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Vol. 4, No. 5
May, 1995

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 refrain.

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 two reasons:

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 the world.

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----and Noah 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”----that 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) shone forth.

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!----but 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----there 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.

But further----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----whether 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----by 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. 13:13).


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 is

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----in 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 thing.

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----deliver 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”----everyone, 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” implies movement----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 Scripture.

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:

Acts 12:5----“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.

Jude 6----“angels which kept not their first estate.”

Jude 13----“to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.” In what sphere of danger is this blackness of darkness kept safe?

The word is most commonly used in the New Testament of keeping the commandments of God.

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 praying.”

The word “keep” may certainly mean “to keep safe within”----if 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 in!

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----“an appropriate 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 of:

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 it.

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 might----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.----A 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----Whitefield's 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 the revival.

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 chat.

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 Ï
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, but lawlessness----that principle of self-will which does as it pleases.

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----that 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 at all.

But this is a mistake. America surely does figure in Bible prophecy----though surely not in the role in which American patriots would expect to find it. Consider:

“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. 14:2-3).

“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----and 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.

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