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Discussion Forum : Revivals And Church History : The Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ

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Joined: 2008/10/30
Posts: 2009

 The Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ

The whole vision of the Book Of Revelation
was surrounded by existing events already in a state of
development, and it was written in code as a warning to
the churches living in that period, endangered by these
conditions and facing the perils of persecution therein
delineated. If Revelation is “a book of future prophecy,”
then we are in a regime of prophecy still, and living in an
age of prophecy. But the Lord declared in Luke 16:16 that
“the law and the prophets were until John: since that time
the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth
into it.” The phrase “until John” here does not mean until
John appeared, but until John’s order ended. At the house
of Cornelius, in Acts 10:37, Peter used the phrase “after
the baptism which John preached.” Jesus said “until” John,
and Peter said “after” John. Obviously after John meant
after the cross; and until John meant until the cross. Jesus
did not say that the law was until the cross--he said the law
and. And what? The law and the prophets were until the
cross--which means that prophecy ended exactly when
and where the law ended. The word “until” expresses the
point of termination. Paul states in Heb. 9 :10, that the
ordinances of the law were imposed until the new covenant
--the point of termination. So both law and prophecy were
terminated by the cross of Christ and “since that time the
kingdom of God is preached” and all men “press into it”
under the Great Commission, the preaching of it.
In reference to this same point, Jesus declared in Matt.
5:17, that he did not come to destroy the law or the
prophets but to fulfill them. And in Heb. 1 :l-2 the apostle
affirmed that Christ is the heir of all things spoken by the
prophets. The phrase all things in verse 2 must have an
antecedent--Christ is the heir of what “all things”? The
antecedent is in verse 1. In the former dispensation God
spake unto the patriarchs by his prophets, the agents of
divine revelation. In so doing he employed many methods
and revealed his will in various parts. But “in these last
days!"--the gospel dispensation--he speaks unto us by the
Son whom he appointed to be the heir of all things spoken
by the prophets. Jesus Christ became the heir of the “all things” spoken by the prophets in that he is the fulfillment
of these “all things.” In Eph. 1:10-11 the same apostle
uses the same phrase “all things” in reference to the
old and the new dispensations, saying: “That in the dis-
pensation of the fulness of time he might gather together
in one all things in Christ .. . according to the purpose of
him who worketh all things after the counsel of his will.”
The telescopes of the prophets were all focused on Jesus
Christ; and the types of the old dispensation all pointed
to Him who became “the heir of all things” thus spoken.
Like other students the author has in the past attempted
to tread the tangled maze of “the future prophecy” theory
of Revelation from A. D. 96 through the “dark ages” to
the end of time--and like all the others who did so, he
bogged down in the meshes of the wildernesses! Such an
effort is as traditional as the Catholic calendar of popes
from the apostle Peter in A.D. 33 to pope Paul VI of 1963--
and is as erroneous as the Baptist claim of the chain of
succession back to John on the banks of the Jordan--the
links fall out.
The historians use the word anachronism--meaning an
error in the order of time. Taking an event out of the
period to which it belongs and assigning it to a wrong
period of time is an anachronism. The multiple theories
asserting that Revelation is a book of future prophecy are
anachronistic. The internal arguments--the contents of the
book itself--are preponderantly negative to the future
fulfillment theories, as many of the best scholars have
admitted. After many years of intensive study it is the
calculated conclusion of the author that the symbols of
Revelation were fulfilled in the experience of the early
church ; that it bears a pre-destruction of Jerusalem date;
and that it is prophetic only in the sense of an apocalyptic
description of the struggle of the early church with the
Jewish and Roman persecutors, and the spectacular and
phenomenal victory over the pagan persecuting powers.
To accept this sensible application of the apocalypse is to
walk in the light; to reject it and follow the future theoriza-
tion is but to wander in the dark--in the maze of the
medieval centuries--in search of some historical counterpart for symbols that were fulfilled in the corresponding
events of the century of the apocalyptic disclosure. This
“dark ages” network of prophetic bewilderment has so
trammelled the Book Of Revelation, and made it to bristle
with so many difficulties, that most readers and students
of all other books of the New Testament shrink from any
effort to understand and apply the symbolic language of the
apocalypse, in the vague dread of the fearful future events
of a wholesale onslaught of reckless fury to be launched
