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Similarly today, many thousands of professing Christians study the prophecies and misapply them in the same way as did the Jews: their interpretation of the prophecies agrees with the Christ-rejecting Jews and is actually opposed to the plain teachings of the New Testament. The Jews pointed to the prophecies picturing the triumph of Israel over her foes (such as those in Ezek. 38, 39; Joel 3; Zech. 12 and 14, etc.) and felt certain of the protection and blessing of God. Today, Christian expositors teach the same as did the Jews regarding those prophecies. Both have overlooked the spiritual qualifications required by those whose victory and blessedness are depicted: both have overlooked the moral purpose of the prophecies.

In the days of our Lord, when the Jews read the promise contained in Jer. 31:31-37, they applied it unconditionally to their nation. An author, whose works give evidence of keen spiritual insight, says:-

"The Jews had misinterpreted God's promise of eternal favor to Israel [the words of Jer. 31:33, 34 are then quoted]. 'Thus saith the Lord . . . If those ordinances [sun, moon and stars] depart from Me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before Me forever.' (Jer. 31:35-37.) The Jews regarded their natural descent from Abraham as giving them a claim to this promise. But they overlooked the conditions which God had specified. Before giving the promise, He had said, 'I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts.

"To a people in whose heart His law is written the favor of God is assured" ("The Desire of Ages," p.106.)

The New Testament clearly teaches that the church has inherited all the promises and blessings assured to Israel. To the Jews, Jesus said:-

"The Kingdom of God shall be taken from you [literal Israel) and given to a nation [spiritual Israeli bringing forth the fruits thereof." (Matt 21:43.) To those who bear the "fruit of the Spirit" (Gal. 5:22, 23) in the Lord's vineyard (Matt 21:33-43; John 15:1-11, etc.) are assured the blessing and protection of God. "Ye [the church] are . . . an holy nation." (1 Pet. 2:9.) That the church is now the nation of Israel is maintained throughout the New Testament. This fact has been emphasized by many esteemed Bible commentators. We will quote one, representing a large number of others who could be quoted: "The Christian church absorbs the Jewish, inherits her privileges, and adopts, with wider and nobler meaning, her phraseology. . . . The Israel of God, the church of Christ, takes the place of the national Israel." (Ellicot's Commentary, Notes on Revelation, pp.96, 125.)

It cannot be too strongly stressed that this statement expresses the clear and frequently repeated teaching of the New Testament, and the explicitly stated declaration of Protestant churches and commentators. But, alas! the enemy of truth has been working assiduously to blind people to the true interpretation of the Scriptures so that they will not see the moral purpose of the prophecies which is vital for them to understand in this the hour of destiny. The time-tested belief of the church, that the kingdom prophecies of the Old Testament have found their larger, moral fulfillment in the New Testament Church, is being thrust aside for a relatively new and decidedly revolutionary teaching called Dispensationalism, which declares that these prophecies "skip over" the Church age and will be literally fulfilled in a Jewish kingdom age which will follow it This revolutionary teaching drastically revises the interpretation of the book of Revelation, and students of the Revelation should prayerfully consider as to whether their interpretation of that book is influenced by the principles of Futurism. Writing in condemnation of this system of interpretation, Dr. Oswald T. Allis points out its fundamental error:-

"Dispensationalism has its source in a faulty and unscriptural literalism which, in the important field of prophecy, ignores the typical and preparatory character of the Old Testament. . . . This Dispensational system of interpreting Scripture is very popular to-day. The reasons are not far to seek. Literal interpretation seems to make Bible study easy. It also seems reverent. It argues on this wise: 'God must have said just what He means, and must mean just what He has said; and what He has said is to be taken just as He said it, i.e., literally.' But the New Testament makes it plain that literal interpretation was a stumbling block to the Jews. It concealed from them the most precious truths of Scripture. The temple and its worship were typical of the high priestly work of Christ (Jn. 2:19). But the Jews failed to understand His application of it to Himself, and used His words to encompass His destruction (Matt. 26:61). . . . He came to fulfill the law and the prophets. But the fulfillment which He offered the Jews was so different from their literal and carnal desires and expectations that they sent their King to Calvary." ("Prophecy and the Church," pp.256, 258.)

