Biblical Numerology: NUMBER THREE- Part XXXX

 Remembering those the World and the Churches have Forgotten: Waldenses, Albigenses, and Huguenots

The last Monday of May is designated a federal Memorial Day, annually set aside for remembering people who died while serving the nation’s armed forces. It is not to be confused for Veteran’s Day, celebrated everyNovember 11 which honors and thanks all military personnel who served the U.S. in all wars, particularly the living veterans. Originated as Decoration Day after the American Civil War in 1868, Memorial Day typically marks the start of summer vacation season, while Labor Day, celebrated every first Monday of September, marks its end.

But what about all those who are gallantly fighting by God’s grace the daily warfare against sin, the flesh, and the devil, “striving to enter the straight and narrow way,” and “seeking for immortality”? Apostle Paul says: “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Cor. 10: 4, 5, N.K.J.V.

Truth is as clear as the blazing sun in its full meridian glory on a cloudless summer day—when sought after as a deer panteth after the waters. Such a desire is recorded in the books of heaven where there are no false or missed entries.

Let us remember two eternal truths that have been obscured, ridiculed, and even discarded by yielding to Satan’s unnumbered schemes and temptations that catch our attention during our most vulnerable moments and at hit us at our weakest points of character. These are:

     (a) It is Written is the Christian’s Safeguard. “God will have a people upon the earth to maintain the Bible, and the Bible only, as the standard of all doctrines, and the basis of all reforms. The opinions of learned men, the deductions of science, the creeds or decisions of ecclesiastical councils, as numerous and discordant as are the churches which they represent, the voice of the majority, — not one nor all of these should be regarded as evidence for or against any point of religious faith.

Before accepting any doctrine or precept, we should demand a plain ‘Thus saith the Lord’ in its support. Satan is constantly endeavoring to attract attention to man in place of God. He leads the people to look to bishops, to pastors, to professors of theology, as their guides, instead of searching the Scriptures to learn their duty for themselves. Then, by controlling the minds of these leaders, he can influence the multitudes according to his will.” – E. G. White, Great Controversy  (1911 ed.), p.  595.

     (b) Every Secret Sin is Recorded. – “Sins that have not been repented of and forsaken will not be pardoned [false righteousness by faith leads to this], and blotted out of the books of record, but will stand to witness against the sinner in the day of God. He may have committed his evil deeds in the light of day or in the darkness of night; but they were open and manifest before Him with whom we have to do (or “to Him of whom we must give account.”).[Heb. 3: 12, 13. Angels of God witnessed each sin, and registered it in the unerring records. Sin may be concealed, denied, covered up from father, mother, wife, children, and associates; no one but the guilty actors may cherish the least suspicion of the wrong; but it is laid bare before the intelligences of heaven.

The darkness of the darkest night, the secrecy of all deceptive arts, is not sufficient to veil one thought from the knowledge of the Eternal. God has an exact record of every unjust account and every unfair dealing. He is not deceived by appearances of piety. He makes no mistakes in His estimation of character. Men may be deceived by those who are corrupt in heart. But God pierces all disguises, and reads the inner life.” – Ibid, Great Controversy. 1911: p. 486.

Isn’t it strange, particularly among nations and religions that call themselves Christian that they have not set aside a day, even on the lowest scale of pomp and festivities that invariably attend Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day, to commemorate and keep alive the true nature of the controversy by reviewing relevant secular and Bible history, the real enemies of the nations’ freedom and prosperity, and the godly saints who “fought the good fight of faith” and whose “blood was the seed of the gospel.”

They were persecuted and slaughtered by the very ones whom God expected, by their position, authority, and power to be the guardians and protectors of the people, particularly during the Dark Ages of the Old World where religious liberty and freedom to worship God according to dictates of conscience were deemed worse than crimes against the state or humanity; they were condemned as execrable heresies. The church declared, and her votaries and the masses, deprived of the light of Bible truth, believed that any one, prince or pauper, erudite or unschooled, infant or aged, when condemned as heretics no longer had a “soul;” thus extirpating them through the most cruel means was not a sin but a “good deed” worthy of the honor of church.

During the persecution in the first centuries “the doctrine of religious freedom was termed heresy, and its upholders were hated and proscribed.” GC 45. So was it in Germany, GC pp. 197-295; in Netherlands,, Scandinavia, and Holland, p. 240; in Reformed countries, p. 244; the Puritans who separated from the papal Anglican church, pp. 291-298; Roger Williams upheld it, 293-295; In the U.S., pp. 441, 443.

We cite but one in the extremely long list of what today would be tried in the International Court at the Hague as Crimes Against Humanity—the St. Bartholomew’s Massacre in Paris.   We quote once more from the Great Controversy by Ellen G. White, (1911 ed.), “The Bible and the French Revolution,” ch. 15, pp. 271-274 :

    “Century after century the blood of the saints had been shed. While the Waldenses [of northern Italy] laid down their lives on the mountains of Piedmont ‘for the word of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ,’ similar witness for the truth had been borne by their brethren, the Albigenses of France. In the days of the Reformation, its disciples had been put to death with horrible tortures. Kings and nobles, high born women and delicate maidens, the pride and chivalry of the nation, had feasted their eyes on the agonies of the martyrs of Jesus. The brave Huguenots, battling for those rights which the human heart holds most sacred, had poured out their blood on many a hard-fought field. The Protestants were counted as outlaws, a price was set upon their heads, and they were hunted down like wild beasts.

