Cleaning Up the World
by Glenn Conjurske
When the old liberalism, more than a century ago, abandoned the doctrines
of God's revelation, it had of necessity to find some reason or excuse
for its continuing existence. Of what use could Christianity be if there
were neither heaven nor hell in the universe, if men had no souls to save,
no sin from which to be saved, and no Savior to save them? Even the moderate
modernists, who went no further than to deny the existence of hell, were
brought to the same pass. What need of the foolishness of preaching
if all men were to be saved without it? To justify the existence of such
a Christianity, its purpose must be changed, and made to rest in this
present world, rather than in the world to come. Thus was born the old
social gospel of the liberals. To improve the world became their purpose.
To make the world a better place in which to live became their
But we are hardly to suppose that the conscience of modernism was entirely
easy with its new belief and its new purpose. Therefore, to bolster itself
in its new position, it must cast reproaches upon the true church of God,
for not adopting the same purpose. Evangelicals must be made to feel that
they are of no account, and entirely derelict in their duty, because of
their lack of social concern. Of what use is a Christianity which fails
to deal with the social problems of labor and capital, of slavery, of
war, of political corruption, of prostitution? How can evangelicals claim
to follow the teachings of the Master, while they ignore the
social concerns of poverty, the liquor traffic, and overpopulation? This
strategy of the liberals has been very largely successful, and that for
1.The ignorance of the church. Those who hold to the Bible and its divine
inspiration are largely ignorant of its contents and its principles. When
nearly the whole church was post-millennial, understanding little of the
purposes of either God or the devil, it was an easy task to badger them
into the position prescribed for them by the liberals. And in our own
day, a myriad of nominal dispensationalists and premillennialists, who
understand very little of the principles for which they profess to stand,
are likewise an easy prey.
2.The worldliness of the church. The ignorance of the church might not
have been so dangerous if it had not been coupled with so strong a desire
to please the world, and to be acceptable in its eyes. When the world
calls upon the church to justify its existence by dealing with the social
ills of the day, it requires a firm purpose and a solid spirituality to
stand against that temptation, and to bear the reproach of those taunts.
When men walk before God, concerned only to be acceptable to him, they
can endure the taunts of the world, and of the unspiritual church, but
when spirituality is at a low ebb, that reproach becomes too much to bear,
and a course of action must be pursued which will gain the approval of
Such a course received its most thorough advocacy in Carl F. H. Henry's
book, The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism, published in 1947.
This is one of the most pernicious books ever published, and the title
is as false as the contents are pernicious. Conscience, it must be understood,
concerns itself with guilt, and exercises itself to be acceptable before
God, but this is scarcely Henry's concern. He confuses guilt with embarrassment,
and it is the world which he would please
----the alert modern
mind. What can the conscience have to do with that? And how is the
evangelical church to gain the approbation of this alert modern
mind? By uniting together with non-evangelicals to labor for social
betterment! By recapturing its leadership in pressing for a NEW WORLD
ORDER!! This may gain the world's approval, sure enough, but how is it
that nearly the whole of Fundamentalism was swept away by such principles?
If ever there were wanted a proof of the extreme shallowness of Fundamentalist
theology, this is the proof ----for the largest segment of what
was then Fundamentalism followed the leadership of Henry and others into
what is now known as Neo-evangelicalism, while of what remains, most of
those who regard themselves as the strictest of Fundamentalists are yet
thoroughly yoked together with unbelievers in social and political programs
for world betterment. Fundamentalism fought hard, and fought nobly, for
the bare bones of the Christian system ----for those elemental truths
without which we could have no Christianity at all ----but most
of the movement never possessed any solid understanding of those deeper
spiritual principles which would have kept them true to the purpose and
program of God.
The program which God has prescribed for his people will never gain the
approval of the world, whether in the present day or any other. Noah could
not please the world by building the ark. He devoted all of his powers
to a program which, by its very existence, condemned the world. It marked
the world as a doomed thing. Noah would have built no ark if there had
been any hope for the world. The world could not appreciate or approve
of such a program. And might not the world which then was have cast taunts
enough in the teeth of Noah, because he ignored the real problems
of the real world, and poured all of his energies into the preparation
for some supposed future judgement? But if such taunts were cast at Noah,
it was his business to ignore them, to quietly bear their reproach, and
to get on with the work which God had given him to do. It was no business
of his to labor to improve a world which God had condemned, and which
he was shortly to destroy. Preach to the world, yes
did that. Call upon them to repent, and to secure for themselves a place
in the ark, and in the world to come which lay beyond the wrath to come ----that
was no doubt Noah's proper work. But to labor to improve a world which
was devoted to destruction, to labor to secure a better world
for future generations, that was none of his business at all,
and if he had engaged in such a work, it would have been the surest proof
of his complete lack of spiritual intelligence.
But mark, the world today stands in exactly the same position as did the
old world in Noah's day. It is already condemned. Its destruction is already
determined. It is as an old tenement house which the city council has
condemned. It is an irreparable ruin, crumbling from the foundations up,
and it must come down. The date of its demolition is already determined.
Meanwhile a swarm of zealous Fundamentalists descend upon the place and
begin to paint the walls, to hang new curtains, to replace the broken
windows and burnt-out light bulbs, to lay new carpets, to catch the rats
and mice, and otherwise to ameliorate the conditions of the
poor tenants. Thus they think to exemplify the spirit of the Master,
and to make the old house a better place in which to live.
To save the old house becomes their slogan, as the slogan
of much of the church today is to save America
is, to clean up their own portion of the world.
But for all their endeavors, the house is still condemned, and will not
stand a day beyond the date set for its demolition. The foundation of
it is still unsound. The devil is still the god of this world, and all
of their programs have not touched that. The purpose of the world's existence
is still against God, and they have not touched that. What, then, is their
aim? What do they expect to accomplish? Ah! to secure a moral atmosphere
in which their children and grandchildren might live. To secure the liberties
of future generations. And thus they demonstrate how thoroughly their
own hearts are settled in the world, and what precious little idea they
have of separation from it. Imagine Noah laboring to secure a moral atmosphere
for his children and grandchildren, in that world which was shortly to
be swept away by the unsparing judgement of God. His sights were set upon
the world to come, after the then present world had been destroyed.
But what of the poor tenants who live in the old condemned house? Are
we to do nothing for them? Yes, by all means. Our proper business is to
labor to get them out
----for we find them determined to cling to
their place in the old shack even while the walls are coming down about
their ears. They love, it would seem, their rats and broken windows. The
men of the world love the world. They love the sin which makes the world
what it is. They scoff at the doom which God has decreed upon that world,
or, if they believe it, resent the God who has decreed it. Now in such
a state of affairs, to make the world a better place in which to
live may in fact be the most effectual means to confirm men in their
love of the world, and so to keep them from God and his salvation. The
natural results of sin ----the poverty and squallor, the broken
hearts and broken health ----these are in fact the most eloquent
and effectual preachers of the gospel. The prodigal son never thought
of returning to the Father's house while the money jingled in his pockets.
Though it is a precious privilege to minister to individual need, and
so to win the hearts of men by love, yet to ameliorate the conditions
of society, while the sin which produced them remains, what is this
but the high road to confirm men in their sins? Some, therefore, aim higher,
and direct their programs for social betterment at the sins which produce
the ills ----the immorality and perversion, the traffic in liquor
and pornography and drugs. But to legislate or educate men out of the
sins which produce the ills, while their hearts remain as far estranged
from God as ever, can this be thought to be the work of the church, or
the aim of Christianity? What better aim have the ministers of Satan himself?
This is nothing other than the old social gospel of the liberals.
