Bulletin of Prophetic Historicism
8 November 2019 Editor and Proprietor
Edwin de Kock
’s contributions as a Historicist writer on prophecy. Its author is Gerhard Pfandl, Ph.D., a highly esteemed scholar and retired Associate Director of the BRI. After introducing he presented detailed reviews of five printed books. When dealing with The Truth About 666 and the Story of the Great Apostasy, Dr. Pfandl also referred to his previous review in the Adventist Review of May 15, 2014. He recommended the purchase of all these books.
Unfortunately the prices that he quoted for these books are not entirely correct. They seem to be those of some other ministry. Nor are they available from Amazon but only from us. Otherwise this is an impressive survey of ’s five books available in printed form. If you do not receive the BRI Newsletters but are interested in reading Dr. Pfandl’s material, please let us know, so that we can forward it to you.
has also written many other pieces that have not been printed but are available as PDF downloads. These are listed in another section below.
Dr. Pfandl ’s five printed books, we knew that he had consented to work on it. We were very grateful and excited because of his high name recognition. We therefore expected that this article would greatly boost the sale of the books, for via the Internet the BRI Newsletter reaches SDA ministers throughout the world. But, alas, our hopes were blasted.
Two months ago, Edwin sent out a letter to all the Adventist Book Centers in the United States to try to sell these publications. He added the recommendations of several of our scholars, including eminent people. One of these was Dr. Pfandl’s book review. What was the reaction?
Not a single one of the more than thirty ABCs reacted in any way, by telephone or e-mail! We are wondering why. According to the law of averages, at least a few of them should have shown some interest. Satan, of course, hates these books, as we well know from past experience. But we are loath simply to attribute their silence to diabolic activity. So let us consider other possibilities.
The ugliest explanation would be that the ABCs, which nowadays are more closely linked to our Conference headquarters, have been instructed not to sell Adventist books that have not been published by our denominational institutions—no matter how good they may be. Or they may think: “There are already too many books about prophecy. Why should we carry these as well?” And perhaps a large majority of church members within the North American Division are simply not interested in prophecy. They almost never hear sermons about the Three Angels’ Messages or the Second Coming, except when a visiting evangelist conducts a series in their church. Nevertheless it is uncanny that not a single store manager at an ABC has so far reacted to our attempts to reach them.
But what about individual ministers who read the BRI Newsletters? Only three have responded. One was in the United States, who may hopefully yet order something.
One was the elder of a church in Zambia who wants all the books but is unable to pay for them. Edwin sent him a free copy of Christ and Antichrist in Prophecy and History as a PDF download. He explained, however, that he did not own a computer and needed printed books. He supposed that Edwin could make the sacrifice of mailing them all to him free of charge. Unfortunately everything sent beyond the borders of the United States must go airmail and can be very expensive. The five printed books have a retail price of $99.90 in America. The cheapest airmail will amount to $77.50, which gives a total charge of $177.40. Although this strains our monthly budget, Edwin has decided to comply with this brother’s request—on the condition that he will not regard these books as his personal property. He must also make them available to other interested readers.
If more requests for printed books come from other countries, we shall unfortunately not be able to afford such postage. In that case, one or more of our readers may be able to help.
The other reaction to Dr. Pfandl’s article was from one of our pastors in Myanmar, which in colonial times was known as British Burma.
He said that over there Seventh-day Adventist publications were hard to come by, so he ordered some of my books as PDF downloads. After paying for them, he explained that even the modest price that he had been charged was equal to a quarter of a minister’s monthly salary. If Edwin had known this in advance, he would have made him pay anything. But by way of compensation, he transmitted to this dear minister all his other publications in digital format, free of charge. Another result has been a deep and affectionate interchange of letters between them.
That Asian country has a population of almost 54,000,000 inhabitants. The Myanmar Union Mission of Seventh-day Adventists has a membership of more than 32,000 people, with 235 churches.
It is a predominantly Buddhist country, with very limited religious liberty. By law, conversion from one religion to another is restricted. For instance, a Buddhist who wants to become a Christian must get permission from the township officer. There are lawsuits against those who change their religion without it.
Christian denominations in Myanmar also have schools and colleges, but these are not recognized by the government. Consequently, students who complete their high school education cannot be admitted to a government college. There is one exception: Buddhist priests also operate schools. A student who studies at one of these can subsequently be admitted to a government college.
