Bulletin of Prophetic Historicism
4 November 2016 Editor and Proprietor
Edwin de Kock
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.
South Africa in a Nutshell
After a fantastic visit of three weeks to South Africa, we flew back to America on 28–29 September. The return trip was strenuous and exhausting, more than 24 hours aloft or in airports. Jet lag took its toll, and for a few weeks Ria was not well. The Lord is, however, strengthening us again. So what did we find and experience in South Africa, where we had been born?
First of all, it was wonderful after twenty-two years to see our loved ones and old friends, though obviously aged, like ourselves. Also still evident, as in the past, was the hospitality for which our old country has always been famous.
Just north of Pretoria, we revisited Diadone, an Esperanto name which means “as a Gift of God.” After retiring as college teachers, we had wanted to live on this little farm of 25 hectares (61.77 acres) for the rest of our days and augment our pensions by selling the abundant crops produced on it. Because of a delightful climate, we grew both deciduous and subtropical fruit: peaches, apricots, grapes (you name it), but also mangos and avocados. We had 200 well established vines and trees. In addition, we had planted 1,000 prickly pear plants, though we had to fight against the pests that had been injudiciously imported from abroad. The fruit, white, yellow, pink, and red, is highly prized in South Africa as it is in its native Mexico. When we departed in early 1994, some of these plants had already grown to tree size. We had also left a park-like, Edenic flower garden and at least 12 bougainvilleas of many colors. When we came back to have another look, almost everything of this was gone, neglected and without water, despite the four boreholes.
Diadone had been our joy for the twelve years that we lived there. We had poured so much love and labor into it! When it was brought to our attention, we bought it for R60,000 at a time when the South African rand was worth as much as the American dollar. The house had no electricity or wiring for it. This we added and made other improvements, by investing more than a further R10,000. After we left, it was sold for R60,000; but by then the currency had, through the exchange rate, declined dramatically, so this was worth a mere $34,000. We had sustained a loss of almost 50%.
Why did we go? Each of us, our two sons and we, possessed a car, a computer, and all the amenities we could wish for. But one of the reasons we settled in America was self-preservation; we did not want to be killed. Land mines on dirt-track roads, like ours, and the murder of farmers were a common occurrence. There was also another reason, known at that time only to our heavenly Father: Edwin had to do further research for and write his books on prophecy in the United States.
South Africa today remains a multiracial, polyglot country inhabited by black Africans, whites, coloreds (people of mixed race), and Indians—Muslims as well as Hindus. South Africa has eleven official languages! Four of these predominate and rank as follows: Zulu, 22.7%; Xhosa, 16%; Afrikaans, 13.5%; and English, 9.6%. Of these, the last mentioned is in practice the main administrative language, though 90% know it imperfectly or cannot speak it at all. Most blacks tend to favor it in addition to their own vernacular but are allergic to Afrikaans, which they associate with the previous, Apartheid regime. As its name indicates, it developed in southern Africa from seventeenth-century Dutch. And nowadays it is not just a white man’s language, since the majority of its mother-tongue speakers are colored.
After our long absence, we had frankly expected a greatly deteriorated situation, a third-world country, with slums galore and potholes in most of the roads. This is not what greeted our eyes. By airplane and car, we flitted through Heidelberg, Gauteng, Pretoria, Bloemfontein, Somerset West near Helderberg College, and parts of Cape Town. Wherever we went, we saw brand-new airports, like Oliver Tambo near Johannesburg, as well as marvelous malls. In these, the shops were clean and shiny, and as modern as the best in America.
In Pretoria, Ria with her sister Ina and her husband Johan visited the Safari Garden Centre. Selling all manner of plants as well as pottery and upscale garden furniture, it features a giant gazebo and even waterfalls. It is incomparably beautiful. And so are some places near Cape Town, ringed by gorgeous mountains. Several centuries ago, Francis Drake, who circumnavigated the globe, described that area as “the fairest cape in all the world.”
