Futurism and the Book of Revelation
Louis F. Were, 1949
As did the Jews, so do Futurists - they fail to discern the present moral purpose of the prophecies pertaining to "Israel." Old Testament terminology is employed in the Revelation because the church has taken the place of Israel; because the church is "Israel." God had a moral reason for giving Jacob the name "Israel" - because his character was changed after a night of prayer. (See Gen. 32:24-30; Hosea 12:3, 4.) Jesus is "the King of Israel." (See John 1:49.) And "the King of Israel," who knows His children, said to Nathaniel (who had spent some time with His God in prayer in the secrecy of an overhanging fig tree) :"Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile." (John 1:47-49.) "The remnant of Israel" (Zeph. 3:13) will be those of whom it is said: "In their mouth was found no guile" (Rev. 14:5). A true Israelite (like Jacob and Nathaniel, etc.) knows from experience what it means to pour out the soul before God, clinging to Him and trusting in His love and mercy. Only those who thus commune with God and who have "no guile" can fully understand or accept Christ's Message in the Revelation.

The Revelation can be understood only in the light of the literal types of ancient Israel. As this principle is rejected by Futurists they cannot understand the present moral purpose of most of the prophecies of the Apocalypse. They apply them literally in connection with the literal Jew in Palestine. As nothing has yet happened literally accord- ing to their interpretation of these things of "Israel," there- fore, they say, these things must be future. Thus reasoned the Jews in Christ's day and rejected Him. In this same way Futurists are blind to the present-day fulfillment of the Apocalyptic prophecies and reject Christ's vital Message for them today.

The Futuristic conception declares that Antichrist and the prophecies relating to his making "war" on the "saints" deal with a person who is yet to arise and do his deadly work against the literal Jews in Palestine. The Futuristic system of interpretation has been fostered by the Papacy because it points to a military Antichrist - a literal person - to arise in Palestine in the future, and thus diverts attention from seeing the Papacy as the Antichrist - a spiritual organization - portrayed in the Revelation.

The question of whether "Armageddon" is employed in a literal or a symbolic sense brings us to the decision as to the system of interpretation we employ. Futurism teaches that all Jewish matters in the Revelation are to be taken literally - including the "place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon." they say, is a literal military battle, during which the Lord delivers the literal Jewish remnant in Palestine from their national enemies led by the beast and the false prophet. When "Armageddon" is interpreted according to the principle laid down in the New Testament, namely, that the church is now the Israel of God, "Armageddon" is seen to be a spiritual conflict involving the church and the moral principles she represents. When taught as a military battle the prophetic description of "Armageddon" has no moral purpose; when taught in relation to the destruction of the enemies of the church and the triumph of the church, it contains a vital moral purpose.

God's solemn warning against worshipping the "beast" and "his image" or receiving his "mark," as well as so many of the startling prophecies in the Revelation, lose their moral purpose for to-day when interpreted according to the Futuristic system, which applies them to the future in relation to the literal Jews in Palestine. Those who read these prophecies according to Futurism do so as spectators, or as those whose mental curiosity is stimulated to know what events will occur to other people who will live in Palestine in the future. But the Lord gave these prophecies as vital Messages for His true Israelites living today.

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