Dispensational Sleight of Hand

Dispensational

Dispensationalists claim to view scripture literally. This is often contrary to the manner in which the Apostles viewed the Old Testament. I’m not suggesting we have the authority of the Apostles to take scripture and spiritualize it as they often did, rather, I hope to view scripture in the way it was intended to be understood. Dispensationalists and Amillennialist both agree on the historical-grammatical method of understanding scripture but we differ on how to gleam the “literal meaning” of scripture. A good example of a forced and therefore false literalism can be found in the differing interpretations of the eschatological Temple mentioned in Ezekiel and Revelation. To gain some idea of how the Dispensationalist forces a meaning on scripture considering Amos 9 and Acts 15.

We read, “For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth.All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, which say, The evil shall not overtake nor prevent us.In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old:” (Amos 9.9-11)

At first glance it might might conclude with the Dispensationalist that a some point in the future a Temple will be rebuilt. If we use a historical-grammatical method of interpretation, without considering the New Testament, we miss the meaning of these verses. Most eschatological positions do not force the interpretation of this passage, pick up commentaries by 17th century Premillennialists or Postmillennialists and you’ll see they look to the New Testament as the final interpreter of the Old. For a New Testament understanding we read the words of Peter who reinterprets the verse in light of the work of Christ on the cross.

“And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:” (Acts 15.16)

In this passage we see Peter applying the Old Testament prophecy of a future Temple to the Church. The Tabernacle of David is the church according to the Apostle Peter which is contrary to the Dispensationalist position. If we use a historical-grammatical method we must conclude that Peter meant what was recorded in scripture. Peter spiritualized the old prophecy and applied it to the church. We find Peter, literally calling the church “the tabernacle of David!” Peter does this under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and we must accept Peter’s reinterpretation of the prophecy. We find this spiritualizing tendency in the epistles as well.

“And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” (Eph. 2.20-22)

The Church is called the “holy temple of the Lord.”

Peter states again, “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” (1 Pet. 2.5)

To look for the physical shadow or type when it has been fulfilled denies the centrality of Christ and is called in the New Testament “carnal.” Paul weights in.

“While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.” (2 Cor. 4 & 5)

Under the old Mosaic Covenant of Works the tabernacle or Temple was the dwelling place of God. Israel had to attend to the lawful worship of God at the Temple. Believers in the New Covenant of Grace have the indwelling of the Spirit, and a new heart, which is why Peter refers to the body as the tabernacle.

“Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.”

Ezekiel has a few BIG passages used by Dispensationalists to force the old covenant type or shadow upon the New Covenant meaning given by Spirit to the Apostles. Let me point out how quickly the Dispensationalist abandons the so-called “literal” meaning when it comes to Eze. 43.19.

We read, “And thou shalt give to the priests the Levites that be of the seed of Zadok, which approach unto me, to minister unto me, saith the Lord God, a young bullock for a sin offering.”

This verse is found in the often cited portion of Ezekiel that Dispensationalists believe foretells a future rebuilt Temple but this future Temple will return to offering sacrifices for sin. To the credit of most Dispensationalists they abandoned their pretension to “literalism” and claim the sin offer is not really a sin offering but rather a memorial or commemoration of the sacrifice of Christ. This is a “shoe horn method” of reading scripture where we find nothing in the passage that would indicate the need to insert ideas of memorials or commemoration but yet the Dispensationalist applies a “shoe horn” to slip in ideas, verses or meanings not found in the text. And they do so to avoid adding to the finished work of Christ. Amen. Is it a tenable position? Or course not. The sacrificial system was said to “decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away” (Heb. 8.13) and it did with the destruction of the Temple in ad 70. The Dispensationalist would have Israel, at some future date, return to this Old Covenant ignoring what the Apostles had to say on the matter.

Christ’s death put away any need for Old Covenant types and shadows. (see Hebrews 9 & 10) Paul goes further to state that the old system was “a shadow of things to come” (Col. 2.17) and old system was a “shadow of heavenly things…” (Heb. 8.5) If we read these cited passages using a historical-grammitical method, trying to gain a literal meaning from the authors, we find the Dispensationalist is engaging in a sleight of hand.

Read the passages for yourself.

Yours in the Lord,

jm

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Reformed Historicism

faJust a heads up – you can join a Reformed Historicist study group on Facebook if you’re interested in Protestant eschatology.

“This is a group for sharing resources and discussing the Historicist interpretation of the book of Revelation. This group is not for those who adhere to premillennialism or are outside of confessional Reformed Protestantism.”

à Brakel: Commentary on Revelation

https://theoldguys.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/wilhelmus-a-brakel-1.jpeg?w=490The LORD hath said unto me, Thou are my Son, this day have I begotten thee.     Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.

“Wilhelmus à Brakel, a contemporary of Voetius and Witsius, was a major representative of the Dutch Further Reformation. This movement was contemporaneous with and greatly influenced by English Puritanism.” Wikipedia

Born: January 2, 1635, Leeuwarden, Netherlands
Died: October 30, 1711, Rotterdam, Netherlands

TO ORDER THE ENGLISH COMMENTARY OF REVELATION BOOK ONLINE:

https://www.createspace.com/6066755 – Softbound version for sale

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01CJ2CUNG – Digital version for sale

Online class – The Theology of Wilhelmus a’Brakel

 

A Brief Outline: Postmil

postmilFrancis Nigel Lee writes:

The order of these prophesied events, is clear. That, in turn, helps us better to understand their character. After first understanding when, we can better understand what.

First, Jerusalem would fall to the (Roman) Gentiles in 70 A.D. At that time, the Judaists would largely be annihilated.

Second, that would be followed by the “time of the Gentiles.” During this time — as we are informed elsewhere in Scripture (Rom 11:25) — the “fullness of the Gentiles” comes into Membership of the Christian Church, while part of the Judaists alias ethnic Israel remains spiritually blinded.

