Last Updated on :
The Revelation -- Which Interpretation?
This interpretation is quite different from those we have considered. Some readers will find it difficult to follow as there is a weaving of many Old Testament themes into the book. To provide completeness to this present book, an outline will be given of Sis. Walker's book, followed by some comments upon that view.
A BRIEF STATEMENT OF THE KEY IDEAS
Chapters 6 to 9
The SEALS AND TRUMPETS bring the Old Roman Empire, centred on Con stantinople, to a final end, AD 1453.
THE RAINBOWED ANGEL: As Ezekiel first sees the glory of Yahweh in his first chapter, and is then commissioned to witness to Israel so John first sees the Rainbowed Angel and is then commissioned to preach.
The HOLY CITY represents faithful christians; these are also the TWO WITNESSES. Their 1260 years of witness stretches from AD 70 to the l4th century, prior to the fall of Constantinople. The Witnesses do not actually carry out the wars and judgements but they pray to God and God does it by other agents. The DEATH OF THE WITNESSES is the harsh treatment by the Turks.
DEAD BODIES LYING IN THE STREET OF THE GREAT CITY -- reminds one of the unpleasant Mongol habit of leaving dead bodies piled up in the streets
of the cities they sacked". Those who beheld the dead bodies were the western crusaders in Palestine; the Greek eastern peoples rejoiced at their death.
THE RESURRECTION OF THE WITNESSES represents the resurrection of Bible truth in the West, following the Renaissance.
THE WITNESSES ASCEND TO HEAVEN and their enemies beheld them: this is a request by believers at the time for God to bring judgement on a persecuting world.
THE GREAT EARTHQUAKE IN WHICH A TENTH OF THE CITY FELL: this is the end of Christian Rome when Constantinople fell in 1453.
THE WOMAN CLOTHED WITH THE SUN is described as follows: "The woman is particularly the Roman world, trading queen of the whole earth. She is crowned and clothed in glory, because in John's day the people ruled the empire... The woman was in heaven because she, as the Roman State, ruled the world. "
THE DRAGON is "the pagan Emperor-system, corrupting the woman with his lies".
The MAN CHILD represents the faithful Christian Church born out of the Roman world by preaching.
The WOMAN IN THE WILDERNESS is thus described: "The woman Rome, having given birth to a true seed, goes into the political wilderness for 1260 days, i.e., for 1260 years dated from AD 193, which brings us to the end of the State of Rome in 1453".
The BEAST OF THE SEA is the succession of the empires in the West, including the Holy Roman Empire.
ITS LION MOUTH: "the mark of African superstition which corrupted the western churches".
The SEVEN HEADS OF THE BEAST: 1. Western Rome; 2. Barbarian Gothic; 3. Merovingian; 4. Carlovingian; 5. Holy Roman; 6. Napoleonic; 7. Western Europe today, and its future development.
The BEAST OF THE EARTH: the eastern Empire of Rome based on Constantinople.
The IMAGE OF THE BEAST THAT KILLED ALL THAT WOULD NOT WORSHIP: the Eastern Church under the control of the eastern Emperor, up to the time of Phocas about AD 600. After this the Mohammedans and the Islamic religion take over the eastern Roman Empire, and the Earth beast changed its form and became the False Prophet.
The NUMBER OF THE BEAST, 666: This "is related to the history of Edom".
The LAMB ON MOUNT ZION is explained as follows: "The 144,000 are not conscious people. They are a symbolic group representing all the faithful of the trumpet era; their appearance before the throne is a symbol showing that their lives and deaths require judgement by God against the systems which have persecuted them."
PREACHING THE EVERLASTING GOSPEL is a revival of Bible Truth associated with the Renaissance and the Reformation, which "eventually came to fruition in some of the Anabaptist churches of the 16th centuries." "The rebirth of Bible truth, beginning a little before the fall of Constantinople" is a further description.
BABYLON IS FALLEN (14:6): This is taken as the fall of Constantinople in 1453. It is explained as follows: "This is the announcement to western Edom (Europe, GP) that the great city which has been her strength was gone, that great city Constantinople, by whose trading and religion all nations have been made drunk".
REAPING THE HARVEST, GATHERING THE VINE INTO THE WINEPRESS OF THE WRATH OF GOD (vv. 14-20): this is the Turkish invasion of the lands of the eastern Roman Empire.
FIRST VIAL: 'A MALIGNANT ULCER': This is the Turks in the East illtreating their conquered lands and causing distress to Catholics.
SECOND VIAL: THE SEA BECOMES THE BLOOD OF A DEAD MAN: Civil wars in the West, chiefly between Protestants and Catholics.
THIRD VIAL: RIVERS AND FOUNTAINS OF WATERS BECOME BLOOD: The mis-rule of the Turks in Egypt and North Africa.
FOURTH VIAL: POURED OUT ON THE SUN: "This new judgement is the revival of the Roman system in the Russian Empire".
FIFTH VIAL: POURED OUT ON THE SEAT OF THE BEAST: The impact of 'reason'on Catholic darkness, bringing total darkness, demanded judgement on Rome and her adherents.