Wherever we went, the assistants, stylishly dressed, were predominantly black, and very often female. At least those whom we met were courteous and competent. They handled their tasks professionally, as bank tellers, sales people, cell phone vendors, and what have you.
There is, however, also a shadow side. The policy of Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) has largely eliminated white people from governmental posts, to make way for blacks as well as Indians and coloreds. Wherever state (i.e., taxpayers’) money is involved, the same spirit prevails. For instance, in the training of doctors, strict racial quotas apply. And many people, especially blacks, have been promoted above their level of competence, which is bad for the infrastructure.
Recently, for month after month, the electrical power grid of the nation, under government control, was unable to supply the country with all the power it needed. On a daily basis, deliberate outages rationed the supply, with a proliferation of generators, for those who could afford them. Many switched to solar power. Then South African ingenuity stepped in, and private enterprise provided extra electricity.
Curiously, Chinese have also—at their own insistence and with the help of the law courts—been classified as black, to benefit by BEE! They are, of course, extremely competent and industrious. Perhaps too much so. They also import investments, managers, and workers from China on an increasingly large scale. Eventually they may yet, at least economically, gobble up the country.
BEE is, economically speaking, anti-white racist, however strenuously this fact is being denied. And it is not limited to employment opportunities. When businesses grow beyond a certain point, the owners are compelled to hire black managers in addition to their other staff. On farms owned by whites, 50 percent of the land can be confiscated and given to their laborers. Obviously this is not a free-market but a semi-socialist society. One of the opposition parties is clamoring for more: the confiscation of all white-owned properties. Its leader ignores the fact that a similar policy in neighboring Zimbabwe has totally ruined the economy of that country.
South Africa is a very violent country, where robbery and murder are rife. The death penalty has been abolished. Whites as well as other middle-class people live behind bars and high fences, often crowned with barbed wire, to protect themselves and their possessions against those who seek opportunities to break in and rob them, if not worse. At Diadone we found an electrified fence surrounding the property. Ria’s nose just escaped being fried!
The result has been a continuous brain drain through emigration of people with salable skills and expertise that enrich New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States, but tend to impoverish South Africa.
A new elite of extremely wealthy and middle-class blacks has emerged. Unfortunately corruption on a large scale has also reared its head, as frequently featured in the media, both local and international.
Sadly, a majority of ordinary blacks have not benefited economically by the elimination, twenty years go, of the Apartheid regime. There are nasty slums in cities like Johannesburg. We saw near Cape Town and its neighboring towns with many beautiful houses where well-to-do people live, on the way from the airport to Somerset West and Helderberg College, our alma mater, masses of squatter dwellings, euphemistically called informal settlements. It is true, though, that the government is erecting many houses to alleviate this problem.
The recent municipal elections brought many reverses for the ruling party, and the anticipation of change is in the air. But of what kind? We pray that it will be for the better, for whites as well as all the people of color. Otherwise, South Africa may be headed for the abyss.
Seventh-day Adventists in South Africa
With a population of approximately 60 million, our old country has about 160,000 Seventh-day Adventists. Most of them are black and speak nine African languages. We were saddened to find that they and Seventh-day Adventist whites do not seem to live in perfect harmony. A great problem is a shortage of churches. This has always handicapped our black believers in South Africa. With the disappearance of Apartheid and its segregation, they tend to move into the white congregations and appropriate their well-appointed buildings. They also bring in a system of interpreting into and from their various languages. They sing beautifully in their African languages but allegedly do not restrain small children from running around in church. Such things cause discomfort and resentment.
In some parts of the country, English-speaking white believers have largely disappeared, some of them, perhaps, into house churches. Others have moved into Afrikaans-speaking congregations. The latter, however, have over several generations insisted that their services be conducted in their own language, rejecting bilingualism and interpreters, except for visiting speakers from abroad. South African blacks dislike Afrikaans, associating it with the Apartheid regime. Therefore, as Seventh-day Adventists, they do not like attending churches where it predominates.
