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Chapter 7 | Contents | Chapter 9


The Revelation -- Which Interpretation?
By Graham Pearce





We have written so much about the past and the future, but what about the all important present? Can it be true, as the other interpretations infer, that Jesus has left this latter-day revival of the Truth without any prophetic guidance and encouragement -- without that needed warning to be watching for the imminent return of the Master? The Old Testament tells us about the return of the Jews to their land, and this is a great sign, but it is outside the Revelation. We have reasoned extensively that every age has been given guidance, and have in some measure traced this through the 18 centuries from John's day. We may confidently expect there to be prophecy covering the important period termed the Time of the End. This is found in Revelation 16 where the pouring out of the Vials usher in the last Trumpet. This falls naturally into place in the continuous historical interpretation of the developing purpose of God through the centuries. The Vials outline the history of Europe from the French Revolution to the present, and on to the events at the coming of Jesus Christ in the 7th Vial. It is an outline, not necessarily as man looks at history and what he considers important, but what is important from God's point of view in leading up to the Kingdom.

In looking at the Vials and comparing history with the symbols, we are dealing with events that are sufficiently near to be familiar to most readers. This makes the impact of this marvellous control of God more telling, as we are able to see brief symbols so effectively describing what has come to pass. As we find that the many events portrayed in symbol have been fulfilled, and in the right order, we cannot believe this was all by chance, and this is the wrong interpretation. Rather we can

PAGE 85 Chart: The Telescopic Structure of Revelation



feel assured that God is still in control, and events are moving near to the great climax.

This fit between history and the Vials has been challenged. It has been said that the traditional interpretation set out by Bro. Thomas in the middle of the last century cannot be correct, because it does not provide for the great events of the 20th century; particularly the two World Wars. It is obviously true that writers in the 19th century could not know all the details of the 20th century. Yet on examination it will be found that the overall interpretation that was given remains sound, and covers the fundamentals of God's work in the 19th and 20th centuries.


As we move towards the climax of 6,000 years of earth's history, when the Creator is about to install his Son as the 'heir of all things' (Hebrews 1:2) and the rightful ruler of all this planet, we should expect that God has detailed the final happenings in the world that prepare His servants for the introduction of Christ on the scene. Like a play with its many Acts and Scenes, the stage has to be set for the final drama; the nations manipulated into their correct position; and archaic things have to be taken out of the way. It is not surprising that 150-200 years should be occupied in the 'Time of the End' -- a short period compared with 6,000 years of Divine working. The first six Vials are this preparation period for the introduction of Jesus Christ to the earth again.

The Revelation has its integrated structure with 7 Seals, 7 Trumpets, and 7 Vials; the 7th Seal containing the 7 Trumpets, the 7th Trumpet containing the 7 Vials. The 6th Trumpet finishes with the French Revolution (11:11-13). Duringthe 7th Trumpet the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ (v. 15). The 7th Trumpet is described as the last 'woe'. This climax of Divine wrath and human woe is detailed in the 7 Vials which are said to be "the seven last plagues, for in them is filled up the wrath of God" (15: 1). So the pouring out of the Vials of wrath in the 16th chapter are the details of the 7th Trumpet that is so briefly defined at the end of the eleventh chapter.


It will be found that the Vials divide up into three parts, which may be summarised as follows:



Part 1

Vials 1-5

6 pt 1


Events which break down the Old Order in Western Europe after some 1000 years of the feudal system.

The disappearance of the Turkish Empire in the East

Part 2

Vial 6
pts. 2-4


1. Preparing the land of Israel.
2. Frog-like spirits preparing the nations for war against Christ.
3. The resurrection.
4. Operations and policies bringing the nations to Armageddon.

Part 3



The work of Christ and his saints in subduing the nations, and Europe in particular.




Vials 1-5: Great changes in Western Europe

The French Revolution is the key to the history of the 19th and of the 20th centuries. This is recognised in history books. The Larousse Encyclopaedia of Modern History (1964) opens the section headed THE PRESENT AGE with the words:

"In a political sense it is proper to date the age in which we live from the French Revolution. The shock carried by that Revolution and the spread of its principles has produced repercussions ever since. They will continue today, whenever people claim the rights of national determination and equality before the law ... the republican ideal, launched by the 'insurgents' of the thirteen Colonies in America, now embroidered and developed by the theorists of France and tried out by the French nation in arms, would little by little spread over the whole world."


