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REPLY TO BROTHER PAXTON ON REVELATION 13:8.

Lawrenceburg, KY.
July 1, 1870.

DEAR BROTHER BEEBE: - Are we to understand from the following scripture, “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” {Rev. 13:8,} that the Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world, or that the names of the redeemed were written in the Lamb’s book of life from the foundation of the world? It appears to me that there should be a comma after the word slain; or it might be transposed so as to read, “Whose names are not written from the foundation of the world, in the book of life of the Lamb slain.” Either appears to be admissible; and we see in another place where the names or members were written “in the book of life from the foundation of the world,” or “when as yet there were none of them;” but do not see in any place where the Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world. I think the above scripture has been frequently quoted with such a construction, and I would be pleased to hear from you on the subject. Most truly yours,

John W. Paxton.

REPLY. In type, the Lamb was slain, when Abel by faith offered a lamb without blemish, which was accepted of God, and from that time until the great anti-type was slain upon the cross of Calvary, Christ was set forth as a slain Lamb. Not only in the offerings made under the Levitical priesthood, but extending back to the very beginning of time, to the foundation of the world, he was seen by faith in all the slaughtered victims which were by divine authority offered in sacrifice for the sins of the people. The faith of God’s people from the foundation of the world, looked through the vista of intervening ages, and as the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen, enabled them, like Abraham, to see Christ’s day, to rejoice in it and be glad. Of course we are not to understand that he was literally slain until he was made flesh, or made a little lower than the angels for the sufferings of death. Yet the faith of patriarchs and prophets from the foundation of the world could rest on him as the crucified, risen and exalted Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world. For as a lamb without blemish and without spot, he was verily foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifested in these last times for you who by him do believe in God that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory, that your faith and hope might be in God. I Pet. 1:18-21.

The book of life of the Lamb, we think, is the record of the redeemed of the Lord, who have a name and standing in the fellowship of the gospel church. It is called the book of life, because it contains the names of the “living in Jerusalem,” and is called the book of life of the Lamb slain, because he has redeemed them with his blood, and he is their life; and, as such to distinguish them from those who dwell upon the earth. The book in which all Christ’s members are written, spoken of in Psa. 139:16-16, is not called the book of life of the Lamb, but was the book of the undeveloped members of the body of our spiritual David, as seen only by the eyes of God himself; being yet unperfect, or undeveloped; but the book of life of the Lamb slain, in our text, seems to distinguish those who have a name and place in the christian church, as manifestly recognized in fellowship, from those who are “written in the earth,” as identified with the worshippers of the apocalyptic beast. The church of Christ is so distinguished from anti-christ. She is called heaven, and the saints are they who dwell in heaven, and whose names are written in heaven. “Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” Rev. 12:12. All that dwell upon the earth, evidently means all worshipers who are not written, or made manifest as the redeemed of the Lord, and whose doctrine, religion, and religious practices, are of the earth, earthly. All worldly religionists shall worship the beast, and be involved in the delusions and abominations of the anti-christian beast, and ultimately with the beast go into final and everlasting captivity.

Worldly religionists are always fond of new things, and they boast of progression; the rising of the beast presented novelty and attraction to those who dwell upon the earth, and they should manifest their infatuation by paying their devotion to it, as something new; but those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life, rely alone on the foundation of the prophets and apostles, which has been set forth in types and shadows from the offering of Abel’s lamb in the beginning of time.

The punctuation of the text in some of our bibles, and in one that we have, places a comma after the word “slain,” still we do not think that the writing of the names, but the slaying of the Lamb, was from the foundation of the world. And the slaying of the Lamb was, as we have said, in types. He was verily foreordained, not only from the foundation of the world, but before the foundation of the world, as a Lamb without blemish or spot, whose blood alone can cleanse us from sin, and redeem us unto God. But, as Peter has said, he was manifested, in his actual sufferings, in these last days.

Middletown, N.Y.
September 1, 1870.
Elder Gilbert Beebe