Third, this treading down of Jerusalem by Gentiles would terminate when “the times of the Gentiles” would be fulfilled. This fulfilment will take place, when the Deliverer Jesus Christ will be preached with great success by the largely-Gentile Christians alias the true Zion. Thus the Church preaches Christ also to ethnic Israel alias the unconverted Jews — and increasingly so. In this way, Christ “shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob” alias ethnic Israel (Rom 11:25f) — and christianize also the Jewish Nation.

Fourth, this conversion of the Jews as a People will then be followed by a time of universal blessing – in Christ for both Gentiles and Jews. During that time, “all Israel shall be saved” — that is, both Jews and Gentiles. “For God has concluded them all in unbelief, so that He might [in the future] have mercy upon all [Jews and Gentiles].” (Rom 11:30-32)

Fifth, this will then ultimately be followed by the end of World History. For “then shall they see the Son of man coming on a cloud — with power and great glory.” (Luke 21:27) O Christian, the Kingdom of God shall yet be extended to both Gentiles and Jews! Even hardened ethnic Israel shall yet be saved! For God shall “have mercy upon all!” Luke 21:24f cf. Romans 11:23-32.

After 70 A.D., the Gospel would unfold ever more widely and powerfully — and ultimately be promulgated to all the Nations in the World. Also before but especially after the destruction of the wicked Jerusalem in 70 A.D., the Son of man sends forth His Angel-Messengers like the sound of a great trumpet to gather His elect from the four corners of the Earth. Matthew 24:30-35 & 26:64 cf. Psalm 22:27 & Isaiah 45:22f & Revelation 14:6f.

For the Gospel gradually subdues the raging seas of the Heathen Nations, and will finally cause their Leaders to fall down from their pagan heights before Jesus — like shooting stars. Gradually, the Gospel thus makes wars to cease, and international peace to increase. (Mark 13:24f, per contra 14:4-14)

The Work of Dr. F. N. Lee

The works of Dr. F. N. Lee have been online and free for a while. The context is excellent but the site lacked in style until recently. Check out the update by clicking the picture below.lee

Do you pray against Antichrist?

spurgeon004“It is the bounden duty of every Christian to pray against Antichrist, and as to what Antichrist is no sane man ought to raise a question. If it be not the popery in the Church of Rome there is nothing in the world that can be called by that name. If there were to be issued a hue and cry for Antichrist, we should certainly take up this church on suspicion, and it would certainly not be let loose again, for it so exactly answers the description.”

The Love of God

luther

28. The love of God does not find, but creates, that which is pleasing to it. The love of man comes into being through that which is pleasing to it.

“The second part is clear and is accepted by all philosophers and theologians, for the object of love is its cause, assuming, according to Aristotle, that all power of the soul is passive and material and active only in receiving something. Thus it is also demonstrated that Aristotle’s philosophy is contrary to theology since in all things it seeks those things which are its own and receives rather than gives something good. The first part is clear because the love of God which lives in man loves sinners, evil persons, fools, and weaklings in order to make them righteous, good, wise, and strong. Rather than seeking its own good, the love of God flows forth and bestows good. Therefore sinners are »attractive« because they are loved; they are not loved because they are »attractive«: For this reason the love of man avoids sinners and evil persons. Thus Christ says: »For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners« (Matt. 9:13). This is the love of the cross, born of the cross, which turns in the direction where it does not find good which it may enjoy, but where it may confer good upon the bad and needy person. »It is more blessed to give than to receive« (Acts 20:35), says the Apostle. Hence Ps. 41:1 states, »Blessed is he who considers the poor,« for the intellect cannot by nature comprehend an object which does not exist, that is the poor and needy person, but only a thing which does exist, that is the true and good. Therefore it judges according to appearances, is a respecter of persons, and judges according to that which can be seen, etc.” Martin Luther, The Heidelberg Disputation

Praise Him!

Rev. 4.1-3 “Where God is rightly seen, He will be seen exceeding stately and Glorious: O so wonderful! whom nothing can resemble, whom no tongue can express, nor eye behold, nor heart conceive! what were it to imagine thousands of mountains of the most previous stones imaginable, and thousands of Suns shining in their brightness? these are inconceivably short of God, and the Glory that is in Him; what an excellent happiness to be capacitate (to speak so) to know Him, as we are known of Him? Wonder and admire at Him, who is glorious in Holiness, fearful in Praises, doing wonders, terrible in Majesty, and in all perfections past finding out: To Him be praise for ever. Amen” – James Durahm, Commentary Upon The Book of the Revelation

Hanserd Knollys – Revelation 10 & 11

A very long read today folks apologies. There is much fruit to be gathered for those who endure.

Rev. 10.1:

This is the Lord Jesus Christ is often so described in the Prophets, and in the Psalms. {Read Ex 14:20 16:10 19:9 Ps 78:14 104:3 Isa 19:1 Eze 1:4 10:3-4} And a rainbow was upon his head: whereby is signified the dignity and faithfulness of Christ mediatorship. (See Re 4:3. Read Eze 1:28) The rainbow was (and is for ever) a sign of God’s covenant, {Ge 9:4} and it is an everlasting testimony of his faithfulness, mercy, and truth. (Isa 54:7-9)

Rev. 10.5-7:

These three verses contain the oath of Christ, for the confirmation of the truth and certainty of what He Himself spake and witnessed unto his servant John. Heb 6:13-17 God willing to show the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath. Whence we may observe, first, that an oath is a sacred and solemn adoration and invocation of the only true living God. Secondly, that it is lawful in some cases or matters to swear by Almighty God. Thirdly, that the most usual gesture of them that sware was by lifting up their hands towards heaven, Ge 14:22 Da 12:7 and our Lord Jesus Christ (as Man and Mediator between God and men) 1Ti 2:5 here lifted up his hand to Heaven.

