Apocalypse Epitomised By Brother H.P. Mansfield Summary presentation for Avon Bible Class Presented by Brother Dean Brown May 31, 2007
Ground Rules • Description without “cheerleading” for or against. This applies to all of us. No arguing for or against tonight. • Simple framework and confusing details. • Questions about the basic description and basic logic are allowed, but not questions about details, otherwise we’ll get bogged down.
Why AE by HPM instead of something more recent? • While CH has been updated over time, most of it remains unchanged. • AE is widely used and widely respected today. • AE is a systematic CH look at Revelation within one binding – no reading dozens of disparate articles. • The current 5-volume edition of Eureka was published by the Logos office with many publisher’s notes written by Brother Mansfield at about the same time as AE. • AE was written at about the same time as the books by Brothers Harry Whittaker and Alfred Norris.
It is clearly obvious, that if the interpretation of Eureka is accepted, the book of Revelation is an amplification of that section of Daniel’s prophecy which the prophet failed to comprehend. • The entire Apocalypse is an amplification of the fourth beast and the multitudinous man (Dan 7-12); or the development and decline of Rome both politically and ecclesiastically, and of the work of the saints in relation thereto.
“Things which must shortly come to pass” • The correct interpretation is the Historic one which treats the Apocalypse as a prophetic plan of unfolding history, the fulfillment of which was about to commence, to come to pass, shortly after it was given to the Apostle John. The visions and revelations thus cover history from the day of the Apostle to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. • Hence the term “continuous-historic”.
Letters to the Ecclesias: • In addition to the personal messages, the seven Ecclesias seem to represent seven epochs of Ecclesial activity. • In Eureka, Brother Thomas suggests that the messages not only describe the Ecclesias as they existed in the days of the Apostle, but that they also can be aligned with seven epochs of time. • But in addition to that division, there seems to be a long range prophecy as well, illustrating the condition of Ecclesias to the Truth reaching to the epoch of the second coming.
Revelation 4 and 5 • Our attention is first directed to a symbolic description of the Kingdom in its glory, and this is followed by the visions that depict events leading to this consummation. It may appear strange that the final picture should be given first, but it is the Spirit’s method, not only in the book before us, but throughout the prophetic Scriptures.
Revelation 6 – The Seals • Judgments upon Pagan Rome. • 1st seal – the Pax Romana from AD 98 to about AD 180 • 2nd through 4th seals – period of trouble from about AD 180 to 303 • 5th seal – persecution under Emporer Diocletian • 6th seal – political earthquake where the existing pagan order is overthrown by a pseudo-Christian system under Constantine
The Seven Angelic Trumpeters Revelation 8-11 • The opening of the seventh seal introduces seven angelic trumpeters. This significant symbol is derived from the Old Testament use of the trumpet, to call the people together. Consequently, the sounding of these Apocalyptic Trumpeters, summon the enemies of the Roman Empire together for the purpose of judgment upon it. The first four [trumpets] introduce events that affect the Western section of the Roman Empire; the last two summon forces that afflict the Eastern section of it.
The First Six Trumpets • 1st four – affecting the Western Roman Empire: • 1st trumpet – Alaric and the Goths • 2nd trumpet – Genseric and the Vandals • 3rd trumpet – Attila the Hun • 4th trumpet – Odoacer and the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD • Next 2 trumpets – affecting the Eastern Roman Empire: • 5th trumpet – the rise of Islam; Saracen expansion • 6th trumpet – the rise of the Ottoman Turks; the fall of Constantinople in 1453 (Moscow becomes the “third Rome”)
The Death and Resurrection of the Witnesses Rev 11:1-13. • The warfare suggested in this prophecy commenced on the establishment of Christianity as the State Church in the year 312. It commenced a period of religious controversy which continued for 1260 years to 1572 and the Massacre of St. Bartholomew. In that year, Rome made determined efforts to still the voice of religious opposition. This succeeded in France, at least, where a terrible massacre of those opposed to Rome took place. This terminated the effective testimony of the witnesses, and they were given over to political death. The coupe de grace came in 1685 when, after a century of terrible persecution, the Edict of Nantes that had granted some relief to the persecuted was revoked, and effective witnessing ceased for a time.
