The Scofield Bible and Dispensationalism
Written by: Unknown Posted on: 10/29/2004
THE SCOFIELD BIBLE and DISPENSATIONALISM
1. The Seven Dispensations
Dr. Scofield defines a dispensation as a period of time during which man is tested in respect of obedience to some specific revelation of the will of God. He teaches in the Scofield Bible that there are Seven Dispensations: (1) The Dispensation of Innocency: before the Fall; (2) The Dispensation of Conscience: before the Flood; (3) The Dispensation of Human Government; (4) The Dispensation of Promise: from the calling of Abraham until Mt. Sinai; (5) The Dispensation of the Law: from Mt. Sinai to the cross of Christ; (6) The Dispensation of Grace: from the cross of Christ to the Second Advent; (7) The Dispensation of the Kingdom: the Millennium.
"These dispensations are regarded not as stages in one single organic development, but as distinct and mutually exclusive, or even as opposed to each other. This practice of dividing the Bible into parts, and setting one part against the others, means for instance, that in the Dispensation of the Law there was no grace, and during the Dispensation of Grace there is no law. The plan of salvation as set forth in the Bible is one organic whole, revealing a marvellous and profound unity. It cannot be split up into contradictory parts, much less into seven mutually exclusive dispensations." (Summarised quotation from The Millennium by Boettner).
In connection with the Dispensation of Conscience, Scofield says, "Expelled from Eden - man was responsible to do all known good, and to abstain from all known evil, and to approach God through sacrifice - - - the dispensation ended in the judgment of the flood." "Ended" — what ended ? asks Professor Albertus Pieters in his Candid Examination of the Scofield Bible. "The responsibility of every man to do all known good, and to abstain from all known evil ? Certainly not, that abides today. The responsibility to approach God through sacrifice? That command continued until the final sacrifice of Christ. The operation of conscience in the heart of man? By no means. St. Paul refers to it as operative in his day and there has been no change since."
In connection with the "Dispensation of Promise" we are told that it ended with the giving of the Law upon Mt. Sinai. "Again we ask," continues Prof. Pieters, "In what sense did it end then? and again we get no intelligible reply. Was the promise revoked? It was not. St. Paul tells that the giving of the Law had no such effect. "And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect." (Gal. 3:17).
"The entire ‘dispensational scheme,’ therefore," concludes Prof. Pieters, "when subjected to examination in the light of Holy Scripture, breaks down completely — yet it is accepted by multitudes today as the undoubted teaching of the Bible, because Scofield says so."
Some dispensationalists hold that the sermon on the Mount and most of the Gospels belong to the Kingdom Dispensation which is yet future. The Book of Revelation after the third chapter also is said to belong to the future. Thus only part of the Gospels and the Pauline Epistles are said to be intended for the Christians of today.
The slogan of Dispensationalists is "rightly dividing the word of truth." But as one writer, Dr. Murray quoted by Boettner, puts it, "Dividing the plan of salvation into dispensations, is not rightly dividing the word of truth, but wrongly dividing the Word of God."
2. Dispensationalism and the Church
In its doctrine of the Church, Dispensationalism holds that the Jewish rejection of the kingdom caused Jesus to postpone the kingdom until the Second Advent, and to establish the church as an interlude between the two advents. They hold that the church is in no sense a fulfillment of the Old Testament but something entirely new and revealed for the first time to the Apostle Paul and that the Church Age will come to an end in the Rapture which it is alleged, is the first stage of the Second Advent. Following the Rapture, Christ and His people are to be in the air for a period of seven years (the seventieth week, according to Dispensationalism, of Daniel’s prophecy). At the end of the seven years there occurs the Revelation, which is the public visible return of Christ and His people to the earth.
The key text on which this view of the church is based is Ephesians 3:3-7. As to the "mystery" mentioned by Paul in these verses, it is the mystery which was not revealed as it is now to the apostles, that the Gentiles were to be partakers of the same spiritual blessings as the converted Jews. The "mystery" that Paul speaks of was not completely unknown in Old Testament times, but was not so well known as it is now. It was not unknown to Abraham for the promise given to him was that "in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." The Lord revealed that Christ was to be given as a light to the Gentiles and His salvation to the ends of the earth. The emphasis in the passage in Ephesians must be laid on the word as. The mystery was not formerly revealed as, that is not so fully or so clearly as under the Gospel. Stephen before his martyrdom spoke of Christ as being with "the church in the wilderness." (Acts 7:38). The Lord had a church in the world since He revealed Himself in His mercy and grace after the Fall.