By the mystery of God here, we may understand the conversion of the Jews unto Jesus Christ. (Ro 11:25-27) Also the building and restoring of the church of God unto its primitive purity of worship and ordinances, according to the institutions of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Head of the Church, (Eph 5:25-32)

Rev. 10.8-10:

The eating up of this little book doth signify Christ’s instruction unto his servant John what he should prophesy. As the Lord instructed his prophet Ezekiel what he should prophesy, by bidding him eat up the roll which was written within and without. {Eze 2:9-10 3:1-14} Christ told John the double effect of his eating up this little book. First, it would be sweet as honey in his mouth; that is, in preaching of it. Secondly, it would be bitter in his belly as soon as he had eaten it; that is, it would occasion bitterness, sorrow, and persecution, after his testimony was witnessed by preaching and publishing thereof. And so it proved, {Re 10:9-10} And I went unto the Angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. And I took the little book out of the Angels hand, and eat it up, etc. The preaching of the word is sweet, though persecution be bitter.

Rev. 11.1:temple

In this verse is contained, first, John’s preparation unto his work appointed him by Christ. And there was given me a reed like unto a rod Secondly, John’s Commission for the work which he was commanded to do: and the angel stood, saying, rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. The reed like unto a rod, wherewith the servants of Christ, His ministers ought to measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein; is the written Word of God, the holy Scriptures of truth: So God commanded his servant Moses and the children of Israel (Ex 25:8-9. And let them make me a Sanctuary, -after the pattern of the tabernacle -even so shall ye make it. And Heb 8:5 See (faith God) that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed unto thee in the Mount). And this revelation of measuring the temple of God under the administration of the Gospel in the latter days, which Jesus Christ shewed by his angel in a vision unto his servant John, beareth some allusion to that vision which the prophet Ezekiel had of measuring the city and temple of God (Eze 40:2-6 -In the visions of God brought he me into the land of Israel, and set me upon a very high mountain, …and there was a man…with a line of flax in his hand, and a measuring reed…of six cubits long, by the cubit, and an hand breadth: so he measured the breadth of the building one reed; and the height one reed; 4 And the Man said unto me, Son of Man, behold thine eyes, and hear with thine ears, and set thine heart upon all that I shall shew thee; -declare all that thou seeth to the house of Israel; (Eze 41:1-5) Afterward he brought me to the temple, …So he measured the length thereof twenty cubits, and the breadth twenty cubits before the temple. And he said unto me, This is the most holy place). (Eze 41:4) Now as God had shewed and instructed Moses, (Ex 25:8-9 2Ch 3:1-17 Eze 43:10-16) and the prophets, how the tabernacle, and the first and the second temple should be builded, and all things to be done about His worship and ordinances, by his holy word which he spake unto them. (Eze 43:10-16) So Jesus Christ revealed to his servant John all things that must shortly come to pass, and be done about the temple of God, the altar, and them that worship, which are to be measured by the reed of the written Word of God.

By the temple of God, here we are to understand the house of God, (1Ti 3:14-15) which is the Church of the living God, called the temple of God, under the administration of the Gospel, (Eph 2:21-22) which was to be builded after the Apostles’ days, as was prophesied, {Am 9:11} of the gentile Churches under the Gospel. (Ac 15:14-17) God at first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of the Gentiles a people for His name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; –After this will I return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down, –And I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith JEHOVAH, who doth all these things.

The worshippers of God in his Churches of saints, ought to be measured by the reed of Gods written Word, as well as the temple and the altar of God; that thereby it may appear, they are the true Worshippers of God in his house, and worship him in Spirit and in truth For the Father seeketh such to worship him truth. (Joh 4:23,24)

The ministers of Jesus Christ, who are builders of Gods gospel temple, (1Co 3:9-16) ought to measure the pattern, (Eze 43:10-11) of the churches, worship, and worshippers of God in the days of Christ and his Apostles, and to see that the churches, worship, and worshippers of God, now in these latter days, be in all things, as they were then, and to reform those things that are amiss; The rest will I set in order when I come. Let all things be done decently and in Order. Joying and beholding your Order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ. (Tit 1:5 1Co 11:34 14:40 Col 2:5) All things in the Church and worship of God ought to be done according to the rule of the written Word of God; Let us walk by the same rule. (Php 3:16) There is but one rule for all the churches, worship, and worshippers of God to be framed, measured, and ordered by: And the ministers of Christ, now ought to measure, frame, and order all things in the Churches and worship of God by the same rule. (Isa 8:20 Heb 8:5 Eph 2:19-22)

First, the ministers of Christ ought to take care, and inspection of the Church of God, and see for they are called seers, and overseers (Ac 20:28) that the Church be builded upon the foundation doctrines, and faith of the apostles and prophets, (Heb 6:1-3) Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone in whom all the building, fitly framed together (and compacted) groweth to an holy temple in the Lord, (Eph 2:19-22) etc.

Secondly, they are to take care, that the pillars, (Ga 2:9 Jer 3:14-15 Eph 4:11-13) in God’s house, His gospel temple which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of truth, (1Ti 3:14-15) be not only Trees of Righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified (Isa 61:4) but that they also be able ministers of the New Testament, both of the letter, and also of the Spirit. (2Co 3:6) The Bishops, kat ekklhsian -in every Church called Stars and Angels of the Churches, (Re 1:20) and the pastors and teachers in every Church (called Presbyters, that is, Elders) that rule well (1Ti 5:17) ought to be learned and holy men, taught of God by his Holy Spirit, qualified with spiritual and ministerial gifts and graces; to wit, knowledge, wisdom, meekness, and a blameless conversation. (2Ti 3:1-8 Tit 1:5-7)

Thirdly, they ought to take care, or heed, that the whole worship of God, and all the sacred ordinances of the Lord be administered according to the gospel; institutions, commandments, and examples of Christ and his holy Apostles; and not after the rudiments of the world, nor after the commandments of men (Mt 15:9 18:19-20 Col 2:8-23 Joh 4:23-24) and their Doctrines.