[Rev 11:7] The “two witnesses” are known to history by several names: Donatists, Waldenses, Novatians, Huguenots, etc. All in their turn witnessed against the autocratic ecclesiastical power of Rome, and so maintained a continuous record of opposition to its political and religious tyranny.
The conclusion of Chapter Eleven brings us to the end of the first half of the Apocalypse. Now, with the commencement of the second half, it retraces its steps and again reviews history from the epoch of Constantine onwards. Why the repetition? Is it not confusing? No, a little thought will reveal that The Apocalypse proceeds on a systematic plan of historical development. The previous chapters predicted the following events of a political character: • (1) The “Christianizing” of pagan Rome (Rev 6-7); • (2) The break-up of “Christianized” Rome (Rev 8-9); • (3) The warfare of the witnesses and the triumph of the truth (Rev 10-11). …
In thus concentrating upon political developments, religious developments have been largely ignored. Now, in orderly fashion, The Apocalypse retraces its steps to take up that theme. Hence we have: • (1) The development and destruction of the Holy Roman Empire (Rev 12-14); • (2) The Divine Judgment on the latter day political system (Rev 15-16); • (3) Divine judgment on the latter day religious system (Rev 17-19). • The second half of The Apocalypse follows the first half in orderly fashion. The Holy Roman Empire replaces the Roman Empire, and its destruction is described. • [Note: more about the Holy Roman Empire shortly]
Revelation 12 • If the term “heaven” is to be applied literally in v. 7, it must be similarly applied in v. 1, which states that the woman gives birth to her son “in heaven.” Obviously this cannot relate to the atmospheric heavens above and must apply to the political “heaven” on earth. Moreover, for any exposition of The Apocalypse to be sound, it must conform to the basic principle that it was given to reveal “things which must shortly come to pass” (Rev 1:1). Applying this as a rule of interpretation, we must seek for the fulfillment of the birth of the man-child, the war in heaven, and so forth, at some time after AD 96, when the revelation was given to John.
“And she brought forth a man child” [Rev 12:5] • This prophecy does not relate to Christ, as is sometimes thought, for it is specifically declared that The Apocalypse was designed to outline “things which must come to pass”; but it concerns the political birth of a system which the flesh has confused with Christ. The political birth of this “man child” was the beginning of the fulfillment of Paul’s prophecy of the manifestation of the Man of Sin (2 Thess 2:3). This refers to an order of men (the Popes) and not to a single individual. • [Thus: refers to Constantine and his successors]
Revelation 13 • In this chapter, John reports on the uprise of two beasts. The first he sees arises from out of the sea; the second arises from out of the earth. • As a whole the vision symbolizes the power and influence enjoyed by Roman Catholicism in its political manifestations, and depicts the brutal persecution by which it endeavored to bend the minds of men to its doctrines and practices.
The “beast of the sea” is represented as gaining power through the help of the “dragon.” History fulfils the prophecy inasmuch as the Papacy gained its prestige and power through the help of the Emperors of Constantinople. At that time, Rome and Constantinople represented the religious and military headquarters of the Roman Empire. The armed might of Constantinople was constantly extended in support of the Bishop of Rome. However, the military power of Constantinople gradually declined, as the empire in the east came under pressure from the Saracens and then the Ottomans, and the Pope had to look elsewhere for support. …
But where could the Pope look for help? The Empire in the West was at an end, and a new power was arising: that of the Franks under Pepin followed by his son Charlemagne. Meanwhile, in AD 752, the Lombards, hostile to the Pope, had occupied much of Italy. On the other hand, Pepin and Charlemagne supported the Papacy. In the year 799 an alliance was completed between the Pope and the Emperor of the Franks. This laid the foundation of the Holy Roman Empire, the two-horned Beast of the Earth of the chapter before us.