Such discrimination also extends to the workplace. For instance, Non-Buddhists are not accepted for high positions in government employment.
On 13 October 2019, Pope Francis, during an open-air mass in St. Peter’s Square canonized John Henry Newman (21 February 1801–11 August 1890), a famous Catholic theologian, philosopher, and cardinal who had converted to Catholicism from Anglicanism in October 1845. Before that, he was a major figure in the Oxford Movement, striving to bring the Church of England back to its roots. Eventually his studies in history persuaded him to become a Roman Catholic. The mass was attended by thousands of pilgrims. One of them was Prince Charles, the British Prince of Wales, presumably representing his mother Queen Elizabeth II. She nominally heads the Church of England. Her distant ancestor, King Henry VIII, broke away from the Catholic Church in the sixteenth century, almost 500 years ago.
“Global Compact on Education,” to better prepare the youth for the economic, environmental, and social problems that lie ahead. This is also very clever, for everywhere in the world it is especially young people who have been demonstrating about global warming, which they see as a threat to their future.
’s ordination, which is threatening to tear the denomination apart. At the same time, the Church ’s message, a future Sunday law, and what lies ahead for the world. All t
’s End-Time Work
Before he ascended to heaven, the Lord promised that he would come again but also gave his followers the Great Commission: to make disciples of all nations, teaching them to observe everything he had commanded them, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:18). He made it plain that he would not return before this work has been completed: “This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).
What Jesus wants his followers to teach nations is Biblical truth unsullied by pagan, ecclesiastical, or any other perversion.
Therefore, with a view to the last days, the servant of the Lord has written: “In a special sense Seventh-day Adventists have been set in the world as watchmen and light bearers” (9 T 19). To this she added startling and rather terrible words: “So far as his opportunities extend, everyone who has received the light of truth is under the same responsibility as was the prophet of Israel to whom came the word: ‘Son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word of My mouth, and warn them from Me. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die. If thou dost not speak, to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he doth not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.’” (Ezekiel 33:7-9) (9 Testimonies for the Church, 19-20)
That volume was written sometime between 1904 and 1909, more than 100 years ago. From other passages in this book, it becomes plain that Ellen G. White—as well as the One who inspired her—was not pleased with the extent to which Seventh-day Adventists were doing the work of the Great Commission. Why not?
On October 5, 2019, evangelist Dwayne Lemon, preaching at the Mission Hope church in Mission, southernmost Texas, presented eye-opening figures based on his analysis of our denomination’s statistics about its growth rate, which are available on the Internet. He highlighted the fact that in the thirty years between 1872 and 1902, the membership of our Church increased by more than 400 percent. Since then, however, the increase percentage has declined considerably, though in 1872-1902 technological resources for spreading the gospel were much more limited than today. That was still largely the era of horse buggies and the like, before airplanes or even cars as we know them, with slow mail services, and no radio, television, or the Internet.
That extraordinary growth rate attracted the attention of the Seventh Day Baptists, whose increase was much slower, and even of a prominent secular newspaper. They both interviewed some of our leaders and received substantially the same answer:
Seventh-day Adventist ministers were not settled pastors of particular congregations but evangelists. After establishing a new church, they would leave it to care for its own spiritual needs and moved on to spread their message in another place. There were also large numbers of colporteurs who in addition to selling truth-filled books gave Bible studies and prepared the ground for further evangelism. Each congregation had a missionary society. Ordinary members distributed tracts as well as other pieces of literature, obtained subscriptions to Seventh-day Adventist magazines, lent out books, and gave Bible studies. These were mostly poor people, but they labored zealously and also donated sacrificially to further the Lord’s work.
Nowadays this sort of thing is largely a matter of the past in many English-speaking churches of North America. The ministers are settled pastors, with heavy administrative duties, who mostly preach evangelical sermons—not usually about the Second Coming or the Three Angels’ Messages. Colporteurs are scarcer and have to struggle as self-supporting distributors, with little time for Bible studies or similar spiritual work (as Ria found to her sorrow in 1995). Economically our members are much better off but less inclined to make substantial donations to promote the Lord’s work. Some of them do at times hand out tracts or similar literature, but it is nothing like what it used to be. They also do not give many Bible studies.