In regard to the meaning of the Greek word ekklesia translated ‘church’ it is well to keep in mind that in the Septuagint, which was a Greek translation of the Old Testament and which was in common use in Palestine in Jesus’ day, the word ekklesia is used about 70 times to render the Hebrew word qahal, assembly or congregation. This translation was made in Alexandria, Egypt, about 150 B.C., by a group of 70 scholars, whence it received its name. Consequently the Jewish people would have connected the New Testament Church with the assembly or congregation of Israel as it had existed in Old Testament times - - - - The glory of the Church under the New Testament dispensation is far greater than it was under the old. But regardless of the differences the church in the new dispensation is the continuation of that in the old, so that we who are Gentiles are, as Paul tells us, "no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God, being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Himself being the chief corner stone, in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit." (Eph. 2:19-22)" (The Millennium by L. Boettner).
"Another serious defect in dispensational teaching is its doctrine that many portions of the Bible are not meant for the Church age at all, that is, not for Christians, but that they are intended for a future Jewish-led kingdom. This follows from their belief that most of Christ’s ministry was taken up with preaching designed to prepare Israel for the Kingdom, but that when it became evident that the Jews would not accept the Kingdom the Church was substituted. This means that the Lord’s prayer, the Sermon on the Mount, the Kingdom parables, the Great Tribulation, the Book of Revelation chapters 4 to 19, and some say, most of the New Testament except the Pauline Epistles, are "Jewish" and "legal" and therefore do not concern the Church. We point out, however, that Paul certainly did not make this distinction between the gospel of Grace and the gospel of the Kingdom of God. Rather, he identified the two, for late in his ministry he said to the elders from Ephesus: "Neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more." (Acts 20:24, 25) (The Millennium pp. 244-245 by L. Boettner).
Dr. H. A. Ironside, a dispensationalist and an ardent disciple of Scofield, acknowledges that the dispensational doctrine of the Church is of comparatively recent origin and that it was brought to the fore through the writings of Mr. J. N. Darby, the leader of the ‘Plymouth Brethren,’ who died in 1882.
When George Muller of Bristol came up against the Dispensationalist doctrines of the Brethren movement, he severed all connection with it. "The time came," he said, when I had either to part from my Bible or part from John Darby. I chose to keep my precious Bible and part from John Darby."
Dispensationalists lay special claim to "rightly dividing the word of truth." The above is instead a confounding of it, a darkening of it by a new-fangled exegesis which is alien to it.
3. Dispensationalism and the Rapture
The Secret Rapture Theory based on I Thessalonians 4:13-17 teaches according to Dispensationalism that Christ will descend from heaven to "the air" raise the righteous dead and translate the living saints who will be caught away to remain with Christ for a period of seven years in the air. Of the so-called secret Rapture which is silent and mysterious, neither the waiting people nor the world is to have a moment’s warning, the saints being first apprised of it by their heavenly flight, and the world by the departure of the "missing ones." A leading Dispensationalist describes it in this way: "Imagine getting up some morning and your wife is not there, and you call for her, but there is no answer. You go downstairs, but she is not there. You call upstairs to daughter asking where mother is, but no answer from daughter. Daughter too is gone. You ring the police but the line is busy. Hundreds and thousands are calling up, jamming the telephone lines. You rush out of doors and bump into the pal of last night’s wild party. He is white as a sheet. He is out of breath, and he stammers a few words, and bawls out, ‘My wife is gone. My brother is gone, and I don’t know where they are.’ Down the streets runs a woman shrieking at the top of her voice, ‘Someone has kidnapped my baby!’ and in a moment the streets are full of people, weeping, crying and howling over the disappearance of loved ones. What has happened? The Lord has come, like a thief in the night. He has quietly stolen away those who trusted him, like Enoch, and no one is left behind to warn you any more, to pray or show you the way." (Rev. Richard W. De-Haan, Radio Bible Class, Nov. 1954). (Quoted in The Millennium p. 172).
