Bulletin of Prophetic Historicism
21 July 2014 Editor and Proprietor
Edwin de Kock
Bulletin # 14
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.
In the past few weeks the Lord has added fascinating new friends to our ministry, not least of whom are two fellow-believers who are willing to translate our books into Spanish. One of them is a dear brother from Rumania living in Spain, who in short order has already translated two chapters of Christ and Antichrist in Prophecy and History (2013) into Spanish. A fellow-believer involved in medical missionary work on a Caribbean island recently told us of a second volunteer who lives there and wants to translate The Truth About 666 and the Story of the Great Apostasy (2013).
You will remember how we have for months been trying prayerfully to find somebody like that for the first of Edwin’s books, and now the Lord has literally thrown two volunteers into our lap, for Christ and Antichrist as well as The Truth About 666. Both men have offered to do their translations free of charge. Now, that is excellent, since we lack funds. On the other hand, these are poor people who have families as well as other needs. Therefore, readers whose hearts the Lord will touch may have opportunities to help. Please get in touch with us by e-mail at email@example.com.
The brother in Spain believes the book will sell well electronically. That may well be. All our books first appeared as digital publications for lack of funds, and were printed only later. Translation work is his only livelihood at the moment. He has also worked for other SDA ministries in North America, and according to competent people whom we consulted his Spanish is good. Fortunately, Edwin also has a good reading knowledge of the language.
An Afrikaans Translation
An additional project is to have Christ and Antichrist translated into Afrikaans, our mother tongue, which is spoken and written in South Africa. It is derived from seventeenth-century Dutch. Nowadays Afrikaans is one of the eleven official languages. Originally it was mostly the language of Whites, but nowadays sixty percent of its 6.85 million mother-tongue speakers are of mixed race. It ranks as the third most used language in South Africa. Its power lies not in government sponsorship but its own community. Afrikaans speakers now enjoy higher employment rates than other South African language groups, despite half a million who are unemployed. A group of several translators will be working on this project.
From time to time, both old friends and strangers get in touch with us, expressing appreciation for Edwin’s books. Let us mention just a few examples. The first is a Seventh-day Adventist minister in Maryland, who has acquired all four books to help him conduct an evangelistic series. He is also studying other writers’ works and is obviously a scholarly man. This has made Edwin extremely happy.
One of our retired minister friends interested his Sabbath School class in Christ and Antichrist in Prophecy and History to such an extent that he had to order several repeatedly. The result? He now has a bunch of Edwin’s books sitting in his house. Another family, due to their own warm interest, were able to order and resell more of the books than most of our denominational bookstores, which ”strangely warms our heart,” as a fellow South African, Pastor François du Plessis said in a lecture we listened to recently on the AD computer archives.
There is also an amazing letter from the Netherlands, written by a medical doctor who has been studying the prophecies, especially those of Revelation, since he was eighteen, for 71 years. Among other things, he wrote: “Last month for my 89th birthday my wife gave me your book, The Truth About 666 and the Great Apostasy, and since then I am glued to it, reading the whole day long unable to stop. I am full of admiration for this opus magnum. It is amazing the amount of facts to have assembled. The book is a veritable goldmine. . . Thank you, thank you for your wonderful book!”
Please send this missive to your family and friends, asking them to share it with those who may be interested. If you have missed any bulletins, please check our website propheticum.com, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy. If you need it, here is our snail mail address as well: 12916 Los Terrazos Boulevard, Edinburg, TX 78541.
We would dearly love to hear from you, friend. Your inputs are greatly valued. You probably have no idea how much a word of encouragement means to this outsider couple, without tribal or old school tie connections, except in that of the Lamb of the tribe of Judah. Thank God for Him. For those who reject Him, He will be the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.
Ria recently read wonderful counsels from the Spirit of Prophecy, Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 125, on how we as Adventist Christians should live, and tells us to read “for our lives” James 2, 4, 5; Matt. 7, and Isaiah 58. I realized again the great work which needs to be done in our own hearts daily before we can really reach out to lost souls in this very broken and hurting world.