Fortunately it is different in some other parts of the world. When during 1989 we flew from South Africa to visit Brazil for more than a month, we were interested in the rapid church growth of that country, wondering what methods those members used.
For five weeks, we found much of the same spirit of old-time Adventism and much ingenuity. For instance, when fellow believers at Chapeco in the southern state of Santa Catarina, heard that these South Africans were coming, they invited Edwin to preach at their church, using both newspapers and radio announcements to invite the public to attend. They stressed that he was a world-famous Esperanto writer and poet. That Sabbath his topic was the relationship of Bible prophecy to the events that were taking place in the world of 1989, when Communism was collapsing throughout Eastern Europe. He preached in the International Language, which was interpreted into Portuguese. Afterwards he was interviewed by representatives of a local TV station.
At Curitiba, a large city in the state of Paraná, we attended a medium-sized church not far from where they were guests of a local professor. A fellow believer sitting next to us interpreted into English. Between Sabbath school and the divine service, we saw these Brazilians in action for the Lord. On the platform a group of members appeared and reported their evangelistic experiences. With them was the local colporteur, representing their literature department. He rose, told about new contacts interested in receiving Bible studies and asked for volunteers to do this work. Several members of the congregation raised their hands. Then and there he handed out cards containing names, addresses, and other contact information.
Near Manaus on the Amazon, we found that Seventh-day Adventists not only did medical missionary and other work for the Lord, among other things from their missionary boat which navigated up and down that mighty river. They also maintained a majority of the schools in a large area that would otherwise not have any.
The de Kocks returned to South Africa amazed. A little later their photograph appeared on the cover of a small Spiritualist magazine in Brazil, which described them as missionaries from Africa!
Often these days we hear from fellow believers that the Second Coming is at hand. That, we know, would be wonderful; but, alas, a vast amount of unfinished work remains to be done, especially in what is known as the 10-40 window. This is located between 10 and 40 degrees north of the equator. Inhabited by about two-thirds of the world’s people, Christians also used to refer to it as the “resistant belt.” It includes two great countries, each with more than a billion inhabitants: China and India. These people are mostly Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and Atheists. Those who try to win them for Christ are often persecuted. In the case of the Muslims, conversion to another religion is punishable by death.
Most Seventh-day Adventists live outside the 10/40 window. Inside it, they make up fewer than 6 per 10,000 inhabitants. Here, too, most of the world’s 6,500 languages are spoken. In how many of these are any of our publications available? Some 234. Our believers do speak considerably more but fewer than half of the total. Admittedly many of these languages belong to very small people groups. Each is, however, a mother tongue, dear to somebody. When and how will all these dear souls be reached by the everlasting Gospel?
Instead of sitting back while we imagine that the Second Coming is just around the corner, we need to pray for the Holy Spirit to use us in finishing the truly colossal task which still lies ahead. And it is not impossible. If in the thirty years of 1872-1902, the membership of our denomination grew by 400 percent, what could happen now if all our believers imitated their example and every Seventh-day Adventist became a missionary?
We must also not say or think: “The Lord has delayed his coming.” No, it is the Church that has delayed it. Imagine what would happen if most Seventh-day Adventists went to work with the same fervor. Consider all the means which are at their disposal. In addition to the traditional methods and technology available to the pioneers of 1872-1902, we now also have international travel by fast-moving vehicles on land, by sea, and in the air. Sophisticated radio and television reach all over the planet. We can also communicate over the Internet: via e-mail, online magazines, videos, blogs, websites, face book, and YouTube, plus data CDs, memory sticks, DVDs, etc. A single electronic gadget can contain an entire library of magazines and books. On cell phones, WhatsApp has made it possible to see and give Bible studies to people in other countries, free of charge. Our schools, medical facilities, branch Sabbath Schools, and even food banks have a potential for witnessing. The possibilities are endless.
Some of our agencies, like Adventist World Radio, are doing a phenomenal work; but how much more can be done!
Mere technology and techniques cannot, however, by themselves achieve what the Saviour wants his followers to do. These things can only be useful if those who profess his name are truly converted and on fire to work for him. Let us therefore take stock of this human potential.