against the church, either to overwhelm us in our day or to
overtake our children in another day. So they stop reading
the New Testament at the end of Jude.
All who have followed these prophetic meanderings have
been misled into theological back alleys. The relation of
the contents of Revelation to the persecution of the church
is undeniable, and there is no reason to look beyond the
period of these persecutions for their fulfillment. The sym-
bolism of the book offers no reason for future vagaries.
Its code language has an obvious purpose--the same pur-
pose the military has in communicating messages in code
to its personnel in order to withhold the information from
the public. If John had written Revelation in plain literal
language it would have precipitated a premature onslaught
against the church which would have obliterated it from
the Roman empire and wiped it off the face of the earth.
It was therefore communicated in code for the information
of the churches facing this era of persecution, and there
were the spiritually-gifted teachers in every early church
able to decode its message to the members. The Seer of
Revelation speaks to his own time, which was, indeed, the
time of crisis which the book envisions. The efforts to map
an incalculable future, and attempt to force history to
conform to it is a strange and curious method of exegesis.
With the foregoing deliberations in mind, the parallelism
existing between the visions of the prophets in the Old
Testament and the visions of John in Revelation will en-
hance the study preparatory to an exegesis of the book
The visions contained in the Old Testament books pre-
sented in apocalyptic form the fortunes of God's people Israel--the exile and the dominion of the wicked lords,
and in short the cause of the Old. Testament church, the
people of God, in conflict with the existing heathen powers.
The apocalypse of John in Revelation similarly portrays
the struggle and triumph of the early Christians--the New
Testament church--in conflict with the existing Jewish and
Roman persecuting powers in the period of their persecu-
tions. All forms of apocalypse ended with the age of
inspiration; there have been no revelations since, and there
are no visions or apocalypses or prophecies of divine source
For every phase, feature and symbol of the visions of
Revelation, there is a parallel in the Old Testament
apocalypses. They are related in both character and de-
scription to the visions of John on the isle of Patmos. The
classification and structure of the Old Testament books are
essential to the application of the similar portions of the
New Testament, such as the discourse of Jesus on the
Mount Olivet, recorded in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke
21, bearing on the siege and destruction of Jerusalem--and
with these the Book Of Revelation. The apocalypse of John
is the climax, consummation and crown of all biblical
vision. The symbolic and typical system of the old dispensation,
with its altars, visions and apocalypses, pointed to fulfill-
ment in Christ and the church. The blood stream of the
Old Testament began its flow from Abel’s altar and it did
not cease until it was mingled with the crimson flow of the
blood of Jesus Christ from the cross of Calvary.
There are multiple passages in the New Testament
gathered around the fact that the types and symbols and
prophecies all pointed to Christ and were thus fulfilled.
That is why Heb. 1:1-2 declares that God appointed him
to be the heir of the all things spoken by the prophets ; and
it is why Paul in Eph. 1 :lO-11 stated that in this dispensa-
tion God has gathered together in one all things in Christ ;
and it is why in Rom. 8 :27-29 the apostle shows that the all
things of God’s plan work together for the good, or the
redemption, of all men who are called according to his
purpose in the redemptive plan; and it is why in II Pet.
1:19 that Christ was proclaimed the day star of all
prophecy; and that is why Malachi, the last prophet of the
Old Testament, in chapter 4, when seeking a figure of speech
to adequately portray the grandeur of the One to come,
selected the flaming orb of the day, and declared that the
coming Christ should be the Sun Of Righteousness "with
healing in his wings.” What the sun of the solar system
is to the universe, Jesus Christ, the Sun Of Righteousness,would be to the darkened world of humanity in sin. In
fulfillment of the prophecies He came ; the Sun Of Right-
eousness had arisen, and it cast the beams of splendor
across the crest of Calvary, glimmering and glistening in
the blood of the crucified Son of God, who thus became
“the heir of all things” spoken by the prophets. “And he
said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you,
while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled,
which were written in the law of Moses, and in the
prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened
he their understanding, that they might understand the
scriptures.” (Lk. 24:44-45) “And when they had ful-
filled all that was written of him, they took him down from
the tree.” (Acts 13:29) Jesus Christ is the heir of all things
spoken by the prophets.
-FE Wallace

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