The Berean Expositor
Volume 4 & 5 - Page 118 of 161
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once in possession of that which helps us to see that these epistles are not the
continuation of the teaching of the Old Testament, but they are a revelation of something
new, even as they themselves claim (see Eph. 3:).
What shall we say then when we find no less than 285 references to the Old Testament
in the book of the Revelation, or more than the references of Matthew and Hebrews put
together? surely this is a witness which must not be overlooked. Further, the visions, the
symbols, the general character of the language of the Revelation is similar to that of
Daniel, Zechariah, Joel, and the Old Testament prophets generally. If we approach the
Revelation with a mind stored with the teaching of the prophets of old, we shall not need
explanations of much that otherwise would mystify us, and shall be spared the utterly
vain attempt to find an explanation by ransacking the history of Europe to get something
approaching to an interpretation.
For some years past we have been forced to the belief that the Bible explains itself,
and that all necessary information is found within its pages. If the child of God must
possess a knowledge of the acts of Goths and Vandals, and of the tortuous intricacies of
European and Roman history before he can understand this book, then but a very few can
possibly hope to acquire sufficient data even to commence the study. This shuts us up to
the few whose opportunities for research have been more advantageous than the majority,
and finally calls us to rest upon the conflicting findings of these frail and erring teachers,
fallible as ourselves. No, this is not the case at all. The simplest believer who may never
have heard of Caligula, nor of Alaric, to whom such phrases as "political heavens" and
"ecclesiastical suns" may be utterly unintelligible, may nevertheless understand all the
mind of God as revealed in this book without one single additional outside or historic
allusion. Revelation studied in the light of Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Joel, Zechariah and
Malachi is luminous, and in turn reflects light on some otherwise difficult passages in
those prophecies.
As we read the O.T. prophecies written before the captivity, and those written during
and after the captivity, we shall find a marked change. Ezekiel's prophecy is full of
symbols, so also is Daniel's; Zechariah devotes six chapters to symbols. This change,
this important place given to symbols, is worthy of notice. During the time of Israel's
decline and failure symbolic prophecy is in the ascendant.  When we come to the
Revelation we find these symbols referred to as "mysteries," e.g., "the mystery of the
seven stars" (Rev. 1: 20). Mystery first appears on the page of Scripture in Matt. 13:,
when Christ, as Israel's King, had been rejected by the nation (see Matt. 12:). It was
because of this that He spoke in parables, and it is because Revelation deals with this
same people, their final trouble and restoration, that we have so many signs or symbols in
it. It is not until the seventh angel sounds his trumpets that:--
"the mystery of God shall be finished, as He hath declared by His servants the
prophets. . . . And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven,
saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His
Christ; and He shall reign unto the ages of the ages" (Rev. 10: 7 and 11: 15).