Leo Stancliff – Revelations 17 – Saginaw, Michigan Convention – Thursday afternoon, 2000

Today, we could talk a little about Revelation. What does that mean? Does it mean, “figured out?”  I have been to some religious services where they have tried to figure it out and they come up with some ridiculous figures. You know what science fiction is, that is what they come up with.  So, a person needs to be careful that he is not on that “figured out” level. You had better be sure that it is revelation. When the Lord’s people come together in a place like this, there may be some questions in the minds of some, but we want to get those things settled.  In the religions of the world, they meet together and agree that they won’t mention anything that will upset any other religion.  Now if we came together that way, how would we ever get anything settled?  We have to be willing for correction and leading all along the way.

There may be some things that are a little hard for me to swallow but if it is right I had better be willing for it. There was some controversy in the New Testament.  On the day of Pentecost, there were 3,000 people baptized.  Do you suppose that they had time to screen all of those people?  In the 21st chapter of Acts it tells us, James was talking to Paul and he said, “You see how many thousands of Jews believe, and they are all very zealous of the law.” They should have turned loose of that a long time ago and they were still hanging on to it. They had problems.  And we have problems today, if we are not careful who we baptize. I had a couple come to me and wanted to be baptized and I told them, “No,” and they wanted to know why.  I told them, “You have a lot of false doctrine in your background, and you shouldn’t be baptized until that is gone.” They went to a couple of other workers and asked, and they were baptized.  You know where they are today? Outside. Sad, isn’t it?

Now I want to talk to you about Revelation, not the whole book.  Just the 17th chapter of Revelation, but before we get to that, there are a couple verses in the 16th chapter that I want to read to you. Starting with the 15th verse, “Behold I come as a thief.” That was Jesus speaking. “Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.  And He gathered them together into a place called Armageddon.  And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air and there was a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, “It is done.” And now to the 17 chapter. In the first verses it says, “And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, ‘Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth on many waters.'” Now, I don’t use that kind of language very often, but this is talking about something that we need to understand.

Now, there is the true bride of Christ and there is the false bride. The great whore is the false bride. When is the judgment, at the beginning or the end? It is at the end, isn’t it? Let’s go back to the beginning. In the fourth chapter of Matthew, Jesus called four men, and He said, “I will make you fishers of men.”  What does that have to do with preaching the Gospel? This Gospel was to be preached to people who were in the sea of frustration, confusion, and deception and false religion scattered over the face of the earth.  Their business was to pull them out of that sea and save them. They were fishermen and Jesus used their experience to teach them what this was going to be like.  Now we go to the 8th chapter and we find that Jesus was crossing the sea with His disciples, and they came and awakened Him and said, “Carest Thou not that we perish?” They were afraid of the sea and the waves. He said, “Oh ye of little faith.” Jesus did not come to quiet the sea naturally, but He did come to quiet the sea spiritually.  He was teaching them a lesson, they said, “What manner of man is this that can quiet the sea and the waves?” Jesus has control of the sea and the waves spiritually.  The sea and the waves are symbolic of all of these false religions.

In the book of Mark, there was a man they called Legion.  He was filled with many spirits and they were taking him in many directions.  When Jesus came into his presence, He told those spirits to depart and they said, “Don’t send us into the sea, but send us into the herd of swine.” The spirit has a certain effect, like the spirit of God has an effect on people, and what was the direction of these spirits this day? Their natural direction was into the pigs.  Then it tells us that those pigs rushed headlong into the sea.  That was the direction that those spirits took them, into the sea of confusion.  We have to realize that Jesus was teaching a lesson.

Now we come back to this other story: Jesus was walking on the sea and the disciples were amazed and thought they saw a spirit.  When He came near, Peter said, “Bid me to come unto Thee,” and He told him to come. Jesus worked a miracle but it wasn’t for the sake of just working a miracle, Jesus was teaching a lesson.  Peter had asked, “Bid me to come onto Thee,” and he got out of the ship and started walking on the water. But when he saw the wind and the waves, they had their effect, he got scared and down he went. He cried to the Lord and the Lord raised him up again.