Three possible opportunities for Edwin to lecture on prophecy have suddenly opened up. Two of them are for next year. One is a series in North Carolina, probably in February 2015 and another in Ohio four months later.
Most intriguing is an approach from the Czech Republic. The brother concerned said that there as well as in other parts of Europe liberal, so-called progressive Adventism predominates. What a pity that the area where the Protestant Reformation originated, so many religious battles were fought, and so much blood of the Lord’s saints was shed, should now be so secularized—and our precious religion considered old fashioned.
Anyway, there is a conservative group on the same page as Edwin so far as prophecy is concerned. They have shown an interest in flying him over to them. We sent them Edwin’s lecture at the Adventist Theological Society at our Southern University in January, 2012, on The Identity of 666 in Revelation. This gave them an idea of how he looks in front of a camera. Incidentally, for those who would like this very convincing DVD, it is available from us at $15.00, including postage in the United States.
One of our problems is that Edwin, due to physical disability at 84, should not be flying alone. We will have to pray about the finances and even sheer stamina to go to these places in America or abroad.
New Book Descriptions
Edwin has just finished preparing fresh new descriptions for his four books on prophecy for our distributors and friends. They appear below.
It is interesting that there is only partial overlap in the material. Also noteworthy is that originally Edwin set out to write one book, to fulfill a vow made in South Africa; but after that a large number of dramatic things happened, more than one volume could cope with.
Christ and Antichrist in Prophecy and History
Book price, $19.95. E-mail Attachment, $10.00.
Data CD: Christ and Antichrist, Africa and the Bible, plus 12 other items, 19.95.
“Could not put it down!” and “fascinating!” are typical reactions to this book. What we have here is a 2013 edition, augmented and updated. When it was first printed in 2001, Vance Torres, the author’s minister, aptly called him the Uriah Smith of the twenty-first century. Edwin de Kock is a Historicist with a highly readable style. He adds to the insights of his predecessor and enriches them with the latest research material. For instance, he shows that the first four materials in Nebuchadnezzar's dream also feature in a Greek poem written a hundred years before that king was born! The book deals in a brand-new way with the role of literal as opposed to “spiritual” Israel. A related topic is “The History That Never Was.” This chapter explains a series of conditional prophecies in the Old Testament, such as Ezekiel 39, which many readers have found perplexing. And the three horns of Daniel 7 symbolize not Arians, who believed that Christ was a created being, but ancient Sabbath keepers who rejected papal supremacy and therefore had to be eradicated. As indicated by its title, Christ and Antichrist, this book clearly and persuasively contrasts two great antagonists throughout our era. It has on several occasions been prescribed for graduate students at the Theological Seminary of Andrews University. It is also a delightful read for scholars and laypeople alike.
The Use and Abuse of Prophecy: History, Methodology, and Myth
Book price, $14.95. E-mail Attachment, $10.00
One grateful reader of this book declared: “I have been a Seventh-day Adventist all my life, but only now I understand why we explain the prophecies as we do!” Another, a Jewish Christian from South Africa, wrote that it was truly a masterpiece, adding: “There is so much that one can learn by reading and studying it. I would like to call it the Compendium of Prophecy or the Readers’ Digest of Prophecy. It is a mine of information. Very readable and exciting—almost like a detective story!”
The Use and Abuse of Prophecy, a work that has been prescribed for graduate students at the Theological Seminary of Andrews University, comprises several historicist essays. The first and longest surveys prophetic interpretation from the time of Jesus to the present. In it, Edwin de Kock has clearly delineated two major tracks that proceed through the centuries. One is the historical school, to which sixteenth-century Protestants belonged. The other, divergent track is purely Catholic eschatology from the Middle Ages, which Jesuit scholars refurbished in the Counter Reformation as Preterism and Futurism. During the nineteenth century, these two deviant schools were successfully foisted on Protestants. Dispensationalism, which is especially popular, is another form of Catholic Futurism. The Seventh-day Adventist Church is the only major denomination that still believes in prophetic Historicism.
