Interpretations of The Revelation (The Apocalypse) which do not identify the present apostacy are destructive of the Truth (link to 'the Lord's day' for a correct exposition)
SOME FACTS CONCERNING THESE WRONG IDEAS:
1. These interpretations, though dressed up in a "new" garb, are simply a re-hash of previously published material. Their purpose becomes plain when we realise that an understanding of the Apocalypse shows clearly the apostacy in all its iniquity. Those who understand cannot be deluded by this abomination as are those set forth in Revelation 17v2 - "the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication". Interpretations which place most prophecies in the future (including all events after ch.6v8 or 10) do away with this identification. The blessing of ch.1v3 is lost - "Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein : FOR THE TIME IS AT HAND".
We are being told by Christ that the blessing is inextricably involved and is dependent upon an understanding of the prophecies of the Apocalypse, which were TO BEGIN IN THE DAYS WHEN IT WAS GIVEN TO JOHN, AD96.
Such a correct understanding may be termed 'CONTINUOUS HISTORICAL' as opposed to erroneous interpretations known as 'FUTURISTIC'. 'EUREKA', BY JOHN THOMAS, IS WITHOUT DOUBT, AN INCOMPARABLE 'CONTINUOUS HISTORICAL' EXPOSITION WHICH SHOULD BE STUDIED BY ALL:
Regarding the above, John Thomas wrote - "The Apocalypse was given to the end that the servants of the Deity who are keeping their garments might be able to discern the signs of the times preceding the apocalypse of Christ; and the real nature of things extant in their several generations. No believer, understanding this prophecy, could be seduced into fellowship with the clerical institutions of the world because he would see them in all their native deformity and sin".
It is therefore absolutely imperative that any interpretation nullifying such true understanding must be resisted by all means, including withdrawal of fellowship - CONCERNING 'FUTURISTIC' IDEAS see below:
2. It is no coincidence that these destructive ideas are easily traced back to the apostacy itself. (What is more logical than an attempt by those in error to turn attention away from their heinous acts, so plainly recorded in the blood-soaked pages of history?). Indeed, they can be traced back approx. 1500 years at least, to a time when the early ecclesias (assemblies of called-out ones) had been corrupted from the Faith, even as foretold by Christ and Paul - see Matthew 24v4-13; Acts 20v26-32. The faithful believers fled from the persecution which the new "church-state" meted out to any who dissented from apostate teaching. Cp Revelation 11v1-10; 12v6, 14-17. Fleeing from persecution was commanded by Christ Himself - see Matthew 10v22,23.
This "church-state" later grew into a world-wide apostate "church" -
'MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH' - Revelation 17v5.
Also see links below to the Doctrines.
For identification, we only have to turn to v9 and v18 - "And here is the mind that has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth". "And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reignest over the kings of the earth". We only have to ask the questions: What city is notorious as being built upon "seven mountains" or "seven hills"? (A coin in the British Museumshows 'ROMA' as a woma n sitting on 7 hills - cp v9)...What city "reigne(d) over the kings of the earth" in the days when John was given the Apocalypse? (historical fact = Rome). THERE IS ONLY ONE ANSWER, AND THAT IS ROME.
Consistent with this indisputable fact, we find pagan Rome changing to her 'Pagan-Christian' form, ASD312-324 onwards. Constantine assumed power, & Rome adopted 'futuristic' interpretations of the Apocalypse. She hoped, by this means, to turn attention away from herself as the great apostacy foretold by Jesus Christ#. Since "the reformation", two Jesuit priests have issued 'futuristic' interpretations, one under anassumed name. We might ask, does it matter?
Yes, it is vital to our salvation. Note carefully no.3 below..
#other interpretations known as 'preterist' apply the same prophecies to AD66-73 in an endeavour to show that they were fulfilled in the Jewish revolt against Rome. However, Rome favors the 'futurist' ideas, because with these she can then promulgate "the lie" foretold in 2nd Thessalonians 2 - link to 'the Lord's day' - 5th Vision for an explanation.
3. The blessings promised to those who "read" - i.e. read and learn, & "hear" - i.e. believe and accept, & "keep" - i.e. put into practice what they have learned and believed (the messages of the Apocalypse), can only be fulfilled when individuals associate themselves with "the testimony of Jesus", for this is termed "THE SPIRIT OF THE PROPHECY" in ch.19v10..the definite article appears before "prophecy" in the original..cp ch.1v3-we must "read..hear..keep this prophecy".
The 'spirit' is the 'life'( 'power') of the prophecy - cp ch.13v15 where 'pneuma' is translated 'life' - and link to 'spirit' where the meaning of 'spirit' is discussed. We are told that the origin of the life-giving power of the prophecy is "the testimony of Jesus". It is necessary to look at the meaning of the Greek word 'marturia' translated "testimony". This is shown to mean - 'evidence given', and it is translated as 'record report, testimony, witness' - Strong's Concordance. It is derived from 'martus', meaning 'witness', from which we get the Anglicized word 'martyr' - signifying one who is put to death for their faith and witness.
It is highly significant that "Jesus" gave this "testimony". And those who wish to be with Him must also give this "testimony" - in fact it must become an essential part of their being: ch.1v2,5,9; 3v14; 6v9; 11v3,7; 12v11,17; 15v5; 19v10; 20v4; John 15v17-27; 1 Timothy 6v13; Hebrews 12v1; 1st John 5v5-10 etc.