We would not pretend, however, that the political endeavors of the church
to clean up the world began with the social gospel of the liberals. This
business began rather with the Roman emperor Constantine, who legalized
Christianity at the beginning of the fourth century, and effected the
union of church and state by practically making Christianity the religion
of the empire. From that time forward the false doctrine began to prevail
that the church is the prophesied kingdom of God
----and, with the
church wedded as it was to the state, this practically amounted to the
belief that the world is the kingdom of God. And though blind theologians
and church historians have generally regarded this as the triumph of Christianity,
it was in fact the most thorough corruption of Christianity, for to wed
church and state is in fact to wed the church and the world. This union
ushered both church and world into a millennium of deep corruption, which
has well earned the name which history has given it ----the Dark
Ages ----while the Church of Rome ruled all Europe as The
Holy Roman Empire.
Under the influence of this darkness, political and social action was
the order of the day. Girolamo Savonarola and John Wycliffe were social
reformers and political activists. The Reformation, as it was carried
on by Ulrich Zwingli, John Calvin, and John Knox, was a political reformation.
It was the world which they were reforming, and not only the church. John
Calvin established a theocracy at Geneva, to establish what he regarded
as true Christianity by force of law. In the next century Oliver Cromwell
did the same in England, and the Pilgrim Fathers in America. The Israel
of the Old Testament was their pattern, while inveterate ignorance prevailed
concerning the true nature of both the church and the world.
But the Reformation brought a return to the Scriptures, and the study
of the Scriptures brought about a gradual return to the truth. The premillennialism
of the early church began to reassert itself, and with it a clearer understanding
of the purposes of God and the purposes of Satan, together with an understanding
of the true nature of both the church and the world. That ignorance which
wed the church and the world together was gradually dispelled, until in
the Plymouth Brethren movement the clear light of the truth (on this subject)
That light, however, never did prevail in the church, and much of the
evangelical church never did have any better than very hazy and foggy
views of the true character of the world, and of the church's place of
separation from it. Where spirituality was deep and strong, the natural
instincts of spiritual men, breathing after their own element, largely
kept them from alliance with the world and its programs, even in the absence
of that understanding which would have kept them from it as a matter of
principle. Thus the following from the Journal of Francis Asbury:
Company does not amuse, congress does not interest me: I am a man
of another world, in mind and calling.
O what a charming view presents itself from Doctor Tiffin's house!
these long talks about land and politics suit me not; I take but little
interest in either subject: O Lord, give me souls, and keep me holy!
So far as principle was concerned, however, most of the church remained
in darkness. Having no understanding of the character, course, and end
of the world, or of the true position of the church of God in it, it was
taken for granted that social and political action for world betterment
was acceptable, and in many cases it was preached as a Christian duty.
The spiritual instincts of spiritual men generally kept such activities
in a subordinate place, but the prevailing ignorance of Scriptural principles,
coupled with the unspiritual condition of the church in modern times,
has resulted in a state of things in which political and social world
betterment has occupied a larger and larger place in the programs of the
church, so that today most of the evangelical and fundamental church is
engulfed in it. Some evangelicals have even gone so far as to affirm that
Christianity is politics. It is an axiom with modern Christians
that the improvement of the world is the purpose of God, and the proper
work of the church.
Meanwhile it remains a fact that We are of God, and the whole world
lieth in the wicked one. (I John 5:19). It remains another fact
that the devil is the prince of this world, that is, the supreme ruler
of it. It remains a further fact that the devil is the god of this world.
And it is another plain fact that we shall find it hard work to clean
up the hog sty while the hog lives in it. How can Christians clean up
the world while the devil is its ruler and its god? Fundamentalists labored
long and hard to pass the Eighteenth Amendment. Under the leadership of
men like Billy Sunday, they spent years of labor, and millions of money,
to accomplish that end. And what was the effect of it all? The Eighteenth
Amendment did not stop the flow of liquor while it was in force, and the
brackish water of the world very soon found again its own level, and the
Eighteenth Amendment was repealed. By immense labor and expense the Fundamentalists
managed to sweep a little corner of the pig sty, but they could not put
out the pig, and their labor was lost. None of them would dream of resuming
today the fight for Prohibition. They seem to know that that cause is
lost. Yet they spend their zeal and their millions trying to sweep another
corner of the pig sty. The Bible in the public schools, prayer in the
public schools, evolution out of the public schools, abortion out of the
land, violence, profanity, and moral filth off of the air waves
is no shortage of battles to fight, and as they lose one, they turn their
energies to another. Meanwhile the devil remains the prince and god of
the world, and the world remains a condemned thing, appointed to destruction.
But the schemes for world betterment are not all social and political,
and they do not all involve the yoking together of believers with unbelievers.
Some evangelicals have so far yielded to the theology of the liberals
as to grant that world betterment is the purpose of God and the proper
work of the church, only they will pursue a different course to accomplish
it. They will not clean up the world by legislation and education, or
by ballots and boycotts, but by preaching the gospel. Thus W. B. Riley,
quoting approvingly from the English statesman William E. Gladstone, says,
The only hope of the world is in individual redemption. But
this is a prostitution of the gospel to a cause for which God never gave
it, and is a further manifestation of the prevailing ignorance of the
church, which fails to apprehend either the purpose of God, or the real
nature of either the church or the world.
The real fact is, there is no hope for the world. It will never be cleaned
up. Its character will never be changed, and God has no purpose to change
it. It is already condemned, as surely as the old world was when God commanded
Noah to build the ark. The world is the inveterate and unchangeable enemy
of God, so much so that whosoever will be a friend of the world
is the enemy of God. (James 4:4). There is a great unsettled controversy
outstanding between God and the world. When the world crucified the Son
of God, it sealed its own doom. Looking forward to the cross, the Lord
Jesus said, Now is the judgement of this world. Now shall the prince
of this world be cast out. (John 12:31). When the world condemned
the Son of God, it passed the sentence of its own condemnation. It now
stands as a condemned criminal, awaiting execution. Observe, therefore,
the change of tense in the verse just quoted. Now is the judgement
of this world. Now shall the prince of this world be cast out. The
sentence was passed at the cross. The execution will take place at the
coming again of Christ. Meanwhile the church cannot cast out the prince
of this world by means of the gospel.
----as indeed, all Fundamentalists ought to know ----the
redemption of individuals gives no hope whatever of changing the world,
for every redeemed individual ceases to belong to the world. We
are of God, and the whole world lieth in the wicked one. God has
no purpose to change the world. I pray not for the world,
says the High Priest of the church, but for them which thou hast
given me. And They are not of the world, EVEN AS I AM NOT
OF THE WORLD. (John 17:9 & 16). The salvation of a sinner no
more alters the world than the death of a sinner. They both cease to belong
to the world. They are taken out of it, for good and all.
But all of these evangelical schemes for world betterment
by moral, social, political, or redemptive means ----take it for
granted that the church is in fact a part of the world. Those who are
sweeping the hog sty must plant themselves inside it to do their sweeping.
Henry's Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism speaks on the first
page of the preface of lifting our jaded culture. Read any
of the literature of the Neo-evangelicals, and you shall constantly hear
of our world. Fundamentalists speak more of saving our
country, which is but a part of the world. Thus the separation between
the church and the world is completely broken down, both doctrinally and
practically. In our own day some evangelicals are actually speaking out
against the separation of church and state ----a full proof, this,
of how far the church has departed from the word of God.
But we may make a suggestion to those who are determined to renovate the
world. If they wish to accomplish anything substantial and permanent,
let them begin at the top. When a bank is failing, men do not fire the
tellers, or the janitor, but the president. When men effect a revolution,
they do not behead the chimney sweeps, but the king. If men would change
the world, let them cast out its prince and its god. Let them dethrone
the devil. Unless they do that, they do nothing. Let those who cast demons
out of doorknobs and rooms and houses cast the devil out of the world.
But here the whole church stands mute and helpless. For all of the schemes
of world betterment in which the church has engaged for a millennium and
a half, the devil yet remains the prince and god of the world, and the
world yet goes on from bad to worse.
