The True Red International
June 17th, 1962 @ 8:15 AM
THE TRUE RED INTERNATIONAL
Dr. W. A. Criswell
6-17-62 8:15 a.m.
On the radio you are sharing the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas. This is the pastor bringing the early morning message entitled The True Red International. It is a subject sermon, it is not an exegesis, it is not an exposition, it is a subject that is taken out of the Book of the Revelation, in chapter 7. The reading of the text is the vision of God’s blood-washed multitude whom John saw coming out of the great tribulation. And the reading is in the ninth through the seventeenth verses of this chapter 7:
After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palm branches in their hands;
And they cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God who sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and about the four cherubim, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,
Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, Who are these who are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they who have come out of the great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple: and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God, God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
Now the text: "These are they who are coming out of the great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" [Revelation 7:14]; The True Scarlet International.
From time beginning, there have been efforts to bring all of this world under one great political or military administration. There is hardly a page you can read in history where those efforts are not delineated and where those attempts have not been made. When Daniel saw in his lifetime and in his generation – and he lived in about 500 BC, and there were other like efforts before him – when Daniel saw the great image which outlined future history, and he wondered why that image was divided into those several parts of gold, and silver, and brass, and iron, the angel explained to Daniel that those several parts represented an outline of the history of the world [Daniel 2:26-45]. That head of gold represented a great kingdom: the kingdom of Babylonia, the Chaldean Empire of Nebuchadnezzar. And there is an attempt to subdue the entire world and to make it conform to one great international. That head of gold represented, the angel said, the worldwide empire of Babylonia. Then the breast and the arms were made out of silver. And the angel explained that this silver breast and arms represented the second great world empire: the empire of Cyrus, and Darius, and Xerxes, and Ahasuerus, the empire of the Medes and the Persians, which was a following attempt to make all of the world subject to one great ruler. Then the thighs and the belly of the image were made out of brass. And the angel explained that this part of the image of brass represented the next great attempt at worldwide dominion. That was the kingdom of Alexander and the Greek conquest of the then known civilized world. Then the image had legs, it stood on two legs of iron. And the angel explained that this represents the Roman Empire, the most ferocious and insatiable and the greatest, both in time and in power and in circumference, of all of the empires that have ever existed. And the angel explained this represents the Roman Empire, which as you know broke into two great centers of conquest and culture: one, the least, the east, represented in the capital at Rome in Italy; and the western part,the eastern part of the empire represented in its capital at Constantinople, and the western part of the empire represented in its capital of Rome in Italy.
Now, the image turned into iron and into clay in its feet and in its toes, which was a prediction which is come to true, which came to pass, that there would never be an empire that could make conquest of the entire earth. But when the Roman Empire ceased, that did not take away from men the attempt to subdue the whole world and to bring it under one government. Those attempts have been almost legion since.
Genghis Kahn and Tamerlane, with their Mongolian hordes looked as if they would conquer the entire earth. Napoleon Bonaparte had his heart set on the conquest of all the civilized globe. And of course no schoolboy but knows of the ambition of Prussia and Germany for its place in the sun under Bismarck, under Kaiser Wilhelm, under Hitler. All of these have been attempts to subjugate the civilized world under one great kingdom.
Now, we have in our time and in this moment the most ferocious and vicious and powerful of all of the historical thrusts toward the subjugation of the world under one system that the earth has ever known. It is called "The Red International"; it is the communist empire given birth to by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, implemented by Lenin, and whose great leaders today are represented in the dictators in the Kremlin of Soviet Russia, and in the ancient Chinese capital of Peiping.
I sat yesterday in an airplane by the side of a man who in his denomination seeks to recruit missionaries for this whole world. And he was speaking of the tragedies that overwhelm their missionaries in China, where so many of them had been slain, and then made the comment that there has never been a kingdom that expressed the power and the strength of darkness as the present kingdom of communism, the Red International.
