Bulletin of Prophetic Historicism
1 August 2013 Editor and Proprietor
Edwin de Kock
Bulletin # 8
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.
Bulletins and Website
he Bulletin, and the website to which it refers, is acquiring an expanded readership. The mailing list has been greatly augmented. (If we have added your name in error or you are not interested in any of this material, please let us know, so that we can remove it.)
The last time new matter was uploaded was on 17 April 2013. Though it may feel like ages, that was only three months ago, and much has happened since then.
The Bulletins call attention to website propheticum.com, which features my writing as an expositor of Bible prophecy. My approach is Historicist, basically in the same tradition as Luther, Knox, Wesley, and other Reformers of a bygone era. Unfortunately, however, nowadays most Protestant writing about prophecy bears the stamp of Idealism, Preterism, or Futurism. The latter two schools are Roman Catholic, largely invented by Jesuits in the Counter Reformation to discredit the idea that the pope is the antichrist. In this, they have succeeded brilliantly. Protestant Dispensationalism is a new version of Catholic Futurism.
My four books are Christ and Antichrist in Prophecy and History (a new 2013 edition); The Use and Abuse of Prophecy: History, Methodology, and Myth (2007); The Truth About 666 and the Story of the Great Apostasy (2011); Seven Heads and Ten Horns in Daniel and the Revelation (2012). Descriptions of and sample chapters from each of these can be read on our website.
Please go there, surf its various pages, and invite your friends to do the same. Do notice the full-screen enlargement button, which is located on the upper right-hand corner. It resembles a little squarish “balloon.”
Our website features more than my books. For instance, under Articles, it contains bits of our experience. It also has a place for readers’ comments. We would love to hear from you. In this issue, I must, God willing, respond to queries about Daniel 11, focusing on the King of the North and the King of the South. But since I am still researching the topic, it will take a day or two to complete my article. Look for it a little later.
Christ and Antichrist in Prophecy and History
Our most important news is that the Lord has enabled us to raise all the funds needed for reprinting this book—2,000 copies. Approximately half of the $5,000 came in the form of donations. We generated the other half from our own resources, especially sales of The Truth About 666.
With the help of skilled editors, the text of Christ and Antichrist in Prophecy and History has been updated, augmented, and improved. Here are two examples. A critic of the book as it appeared in 2001 asserted that the nineteenth-century catechisms of Keenan and Geirmann, to which Seventh-day Adventists have often referred, were obsolete. Therefore, in the chapter “Tampering with God’s Law,” I now also discuss more recent publications of the twentieth century. These include the 1994 Catechism of the Catholic Church. Another chapter, “The Continuing Importance of Western Europe,” has been updated in the light of the recent Great Recession. For good measure, I have added “The European Union in Crisis” as a new appendix.
The 2013 Christ and Antichrist will therefore be a new edition. The finished product may well be available within a few weeks.
The Truth About 666 and the Story of the Great Apostasy
After a mere eighteen months, The Truth About 666 has almost been sold out. Of the 1,000 copies printed as a hard-cover book, only a few are still available. If you would like to acquire one of them, please hurry to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. To see why this work is vitally important, read about it on our website, propheticum.com.
Previous Bulletins recorded there reveal that the book sold well through self-supporting ministries, but only a few Adventist Book Centers carried it. Much of this difficulty resulted from the deafening silence that it encountered. Not from eminent scholars, though, for a goodly number of them have strongly recommended it.
But not a single journal belonging to our denomination has reviewed it. This may partly be because of a mindset, if not a policy, opposed to self-publication by Seventh-day Adventists not employed by the Church. It seems to us that only salaried denominational workers are assumed to have the training, intellectual ability, and piety necessary for producing worthwhile books on prophecy. Also, the publishing houses owned by the church may think they have a monopoly on printing such works. Self-publishers are therefore beyond the pale.
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 is God’s book, especially as we reflect on its scope, the way the Lord called coworkers—people whom I would never in a million years have met or found on my 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 he 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.
Nevertheless, my book has been selling. Therefore, its ideas are entering the bloodstream of Seventh-day Adventist thinking. For this, we rejoice and thank our heavenly Father.