Ah, but the devil shall be dethroned. He shall be cast out
Christ at his coming. He shall be bound and cast into the pit, and the
whole demonic host with him. It shall come to pass in that day,
that the Lord shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high,
and kings of the earth upon the earth. And they shall be gathered together,
as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison.
(Is. 24:21-22). But will the world then be cleaned up? Certainly not.
It will then be destroyed. The earth will be cleaned up, as it was in
Noah's day, but it will be cleaned up by the destruction of the world.
There is no hope whatever for the world. It shall neither be cleaned up,
renovated, or any way changed. While it remains at all, it will remain
always the enemy of God, and always under the dominion of Satan. God has
no purpose to renovate it or change it. We may expect to see a new
world order ----a world church and a world government, a world
brotherhood of ungodly and unregenerate men, the whole of it lying, as
always, in the wicked one. But for those who are Christ's, Let us
go forth unto him, outside the camp, bearing his reproach. (Heb.
---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ----
Kept from the Hour
by Glenn Conjurske
Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep
thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world,
to try them that dwell upon the earth. (Rev. 3:10).
Concerning this verse I may affirm several things:
1.This text alone establishes beyond dispute the doctrine of the pre-tribulation
rapture of the church.
2.Nevertheless, pretribulationism stands in no need whatsoever of this
text. The doctrine would be fully established if this text did not exist.
3.Post-tribulationists have not failed to perceive how fatal this text
to their system, and therefore they have directed their strongest batteries
against it. Against it, I say, and I speak advisedly, for
4.No post-tribulationist ever has dealt fairly with this text, nor allowed
it to mean what it says
----nor can he, and remain a post-tribulationist.
Post-tribulationists must of course approach this verse with a strong
prejudice against its plain meaning. If they are determined to maintain
their post-tribulational doctrine, it must be in spite of this text
the teeth of this text. They must set themselves to work to endeavor to
so explain the verse as to make it consistent with post-tribulationism,
but the only way in which this can be done is to explain it away, and
so the event has proved. In the hands of prominent post-tribulational
teachers, the verse has most commonly been made to mean the very opposite
of what it says.
But let it be understood that in so speaking I have no desire to cast
reproaches upon anyone. I merely aim to state the facts as they are. Neither
would I single out the post-tribulationists, as though they were alone
in wresting the Scriptures. Indeed, this wresting of Scripture has been
very common in the church throughout its whole history. Whenever anything
which is not the truth becomes established in the mind as the truth, we
are immediately put into a position where we must endeavor to reconcile
the Scriptures with that error which we hold as truth. In such a case
the only way open to us (besides giving up the error) is to wrest the
Scriptures to conform them to the error, and this is what men commonly
do. And this practice has been so common, from the early church fathers
till the present day, that it would seem almost to be the rule rather
than the exception. Not that there is any excuse for it. At bottom it
is unbelief in the Scriptures. It is a low and unsatisfactory view of
the Scriptures. It is in reality putting more confidence in my own notions,
or in those of a favorite church or teacher, than in the inspired word
of God. It rests upon the supposition that God has failed to express himself
clearly and forthrightly, and that what the Scriptures appear to mean
is something other than what they do mean.
I know what it is to explain away Scripture myself. Indeed, I was taught
to do so at Bible school
----not in principle of course, but in
practice. But I long ago realized what a wretched business this is, and
with shame turned my back upon it ----perhaps not perfectly, but
at any rate sincerely ----adopting in its place a determination
to TRUST the Scriptures of God, taking them at face value, in their plain,
natural, and obvious meaning. If they overturned my theology ----and
they sometimes did so ----I let them overturn it. If they overturned
common orthodoxy ----and they sometimes did ----I
let the common orthodoxy go, and clave to the Scriptures. If they compelled
me to stand alone ----and they sometimes did ----I stood alone,
but clave always to Scripture, TRUSTING that the Scriptures of God could
not lead me astray, or lead me to anything but the truth.
I proceed, then, upon the principle that the Scriptures may be trusted,
and that they mean what they say. To establish what this text means, then,
we need in reality only to establish what it says. That, indeed, is obvious
enough in the common English version, but post-tribulationists have delved
deep into the supposed meaning of the Greek words, in order to overturn
the obvious meaning of the English version.
Now observe, I have no objection whatsoever to digging into the meaning
of the Greek words. That is exactly what I intend to do in this article.
But I affirm at the outset that (in this text) no depth of digging will
overturn the plain meaning of the English version, nor qualify it in any
way. The Greek says the same thing as the English, and means the same
First, then, what does the English say? I will keep thee from the
hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world. It does
not say, I will save thee from the hour, nor I will
deliver thee from the hour, nor I will rescue thee from the
hour, but I will KEEP thee from the hour. If I am saved,
or delivered, or rescued from anything, this might imply that I was in
it, and thence snatched out of it. But if I am KEPT from anything, I was
not in it at all. If I rescue my son from the river
him from the river ----save him from the river ----all of
this may well imply that he was in the river, and I took him out of it.
But if I keep my son from the river, no such meaning as that is possible.
If I keep him from the river, this can only mean, he was not in the river,
and is kept from ever being in it. Many have commented upon this verse
just as though it said save thee from the hour, or rescue
thee from the hour, or take thee from the hour, but
it says no such thing.
Again, others have insisted quite strongly that to be kept from the hour
means to be kept through the hour, or in the midst of the hour, but this
is wresting the plain language of the text, and there is no other word
for it. To be kept from a storm is not to be kept through it. To be kept
from the small pox is not to be kept through it. To be kept from the lion's
den is not to be kept in the midst of it. The plain fact is, Daniel was
not kept from the lion's den, nor were the three Hebrew children kept
from the fiery furnace, and it were doing violence to language to affirm
that they were. Daniel was delivered from the den of lions, he was taken
from it, but he was not kept from it. To be kept from falling is not to
be kept through falling. To be kept from sin is not to be kept in sin.
To keep my money from the bank is not to keep it in the bank. Indeed,
such shifts as this turn the language about to make it mean the exact
opposite of what it says. And this is just as true in the Greek as it
is in the English. But more on that anon.
Next we observe what it is from which we are promised to be kept.
I will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon
all the world. Post-tribulationists can speak in glowing terms of
being kept from the wrath which is to be poured out upon the ungodly,
as Noah was kept from the waters of the flood
----but such talk
is nothing to the purpose. This verse says nothing about wrath. We are
not promised merely to be kept from the wrath, or the judgement, or even
the trial, but from the hour of it. And that hour is explicitly stated
to come upon all the world. The only way to be kept from that hour is
to be taken out of the world. 'Tis true that Noah was kept from the waters
of the flood, kept from the wrath of God which was poured out in the flood,
but he was not kept from the hour of it. He went through every minute
of it. Enoch was kept from the hour of it, being translated ere that hour
came. Enoch is the type of the church. Noah is the type of Israel, which
is kept safe through that hour.
But pretribulationists have been very much at fault in insisting that
the promise of deliverance from the wrath to come secures to the church
complete exemption from the day of wrath. This argument is false upon
the face of it, and pretribulationists who have used it ought to be ashamed
of it. Such arguments do not serve the cause of truth, but only strengthen
the hands of error. Noah was delivered from the wrath, but not from the
day of wrath. And it is a plain fact that some saints must go safe through
the day of wrath, or there will be none left to inherit the kingdom when
the day of wrath has ended. But now the new prewrath rapturists have taken
up this argument
----the weakest and poorest argument of pretribulationists ----and
placed it as the foundation stone of their new system. But observe, this
text says nothing whatever about exemption from wrath. It says nothing
even of being kept from the day of wrath, or the hour of wrath. What it
says is, I will keep thee from the hour of TRIAL, which shall come
upon all the world, to TRY them that dwell upon the earth. This
is not the hour of wrath, but of trial ----not the hour of destruction,
but of testing. Now in the nature of the case, the trial must precede
the judgement. The hour of testing must precede the day of wrath. And
the church is promised to be kept not only from the judgement, nor only
from the wrath, but from the trial ----and not only from trial itself,
but from the very hour of the trial. All of the talk then about being
delivered from the wrath to come, or the day of wrath, is really nothing
but obscuring the issue.