Fourthly, they ought to inspect them that worship, and to take care before persons be admitted unto the visible Churches of Saints, to partake of all the sacred ordinances of God, that they be found in the faith, and holy in their life. (Ac 19:18 9:26-28) And after they be added to the Church, the ministers ought to oversee them, that they do not walk disorderly, to the dishonour of God, and scandal of the Church; that the ministry be not blamed, nor the weak brethren stumbled or offended, and the way of God reproached. (2Th 3:6-15 Tit 3:10-11 2Co 6:3 1Co 10:32 Ro 14:13,21) And therefore, I do humbly beseech the wise master-builders, and all Christ’s gospel ministers, to take this reed of God’s holy Word, and measure the churches, the worship of God, and the worshippers of God in his gospel-temple; and to use their spiritual wisdom, and ministerial power, and utmost endeavours to reform and amend what they shall see amiss, and set in order, {1Co 11:34,14:40 Col 2:5,4:17 Tit 1:5} things that are wanting, that God may be glorified, his churches of saints edified, and sinners converted.

Rev. 11.2:

By the Court which is without the Temple, in this verse, we may understand any material Court, or external place of separation; for this is but an allusion unto that court without Solomon’s Temple. And the temple here, which was to be measured, being mystical, and figured forth by that of Solomon’s, this court which was without the temple, must be understood mystically; to wit, the Papal Gentiles, of whom it is here prophesied, that the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.

By these Gentiles we are to understand false Christians, namely, atheists, papists, and all profane and ungodly persons; the unbelieving Jews also, and the unconverted Gentiles likewise; especially the Roman Gentiles, by whom the holy city, Jerusalem, that now is, the churches of saints, that now are, are trodden under foot, as our blessed Saviour foretold his disciples. (Lu 21:24-27) And Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. Therefore, the angel said unto John, leave it out, and measure it not. Thirdly, the prophecy adjoined to the reason of John’s prohibition. And the holy city shall they -the Roman Gentiles- tread under foot forty and two months.

By the holy city here is meant mystical Jerusalem. As the great city of the Roman Church, is called Mystery, Babylon the great, the Mother of Harlots. (Re 17:1-5) So the holy city of God, his true Church, is mystically called Zion, and Jerusalem, that now is, and is in bondage with her children, (Ga 4:24-25) whilst the holy city is trodden under foot of the Gentiles; that is to say, persecuted, imprisoned, confiscated, banished, and killed by the popes, potentates, emperors, kings and princes of the Gentiles, who have given their kingdom, power, and strength to the Beast, (Zec 11:9 Re 17:13-17) and do exercise dominion over the churches, and the people of God, who are the woman in the wilderness and her seed, who have the commandments of God, and the testimony of Jesus. (Re 12:6-17) The time here numbered, that the holy city (the church and saints of God) shall be trodden under foot by the Horns of the Gentiles; that is, persecuted and killed by the kings of the earth, (Re 13:17) who have given their kingdom, power, and strength to the Beast of the seventh and eighth head, the Pope of Rome, etc. I say the time is forty two prophetical months, which computing thirty prophetical days to a month, are one thousand two hundred and sixty years (a day for a year, and each day for a year, as Nu 14:34 Eze 4:6); so long the two witnesses of Christ prophesy in sackcloth, (Re 11:3) so long the woman shall be fed and preserved in the wilderness, (Re 12:6-17) and so long the Beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit, who shall kill the witnesses, and that did rise out of the sea, and out of the earth, shall continue. (Re 13:1-5) And power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. All these four prophecies are contemporary, for they all begin and end at one and the same time: Whereof we shall say more in the exposition of the third verse of this chapter. See KNOLLYS on “Rev 11:3”

candles7

Rev. 11.3:

In this verse we are to consider, first, who these two witnesses are. Secondly, what power Christ gives His witnesses. Thirdly, what their gift of prophecy is. Fourthly, what time we are to understand by a thousand two hundred and threescore days; and fifthly, what is meant by their being cloathed in sackcloth.

First, these two witnesses are described metaphorically: (Re 13:4) These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks, etc. by which description it appears, that these two witnesses are not two individual persons, as Moses and Elias; neither by these are intended any two testimonies, as the Old and New Testament; nor two distinct offices, as magistrates and ministers. For none of these interpretations will agree with the metaphorical description of these two witnesses. (Re 13:4) These two witnesses are the faithful ministers of Christ, called two olive-branches. (Zec 4:3-14) These are the two anointed ones, which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves; that is to say, they are the ministers and prophets of the Lord, who, under the gospel, have received an unction from the Holy One, Christ Jesus. (1Jo 2:20-27) As the priests and prophets did, under the law, who were anointed with material oil, (Ex 28:41 1Ki 19:16) and they are also the visible, true constituted gospel churches of Christ, called here two candlesticks, which are so interpreted and expounded by Christ Himself. (Re 1:20) And the seven candlesticks are the seven churches.

The Church of God under the law being but one, and that a national church, was metaphorically described by one golden candlestick. (Zec 4:2) But the churches of God under the gospel, being many congregational churches, as the churches in Judea, (Ac 9:31) the churches of Galatia, (1Co 16:1) and the churches in Asia, (Re 1:11) when they were first planted, are resembled by two golden candlesticks, and by seven golden candlesticks. Nor is my distinguishing between the Lord’s ministers, his prophets, and his churches unwarrantable, for the Holy Spirit of God did distinguish them. (Ac 13:1) Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers. (Ac 15:4) They were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders. (Ac 15:22) Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, that is, all the brethren. (Ac 15:23) The apostles, and elders, and brethren, send greeting unto the brethren, etc. The ministers of Christ in the churches of saints, are Christ’s prophetical witnesses; who ought to bear their testimony for Christ, and against Antichrist. (Re 12:11)

