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Why was prophetic teaching abandoned in the 2nd and 3rd centuries?
Prophecy: Lost and Found
By Gary Stearman
Today, many Christians take it for granted
that we live in the time when Jesus will
come to take the remnant of His body of
believers home. Then, He will initiate a
period of judgment called the “Tribulation.”
Having completed that judgment, He will
reestablish the Davidic Throne in Jeru-
salem. Those who believe this are called
“premillennial dispensationalists.” That is,
we live prior to the Millennium, and the
church will be taken be-
fore these events become
actualities. In fact, this
is the subject of John’s
However, in the years
following the death of
the Apostle John … and
for the next seventeen
centuries … this view fell into disfavor.
It was not taught. During those centuries,
the church became politicized. It’s leaders
maintained that it was the organization
that would save the world and bring in the
The ﬁrst-century prophetic plan of God
simply disappeared. Israel was dispersed,
and thought lost forever. The state church
abandoned thousands of words of Scripture
that prophesied the Jews’ return in the King-
dom Age. Why would the Lord allow this
to happen? For the answer, we must take a
few steps backward and get the wide-angle John Nelson Darby was convinced that, after the death of the apostles, believers
view of history. This, we propose to do, began wrongly to take Old Testament prophecies and apply them to themselves. He
taking a look at a few of the key events of concluded that early Church fathers had made the mistake of thinking that Israel
church history. It’s easy to get lost in the would no longer have a future. He started what became the Plymouth Brethren.
details, so we will include only the barest
outline. One thing is certain. The broad expectation of Christ’s return. “For they themselves shew of us what
view of the Lord’s sovereign design is truly They believed that the world as they manner of entering in we had unto you, and
breathtaking. knew it could end during their lifetimes. how ye turned to God from idols to serve
Let’s go back to the ﬁrst century. After Given the exhortations of the Apostles, their the living and true God;
Christ’s ascension, the Apostles began to expectation was well founded. Paul wrote “And to wait for his Son from heaven,
teach that His promised return had been to the Thessalonians, commending them for whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus,
foretold in Old Testament prophecy and their great faith and the steadfastness with which delivered us from the wrath to come”
from the lips of Jesus, Himself. The events which they anticipated the Lord’s coming. (I Thess. 1:8-10).
of His life, death and resurrection were He mentioned all the Macedonians and Note here that Paul’s letter, written
so close to these men and their followers, Achaians, noting them as examples of the around A.D. 51, positions the Thessalonian
that prophecy was a living reality. Doubt- Thessalonians evangelistic zeal: believers as faithfully waiting for Christ’s
less, there was an air of excitement and “For from you sounded out the word of return from heaven. Not only that, he refers
immediacy surrounding early Christianity. the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, to the “wrath to come,” which is a clear
Men and women routinely gave their lives but also in every place your faith to God- reference to the Day of the Lord. In context,
and fortunes for a faith that was more than ward is spread abroad; so that we need not Paul would have been understood as telling
real to them. They lived in the imminent to speak any thing. them that His return was imminent, and that
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the day of wrath would come within a short ter would stimulate the watchful Christian
time … within the span of their lifetimes. to look toward Jerusalem for signs that this Christianity Begins to Expand
It’s difﬁcult to think the way they did, evil man would soon stand in the Holy of By the end of the ﬁrst century, all the
living as they were, in a generation of signs, holies, even as Antiochus IV Epiphanes had precious New Testament scrolls had been
prophecies and miracles, when the words of done two centuries earlier. written and circulated. Bishops and elders
the Apostles were still regarded as coming Six years later, in about A.D. 57, Paul struggled to hold together a church besieged
directly from the Lord. The air of expec- visited the Thessalonian s again, for the last by pagans on the outside and heretics who
tancy must have been electrifying! time. No doubt, he reinforced many of the occasionally took the pulpit. Prophetically
Again and again Paul gives the Thessalo- messages that he had imparted earlier. Then speaking, the church was beginning to be-
nians the assurance of Christ’s soon return. he returned to Israel, where he remained come discouraged. Many could remember
Their role is clearly stated: “… to wait for for a little over two years. After that, he how the Apostles looked for an early return.
his Son from heaven.” journeyed to Rome, arriving there early in By now, the Romans were expanding their
Paul’s great rapture passage is also writ- the sixth decade for his trial at the court of inﬂuence in every direction.