And observe, this hour of trial is not some latter-day persecution directed
against the saints. It is the hour of trial, which shall come upon
all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. These dwellers
on the earth are a moral class, mentioned more than a dozen times in the
book of Revelation. They are those who are settled down in the earth,
and not the saints who are partakers of the heavenly calling. These are
they upon whom the woes are pronounced in 8:13 and12:12. These are they
who are tormented by the two witnesses in chapter 11, and who rejoice
and send gifts to each other when those witnesses are slain. This hour
of trial is coming upon all the world to try these. The true and faithful
church of God will be kept from that hour
----not merely from that
trial, but from that hour.
And I suppose this is the place to point out also that this promise does
not concern only the local church at Philadelphia. All of these seven
epistles are epistles to the whole church of God. They were addressed
to particular churches, the Lord taking occasion by the various states
of those particular churches to formulate his last message to the church,
but every one of those epistles closes with He that hath an ear
everywhere, who has a spiritual ear ----let him hear what
the Spirit saith unto the churches. All of these epistles are applicable
to all the churches, and to all the saints.
The above is the plain and incontestible meaning of the words, I
will keep thee from the hour, whether in Greek or English. But I
turn to some of the attempts which have been made to set aside this plain
meaning, on the basis of the supposed meaning of the Greek words employed.
Post-tribulationists have directed their strongest batteries against this
little word from, but without effect. Indeed, their affirmations
on this subject cannot have any effect upon those who know Greek, but
I intend to make things plain enough here that they will have no effect
upon anyone who has common sense.
The little Greek word j (from in English) has been given a
place in this controversy altogether out of proportion to what it deserves.
The root meaning of j is out of. Post-tribulationists, with
a particular axe to grind, insist that its root meaning is out from
the midst of, or from out of the midst of. To that I
have one strong objection. Though there may appear to be little difference
between out of and out from the midst of, there
is in fact a very great difference. Out from the midst of
----it implies a change of position ----while
out of does not. We have no objection to the meaning out
from the midst of when j is used with verbs of motion, but it is
wresting the language to force that meaning upon it in other cases. Some
have practically rested their whole case upon this supposed meaning of
j , but there is no intelligence in this. This is to make the wind to
depend upon the weather vane. But the actual fact is, the weather vane
may turn many ways, and which way it turns is dependent entirely upon
the motion of the air around it. And so exactly it is with the preposition
j . It is a waste of words (and a proof of how hard pressed some men are
for arguments) to make anything dependent upon the meaning of j alone,
divorced from the words with which it stands connected, for its meaning
is in fact determined by the words with which it stands connected. Thus:
With a verb of motion, and followed by a singular object, its proper meaning
is out of. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, OUT
OF the city of Nazareth. (Luke 2:4). Cast out first the beam
OUT OF thine own eye. (Luke 6:42). And the serpent cast OUT
OF his mouth water as a flood. (Rev. 12:15).
With a verb of motion, and followed by a plural object, the word may retain
the simple sense of out of, or it may take on the sense of
out from among (though it is not usually translated that way).
And OUT OF their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone.
(Rev. 9:17). But They went OUT FROM AMONG us. (I Jn. 2:19).
But j is often used where there is no motion of any kind, either stated
or implied. Thus, with verbs of being, it commonly means of the
sphere of, or belonging to. All that is in the
world...is not OF the Father, but is OF the world. (I Jn. 2:16).
They were not OF us. (I Jn. 2:19). And here it plainly appears
that the word j has two different meanings in the same verse, depending
entirely upon the words with which it stands connected. They went
OUT FROM AMONG us, but they were not OF us. In the first instance,
it is associated with went, a verb which indicates movement,
and in the second with were, a verb of being.
There are also numerous other shades of meaning attached to this word,
especially in figurative usages. Sometimes, for example, it means from
the cause of, or by reason of. Thus in Revelation 9:2,
There arose a smoke OUT OF the pit,...and the sun and the air were
darkened BY REASON OF the smoke. But there is no reason to go into
all the possible meanings of j , and it would require a treatise larger
than this magazine to do so. I have said enough to establish the fact
that nothing can be determined by the word itself, apart from the words
with which it stands connected. To insist that the word itself means out
from the midst of is only darkening counsel by words without knowledge.
It may mean that, but only with verbs of motion, and there is no verb
of motion in Rev. 3:10.
Now it is foolishness, plain and simple, to attempt to foist the meaning
out from the midst of upon j when it is used with a verb which
implies no movement or change of position. There are not many such verbs,
so that most often it may be quite legitimate to insist upon from
out of the midst of, but this is not so always, for there are a
few verbs which properly contain no motion at all. Such are rest,
sit, stand, stay, and KEEP.
Now imagine some Grecian mother telling her little son Paulos to Stay
OUT OF the mud, only to have him come in covered with it. I
thought I told you to say OUT OF the mud, says she. Yes,
says he, and I obeyed you exactly. I stayed from out of the midst
of the mud, and you know very well I could not stay from out of the midst
of it unless I were first in it. This, I repeat, is pure and simple
foolishness. It is wresting the language, and making confusion and nonsense
of it. It is wresting the very institution of language. Language cannot
be used in such a manner. Yet this is exactly what grave and sober divines
do with Revelation 3:10, some of them because they understand nothing
of the prophetic things which are treated there, and others because they
are determined to oppose them.
So much for the arguments from the word j . But some have gone beyond
this, and attempted to strengthen the case by arguing from the supposed
meaning of keep. The new prewrath rapturist Robert Van Kampen
informs us that to keep means to keep safe within a sphere
of danger, while the basic meaning of from is deliverance
out from. Both of these statements are fictions, but he puts the two of
them together, with the result that Rev. 3:10 is supposed to mean, I
will keep thee safe within the danger, and eventually deliver thee out
of it. Thus he turns the Lord's one promise into two, and neither
of his two bear any real resemblance to the Lord's one. This is wresting
His assertion as to the meaning of from we have amply refuted
already. I will only add that while former post-tribulationists have been
content to imply some kind of motion or change of position as a necessary
part of the meaning of j , by insisting that it means from out of
the midst of, Van Kampen has gone beyond them, and actually asserted
it. He has asserted, that is, that deliverance belongs to the basic
meaning of j . Anyone may easily enough satisfy himself concerning
the falseness of this, by merely examining the few examples of its use
which I have given above.
As for keep ( v in the Greek), that it often bears the sense
of keeping safe within a sphere of danger is true enough, but to affirm
that it always bears that sense, or that such is the basic idea
of the word, that is quite another thing, and is false. A glance at a
Greek concordance will amply prove this:
----Peter was kept in prison.
I Pet. 1:4
----an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled,
and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you. This is far
from keeping anything safe within a sphere of danger.
----angels which kept not their first estate.
----to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness
for ever. In what sphere of danger is this blackness of darkness
The word is most commonly used in the New Testament of keeping the commandments
To keep, it should be understood, in its root meaning is to
watch over or guard. But in its actual usage this may have nothing to
do with keeping safe, much less safe within a sphere of danger. Its first
occurrence in the LXX is in Genesis 3:15, where we read, He shall
watch thy head, and thou shalt watch his heel, where the only possible
meaning is to watch over for evil, the direct opposite of the meaning
which Van Kampen tries to give to the word. So also in Jer. 20:10, where
the English version reads, All my familiars watched for my halting.