SIXTH VIAL: DRYING UP OF RIVER EUPHRATES: Decline of the Turkish Empire.
KINGS FROM THE EAST: The Christadelphians, brought into being by the work of Dr. Thomas.
THE FROG-LIKE SPIRITS: (The present writer could not find an explanation for this important symbol in Sis. Walker's book).
BEHOLD I COME AS A THIEF. WATCH: This is an exhortation, but the resurrection does not take place until many events later; in chapter 20 of the Revelation.
THE SCARLET COLOURED BEAST: a vast confederacy, equivalent to Nebuchadnezzar's Image, ruled by Russia.
THE HARLOT: Quoting, "The woman, in her last phase of western Christian Europe, is decked with the spoils she has gained by worshipping rulers who have given her a 'high standard of living' ' The golden cup contains abominable doctrines and beliefs, as Roman Catholicism, Solafideism, Humanism, Capitalism, Socialism, etc.
BABYLON: This is a 'new' Babylon. "A new city 'Babylon' rose on the ashes of the old (destroyed AD 1453 GP), while outside the city a new dragon was climbing step by step out of the bottomless pit of the Russian steppes. These two, the 'city' of western Europe and the Russian 'dragon' develop into the harlot on the scarlet beast of Revelation 17".
EVENTS OF THE LAST DAYS: The following is the sequence proposed:
COMMENTS ON THE INTERPRETATION OF SIS. WALKER
In the various interpretations we have been examining, the most important part, from our point of view, has to do with the present and the future, because this gives us guidance as to the coming of the Master and the resurrection. In the interpretation we have just summarised, the outline of the future has a similar sequence to that of the other interpretations -- there is the fall of Babylon, then the return of Christ, and as practically the last item, the resurrection. What we have written in chapter nine will suffice as an answer to this wrong sequence.
Confidence as to an interpreter's ability to indicate the immediate future depends very much on the accuracy of the interpretation of earlier events. Relative to this, we offer a few comments on the interpretation given of chapters I I to 16 in this "Revelation of Jesus Christ".
1. We are told that the testimony of the Two Witnesses started AD 70 and finished in AD 1330 (70 plus 1260 equals 1330). Historically this proposal is not true. There is probably more evidence of witness against apostasy in the century following AD 1330 than in the previous centuries. The western Paulicians, Albigenses, Waldenses, and Petro-bruscians belong to this time.
2. To say that the Turks, as the beast of the abyss, made war on the faithful christians, overcame them, and killed them, has no serious historical support. They may have suffered with 'christians' generally, but this does not amount to a specific war against 'faithful christians', who are said to be the Two Witnesses.
3. Let us consider the resurrection of the Two Witnesses. The details are in verses 11 -13. The Witnesses came to life after 3-1/2 days; great fear fell on all them that beheld them; the same hour there was a great earthquake; 7,000 men were slain; the remnant were affrighted and gave glory to the God of heaven. In Sis. Walker's interpretation the great earthquake is the fall of Constantinople. So at this time "in the same hour" -- the 'faithful christians' became powerful, great fear fell on their enemies, a frightened remnant gave glory to God. Where can one find this in the history of the time of the fall of Constantinople? The symbols do not fit; there is no historical support. One detail in these verses is "the tenth of the city fell". It may be asked why Constantinople should be called the tenth of the city?
All the details of the symbology in these verses fit the events of the French Revolution so well, that to infer that this is just chance, seems to be despising God's gracious guidance to us, and to those living at that time.
4. The 7th Trumpet, or third Woe, follows quickly after the earthquake and its related events; and as the 7th Trumpet sounds, great voices announce that the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of Christ (11:14, 15). So at the fall of Constantinople in AD 1453 we are approaching the setting up of the kingdom. But is this so? No. Sister Walker's interpretation is about to start a new era of 500 years of European history! This interpretation is on the wrong track.
1. In the interpretation we are considering, the woman clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet, and crowned with twelve stars, is the Roman world. The text says that when this sign appears, it is a great sign or wonder in heaven. How can the Roman world be called a great wonder appearing in heaven at the time christianity is born?
2. The man-child, we are told, represents "faithful christians" born out of the Roman world, and they do not come to the birth until about AD 193 when there is recognition of the Christian Church. This would infer that the
Christian Church, recognised and tolerated by Rome, are 'faithful christians' still. This is not true. It was an apostate Church that was tolerated and recognised.
3. Then it is proposed that the man-child caught up to God and his throne, was a petition of the faithful to God for vengeance on their persecutors. While the language is admittedly symbolical, this interpretation is not giving sensible meaning to the words.
4. The response to the petition for vengeance is said to be that Michael the archangel (Dan. 10:21), in heaven above, puts in motion events on earth to cast out the Dragon from the Roman 'heaven'. There is no justification for making 'heaven', in the same verse, literal for Michael and symbolic for the Dragon.
5. The proposition that the Roman world (the woman) went into the political wilderness from AD 193 to AD 1453 -- 1260 years -- is very strange: it highlights the difficulties that a wrong interpretation creates.
