometimes do unwise things. In the Presbyte rian Church we are all brethren, and if those who are leaders make mistakes, it is permissible for those who follow to point out these mis takes and try to have them corrected and avoided in the future. Our Systematic Beneficence Committee is made up of many of the wisest men in the Church, but it seems to some of the rank and file that they have made two serious mistakes recently. The first in ordering the change of date for the Every Member Canvass from March to April-May. The result is confusion. Why these great men could not foresee this is more than this humble scribe can explain. Sev eral Synods and many Presbyteries and church es have adhered to the old time and have made the canvass in March. Others postponed, as the Committee so earnestly requested, to be in line with the Interchurch World Movement ; and as a consequence there is no concert of ac tion in the Church. If we must get in line with the Interchurch World Movement, which some question seri ously, would it not have been better not to un dertake to change the time of the canvass just a few weeks before the time for it to be taken, but stick to the time already adopted this year and make the change for 1921 ? It seems to many that would have been the wise course. But all this cannot be changed now and we should try to make the very best possible of the existing situation. It seems to me the Church should consider very carefully and discuss earnestly another recommendation of the same Committee that will come before the Assembly for adoption or rejection in May. The people ought to be thinking it over. The Presbyteries might do well to consider it at their spring meetings and let their commissioners know the prevailing sentiment whether pro or con. The matter referred to is the recommendation of the Sys tematic Beneficence Committee that the As sembly inaugurate a campaign to raise in one drive forty million dollars, to be paid in five years, after the manner of the $35,000,000 cam paign in the Southern Methodist Church and the $75,000,000 campaign in the Southern Baptist churches, both of which were success fully completed last year. The unreasonableness of this scheme does not move the Committee. They do not seem to re member that the Methodists have nearly two and a quarter million members to raise their seven million dollars per year; nor that the Baptists have about three million members to raise their fifteen millions per year; but they ask our three hundred and thirty thousand resident members to raise eight millions per year. Did this disparity occur to these great men? The unwisdom of it can be seen from another viewpoint. In 1918 we tried to raise $3,000,000 and failed. In 1919 we undertook to secure $3,500,000 and again fell short sev eral hundred thousand dollars. We are now in the midst of the effort to get $4,000,000 sub scribed and the result is in doubt though the outlook is hopeful. Did the Committee feel that we need something of sufficient magnitude to interest our people? Presumably so. One great leader expressed the idea that our pres ent program does not "capture the imagina tion" as the proposed scheme would do. May be not. People are so constituted that they can be brought gradually up to a point which they would not undertake to reach at a bound. To ask twice as much as this year's quota per year for five years would cause the b ilk of the mem bership to rebel and possibly refuse to do as much as at present. As long as times are pros perous and money abounds they will move up gradually year by year. But to double the amount and subscribe for five years at a time, large numbers would absolutely refuse to do it. And who could blame them ? The other denominations will find it hard to collect the third, fourth and fifth years, I be lieve, increasingly so. We need the yearly ed ucational work and the annual pledges of the present "Progressive Presbyterian Program." Let us not risk the proposed change. ' T. THE SONS OF GOD. By Rev. N. B. Mathes. Children are prone to boast of their parent age ? their wealth, their social position and in fluence in the world. And, in &ome instances, they look up to, and almost worship an elder brother. And, in proper bounds, this is both natural and right. But how much more should Christians exult in being called sons of God. For their heavenly parent is all powerful, infi nitely wise, and holds the wealth of the world in Ilis hands. And of all the sons of men, His Son is most popular and has the widest influ ence. Then why not boast that you are a child of God and brother of the Lord Jesus Christ! And just see also how God Loves His Children. His love is most wonderful, both in kind and degree-. Wonderful that so great a Creator should so love so small a creature as man. Wonderful that so holy a God should so love so depraved humanity. And bestows love it self, and not simply the gifts that love suggest?.