Likewise in Daniel 6:11, And they watched Daniel, and found him
The word keep may certainly mean to keep safe within
it is followed by the preposition in. But it certainly does
not mean keep safe within when it is followed by the preposition
out of. That is mere nonsense. To keep in and to keep out
of are not the same thing, but direct opposites. The Greek v , of course,
like the English keep, may be applied to either, but that
is not determined by v alone, but by the nature of the things spoken of
in the rest of the sentence. And the combination of these two words v
and j can only have one meaning. That meaning is, I will KEEP thee
OUT OF the hour of temptation.
But it is really marvelous how persistent men are in either missing this
meaning, or opposing it. Commentators have usually no sooner quoted the
verse, just as it appears above, than they proceed to alter it. As soon
as they have done quoting it, and begin to comment upon it, they either
substitute deliver for keep, or in for out of. There is nothing legitimate
in either one of those substitutions. Least of all is it legitimate to
claim that the Greek words require such substitutions. The Greek does
not require it, and in fact will not allow it. Yet see how the commentators
handle the text:
R. C. Trench
----The promise does not imply that the Philadelphian
Church should be exempted from persecutions which should come on all other
portions of the Church; that by any special privilege they should be excused
from fiery trials through which others should be called to pass. It is
a better promise than this; and one which, of course, they share with
all who are faithful as they are ----to be kept in temptation, not
to be exempted from temptation. Thus to keep out of means to keep
H. B. Swete
----To the Philadelphian Church the promise was
an assurance of safekeeping in any trial that might supervene (between
the then time and the Parousia of Christ).
Other such testimonies might be cited. Does it give me any misgiving to
stand against the testimony of such men? None whatever. No amount of learning
can give us the right to alter out of into in.
But further, we need only read the comments of such men to plainly see
that they did not have a clue as to what the prophecy was about. There
is nothing in their minds but the common tribulations of the whole church
age. And Swete (always unspiritual) can see no further than to make this
a promise for the Philadelphian church alone
promise, he says, and adds, It is at least an interesting
coincidence that in the struggle with the Turk Philadelphia held out longer
than any of her neighbours, and that she still possesses a flourishing
Christian community. That is, he knows just nothing of the real
meaning or application of the promise. Is it fair, then, for a post-tribulationist
like Alexander Reese to quote such testimonies as these against pretribulationists,
when it must be as evident to Reese as it is to me that these men knew
nothing of the matter? They did not believe in the existence of the
hour of temptation which is to come upon all the world ----applied
the whole of it to the common tribulations of the church, from which of
course none are exempt. Reese knew very well that the promise applies
to the future hour of trial, but these men knew nothing of it. If they
had, it might have given them the clue by which to make sense of the passage,
according to the plain meaning of its words. Not having that clue, they
missed their way entirely, and gave a sense to the passage which it cannot
bear. Yet Reese will quote them to bolster his cause.
Most of what Reese writes has been answered above, but a couple of his
particular contentions may deserve a more particular answer. Perhaps at
the expense of a little tediousness, I follow him at least through his
strongest points, lest I should be thought to ignore or avoid them. He
argues on Galatians 1:4, Here, then is another example of the use
of ek that has the very opposite significance to that which the theorists
assert that it has; for Christians, whilst delivered out of this evil
age, still remain in it. When, therefore, Darbyists have solved the paradox
in Gal. i.4, then, and not till then, will they be at liberty to reject
that interpretation of Rev. iii.10 which maintains that the preposition
ek signifies ... preservation through the midst of the hour of trial,
and not immunity from it. But all of this may be briefly disposed
1.By substituting age for world, he endeavors
to make it a period of time from which we are delivered, thus making it
analogous to kept from the hour, but this is not sound. That
the Greek word often contains an element of time I will not deny, but
that it is always so is not true. The Greek j v is a synonym of the Greek
v , and means world. Thus, having loved this present world.
(II Tim. 4:10). It was not a period of time which Demas loved, but the
world. Again, the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that
things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. (Heb.
11:3). The word j v here refers to things which are seen, that is, the
physical creation, and has nothing to do with time.
2.There is a moral deliverance from the world, which has nothing to do
with its physical presence or absence. True, we might speak also of a
moral deliverance from trial, but Rev. 3:10 does not speak of the trial,
but of the hour of it.
3.Keep from (Rev. 3:10) and deliver from (Gal.
1:4) are two different things. Let those of Reese's opinion produce an
instance where anyone is kept from anything, and yet allowed to pass through
4.We might add that the text does not say that we have been delivered
from the present evil world, as Reese presents the matter, but only that
Christ died for us to the end that he might deliver us. Suffice it to
say, if the word meant the present period of time, it would follow that
we are evidently not yet delivered from it.
But Reese speaks further (pp. 204-205), The same lesson is taught
in a remarkable passage in Heb. v., where we read that our Lord, in Gethsemane,
`had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears
unto him that was able to save him from (ek, out of) death, and was heard
in that he feared' (v. 7).
Here is a case where we know that the Lord suffered and passed through
death, and yet was saved out of it. Anything more decisive than this passage
could not be wished for.
This passage is a difficult one, altogether apart from any bearing it
may have upon Rev. 3:10, and I am not at all sure that Reese's interpretation
of it is sound. When Paul was delivered from so great a death,
(II Cor. 1:10), he certainly did not pass through death. But this does
not affect its bearing upon Rev. 3:10, and there is no difficulty in that,
for save and keep are two different things. Supposing
that Christ was saved out of death only after passing through it, would
Reese dare to affirm that Christ was kept from death? Noah was saved from
the flood also, but would Reese dare to affirm that he was kept from the
hour of it? I may be saved, or delivered, out of something in which I
am immersed above my head. To be kept from it is another matter.
But Reese says further (pg. 205), The preposition ek may possibly
mean immunity from, but more probably it means out of in the sense of
being `brought safe out of.' In any case it may not be forced to prove
a rapture out of the world, for in John xvii.15 Christians are `kept out
of the Evil one,' whilst still remaining in his domain. The first
sentence is a very great admission on his part, though it is not strictly
true. If the verb were save, deliver, rescue,
or any number of others, his statements would be strictly true, but seeing
the verb is keep, the truth is that j not only may, but must
imply immunity from. But at length he has at any rate produced
an example where the verb is keep
----the same word
in the Greek as appears in Rev. 3:10 ----yet his example is nothing
to his purpose. For observe, according to Reese we must believe that what
the Lord is actually praying for here is our backsliding and restoration ----for
according to Reese's main contention concerning the meaning of j , we
must first enter into the evil one, in order that we might afterwards
be brought from out of the midst of him. But Reese keeps all
of this from-out-of-the-midst-of business out of sight here,
when commenting upon the only verse he produces which uses the verb keep.
But this verse overturns his contentions altogether. Much more does it
overturn Van Kampen's. Is the Lord here praying that his own may be kept
safe in the evil one, and eventually delivered out from the midst of him?
This is nonsense, and every sober man must grant that the Lord's prayer
that we be kept from the evil, or the evil one, certainly means that we
be kept entirely outside of it.
To be in the world, and yet kept from the evil one,
we can easily understand, but then the world and the evil one are two
different things. Where is it said we are kept from the world
while we are yet in the world? Or where that we are kept from
the evil one, and yet remain in the evil one?
----or kept from the
evil, and yet remain in the evil? This is the real question, and by switching
horses in the middle of the stream Reese fails to get across, for the
two horses are not going the same direction. Let him ride one horse across,
and show us one and the same thing which we can be kept in while we are
kept out of it. I should point out further that the common version, keep
them from the evil, is every way as legitimate a translation as
Reese's the evil one, and where is he who would contend that
to be kept from evil means to be kept in evil? I must reiterate that such
a question as this cannot be determined by mere technicalities, while
we fail to take into consideration the nature of the things spoken of.