Dispensationalists make unwarranted distinctions between the words Coming (parousia), the Appearing (Epiphany) and the Revelation (Apocalypse). All these words have essentially the same meaning. They are kindred terms to describe one great future event, the second coming of Christ at the last day and are used interchangeably.
"That the Rapture is not a secret event is evident from I Thess. 4:15-18. "For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (go before) them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a SHOUT, with the VOICE OF THE ARCHANGEL and with the TRUMP OF GOD; and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."
If anyone can make a secret coming out of this Scripture, language has no significance at all. There is no secrecy here! It is open, visible, audible; yet it is Christ’s parousia, His coming FOR His saints and not a subsequent epiphany.
The Parousia, the Epiphania, the Apokalipsis, the End, all synchronise at one great crisis "at the last day." The shout, the voice of the archangel, the sound of the great trumpet, the quaking earth, the passing away of the heavens "with a great noise" (2 Peter 3:4, 12), the resurrection and translation of saints, the destruction of sinners will attend the coming (Parousia) of the Son of Man.
From all the foregoing considerations, the "secret rapture theory" must be respected as one of the most glaring of errors, and it is one that has already wrought much mischief. "Let no man deceive you." If they say, Behold he is in the secret chambers, BELIEVE IT NOT!" (Will the Secret Rapture Precede the Second Coming of Christ? by Dr. G. B. Fletcher).
4. Dispensationalism and the 70th Week of Daniel’s Prophecy
Dispensationalists hold that after the secret Rapture, the saints will be with Christ in the sky for seven years. At the end of this period He shall return visibly with His saints to the earth (commonly called the Revelation). "This theory," writes Dr. Fletcher, "is a perversion of Second Coming truth, a delusion of the last days, widely held. Nowhere does the New Testament teach two future comings of Christ, first for His saints, and then with His saints. Those who hold this view seek to harmonise it with the New Testament teaching on the Second Coming of Christ by asserting that the coming for and with His saints several years later are not two comings, but two stages of the Second Coming of Christ. This attempt to justify the theory cannot overthrow the testimony of the senses that the coming for the saints is a FIRST second coming, and the subsequent coming with the saints is a SECOND coming. But this cannot be. He came once, and He will come once more — and only once more: ‘the second time without sin unto salvation’ (Heb. 9: 28)."
If it be asked, where in Scripture is there authority for a seven year period such as Dispensationalism sets forth as elapsing between the Rapture and the Revelation, the answer must be: there is none. It is a period of time imported by inference from Daniel’s prophecy of the 70 weeks, it being assumed that the 70th week has not yet been fulfilled, that it is the 7th week or the seven years between the Rapture and the Revelation and that during that time a number of predicted events — such as the apostasy, the appearance and reign of the Antichrist, the Great Tribulation, the return of the Jews to Palestine and their conversion are to occur.
"But there are no grounds" writes Dr. Boettner "either in reason or in Scripture for inserting a parenthesis of many centuries duration between the 69th and the 70th week of Daniel’s prophecy, a parenthesis which strangely has already extended nearly four times as long as the entire period of the 70 weeks themselves. In this prophecy it is quite evident that the weeks refer to years. The Jews had just completed 70 years captivity in Babylon — years that had run consecutively. Daniel understood from the prophecies that the time was at an end, and he besought God earnestly in prayer for their deliverance. It was revealed to him that 7 times 70 were determined to complete God’s dealings with Israel as a nation — for their return to their own land, the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the temple, and until Messiah should come and accomplish His work of redemption. Certainly the natural inference is that in this prophecy time runs concurrently as it does in any other prophecy. Nowhere in Scripture is a specified number of time-units, making up a described period of time set forth as meaning anything but continuous and consecutive time. Likewise the 70 weeks in Daniel’s prophecy are 70 links in a chain, each holding to the others, a definite measure of the remaining time allotted to the nation of Israel before the coming of the Messiah.
The correct interpretation of Daniel’s prophecy is, we believe, that the events of the 70th week were fulfilled during the public ministry of Christ in Palestine including the completion and abolition of the Old Covenant. After a further period of grace, some 37 years later, the final break-up of the Jewish economy came with the destruction of the temple and the city of Jerusalem and the final dispersion of the Jews." (The Millennium).
"Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people" etc. (Daniel 9:24). The seventy weeks, weeks of years are 490 years. These 490 years are to the death of Christ as the remainder of the verse makes clear. It was by His death that He finished transgression, made an end of sin by His complete Atonement for it and brought in an everlasting righteousness. His death is mentioned first as it was to this end that He came into the world.
"And to seal up the vision and prophecy. He came to seal up the vision and prophecy, all the prophetical visions of the Old Testament, which had reference to the Messiah. He sealed them up, that is He accomplished them, answered to them to a tittle; all the things that were written in the law, the prophets and the psalms concerning the Messiah, were fulfilled in Him. Thus He confirmed the truth of them as well as His own mission. He sealed them up, that is He put an end to that method of God’s discovering His mind and will, and took another course by completing the Scripture-canon in the New Testament, which is the more sure word of prophecy than by vision." (Matthew Henry).
"He came to anoint the most holy," that is Himself, the Holy One who was anointed (that is appointed to His work and qualified for it) by the Holy Ghost, that oil of gladness which He received without measure above His fellows: or to "anoint" the gospel-church, His spiritual temple or holy place, to sanctify and cleanse it and appropriate it to Himself, (Eph. 5:26), or to consecrate for us ‘a new and living way into the holiest,’ by His own blood (Heb. 10:20) as the sanctuary was anointed (Exodus 30:25 etc.). He is called Messiah (v. 25, 26) which signifies Christ — Anointed (John 1:41) because He received the unction both for Himself and for all that are His. In order to do all this Messiah must be cut off, must die a violent death, and so be cut off from the land of the living as was foretold in Isaiah 53:8." (Matthew Henry).
v. 25. "Know therefore and understand that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and three score and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times."
The seven weeks or 49 years are from the publication of the edict to restore and to build Jerusalem. The restoring and building of Jerusalem took place "in troublous times." The troubles encountered in connection with the work are narrated for us in the Book of Nehemiah. The 49 weeks ended at the end of Nehemiah’s reformation. Then 62 weeks are mentioned. The 7 weeks and the 62 weeks making 69 weeks or 483 years, are said to be "unto Messiah the Prince" unto the time of His public manifestation through the ministry and baptism of John the Baptist the forerunner of the Messiah, the Prince and King of the kingdom. "The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached and every man presseth into it." (Luke 16:16).
v. 26. "And after three score and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself" etc. That is AFTER the 483 years or 69 weeks, that is in the 70th week — the week embracing the ministry of John the Baptist which lasted for about 30 years and Christ’s own ministry for 30 years. The 70 weeks or the 490 years as stated in v. 24 are to the death of Christ. There is therefore no foundation whatsoever in the Word of God for the Dispensational fantasy that the final week of seven years is still future, the period between the Rapture and the Revelation. "This theory" as quoted above by Dr. Fletcher "is a perversion of the Second Coming truth, a delusion of the last days widely held."
In verse 26 we read that after Messiah had been cut off but not for Himself, "the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary and the end thereof shall be with a flood and unto the end of the war desolations are determined." The learned Dr. Gill, the noted 18th century commentator, takes this to be a prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem and of the temple by the Romans under the Emperor Titus and to the desolations which ensued.
v. 27. "And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week, and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease" etc. In the midst of the week must be therefore about 70 A.D. the date of the destruction of the city and the temple. With the destruction of the temple an end was put to the sacrifice and the oblation, as sacrifices could only be offered in the temple.
"The Romans spoken of in the latter part of verse 26," writes Dr. Gill, "in order to accomplish their design to destroy the city and temple of Jerusalem, made peace with many nations, entered into covenant and alliance with them, particularly the Medes, Parthians and Arminians for the space of one week or seven years; as it appears they did at the beginning of this week; "and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease"; the daily sacrifice of the Jews and all their offerings; and which was literally fulfilled "in the half-part" of this week, as it may be rendered, towards the latter half of it when the city of Jerusalem being closely besieged by Titus, what through the closeness of the siege, the divisions of the people and the want both of time and men, and beasts to offer, the daily sacrifice ceased as Josephus says, to the great grief of the people; nor have the Jews since the destruction of their city and temple offered any sacrifice, esteeming it unlawful to do so in a strange land."