Secondly, the power which Christ hath given unto his two witnesses, is not a magisterial power; for Christ hath given that kind of power to the kings of the earth, and governors under them, (Ro 13:1-7 1Pe 2:13-15 Tit 3:1) nor a monarchical Prelatical power, such as the Pope of Rome, his cardinals, and priests, have usurped, who lord it over God’s heritage, His churches and clergy, contrary to the mind of our Lord Jesus Christ, (1Pe 5:3) μηδ ως κατακυριευοντες των κληρων αλλα τυποι γινομενοι του ποιμνιου, Not as lording it over the clergy, but it is a ministerial, prophetical, stewardly power; that is, the power of the word, not of the sword. Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth; see, I have this day set thee over the nations, and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build and to plant. (Jer 1:9,10) That is to say prophetically, by denouncing God’s judgements against them, which the Lord will execute, if they repent not. (Jer 18:6-10) And I will bring upon the Land all my Words, which I have pronounced against it, (Jer 25:13) -which Jeremiah hath prophesied against all the nations, though the ministers of the gospel may declare the righteous judgements of God against ungodly men, according to his written word, yet they ought not to sit in judgement, and pass sentence of corporal punishment upon any man. (Lu 12:14) But yet all the plagues and judgements here mentioned, and intended are principally (though not only) spiritual plagues and judgements, such as the Lord’s prophets had power to do by the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, (Eph 6:17) which proceedeth out of Christ’s mouth, (Re 19:15-21) so that this power which the Lord Jesus Christ gave his two witnesses is a ministerial, prophetical, ecclesiastical power of faith, by the Word of God and prayer, (Ac 6:4) which they ought to give themselves continually unto, not using the power of the sword at any time, in any case, He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear, -He that killeth with the sword shall be killed with the sword (Re 13:9-10) etc.

Ecclesiastical power ordained by Christ and given to his ministers, is not magisterial, but ministerial; not the power of the sword but of the Word, For the Word of God is living and powerful, (Heb 4:12) etc.

Thirdly, by the gift of prophecy here, which Jesus Christ gave unto his two witnesses, called the two prophets, (Re 11:10) we are to understand such ministerial and prophetical gifts of the Holy Spirit, whereby they were fitted and qualified to prophesy before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings, (Re 10:10-11) there are diversities of spiritual gifts, and among the rest the gift of prophecy. (1Co 12:4-10 Ro 12:6) Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the analogy of faith. This gift of prophecy Christ gives unto his faithful ministers in the churches of saints, that they may be his witnesses, (Ac 1:8 5:32) in bearing their testimony for Christ-against Anti-Christ-in all the offices of his mediatorship; and it is therefore called the testimony of Jesus which is the spirit of prophecy, (Re 19:10 Lu 21:12-19) that is a mouth and wisdom given by Jesus Christ, which no adversaries shall be able to gain-say, or resist: And it shall turn to you for a testimony. (Lu 21:13)

Fourthly, the time of their prophesying is here said to be a thousand two hundred and threescore days which days are not to be understood literally for so many natural days; for that is but three years and an half; and is intended by the three days and an half, expressed in Re 11:9 to be the time that the dead bodies of the slain witnesses shall lie unburied, called a time, and times, and half a time (Re 12:14 and Da 7:21-25). But these thousand two hundred and threescore days must be understood of prophetical days; that is, a day for a year, and each day for a year, according to the scripture account, (Nu 14:34 Eze 4:6) which is one thousand two hundred and threescore years. And so is the prophetical number of days and time of the woman, that is, the Church of God in the wilderness, viz. one thousand two hundred and threescore days. (Re 12:6) It is not my work at present to determine the beginning and ending of this time, and these days, but to give the right interpretation thereof, that the reader may understand the meaning by my exposition. God hath timed the persecutions, tribulations, and sufferings of His churches, ministers, and saints, in their generations. (Ge 15:13 Ex 12:41 Jer 25:10-12,29:10-13 Re 2:10 11:2) They must last no longer, nor end sooner, than God’s set time.

THIS IS WHERE KNOLLYS GOES OFF THE RAILS. Knollys explains the the 1260 prophetic years in detail in his comments on v11. For a better understanding standing of this difficult passage see Gill and Robert Fleming who are better representatives of the Historicist view.

But yet I may say, that the best ecclesiastical historians, and the later expositors of this Book of the Revelation, affirm, that these thousand two hundred and threescore days began about the Year of our Lord 407, 409, 410 or before 428. (Sympson’s History of the Church, Lib. 4. Socrat. History Eccl. cap. 3, Helvicus in Concil, Taurinat cap. 7, Magdeb, Cent. 5 cap. 10 etc). And if these thousand two hundred and threescore days did begin about 428, then they will end about 1688, which a short time will manifest more certainly. Though these are uncertain conjectures; yet if we shall see the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit, make war against the two prophetical witnesses, and overcome them, and kill them, as is prophesied (Re 11:7) then we shall certainly know the ending time of these thousand two hundred and threescore days. (Da 12:4-13)

Fifthly, to be clothed in sackcloth signifieth the sorrowful, mournful condition of these two prophets, the witnesses of Christ, by reason of their sufferings, persecutions, and tribulations, which they endured in the days and time of their prophesying. The prophets of old use to wear garments of black, especially in times of calamity and affliction, which were made of hair, and called sackcloth of hair, as an emblem and symbol of great calamity and mourning. (Isa 22:12,32:11,50:3 Jer 49:3 2Ki 1:8 Mt 3:4 Re 6:12) The faithful ministers of Christ, who are serving of their generation have born their testimony for Christ against Anti-Christ in all his mediatorial offices, as he is prophet, priest and king in his church, have suffered persecutions, imprisonment, banishment, and death many of them. As the apostles and disciples of Christ did suffer under the Roman pagan dragon; so the ministers and saints of God have suffered under the Roman-Papal-Beast, about one thousand two hundred fifty nine years.

God’s faithful witnesses must suffer persecutions for their testimony against Anti-Christ, (2Ti 3:12) yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution till the 1260 days be ended.