Meanwhile, the white Calvinist denominations are shrinking rapidly, even collapsing. Closely related in doctrine, they are the Dutch Reformed Church, the Dutch Reformed Church in Africa, and the Reformed Churches in South Africa. Under the Apartheid regime, they enjoyed a number of special privileges. High office in the civil service likewise tended to be in their hands. Their ministers always chaired the school boards of Afrikaans-speaking schools and often denied employment for teachers belonging to other denominations. Calvinist influence also predominated at Afrikaans colleges and universities.
In the early 1980s, Edwin fell victim to this prejudice and blatant discrimination. He applied for a position as a Vice Rector, i.e., president, at a teachers’ training college for black students. Because of his many and varied qualifications, he thought he was well qualified. He was indeed on the short list and asked to come for an interview in Pretoria. But the very first question did not concern his experience, his master’s degree in Afrikaans and Dutch, or his teaching diplomas. No. The chairman immediately zoomed in on Edwin’s Theology Diploma. He said: “Mr. de Kock, we observe that you studied at Helderberg College. Please tell us, are you still of that persuasion?” Edwin answered: “Yes, Sir,” and knew that he was not getting the appointment. And how right he was! In short, these three Calvinist denominations were virtually a state church.
Their membership, however, included many who did not necessarily believe their doctrines, like the virgin birth of Christ or his resurrection from the dead. But these special privileges all evaporated with the disappearance of the white Apartheid government. Consequently large numbers of those people have left their denominations. In different parts of South Africa, Afrikaans-speaking Seventh-day Adventists have recently bought several beautiful buildings from them. Some of them were half empty. Others had no members at all.
During our first week in South Africa, a relative was driving us to Geduld Extension, Springs, Gauteng, for a visit to Edwin’s niece. On the way, we suddenly happened to see and stopped at a handsome church building. On it, we read two names Nederduits Hervormde Kerk (Dutch Reformed Church in Africa) and the Afrikaans version of Seventh-day Adventist Church. It had stood empty for two years and was acquired at a very favorable price. At the switchboard in the annex, we were shown a small plate with the name and telephone number of the man who many years earlier had wired the property for electricity: Gé Korsten! Before he became a very famous Afrikaans singer with a wonderful voice, he had been an electrician.
It would be well if our black believers shared in this bounty by buying such churches. Also necessary, however, is the building of new ones for congregations that speak Zulu, Xhosa, Tswana, Pedi, and other vernacular languages. In some cases, their white brethren could assist them, as we attempted to do through Advent Indaba, described on our Web site. But much of the financial burden can nowadays be borne by newly affluent and sometimes very wealthy blacks.
Sermon, Lecture, and Interview
While we were still in America, before our trip to South Africa, Pastor Reinhardt Stander, who heads Homebase Television, invited Edwin to make two presentations and be recorded at the Tygerberg Seventh-day Adventist church in a northern suburb of Cape Town on 24 September. This is one of seven congregations of which he is the pastor, in addition to his television ministry. It is almost incredible that one man can work so hard! His day invariably begins at four o’clock in the morning. One wonders how long he will be able to keep it up. Preferably he should step away from pastoral responsibilities and concentrate on evangelism, which he loves, as well as his television work. But he is hemmed in by financial constraints. Readers who want to help him can obtain his e-mail address from us. Remember, our dollar can work miracles over there.
