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					The Book of Revelation

  Avon Christadelphian Ecclesia
      Midweek Bible Class
    Thursday, May 24, 2007

                                  1
        How Should We Work to
        Understand Revelation?
 Since…most     brethren     believe     that   the
  “continuous-historic” (CH) view is the correct
  way to understand Revelation…
 And…since the CH view was the view of Brothers
  John Thomas and Robert Roberts…
 And…since the CH view is the view generally
  held by the brethren typically invited to speak at
  the MWBS and at events like last weekend’s
  Indiana Fraternal Gathering…
 Perhaps this class should just present the basic
  arguments in favor of the CH view and then
  provide a handy CH Bible-marking chart
                                                   2
                       However:
   Even if the CH view is the correct way to understand
    Revelation, it is inherently complicated and “intellectual”.
    (Note: this is not an argument against CH in any
    way…it’s just a fact.)
   The CH view has made some serious mistakes, as
    admitted even by its supporters. (Note: this doesn’t just
    mean that we throw the CH view in the trashcan.)
   There are other views currently held by a number of
    Christadelphians. Even if these other views are wrong
    (and at least one of them must be!), they nonetheless
    make some observations that should be heeded.



                                                               3
                     So…
 Let’s begin by talking about the history of the
  CH view as presented by Brother John Thomas.
 Today’s    class will provide an overview
  understanding of the history of the CH view
  among Christadelphians, as well as a brief
  overview of the history of alternative views.
 This discussion over the next few weeks is the
  best way to understand both Revelation and the
  various views about Revelation.

                                                4
          Bro. John Thomas
 1832 – shipwreck and vow
 1844 – Challenged William Miller’s
  prophetic arithmetic (see chart next slide)




                                                5
6
 1847 – JT baptized “as a Christadelphian”
 1848 – JT lectures in Britain
 1849 – JT publishes Elpis Israel
 1862-1868 – JT publishes Eureka
    – 1868 – JT publishes Exposition of Daniel




                                                 7
            From Elpis Israel
 Publisher’s Preface, 14th edition, Christadelphian
  Magazine 1983. The book is reprinted as in the
  1903 edition.
 “The third part of the book deals with prophecy
  in relation to world affairs. Here understanding
  was influenced by an expectation of the Lord’s
  early advent, which proved premature, and
  much that has now to be treated with reserve
  derived from this outlook.”


                                                   8
   Now, there has never yet existed a single
    dominion, contemporary with the toe-
    kingdoms, and of course comprehending them
    in its jurisdiction, which could claim to be
    represented by Nebuchadnezzar’s image. In
    order, then, to prepare for the catastrophe, the
    image which is now in antagonistic parts, must
    be confederated;in other words, a dominion
    must arise before the setting up of the kingdom
    of God, which shall rule over the toe-kingdoms,
    and the Turkish and Persian territories, till it
    meets the British Power in the East. …
                                                9
   The description of the dream says that the
    feet were smitten; and “then was the iron,
    the clay, the brass, the silver, and the
    gold, broken to pieces together thereby
                                    ”;
    intimating that the breaking of the power
    of the ten kingdoms would precede that of
    the conjoint destruction of all the other
    parts. That when they are conquered, the
    dominion of the conqueror will be
    overturned by the revelation of power
    from above. …
                                              10
   I shall be able to show, from other parts
    of the prophetic word, that the power
    destined to play the conspicuous part
    indicated above is Russia. That it will
    dominate all the ten kingdoms, subdue
    Turkey, and incorporate Persia into its
    empire; but that when it has reached its
    zenith, it will in turn be precipitated into
    the abyss, and its dominion suppressed
    for a thousand years. (pp. 327-328)


                                               11
   [The St. Bartholomew’s Day] massacre [in
    1572] was 1,260 years from the separation
    established between State-church Christians,
    and the remnant of the Woman’s seed. In 312–
    313, the man child was born of the Woman as
    the military chieftain destined to cast the pagan
    dragon out of the Roman heaven. …
    Constantine and his successors “       ruled the
                                   ”;
    nations with a rod of iron and united in
    adulterous alliance, an apostasy from apostolic
    Christianity to the kingdom of the world. …

                                                 12
 Thus, a Satanic system was established,
                              w
  which persecuted all “ho kept the
  commandments of God, and had the
                            ”.
  testimony of Jesus Christ  The troubles of
  the witnesses commenced with the
  institution of State Christianity, and they
  will not cease until every State Religion is
  abolished from the earth.
 This Bartholomew massacre of 1572
  marks the epoch of the terminating of the
  testimony of the two witnesses. (p. 346)