6. The important words in verse 10, "And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God", do not appear to be dealt with. They would be difficult to fit in.
1. The beast of the sea and the beast of the earth: The beast of the sea is interpreted on similar lines to that in Eureka - the warfare against the saints is associated with the Papal power starting with Phocas' decree in AD 607 approximately, and passing through 1260 years to the loss of temporal power by the Papacy in 1867-70.
The beast of the earth is introduced with the words "and I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth" (verse 11). This beast is said to be the Eastern Roman Empire about AD 600. No explanation is given as to how the Eastern Roman Empire at this time could be "another beast coming up out of the earth". No history is given to support the arrival of a new Eastern Roman Empire at this time. Nor is any history given to justify the words of verse 13, that the eastern Empire, or the Emperor, "doeth great signs, that he should even make fire to come down out of heaven upon the earth in the sight of men". History shows the Papacy in the West did this.
2. The earth beast instructs "them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast" (that is, to the sea beast), verse 14. This image that is made is said to be the eastern Catholic Church. Did the people of the time make the eastern Catholic Church? Nothing like it occurred at this time. Was the eastern Catholic Church an image of the sea beast in the West? Is not the true situation the reverse of this, that the Papal power and church in the West became an image of the Imperial Rome?
3. The image of the beast was a terribly oppressive power as we read in verses 15-17.
In the interpretation we are told that chapter 13 finishes about AD 600. So this tyrannical image of the beast must have been operating at this time. Is it true that the eastern Catholic Church at this time developed into a persecuting power so terrible that it put in bondage all who had not the mark of the sea beast in the hand or forehead? History does not support this. The eastern Catholic Church in the 7th century as the Image of the beast does not fit the detail of the symbols.
1. The proposed gospel preaching at the fall of Constantinople: Chapter 14 has the Lamb on Mount Zion with the Redeemed and then there follows a sequence of three angels. The first preaches to all nations, "Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgement is come". Then follows the second angel saying, "Babylon is fallen"; and a third angel says that the worshippers of the beast, and those that have the mark, will be "tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence... of the Lamb". In the interpretation under review this great event, the fall of Babylon, belongs to the l5th century; it is the fall of Constantinople and the end of the old Roman Empire. Note the sequence, first the preaching of the gospel to all nations, verse 7; then the fall of Babylon, verse 8. So we ask, Who preached to all nations this gospel of coming judgement before Constantinople fell? We were told in the interpretation of chapter 11 that the faithful christian witness ceased about 1330, and the Turks made war on the witnesses and killed them. On their own showing, there can be no preaching of the gospel before the fall of Constantinople. Nor does history provide evidence of such a witness in the Eastern Roman Empire, so bold and emphatic as to be described as a 'loud voice', preaching 'to every nation, kindred, tongue and people'. If this did occur, it would be noted in history. In truth, this preaching is a preaching when Christ returns, and has nothing to do with Constantinople.
2. Continuing with the detail in verses 10 and 11 of this chapter, we ask, How could those at the time of the fall of Constantinople who worshipped the beast, be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the Lamb? The language of these verses can only be given sensible meaning by applying them to the time when Christ returns, and there is a world-wide call to repentance before the great city Babylon is destroyed, as detailed in chapter 18. The language used regarding the judgement on Babylon and her worshippers in chapter 14 and chapter 18 is so similar, that we should take 'Babylon' to be the same system in both places. It is most unlikely that God intended to have two Babylons in the Apocalypse.
1. In the exposition we are considering, the first five Vials have to span some 400 years from the fall of Constantinople in 1453. The third Vial, we are told,
concerns the treatment of the Egyptians and North Africans by the Turks. How does this fit the symbols used? The Vial is poured out "upon the rivers and fountains of waters. There is nothing in Egypt and North Africa to fit this description; rather the reverse: both in geographical and spiritual terms they are dry, arid regions.
But more important than this failure to fit the symbols, the further elements under the third Vial are inappropriate. The pouring out of the Vial brings the response from the angel "Thou art righteous, 0 Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy" (v.6). Does this intense wickedness attach to the Egyptians and North Africans? Should they be picked out specially in this way? Where is the evidence that the Egyptians and North Africans have been the chief shedders of the blood of the saints and prophets? There is no evidence and to propose this is to ignore the actual evil power, the Papacy, which did shed the blood of the saints and witnesses; especially in the region of the 'rivers and fountains of waters' -- the Alps.
In the continuous historical exposition by Bro. Thomas and others, the second half of the Revelation focuses on the West rather than the East; on Rome rather than Constantinople. This is historically appropriate; the Truth had moved from the East to the West, and the warfare of the faith was being fought in the West. The attempts to centre so many symbols on Constantinople must be rejected as not in harmony with historical development.
The more one studies these various attempts to provide an alternative to Bro. Thomas' exposition, the more apparent it becomes that his is the only one that fits the many detailed symbols, whether in the Vials, or the earlier Seals and Trumpets.
All Books/Booklets, Editorials, and Articles are FREE and can be downloaded without permission.