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The Apocalypse contains its own evidences of its divine inspiration. The gradual fulfilment of its many wonderful predictions, is, of course, the most powerful of these evidences. But the plan upon which the revelation has been given is a no less striking evidence. Had man been the author of the Apocalypse, he would have given everything in exact chronological order, finishing up once for all with the Kingdom of God.
Any other arrangement would have been considered unnecessarily confusing. Not so with the Divine Author. The reader is brought to the end-to the glories of the Kingdom-many times over. There is an explanation for the course adopted, and the explanation reveals alike the divinity of the book, and the wisdom and beauty of its plan.
Believers, whilst being cheered in the various ages, by the unfolding of the revealed events relating to their own times, have, by the Kingdom being undoubtedly linked with those events, been beneficially kept in ignorance regarding the actual far-offness of their reward.
The glory of the future was thus not dimmed, but rather intensified, by the thought that the Kingdom was soon to appear. The plan has in no way sacrificed the integrity of the revelation. God's way is very pleasing and very edifying.
Bro AT Jannaway
The Christadelphian, June 1899
"If any man will do the Father's will, he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of the Deity" (John vii. 17).
No man can do his will who is not intelligent in "the truth as it is in Jesus;" because his will demands an enlightened obedience. A man, therefore, who is not an enlightened believer, is essentially deficient in the prime prerequisite qualification of an interpreter and critic of interpretations.
This is the reason why there is not a single scriptural interpretation of the apocalypse extant from the days of Sir Isaac Newton to the current year. Many attempts have been made, but they have all proved failures; because their "wise and prudent" authors, being the mere embodiments of the dogmatic pietism sanctified in the world's opinion by the "names of blasphemy" of which "the scarlet coloured beast," in contemporary existence with Christ's advent, is "full" (xvii. 3), are necessarily ignorant of "the first principles of the oracles of God."
The author of this work does not address himself to such.... but he writes for "the servants of the Deity," that they may read and understand.
The nature of symbolic writing requires that the signs and the things signified be analogous, but different. But the Apocalypse is not a revelation of natural appearances, or extraordinary phenomena, in earth, sea, and sky; but a sign-representation of things extant in John's day; and of things which should be after his time, in relation to the Holy Nation of the Deity planted in the territory of Daniel's Fourth Beast, until the coming of the Ancient of Days.
The apocalyptic symbolization is illustrative to them who can "see" of the conflict of the saints with pagan Rome until they "conquered" it; with Catholic, and afterwards, with Papal, Rome, until it conquered them; and hereafter, with all "the powers that be," until they in turn conquer and abolish them for a thousand years. This being the nature of the Apocalypse, we must not look to the natural, but to the POLITICAL UNIVERSE for the interpretation of its signs.
And here we find it necessary to remark in this so-called enlightened century, that "the signs of the times" vouchsafed by the Deity for the use of his genuine servants in their several generations, are not in the sky. He has not placed them there. No intelligent believer of the gospel looks overhead for a darkening of the solar system, and the falling of stars, as a sign of the great day of the Lamb's wrath being near.
The alleged darkening in New England, A.D. 1780, and falling of stars, A.D. 1833, were phenomena that none but Laodicean Heathen would regard as signs of the times. The Deity's revealed signs are not manifested in America. We may feel the working of them; but they are not in these heavens, natural nor political. A wicked and adulterous generation seeks signs in the sky like the signs of the weather with which they are familiar; but no sign shall be given it.
Let the reader, then, not "learn the way of the Heathen; and be not dismayed at the signs of the heaven; for the Heathen are dismayed at them: for the customs of the people are vain" (Jer. x. 2). Neither John nor Peter represented or taught the dissolving of the physical universe, and the "burning up of the earth." "The earth is Yahweh's," for he made it; it is temporarily "given into the hand of the wicked," till the King shall come to possess it with his Saints to the uttermost parts thereof. "He hath established it for ever." No interpretation of scripture that would falsify these statements can be true. All theories of the kind must therefore be rejected as mere idle tales in which only the children of the Apostasy can take delight.
No, the Deity's signs are in the political universe. This, in a sense analogous to the material, hath its earth, sea, and firmament or aerial expanse; in which are set its greater and lesser lights, and constellations -- its Sun, Moon, and Stars. It hath its hurricanes, shakings, eclipses, hailstorms, and so forth, which affect injuriously those who belong to the Body Politic, whether they be rulers or the common people.
The Book of Revelation is Christ's last message to his people-a book of exaltation, comfort and enlightenment. It is an outline of history from God's point of view from John's day until the end of the millennium-the development of God's purpose. And it is important that we endeavor to keep these things before our minds.
Chapter 1 is an introduction, stating it to be a message from God through Christ to Christ's Brethren, revealing in sign, "things which must shortly come to pass."
Verse 3 - "Blessed is he that readeth," that is, who values the message and applies himself to it, heareth, pays attention, and accepts what it says, and keepeth-bears it in mind and puts it into practice in his life. To say that such are blessed is to say in effect that such as do not do so are not blessed. Herein is the vital importance of constant study of the word. Only such are blessed and will be blessed.
The Revelation portrays the age-old struggle between the Truth and the apostasy, which began in the Garden of Eden-the enmity, the true bride, and the false woman-Jerusalem and Rome. And the more we know about it and understand its true meaning, the more firmly we can keep separate and keep on the right side of the enmity-the very narrow way. This is a Roman world and all nations are drunk with the wine of her fornication. Let us not be among them. We particularly notice this at the time of the year, and the line of demarcation is clear.
The latter part of chapter 1, from verse 10 forward introduces the symbolic Son of Man-the multitudinous Christ and the messages to the seven representative ecclesias of Asia Minor.
A Review of Revelation
By Bro Growcott