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Saturday, November 22, 2014


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Contents | Chapter 1


The Revelation -- Which Interpretation?
By Graham Pearce





No man can say with persuasion that he loves God if he is disinterested in prophecy, for prophecy is an essential part of the Truth which has proceeded forth from the Father. Neither can a man love Truth and be indifferent to apostasy. The love of God, then, compels a saint to identify the Apostasy foretold by prophet, apostle and the Lord Jesus. "The wise shall understand", Daniel was assured (12:10). Paul warns against the saints being deceived when he says the Lord will not return until "there come a falling away first and the man of sin be revealed" (2 Thess. 2:3). The identification of this system concerned the Apostle to such a degree that he spent time with the believers in Thessalonica to ensure these matters were known to them (v.5).

The greatest anxiety for comprehension of the words of prophecy is expressed by the Lord Jesus himself in the very opening of the Book of Revelation. "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass". It is clear that our Master wants us to know, at the very least, the basic meaning of the Apocalypse.

Until the last two decades the Brotherhood has been essentially of one mind in comprehending the Apocalypse. There had been no serious doubt that the book provided a general precis in symbol of the significant events of the times of the Gentiles leading up to the destruction of the kingdom of men -- especially the Apostasy -- and their replacement by the thousand-year reign of Christ and the saints. The monumental work of Bro. John Thomas, 'Eureka', inspired a particular interest in Revelation from the early days of our Body. This comprehension of the subject has been responsible for much of the basic convictions we have towards the Truth and the Apostasy. The reader will note too, from the historical extracts of Bible students of earlier times (see pages 19-23), that the Apocalypse has served the same purpose for those who earlier had similar resolve for God's Truth. Their appreciation and love of God was greatly strengthened because they


could see from His Word the end of that system which persecuted and 'wore them out'. With what greater courage did they unfurl the banner of Truth when they saw their time in history and the presiding faithfulness of the Father towards them. "Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets" (Amos 3:7).

These considerations are very grave and belong to the foundation thoughts of our Brotherhood. More recent interpretations of the Revelation run counter to this basic thinking and, in the view of many brethren, are a matter of great concern. Matters of prophecy may be matters of discussion in respect to details, but the fundamental concepts of prophecy lie right alongside the main planks in the foundation of Truth. The Hope of Israel -- the foundation of our faith -- is a matter of unfolding prophecy throughout the Scriptures. It is the viewpoint of many that more serious attention should be given to the implications of views of the Apocalypse that overturn almost entirely the traditional understanding of the book and the general comprehension of the events of the latter days. There are many matters of prophecy in which the Father has spoken so forcibly and passionately that we can be sure He intended that we should not be confused.

We therefore pray that the approach of this work by Bro. Graham Pearce will appeal to many. Our attitude in publishing is one of brotherly concern. The text is personal only to the point that the reader is aware of the work to which the comment is made.

Included with this work (Appendix 1) is a condensed version of a series of three articles by Bro. L. G. Sargent as found in 'The Christadelphian' magazine, January -- March 1960, entitled 'Daniel and the Apocalypse'. There is no more compelling reason to interpret the Apocalypse as fulfilled through the centuries of Gentile dominion, than noting the unquestioned linkage between the two books. The Apocalypse removes the seals that had troubled Daniel (12:4,8,9,13) and broadens the understanding of 'the dreadful and terrible fourth beast' (7:7,19,20). No one can question that Daniel's prophecy is about progressive historical developments. The simple appreciation of this basic fact should set one's mind along the right course of understanding for the Book of Revelation.

Our request is that the reader give the degree of serious study appropriate to this important matter. May the God of Truth help us all to a preservation of that unity of thought so desirable in the large issues involved in the interpretation of the Book of Revelation.

The Committee
Christadelphian Scripture Study Service