The French Revolution at the end of the 18th century was the rising up of the masses against the oppression of the privileged classes -- the king, the clergy and the aristocrats. Its rallying cry, 'liberty, equality, fraternity,' has echoed round the world ever since, as the people in nation after nation have asserted themselves, and nations have claimed their independence.

The first major effect of the Revolution was the break-up of the long established feudal system in Europe and the dominance of the Catholic Church. Napoleon's military skill harnessed the fervour of the Revolution, and carried the revolutionary spirit throughout Europe in campaigns lasting a brief twenty years. The history of these exciting times is accurately described in the symbols of the first five Vials. It is not necessary to reproduce the historical detail and corresponding symbols because these are readily available in various books; as for instance, Apocalypse and History (Boulton and Barker), sections 8 and 9. The sketch map on the following page summarises the geography of these Vials. For those who will study the history and the symbols there will be the reward of appreciating the hand of God at work in our time. The fulfilment is so exact, everything is in its right order, that only the foreknowledge of God could have written the prophecy, and only His Almighty power and control could have brought it to pass.


Two matters should be noted: first, that although the first five Vials had their specific fulfilment, their effect spreads over a century and more. These five vials initiated a new course in history which has flowed on after Napoleon passed off the scene. After his death there was inevitably a reaction; but as can happen with a smothered fire, the flames burst out afresh in 1848 with the next wave of revolutionary zeal. And so it went on through the 19th century and on into the 20th century, as illustrated outstandingly with the Russian revolution of 1917. The revolutionary forces of 'democracy' surge on unabated throughout the world today.

The second matter to note is that the wars expressed by the Vials were the judgements of God on unrepentant nations. Thus under the third Vial we read, "True and righteous are thy judgements". "They have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy". And after the fifth Vial: "They gnawed their tongues for pain, and blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds." The European nations remain unrepentant to the end, for after the judgements of the last Vial it says, "and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail." So we must not be deceived by the attempts of the Catholic system today to appear as a 'christian' gospel-loving leadership. Rather we must ask ourselves whether we could endorse that cry, "Thou art righteous, 0 Lord, which art and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus."



We have looked at the breaking down of the old order in the West, and now look for a similar development in the East.

The first part of the sixth Vial is the drying up of the river Euphrates "that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared". This, it must be remembered, is symbolic language, frequently taking its sense from earlier Bible events.

In Isaiah 8 the waters of the Euphrates are said to overflow their banks and sweep through the land of Judah. This represented the Assyrian power in its military conquest, as verse seven tells us.

Under the sixth Trumpet in Revelation 9 a similar figure is used. Four angels bound by the river Euphrates are loosed. This was fulfilled in the four waves of invasion from the east of the Euphrates into the Roman empire: The Seljuks in the I Ith century; the Seljuks again in the 12th century; the Mongols in the 14th century; and the Ottomans in the 15th century. These people from Turkistan, called generally Turks, were the scourge by God against the idolatrous Catholics, and they followed up the earlier conquests of the Saracens. They conquered the whole of the Eastern Roman Empire, and held the vast region now called Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Rumania and Greece. Their rule also extended through Asia Minor, Syria, Palestine, Egypt and Algeria. This was certainly a great flood of water from the Euphratean regions.

It is reasonable that the symbol under the sixth Vial of the drying up of the water of the Euphrates takes its meaning from this earlier enlarging of the Euphratean power. The history of the last century shows a steady "drying up" of the Ottoman empire. Starting early in the nineteenth century the weakening of power and the loss of land went on for over a hundred years, until at the end of the first World War (1918) Turkey was reduced to Asia Minor, an area about twice the size of Great Britain. The sketch map give the dates when the various lands were ceded. Such a slow steady process is well symbolised by the flood of a river drying up. The first item of the sixth Vial has been fulfilled.



Vial 6, Part 2: Preparing the Way for the Kings of the East.