History Lesson: The Holy Roman Empire • It originated with the coronation of Charlemagne by Pope Leo III on Christmas Day, AD 800, and lasted until the abdication of Emperor Francis II in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars. • The Holy Roman Empire was a conscious attempt to resurrect the Western Roman Empire, considered to have ended with the abdication of Romulus Augustulus in 476. • -- from Wikipedia article “Holy Roman Empire”
Revelation 16 – The Vials • This important chapter provides details lacking in Revelation 11-15 where the “time of the end” is summarized. It outlines by symbol the significance of the international events that followed the French Revolution, and which have played such a compelling part in the development of current events that are leading to Armageddon and the revelation of Christ and the Redeemed in power. Perhaps no other chapter of the Bible is more important than this one in revealing the significance of current events. …
The first five vials treat with judgments on Europe, by which the Holy Roman Empire was brought to an end. Then attention is diverted to the Middle East, and the part that it is playing and will continue to do so in developing the time of the end is outlined. Finally, West and East are brought together at the judgment of Armageddon which precedes the final outpouring of judgment on Babylon the Great.
1st vial – French Revolution period ca. 1789 • 2nd vial – Napoleon’s Middle East campaign, defeated by British navy, ca. 1793 • 3rd vial – Napoleon’s victories against the Alpine districts and the north of Italy from 1796 onwards • 4th vial – The wars of Napoleon against Austria and the so-called Holy Roman Empire ca. 1805 • 5th vial – The beast referred to here is the papal-dominated “Beast of the Earth”, known to history as the Holy Roman Empire. With the defeat of its Austrian Emperor during the 4th-vial period, and the humiliation of the Pope representing its ecclesiastical head, the Holy Roman Empire was dissolved and Napoleon’s commission was completed.
The Sixth Vial – Rev 16:12-16 • 12 The sixth angel poured out his vial on the great river, the Euphrates; and its water was dried up, so that the way would be prepared for the kings from the east. 13 And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs; 14 for they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty. 15 (“Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and men will not see his shame.”) 16 And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Armaggedon.
12 The sixth angel poured out his vial on the great river, the Euphrates; and its water was dried up, so that the way would be prepared for the kings from the east. 13 And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs; 14 for they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty. 15 (“Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and men will not see his shame.”) 16 And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Armageddon.
The Sixth Vial – Upon the Euphrates [Rev 16:12-16] • The sixth trumpet saw the inundation of the Euphratean flood over the Middle East; the sixth vial witnesses its complete evaporation. The symbolism of this vial is drawn from the historical account of the taking of Babylon by Cyrus who is set forth as a type of Christ. He diverted the course of the River Euphrates, and entered the city along the dried up riverbed to take Babylon.
“that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared” [Rev 16:12] • Isaiah described Cyrus as a “king of the east” (Isa 41:2), and presented him as a type of the Messiah (Isa 45:1-4). This forms the basis of the “drying Euphrates” of the chapter before us. The political “river Euphrates” has been partially dried up that the antitypical Cyrus might attack Babylon the Great. Christ will first reveal his power in Jerusalem, and from that center will move out against “great Babylon”. The political “river Euphrates,” the Turkish Empire, was “dried up” from the Land of Promise, the “way” of the verse before us, in 1917 when the British under General Allenby drove the Turks from the land.