                                             13
   Thus, Oct. 18th, 1685, became the epoch of
    the death of the witnesses. The war had been
    long, but the Beast had subdued them at last.
    The voice of testimony against Papalism in
    Church and State was silenced. The stillness of
    death pervaded not France only, but Europe
    likewise; and if I were called upon to point out
    the darkest period of Bible Christianity from the
    time of Constantine to the present time, I
    should point to the interval from the revocation
    of the Edict of Nantes [in 1685] to the breaking
    out of the French Revolution in 1789. During
    this time the holy city was laid low, and the
    symbolic witnesses lay dead, though unburied.
    (p. 350)                                     14
   The Apocalypse as a whole is a miniature representation of
      the
    “ things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter  ”;
    that is, of things in existence while John was in Patmos, and of
    the things shortly to happen after he wrote, and until the
    setting up of the kingdom. Everything is exhibited on a smaller
    scale than the reality; and the time of the symbols is in keeping
    with them. Thus, multitudes of witnesses are reduced to two;
    and the years of their prophesying to days. It would have been
    a violation of the fitness of things to have made them testify for
    1,260 years, because this is far beyond the duration of human
    life, which is the rule of speaking in the case. So in indicating
    the time of their unburied state, the real time must be
    expressed in accordance with the physical laws. A dead body
    might lie in the open air for “                        ”
                                      three days and a half without
    disappearing; but not three years and a half, or three months
    and a half. Hence, the symbol required the smallest possible
    period capable of expressing the real time of their political non-
    existence; and that is “                     ”.
                             three days and a half (p. 357)

                                                                15
 The time that elapsed between their death in 1685, and their
  resurrection in 1790, was 105 years. This is a period
  contained in three lunations and a half, on the day for a year
  principle.
 This consideration led Mr. Bicheno, a Baptist Pastor in
  Newbury, England, in 1793, to conclude that lunar days were
  intended. Taking the Jewish month of 30 days, Mr. Bicheno
  found that three-and-a-half times thirty, or 105 days (years),
  gave just the interval from the death of the witnesses in
  1685 to their political resurrection in 1790, in the time of the
  Great French Revolution. Mr. Bicheno, though cloudy on
  some points, was nevertheless, sufficiently sound to be
  regarded as one of the witnesses. He did well in stirring up
  his own generation to the study of the Apocalypse; and in
  discovering for us the true import of the “  three days and a
      ”.
  half We thank our Heavenly Father for raising up such
  witnesses.(pp. 357-358)
 [Publisher’s Footnote:] The preceding two paragraphs have
  been re-written on the basis of Eureka, a later work by the
  author of Elpis Israel.
                                                             16
 The restoration of the Jews is a work of time,
  and will require between fifty and sixty years to
  accomplish. …
 The truth is, there are two stages in the
  restoration of the Jews, the first is before the
  battle of Armageddon; and the second, after it;
  but both pre-millennial. (pp. 440, 441)




                                               17
   There is, then, a partial and primary restoration
    of Jews before the manifestation, which is to
    serve as the nucleus, or basis, of future
    operations in the restoration of the rest of the
    tribes after he has appeared in the kingdom.
    The pre-adventual colonization of Palestine will
    be on purely political principles; and the Jewish
    colonists will return in unbelief of the
    Messiahship of Jesus, and of the truth as it is in
    him. (p. 441)



                                                  18
   I know not whether the men, who at present contrive
    the foreign policy of Britain, entertain the idea of
    assuming the sovereignty of the Holy Land, and of
    promoting its colonization by the Jews; their present
    intentions, however, are of no importance one way or
    the other, because they will be compelled, by events
    soon to happen, to do what, under existing
    circumstances, heaven and earth combined could not
    move them to attempt. The present decisions of
     statesmen are destitute of stability. A shooting star
    “           ”
    in the political firmament is sufficient to disturb all the
    forces of their system; and to stultify all the theories
    of their political astronomy. The finger of God has
    indicated a course to be pursued by Britain which
    cannot be evaded, and which her counsellors will not
    only be willing, but eager, to adopt when the crisis
    comes upon them. …                                     19
   The decree has long since gone forth
    which calls upon the Lion of Tarshish to
    protect the Jews. Upwards of a thousand
    years before the British were a nation, the
    prophet addresses them as the power
    which at “ evening-tide should interest
                             ”
    themselves in behalf of Israel. (p. 442)