Our first question is, 'Who are the kings of the east?' Here is an occasion when an accurate understanding of the original is needed. If one consults the Emphatic Diaglott, the translation of the Greek text is given as "so that might be prepared the way of the kings of those from risings of the sun". Note the strange plural 'risings', and keep in mind that this is sign language that needs to be translated to literal sense. The idea is this: "All that springs up out of the earth is caused to rise by the power of the sun acting on the seeds therein. Everything therefore brought up from beneath, or from darkness into view, is a 'rising (or raising) of the sun' " (Bro. J. Thomas, Eureka vol. 3, ch. 16). Jesus Christ is the Sun of righteousness. When he appears again, with healing in his beams (Mal. 4:2), he will cause the dead saints to come forth from the ground -- they are the risings of the Sun. "Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven", says the Psalmist (85:11). Here then, in Rev. 16:12, is a beautiful reference to the resurrection. After redemption from sin and death they are to become kings -- "Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God... and made us into God kings and priests" (Rev. 5:9, 16). So the saints with Christ are the kings from the RISINGS of the SUN.

The symbolic drying up of the river Euphrates is to prepare a WAY for these kings. The figure is modelled on the original taking of Babylon by Cyrus, when he unexpectedly made a way into the heart of the city by "drying up" the Euphrates, or diverting the river from its customary bed. It is apparent to all who read Isaiah 45 that the greater Cyrus is in view: "I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways: he shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives" (v.13). In the antitype, Christ and his brethren are to enter the European "Babylon the Great" and overthrow it. How does he enter? He first comes to Arabia and the land of Israel, and this provides the base from which to conquer Europe and the fourth beast of Daniel, apocalyptically Babylon the Great. For a fuller account of the original and the antitypical Cyrus entering Babylon see Eureka, vol. 3, pp. 540-542 (Old Edition).

So the "Way" is being prepared first by the removal of the Turk from that region, and then by the return of the Jews and the development of the land of Israel.

As watchmen figuratively on the walls of Jerusalem (Is. 62:6), we have been watching the preparing of the Way for over 50 years in the partial restoration of Jews to their land and Israel becoming a significant power in the world. This wonderful happening is a necessary preliminary to the coming of Israel's king and princes. So the first part of the sixth Vial stretches from 1820 to our present time and beyond. How wonderful that a few words of prophecy can comprehend so great an event. A few words exactly in the right place in the prophetic word. Surely this is the Word of God.


We opened with a quotation from the Larousse Encyclopedia of Modern History which stated that the French Revolution is'the key to the Present Age. This has been illustrated in the Vial judgements we have looked at. The first five Vials were a direct outcome of the Revolution; and the first parts of the 6th Vial that stretch forward to our time, likewise resulted from the French Revolution. The 'drying up' of the Turkish power was the asserting of national independence in the various countries. The social and political emancipation of the Jews in Europe was the direct outcome of the Revolution, allowing Zionism to develop, leading to their national independence in the land of Palestine. As we shall see in the next section the going forth of frog-like spirits, part two of the 6th Vial, is the present-day development of the French Revolution. Looked at broadly, there has been a build-up over nearly 200 years of the power and assertiveness of the peoples of the world, which will manifest itself in unregenerate mankind opposing Christ, as did Pharaoh of old oppose Moses, that the pride of man may be humbled and God exalted.

Vial 6, Part 3: The Gathering of the Nations by the Frog-like Spirits.

The Bible has two centres of interest in the Time of the End; Europe and the Middle East. As we saw in the previous section, in the Middle East the WAY has been preparing for Christ's coming for half a century or more, in the establishing of the nation of Israel in their land. We turn now to Europe again, to follow the word of prophecy in preparations here for the return of Christ. We have noted that the first five Vials followed the French Revolution and were the breaking down of the 'Old Order' and the releasing of national energies to reshape the nations in the mould of republics and socialism. From this general assessment we now pass to specific activities preparing for Christ's coming. In the third part of the 6th Vial, frog-like spirits go forth to the kings of the earth and to the whole world to gather the nations together for the war of the great day of God Almighty. To watch the detailed fulfilment of this part of prophecy is of the greatest interest to us, because it is immediately followed by the words, "Behold, I come as a thief".


