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The book of Revelation was written for the church of Jesus Christ (see Rev. 1:11; 22:16; 2:7, 11, 29; 3:6, 13, 22, etc.), and at its close our Lord says: "I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches" (Rev. 22:16). Yet, despite the Lord's own statements given in the Revelation, and despite the plain teaching of the New Testament that the church is now "the Israel of God" (Gal. 6:16, etc.), Futurists declare that because it contains so much imagery pertaining to "Israel" it deals mainly with the literal Jew in Palestine!

To rightly appreciate any teaching it is always necessary to observe carefully its basic principles. We will let Dr. Scofield's Bible (which speaks for Futurism) state the underlying principle of Futurism :-

Futurism denies "that the church is the true Israel, and that the Old Testament foreview of the kingdom is fulfilled in the church" (p.989).

This is, as we have shown, the direct contradiction of the plain teaching of the New Testament, and also the time-tested teaching of the Christian church for hundreds of years. Futurists ignore the plain declarations of Scripture that "wrath is come upon them [the literal nation of Israel] to the uttermost" (1 Thess. 2:16); that as a nation they have been so broken that they "cannot be made whole again" (Jer. 19:11); and that Christ had explicitly declared to them: "The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation [the church, 1 Pet. 2:9] bringing forth the fruit thereof" (Matt. 21:43).

Futurists, not guided by the New Testament teaching that spiritual Israel - the church - has taken the place of national Israel, still build their doctrines and their hopes for the world upon a belief in a literal, Palestinian fulfillment of the prophecies pertaining to Israel. Thus Scofield's Bible, on p. 1226, comments: "The promise of the kingdom to David and his seed, described in the prophets (2 Sam. 7:8-17, refs.; Zech. 12:8) enters the New Testament absolutely unchanged (Luke 1:31-33)." (Italics mine.) But Scofleld overlooks the fact that, as the church inherits all that belonged to Israel (in a higher sense), it also inherits the phraseology of national Israel: the same words and designations refer to both. In other publications the writer has given scores of examples taken from the New Testament. There is no change in the phraseology employed in the New Testament, but there is positively a change regarding the people to whom those prophecies and designations now apply. In the New Testament, the church is spoken of in the language employed in the Old Testament concerning Israel. The prophecies and blessings which at one time referred to national Israel now refer to the church. Because the church and her enemies are thus described in the Revelation, Futurists see only the literal Jewish nation and Palestine in the many references to the things of Israel contained in the book of Revelation. The Revelation can be rightly understood, its moral purpose discerned, only when Old Testament historical events, persons, names, numbers, colors, etc., are applied spiritually in connection with Christ and His church.

Similar to Jewish theology in the days of Jesus, Futurism is based upon a rigid, literal interpretation of Scripture. Concerning this Futuristic position, Dr. 0. T. Allis says

"It is the insistent claim of its advocates that, only when interpreted literally, is the Bible interpreted truly; and they denounce as 'spiritualizers' or 'allegorizers' those who do not interpret the Bible with the same degree of literalness as they do. . . . The question of literal versus figurative interpretation is, therefore, one which has to be faced at the very outset. And it is to be observed at once that the issue cannot be stated as a simple alternative, either literal or figurative. No literalist, however thoroughgoing, takes everything in the Bible literally. Nor do those who lean to a more figurative method of interpretation, insist that everything is figurative. Both principles have their proper place and their necessary limitations. . . . The most precious teachings of the Bible are spiritual; and these spiritual and heavenly realities are often set forth under the form of earthly objects and human relationships. . . . And spiritual things are more real and more precious than visible, tangible, ephemeral things. For 'The things represented have much more of reality and perfection in them than the things by which we represent them.' The words 'This is My body' do not lose, but gain, in meaning when the literal sense is rejected as unscriptural." ("Prophecy and the Church," pp.16-18.)

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