History repeats itself. The Jews looked for an earthly and temporal dominion. They claimed the literal, unconditional fulfillment of the prophecies concerning "Israel," refusing to see that they forfeited their right to them because of their failure to meet the conditions. Because of their false interpretations of the prophecies concerning the kingdom promised to Israel, the Jews rejected Christ and His spiritual kingdom. Similarly, to-day, many professing Christians fall into the same error of interpreting the prophecies concerning "Israel" in a literal Palestinian sense, failing to see that the Jews, by their rejection and crucifixion of Christ, forfeited all right to them. As the literal, Palestinian-centered system of interpretation was the means of the Jews' rejection of Christ and His spiritual kingdom, so, today, the literal, Palestinian-centered system of interpretation - Futurism - causes people to misunderstand and reject Christ's last-clay Message concerning the last events in His spiritual kingdom of Israel. This Message is clearly enunciated in the book of Revelation, but because it is couched in Old Testament terminology its present moral purpose is not understood by those following the Futuristic system of interpretation.

Because of the imagery pertaining to Israel so abundantly used in the book of Revelation, futurists say that it is a book largely pertaining to the literal Jew in Palestine. Failure to understand the New Testament principle that Old Testament terminology is now employed in a spiritual, world-wide sense in connection with the church is responsible for much theological confusion. "Israel" is the key-word which unlocks prophetic problems - especially those in the book of Revelation. Only as they relate to the church can the prophecies be fully understood. Many commentators rightly emphasize that "the symbolism of the Revelation is wholly and exclusively Jewish"; only spiritual Israelites can understand the prophecies of the Apocalypse. It is estimated that at least 550 quotations from the Old Testament are found in the book of Revelation. The following extract from "The Revelation of St. John," by Prof. W. Milligan, D.D., pp.27-30, illustrates what others have pointed out concerning the exclusively Jewish nature of the Revelation:-

"The Christian church, even among the Gentiles, had been grafted upon the stem of David. She had an interest in Zion and Jerusalem; she saw in Babylon the type of her enemies; she felt herself to be the true Israel of God. She was well acquainted with the tabernacle and the temple, with their pillars and incense, with their different altars, with the high priest's robes, with the seven-branched golden candlesticks, with the ark of the testimony with the hidden manna, and with the parchment rolls written both within and on the back. These symbols were therefore closely adapted to her condition, and must have gone home to her with peculiar power.

"But the symbolism of the Revelation is wholly and exclusively Jewish. Even 'the crown of life' in Chap. 2:10 is not the wreath of the victor in Grecian games, but the Hebrew crown of royalty and joy- the crown of 'King Solomon, wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals, and in the gladness of his heart.' (Song of Sol. 3:11.) The 'white stone,' with the new name written in it, of chapter 2:17, is not suggested by the white pebble which, cast in heathen courts of justice into the ballot box, expressed the judge's acquittal of the prisoner at the bar, but in all probability by the glistering plate borne by the high priest upon his forehead. And all good commentators are agreed that the palms of chapter 7:9 are not the palms of heathen victors either in battle or the games, but the palms of the Feast of Tabernacles when, in the most joyful of all her national festivals, Israel celebrated that life. of independence on which she entered when she marched from Rameses to Succoth, and exchanged her dwellings in the hot brickfields of Egypt for the free air of the wilderness, and the 'booths' which she erected in the open country. The symbols of 'he Apocalypse are to be judged of with the feelings of a Jew, and not with those of our own country or age."

After presenting other "Israel" features in the Revelation, Prof. Milligan continues:-

"If from the trumpets we turn to the bowls the following particulars claim our notice:-

1. The very mention of bowls at once connects us, not with the world, but with the church. The vessels so designated were not vials, but bowls or basins, broad and shallow, rather than narrow and deep. They were the gifts presented by the princes of the twelve tribes of Israel for the service of the Tabernacle (Num. 7), and they were used for offering on the golden altar of the sanctuary, the incense which had been kindled by coals from the altar in the court. They were instruments of religious service, and were peculiarly fitted, according to the law of recompense in kind, pervading the whole Apocalypse, to contain those judgments of the Almighty, which were designed . . . for the faithless church. . . . [The plagues, primarily, fall upon spiritual Babylon - the apostate church.]