     “The ‘Church in the Desert,’ the few descendants of the ancient Christians that still lingered in France in the eighteenth century, hiding away in the mountains [they didn’t have Google earth like we do now] of the south, still cherished the faith of their fathers. As they ventured to meet by night on the mountainside or the lonely moor, they were chased by dragoons, and dragged away to life-long slavery in the galleys. The purest, most refined, and the most intelligent of the French, were chained, in horrible torture, amidst robbers and assassins.  (See Wylie, b. 22, ch. 6). Others, more mercifully dealt with, were shot down in cold blood, as unarmed and helpless, they fell upon their knees in prayer. Hundreds of aged men, defenseless women, and innocent children were left dead upon the earth at their place of meeting.

      “In traversing the mountainside or the forest, where they had been accustomed to assemble, it was not unusual to find ‘at every four paces, dead bodies dotting the sward, and corpses hanging suspended from the trees.’ Their country, laid waste with the sword, the axe, the fagot, ‘was converted into one vast, gloomy wilderness.’ ‘These atrocities were enacted. . . . in no dark age, but in the brilliant era of Louis XIV. Science was then cultivated, letters flourished, the divines of the court and the capital were learned and eloquent men, and greatly affected the graces of meekness and charity.’ (Wylie, b. 22, ch. 7).

St. Bartholomew’s Massacre. –   “But blackest in the black catalogue of crime, most horrible of the fiendish deeds of all the dreadful centuries, was the St. Bartholomew Massacre. The world still recalls with shuddering horror [do they still do?] the scenes of that most cowardly and cruelest onslaught. The king of France urged on by the Romish priests and prelates, lent his sanction to the dreadful work. A bell, tolling at the dead of the night, was a signal for the slaughter. Protestants by thousands, sleeping quietly in their homes, trusting to the plighted [bound with a pledge] honor of their king, were dragged forth without a warning, and murdered in cold blood.

     “As Christ was the invisible leader of His people from Egyptian bondage, so was Satan the unseen leader of his subjects in this horrible work of multiplying martyrs. For seven days the massacre was continued in Paris, the first three with inconceivable fury.  And it was not confined to the city itself, but by special order of the king, was extended to all the provinces and towns where Protestants were found. Neither age nor sex was respected. Neither the innocent babe nor the man of gray hairs was spared. Noble and peasant, old and young, mother and child, were cut down together. Throughout France the butchery continued for two months. Seventy thousand of the very flower of the nation perished.’-  Ibid, pp. 272-3.

Why the blackest in the black catalogue of crime? –  “‘When the news of the massacre reached Rome, the exultation among the clergy knew no bounds. The cardinal of Lorraine rewarded the messenger with a thousand crowns [any of several coins, originally one bearing a crown, especially a British silver coin]; the cannon at St. Angelo thundered forth a royal salute; the bells rang out in every steeple; bonfires turned night into day; and [Pope] Gregory XIII, attended by the cardinals and other ecclesiastical dignitaries, went in long procession to the church of St. Louis, where the cardinal of Lorraine chanted a Te Deum [ see Catholic Encyclopedia, art. Te Deum, www.newadvent.or/cathen/14468c.html) . . . . A medal was struck to commemorate the massacre, and in the Vatican may still be seen three frescoes of Vasari, describing the attack upon the admiral, the king in council plotting the massacre, and the massacre itself.  Gregory sent Charles the Golden Rose; and four months after the massacre, . . . he listened complacently to the sermon of a French priest, . . . who spoke of ‘that day so full of happiness and joy, when the most holy father received the news, and went in solemn state to render thanks to God and St. Louis.’” (White, Henry, ‘The Massacre of St. Bartholomew,” ch. 14, par. 32 (ed. 1871)/Great Controversy, p. 273).

      “The same master-spirit that urged on the St. Bartholomew Massacre led also in the scenes of the [French] Revolution. Jesus Christ was declared to be an impostor, and the rallying cry of the French infidels was, ‘Crush the Wretch,’ meaning Christ. Heaven-daring blasphemy and abominable wickedness went hand in hand, and the basest of men, the most abandoned monsters of cruelty and vice, were most highly exalted. In all this supreme homage was paid to Satan; while Christ, in His characteristics of truth, purity, andunselfish love, was crucified.” – Ibid.

But while these true saints and brave soldiers of God’s spiritual army and their mighty deeds done in meekness and humility, unwavering and uncompromising in valor, faithfulness to God’s law and loyalty to the truth as it is in Jesus, remain unknown, their characters,  lives, and works vilified and maligned to this very moment, the Godhead and the heavenly host have been busy preparing for the greatest event and celebration that the universe will ever behold: the resurrection of the just at Christ’s glorious second coming, and the wedding supper of the Lamb and His bride-church of overcomers that takes place in heaven after the seven-day ascent, after they finally “enter into the gates into the city.” As Revelation jubilantly reveals to all saints, past, present, and future, before they breathe their last, and who will fall asleep in the dust:

      “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth. Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors, and their works do follow them.” Rev. 14: 13.

     “Blessed are they that do His commandments that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” Rev. 22: 14.

(To be continued next week)