Bulletin of Prophetic Historicism
31 March 2013 Editor and Proprietor
Edwin de Kock
Bulletin # 6
The editor/proprietor assumes responsibility for his own contributions. He is not, however, responsible or liable for the ideas expressed in pieces by other writers, also sometimes mentioned or cited.
What We Have Been Up To
y last letter was dated 22 November 2012, a full four months ago, for which I apologize. Both Christmas and New Year’s Day have come and gone. As usual, the world is mired in poverty and full of turmoil, shaken by wars and rumors of war—even the terrible possibility of a nuclear attack by North Korea on America. The European Community has become rickety, threatened with financial collapse, beginning with Cyprus, although this may have been averted. A fascinating event was the first resignation of a pope in more than 600 years and his replacement by a Jesuit from Latin America. And so on.
Our personal situation has also changed. My wife Ria is no longer teaching at the University of Texas–Pan American, even part time, and how can I begrudge her? A sweet sixteen in far-away South Africa, she left school after the tenth grade and worked out of the home for sixty years.
At the same time, she also completed, part time, her high school and college education. In 2003, at the age of 68, she obtained—with outstanding grades—her Master’s degree at the local university where she immediately went on to teach for nine years. I am so proud of her! But she must rest from such labors, though now she is struggling with painful arthritis and our 1.12-acre garden, which she loves, especially to keep the fruit trees alive. Here in southernmost Texas, we are experiencing a premature sizzling summer as well as a horrible drought, which has lasted for several years. Even our grass is dying. Please pray for us.
As for me, I was elected as a board member of a self-supporting ministry and have been helping the editor, which has been extremely time-consuming. Otherwise I have also been occupied with every species of writing as well as the sale of my books. I am now 83 years of age and, since my heart surgery in 2010, a semi invalid. But the good Lord keeps me going and Ria helps me splendidly.
And how have we been faring with my books? Remarkably well. It was only in late 2011 when we published 1,000 copies of The Truth About 666 and the Story of the Great Apostasy. Part of the cost came from our savings, which would however not have been remotely enough, so the Lord moved on the minds and hearts of wonderful brothers and sisters in the faith to donate what was still needed. And now more than 800 copies have been sold, so we have only about 170 copies left. I was a bad colporteur and generally do not like marketing things. But God and my good wife help me. She often secures the orders and does the major share of packaging the books.
In November, the situation was very different. I wrote about it to you in the middle of that month in Bulletin # 4. Here are three paragraphs from it:
By the middle of October, the sales of The Truth About 666 and the Story of the Great Apostasy were grinding to a standstill. It is true that several self-supporting ministries still ordered several copies from time to time, for which we were thankful. A few ABCs also sold it, though with less enthusiasm. Much of the difficulty resulted from the deafening silence that the book encountered.
Not a single journal belonging to our denomination had reviewed it. This seems to be the result of a mindset as well as a policy opposed to self-publication by Seventh-day Adventists not employed by the Church. It seems to us that only its salaried workers are assumed to have the training, the intellectual ability, and piety necessary for producing worthwhile books on prophecy. Also, denominational publishing houses supposedly have a monopoly on printing such works. Self-publishers are therefore beyond the pale. We are still trying to work around this problem.
Ria and I wondered how it was possible for such an important book to meet with a silence which was becoming palpable. As we saw it, it was God’s book, especially as we reflected on its scope, the way the Lord had called coworkers—people whom we would never in a million years have met or found on our own—and finally furnished the money to have a thousand copies printed in such a short time. Besides, if the book contained any major errors, critics would surely have pounced on me with glee, but nothing? It was like a conspiracy of silence.
We now know that more was involved. Somebody occupying a key position in a North American conference was upset because The Truth About 666 presumed to name important denominational figures who in their publications taught that the notorious number of Rev. 13:18 did not refer to vicarius Filii Dei but to human imperfection and depravity. He said I was “undermining” the reputation of such people and actively campaigned against the book. He wanted to prevent its publication. The Review and Herald Publishing Association as well as Adventists Affirm were urged not to print it. Another problem was that Andrews University Press had invested heavily in a book on Revelation by a seminary professor, which contained the “imperfection and depravity” theory. The Truth About 666 maintained that this undermined the three angels’ messages. Andrews University Press had also printed an expensive Study Bible, which my book also commented on unfavorably. In other words, it was bad for the sales of that institution.
In any case, my book is suddenly selling and its ideas are entering the bloodstream of Seventh-day Adventist thinking. For this, we rejoice and thank our heavenly Father. We do, however, now face another difficulty: with so few copies left, it needs to be reprinted—and unfortunately we totally lack the necessary funds. Last time, Ria was still working and earning. This is no longer true. We are praying for the reopening of the windows of heaven.
A Web Site at Last
Often prodded by Ria and recently also by a friend who lives near Southern Adventist University, we now also have a web site, although its contents are still incomplete. Michael Scheifler is greatly helping us with it. It is called propheticum.com.
But why have I chosen such a strange word? For domain registration, the words prophecy and prophetic had already been purchased by other ministries or individuals. But the Latin adjective propheticum, which means prophetic, was still available and even in the Bible. What is more, it occurs in a verse that is directly relevant to our mission. Here is the text in the English of the Revised Standard Version (1973), a translation recognized by Protestants as well as Catholics, and the Vulgate, with emphasis added:
“And we have the prophetic word made more sure. You will do well to pay attention to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.” 2 Peter 1:19.
“Et habemus firmiorem propheticum sermonem cui bene facitis adtendentes quasi lucernae lucenti in caliginoso loco donec dies inluscescat et lucifer oriatur in cordibus vestris.”
One of the items that you will see on the web site is Newsletters. It includes the five previous Bulletins of Prophetic Historicism, and this one, too. But you will also be able to read about my other three books and many things besides, for instance news items to show how contemporary affairs fulfill the predictions of the Bible.
Please tell your friends about our web site and let us know what you think. Here are the contact details:
Edwin de Kock
12916 Los Terrazos Boulevard
Edinburg, TX 78541