I understand with Reese that we might be physically in the world, and
yet morally kept from the evil which is in the world, but it is nothing
to the purpose. World and evil are two things.
To be kept morally from the evil of the world is a thing easily understood,
but what sense can we make of being kept morally from the hour of trial?
We can easily understand being kept morally in the hour of
trial, but we must aver that to be kept morally from it makes no sense.
Only one more of Reese's statements calls for any notice. He says (pg.
205), The promise of immunity from trial would have been more clearly
expressed by the use of the preposition apo, which means from in the sense
of separation or removal from the exterior limit of a thing or place;
whereas ek rather means from the interior of a place or object.
To state the same thing in plain English, the one preposition means away
from, and the other out of
----but the criticism which Reese bases
upon the distinction is unsound and untrue. The word j may mean out of
the interior of an object, but what of that? If I am out of my house,
I am of course out of the interior of it, but I am also out of the exterior
of it. To say that we are out of anything, no matter what that thing may
be, cannot mean to be merely out of the interior part of the thing, but
necessarily means out of the whole of it. There is no doubt a difference
in meaning between being kept out of something, and being kept away from
it, but the difference affects nothing here. If I am kept away from the
lake, I may be further from it than if I am kept out of it, but in neither
case do I get wet. In neither case am I for one moment in the lake, and
it would be wresting the language to make it out that I were.
I have answered every argument I am aware of, which has any show of reasonableness
in it, and the testimony of Rev. 3:10 is left just where it was. If the
verse had said, I will deliver thee, or I will save
thee from the hour, we would be compelled to acknowledge that this
----though not of necessity ----imply that we were in
that hour, and then taken out of it. But to be kept from the hour can
mean nothing other than the complete exemption from it.
---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- --
Speak Gently; Sorrow may be Hereabouts.
train was hurrying along one of the main lines of the Western States of
America. In one of the cars sat a young woman nursing a little babe, whose
restlessness greatly annoyed some of the passengers.
Amongst these was a portly-looking farmer, whose appearance betokened
comfort and plenty. Looking up from his paper, evidently irritated by
the child's continued cry, he said, Can't you keep that child quiet?
His eye met the gaze of the young woman, and he then noticed that her
dress told of recent death. She looked toward him, and through her tears
said: I cannot help it. The child is not mine. I am doing my best.
Where is its mother? the farmer inquired, relenting somewhat
in his tone. In her coffin, sir; in the luggage car at the back
of the train, said the young woman, in her deep grief.
The big tears fell unbidden from the farmer's eyes. Rising up from his
seat before all the passengers, he took the babe in his arms, kissed it,
and, walking to and fro, did his rough best to soothe the motherless child,
and make some reparation for his cold hard words. How many words and looks
of unkindness would be changed into actions of sympathy and help did we
but know more of others' sorrow!
----Terse Talk on Timely Topics, by Henry Varley; London: James
Nisbet & Co., 1884, pp. 22-23.
Chats from my Library
By Glenn Conjurske
Books on Revival
There is a great deal of talk about revival in our own day, but not much
understanding of the subject. One of the best remedies for such a state
of things is to study the histories of actual revivals. This is not easy
to do, for good books on the subject are few, and most of those scarce
enough. But a few of them I have, and in speaking of them I may take the
occasion to speak also of some important principles concerning revival.
Though for more than a quarter of a century I have lived and labored and
prayed for revival, yet I have been extremely reluctant to give my readers
a chat on this subject. The main reason for this is the existence on the
market of Revival Literature, by Richard Owen Roberts, a book about books
on revival, published in 1987. This is a book of 575 large pages, very
well bound (in this Roberts puts to shame most of the modern Christian
publishers). The existence of this book long dissuaded me from speaking
on this subject, for why should I speak of the paltry few books which
I have on revival, when a mammoth volume like this is on the market? Yet
the price of Roberts' book ($60) will deter most from buying it, and for
the rest, this chat will at any rate let them know that it exists. The
volume is full of very good information about men and books, though much
of it has little or nothing to do with revival. Numerous biographies are
listed, including everything from missionaries to modernists, along with
things like the works of Augustus Toplady, whose connection with revival
consisted of the fact that he delighted to tar and feather John Wesley!
Meanwhile Roberts overlooks some of the most valuable sources of revival
accounts, such as The Methodist Magazine (New York, 1818ff.) and The American
Baptist Magazine and Missionary Intelligencer (Boston, 1817ff.). Roberts
is a Calvinist, and of course blames Finney for the cessation of revivals.
He also makes Whitefield the father of the Methodist revival. This is
Calvinistic bigotry, but it also indicates the common notion that revival
consists of little or nothing more than the awakening of sinners. In that
Whitefield preceded Wesley, but Wesley alone was responsible for laying
the foundation of a purified church. This is real revival, and it was
certainly the foundation of the prosperity and success of Methodism
as well as Wesley's. Though Roberts' book is very valuable as it is, I
suppose the author might have served the cause of revival better by putting
forth a much smaller book, with a much smaller price, which was more directly
concerned with revival. I recognize, however, the difficulty of knowing
what to include in such a book, and what to omit. Charles Hodge's Constitutional
History of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., for example, is certainly
not a book on revival, but it does contain a great deal of excellent information
on the Great Awakening.
A general history of ancient revivals is Historical Collections Relating
to Remarkable Periods of the Success of the Gospel, and Eminent Instruments
Employed in Promoting It, by John Gillies, published in two volumes in
1754. Gillies was one of the ministers of the Church of Scotland in Glasgow,
and the editor of George Whitefield's works. After a very brief section
on the first centuries of the church, most of his first volume concerns
the sixteenth-century Reformation, and the century following. The second
volume covers the eighteenth century (the first half of it, that is),
and is concerned largely with the ministries of Wesley and Whitefield.
There is a large section on the Great Awakening in America, containing
statements from many of the American ministers, and this is the most valuable
part of the book. I diligently sought these volumes for many years, and
at length found a set at Kregel's, newly rebound, for $85. Horatius Bonar
published this work in one large volume, with a supplement, in 1845, and
his edition was reprinted by The Banner of Truth in 1981.
One of the best of books on the Great Awakening is The Great Awakening,
by Joseph Tracy, first published in 1842. Tracy's Calvinistic bias leads
him to a few misstatements, but detracts little from the great value of
the book. In recent years this work has been reprinted by The Banner of
Truth, and also by the secular Ayer Publishers.
Another precious volume containing much on Whitefield's work is The Revivals
of the Eighteenth Century, Particularly at Cambuslang, by D. MacFarlan.
This was compiled from contemporary accounts, and contains a supplement
of 49 pages, consisting of three of Whitefield's extemporaneous sermons
preached in 1741. I can find no indication of a date in the book, but
I would date my copy about 1850. It has been recently reprinted by Richard
Owen Roberts. Narratives of Revivals of Religion in Scotland, Ireland,
and Wales, published anonymously in 1842 by the Presbyterian Board of
Publication, contains eleven chapters detailing local revivals from the
seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries.
One little book by Jonathan Edwards is also of great value. This is A
Narrative of Many Surprising Conversions in Northampton and Vicinity.
This was written in 1736, and amounts to only 79 pages in my copy, in
which it is published together with Edwards' Thoughts on the Revival in
New England, in a book of 382 pages, published in 1832. These titles are
also available in Edwards' collected works. Edwards' books are not so
interesting as some others, for he deals much more in stating principles
than relating incidents. A number of the books I have seen on revival
are disappointing in their lack of details and incidents. Many of them
contain little more than
----The state of religion was very
low here for some time. There has been a great work of God, and a hundred
souls added to the churches. The moral state of the town has been lifted,
and the converts are holding out well. Of this sort is Boston Revival,
1842, by Martin Moore. Such also are most of the magazine accounts of
revivals, and of course those books which are compilations of such accounts.
