An interesting experience has come to us in our English effort for the general public here in Colombo, through presenting a series of studies on the book of Revelation. This is the first time that I have used a systematic study of this book as a drawing card in an evangelistic effort. All the essential doctrines we are commissioned to teach appear here in a beautiful and attractive setting. The attempt has been so satisfactory that I venture this brief report and suggestion to my fellow evangelists.
Such a series gives us the opportunity to defend that school of interpretation of prophecy adopted by the Reformers which broke the shackles that bound the minds of men during the Dark Ages. Dean Alford, in his "Notes," gives three schools of interpretation of prophecy,—the "prmterit," the "historical," and the "futurist." He says that the first and the last were inventions of Jesuit priests to parry the deadly blow inflicted on the Papacy by the "historical" school.
This "futurist" school of interpretation has not only been espoused by minor sects which swarm over the earth, seeking to fill the world with their doctrine, but has become quite popular with many expositors of prophecy among the leading churches. On the contrary, our systematic study of Revelation aligns us with the Reformers, and places us on vantage ground as defenders of the "old paths."
There is also a desire on the part of many to know more of what Jesus taught after His resurrection. In this book we have the special, personal message of our risen Lord, sent after He had taken His seat "on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens."
In my own study of this book heretofore, my mind has too often been so filled with "the things that shall be hereafter," that I have overlooked the statement of our Lord which bade John to write of "the things which are." In the light of this book, heaven and the heavenly sanctuary become the only enduring reality; all else will pass away. Paul exclaimed: "We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." 2 Cor. 4:18. And true it is! The heavenly sanctuary, the power emanating therefrom, and the activities centering therein, are in the Book of Revelation made of greater importance than all else in the universe. It is indeed "the revelation of Jesus Christ."
In these studies there has come to us a new setting for all our doctrines, in which the heavenly sanctuary dominates the situation. This is especially true in the three great visions of the seven churches, the seven seals, and the seven trumpets. Great truths concerning the heavenly sanctuary and its service introduce each of these visions. Its glory illumines the subject matter until the truths revealed glow and scintillate with the light from heaven. Along these lines, new vistas are being opened for us as we study the book of Revelation. Let us as ministers thank God for the wonderful revelation He has made concerning the heavenly sanctuary and its activities.