                                              20
       From Exposition of Daniel
   “I heard”, said [Daniel], “but I understand not:
    then said I, O my Lord, when the end of these?”
    that is, of the time, times, and a half? He was
    told the reason why he could not obtain the
    information sought; that it was “because the
    words were closed up and sealed till the time of
    the end”; which was tantamount to saying that
    when the time of the end should arrive, the
    time-words would be no longer closed up and
    sealed. … On a previous page I have shown that
    a time has been present with us for several
    years” (p. 107)

                                                  21
   “Judah’s seven times will terminate in the
    AD 1892; and Babylon’s AD 1908. …forty
    years to be deducted from the seven
    times of Babylon for the period during
    which … This brings us back from AD
    1908 to AD 1868. … The Lord, then, will
    have come as the Ancient of Days at some
    time soon after 1868.” (pp. 112-114)




                                             22
 “Taking the resurrection then, soon after
  AD 1868” (p. 115)
 “These thirty years war are the last years
  of Micah’s forty … and beginning therefore
  about AD 1878.” (p. 119)
 “How highly important is this exhortation
  now, seeing that in a very short time the
  resurrection will have transpired.” (p. 121)




                                             23
        From “Publisher’s Note”
   “It will be apparent to the careful reader
    of this work that the expectations of its
    author concerning the precise date of the
    coming of the Lord … were premature.
    Some have regarded this as a reason for
    rejecting the whole exposition. This is a
    mistaken view.”



                                             24
           Other Christadelphian
              Interpretations
 Since the days of Brother Thomas, there
  have been repeated “updates” to the CH
  view by leading brethren.
 Brother Harry Whittaker (ca. 1976)
    Revelation: A Biblical Approach
   Brother Alfred Norris (ca. 1982)
    Apocalypse for Everyman


                                        25
                Lord willing…
 Next week: a summary look at the continuous-historic
  system of understanding as presented in Apocalypse
  Epitomised by Brother H.P. Mansfield. (To be done
  without “cheerleading” either for or against)
 In two weeks: a similar look at the system of
  understanding proposed by Brother Harry Whittaker in
  his book, Revelation – A Biblical Approach.
 In three weeks: a similar look at the system of
  understanding proposed by Brother A.D. Norris in his
  book, Apocalypse for Everyman.
 Beyond: directed discussion about how to work through
  an understanding of the Book of Revelation, given the
  thoughts presented in the above systems of
  understanding.

                                                     26
Why consider various schemes?
   Even if the “continuous-historic” scheme is correct, and
  we ought to reject the schemes proposed by Brothers
  Whittaker and Norris, nonetheless they make a number
  of points that merit serious consideration. (compare JT
  on “Mr. Bicheno re. 3½ lunations”)
 Christadelphians do have differing opinions about these
  matters.
 You can’t reject as false something that you don’t
  understand, nor can you convince somebody to leave
  that approach if you don’t understand it.
 Reputable brothers in favor of CH have clearly made
  mistakes (JT, RR, CCW, etc.), and CH keeps getting
  “updated”.


                                                          27
     Two Related Questions:
 What does Brother Dean believe? (i.e. –
  which “scheme” does Brother Dean
  endorse?)
 Where is Brother Dean taking the class?




                                            28
     What does Dean believe?
 You have a right to know.
 I have major problems with Brother Harry’s
  framework.
 I like the CH approach but have a number of
  problems with it. I also like ADN’s approach but
  have a number of problems with it.
 Please note: the CH approach and the ADN
  approach end up in much the same position
  (although with MAJOR differences regarding the
  details of what will happen around the time of
  Christ’s return).

                                                 29
    Where is this class going?
 Increase general level of understanding of
  the book of Revelation, and, to a lesser
  extent, end-time prophecy.
 Increase knowledge of and respect for the
  different views about Revelation among
  Christadelphians.
 Encourage humility when speaking
  about end-time events.

                                           30
               Last thoughts:
   Class outcome:
    – (a) Christ will return in the year ____
    Or
    – (b) Christ will return shortly after CNN reports
      that __________ is invading ________
   Next week: “Apocalypse Epitomised
    Epitomised”. Please read the handouts.
    (Distribute notebooks with handouts)

                                                     31

				
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