Now, not only have those attempts been made in the world of the military, and the secular, and the economic, and the governmental, but those attempts to make the world into one great unified monolithic fabric have been found in the area and in the story and in the history of religion. There have been, among others, two great attempts to bring the entire world under subjugation to ecclesiastical leaders and dictators. One was the worldwide drive of the caliphs of Islam. And had it not been for Charles Martel at the Battle of Tours in southern France in 732 AD, Islam would have conquered the then civilized world. As you know, when Constantinople fell in 1453 AD, all of the Levant and all of the East, with Africa, and Palestine, and then Pakistan, and India, and on clear to the Pacific Ocean, came under the aegis of the Ottoman Turk. That was an attempt on the part of an ecclesiastical leader to subjugate the entire world under Islam.
You had another attempt like that under an ecclesiastical domination, which we know, which we call in history, as the Dark Ages, when the entire civilized world was sought to be under the domination of the vicar of Rome in the Vatican. You could not find a more dramatic illustration of the height to which that power rose than to read of the story of Canossa; that’s a castle in a town in northern Italy. And when Pope Gregory VII was in the height of his power, the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, King Henry IV, who had somehow offended his majesty the Pope Gregory, he stood in the snow, barefoot, outside of the castle where Gregory was for three days, supplicating in penance the forgiveness of the vicar whom he had somehow displeased. The ecclesiastical leader crowned and uncrowned kings and arrogated the entire power of the entire world to himself.
Now, those are also in the world today. Along with the attempt of the Red International under communism, there is also this twofold attempt in the ecclesiastical world to dominate the whole earth: Islam is on the march again. There is no power in Africa today that begins to be comparable to the march of Islam. Why, every convert that we win in those black nations of the Dark Continent, the Islamic missionary and teacher will win ten, ten to our one. The day is fast arriving when Africa will be almost solidly Islamic. And the Pan Arabic union that takes in so vast, so vast, so illimitably vast a part of this earth, begins at the western shores of Africa, and includes the whole earth until you get to the Philippine Islands on the other side – Borneo, Java, Sumatra, Indonesia, Pakistan, Arab, Turkey, the Levant, Palestine, Egypt, all of that vast earth. And it marches today; Islam is very alive and most vigorous and deathly challenging.
Then of course I need not speak of the constant drive of the vicar of Rome for world domination. There are nations in which our churches are closed up: they cannot be advertised; there’s no name can be placed on their meeting house; they cannot publish any literature; they cannot invite anyone to their services; they cannot bury their dead; they cannot marry their young; they are outcasts; they are tenth and eleventh and twelfth class citizens. And if a man assumes to join their ranks, he is deprived of a job, he is socially unacceptable and his children are raised in shame. As one Baptist deacon said, "For years and years they have chased us from chapel to chapel, from home to home, from house to house, and from cave to cave. Someday," he said, "they will get tired and give up. But we, we never will." So the movement goes on today, challenging, challenging the ideals and the devotion and the loyalty of the whole world.
Then there is another beside the final one that is described here in this text and in this Bible [Daniel 2:44-45]. There has been in the twentieth century a great romantic idealism that at one time seemed to sweep the entire thought and hope and optimistic outlook of this civilized world. In 1908, there was a great missionary convention held in Northfield. And at that convention there stood the two great missionary orators of this century, John R. Mott and Robert E. Spear. And large letters in a vast placard were written across the top of that convention, "The Evangelization of the World in this Generation." And that golden day of optimism, and uplift, and outreach, simply swept through our schools and our leaders and our people. "The day is at hand when the whole world will be subject in conversion to the great Christian ideals of Christ." That great convention was held in 1908.
In 1911, the Baptist World Alliance convened in Philadelphia. And at that time Russell H. Conwell of the "Acres of Diamonds" fame, Russell H. Conwell was pastor of the Grace Temple Baptist Church in Philadelphia, and in his address Dr. Conwell said,
We have our dear brethren here from Russia. God bless them, everyone. Let us say to the people of Russia that these brethren are sent back from this great convention with the prayer that they may have Christ going before them everywhere, and that the establishment of the Baptist churches in Russia meaneth blessing and almighty good.