Dr. Gill points out that the "week" spoken of here did not immediately follow the 70 weeks at the end of which the Messiah was cut off. It was 30 or 40 years after this. "The reason" as Dr. Gill observes, "was the long-suffering and forbearance of God towards the Jews, who gave them as to the old world space to repent; but His grace and goodness being slighted, things began to work at the beginning of this week towards their final ruin, which in the close of it, was fully accomplished."
"And for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate" or as it is in the margin "with abominable armies," the Roman armies being abominable to the Jews.
Even until the consummation, until the time appointed by God for their return to the land, Jerusalem was to be trodden under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
"And that determined shall be poured upon the desolate" or desolator (margin) — the vengeance will continue upon the Jews until the time determined when the wrath shall be turned upon those who made them desolate.
5. Dispensationalism and the Anti-Christ
Dispensationalists hold that the appearance and reign of the Anti-Christ takes place during the seven year period after the Rapture. At the end of the seven years Christ returns with His saints, defeats and destroys the Anti-Christ and his armies in the battle of Armaggedon, and sets up an earthly kingdom in Jerusalem over which He rules in person for 1000 years. The reign of Christ on earth at that time according to Scofield, will be a sitting on the throne of David, as King of the Jews, literally, strictly and politically understood.
This Futuristic theory of the Anti-Christ propagated by Dr. Scofield is the Popish view. "Alarmed by the fact that the Reformers were pointing to the Pope as the Anti-Christ, the Jesuit Ribera at the end of the sixteenth century, invented or at least propagated futuristic views of the Anti-Christ, and pointed to a solitary Infidel Anti-Christ who would appear in the dim future. Ribera’s view soon infected the High Church party. J. N. Darby caught the contagion, and finally Dr. D. L. Scofield swallowed the Jesuit’s pill. Thus Ribera succeeded beyond his wildest dreams, for the attention of thousands of Protestants became deflected from the Papacy, a future Infidel Anti-Christ was looked for, and the historic Protestant view handed down by the Reformers was despised by many. These are the hard facts of history. A Protestantism saturated with Ribera’s Futurism is not the Protestantism of the Reformers, nor is it feared by the Papacy." (The Roman Anti-Christ by Rev. F. S. Leahy).
In the days of the Apostle John there were many antichrists, heretics who denied either the divinity of Christ or His actual incarnation. "Even now" he writes "are there many antichrists." He also says, "Little children, it is the last time: and ye have heard that Antichrist shall come." (1 John 2:18). According to Matthew Henry the generality of Christians had been informed of the coming of the Antichrist. Paul’s 2nd Epistle to the Thessalonians Ch. 2:8-10 made it clear to them. He is called the Antichrist as though there were none but he, because he was so eminently above all others. He is, therefore, called "the man of sin" and "the son of perdition" and the system of which he is the head "the mystery of iniquity."
The Meaning of Anti-Christ
All the Reformers and all the Churches of the Reformation and the great body of Protestant interpreters hold that the Pope of Rome or the Papacy is the Anti-Christ, the word anti-christos being composed of kristos meaning anointed (Christ) and the prefix anti. "Anti" means against also instead of or in the place of. "When prefixed to the name of an individual it indicates an agent who assumes that individual’s place, and at the same time acts in opposition to him. Thus Rome herself speaks of Anti-popes. Anti-Christ therefore means one who pretends to be a vicar of Christ, and assumes to act in His name, but who is at the same time His rival and greatest enemy." (The Roman Anti-Christ by Leahy).
In the Smalcald Articles Martin Luther singles out one particular statement of the Apostle Paul which beyond all doubt labels the Pope as the Anti-Christ "- - - the Pope raised his head above all. This teaching shows forcefully that the Pope is the very Anti-Christ, who has exalted himself above and opposed himself against Christ, because he will not permit Christians to be saved without his power. This is properly speaking to exalt himself above all that is called God, as Paul said, (2 Thess. 2:4) (Smalcald Art 11, art. 4:9-10).
"No one else has ever and will never be able to exalt himself above all that is called God more than the Pope of Rome, who holds millions of people at his command and over four thousand priests as agents of his ambition. He dares to oppose and rejects even the central truth of the Scriptures. He condemns justification by faith, which is fundamental to all, the heart of the Gospel. He puts himself against Christ, he damns, curses this cardinal truth given by Christ." (Who is the Antichrist? by J. Zacehello, D.D.).
