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THE PROMISE TO DAVID (A prophecy of Christ) “I will raise up thy Seed after thee, and I will establish His kingdom. He shall build Me a house, and I will stablish His throne forever." 1 Chron. 17:11,12.
in Zion. She enjoyed the emoluments of the state, and her authority was recognized throughout the civilized world. No longer did she await her absent Lord, for she had formed unholy alliances with the kings of the earth, and the spirit of traffic and gain had taken possession of her.
The Reformation changed all this. With it the Christian church entered upon a new career of widespread service. And with the return to apostolic aims came a renewal of interest in the prophecies. It was in the light of the prophetic word that Luther came at length to apprehend the full import of the papacy, and to see how great is the gulf that separates it from the religion of the Bible.
Following the period of the Reformation, there was another period of spiritual deadness that prevailed more or less generally throughout Europe; and then at the close of the eighteenth century, there sprang up quite generally on the Continent and in Great Britain, as well as in some other parts of the world, a remarkable interest in the study of the prophecies. Books were written in large numbers, sermons were preached, and people's minds were drawn out to know the meaning of such books as Daniel and the Revelation, which until that time had been very generally neglected.
If the question is raised, Why did the interest spring up at just that time? the answer must be that it was in the providence of the God who "hath determined the times before appointed." The Scriptures themselves contain the key to the situation, and they alone. When the prophet Daniel sought to know the meaning of what he had seen, the word was given him, "At the time of the end shall be the vision." "Shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days."
Later the angel revealed to the prophet in barest outline the experiences through which the people of God were to pass, closing with the words:
"At that time shall Michael stand up, the great Prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.... But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased." Dan. 12:1-4.
And so at the opening of the nineteenth century, the century in which, above all previous ones, men have run to and fro over the face of the earth and knowledge has been marvelously increased, at this time, according to the word of prophecy, men
applied themselves zealously to study the books of Daniel and the Revelation.
In this movement, however, there were forerunners, men who were in advance of their time, and by their early studies pioneered the way for those who came later. Among these men a place of special honor must be given to the English scholar, Joseph Mede, B. D., a professor of Christ's College, Cambridge, who probably did more than any other writer of the seventeenth
THE ANGEL GABRIEL RESPONDS TO DANIEL'S PRAYER
"I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding: . . . therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision." Dan. 9: 22, 23.
century to throw light on the book of Revelation. Says the "Dictionary of National Biography:
"He has the merit of perceiving that a thorough determination of the structural character of the Apocalypse must be preliminary to any sound interpretation of it."
In the course of his scholarly researches, Mede discovered that a number of the prophecies are synchronous. He adopted what is called the continuistic view of the prophecies, namely, that they are predictive of progressive history, being partly fulfilled and partly unfulfilled.
Mede was widely recognized for his learning. During his long residence at Cambridge, he gave much time and thought to the study of history and sacred chronology. His biographer tells us that when foreigners traveling in England came to visit the University of Cambridge, they would carefully seek him out, and endeavor to make his acquaintance. He was in correspondence with a number of learned men both in England and on the Continent. His open-mindedness was an outstanding charac
"Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter." Rev. 1: 19.
teristic. "I cannot believe," he used to say, "that truth can be prejudiced by the discovery of truth." His pupils, who were greatly devoted to him, he encouraged to do independent work, and get at the heart of a subject.
Mede's classic work on the Apocalypse, entitled, "Clavis Apocalyptica" [Key of the Apocalypse], was written in Latin, but was soon translated into the leading languages of Europe. The first edition appeared in England in 1627. He also issued several other Apocalyptic studies, including a "Commentary on the Apocalypse," which came out in 1632. He has been called the father of modern prophetic interpretation, and his faithful and conscientious labors undoubtedly helped to prepare the way for the advent movement of the early nineteenth century. The devout spirit in which he labored is well set forth in a prayer
which Doctor Worthington has left on record at the close of the general preface to Mede's published works:
"He who is the Father of mercies and the God of all grace, that giveth power to the faint, and reneweth their strength who wait upon Him, who worketh both to will and to do, and to continue patiently in so doing unto the end; to His name alone (not unto me, not unto me) be the glory and praise for His mercy and for His power's sake. The same Father of lights who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, shine into our hearts, unveil our eyes, that we may behold wondrous things out of His law; purify our souls from prejudice and passion, from every false principle and corrupt affection, that we may receive the love of the truth, and know the mysteries of the kingdom of God; that being filled with all wisdom and spiritual understanding, we may walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing: to whom be blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, forever and ever. Amen."
Mede's epoch-making work was anticipated a few years by a book coming from the pen of Patrick Forbes, bishop of Aberdeen. It was entitled, "An Exquisite Commentary upon the Revelation of St. John," and was first published in London in the year 1613, being followed by a second English edition in the next year, and by a Latin translation for circulation on the Continent in 1646. Forbes gives special emphasis to the prophecies dealing with the Roman Catholic Church.
Another prophetic work that had a considerable circulation in the seventeenth century was written by Vitringa, a professor at the Franeker University in Holland. It bore the title, "Anakrisis Apocalypsios Joannis Apostoli" [An Exposition of the Apocalypse of the Apostle John], and like the work of Forbes, dwells largely on the prophetic symbols that are believed to refer to the papacy.
Johann Wilhelm Petersen, a German theologian born at Osnabrück, seventy-four miles southwest of Hanover, about the midIdle of the seventeenth century, wrote and preached extensively. on the subject of fulfilling prophecy and the approach of the second advent. He received his academic training at the universities of Giessen and Rostock, and later visited the universities of Leipsic, Jena, and Wittenberg. About this time he came under the influence of Spener and other leaders among the Pietists, as a result of which he renounced the academic career he had marked out for himself, and gave himself to preaching.
Petersen held a pastorate in Hanover, but left it to become superintendent of the diocese of Lübeck and court chaplain at Eutin, where he remained for ten years. In 1688 he became superintendent at Lüneburg. Strong opposition was aroused against his views on the second advent. The consistory first