“three unclean spirits like frogs” [Rev 16:13] • In Eureka, Bro. Thomas shows that three frogs constituted the heraldic symbol of the French people, in contrast to the three lilies which was the heraldic symbol of the Bourbon rulers of France. As the Franks originated from the marshy lands of Westphalia, the symbol of “frogs” is appropriate to the origin of the people. It is used as a common term to identify the French even in modern times. The “frogs” therefore represent the people of France in contrast to its one-time rulers. …
Their voices were heard for the first time in the noise agitation of Revolutionary principles with their demand for Liberty, Equality, Fraternity. However, John did not see three frogs, but “spirits like frogs.” The term “spirit” is used for teaching or doctrine. The French Revolution developed a doctrine, or teaching, peculiar to it in the Communistic principles that swept Europe as a result. In 1848 these were consolidated by Karl Marx in his Manifesto of the Communist Party which has since so drastically changed the pattern of world politics.
Digression: The “Eastern Question” and the Crimean War • Eastern Question, term used to describe the diplomatic problems posed in Europe during the 19th and early 20th centuries regarding the decline of the Ottoman Empire. The strategic location of the Ottoman territories, which included the Balkan Peninsula and the area that is now Turkey, made it of great importance to other European powers. Austria, Britain, and Russia were the principal powers involved in the debate about what was to become of the failing empire. – From Encarta Encyclopedia
The Concert of Europe preserved the peace until the outbreak of the Crimean War in 1853. Tensions frequently arose, but they were managed. The Greeks achieved their independence after a revolt initiated in 1821 and the short Russo-Turkish War in 1828 and 1829. Although Russia had declared the war, it quickly ended the conflict after Tsar Nicholas I was convinced that Russia should preserve the Ottoman Empire. When Muhammad Ali of Egypt attacked the Ottomans in 1831, Russia came to the aid of Mahmud II, the sultan of the Ottoman Empire. The reward was the Treaty of Unkiar-Skelessi (1833), which placed the Ottoman Empire under the exclusive protection of the Russians and gave them an advantage at the straits of Bosporus and Dardanelles. …
Britain, in order to nullify any Russian gain, sought to internationalize the regime at the straits. After several years of tortuous diplomacy, the European powers and the Ottomans signed the Straits Convention in 1841. That agreement closed the straits to all foreign warships when the sultan was at peace, thus providing the other powers with the same advantage as Russia. Crucial consequences flowed from the Treaty of Paris that ended the Crimean War in 1856. – From Encarta Encyclopedia
“out of the mouth of the beast” [Rev 16:13] • There are two “beasts” referred to in The Apocalypse: the beast of the sea, and the beast of the earth. The latter beast is referred to in this chapter (16:10), relating it to the Holy Roman Empire and the Germanic Federation. The headquarters of this was located in Vienna, but with the fall of the Empire, the center of Germanic influence shifted to Berlin. In any case, the symbol points to Central Europe, which is today [ca. 1980] dominated by Soviet Russia and its Communistic principles. We can expect the “frog-like spirit” of Communism to emerge from this center even more virulently in the future to agitate the minds of men and nations as indicated in the prophecy.
“Armageddon” [Rev 16:16] • Brother Thomas suggests that the word is compounded of three Hebrew words. The word bears the meaning of a heap of sheaves in a valley for judgment. This is the very description given by the prophecies for the nations gathered together to Jerusalem at the time of the end (Zech 14:1). A decisive battle will take place in the valley of Jehoshaphat and there they will be threshed (Joel 3:2, 12, 14; Mic 4:11-12). … And here, too, according to Daniel’s prophecy (Dan 11:45) the king of the north will do so before “coming to his end with none to help him.” Armageddon, therefore, is a symbolic name indicating that the nations will be gathered together for the purpose of divine judgment. The prophecies show that the place where Christ will manifest his power against Gog will be at Jerusalem, not Megiddo.
Revelation 17 • This chapter commences a more detailed description of the formidable anti-Christ power briefly referred to in the last chapter. John is conveyed into a wilderness where he sees a profligate woman seated upon a beast, with a caption on her head identifying her with Babylon the Great. He describes her appearance as well as that of the beast upon which she rides. The awful description given of the woman of this chapter reveals the way in which Rome is viewed by the Father and the Son. Despite its glamour and the title of “Christian” with which it has labeled itself, it is revealed as nothing more than a whore, drunken by excess of pleasure and power.
