Posts Tagged ‘millennium’

Exposition on Revelation, by Wilhelmus à Brakel

July 13, 2009

From his book “The Reasonable Service”

Wilhelmus a Brakel, died in 1711, wrote a big part on the Revelation in his by the reformed church of the Netherlands common known work “The Reasonable Service”. (De Redelijke Godsdienst) He was a Dutch pastor in Rotterdam

Wilhelmus à Brakel (1635-1711)

Wilhelmus à Brakel (1635-1711)

and one of his beauties is that he expected a national repentance and return of the Jews to their promised land Israel. While Palestine at that time still was a dessert under reign of the Ottomans, he just read Roman 11 as what it states. He was not alone, dr. M van Campen wrote an interesting (Dutch) dissertation on (positive) opinions on the Jews by reformed theologians of the 17th and 18th century: “Gans Israel” (whole Israel). And I can’t omit to say that at the same time many English Puritans had very good insights on the prophecies on Israel. I think they had it even more than the Dutch theologians. Sadly enough there wasn’t paid attention to it by the church. Millennianism wasn’t accepted by the mainstream. Even in this very day many (pastors) are afraid of being tagged as a millennialist. Brakel was a historical millennialist though. He was very clear in his expectation of a peaceful dynasty of the community of Christ, for a time of 1000 years. This was very diminished in the church. And how sadly is this: the english translator Bartel Elshout of The Reasonable Service has omitted this beautiful exposition of hundreds of pages on Revelation. So (I think) we have it only in Dutch. You can find a free copy of the missing section (Deel III) in two parts here and here.

I’ll give a few points of the last chapters of his book concerning the Revelation.

First he describes the common sights and events John saw.

Then he’s arguing that the 7 letters aren’t 7 eras and aren’t prophetical. The author is the Messiah and the purpose is to teach the communities.

After that, he comes to the part of the prophecy (the revelation of Yeshua) which describes the future. This main part exists of the three images which are: the seals, the trumpets and the bowls as three sequential periods:

  1. The church (community of Christ) under the heathen Caesars +- until 325 CE.
  2. The church under the antichrist (the Pope/might of for a period of 1260 years.
  3. The church in its free state, first struggling under the 7 bowls and finally rules with Christ.

Interesting is his explanation of the 5th and the 6th bowl of the wrath of G-d.

– By the fifth he expected the fall of the beast i.e. the might of the (Catholic) church. This happened with the Enlightenment and the French Revolution.

– By the sixth he expected a fall of the great Ottoman empire. He said it has to happen for enabling the Jews to return to their promised land. And so it happened. In 1870 the Ottoman empire was drawn back to their current borders. And through very difficult times though, the state of Israel was established in 1948.

Brakel was very sure about the coming repentance of the Jews and the return to their land. He said: I don’t know what will happen first, repentance or returning. But both will happen. And it will cause, he said, repentance of “kings and people around Israel”. That would be the beginning of the time (millennium) of the what he called: “glorious state of the Church”. The Church written with a capital was meant to be the community of true believers at that time, the mystical body of God. (Ef.4) It would be a time when Yeshua is King, honored and obeyed by all the nations.

If you want to get more of this, I recommend to read The Rise and Fall of Papacy by Robert Fleming. For example, he predicted the decline of the influence of the Roman church about 100 year prior to the events. He stated it would start in 1794 which correlates with the French Revolution and it would be completed by around 1848 which was the year that the papacy was forced to leave Rome. And very interesting are the works of the great sir Isaac Newton. He spend most of his life not on physics, but on theology. Recently his manuscripts are available at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem under the name Newton’s secrets. And at The Newton Project, were you can find his “Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel, and the Apocalypse of St. John” e.g.