ten with the assurance that those then alive Caesar. In the ten years or so that followed, Toward the end of the ﬁrst century, in his
would personally witness His coming: the church spread outward, toward “the ut- First Epistle to the Corinthians, Clement of
“For the Lord himself shall descend from termost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Rome wrote words of both chastisement
heaven with a shout, with the voice of the But toward the end of that decade, the and encouragement to those who were
archangel, and with the trump of God: and church at large experienced its ﬁrst major beginning to lose hope:
the dead in Christ shall rise ﬁrst: Roman persecution. Nero had come to “Wherefore let us not be double-minded,
“Then we which are alive and remain power in A.D. 54, and at ﬁrst, had treated nor let our hearts form vain imaginations
shall be caught up together with them in Christians with some deference. But in A.D. concerning his excellent and glorious gifts.
the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and 67, about a year before his death, he found Let not that scripture be applicable unto us
so shall we ever be with the Lord. that they made excellent scapegoats for his which saith, Wretched are the double-minded,
“Wherefore comfort one another with own failings as emperor, particularly after even they that doubt in their heart and say,
these words” (I Thess. 4:16-18). the nine-day burning of Rome. We have heard these things in the time of our
Here, as Paul writes these words in the He blamed the Christians, then set about fathers; and lo, we have grown old, and none
middle of the ﬁrst century, it would still be in a diabolical persecution that spread of them hath happened unto us. O foolish
almost two decades before the Second Tem- across the whole of his empire. Torture ones! compare yourselves to a tree. Take,
ple would be destroyed by the Romans. and endlessly imaginative new forms of for example, the vine: ﬁrst it sheddeth its
The Jewish heart longed for the Messiah brutal murder slaughtered Christians in the leaves, then cometh the bud, then the leaf,
to return. It was easy for them to believe thousands. Many of the most noteworthy then the ﬂower, after that the unripe grape,
that He would come to consecrate Herod’s Christians were martyred in the most hor- then the ripe grape. See how in a little time
Temple, and set up His Kingdom rule. In riﬁc ways. How they must have prayed for the fruit of the tree attaineth to maturity.
his second letter to the Thessalonians, Paul the Lord’s quick return! Of a truth, quickly and suddenly shall his
assured the Thessalonians that “the day At the same time, the Flavian household will be fulﬁlled; the scripture also bearing
of Christ” had not yet come. Some were of Vespasian and Titus rose to power. They witness that he shall come quickly, and shall
already teaching that the Tribulation Period lost no time in sacking Jerusalem, the Jews not tarry; and the Lord shall come suddenly
was a present reality. and the Temple in A.D. 70. Imagine the into his temple, even the holy one, whom
Paul then goes on to tell them that if that effect this must have had on Christians ye expect” (I Clement 23:2-5).
day had already come, the Antichrist would looking for Christ’s return. Paul had written Clement died in A.D. 102. As his life
have appeared in the Temple. Obviously, that the “man of sin” would make himself ended, the Roman Empire was beginning
that had not yet happened. But it could known as a god in the Temple, and now to ﬁtfully settle into almost a century of
have, since the Temple was still standing. there was no Temple! Without a doubt, they relative quiet. But before peace came, there
Contemplating this situation makes it obvi- must have begun to question their assump- was another wave of persecution. In A.D.
ous that prophecy was a viable subject in tions about the quickness of His return. 107, Ignatius was martyred. In A.D. 108, the
the days of the Apostles. Jews and Christians alike were forced to ﬂee Emperor Trajan launched the third major
“Let no man deceive you by any means: from the Romans. Thousands were killed, wave of anti-Christian persecutions, killing
for that day shall not come, except there but those who escaped ﬂed to far corners thousands of believers. Their only crime
come a falling away ﬁrst, and that man of of the Roman Empire. was refusing to worship the emperor and
sin be revealed, the son of perdition; About ten years later, in A.D. 81, Titus other Roman deities as gods. After this, the
“Who opposeth and exalteth himself died, and his vicious younger brother Domi- Christians found an era of peace.
above all that is called God, or that is tian came to power. He was the cruelest of But for the Jews, there was one last battle.
worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in tyrants, who made it a special point to wipe Following Trajan’s persecution, Hadrian
the temple of God, shewing himself that out every last trace of Christian inﬂuence. (A.D. 117-138) and Antoninus Pius (A.D.