This book also highlights the right principles for clearly and accurately understanding prophecy according to the standard laid out in the Bible itself. It also shows why the Bible must be true and debunks some false ideas about typology, such as the belief that a particular nation like the Dutch, the British, or the Americans are a latter-day Israel.
The Truth About 666 and the Story of the Great Apostasy
A set of 3 volumes (2013) plus a data CD, $35.00. E-mail Attachment, $19.95.
This book of some 880 pages was born in adversity as part of the great controversy between truth and error. Right from the beginning, forces both human and Satanic sought to prevent its completion and sales. Nonetheless, heaven was orchestrating its publication. It tells the story of the Great Roman Apostasy, which began to stir into life while the apostle Paul was still alive, attained its zenith during the European Middle Ages, and is now making a great comeback, threatening to engulf the world. Prophetic Historicism was the hallmark of sixteenth-century Protestantism for centuries, but this has now been all but swept away, and Seventh-day Adventists are virtually the only denomination that still points the finger at the Beast power depicted in Rev. 13.
But for the devil and his agents this is not enough; therefore, some of our scholarship has been infiltrated with theological poison picked up from outside, dubious sources, including a Spiritualist like Emanuel Swedenborg. This especially sought to debunk the interpretation that the 666 in Rev. 13:18 refers to vicarius Filii Dei (vicar of the Son of God), a papal title. A learned, influential Seventh-day Adventist, William W. Prescott, regarded this as “a nonexistent title of the pope.” He and other Church leaders were also taunted by Daniel Goldstein, a Jewish convert to Catholicism, who said the same. A crisis arose in 1936. From then on, three men who all successively became presidents of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists—C. H. Watson, J. L. McElhany, and W. H. Branson—worked hard on and helped to produce a 43-page brochure for distribution to ministers. But in 1946, it was torpedoed by Merwin R. Thurber, the finicky book editor of the Review and Herald Publishing Association. Though originating separately from it, The Truth About 666 is a vindication and an enlargement of that brochure which never was.
From 1944 the revision of Uriah Smith’s Daniel and the Revelation remained the denomination’s standard work. Evangelists continued its vicarius Filii Dei explanation. But scepticism and denial still lurked beneath the surface, and during 2002 it erupted boldly in the Church’s world Sabbath School lesson quarterly. It thrust aside the vicarius Filii Dei interpretation and said that 666 merely referred to human imperfection. Just before that, Edwin de Kock had written an article about 666 = vicarius Filii Dei and submitted it to Ministry magazine. The editor declined it, saying the Biblical Research Institute had come to other conclusions and, besides, there would be no interest in the topic! But in God’s providence other material now turned up, as the author, with marvelous assistants, continued his research. They unearthed an astonishing amount of evidence that for many centuries vicarius Filii Dei had indeed been a papal title, not only in Latin, but also in English, German, Italian, French, and Spanish. As a result, the book contains an abundance of quotations from both Catholics and Protestants who wrote before Uriah Smith.
But would the Review and Herald Publishing Association publish or even just print The Truth About 666? No. It was being badmouthed as too controversial, but the Lord had a plan. Appendix I, pp. 266-279, Vol. III, contains an amazing narrative of God’s impeccable timing and provision for this book. It has already gone out into many parts of the world and can no longer be swept under any rug. The first edition was depleted in less than two years, and during 2013 a friend provided most of the funds for reprinting a second, paperback edition in
three volumes. It keeps on doing its work and will do so until Jesus comes. It has also been prescribed for graduate students at the Seminary of Andrews University. But laypeople also love it.
Seven Heads and Ten Horns in Daniel and the Revelation
Book price, $20.00. E-mail Attachment, $14.95
Over the centuries, countless writers, including Seventh-day Adventist scholars, have tried to identify the seven heads and ten horns of Daniel and the Apocalypse, without consensus or clarity. All their attempts have proven unsuccessful on some important point or another.