"To submit to the Roman Pontiff, we declare, say, define and pronounce to be absolutely necessary to every human creature to salvation." (Bull Unam Sanctam of Pope Boniface VIII).
"If anyone says that justifying faith is nothing else but confidence in the divine mercy which remits sin for Christ’s sake; or that this confidence alone is that whereby we are justified, let him be accursed." (Council of Trent Can. 9.12).
The late Pope John XXIII was no sooner inaugurated in November 1958 than in his coronation address said: "Into this fold of Jesus Christ no one can enter it if not under the guidance of the Sovereign Pontiff; and men can securely reach salvation only when they are united with him, since the Roman Pontiff is the Vicar of Christ and represents His person on earth."
The Babylon of the Apocalypse
As the Pope is the Anti-Christ, Babylon in the Book of the Revelation is the Church of Rome. Babylon cannot be the literal Babylon for it was not built on seven hills, nor was it the Queen of the earth in John’s time. Even the great Roman Catholic controversialists have been driven to admit that Rome fits the description of Babylon in the Revelation. " St. John in the Apocalypse" says Cardinal Bellarmine, "calls Rome Babylon, for no other city besides Rome reigned in his age over the kings of the earth, and it is well known that Rome was seated upon Seven Hills."
"It is confessed by all" says Cardinal Baronius, "that Rome is signified in the Apocalypse by the name of Babylon." And the language of the celebrated French Prelate Bousset, in his Exposition of the Book of the Revelation is: "The features (in the Apocalypse) are so marked, that it is easy to decipher Rome under the figure Babylon."
The above quotations from Bellarmine, Baronius and Bousset are taken from "Is the Church of Rome the Babylon of the Apocalypse?" a classic by Charles Wordsworth, D.D., Canon of Westminster and later Bishop of Lincoln, who died in 1885.
"These Apocalyptic prophecies, which describe the Woman who is called Babylon and is seated on the Beast with seven heads and ten horns do not concern the older, literal, Assyrian Babylon. The inscription on the woman’s forehead is Mystery, indicating a spiritual meaning. This word had been used by the Apostle Paul in his description of the Mystery of Iniquity opposed to the Mystery of Godliness; and St. John adopts the word from St. Paul, and applies it to the same object as that which had been portrayed by that Apostle.
"Again, the Babylon of the Apocalypse is described as a city existing and reigning in St. John’s age; but the literal, or Assyrian Babylon had long ceased to be a reigning city when St. John wrote. Therefore the Babylon of the Apocalypse cannot be the literal or Assyrian Babylon."
In the conclusion Canon Wordsworth writes: "We have been contemplating the TWO MYSTERIES of the Apocalypse. The word Mystery signifies something spiritual; it here describes a church. The first Mystery is explained to us by Christ Himself. "The Mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest - - - The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches" (Rev. 1:20). The second Mystery is explained also: "I will tell thee the Mystery of the Woman." The Beast that carrieth her, which bath the seven heads, is described, and the seven heads are expounded to be seven mountains on which the woman sitteth. (Rev. 17:7.9).
1. The first Mystery is the Mystery of the seven stars.
2. The second Mystery is the Mystery of the seven hills.
The first mystery represents the universal church in its sevenfold fulness, containing within it all particular churches.
The second mystery represents a particular church, the church on the seven hills, the Church of Rome, claiming to be the church universal.
The first mystery represents the universal church, liable to defects, but not imposing errors as terms of communion; and therefore, by virtue of the Word and the sacraments, held together in Apostolic communion with St. John and Christ, who walketh in the midst of it, and governed by an apostolic ministry, shining like a glorious constellation in the hand of Christ.
2. The second mystery represents the particular Church of Rome, holding the cup of her false doctrines in her hand, and making all nations to drink thereof. And the voice from heaven cries, "Come out of her, my people that ye be not partakers of her sins and receive not her plagues."
The first mystery is a "Mystery of Godliness."
The second is a "Mystery of Iniquity."
Such is the interpretation of the two Mysteries of the Apocalypse.
"If any minister or member of the Church of Rome can disprove this conclusion, he is hereby invited to do so. If
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