We begin our "testimony" with baptism into Jesus Christ when we endorse the necessity of His sacrificial death, and commit ourselves to follow in His footsteps - link to 'committees'. All the words translated "testimony", "witness" etc. are related in the original Greek, showing a continuity throughout. Note the words of the Lord in Matt. 23v34-36, John 15v18-27. All this centres our minds on what Jesus accomplished whilst He was on the earth, during the days of His mortality. When we examine what His "testimony" was, we see that it was AGAINST THE APOSTACY OF HIS DAY - 1st Timothy 6v13. If we desire to gain the promised blessings, we must also witness AGAINST THE APOSTACY OF OUR DAY. And although we live nearly 2000 years later, the indisputable fact is that THESE TWO APOSTACIES ARE LINKED TOGETHER!
The first recorded opposition to the Truth came from the same influences which Jesus had opposed - Acts 15v1-5 - Paul later prophesied that this opposition would grow - to include not only those from within, but those also from without - Acts 20v28-30. He taught that "the word of..God" was the only thing which could withstand these evils - v30,31. We have traced the growth of the apostacy into a world-wide church -
And under No.2 above we have shown that Rome is called - 'MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT'- Revelation 17v5.
The important question to ask is-
UNLESS WE CAN CLEARLY IDENTIFY & NAME THE APOSTACY, HOW CAN WE WITNESS AGAINST IT?
And further, if we do not witness against it - HOW CAN WE GAIN THE BLESSINGS WHICH ARE PROMISED ONLY TO THOSE WHO BEAR WITNESS?
We can now clearly see why the Jesuit-inspired 'futuristic' interpretations of the Apocalypse are designed to do away with this vital identification. This is why we must oppose them and not allow their currency within our fellowship. There are more reasons for this action– see nos. 4 & 5 below:
4. An extremely insidious error is that the return of Christ is put a long way off. For if everything after ch.6v8 or 10 is placed in the future, the Lord's imminent return (ch.16v15) is put far off - & "the testimony" (ch.6v9 onwards) cannot be identified as being against the Roman apostacy, which by such teaching cannot be the evil system against which we must now witness. It is no wonder that Jesus Christ warned us in Mark 13v35,36 - "Watch thee therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh..Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping". These words carry a very dire warning - see below.
Let us carefully note the following - Mark 13v35 refers to the Roman practice of four watches during the night* - the Jewish watches were three - cp Luke 12v37,38; Judges 7v19.
*cp Proverbs 7v9,10 - link to Proverbs.
*link also to 'signs' - the 5th - 'the calming of the storm'.
That "sleeping" is associated with a time of Romish custom demonstrates a connection with what has been stated - i.e. our watching and witnessing is against the apostacy centred in Rome. And we can only do this by identifying it.
5. The 'futuristic' interpretations involve wrong doctrine. Some of these errors are: (a) doubt is cast upon a literal judgment seat (b) the return of Christ is consequently made as a universal appearance to all - thus encouraging "universalism" (c) the believers are resurrected twice - after the first time they are killed by their enemies, and must be raised again to be judged (d) It is claimed that "heaven" is only used literally, so the redeemed must go there to be with Christ (e) the rebellion after the end of the 1000 year reign is denied.
FOR ALL THE ABOVE REASONS, IT IS ESSENTIAL TO DENY AN ENTRANCE INTO OUR MIDST OF ANY HERETICAL INTERPRETATIONS OF THE APOCALYPSE.
We now reproduce some comments of Robert Roberts, who also took the same view. His words should be noted and acted upon.
'Revelation All Future' a heresy
'Men who teach that the Revelation of John has a wholly future application, do not 'hear what the Spirit saith to the ecclesias', and therefore cut themselves off from those who desire to be in harmony with the Truth'.
'The Christadelphian' 1897.
The Apocalypse and Fellowship
'This question is raised by dissensions in some quarters leading to division. An ecclesia tolerates wrong teaching: a few men of understanding cannot bear it, and retire. Those who remain think the matters unimportant, and are inclined to find fault with the others as sticklers. How stands the matter?
When a professed brother avows the belief that the visions of the Apocalypse have no application to the accomplished history of Europe but are of a future significance, he raises a question of more serious moment than may at first sight be apparent.
A man confessing ignorance of the meaning of the Apocalypse is a man who might grow in knowledge, and therefore a man to be borne with and helped, but a man denying its meaning is a man to be antagonized on the following serious grounds:
Over a dozen times, it is written in the Apocalypse - "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the spirit saith unto the ecclesias". Jesus says - "My sheep hear my voice". He identifies his voice in saying in it - "I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the ecclesias" (22:16). Thus the Apocalypse is an important part of the Shepherd's voice which Jesus says the sheep will hear. He goes further than this. He says (22:19) -
"If any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life".
On the other hand, he says (1:3) - "Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things that are written therein". Among the "words of the book of this prophecy" is a heavy warning against participation with a system described under the symbol of a beast and his image (14:9-10) -
"If any man worship the beast, and his image, and receive his mark on his forehead or on his hand, the same shall drink of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation".
Now, if these things relate to institutions now current among men, (which they undoubtedly do, as can be and has been many times shown), how serious is the doctrine which would say they do not relate to anything now upon earth, but to something in some future age with which we have nothing to do. Such a doctrine, where received, would prevent a man from - "what the spirit saith unto the ecclesias". It would prevent him from "keeping those things which are written in this book".
And worse than all, it would practically cause him to - "take away from the words of the book of this prophecy" - since to take away the meaning is to take away the words in making them of none effect.
It is impossible, therefore, to agree with those who would make light of the subject, and it is impossible not to sympathize with faithful men who cannot remain in any community where such nullifying doctrines are tolerated'.
'The Christadelphian' 1897.