2. A similar remark applies to the fact that, as mentioned in chapter 15:6, the angels which bear the seven last plagues come forth from the 'temple' or innermost shrine of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven, dressed as priests in pure white linen, and with golden girdles" (pp. 54, 55).

"The Book is absolutely steeped in the memories, the incidents, the thoughts, and the language of the church's past. To such an extent is this the case that it may be doubted whether it contains a single figure not drawn from the Old Testament, or a single complete sentence not more or less built up of materials from the same source. Nothing can convey a full and adequate impression upon the point, except the careful study of the book itself in this particular aspect of its contents" (p. 72).

And then he enumerates examples of the many persons, places, incidents, etc., associated with ancient Israel and mentioned in the Revelation. Prof. Milligan then continues:-

"The great earthquake of chapter 6 is taken from Haggai; the sun becoming black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon becoming blood of the same chapter, from Joel; the stars of heaven falling, the fig tree casting her untimely figs, the heavens departing as a scroll, in the same chapter, from Isaiah; the locusts of chapter 9 from Joel; the gathering of the vine of the earth in chapter 14 from Joel; and the treading of the wine- press in the same chapter, from Isaiah; the wings of the eagle upon which the woman is borne for protection to the wilderness are those of Deuteronomy and Isaiah, and the whole description of the New Jerusalem in chapter 21, is molded upon Ezekiel.

"If we look at several of the larger visions, we shall have the same lesson brought home to us-that of the throne in heaven in chapter 4, having its prototype in Isaiah and Ezekiel; that of the opening of the seals in chapter 6, in Zechariah; that of the beast from the sea in chapter 13, in Daniel; that of the olive trees in chapter 11, in Zechariah; that of the measuring of the temple in chapter 21, in Ezekiel and Zechariah; that of the little book in chapter 10, in Ezekiel.

"Or, once more, if we take any single vision and examine its detail, we shall find that its various portions are often gathered out of different prophets, or different parts of the same prophet. Thus, in the very first vision of the book, that of the glorified Redeemer, in chapter 1:12-20, the golden candlesticks are taken from Exodus and Zechariah; the garment down to the foot, from Exodus and Daniel; the golden girdle, from Isaiah and Daniel; the hairs like white wool, from the same two prophets; the feet like unto burnished brass, from Ezekiel; the two-edged sword, from Isaiah and the Psalms; the countenance as the sun shineth in his strength, from Exodus; the falling of the Seer as dead at the feet of the person who appears to him, from Exodus, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel; the laying of the right hand of Jesus upon the Seer, from Daniel.

"It is impossible to enlarge without going over every chapter, verse and clause of the book, which is a perfect mosaic of passages from the Old Testament, at one time quoted verbally, at another referred to in distinct allusion, now taken from one scene in Jewish history, and now again from two or three together. . . . The sacred books of his people had been more than familiar to him. They had penetrated his whole being. . . . In the whole extent of sacred or religious literature there is to be found nowhere else such a perfect fusion of the revelation given to Israel with the mind of one who would either express Israel's ideas, or give utterance, by means of the symbols supplied by Israel's history, to the purest and most elevated thoughts of the Christian faith" (pp. 75, 76).

"If from persons, we turn to places the same rule is observable. Jerusalem and Mount Zion and Babylon and the Euphrates and Sodom and Egypt, all familiar to us in the history of Israel, play their part in order to denote the holiness and happiness of the saints, or the coming in of judgment, or the transgressors from whom the righteous must separate themselves. The battle of Har-Magedon has undoubted reference to one or the other, if not both, of the two great slaughters connected in the Old Testament with the plain of Megiddo (Judges 5:19; Ps. 83:9; 2 Kings 23:29.) . . .

"While nothing can explain the last attack upon the saints as a gathering of Gog and Magog from the four corners of the earth, but the fact that these names had already been consecrated to a similar purpose in the prophecies of Ezekiel (chaps. 38, 39)." (Ibid. 72, 73.)