Rev. 11.4:

A candlestick all of gold in Zechariah’s vision, (Zec 4:2) was a figure of the church of God, which was then but one visible constituted church; viz. the national church of the Jews. The two golden candlesticks in St. John’s Revelation, (Re 11:4) were a representation of the true visible constituted churches of God in the latter days of the gospel; viz. congregational churches of the gentiles; such were the seven churches in Asia (at their first planting). (Re 1:12-20) So that we may upon those scripture grounds conclude, that by the two witnesses Jesus Christ meant and intended his churches of saints, and his faithful ministers in their generations. The churches of saints ought to be like golden candlesticks for purity, for visibility, and for holding forth the light of truth by their ministers. (Mt 5:14-16)

Rev. 11.7:

The finishing testimony of Christ’s two prophetical witnesses is the gospel of the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ; which must be preached in all the world, for a witness unto all nations (Mt 24:14) and then shall the end be. Therefore, that is their finishing testimony. Let it be considered, That the prophetical witnesses of Jesus Christ (namely his faithful ministers) during the thousand two hundred and threescore years of their testimony, have had a three fold testimony to bear for Christ against Antichrist, viz. First for the prophetical office of Christ against the Beast and the false Prophet; which testimony of the faithful ministers of Christ have in the days of their prophesying in sackcloth, born by their sound doctrine of free grace against the false doctrine of free-will, merit, and condignity; also by their sound doctrine of justification by faith in Christ, against the false doctrine of justification by our own works, or by our own righteousness: and by their sound doctrine of evangelical repentance, against the false doctrine of Popish penance and purgatory. etc. Then for the priestly office of Christ against Antichrist, mystical Babylon, the Beast, the great Whore, and the false Prophet, which testimony the faithful ministers of Christ have born likewise in the days of their prophesying in sackcloth, touching the true and pure worship of God in the administration of his holy ordinances: against the superstitious and false worship of the Beast, the Church of Rome, her priests and Jesuits in their idolatrous worship of God by images, crucifixes, Ave Maria’s, masses, etc. especially of their breaden-God, by their superstitions and blasphemous inventions of transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the very true and real body and blood of Christ, by virtue of the priest’s consecration. Lastly, for the kingly office of Christ as King of Saints (Re 15:3) King of Zion (Ps 149:1-2) and King of Nations (Jer 10:7-10) King of kings, and Lord of lords (1Ti 6:14-15) whose kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom (Da 7:27) and he shall reign for ever and ever. (Re 11:15) Now the faithful ministers of Christ have born their testimony for Christ, that he is King of Saints, and King of Zion in these thousand two hundred and threescore prophetical days, of their sackcloth-condition, their finishing testimony, viz. that the Lord Jesus Christ is King of Nations, King of kings, and all the kingdoms of this world shall be the Kingdom of Christ. (Da 2:44,7:13-14 Re 11:15) And he shall be the only potentate. (1Ti 6:15) This finishing testimony of the kingdom of Christ, is properly called the testimony of Jesus (Re 19:6-10) which is the Spirit of Prophecy. Many of Christ’s witnesses have been slain for the word of God, which they preached, and for the testimony which they held. (Re 6:9-11,12:17) But those witnesses of Christ, who bear their testimony for the Davidical kingdom of Christ (to wit, that all the kingdoms of this world, shall become the kingdom of Christ) were to be slain; of which kingdom we shall treat more fully in the exposition of the 15th verse of this chapter. See KNOLLYS on “Rev 11:15”

The war which the beast shall make against Christ’s prophetical witnesses, whereby he shall overcome them and kill them, is an open, visible, and public opposition, which the enemies of Christ, His churches, ministers, and saints do make against them, either by open hostility, as the Popes, and Emperors Forces did against the Protestants in Germany; or else by public edicts and laws, as the Papists did against the Protestants in England in Queen Mary’s days, by a violent and bloody persecution, which hath ever been the practice of the Popes and Papists; Pope Alexander the III about the year, 1159, and the Popish powers persecuted the Waldenses, with a great and bloody persecution. Afterwards, about 1464, the Waldenses, the Wicklevists, the Hussites, and their followers, were violently persecuted, even to death, under the name of Lollards.

Rev. 11.9-10:

The beast having killed the witnesses, would have them buried, that their names and their testimony might not be remembered: But they of the peoples, etc., would not suffer their names to perish, nor their testimony to be forgotten; they would not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. Which some expositors understand to be an act of pity and good will, and favour towards the two witnesses, and their testimony. Other expositors interpret their not suffering of the dead bodies of Christ’s witnesses to be put in graves, to be an act of enmity and cruelty in those of the peoples, etc., that rejoiced over them after they were killed, who would not let them have a Christian burial.

Rev. 11.11:

Mystical Babylon, the Mother of Harlots, and her daughters are now rejoicing and making merry, in hope that the slain witnesses shall never rise again; but their joyful days will not long continue, for after three days and an half (which is but a very short time) the witnesses are revived and raised again; and that dispensation will suddenly change their joys into fears.

This mystical resurrection of Christ’s two prophetical witnesses, is in this verse described by three particulars; that is, first, by the time of their reviving and living again;

after three days and an half. Secondly, by the means and manner thereof; the spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet. Thirdly, by the present effect thereof; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. First, touching the time of their reviving. (Read Ho 6:1-3)

Rev. 11.11:

First, then will be such as hath not been heretofore to the Jews Da 12:1-10 to the gentiles, Mt 24:21-30 Lu 21:25-27 and to the Church of God. 2Ti 3:1 1Pe 4:17

Secondly, then will the Gospel of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ be preached, for a witness unto all nations, which is the finishing testimony of the two witnesses, for which they shall be slain. Search those scriptures, Jer 10:7-10 Da 7:13-28 Zec 14:7-9 Mt 24:14; and Re 11:15.