Homebase Television is a self-supporting ministry in Afrikaans and, to some extent, in English. Pioneered by the late Mark Woodman (1976–2010), it covers the entire African continent and reaches into Europe. Its programs can be viewed on YouTube. For many videos in Afrikaans, just type in Reinhardt Stander. Separately also type in Mark Woodman’s Sermons to view his English videos, about forty of them, under different headings. Satan was allowed to kill this gifted young man, a recent Seventh-day Adventist convert, using a vicious adrenal melanoma. It spread from his kidneys throughout his body and lodged two tumors in his brain. You will be movingly inspired by the last interview with him and his wife Retha, where they tell his tale, as well as the testimony that he recorded for his funeral. To all those who serve the Lord, his final admonition was: “Never buckle!” The memorial service was conducted by Dr. Walter Veith and recorded by Reinhardt Stander, one of his pallbearers, who succeeded him. Mark Woodman, dying at the age of 34, was a young man, like Jesus. A brilliant meteor, he arose and burned out after a mere three and a half years of intensive work. But on YouTube he still speaks and urges us to carry on fearlessly and persevere with whatever work the Lord has committed to us. How very inspiring!
On Friday, 23 September, we met Eben de Jager, M.Th., who is working full time to obtain a Ph.D. degree but also labors for and lectures on Homebase Television. He came to fetch us from Helderberg College. We had stayed there a few days, visiting several relatives and friends in beautiful Somerset West. Eben drove us to the property where Reinhardt Stander lives with his wife Irinda and their two lovely children, whose guests we were privileged to be. We could observe their operations at close range. This smallholding is protected against intruders by a high security fence and policed within by several German shepherd dogs, a breed that we like. Goliat, the biggest of them, immediately took to Edwin, which the family found intriguing, since on meeting strangers he is usually antagonistic to and suspicious of men. A new center with recording and other facilities is arising on this property. After our arrival, Eben at once recorded an interview with Edwin.
The sanctuary that houses our Tygerberg congregation has an unusual history. Before the Dutch Reformed Church sold it to the Seventh-day Adventists, it had donated it to its young people to grow their congregation. But they did strange things to it, spray-painting its windows black and virtually turning it into a disco. They also decorated it with peculiar symbols on the ceiling. But our people have refurbished it and removed the marks of desecration. It is now a beautiful church.
For the divine service, Edwin at 11:00 a.m. preached in Afrikaans, which he had not done for twenty-five years, although it is our home language. He focused on how prophecy not only establishes our faith in the Bible but also strengthens our spirituality. His topic was “Three Flying Angels.” That afternoon, at 3:00, in the same church, he presented an English lecture on why it is correct to identify the number 666 of Rev. 13:18 with the papal title vicarius Filii Dei. These Afrikaans and English presentations were both recorded for use on Homebase Television.
Other Personal News
Shortly after our return, on 19 October and 2 November, Edwin had cataract surgery. Ria found it grisly that this was done under local anesthesia. He did not really like it either, but said it was not so bad. In the left eye, his vision is much clearer than it has been for many years. The right eye, done so recently, is also improving rapidly. Ria has to minister to it carefully, four times a day, by putting in antibiotic and other drops. When he lies down to take an afternoon nap or sleep at night, he wears a transparent eye shield over the right eye to protect it; otherwise he might rub out the lens. This makes him look a little like a giant insect. We do not yet know how much of the expenditure will be covered by Humana, our Medicare provider. Sometimes a financial operation can be more painful than the surgery which makes it necessary.
Pope Francis Celebrates Reformation Day
On 31 October, 499 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther ignited the Reformation of the sixteenth century at Wittenberg, Germany, where he nailed his 95 theses against indulgences to the door of the castle church. Then, and subsequently, with burning words of truth, he kindled flames that spread throughout the world. In northern Europe and elsewhere, entire nations adopted Protestantism amid war and horrible persecution.
But that was five centuries ago. Since then, the devil and his evil cohorts have been tireless in their efforts to quench that fire in people’s hearts and minds. He started up and maintained the Counter Reformation, headed by the Jesuit Order. In our time, his plans are bearing fruit, spectacularly.