"A Commentary of the Bible, by Bishops and other Clergy of the Anglican Church," says concerning Rev. 20:8:-

"The terms 'Camp' and 'City' are images borrowed from the condition of Israel in the wilderness, and in the Promised Land. (Ex. 14:19; Ps. 107:36."

The "Hebrew" emphasis runs throughout the Apocalypse. Even to many Greek words John gives a "strong Hebrew coloring." Notice the following extract taken from the pen of Prof. W. Milligan, D.D.

"The writer does, then, intentionally Hebraise. . . . Nothing can be more decided than his statement (Ewald's) that the imitation of Hebrew idiom in the Apocalypse goes so far as to lead to many a change in Greek construction with the view of imitating the constructions of the Hebrew tongue." (Milligan's "The Revelation of St. John," p.260.)

Referring to Rev. 9:11, the Professor states:-

"When we turn to the root of the Greek name Apollyon . . . we discover that it expresses the same meaning as the Hebrew."

Uriah Smith, in his "Daniel and the Revelation," p.479, in commenting upon Rev. 9:11, says: "His name. In Hebrew, 'Abaddon,' the destroyer; in Greek, 'Apollyon,' one that exterminates or destroys. Having two different names in two languages, it is evident that the character, rather than the name of the power, is intended to be represented . . . as expressed in both languages he is a destroyer."

In describing the destruction of the enemies of the church, John is careful to emphasize the symbolic "place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon" (Rev. 16:16). As the character of the power and not its literal name is expressed in the Hebrew name of Rev. 9:11, 50 it is because of the character or the meaning "in the Hebrew tongue" of the word Armageddon that it is mentioned in Rev. 16:16. The meaning of Armageddon is given by Christopher Wordsworth: "Armageddon or Har-mageddon is formed of two Hebrew words - the one, har, signifying a mountain; the other, a cutting to pieces; and thus it means the mountain of excision or slaughter."

Ellicott's Commentary states:-

"'The Greek is molded by the Hebrew tendencies of the writer.' Thus the strong Hebrew coloring is precisely what we should expect from one . . . constantly talking over Messianic hopes and prophecies" (pp.5, 6).

"The prevalence of Hebraic influences noticeable in the Apocalypse might well fit in with the later date" (p. 11).

"The interpreter is too readily caught by external resemblances, and pays too little heed to inner spiritual and ethical principles. . . . Of these principles the chief seem to be the following:(1) the root passages in the OW Testament prophecies must be' considered" (pp. 12, 15).

In "The New Testament in Greek, General Epistles and Revelation," Bishop C. Wordsworth states:-

"The diction of the Book of Revelation is more Hebraistic than that of any other portion of the New Testament. It adopts Hebrew idioms and Hebrew words. It studiously disregards the laws of Gentile Syntax, and even courts anomalies and solecisms; it Christianises Hebrew words and sentiments, and clothes them in an evangelical dress, and consecrates them to Christ. Thus, for instance, it never uses the Greek foim Hierosoluma, but always employs the Hebrew Hierusalem; and by this name it never designates the literal Sion, but the Christian church."

By many illustrations Bishop Wordsworth shows the Hebrew setting, sentiment, etc., prevailing throughout the Revelation. He further says:-

"In a similar spirit of genuine catholicity, expanding the mind, and spiritualising the language of the Jewish nation, and investing them with the light of the Gospel, the Apocalypse designates the Universal Church of Christ under the terms of a Hebrew nomenclature by the names of 'the Twelve Tribes of Israel.' Thus it extends the view of the Hebrew people, and enlarges the walls of Sion and the borders of Palestine till they embrace within their ample range the family of mankind. . . . The Apocalypse also elevates the heart and voice of the Hebrew nation, even to the court of the church glorified. Here the Hebrew language sounds in the solemn service of the heavenly ritual, in which the angelic choir sing praises to God, Amen, Hallelujah. . . . It deal' in a similar way with Hebrew prophecy. It is characteristic of Hebrew prophecy to repeat the same predictions at different times. The Apocalypse proceeds on a similar plan."

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