The title of this book is borrowed from the prophet Daniel, who uses the phrase a half dozen times, "always eschatologically," as the eminent British theologian R. H. Charles declares. Adventist writers have understood that it means a definite period beginning about the time of the French Revolution. (See Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, p. 356.)
Since the publication of my volume on the Book of Daniel,* there has been a growing conviction that several parts of chapters 13 and 17 of the Revelation should receive more attention and study in the light of world developments. The increasing acceptance of the philosophy of evolution makes more timely every passing year the call to worship Him that created all things, and makes more timely and more important things, and makes more timely and more important the Sabbath as the official memorial of just how the original creation was accomplished. The statement in The Great Controversy, page 573, that the false science of the present day will prove to be a major factor in preparing the way for the acceptance of Romanism—in other words, that this false science will help to make the image of the beast—calls loudly for us to reexamine some of the prophecies concerning these matters, so that we may be able to proclaim a more consistent and more timely message to the world.
It is hoped that the following pages may assist in this restudy of these subjects.
In some places I have used the principle of the double application of some of the symbolic prophecies. Possibly some may then think that this principle may be applied everywhere. If so, I here state that I do not share that view, for there are many instances where it cannot be used. But it is a true principle in some cases, and I believe that the reader will find it helpful also in the one or two new instances where I have used it.
To illustrate, the predictions Christ made in His Olivet discourse (Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21) were partly or typically fulfilled in the events connected with the fall of Jerusalem and the extinction of the Jewish nation; but in the larger sense these prophecies refer to the end of the world. "The prophecy which He uttered was twofold in its meaning: while foreshadowing the destruction of Jerusalem, it prefigured also the terrors of the last great day." The Great Controversy, p. 25. Again: "The Saviour's prophecy concerning the visitation of judgments upon Jerusalem is to have another fulfillment, of which that terrible desolation was but a faint shadow."—ibid., p. 36. Also from the same author we read, "In mercy to them [the disciples] He blended the description of the two great crises, leaving the disciples to study out the meaning for themselves." —The Desire of Ages, p. 628.
Thus the principle of a double application in the interpretation of prophecy is perfectly legitimate in these instances, at least. In the following pages I have extended this principle to one or two other cases, and the results seem to be entirely justified by giving us a greatly increased understanding of present-day conditions.
For instance, in addition to the common interpretation of the deadly wound (Revelation 13:3), which was perfectly true and suitable for its day, an enlarged view that now takes in the whole world provides an application that is wonderfully suitable and convincing for this latter part of the twentieth century. A similar treatment helps greatly in understanding the subject of the two-horned beast.
*The Greatest of the Prophets, Pacific Press, 1955. (return to text)
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