'Unclean spirits like frogs' is sign language for the SPIRIT of the French Revolution -- that socialist impulse under the banner of 'liberty, equality and fraternity' that first surged through Europe, and then like a spreading flame has passed to Russia, the Middle East, Africa, China and all the peoples of the world. The use of the frog as the symbol for France has been well documented by Elliott, and by Bro. Thomas in Elpis Israel, pp. 378-381 (14th edition). The frog symbol is peculiarly suitable to France when she became a Republic after the Revolution. Before the Revolution she was a monarchy, and had the heraldry of three lilies. The frog symbol goes back to earlier times, to the 5th and 6th centuries, when the national leader was chosen by popular acclaim. It therefore suits France as the source of the socialist impulse -- the voice and power of the people.


The frog-like spirit covers not only the socialist impulse, but all that was developed by it in transforming the status of the masses. There was education of the masses, with tremendous increase in knowledge, inventions, industrial progress, communications and widespread wealth. In Europe first, and then in the rest of the world this is manifest in modern society -- schools, roads, harbours, libraries, factories, institutions, etc.


In Greek mythology demons were the lower gods who mediated between men and the supreme gods (clearly a corruption of the position of the angels). So in symbol they aptly represent the leaders and officials in the political and ecclesiastical heavens. The spirits of the demons are the policies they formulate and which go out from the 'mouth' -- with the authority of the government. They are unclean or unholy spirits -- 'earthly, sensual, demoniacal' (James 3:15). They work 'signs' as the Greek word 'semeion' properly means; that is, they manipulate events and affairs that delude the people and cause them to conform to their policies. This is particularly true of the activities of the Catholic missionaries in their frog-like activities. It is also true regarding the technological marvels that amaze the peoples of undeveloped countries.


The frog-like spirits emanate from three centres, the Beast, the Dragon, and the False Prophet. The Beast concerns Western Europe and the Dragon, Eastern Europe. This geographical identification comes from a study of the various beasts in Revelation 12 and 13. For those who have not previously studied the matter, the most concise presentation will be found in section 6 of Apocalypse and History: entitled "The beasts of the sea and earth and the image of the beast". In the past 30 years we have seen Europe forming into two politically active groups. We watch with great interest the re-forming of the beast in the West. After three major German-French wars, 1887, 1914-18, 1939-45, we have seen in the past 25 years a new spirit, guided behind the scenes by the Vatican, integrating Western Europe. This will mature into that state described in Revelation 17, "And the ten horns ... receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them."

In Eastern Europe also we see a grouping of nations under Russia and the Comecon -- the equivalent of the E.E.C. in the West. It does not at present include Turkey and Greece. The Dragon in a full sense will not exist until Russia moves south into these two countries.

The going forth of a concerted frog-like spirit from the Beast, the Dragon and the False Prophet is probably an event of the future, as part of the final assembly of the nations against Christ. At the present time, however, we see the frog-like spirit going forth from eastern and western European groups in the great economic drive of the two groups into the under-developed countries of the world.


It is manifest in schools, hospitals, roads, factories, harbours, dams, agricultural machinery, etc. -- all the elements of education and economic progress associated with the liberation of the masses; socialism and the spirit of the French Revolution surging into all the world. Russia and her Satellites have built great dams on the river Nile and Euphrates; they have erected steel mills in India, Nigeria and Egypt; they have supplied civil and military planes to many of the newly independent African States as well as Asia and South and Central America. 'Progress' is by no means limited to material activities; they supply teachers, journalists and cinema facilities. Great efforts are made to 'educate' the masses in socialism, creating trade unions and the like. They take Africans to Europe for 'education'. Leipzig Trade Union College, for instance, has a special institute for foreign study. An eight months course is taken by people from Ghana, Guinea, Congo, Nigeria, Somalia, Togo, Cameroon, Zanziba, Ivory Coast, Angola, Morocco, Algeria.