And Dr. John Clifford, the illustrious preacher and pastor from London, who was the president of that alliance, said, "You have referred, Dr. Strong," Dr. Strong, our greatest theologian, Dr. Augustus Strong,
You have referred, Dr. Strong, to my friend of twenty years, David Lloyd George, the prime minister of Great Britain. God has raised him up a prophet statesman. Is not our outlook bright? The freedom we possess today shall be everybody’s possession. And the justice which rules in our land shall rule in all lands.
And the historian says, "And there was loud applause."
And in the roll call, the representative from Germany, a Reverend J. G. Layman, said, I quote, "The report not only from Germany but also from Bohemia, the capital is Prague," you know it now as Czechoslovakia, "from Bohemia and Bulgaria and Estonia and Lithuania and Poland and Romania means the spreading of the gospel through all these countries. It is a marvel in my eyes and in the eyes of my German brethren to find what God has done." Isn’t that an amazing list here? Czechoslovakia, Bohemia, Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, the great blessings of liberty are given to these nations; some of them don’t even exist anymore, and not any one of them is free. And in the roll call the representative from Japan, Karl [Kiyoshi] said:
A few days ago the Japanese minister at Washington said that there had been wars of the roses, but pointing to the stars and to the stripes and to the sun flag of Japan, he said that there had never been war between the stars and the sun. There will never be war between the sun flag and the flags represented here. Japan, the country where religious freedom reigns.
Oh, you can just feel – now bear in mind this was three years before the terrible outbreak of 1914. I’ve just read these men as they spoke in 1911. On January 11, 1917, David Lloyd George, the minister of Great Britain, said the world will be able, when this war is over, to attend to its business in peace, "There will be no war or rumors of war to disturb and to distract. We can build up, we can reconstruct, we can till, we can cultivate and enlarge, and the burden and terror and waste of war will be gone."
In 1917, on April 2, 1917, the day the United States entered the war, Woodrow Wilson, the president of the United States, addressing Congress said,
It is a fearful thing to lead this great peaceful people into war, but the right is more precious than peace, and we shall fight for the cause which we’ve always carried dearest our hearts: for democracy, for the right of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their own government, for the rights and liberties of small nations, and a universal dominion of right by such a concert of free people as shall bring peace and safety to all nations and make mankind itself at last free.
And on May 1, 1917, the premier of France, addressing the United States Senate, said:
And now we see all America rise and sharpen her weapons for the common struggle. Together we will carry on that struggle; and when by force we have imposed military victory, our labors will not be concluded. We shall shatter the ponderous sword of militarism. We shall establish guarantees for peace. And then we can disappear from the world stage, since we shall leave at the cost of our common immolation the noblest heritage future generations can possess: world peace.
Oh, on an Australian, who had fallen in the war, and on whose mutilated body no identification could be found, there was discovered these lines written on a scrap of paper:
He that hath faith to look with fearless eyes beyond the tragedy of a world at strife,
And know that out of death and night shall rise the dawn of ampler life
Rejoice whatever anguish rend the heart, that God has given you a priceless dower
To live in these great times, and have your part in freedom’s crowning hour
That ye may tell your sons who see the light high in the heavens, their heritage to take
I saw the powers of darkness put to flight, I saw the morning break.
And in that war, a chaplain held in his arms a dying soldier. And the chaplain said to the young man that his wife was about to bare a child. And the dying soldier said, "Chaplain, if the child is a boy, he’ll never have to go through what I’ve gone through; for this is the war to end all wars." And the chaplain replied in sincerity, "Yes, this is a war to end all wars. And if your boy, if your child is a boy, he’ll never have to go through this." And the dying soldier closed his eyes in peace and in content. This was the war to end all wars. Twenty-one years later, that boy was in uniform, fighting on the fields of France. And now as a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, he meets today and beholds the most astronomically gigantic preparation for destruction this mind could imagine and the world has ever seen!
When I gather these things and look at them, they bring astonishment and amazement.
What is the true scarlet international? What is the true worldwide kingdom that shall endure forever?
