The English Bible Ahead of The News!
The World Today was Foreseen 400 Years Ago.
February 25, 2011 - Audio, 7.00 MIN
(Links at bottom of page to download free viewers.)
Hello again! This is Paul Billington bringing you another edition of the Bible in the News - but with this difference: going back to the time of King James the 1st and the publication of the 1611 version, that world looked very different to the one we see today. If we look at a historical map of that time we see Europe and the Middle East dominated by two powers - in Central Europe there was the Germanic Holy Roman Empire, and in South East Europe there was the Turkish Ottoman Empire which ruled over the Middle East and what is now known as the Arab world.
In England, and as James 1st came to the throne there was great interest in the Bible. It was a time of religious controversy involving Roman Catholics, the Church of England and the Puritans. The King ordered a new translation in hopes of settling disputes and uniting his kingdom - but with the open Bible, even the new authorized Bible, that was not going to happen. Many Bible students of that time saw in the prophecies a clear reference to the apostate Catholic Church of Rome, and further away from home, the Holy Roman Empire (Austria and Germany) as well as the infidel Moslem power of the Ottoman Turks.
One such student who was contemporary with King James was Joseph Mede (born 1586 and died 1638). James reigned from 1603 to 1625, so Mede would have been about 18 years old when James ordered the new translation, and 25 years old when the King James version was published in 1611. Joseph Mede published his "Key to the Revelation" in Latin in 1627. It was translated into English in 1643 after both James and Mede had passed off the scene. But Mede's exposition of the Revelation had a major influence on prophetical writing for many years afterwards. And it is not difficult to see why. It was ordered to be printed by Parliament as follows (though the archaic language is a little difficult to follow):
Commons House 1641
I Have according to the Order of the Committee for Printing, &c. read over M. More his Translation of M. Mede his Book on the Revelation, and find it to be exactly translated, and that the book itself gives much light for the understanding of many obscure passages in that sweet and comfortable Prophecy... he therein delivers his judgement with such modesty, and moderation, that I think the printing of it will not be perilous: and therefore conceive that the publishing of this translation is a good work, and may with God's blessing, yield much comfort to many.
. Arthur Jackson.
It is Ordered by the Committee of the Commons House of Parliament concerning Printing, this eighteenth day of April 1642. That the Book entitled the Key of the Revelation, &c. be printed.
So what did Joseph Mede have to say in his Key to the Revelation?
He understood the Beast of the Apocalypse as a symbolic reference to the Germanic Holy Roman Empire, and in bringing together the prophecy of Daniel with that of the Revelation he says:
"For so, long ago, it was foretold to Daniel, that the fourth Beast being slain, the king of the saints should rule through the whole world (c. 7.) and withall, that glorious promise of restoring Israel, should be fulfilled (chap. 12. ) But that this Kingdom is it which he called the finishing of the mystery of God, that acclamation subjoined to the same Trumpet afterward sounding, suffereth us not to doubt: the Kingdoms of this world are become our Lords and his Christs, and he shall reign for evermore: and a wonder it is, that there should be found any one who should understand it otherwise."
So the Holy Roman Beast empire was to be "slain," and Israel was to be restored. But he does not end his explanation there. He continues later in his work to say this:
"The Sixth Vial shall be poured out upon that great river Euphrates, that being dried up, a passage may be prepared for new enemies of the Beast to come from the East; that is, for the Israelites to be wonderfully converted to the pure faith and worship of Christ, and now to have conferred upon them the kingdom promised so many ages since. Whom the worshippers of the Beast, haply, shall esteem for the army of their imaginary Antichrist to arise form among the Jews, God so revenging the obstinacy of their error:"
The symbolic Euphrates he saw as the Turkish Ottoman Empire, through which territory it ran.
When we look at this today and realize how the world has changed over the past 400 years; that the Holy Roman Beast no longer exists as such, that the Ottoman Empire has evaporated, and that the nation of Israel is back in their ancient Land, we must surely agree that Mr. Joseph Mede was not far wrong in his expectations.
Today the story is winding down. That Roman Beast in its final European phase, and the Euphrates in its crumbling Arab world will soon be gone for ever, for says Revelation 11:15,
"And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever."
This material and much more will appear (God willing) in ANOTHER SPECIAL ISSUE OF THE BIBLE MAGAZINE in April, and will again be an enlarged issue of 44 pages looking at the background, influence and impact of that amazing Book of Books.
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