Thirdly, then will happen a very great formality, luke-warmness, and worldliness, etc., among church members (2Ti 3 1-5) holding up the form of Godliness, but denying the power thereof; kai toutouv apotrepou -Et hos devita, vel au his aversare etc., from such turn away. And the last and greatest apostasy among gospel professors. (2Th 2:3) Except that apostasy come first, which will also happen in those last days. (2Pe 3:3-4) In so much that our Saviour said, when the Son of Man cometh, shall he find faith on the Earth? (Lu 18:8 and 1Ti 4:1). For which formality, and apostasy, God will shortly and suddenly bring forth such a dispensation of his divine providence, whereby those Laodicean Churches shall be broken in pieces, scattered and dispersed; and then will the two witnesses be killed, by whose mystical resurrection will happen a very glorious reformation (Isa 60:1-22) even the times of the restitution of all things (Ac 3:19-21) viz. churches, ministry, worship, and ordinances, etc. Secondly, touching the means and manner of their reviving. The means of the mystical resurrection, and spiritual reviving of the two witnesses of Christ, is here expressed to be the spirit of life from God, which entered into them. (Re 11:11) The manner is also here declared.

 

Hanserd Knollys – Revelation 9

(Emphasis was added to anything that look interesting or quotable.)

popekoran

Rev. 9.1:

a star fall from Heaven unto the Earth etc. This star was some very eminent Church-man, some Angel of the Church; (see Re 1:20)

Heaven, that is, the state of the true visible Church, where our Lord Jesus Christ did set some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers for the work of the ministry. (Eph 4:11-13 1Co 12:12-28) By Earth we may understand here the earthly state of the false anti-Christian National Church, (or Catholic Church) nationally so called. To fall from Heaven unto the earth, signifies a visible apostasy from the true Church of God, and from the pure worship of God, unto a false Church, and false worship, according to the commandments of men, their superstitious and idolatrous inventions and traditions.

And to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. By the keys of the kingdom, we are to understand that stewardly-ecclesiastical power in the Church, which our Lord Jesus Christ gave unto his Apostles and elders to rule well, and to govern in his Churches of saints according to his own institutions, laws, and ordinances. (Mt 16:18 1Ti 5:17 Heb 13:7-17) And by this key of the bottomless pit, we may understand the power, throne, and great authority, which the dragon (that old serpent called the devil, and Satan,)(Re 12:9) gave unto this fallen star or angel. (Re 13:2) And other false apostles, deceitful workers, and false teachers, (2Pe 2:1-3) who fell with him, or after him, and exercise coercive power over the consciences of men, under their church government. Thereby shewing himself to be God. (2Th 2:3-4)

Rev. 9.2:

Here begins the exercise of the anti-Christian papal power, by this fallen angel of the Roman Clergy or Prelatical Priesthood. As soon as he had gotten the key of bottomless pit, he opened it; Constantine the Great, and other Christian emperors, shut the bottomless pit of idolatry, but their public edicts; but now, by this apostate star, the bottomless pit, (that is, a hell of heresies, false doctrines, and idolatrous worship is opened, practised, and exercised by the Roman Papal Prelates and Priests). (1Ti 4:1-2 2Pe 2:1-2)

By this smoke we may understand all corrupt doctrines, traditions of men, and all the rudiments of the world. (Col 2:8-18) Idolaters are compared to the smoke of a chimney, (Ho 13:2-3) year, the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. By the sun and the air, we are to understand all the lights that God hath ordained in the Heaven of his Church, the holy Scripture. (Ps 43:3) Thy Word is a light to my feet. (Ps 119:105-130) And Christ’s able ministers of the New Testament. (Mt 5:14) These ecclesiastical lights in the firmament of the Church were darkened by the great smoke of popish superstitions that arose out of the bottomless pit of Hell.

Rev. 9.3:

By these locusts, we may understand the Popish Clergy, with the swarms of Monks, Friars, Priests, Jesuits, and other men of the Pope’s holy Orders, etc. Franciscus Claudius a Friar, expounded this place of heretical teachers; also the Remists upon this text, say as much in their marginal notes. (Read 1Ti 4:1-3 2Ti 4:3 2Pe 2:1-3) The Apostles did prophesy of such in the latter days. The scorpion is a subtle and venomous creature, which hath a flattering countenance, and a deadly sting in the tail. Such are the Roman Priests, who by feigned words, and fair speeches, deceive the hearts of the simple. (Ro 16:18)

Whose sting being venomous, doth infect and venom the whole body with poison and pain. So do those Popish locusts torment the consciences of men and women with their damnable doctrines, poisoning their souls, filling them with troubles, and tormenting them with horror and fear of purgatory, and hell, without any ease or remedy. The damnable Doctrines of Priests and Jesuits, can sting and wound men’s consciences, but they cannot cure and heal a wounded conscience. When the pains of hell took hold of David, he got not peace, comfort and quietness, by worshipping of images, and praying to saints deceased; but by calling upon the name of JEHOVAH. (Ps 116:3-5)

Rev. 9.6:

By those days, we are to understand the time of their torment and trouble of conscience; by the terrors of the Almighty for their sins, as Ps 38:1-3. A wounded spirit who can bear? (Pr 18:14) Men shall seek death; that is, wish and desire to die, but all in vain, and to no purpose; for death shall flee from them; there will be no deliverance (one way or other) out of their trouble of conscience, and torment of their hearts; no cessation of misery, no mitigation of horror and torment during their appointed time.