he is God. His purges included anyone whom he per- 138-161) came to power. Sadly, during
“Remember ye not, that, when I was ceived to be an enemy. His execrable reign Hadrian’s reign, the Jewish revolt under
yet with you, I told you these things?” (II lasted until his death in A.D. 96, which Simeon Bar Kochba all but destroyed Jew-
Thess. 2:3-5). closely coincided, by the way, with the ish society in Israel. In A.D. 135, they were
Obviously, Paul went out of his way to passing of the Apostle John (c. A.D. 98), ﬁnally driven from the Middle East to the
clarify the sequence of events leading up who had suffered Domitian’s torture, but four points of the compass.
to the Tribulation. He reminds them that he ultimately, had escaped the evil emperor’s For the church, it was a different story.
emphasized this very point when he taught death sentence. Life under these two emperors brought
them face-to-face. Still, the effect of this let- And still, Christ had not returned. the beleaguered faithful forty-ﬁve years of
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blissful growth. During this period, there Note that Augustine’s way of reckoning
was no persecution of Christians. They the ages concludes with Christ’s First and
thrived throughout the empire. Many in Second Advents. Israel and the Davidic
the Roman government became Christians throne in the Kingdom Age are phased out
themselves. Of this historical period Ed- of existence, which he reckoned to be set
ward Gibbon wrote: aside forever. This left the church alone
“In the second century of the Christian as God’s people. In so doing, he declared
era the empire of Rome comprehended himself an amillennialist, teaching that
the fairest part of the earth, and the most Christ’s reign was included within the ad-
civilized portion of mankind. The frontiers ministration of the church, which he saw as
of that extensive monarchy were guarded an extension of the state.
by ancient renown and disciplined valor. Writing in The Rapture Question, John
The gentle but powerful inﬂuence of laws F. Walvoord, says, “In Augustinian amil-
and manners, had gradually cemented the lennialism, the present age is regarded as
union of the provinces…the image of a the predicted Millennium; and inasmuch
free constitution was preserved with decent Justin Martyr (c. A.D. 130) as the Tribulation is said to precede the
reverance.” about A.D. 190, he makes this quite clear: Millennium by so much, it must already be
Unfortunately, at the end of this period “And he will cause a mark [to be put] in past. Often it is identiﬁed with the troubles
of calm Marcus Aurelius, (A.D. 161-180), the forehead and in the right hand, that no of Israel in connection with the destruction
became emperor. He came to power in a one may be able to buy or sell, unless he of Jerusalem in A.D. 70” (p. 16).
wave of terrorism against Christians, who who has the mark of the name of the beast or By the ﬁfth century, Augustine, the most
were once again subjected to torture and the number of his name; and the number is revered saint of the Roman Catholic church,
execution in the most horrible manner. In six hundred and sixty-six,” that is, six times and its highest ranked theological doctor,
this, the fourth major Roman persecution a hundred, six times ten, and six units. [He had formalized amillenial thought. He had
of Christians, Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna gives this] as a summing up of the whole of essentially overthrown the Apostolic ex-
and Justin Martyr were both killed for their that apostasy which has taken place during pectation of Christ’s imminent return. For
faith. Polycarp was burned at the stake and six thousand years. For in as many days as approximately the next 1,400 years, his es-
Justin was beheaded. this world was made, in so many thousand chatology would continue unquestioned.
years shall it be concluded. And for this
“God Delays” reason the Scripture says: “Thus the heaven Through the Reformation
Around A.D. 130, Justin had declared and the earth were ﬁnished, and all their In the 14th and 15th centuries, John Huss,
that God had delayed the judgments at the adornment. And God brought to a conclu- John Wycliffe, William Tyndale and others
end of the world, because it was His desire sion upon the sixth day the works that He began the quest to bring the Bible to the
that Christians expand to cover and preserve had made; and God rested upon the seventh common man. They faced incredible op-
the earth. The belief in imminency was day from all His works.” This is an account position — even death. By the 16th century,
quickly fading. of the things formerly created, as also it is Martin Luther, John Calvin and Huldrych
In Chapter 7 of his Second Apology, a prophecy of what is to come. For the day Zwingi launched a series of public protests
Justin writes: “Wherefore God delays caus- of the Lord is as a thousand years; and in against longstanding corruption in the Ro-
ing the confusion and destruction of the six days created things were completed: it man Catholic church, giving rise to the
whole world, by which the wicked angels is evident, therefore, that they will come word “protestant.”