There is an almost identical pattern for Western Europe, usually in rivalry to Eastern Europe. The Common Market (the nucleus of the beast) has given special attention to developing a policy of aid to the underdeveloped countries. By 1967, 18 African States had been made associate members of the Common Market. The following was a paper report (Daily Telegraph) dated 4.4.67: "The association system, initiated by the French when the Roman Treaty was negotiated, is creating a free trade zone enbracing the 18 and the Six, and a community aid system in which the Common Market countries are giving their African associates more than 500 million pounds for building schools, hospitals, roads and ports and for other projects. The 18 and the Six meet to plan and share out technical and financial aid in common institutions". By 1979 the Common Market had an association with 57 developing countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (the ACP countries). The report was that they were objecting to the E.E.C. aid of 3,500 million pounds, and wanted twice as much (D.T. 28.5.79)!


The False Prophet occurs only in this 6th Vial, and in Rev. 19 where it is destroyed. It would appear, therefore, it is a symbol for something particular to the Vials and the time of the End.

Paul defines a prophet as one who teaches the word of God (I Cor. 14:3). A false prophet will be a teacher of false christianity. In the book of the Revelation, a false prophet must be understood as a symbol, and it will signify something greater than an individual false prophet. The Roman Catholic hierarchy is the outstanding "false prophet" of our time. The Pope, cardinals, bishops and many other officials who make up the hierarchy, promulgate the false teaching of the Catholic church on all matters of faith and practice.

The False Prophet symbol is particularly suitable for our time. By the dogma of Infallibility (1870) the Pope forced upon the world-wide Catholic Church the absolute acceptance of the idea that in his official pronouncements he is infallible, his utterances are God-inspired, he is God's prophet. In truth we know he is a FALSE prophet.


A frog-like spirit working through the Papacy is a very remarkable sign. For the French Revolution was primarily aimed against the Papacy, and the privileged classes. It provoked a very anti-frog spirit in the mouth of the False Prophet. She hurled anathemas against the new leaders, carried on intrigue and stirred up wars to counter the revolutionary spirit. After suffering, complaining and resisting through the first half of the 19th century, she saw that the new forces of the Revolution were permanently established, and there could be no going back to the pre-Revolution situation. In the second half of the century she began slowly to adapt herself to the new spirit and power of the masses. This development of the frog-like spirit in the mouth of the False Prophet is a fascinating story.


The Vatican's first expression of coming to terms with socialism was the Encylical 'Rerum Novarum' (1891) in which the Pope declared himself the champion of the oppressed and exploited working class in the rapidly growing industrial scene. This was the beginning of a frog-like spirit in the mouth of the False Prophet.

In the first half of the 20th century, the Vatican was involved in a form of socialism that aimed to counter the socialist Communism in Russia and Eastern Europe. The aim was socialism under Church guidance -- what might be termed 'God and the people' -- as opposed to Marxism and the relegation of God and religion to the discredited past. In this period, christian democratic political parties grew up in Italy, France and Germany, and dominated the political scene. Also strong Catholic Unions were formed in France and Italy. All this was socialism controlled by the Church and protected by the virtual dictatorships of Fascism and Nazism. It was in fact a growing frog-like spirit in the mouth of the False Prophet.

After the defeat of Germany a second time, in World War 2, the Vatican hastily changed sides and created the Washington-Vatican axis, harnessing the American hostility to Communism. But nothing effective was done to stem the growing tide of Communism in Europe and the Third World. It was in this period, however, that a powerful world-wide movement was stepped up by the Vatican known as Catholic Action, or the Lay Apostolate. Its object is the promotion of the Catholic Church by the ordinary believer, under the control of the Catholic hierarchy: editors, councillors, magistrates, teachers and shop stewards, all work under the direction of the Catholic hierarchy. So the church works through the people more effectively than by the direct influences of the priest. This is part of the froglike spirit in the mouth of the False Prophet.

With the death of the 'anti-Communist' Pope, Pius XII, in 1958, the time had come for a radical change; it was time for the Vatican to put itself on the winning side, and draw near to its Communist rival. Cardinal Roncalli, known to have socialist leanings, was elected Pope (Pope John 23) in 1958 and immediately began to set a new course. His Encyclical 'Mater and Magistra' (1961), approved 'socialisation', asserted the worker's right for a just wage, and championed the


peoples of underdeveloped countries. He started a dialogue and practical cooperation with the Soviet by issuing his Encyclical 'Peace on Earth' (1963). The important section was at the end, headed, 'Relations between Catholics and nonCatholics in social and economic affairs'.