This year, as reported by BBC News on 31 October, Pope Francis himself commemorated Reformation Day by going to Sweden. There, together with Lutheran leaders, he presided over an ecumenical prayer service in their cathedral at Lund. The Jesuit pontiff praised the Reformation “for helping to give greater centrality to scripture in the church’s life,” even though Luther was excommunicated, and Protestants were often slain and burned at the stake. Decades of religious wars in Europe also followed as Catholicism tried to stamp out the Reformation.
Previously, Pope Francis actually praised Martin Luther “for his fight against corruption and greed in the church of the time.” Though nowadays Sweden has mostly exchanged religion for secularism, its church is still part of Lutheran Protestantism. To put the capstone on this ecumenical love affair, “in a joint statement, the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran World Federation said that both partners ‘are no longer strangers’ and that their joint goal was to bring members of the two churches together at the Eucharistic table.”
In America, too, the Evangelical Lutheran Church this year declared officially that on many points “there are no longer church-dividing issues” with the Roman Catholic Church. We also note that the ELCA is in full communion with the Episcopal Church, Moravian Church, Presbyterian Church (USA), Reformed Church in America, United Church of Christ, and the United Methodist Church. Read more about it in Edwin’s article “How Close Are We to the End? Part II” on our Web site, propheticum.com.
We wonder which way they will go. And what would Martin Luther have thought of such Protestant treachery?
Diabolic Objectives for 2017
Satan has special plans for next year.
Many, many are succumbing to the seductions of Babylon, the great hooker of Revelation 17. Most spectacularly they include a multitude of Lutherans. But the devil is aiming at more.
He is also trying his ecumenical and other tricks on us as Seventh-day Adventists. Where he cannot seduce, he disrupts or weakens with conflict, inspiring animosity—even hatred—where there should be brotherly love. At this very time of writing, serious problems are developing between the General Conference Executive Committee and the North American Division. In theory, it concerns unity but at its core it is about women’s ordination as pastors.
Satan has gleefully tossed into our midst a rotten bone of contention which is beginning to stink to high heaven. With this, he hopes to break up and destroy our worldwide denomination, or at least distract us from preaching the Three Angels’ Messages and thereby delay the Second Coming. The very idea of seeing our Lord return and what must follow is a prospect that fills him and his companion demons with terror. This is a time of great peril for our church.
Strangely this whole issue is based on a minor theological heresy which invaded Seventh-day Adventism in the twentieth century, deriving extra strength from the fact that our governance is not really, as the Church Manual requires, from the bottom up but hierarchical, from the top down. Edwin has suggested a solution in a short article entitled “Preventing Schism in Our Denomination.” This he abstracted from The Labyrinth of Women’s Ordination: A Way Out, written as far back as 2013, before the General Conference session at San Antonio in 2015. He also wrote “The Thorny Issue of Women’s Ordination.” Each of these pieces is on our Web site under All Publications as well as Articles, Letters, etc. Please read them there.
The Crucial Role of Historicism
In and after Luther’s time, the Roman Church realized that the Historicist explanation of Bible prophecy, which points an accusing finger at the papacy as the predicted Antichrist, was the most powerful weapon in the Protestants’ arsenal. Therefore, their intellectuals sought to confuse them by insinuating into their ranks alternative explanations: Preterism, Futurism, and Idealism. This was really a rewriting of and consequently false prophecy, as Ellen G. White so aptly put it, “kindled from the hellish torch of Satan.” To further weaken the enemies of Rome, he also brought in Biblical, so-called Higher criticism, the evolutionary theory, sheer infidelity, and ecumenism. To cap it all, Catholicism now has a Jesuit pope, who stretches out his arms and sweetly invites the Protestant world: “Come back to papa!”
Edwin’s works on prophecy, especially his masterpiece, The Truth About 666 and the Story of the Great Apostasy (2010, 2013), stands in the older Protestant tradition of saying “no” to the pope and “yes” to Jesus Christ, whose soon return we long for. About this book, Ria has been praying repeatedly: “O Lord, give it a loud voice and the wings of an eagle!”