A couple of these are New England Revivals, by Bennet Tyler, and Accounts
of Religious Revivals in Many Parts of the United States from 1815 to
1818, by Joshua Bradley. Tyler was a Congregationalist, and Bradley a
Baptist, both of them Calvinists. Calvinism receives a strong thrust in
Tyler's book. Both of these have been reprinted by Richard Owen Roberts.
Another worthy little book is A Faithful Narrative of the Remarkable Revival
of Religion in the Congregation of East-Hampton, on Long-Island, in the
Year of our Lord 1764, by Samuel Buell, published in 1766.
An interesting little book which is often quoted on the Kentucky revival
of 1800 is The Kentucky Revival, by Richard M'Nemar, preface dated 1807,
but the edition which I have printed in 1846. The author belonged to the
Shakers, a cult which dissolved marriages and enforced celibacy, and revered
its female founder as the Christ. The book contains an account of the
introduction of Shakerism among the converts of the revival. It is of
value for its account of the physical manifestations which accompanied
I move on to the Great Awakening of 1857. A valuable account of this work
of God is found in Narratives of Remarkable Conversions and Revival Incidents,
including ... An Account of the Rise and Progress of the Great Awakening
of 1857-'8, by William C. Conant, published in 1858. Most of this book
is taken up with conversion accounts and incidents which are no way related
to the revival, and the narrative of the Great Awakening, which does not
begin until page 357, occupies less than a hundred pages, but what there
is of it is precious. That awakening began with a prayer meeting, and
was carried on almost entirely through prayer meetings. An account of
that first prayer meeting is found in The Power of Prayer, Illustrated
in the Wonderful Displays of Divine Grace at the Fulton Street and other
Meetings in New York and Elsewhere, in 1857 and 1858, by Samuel Irenæus
Prime (1858). The original Fulton Street prayer meeting continued for
many years, and this book was followed by two sequels, Five Years of Prayer,
with the Answers (1863), and Fifteen Years of Prayer in the Fulton Street
Meeting (1872), both of them by Prime. But these do not concern the revival,
and are not equal to the first one. The same is true of Hours of Prayer
in the Noon Prayer-Meeting, Fulton Street, New York, by Talbot W. Chambers,
published in 1871. Though these latter three do not concern the revival,
I suppose the reader should like to know something of the subsequent history
of a prayer meeting so intimately connected with one of the most extensive
revivals of history.
This revival spread across the Atlantic to Scotland and Ireland in 1859,
and was carried on there with more power than ever it had been in America.
A very precious account of the work in Ireland is The Year of Grace, by
William Gibson (1860). This is full of details, and I esteem it as the
best book I have on revival. Another is Authentic Records of Revival,
Now In Progress in the United Kingdom, compiled by William Reid (1860).
This one has been reprinted by Richard Owen Roberts.
A thorough historical account of this revival is The Second Great Awakening
in Britain, by J. Edwin Orr, published in 1949. Orr also wrote The Second
Evangelical Awakening in America, which I assume is similar in content
to the title on Britain, but I have not seen it. The title on Britain
is a good book containing good historical information, a good index, and
a good bibliography. Altogether otherwise, however is Good News in Bad
Times, by the same author, subtitled Signs of Revival, and
published by Zondervan in 1953. This is a thorough puff of many of the
most pernicious principles of Neo-evangelicalism, which slights and sneers
at Fundamentalism, and glorifies doctrinal laxness, Hollywood stars, the
evangelism of celebrities, campus Christianity, and the worldly and unspiritual
in general. The reading of these two books by Orr would provide, for those
whose eyes are open, a good demonstration of how far the church had sunk
in less than a century.
From Orr's book we gladly turn to We Can Have Revival Now, by John R.
Rice, published in 1950. This book is essentially a protest against the
cold intellectualism and unbelief of modern Fundamentalism, and contains
the heart-throb of John R. Rice's ministry. In his determination, however,
to prove that we can have revival now, Rice resorts to a few
arguments which we cannot approve, some doctrinal, and some historical.
The ninth chapter of the original edition is entitled, We Can Have
Revival Now Because We Already Have Increasing Revival. In scope
(though not in content) this chapter too much resembles Orr's book, reviewing
(and endorsing) such things as the work of Billy Graham, Youth for Christ,
and the Back to the Bible radio broadcast. Herein we see how extremely
shallow were Rice's views of revival. To him revival consisted exclusively
of the awakening and conversion of sinners, and to most of his followers
for many years an increase in numbers has been made almost the sole test
of spiritual prosperity. The purification of the practice of the church
has been comparatively little regarded, and the purification of the principles
of the church apparently never thought of. Quantity has been exalted high
above quality, and the most unworthy and unscriptural means used to secure
it. This, coupled with the defective gospel preached by most of them,
has produced a multitude of churches which are very large, very shallow,
and very worldly. If John Wesley had charge of such churches, the first
thing he would do would be to put out the majority of the members.
To return to Rice's book, the chapter under consideration was omitted
in later printings of the book, not because Rice's views of revival had
changed, but because Billy Graham had abandoned Fundamentalism and yoked
up with the modernists, and Rice could no longer endorse him. It is my
firm conviction, though, that if men like Rice and Riley had had more
spiritual views themselves, they would have been unable to endorse Graham
in the first place, for even while he walked with the Fundamentalists,
much of his practice was what now forms the basis of Neo-evangelicalism.
I have no doubt that John R. Rice had a great deal more of spirituality
about him than W. B. Riley ever had
----read their sermons if you
doubt it ----but neither of them had enough of it to see the real
character of Billy Graham's work. They were both blinded by his success ----a
blindness to which Rice was particularly susceptible, for with him success
was made the primary test of spirituality, and who was winning more
souls than Billy Graham? Modernism they would not endure, but worldliness
was sapping their foundations under their noses, and they never perceived
it. The same is true of Fundamentalism today. Let the reader study the
early work of R. A. Torrey, and that of Billy Graham, and he will have
another lesson in how far the church had sunk in half a century.
There is a good deal of excellent information on the revival in Wales
at the beginning of the present century in The Great Revival in Wales,
by S. B. Shaw, published in 1905. The book also contains about 60 pages
on the 1859 awakening, abridged from Gibson's Year of Grace. This book
is not so scarce as many are, and I have turned up a number of copies
of it over the years.
Books like How to Promote and Conduct a Successful Revival compiled by
R. A. Torrey, and How to Have a Revival, compiled by John R. Rice and
Robert J. Wells, use the word revival merely in the sense
of an evangelistic campaign, and hardly fall within the scope of this
Some of the books mentioned herein are scarce, of course, but even these
might be obtained from good public libraries. Roberts' Revival Literature,
specifies a number of the libraries which contain many of the books which
he lists. Others have been recently reprinted, and the reader will do
well to get them while he can.
Ï Stray Notes on the English Bible
by the Editor
The Transgression of the Law
One of the most unfortunate and misleading translations in the King James
Version will be found in I John 3:4, where we read, Whosoever committeth
sin transgresseth also the law, for sin is the transgression of the law.
The true rendering is, Whosoever doeth sin doeth also lawlessness,
and sin is lawlessness
----where lawlessness in
both instances is the translation of the Greek word j v . This word is
used fifteen times in the New Testament, but is nowhere else rendered
transgression of the law, but iniquity or iniquities
a dozen times, and once unrighteousness. Moreover, to translate
as the King James Version does turns I John 3:4 into a manifest falsehood,
and places it in direct contradiction to the doctrine of Paul. For Paul
tells us that where no law is, there is no transgression,
and yet plainly proves that there is sin where no law is, by the fact
that death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not
sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression. (Rom. 4:15
& 5:14). Adam's sin was transgression ----the breaking, that
is, of a known commandment. But from Adam to Moses there was no transgression,
for there was no law to break. Yet sin there surely was, else why came
the flood? Or why the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah?