During 2019, the official membership of the Seventh-day Adventist Church stood at more than 20 million baptized people, plus 25 million adherents. In her lifetime, Ellen G. White had, however, written:
“” Christian Service,
Many are also held back by a strange indifference, which puzzles even the angels and beings of other worlds: “It is a mystery that there are not hundreds at work where now there is but one. The heavenly universe is astonished at the apathy, the coldness, the listlessness of those who profess to be sons and daughters of God. In the truth there is a living power. Go forth in faith, and proclaim the truth as if you believed it. Let those for whom you labor see that to you it is indeed a living reality.” 9 Testimonies for the Church, 42.
But how should the Lord’s people work? Public evangelism, radio, television, and many other methods can undoubtedly play a useful, sometimes a mighty role. But this is not enough. For each member who is not bedridden or housebound, the following is also required: “By personal labor reach those around you. Become acquainted with them. Preaching will not do the work that needs to be done. Angels of God attend you to the dwellings of those you visit. This work cannot be done by proxy. Money lent or given will not accomplish it. Sermons will not do it. By visiting the people, talking, praying, sympathizing with them, you will win hearts. This is the highest missionary work that you can do. To do it, you will need resolute, persevering faith, unwearying patience, and a deep love for souls.” 9 Testimonies for the Church, 41.
Also let us remember the following: “After His Resurrection, Christ ascended to heaven, and He is today presenting our needs to the Father. ‘I have graven thee upon the palms of My hands,’ He says. Isaiah 49:16. It cost something to engrave them there. It cost untold agony. If we would humble ourselves before God, and be kind and courteous and tenderhearted and pitiful, there would be one hundred conversions to the truth where now there is only one. But, though professing to be converted, we carry around with us a bundle of self that we regard as altogether too precious to be given up. It is our privilege to lay this burden at the feet of Christ and in its place take the character and similitude of Christ. The Saviour is waiting for us to do this.” 9 Testimonies for the Church, 189-190.
One in twenty (5 percent) of 20 million Seventh-day Adventists is 1,000,000. On the basis of the statistics presented above, let us now consider what would happen if each of these fine people, driven by the Holy Spirit, could be fully aroused to work wholeheartedly for the Lord. If every one of them persuaded just one sincere and fervent person to join our Church per year, and each of these did the same, our likeminded membership would double every year. The number would rise to 32 million in five years and a billion within ten. After the thirteenth year, the number of converts would equal the total population on the planet. The challenge of the 10/40 window could be met in a little more than a decade.
But this, alas!, is not going to happen. Of course, the Saviour would like everybody in the world to be saved, for he died for them. But the great dragon, Satan, that ancient serpent, hates and is at war with the end-time remnant “who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17). When Seventh-day Adventists are asleep or occupied otherwise than working for the Lord, he is content and largely leaves them alone, for they are his. But when they awake and begin to labor for the redemption of souls and to prepare people for the Second Coming, he is enraged and goes to war with them.
Available to him are all the resources of wickedness in the world. Above all there are the sinful habits that already dwell in people who are mostly unwilling to make the changes that the Gospel requires. Then, too, there are the devil’s old allies: atheism, paganism, the papacy, and a myriad of false religions which he has himself invented. These are not totally bad but mixtures of good and evil. We know besides that the Church of Rome is a clever blend of Christianity with heathenism, together with a spiritualistic cult of the dead: the so-called saints. Recent converts are Protestants whose ecumenism has lured them back into the welcoming arms of the pope.
Consequently, just before Christ returns, the great controversy between him and Satan will greatly intensify. There will be a revival of the fervor, zeal, and diligence of those believers whose number could in thirty years increase by 400 percent. But in the battles lying ahead, many of the Lord’s people will apostatize and join his enemies. Yet, from the ranks of these, an equally large number will also change their allegiance and join his cause. There will, so to speak, be a tremendous interchange of personnel between those who obey God and those who do not. Here is Ellen G. White’s graphic portrayal of what lies ahead:
“In vision I saw two armies in terrible conflict. One army was led by banners bearing the world’s insignia; the other was led by the bloodstained banner of Prince Immanuel. Standard after standard was left to trail in the dust as company after company from the Lord’s army joined the foe and tribe after tribe from the ranks of the enemy united with the commandment-keeping people of God. An angel flying in the midst of heaven put the standard of Immanuel into many hands, while a mighty general cried out with a loud voice: ‘Come into line. Let those who are loyal to the commandments of God and the testimony of Christ now take their position. Come out from among them, and be ye separate, and touch not the unclean, and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters. Let all who will come up to the help of the Lord, against the mighty.’” 8 Testimonies for the Church, 41.