Rev. 9.7:

In this verse we have a further description of the locusts; that is, the Roman Popish Clergy, and anti-Christian prelacy, in three particulars. First, like unto horses prepared unto battle. For their boldness, expertness, and readiness to oppose any that gain-say them, their doctrines or worship, and prepare war against their opposers. And on their heads were as it were crowns of gold whereby we may understand the grandeur, pomp, and kingliness of the Roman prelacy and clergy; such are the Pope’s Triple Crown, the Cardinal’s Cap, and Prelate’s Myter. And their faces were as the faces of Men whereby is signified their assembleness, courtesies, visibility, and confidence. They are bare-faced, openly testifying all their damnable doctrines, altar-sacrifices, worshipping of images, etc. And they are men of arts and parts, learned men, able to say as much for themselves as sophistry, vain philosophy, and school-men, can say in the defence of their doctrines and worships. faces like men, that is, transforming themselves into the ministers of Christ, but are indeed the ministers of Antichrist. (2Co 11:13-15)

Rev. 9.8:

Women’s hair is given them for an ornament. (1Co 11:15) The hair of those locusts signify the external ornaments of the Roman Priests, that is their vestments, scarlet robes, and all their copes, myters, hoods, tippets, altar-coverings, pulpit embroidered clothes, of purple, scarlet, and gold, as. (Re 17:4-6) Their teeth were as the teeth of Lions: biting and devouring like lions. Hereby is signified the cruel and bloody actions of those locusts. (Re 13:1-17)

Rev. 9.10:

By the tails of the locusts, we are to understand the false prophet, (Re 19:19-20) that is, false teachers. (2Pe 2:1-3) The prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail. (Isa 9:15) Read 2Th 2:8-11. The stings in their tails, signify the venomous deadly poison, that is, in their false doctrines, called the doctrines of devils (1Ti 4:1-3) by which, the souls and consciences of men and women that worship the Beast or his image, are stung, pained, and poisoned to death. And their power was to hurt men five months; that is, only those men which had not the seal of God in their foreheads. (Re 9:4)

Rev. 9.11:

By the king of the locusts,we may understand the Pope, the Roman Pontifex, who is supreme, exercising absolute sovereignty over all the locusts, who are of various orders, dignities, and degrees, but yet are all subordinate unto that supreme head, and their king, the Pope of Rome.

Whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon; a destroyer of the believing Jews; but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon; that is, a destroyer of the believing gentiles.

Rev. 9.14:

By these four Angels, we may understand the chief commanders of the armies of the Turkish emperor, for they consisted of four several sorts of people, that is, Arabians, Saracens, Tartars and Turks, whose four Souldans in Asia, Aleppo, Damascus, and Antioch, (as historians tell us) had their chief residence near the river Euphrates, and were bounded by that great river, from coming over into Europe. And now God gave them permission to pass over that great river with their armies, who destroyed the third party of the then Roman Empire, as the Turkish history, and the holy war relate unto us.

Re 9.15:

And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.

The work those four commanders were appointed by God to do, was to kill the third part of men in the Roman empire, who worshipped images, especially those idolaters, who had apostatised from the true worship of God.

Which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, which it taken prophetically, is three hundred and ninety years, and some odd time. Or else. thereby is signified some certain time appointed of God.

Rev. 9.16:

The Turkish armies consist most of horsemen; therefore they are numbered two hundred thousand thousand, a certain number for an uncertain; their footmen are not numbered, because they were not so considerable, nor so terrible, or else exceeding many more than the horsemen, as if they were innumerable.

Rev. 9.18:

This may be understood literally. By these three; that is, by the fire of the Turkish canons, killing men, and burning towns in the Roman Empire; and by the smoke; that is, the Turkish Alchoran and Mahometan religion (Islam); and by the brimstone which issued out of their mouths; that is, the powder and bullets which the Turkish horsemen shot out of the mouths of their muskets, carbines, pistols, etc. The third part of men were killed; that is, in the Roman empire, were slain and destroyed in the European wars by the Turkish armies.

Rev. 9.19:

The Turkish power was in their mouth; that is, their Mahometan doctrine and worship, whereby they did hurt to the souls of those Romans that turned to the Turks religion.

Rev. 9.20:

By the rest of the men, which were not killed by these plagues; we may understand those Roman papists, who apostatised from the sound doctrines and pure worship of God, to popish doctrine of devils. {1Ti 4:1-3} Forbidding the priests to marry, and commanding the people to abstain from meats, etc. yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, etc. that is, they added impenitency to their heathen and hellish idolatry; of imaginary worship, called the works of their hands; because the images, crosses, crucifixes which they adore, are the work of their hands: The Roman Papist make the image of the Virgin Mary, and worship it; and the image of Christ upon a cross, and worship it: Thus the apostate papal Romans heathenize. (Read Le 17:7 2Ch 11:15 Ps 115:4-8) that they should not worship devils, drink of the cup of devils, (1Co 10:19-22) partake of the table of devils, and so sacrifice to devils, as the heathen did. (Ps 115:4-8 135:15)

Rev. 9.21:

In this verse there are four sorts of heinous sins mentioned, which these apostates lived in without repentance; to wit, murder, sorcery, fornication, and thefts.

The murders of those apostate Romans are of two sorts; First, the Jesuits, priests, friars, and the rest of the Roman clergy, murdered the souls of them that believed their false doctrines, and practised their image-worship. Secondly, they murdered the bodies of many, because they would not worship images, crucifixes, come to mass, fall down before their host, and worship their heathen God, the consecrated wafer.

Nor of their sorceries; whereby we are to understand those false doctrines by which the Roman priests did bewitch the poor ignorant people. {as Ga 3:1} And their false miracles, such as are called lying wonders. {2Th 2:9-10}

Nor of their fornications; that is, of their corporal and spiritual whoredoms. The fornication of the great Whore, and the Mother of Harlots, (Re 17:5) mystical Babylon.

Nor of their Thefts: In taking and getting to the Roman Church the papal clergy, and religious houses, monasteries, nunneries, priories, etc. by indirect ways and means, such great revenues, under pretext and pretence of giving pardons, indulgences, dispensations, etc. Platina, Martinus, Unaphrius, and Bellarmine himself, have written enough, to testify, that the Roman papal clergy are guilty of these heinous sins.

see also Gill on Revelation 9; Andrew Fuller on the Follower’s of Mohammed.