Though all transgression is of course sin, all sin is not transgression,
----that principle of self-will which does as it
But how comes transgression of the law to stand in the King
James Version? Whence comes this false rendering?
----for the English
Bible did not read so from the beginning.
William Tyndale's first New Testament (1526) exhibits, Whosoever
comitteth synne/ committeth vnrightewesnes also/ and synne is vnrightewesnes.
This is the reading also of Coverdale and the Great Bible. In his first
revision (1534) Tyndale altered and to for, leaving
the rest as it was, and this was the reading also of Matthew and Taverner.
But in 1557 the Geneva New Testament altered this to Whosoeuer commetteth
synne transgresseth also the Lawe, for synne is the transgression of the
Lawe. Why? I believe the whole explanation for this alteration made
at Geneva in 1557 is to be found in Theodore Beza's Latin New Testament,
published at Geneva in 1556. The Latin Vulgate had read here, Omnis qui
facit peccatum et iniquitatem facit, et peccatum est iniquitas
is, Every one who does sin does also iniquity, and sin is iniquity,
following the Greek with scrupulous exactness. But Beza altered the whole,
reading, Quisquis dat operam peccato, etiam legem transgreditur: nam peccatum
est legis transgressio ----that is, Whosoever gives service
to sin transgresses also the law, for sin is the transgression of the
law. This is a very wide departure from the Greek. Even the structure
of the sentence is turned altogether aside from the original. But Beza
was a man of great influence at Geneva, and among Protestants everywhere,
and (except for gives service to sin in the first clause)
the Geneva New Testament followed him exactly. This is really too bad,
for whatever Beza may have been, he was not a safe guide.
The Geneva New Testament was followed by the Geneva Bible (1560), and
the Geneva Bible by the Bishops' Bible (1568). Naturally enough, the King
James Version followed them both. Twice more (in Matt. 7:23 & 13:41)
Beza had rendered this word transgression of the law, but
the English translators did not follow him in those places. It is hardly
conceivable that Beza's rendering was the result of mere honest ignorance.
It is more likely that it was dictated by mistaken theology.
---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- -----
+ Corrections on Jehovah. In the item on Jehovah
(Dec., 1994, pg. 284), I stated that the Revised Version (1881) and the
American Standard Version (1901) used Jehovah consistently,
rather than LORD. This is a mistake. The word consistently
can apply only to the ASV, not to the RV. In A Companion to the Revised
Old Testament, Talbot W. Chambers says (pg. 170), The number [of
appearances of `Jehovah'] has been considerably increased in the revision,
but the American Committee think that the change should be universal.
In the same article I referred to the Emphatic Diaglott as though it were
a work of the Jehovah's Witnesses, which it is not. Though the Jehovah's
Witnesses published it in 1942 without giving the slightest hint that
it was a reprint of an earlier work, I have since learned that it was
first published by its editor, Benjamin Wilson, in installments, over
a seven-year period ending in 1863, before the Jehovah's Witnesses existed,
and when their founder was but eleven years of age. Yet in publishing
it as though it were their own, the Jehovah's Witnesses certainly gave
a general endorsement to the contents. Its interlineary false rendition
of John 1:1, a god was the Word, was doubtless enough to attract
them to the work.
---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- -----
America in Prophecy
by Glenn Conjurske
It would seem a very strange thing to many that the greatest nation on
earth, in what are presumed to be these last days, should never be
mentioned in Bible prophecy. Such a thing, indeed, seems so strange and
unaccountable to some that they refuse to believe it to be a fact. They
will find America in Bible prophecy, by one means or another. But the
theories which they must adopt to find any specific mention of America
in the Bible
----such as that America is made up of the ten lost tribes
of Israel ----are too far-fetched to gain any countenance with sane and
sober interpreters of prophecy. The sane and sober have generally contented
themselves with affirming that America is never mentioned in Bible prophecy ----as
unaccountable as the fact may seem to them.
But it is not quite true that America is never included in Bible prophecy,
though it is not mentioned by name. It is spoken of a number of times,
but in such a way as that modern Fundamentalists are not likely to recognize
it. According to their expectations, if the Bible had anything to say
about America, it must set it above and apart from the other nations of
the world. It must present it as the great power for good in the world,
the nation whose God is the Lord, the nation which was founded upon Christian
principles, the protector of Israel
----in short, as God's country.
And since there is no such nation to be found in the Bible, they assert
with confidence that, however unaccountable this may seem, America does
not figure in Bible prophecy at all. Not finding the America which they
expect to find there, they affirm that America is not to be found there
But this is a mistake. America surely does figure in Bible prophecy
surely not in the role in which American patriots would expect to find
I will gather ALL NATIONS against Jerusalem to battle; and the city
shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half
of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people
shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the Lord go forth and fight
against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. (Zech.
All nations must surely include America. How could God honestly speak
of gathering all nations together against Jerusalem to battle, and
tacitly exclude the greatest military power on earth? This would hardly
be upright speaking. We cannot attribute such a thing to God. Surely all
nations must mean all nations, and if the greatest nation on earth
were meant to be excluded from this, we must suppose that it would be
explicitly excluded. If this were meant, surely we would rather read of
all nations except the friend of Israel, or some such thing. But no,
it is all nations.
Moreover, it is a certainty that when the antichrist steps upon the stage
as the ruler of the world, America will be a part of his kingdom. All
the world wondered after the beast. (Rev. 13:3). Could such a statement
be made if the greatest of the nations were not included? Again, Power
was given him over all kindreds and tongues and nations. (Rev. 13:7).
Could any honest man make such a statement, if he knew that the greatest
of all the nations was to be excluded? Much less could the God of truth.
And it should be observed that this power which the beast is to exercise
over all the nations is political power. The word properly means authority.
Here, then, is America in Bible prophecy. In those days which must be
shortly upon us, she will occupy her place, not as the friend of Israel,
not as God's country, not as the nation whose God is the Lord, not as
the big brother of the undeveloped nations, not as the guardian of the
liberties of the world, not as the great world force for truth and righteousness,
but only as one among the other nations of the world, the vassal of antichrist
and the persecutor of Israel. If Fundamentalists and premillennialists
have failed to find America in such a state in Bible prophecy, it is not
because the Bible is not perfectly clear on the subject, but because their
prejudices dispose them not to believe the facts.
But they will say, supposing this to be the end of America, the end is
not yet. We may yet save America for the present generation. But no,
for the mystery of iniquity doth already work. Those very forces which
shall make America what it shall then be, are at work today, making it
what it now is. Those philosophies, principles, lusts, and allegiances
which will make America a vassal of the antichrist in some not distant
future day will not begin to work at some future day. They are working
now. They have been working for a long time. They not only shall make
America what it shall be, they have made it what it is.
True enough, America is the friend of Israel today, politically and officially.
But America is nearly the only friend Israel has left in the world, and
that may change in a day. There are politicians enough in America who
would change it today if they could. And when the time of testing comes,
it is a certainty that America will sell Israel for what they fancy to
be world peace. America will join the armies of the world to fight
against Jerusalem in the last great battle. It will be American boys among
the rest who rifle the houses and ravish the women of Jerusalem
every honest man must know that there is neither righteousness nor morality
enough in the American armed forces today to keep them from such things
today. There is no great gulf fixed between what America is today and
what she will be in that day, but only a small step. Men deceive themselves
altogether who entertain any hope of saving America. Neither what she
is nor what prophecy assures us she certainly and shortly shall be give
any countenance to such a hope.
Old articles are reprinted without alteration (except for corrections
of printing errors), unless stated otherwise. The editor inserts such
articles if they are judged to be profitable for scriptural instruction
or historical information, without endorsing everything in them. The editor's
own views are to be taken from his own writings.