She went on to tell how in their striving these two armies will push each other back and forth, but victory in this final conflict will belong to the Saviour and those who do battle on his side. Then they can lay down their arms and with him go to their heavenly home. We fervently hope and pray that this will be soon, just after the gospel of the kingdom has been preached in all the world as a witness to all nations—including those who inhabit the 10/40 window.
Just hearing the word is not good enough. Doing the will of God through the enabling power of the Holy Spirit is what the Lord requires. Nothing can substitute for this, not prophecy, speaking in tongues, the casting out of demons or any number of miracles.
’s work. But the Spirit of Prophecy predicts a second and greater Reformation that will speedily finish the Lord’s work before he returns.
The Labyrinth of Women’s Ordination: A Way Out (144 pages). In New Testament times and the nineteenth-century Seventh-day Adventist Church, there was no distinction between elders and pastors. This difference is unbiblical and therefore heretical. Having been introduced during the twentieth century, it is the root cause of the present conflict about women’s ordination. This study analyzes such and related issues and offers a surprising solution.
The Decalogue as a Charter of Rights and Entitlements (6 pages). A new and positive look at the Ten Commandments.
’s early work in that country, even making a large donation for Battle Creek College in America. A few generations later, ’s
’s ancient mistake in taking Hagar as a secondary wife, who bore Ishmael, the ancestor of the Arabs. But this new analysis debunks that argument and gives the true reason for the Israeli-Palestinian animosity and conflict of the modern world.
“What Are You Writing Now?”
This question, from several readers including Eldene Goosen, Edwin’s niece in South Africa, troubled him for some time. After all, a rather long time has gone by since our previous Prophetic Bulletin.
Some time ago, as he woke up from an afternoon nap, his mind was suddenly directed to aspects of God’s Law that he had never fully realized or thought of before. He has been thinking much about it, and the result is a piece entitled The Decalogue as a Charter of Rights and Entitlements, which is included among the foregoing publications.
The Great Controversy Theme in Esperanto
In the meantime, Edwin’s Esperanto epic La Konflikto de la Epokoj (The Conflict of the Ages) has appeared. It was published in Belgium and printed in the Czech Republic, with a hard cover beneath a beautiful dust cover in full color. This work is longer than John Milton’s famous Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained, combined. It conveys a Seventh-day Adventist world view, including our basic doctrines and several prophecies, as well as their fulfillment. We hope that some of those who read La Konflikto will not only enjoy it as a marvelous story poem but also accept the Lord.
Since 1887, when Esperanto came into existence, more than a hundred poets have created original poetry in it, some of it superb, with translations into other languages. During the late 1970s, Tymen Trolsky, assisted by a team of thirteen, produced a 211-page book in the Netherlands featuring, as he put it, “eighteen well-known and less known poets of world stature.” In each case, on opposite pages, we can read their poetry (English, French, German, etc.) with parallel translations into Dutch. These included famous figures like John Keats (1795-1821) in English, Friedrich Hölderlin (1770-1843) and Bertold Brecht (1898-1956) in German, and Paul Verlaine (1844-1896) in French, but also four Esperanto poets. One of these was Edwin de Kock.
La Konflikto de la Epokoj may yet be regarded as a masterpiece of world literature. It is at present also the only printed Seventh-day Adventist book in existence. Steps to Christ has been translated into Esperanto but is available only in digital form. This contrasts sharply with several other religions, for instance, an abundance of Roman Catholic and Spiritualist publications.
Web Site Linkage
Many more details about Edwin’s publications, our activities, and previous Prophetic Bulletins appear on our Web site: www.propheticum.com, which we hope will soon be reconstructed with the assistance of Michelle, a kind young believer at one of our local churches.
Tel.(956)583-2859 C Edwin de Kock 12916 Los Terrazos Boulevard Edinburg, TX 78541 USA