and demons and men shall cease to exist, to an end at the sixth thousand year” (Bk. Actually, the Reformation had really
because of the seed of the Christians, who 5, Ch. 28). begun long before Luther’s public act of
know that they are the cause of preservation By the early ﬁfth century, with the writ- nailing his Ninety-Five Theses to the Wit-
in nature. Since, if it were not so, it would ings of Augustine (A.D. 354-430), the com- tenburg Church door on October 31st, 1517.
not have been possible for you to do these ing of Christ had become wholly identiﬁed Nevertheless, the date of his revolutionary
things, and to be impelled by evil spirits; with the church. He and others held that the challenge is remembered as the ofﬁcial
but the ﬁre of judgment would descend and state church would continue its expansion, beginning of the Reformation.
utterly dissolve all things, even as formerly until it covered the whole earth. Then Christ His act was aimed at ending the many
the ﬂood left no one but him only with his would come, and the church would be co- corrupt practices of the Roman Church.
family who is by us called Noah, and by regent with Him in the age of the Kingdom. Their “indulgences” were designed to
you Deucalion, from whom again such vast The prophesied regathering of Israel was a forcibly extract money from hapless serfs
numbers have sprung, some of them evil long-forgotten idea. National Israel had for- dominated by church authorities. Penance
and others good.” ever been set aside. His eschatology viewed for sin was granted on the basis of money
The presence of Christians, he says, is the the world as a pattern of six ages: collected. Fake relics were made and sold.
only thing keeping God from destroying the Age One: Adam to Noah Absolution could be purchased from the
whole world. Age Two: Noah to Abraham church. Purgatory – a place of temporary
Irenaeus, who lived from A.D. 130 to Age Three: Abraham to David punishment after death – could suppos-
A.D. 202, echoed the words of the early Age Four: David to the Babylonian edly be ended by still-living relatives who
church in the millennial-day theory of cre- Captivity were convinced that they could purchase
ation. In so doing, he put the coming of the Age Five: Babylonian Captivity to the freedom of these suffering souls. As a
Lord in judgment at some distance into the Christ’s Advent result of such practices, the income of the
future, no doubt beyond the extent of his Age Six: Christ’s Advent to His Second church was, of course, enormous.
own lifetime. In Against Heresies, written Advent As the movements begun by the reform-
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ers gained momentum, various denomina- intellectual and spiritual gifts that would actual dispensation” (pp. 77,78).
tions were born. The churches of Germany, take him to the very highest ranks in church He also saw the church as a failed in-
France, Switzerland, Scotland and England leadership. stitution:
were supported by various royal families But from the beginning, he began to have “As to the ruin of the Church, the theory
of Europe. In general, they were united on doubts about the close allegiance between came for me after the consciousness of it,
the restoration of the doctrine of salvation church and state. As Weremchuk writes, and even now, the theory is but a small
by faith alone. Individuals in the reformed “Darby held Christ, and not the king, to thing to my mind; it is the burden one
church were taught that every man could be the true head of the church. This charge bears. Some years after the conversion of
make his own spiritual decisions. Once simply substituted the king for the pope” my soul I looked around to ﬁnd where the
again, just as the Apostles taught, the saved (p.46). He also began to ponder the degree Church was, but I could not ﬁnd it. I could
individual is seen as a believer-priest, able to which Christians should suffer for their ﬁnd plenty of saints better than myself, but
to approach God on the basis of his personal faithful witness, as did Christ. He saw this not the Church as it was set up with power
salvation. as the logical outcome of true faith, not on the earth. Then I say the Church as thus
As the reformed churches of Europe the ﬁnery, prosperity and respect accorded set up is ruined, and I cannot ﬁnd a better
became established, Apostolic doctrines of the typical bishop. In these early years, he word for it” (pp. 78,79).