A New Edition
We do, however, face another difficulty: with so few copies left, it becomes necessary to think about reprinting it—though as yet we lack the necessary funds. Last time, Ria was still working and earning. This is no longer the case. Financially we are at the bottom of the barrel, yet that is where miracles happen. And after all, as the Good Book says: “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1).
A new edition of The Truth About 666 and the Story of the Great Apostasy is obviously needed. But what can we do about it? First we pray and ask for guidance from above. Then we consider the possibilities, on the basis of new quotations that we have received from our printer.
We have made a fascinating discovery. The total cost can be reduced by abandoning the hard-cover format. A thousand copies printed in soft cover would cost $3,252 less than our original hard-cover first edition! At the same time, 874 pages in soft cover may not be so sturdy. Besides, reprinting 1,000 copies would still require $7,793. But where would this money come from?
We can reissue The Truth About 666 as three separate volumes of just under 300 pages each, with covers in full color, and one by one. This is perfectly feasible because it would reflect the structure of the work itself. It was never really a single book, as indicated on the verso (just after the title page) of the previous edition, where it says: “Three volumes in one.” Here is a survey of their contents:
Volume 1 contains the preliminary matter plus twenty chapters that provide an overview in three parts: “The Basics,” “The Ascent to Papal Power,” and “The Pope Becomes a King.”
Volume 2 consists of eleven chapters, detailing “The Further Witness of History.” This is a chronicle of the papacy over many centuries in relation to the title vicarius Filii Dei or its translation into other languages.
Volume 3 concerns “The Seventh-day Adventist Connection.” Historically its fourteen chapters cover almost two hundred years of interaction between this denomination and those who contest its Historicism via Preterism, Futurism, and Idealism. The last-mentioned school undermines the three angels’ messages by asserting that the 666 of Rev. 13:18 is not vicarius Filii Dei, a papal title, but merely a symbol of human imperfection. Theologians who think so also support this idea with the strange assertion that there are 3 sixes in 666. In reality, there are 111! The volume concludes with reference Notes and seven insightful appendices.
Instead of a printed index, a data CD, containing the text of the entire work, was for the 2011 edition adhered into the back of the book. With the new printing, this would be attached to the back of Volume 1. Buyers could therefore check the references. They would incidentally also be able to view the text of Volumes 2 and 3.
Could this not undermine the sale of the still-to-be-printed last two volumes? We think it would more likely stimulate a desire to possess all three volumes in print.
Reprinting 1,000 copies of Volume 1, including the data CD, would require only $3,147. There is even better news about Volumes 2 and 3. They would cost less: just $2,407 and $2,239 respectively. (Freighting the finished books from Benton Harbor, Michigan, to points of sale in America will have to paid for additionally.)
The three volumes can be printed separately as funds become available. But where will we get the initial $3,147 to reprint Volume 1? We could raise part of this amount by vigorously marketing the new Christ and Antichrist in Prophecy and History, due to appear in the near future, together with The Use and Abuse of Prophecy and Seven Heads and Ten Horns. And the Lord can once again impress a number of readers to make the rest available, if it is his will.
But now let us think big, as faith always must. Printing 2,000 copies of Volume 1 would cost only $4,906. For Volumes 2 and 3 it would $3,581 and $3,390 respectively. The second 1,000 would just be $4,084. This is made possible by the economy of scale, which is the “proportionate saving in costs gained by an increased level of production.” In the printing industry, as the number of copies printed increases, the unit cost per book goes down. That is because the preparatory work and initial setup remain the same, although extra ink and paper go through the presses.
Finally we compare what it would cost to print 2,000 copies in soft cover with what we paid to print the 1,000 hardcover copies of the first edition. This would require only $833 more.
We incline to the idea that 2,000 copies of each volume should be our target. Please let us have your feedback; we need it.
Then, too, we would greatly appreciate it if someone could kindly design and donate an attractive cover for the book. This would basically be the same for all the volumes, with just a little different wording for each. Likewise different would be the overall color of the three volumes.
Also please pray that an important denominational journal will consent to reviewing The Truth About 666.