After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, one so vast no man could number it, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb. . .And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, Who are these arrayed in white robes? And where did they come from? And I said, Lord, I do not know. So vast a blood-washed multitude. These are they, he answered, who are coming out of the great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
[Revelation 7:9. 13-14]
The true scarlet international; may I say these things about it? First: that kingdom includes both the living and the dead, both! The burden of the sorrow of the church at Thessalonica was this: they were looking for the kingdom of God; they were looking for the personal appearance of Christ; their faces were raised in anticipation and hope, and while they waited, and while they watched, and while they looked, some of their members died. And they sent to the apostle Paul, saying, "We have waited, and we have prayed, and we have watched, and we’ve looked, and we prepared our hearts, and while we were waiting, these have died. What of them? What of them? What of them?" And Paul wrote back:
My brethren, my brethren, for the word of the Lord is this: He will descend from heaven with a shout, with a voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and these, these shall rise first. And we who are alive shall not precede these who are asleep.
[1 Thessalonians 4:16-17]
Brethren, flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. But I show you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump, when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and when death shall be swallowed up in victory.
[1 Corinthians 15:50-54]
The kingdom that endures, the true scarlet international includes both the dead and the living. All of us, all of us; not a bone left in the region of darkness, nor a relic for Satan to gloat over. "We shall all be changed" [1 Corinthians 15:52].
Second: that kingdom, the true scarlet international, shall include the near and the far. They shall come from the east, and the north, and the south, and the west, and shall sit down in the kingdom with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob [Matthew 8:11]. "Out of all nations and peoples and tongues stood before the throne and before the Lamb, with palm branches in their hands [Revelation 7:9], and saying, Amen, Blessing and glory and power and honor and dominion be unto our God and unto the Lamb forever and ever, Amen" [Revelation 5:13]. From the east, from the west, from the north, from the south, in the kingdom with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
And a third: it will include the victor and the vanquished. I never in my life had the feeling, the emotional response, to a service as I had in Germany in our Baptist church in Munich. I had been there almost immediately after the war. I had preached in that bombed out church. It had been fired, it had been burned, and in a place that could be sheltered in the basement, there the little remnant of the congregation met. And as I preached, it was translated first into German, then out of the German into Russian, then out of the Russian into Ukraine. That little group from all those nations of Baptist people gathered there. The second time I returned to worship with that congregation, they had built above the bombed out lower part of the church, they built a second story, and they were holding their services there. And as I looked and watched, there came to the pulpit their pastor. It was with difficulty that he walked. He was greatly crippled. And I watched him in the service. I have forgotten my German, and I couldn’t follow his sermon; but I could feel the spirit of it, and the shepherdly pastoral loving heart of that Baptist preacher. And after the service they had the Lord’s Supper; and after the Lord’s Supper they join hands, and that’s where I brought it back to us: they join hands, and they sang in their German language, "Blessed Be the Tie that Binds." And when I came back here, years ago, I said, "Let’s do that here. After the Lord’s Supper, let’s join hands and sing ‘Blessed Be the Tie that Binds’." That’s where I saw it. Now, after the service was over, I said to a German that could understand me, I said, "Your pastor is crippled. How come him to be so hurt?" And the reply was, "He was a soldier in the war, and one," think of it, "and one of our destructive instruments of death cut him down." And there he’s preaching the gospel of the Son of God. That is the true international. "Out of every language and people and tongues, standing before God, with palm branches in their hands, praising God and saying," [Revelation 7:9], including the victor and the vanquished. Oh, what a true brotherhood! What a true salvation! What a true gospel. What a true hope and what a true kingdom! The true scarlet international: blood washed, blood washed in the sacrifice and the love of the Lamb [Revelation 1:5].
Now while we sing our song this morning, somebody you, give his heart to Jesus. Somebody you, put his life with us in the fellowship of the church, while we sing the song, while we make appeal, would you come, would you make it now? Coming down one of these stairways if you’re in the balcony, into the aisle and to the front on this lower floor, "Pastor, here’s my whole family; all of us are coming." Or just one somebody you, while we sing the song, while we make the appeal, make it now, make it now, while we stand and while we sing.