salvation prevailed. But after all was said became a passionate revolutionary. Yet, he Weremchuk then writes the following:
and done, their doctrines of eschatology stayed in the church and held to his post. “Darby can be rightly called the father of
remained unchanged. In this key area, it was Then, in his late twenties, he suffered a modern dispensationalism, for his view
the thinking of Augustine and his successors trauma that changed his life: “Darby was of dispensations was different from views
that controlled the ideas of the Kingdom. violently thrown from his horse against a previously expressed: ‘God has always
Replacement theology — the idea that doorpost. He suffered severe injuries and begun by placing His creatures in a good
Israel had forever been set aside after the had to be sent to Dublin for medical treat- position, but by inﬁdelity the creature has
diaspora — remained the norm. ment. The time of recuperation, which was invariably abandoned the position in which
more than three months, he spent at his it as been placed by God. After long suffer-
The Blessing of a Broken Leg brother-in-law’s house at 20 Fitzwilliam ance, God never reestablishes anyone in the
As the European state churches became Street. It was there that he found rest in the position from which he has fallen. It is no
formalized over the next three centuries, assurance of Christ’s completed work.” part of His ways to restore something that
they arrived at a position that would allow With a badly damaged knee, apparently, a has been spoilt; He removes it and brings
them to break forth in new and exciting broken leg and other injuries, he was forced in something entirely new, and much better
ways. The European Reformed, Anabaptist, to lie in bed for an extended period. There, than what had gone before’” (p. 79).
Lutheran and Church of England broke he read the Bible, not as a clergyman, but Here, it can be seen that Darby came to
into denominations that numbered in the as a man seeking to expand his personal view history as God interacting with man
dozens by the nineteenth century. By the relationship with Jesus Christ. And he found in a series of different ways. He saw God’s
year 1800, Europe and America were poised what he was looking for. That, alone, is an plan as divided into distinct periods, each of
for a wake-up call that had international interesting story. which tested man in a particular way. Also,
repercussions. each of them ended in some sort of failure.
One event in particular created a revolu- A Dispensational Discovery Darby’s insight, however, never extended
tion that resounds to the present day. It is But far more signiﬁcant is the fact that into the modern dispensational plan. That
documented in the book, John Nelson Dar- he learned to read the Bible as the total is, he never named and laid out the vision of
by – A Biography, by Max S. Weremchuk. expression of the Lord’s prophetic plan of the seven dispensations commonly depicted
In 1800, Darby was born in London. Later, redemption. As a convalescent, he found by today’s dispensationalists.
he lived in Ireland, and traveled throughout himself compelled to view Scripture as a
Europe. He died in 1882. He was the son whole. Doing so, he discovered a consistent
of landed gentry who was given a classical pattern, developed in the Old Testament, But his exposition of Scripture was truly
education in languages and philosophy. then completed in the New Testament. He revolutionary, when it came to his percep-
As a youth, and into young manhood, resigned from the Church of England, and tion of national Israel. Before the nineteenth
he was not a believer. But he was a gifted began a period of independent study. century, the belief that Israel would come
student. At Trinity College, he received the In 1840, he gave a lecture in Geneva, back to its ancient land was nonexistent.
gold medal as a scholar in the classics and Switzerland, entitled, “Progress of Evil on While recuperating from his riding acci-
mathematics. Upon graduation, he decided the Earth.” He said, “What we are about to dent, prophecy began to leap from the pages
to become a lawyer, and in 1822, was called consider will tend to show that, instead of of the Bible. Of this period, he wrote:
to the Irish bar as a barrister. He quickly permitting ourselves to hope for a continued “Isaiah 32 it was that taught me about
gained a reputation as a penetrating intel- progress of evil; and that the hope of the earth the new dispensation. I saw that there
lectual, with a talent for bringing order to being ﬁlled with the knowledge of the Lord would be a David reign, and did not know
the legal chaos that then characterized the before the exercise of His judgment, and the whether the Church might not be removed
legal system in the British Isles. consummation of this judgment on the earth, before 40 years time… Isaiah 32 brought
At approximately the same time, he was is delusive. We are to expect evil, until it me to the earthly consequences of the same
converted to Christ. A short time later, in becomes so ﬂagrant that it will be necessary truth, though other passages might seem
1825, he was ordained to the Anglican for the Lord to judge it … I am afraid that perhaps more striking to me now; but I saw
clergy. On Sunday, February 19, 1826, he many a cherished feeling, dear to the children an evident change of dispensation in that
was ordained as a priest in Christ Church of God, has been shocked, this evening; I chapter, when the Spirit would be poured
Cathedral, Dublin, Ireland. Many of his mean, their hope that the gospel will spread out on the Jewish nation, and a king reign
contemporaries believed that he had the by itself over the whole earth, during the in righteousness” (p. 120).