In this book of 208 pages, Edwin has pieced together many prophetic and historical clues to present a new, compelling identification of the seven heads and ten horns. He especially focuses on the Western Greeks who colonized Sicily and southern Italy as far north as Naples. This explanation has appealed to several scholars acquainted with their history, including W. Duncan Eva, formerly President of the Northern Europe-West Africa Division. From the Western Greeks, the ancient Romans inherited most of their culture and philosophy as well as much of their religion, even blending with them biologically. This laid the basis for Greco-Roman civilization as well as elements in Catholic and Orthodox theology with its indebtedness to a bewitching Hellenic paganism.
With a clear, engaging style as well as a compelling Historicist analysis, Edwin makes sense of Rev. 17: 9-11 and its two enigmatic predictions. The first is about “seven kings,” of whom we read that “five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come.” The second concerns “the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.” De Kock also solves many problems of Daniel 8, especially verses 9-11, which require the reader to puzzle out the relationship between four Grecian horns and a Roman Little Horn.
Ominous News for Seventh-day Adventists
At the beginning of this month, the North American Religious Liberty Association sent out what we consider an ill-advised circular. It voiced approval for a recent Supreme Court decision to exempt Hobby Lobby’s female employees from contraceptive benefits as provided by the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The owners of this firm maintain that preventing conception, in the case of IUD as well as the morning-after pill, were forms of abortion. According to NARLA, this business was exercising its First Amendment rights to religious freedom.
But also involved are several matters of grave concern to Seventh-day Adventists. Edwin immediately wrote to NARLA to mention some of them. They are mentioned below, to which we add a few more.
The July 7-July 14, 2014 edition of Time magazine contains an insightful article about the Green family, who own Hobby Lobby with its 626 stores.
David Green, 72, who founded the business chain, and his wife Barbara as well as their children belong to the Pentecostal Church of God of Prophecy. This family constitutes the only shareholders of Hobby Lobby. The three sons are all ministers for their denomination, and their sisters are ministers’ wives. The patriarch, David Green, is one of the wealthiest people in America.
The business has a turnover of more than $3 billion per year, of which half is devoted to religious purposes, among others to schools that they own where Bible is taught as well as a huge Bible museum in Dallas, Texas.
They also have links with other Protestants. For instance, in 2007 the Greens contributed $70 million to bail out the debt-ridden Oral Roberts University, with which they had no previous dealings. Their family also has many connections, some of a financial nature, with Rick Warren. An evangelical Southern Baptist, he founded and is the senior pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. It is the eighth-largest church in the United States.
To link contraception to abortion is to reason like the papacy—and, indeed, eighteen of the Greens and their group recently had a 30-minute audience with Pope Francis, discussing religious freedom.
Also, since 2000, every Hobby Lobby business has been closing on Sunday.
These days mark a continuous decline in membership and attendance at most traditional mainline Protestant churches, though Pentecostals, Mormons, and especially Jehovah’s Witnesses are for the time being still faring well. But America is now following in the footsteps of Western Europe in becoming a post-Christian nation. Even the Roman Church is beginning to decline.
It is in such circumstances that denominations seek religious and other allies.
We note Ellen White’s Great Controversy prediction of 1888: “Through the two great errors, the immortality of the soul and Sunday sacredness, Satan will bring the people under his deceptions. While the former lays the foundation of spiritualism, the latter creates a bond of sympathy with Rome. The Protestants of the United States will be foremost in stretching their hands across the gulf to grasp the hand of spiritualism; they will reach over the abyss to clasp hands with the Roman power; and under the influence of this threefold union, this country will follow in the steps of Rome in trampling on the rights of conscience.”
The zeal of the Green family may superficially to some look commendable. Nevertheless, such groups may soon spell trouble to us as Sabbath-keepers.
For his part, a charismatic Pope Francis is also reaching out ecumenically, cleverly, on this as well as other continents, to draw all humankind to himself; and a world bemused is beginning to wonder after the Beast. But this Bulletin is already so long that about these things we will have to tell at another time.