Just after our visit to South Africa, we began to see an answer to her plea. In our June Prophetic Bulletin 27, under “Help Urgently Needed,” we had candidly discussed the problem of what will happen to Edwin’s books when we old people are gone, and made several suggestions. One was for readers whose hearts were touched to sponsor their distribution by donating $210.00. That is half the price of 12 sets of The Truth About 666. In this way, we could make it further available in both the United States and abroad.
Two marvelous things happened.
Three kind friends sent us checks which made available $1,500 to help us: $300 to meet our personal needs and $1,200 to mail boxes of Edwin’s books to other countries. To do so in the most economic way, we send them, together with data CDs and DVDs, in flat rate boxes. The postage for each of these is just a little less than $100. Accordingly, we have mailed 6 boxes to Hungary, 3 to South Africa, 2 to Australia, and 1 to the United Kingdom. In those countries, kind fellow believers will help with their sale and distribution.
These publications are now also available in several countries overseas as follows: Csabai, Tamás in Hungary, firstname.lastname@example.org; Melody Schleicher in the United Kingdom, email@example.com; Byron Villacorta in Australia, firstname.lastname@example.org; and Clint McNeil in South Africa, email@example.com. Here again are the titles and prices:
Christ and Antichrist in Prophecy and History (2001, 2013) $19.95.
The Truth About 666 and the Story of the Great Apostasy (2010, 2013), $35.00.
Seven Heads and Ten Horns in Daniel and the Revelation (2012), $20.00.
The Use and Abuse of Prophecy: History, Methodology, and Myth (2007), $14.95.
A More Sure Word of Prophecy (2015), $10.00.
These last two books complement each other. Edwin has also written other books and studies available only on data CDs or as downloads. Further details appear on Web site propheticum.com.
For readers in South Africa, we have very good news. Due to the exchange rate, which has affected the value of the rand catastrophically, we are charging only half of the prices listed above.
The other wonderful news is that Amazing Discoveries will once again be selling The Truth About 666. On a trial basis, they have ordered 20 sets of it and will also be advertising the other four Historicist books that Edwin has written.
The 666 Factor: An Annotated Timeline
By Jerry A. Stevens
Over the years the vast majority of Bible students have read the number 666, as found in Revelation 13:18, as six hundred sixty-six. This expression is spelled out in most versions of the Bible. A notable exception is the New King James Version. It renders the term in Arabic numerals, or three sixes.
An alarming trend began in 1979. Some Seventh-day Adventist expositors began to put a symbolic spin on the classic interpretation. Careful Bible students, however, have seen through this.
“Contrary to some proponents of the so-called symbolic view, the number of the beast is not six six six (hex hex hex), but rather ‘six hundred and sixty six’ (hexakosioi hexēkonta hex). This can hardly be overemphasized in light of the predominant contradictory understanding among recent revisionist historicists and semi-historicists. The whole number (666) must be seen as a unit, as divinely given in Scripture, and not illegitimately split into three equal sixes.”—Kenneth Jørgensen, 2007.
This annotated timeline examines the question penetratingly, yet fairly. Its original intent was to function as a companion book to Edwin’s The Truth About 666 and the Story of the Great Apostasy. The Bible encourages us to examine and rightly divide the Word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15) for ourselves. It is time for every Christian watchman on the walls of Zion to wake up. Take those worn-out trumpets that make uncertain sounds. Exchange them for trumpets that warn God’s people in very certain tones.
Order your copy at $10.99 from https://www.remnantpublications.com or by calling (800) 423-1319.
Link to Our Web Site
Many more details about Edwin’s publications, our activities, and previous Prophetic Bulletins appear on our Web site: www.propheticum.com. We can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or snail-mailed to Edwin de Kock, 12916 Los Terrazos Boulevard, Edinburg, Texas 78541, U.S.A. As a great favor, kindly place a link to this Web site on your own Web site and help us promote these doctrinally and prophetically sound books.