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Weremchuk’s summation of this mat- C. I. Scofield, editor of the famous On November 3, 1917, the Balfour Declara-
ter is fascinating, indeed: “Darby said, Scoﬁeld Reference Bible, became an im- tion was awarded to Chaim Weizmann as
‘The Church, a lowly heavenly body, has portant contributor to this movement. Born thanks for coming to the aid of the British
no portion on earth at all, as it was at the in America in 1843, his life overlapped Army. In World War I, this Jewish scientist
beginning — suffering as its Head did, Darby’s, but the two never worked to- had given England a new way to manufac-
unknown and well known — an unearthly gether, since Scoﬁeld didn’t even become ture enough guncotton to replenish their
witness of heavenly things on earth.’ Darby a Christian until 1879. But he was heavily failing ammunition supply.
believed that soon after the death of the inﬂuenced by the doctrine of the Plymouth Shortly after this, during the early days
apostles, believers began wrongly to take Brethren. of the British Mandate in Palestine, it came
Old Testament prophecies and promises After becoming a lawyer and politician, to light that the British were deceitfully
and apply them to themselves. They had Scoﬁeld suffered great personal reversals abusing the terms upon which Israel sup-
rightly seen that God had put His earthly that brought him to the Lord. He worked posedly had access to the Holy Land. In
people aside, and that they, the Christian with the Dwight L. Moody evangelistic or- fact, they were deliberately creating crisis
company (one new man in Christ, out of ganization. Then, by 1883, he was ordained after crisis there, for their own political and
Jews and Gentiles, Ephesians 2:15) were as a minister, and headed the American ﬁnancial ends.
now the “people of God,” but Darby con- Home Missionary Society of Texas and Enter Colonel Ord Wingate. Serving
cluded that they had made the mistake of Louisana. His small pamphlet, “Rightly in Palestine for the British, he person-
thinking that Israel would no longer have Dividing the Word of Truth,” published ally witnessed the wrongs that were being
a future” (p. 121). in 1888, set the theme of his life ministry committed against the Jews. Disgusted, he
as a leader in the ﬁeld of dispensational took it upon himself to train, organize and
The Brethren premillennialism. help equip the Israeli Liberation Army. So
The events around the year 1830 mark a The notes in his popular Scoﬁeld Refer- convinced was he of the Jews’ right to their
distinct shift in the course of Christianity. ence Bible put dispensational theology into Land, that he went against his own com-
By 1831, Darby’s friends began to be inﬂu- the hands of millions of believers. He lived mand structure to aid the Jews.
enced by his powerful new ideas. Francis long enough to see the beginning move- How amazing to discover that Wingate
Newton and George Wigram encouraged ment of the Jews back to Israel, the Balfour has received his instruction in the Bible via
him to begin teaching his new dispen- Declaration, and World War I before his the Plymouth Brethren movement!
sational doctrine. In December of 1831, death in 1921.
Wigram bought a small chapel in Plymouth, No Coincidences
England. There, a few of the “brethren,” as Back to Israel It has often been said that in the things
they referred to themselves, began to meet. In retrospect, it is amazing to think about of the Lord, there are no coincidences.
Darby’s teaching was dramatically accepted the conﬂuence of dramatic developments in Through His divine sovereignty, He was
by a number of believers. Soon, an esti- nineteenth-century Christianity. New Testa- carefully structuring an unfolding history.
mated congregation of about seven hundred ment prophecy and the dispensation of the To us, the world scene seems chaotic, even
people had begun to gather there. church was rediscovered after 1,700 years mistaken. To put it in the vernacular of the
The little church had no name. In fact, of slumber. In Eastern Europe, Jewish intel- old movies, “It looks like the bad guys are
Darby expressed his desire that they not lectuals began to return to the Holy Land. winning.” But this is simply not true. The
become a denomination, in the conventional In a series of aliyahs, or returns, they turned Lord is simply allowing man to fully de-
sense, but simply a Bible study group. How- desert and swamp into arable land. velop the means and stratagems by which
ever, the curious — newspaper reporters The ﬁrst of these aliyahs came in 1882, he, himself, will be judged. To use another
among them — believed that it must receive the very year that Darby passed on to his old movie expression, “He’s just givin’ ’em
a name of some sort. Therefore, since they eternal reward. He had foreseen the com- enough rope to hang themselves.”