If we go to Ephesians 4, there are some nice verses there that tell us God gave some apostles, some evangelists, some prophets, and so on, for the perfecting of the ministry and then you go down to the 14th verse, and he says, “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine by the sleight of men and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” Now this is something we need to remember: God never intended that we should be carried about by every wind of doctrine. There is supposed to be a stability in our lives that is the result of having the Spirit of Christ in our lives.

Now let us go to the book of Revelation. We’re talking about the fact that the seas of this world are symbolic of the sea of confusion and frustration and deception of false religion that is prevalent in all the world. This is the sea that this woman sits upon, she is the false bride. She rules over this sea of confusion, frustration and deception. That is where the Lord found each one of us.

I am thankful that when I was a little boy, 7 years old, that my folks heard the Gospel. I will never forget the great joy my father expressed upon finding the Truth because he knew that this was the plan of God. That was back in the year 1920. Now you know how old I am.

In Revelations 15:2, this is a wonderful verse about all of the people that have the Spirit of God in them, controlling and guiding them. It says, “And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire and them that had gotten the victory over the beast and over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.” Now glass is a hard thing, it is firm and stable and they could stand on it, and that is what the Lord wants us to do, to be able to stand on top of that sea and not be carried down into it.

Revelations 17:15 says, “The waters that thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are the peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.” This is over the face of all the earth, frustration, confusion and deception, and there she sits on top of all that. It is a terrible picture, isn’t it?           

Now let’s turn to another picture in Revelations 21:1, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away, and there was no more sea.” That is not talking about the Atlantic ocean or the Pacific ocean but that sea of  frustration, confusion, and deception, that sea that carries people away to a lost eternity. There will come a time when there is no more sea. Now, remember we are talking about the judgment of this woman and this is the way that things have been for many, many years and generations down to this, our time, but now things have changed, it is not the same as it has been. We are now living nearer to the time of the coming of the Lord. We are given two pictures here, first, we have the picture of this woman sitting upon this sea of confusion and having control over it.

Then we have another picture in this chapter 17. Have you ever seen a man trying to ride a bucking horse? Have you noticed how hard it is for him to try to stay on that  horse? The horse is bucking and bucking and trying to get that fellow off there. The next picture in this chapter is a woman riding on a beast. It is good if we can understand these thing because we are living in these days. Verse 3, “I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.” Do you know the meaning of the word “blasphemy?” Some people think it means cursing and swearing but, that is not it at all. In Revelations 2:9 it says, “I know thy works and tribulations, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are of the synagogue of Satan.”  Remember back in Matthew 3:7, when John the Baptist saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, “O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth fruits meet for repentance: and think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: For I say unto you, God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.” What was the problem? They were not ready for baptism, their problem was that they were holding to the name of Abraham, the blood of Abraham but not the faith of Abraham. I wonder if this same thing wasn’t true in this verse. They were saying they were Jews and they were not. Again in Revelations 3:9, “Behold I will make them of the synagogue of Satan which say they are Jews and are not, but do lie.” Lie, so God is saying that blasphemy is a lie. Look out into the world today and see how many lies there are. Church after church, denomination after denomination, taking Bible names. That is blasphemy. Now back to Revelations 17:4, “And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornications.” This is all false doctrine. Verse 4, “And upon her forehead was a name written, ‘MYSTERY,  BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.'” Now, what’s all this? She is not only false but she is creating more false, she is having daughters. She is trying to ride this beast and it is trying to buck her off.

Let’s turn back and look at a little history, what has happened and what is happening. I can remember 80 years ago. I can remember when my dad went into the military in 1916. I remember going down to the train and seeing him off. There has been a terrific change in America and in the world since those days. The devil today is working in a different way than he has in some centuries past. In former days, he gave the whole world false religion and deceived the world. For the last 60 to 80 years, he has been working on the people inside those religions to break down the standards. They talk about the days when a man could give you his word and you could believe him, but no more. Honesty, honesty has gone down the drain and it went a long time ago.