“sit upon a scarlet colored beast” [Rev 17:3] • As a “beast” it is identified with the “beast of the sea” of Rev 13:1. The prophecy demands, therefore, a revival of the political organization of the “beast” at the time of the end, as guided and managed by the woman. Current developments in Europe point to this. The E.E.C. (or Common Market) is combining the nations of Western Europe in a manner reminiscent of the Western Roman Empire, and is creating an organization answering to the “beast” of Rev 13. We may well expect the influence of Rome to increase as suggested by this prophecy.
“when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is” [Rev 17:8] • The prophecy thus requires the reappearance in the earth of a European system answering to the “beast of the sea” of Rev 13. The system must have individual autonomy for the powers represented in it, answer to the ten kings, and must yet be banded together, and guided by Papal influence. The E.E.C. or Common Market is currently developing such a system. Moreover, the Common Market was brought into existence by the Treaty of Rome in 1957. In this manner, the “beast” is gradually forming.
“and these make war with the Lamb” [Rev 17:14] • This is after Armageddon. At Armageddon, the beast (western Europe), the false prophet (papacy), and the dragon (Russia in Constantinople) will comprise an Eurasian confederacy (Ezek 38), that will invade the Middle East, besiege and occupy Jerusalem (Dan 11:40-45), to be destroyed by Christ (Zech 14:4). Thus will the “dragon” (headed by Russia) be overthrown as a political force. But it will not end opposition to the reign of Christ. A European confederacy of Catholic countries (the Apocalyptic “beast”) will oppose the rising power of Israel under Christ and will “make war with the Lamb.” Christ, however, will take the initiative. He will “rebuke strong nations afar off” (Micah 4:3). His army will move against Catholic Europe and bring it into subjection as predicted in Rev 19:19-20.
Revelation 20 • Though the “beast” and the “false prophet,” have been silenced, the moral regeneration of mankind still remains to be accomplished, and with this, the complete and final conquest of sin and death. This will occupy one thousand years. Paul declares that Christ “must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death”. A perfect Kingdom will then be handed over to God “that He may be all in all”. The chapter before us outlines the means by which this is done. Though “the dragon,” or political rebellion against the rule of God, will be humbled at Armageddon, its influence will not be completely destroyed until the end of the reign of Christ. Meanwhile, having dealt with the “beast” and “false prophet,” Christ will set about limiting the influence of the “dragon,” until the very seat of its influence (the flesh) is swallowed up of life.
“and he laid hold on the dragon” [Rev 20:2] • The “dragon” is used throughout The Apocalypse as a symbol for sin manifested politically. To “lay hold” of such implies the use of force. Vigorous methods will be used by Christ and the Redeemed to restrain all political opposition to this power during the millennium. At the conclusion of that period, however, Christ will relax his controls so as to enable men to independently demonstrate their loyalty. Some will seize the opportunity to rebel, with the result that “the dragon,” or organized political opposition to Christ, will reveal itself again. A post-millennial Gog and Magog will develop to re-enact the political folly exhibited by the pre-millennial Gog as predicted in the prophecy of Ezekiel 38.
“till the thousand years should be fulfilled” [Rev 20:3] • A “thousand years” is a millennium, hence the general use of the term. The thousand years of peace described in this chapter, does not commence at Christ’s return, but after he has subdued the nations. Other parts of Scripture suggest that the judgment of the household, and the subduing of the nations, will occupy a jubilee of fifty years. The peace of Christ’s reign, once it is established, will not be disturbed until the millennium is completed.
Conclusion • CH understands Revelation as dealing prophetically with the judgment upon the religious-political alliance between • “Rome” in its various historical manifestations; and • Apostate Christianity (i.e. Roman Catholicism, with its mouthpiece “The Pope”) with its harlot-daughters (i.e. Orthodox Churches and Protestant Churches)