From this time the papers started to report comings and goings of officials between the Vatican and the Kremlin. Kruschev's son-in-law had a private audience with the Pope. Pope John also initiated the now famous Second Vatican Council that aimed to give a new image to the Catholic Church. The 2500 cardinals and bishops were in session during 1963-5, and issued documents on the Church's position to all aspects of life. The popular appeal sought by the Church is well expressed in the following quotation from the book "The Changing Vatican" (A. Cavalleri):

"Other declarations go still further. There are some which definitely mean, as one theologian has written, a Catholic reconciliation with the ideas of the French Revolution which only yesterday were unconditionally condemned. Liberty, fraternity and equality are in fact the keynotes of the council doctrine concerning the Church in the modern world, towards the non-christian religions, and towards the atheists".


Here indeed, is the False Prophet sending out a frog-like spirit!

The next Pope, Paul VI, (1963-1978) pursued this leftward movement of the Church; some bishops and priests, especially in South America, openly espousing Marxism as not incompatible with the christian gospel. In Italy there was open cooperation between the Vatican and the Communist mayors and civil authorities in Rome and other main Italian cities. In the satellite countries the Communist rulers and the Catholic Church in general came to terms with each other. Priests and missionaries in Africa and South America readily espoused the cause of the people as the only way to make progress in the face of the Communist advance. So we see the frog-like spirit in the mouth of the False Prophet getting stronger and working out into the whole world.


The present Pope, John Paul II, is well aware of the need of the Roman Catholic Church to come to terms with the Soviet. He sees that Socialism-Communism is gripping the world -- Western Europe, China, India, Africa and the Middle East, all have their differing brands, and the Soviet is the dominant power which could rally them all together. But he does not intend yielding to Marxism. He is intent on restraining the Marxist liberal element in the Roman Catholic Church. He is insisting that traditional Church teaching must be obeyed. He insists on the infallibility of the Pope ex cathedra. His object is to strengthen the Roman Catholic Church as the world authority in religion. By asserting the authority and dogma of the Church, he appears to be aiming to be in a position, when the time comes for a Vatican-Soviet alliance, to assert the supremacy of the


Church in the religious field, with the Soviet supreme in the civil and military spheres. So for the present his policy varies between careful antagonism and practical co-operation with the Soviet, as we are witnessing in Poland.

Pope John II is a very powerful personality. He has already established himself as the world's 'moral' leader. His persistent theme 'Justice and Peace' has a popular appeal, especially to the poor and oppressed in the Third World. He is able to present himself with charm, piety and humility that wins men's hearts. People of various religious persuasions look upon him (and therefore his Church) with favour. When not insisting on the dogmas of the Church he presents his other face and spreads the doctrine of 'Christian humanism' and 'the dignity of man' (phrases used by the editor of the Daily Telegraph). How the Roman Catholic Church has changed; and yet has not changed! It is providing 'religion' for the people - the frog-like spirit - yet still maintains its age-old authority. In half a century it has built up a new position resting on the old foundations, and we see fulfilling before our eyes a frog-like spirit going forth from the False Prophet to Europe and the rest of the world.


So in our time we are seeing a frog-like spirit going forth from Eastern Europe, Western Europe and from the Vatican. It is not difficult to see how this can 'gather together' the nations for the war of the great day of God almighty. Christ will demand the submission of all nations to the laws of the God of Israel, and worship of the God of Israel. This will appear an outrageous challenge. It defies the power and authority of the PEOPLE; their right to self-determination. Under the banner of socialism most of the world will unite against Christ. The Socialist-Communist tentacles that have spread throughout the world will grip all nations, and the 'JUSTICE AND PEACE' banner unfurled by the Papacy will rally the world crusade against the hated Jewish upstart in the land of Israel.

It will be apparent from this brief consideration of the Vials how marvellously the symbols cover the history of the past two centuries. With remarkable brevity they set out the objectives and principles of the Divine control. We should be very grateful that God has provided us with such abundant evidence of his hand at work, and telling us in 1982 that we are reaching the critical point in the prophecy