I preached here in Oregon 60 years ago, in Coos Bay and Coquille then up on the Columbia River and had several different companions. Then Hugh Mathews came down and said that a volunteer was needed to go to the Philippines. I said, “I’ll go.” January of 1940 found me on a ship on the high seas on the way to the Philippines. In those days over there, the Oriental way is different than in America. It didn’t seem to be offensive to tell a lie if it made the other person feel good, so they told lies. I tried to tell them about the honesty in America, well that is gone, you can no longer point to that. It has gone down the drain. There are some other things that have gone down the drain and maybe we should just mention some of these. One of those things is modesty. When I was a little boy, the women wore high laced shoes and long dresses and they were very careful and taught their little girls to be careful how they crossed their legs and to keep covered. Whew, there’s been a lot of water under the bridge. Then there is morality. It too, has gone down the drain, it is not like it used to be. Where is the devil working? He’s working right inside of the churches.

My companion came back here a few years ago and he said he got an invitation to a Bible study and they are meeting in the park, and I said, “Well, do you know what it is going to be like?” I said, “We’ll go down there and the women will be dressed in shorts and what they call halters.” I used to think a halter was something you put on a mule. If you go to a Wednesday Night Bible study in any of these churches that is what you’ll find, shorts, halters, and T-shirts. The devil is now working on the people inside these false religions. He’s working on human nature now, not only standards. For centuries and centuries, the religions of the world have held standards and they have held tight to those standards. In the last hundred years, those standards have gone and so has morality. They now talk about the New Morality. Well, it isn’t new at all, it is immorality. We can’t go long with that. And there are other things that have been creeping in. Church ministers that are divorced and remarried and still preaching. That’s the way the devil is working today. This thing of divorce and remarriage is rampant in the churches of the world today. The children hardly know who their father is. They are all mixed up, all confused. One of the last things that has come up, and I would like to talk a little about this, discipline. It seems that the government itself is against discipline. The devil has been working inside these denominations and broken down the standards so there are no more standards. Then there is this matter of discipline. I used to hear of nations where there was no discipline and I said, “I hope that never comes to America, because that would be a terrible, terrible thing.” Then wouldn’t you know it, there came along a Dr. Spock. And you know what happened then, self expression. That is what a horse is before he’s broken, just self expression.

I remember being at a ranch down in California back in about 1935 and they rounded up some horses that never had been broken. One of those horses had never been in a harness before and he was absolutely no good to anyone. He was harnessed up with about 5 other horses and hitched to a 6 bottom plow. They said, “Just let him run,” and he galloped all the way down the field but he didn’t make much headway. When he got down there he was all lathered up and the farmer said, “He’ll learn, he’ll learn.” Sure enough, in a week’s time, he was just plodding along with the rest of the horses and just as content. He was now broken to the harness and he knew his master’s voice and the master’s feed box and all of the rest of it.

I was in a home one time and there was a little baby crawling across the floor. The father of that baby and I just happened to be talking about raising children. The father said the first thing that you have to teach a child is, “No, no.” He said that can save their life and keep them from getting into trouble. The baby was crawling across the floor toward a bookcase and we were not paying attention to it.  The father said, “You have to follow through on, ‘No, no;’ he has to understand what you mean when you say, ‘No, no.’ The child will then learn to respect you and to love you.” That baby crawled over to the book case then turned around and looked at his father and said two words, “No, no?” And the father said, “No, no.” And the little child turned right around and came back. There had been a line of communication established between that father and the child. You see some young people in the world today and that line of communication has never been established and you can not get them to do what they should be doing.

Over in the Philippines at the convention grounds, they had a young dog. In the Philippines, generally they don’t teach their dogs anything. They just feed them and play with them and that’s it. I took that pup and thought I would teach him some things. First I would knock his legs out from under him and down he would go, and I would say, “Good dog, lay down, lay down.” I did that a number of times and pretty quickly he would lay down when I told him. Then I thought I would teach him to shake hands. I grabbed his front leg and shook it and said, “Shake hands, shake hands,” and after a while when I would say shake hands, he would lift up his paw and put it in my hand. A line of communication had been established between me and that dog. The result was that that dog would follow me all around, he became my dog. He liked me because he understood me. That is exactly the way children are, if the parents start out early and learn to communicate they will love their parents. In some oriental countries, they think a child can’t learn anything until they are 6 years old.  That’s too late.