were regularly meeting in the city of Plym- ing of the Jews to their Land, and just as it But on the other side of the coin, we
outh, and they called themselves “the breth- began, he went home to be with the Lord. remember the millions who have suffered
ren,” it soon followed that they came to be No doubt, this was no coincidence. A few and died for the faith … and for their faith
known as the Plymouth Brethren. Darby years later, in 1897, the First Zionist Con- in Him. It started with Christ, Himself,
was swept along by a tide of enthusiasm, gress met in Basel, Switzerland. who suffered and died for us. It continued
and all Europe came to be inﬂuenced by his And here again, the Lord’s pattern of in the lives of the Apostles, who suffered
translations of the Bible, his tracts and his destiny may be seen with clarity. This ostracism, torture and death. Paul offered
dispensational view of prophecy. Congress was the result of a “chance” his own view of the Christian walk:
Along the way, the Brethren published meeting between two important men. “Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as
hymnals, and George Wigram published the In 1880, the Rev. William Heschler, an a fool) I am more; in labours more abun-
famous Englishman’s Hebrew and Greek Episcopal minister, who had studied with dant, in stripes above measure, in prisons
Concordances of the Bible. the Plymouth Brethren, came to advocate more frequent, in deaths oft.
A movement was born, and people began the reestablishment of the Jewish State. “Of the Jews ﬁve times received I forty
referring to it as the “Bible Study Move- Because of his controversial pro-Jewish stripes save one.
ment.” It was not sponsored as such by any position, the Church of England reassigned “Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was
human institution, but arose in conjunction him to Europe. While there, he met Theodor I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night
with the missionary movement that swept Herzl. Together, these two men spent their and a day I have been in the deep;
across the globe during that same period. energies in the establishment of the World “In journeyings often, in perils of waters,
At his death in 1882, Darby had witnessed Zionist Organization. in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own
a period of the most exciting change since Two decades after that ﬁrst Zionist meet- countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in
the coming of Jesus in the ﬁrst century. ing, an important milestone was reached. perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness,
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in perils in the sea, in perils among false
Prophecy in the News
“In weariness and painfulness, in watch-
ings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings
often, in cold and nakedness.
“Beside those things that are without,
... on LBN television network
that which cometh upon me daily, the care
of all the churches.
“Who is weak, and I am not weak? who Sky Angel Satellite
is offended, and I burn not? Channel 9716
“If I must needs glory, I will glory of the
things which concern mine inﬁrmities” (II
Cor. 11:23-30). 4:00 P.M. Eastern
Through it all, he taught the imminent 3:00 P.M. Central
return of Christ. He also taught the fall and
rising again of Israel:
“I say then, Have they stumbled that they
should fall? God forbid: but rather through
their fall salvation is come unto the Gen-
tiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.
“Now if the fall of them be the riches
of the world, and the diminishing of them
the riches of the Gentiles; how much more
“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch
as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify
Watch Prophecy in the News anytime on
“If by any means I may provoke to emu-
lation them which are my ﬂesh, and might
save some of them.
“For if the casting away of them be the
reconciling of the world, what shall the re-
ceiving of them be, but life from the dead?”
The Jews are back, and a few Chris-
tians have proven themselves faithful and
friendly in support of those prophesied to
rise and become head of the nations. Only
the Lord knew that for eighteen centuries,
they would languish in the capitals of the
world. Even there, they proved themselves Go to www.apple.com and
to be a uniquely gifted people. During those download a free iTunes play-
years, they were being tested. er for your computer. Then go
The Gentiles too, were being tested, as to www.prophecyinthenews.
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called out as “a people for his name”
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we, like the Apostles, can look for His subscribe to the Prophecy in
imminent return! The Lord still delights in the News weekly video pod-
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of the ﬁrst century, we have the perspective our TV programs on your hard
of time, and the knowledge that He is near, drive and/or a Video iPod.
even at the door.
Now we know that it is out of love that
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With him, there is no delay, but rather, an
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extended invitation to receive the gift of It’s available - 24/7.
eternal life. His coming is imminent. u
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