There was a linguist that I got acquainted with over there and he said that a child is far quicker to learn from the time that he is born until he is ten than at any other time. This is a wonderful thing and we need to understand a little about this thing of discipline. I’m glad that my father knew about discipline. In 1921, my uncle died and his children were at his funeral. One of his girls, who was just my age, threw a conniption fit, stamped her feet and carried on. My dad looked at me and my brother and said, “I don’t ever want to see you kids do that.” I don’t remember ever having done that because my dad started out with discipline before I could even remember. Little children need to learn submission, then the parents have a wonderful control over them. And the children will love their parents for it. My dad never gave us boys a lickin’ in public but if we got into some kind of mischief he would promise a lickin’ when we got home. One time when I was about 6 years old, I was promised a lickin’ before I went to bed.  Well, we went home and had supper and I thought I would get out of it by going to bed right after supper, which I did. Sometime later, I could hear my dad walking around downstairs and he said, “Where’s Leo?”  Then I heard him coming up and I got my lickin’ just like he promised. I knew that my dad said what he meant and meant what he said.

I’ve been places where there wasn’t much discipline. I stayed at one place where everything was helter-skelter, no one to do the cooking, or the dishes or cleanup. I lit into the middle of this thing one day and I thought later, maybe I was pretty rough on those folks, maybe too hard on them. There was a young woman there, about 15 years old, and about 5 years later, I got two letters from there. One was from that young woman and the other from a young man that was there, also. They both thanked me for what I told them that day. What I had said was that if they didn’t learn some discipline, they would be misfits all their days. I said, “It is hard to learn when you are grown up but you can learn self discipline if you put your mind to it.” They both thanked me for the day that I talked to them about discipline. A little later after I got those letters, they both offered for the work and today they are still in the work. I’m glad and thankful for that. Self discipline is a hard thing to learn and a hard thing to teach but it is most easily taught by a parent. A person learns discipline from being disciplined, from being punished for not learning it. Our people have to be different from the world and we are if we discipline ourselves.

Now, going back to this thing of modesty. The modern thing today is to be sexy. What they mean is that you just don’t wear as much as you ought to. That’s the way the world is but what does the Bible say? It speaks against it and calls it lasciviousness. Do you know what that is?  Lasciviousness is acting or talking or dressing in a way that incites lust in another person. That is just the way they are doing in the world today, advertising it, signs on billboards going down the highway. It doesn’t matter if they are advertising fertilizer, they put a picture of a beautiful woman on it. Lasciviousness is a woman’s sin and an evil eye is a man’s sin. By nature, we have with in us what is called pro-creation instincts. We can take care of those instincts just by doing what we should be doing, by being modest and wearing what is modest. In God’s Truth and God’s Way, we can’t go along with this trend of the world. The Devil has made his tracks into every religion in the world, they no longer have any standards and I’ll tell you another thing, the devil these days is trying to work his inroads into the Way of God. He’s trying to destroy our standards, our principles, everything that we stand for.

Now to finish up, for the time is gone. Revelations 17:3, “I saw the beast with seven heads and ten horns.” Verse 9-13, “Nations and kingdoms that will unite under one mind and give their power and strength to the beast for one hour (verse 12).” Verse 14, “These shall make war with the Lamb and the Lamb shall overcome them for He is Lord of lords and King of kings and they that are with Him are called, and chosen and faithful.” Do I know how He will overcome them? No, but you remember what it says back there in the 16th chapter, “Behold I come quickly.”  The Lord will take His people out of the world (18:4) and in “one hour” the whore will be destroyed. 18:10, “for in one hour is thy judgment come,” 18:17, “for in one hour so great riches is come to naught,” 18:19, “for in one hour is she made desolate,” verse 21, “Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.” Those that are left will be saying, “Our preachers lied to us,” but in reality, it is wishful thinking and willingness to believe a lie on their part so, don’t be caught up in that wishful thinking and willingness to believe a lie. In 17:14, it says, “They that are with the Lamb are called, chosen and faithful.” That is what it is going to take to be an overcomer. Don’t be deceived by the niceties of the world.