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DEDICATED, (BY KIND PERMISSION),
HIS EMINENCE, FRANCIS, CARDINAL BOURNE,
ARCHBISHOP OF WESTMINSTER
PREFACE TO SECOND EDITION
THIS edition of “The Revelation of Jesus Christ” completes my work in connection with the Apocalypse. It draws attention to the origin of the Book in the prophecies of Daniel and of our Lord concerning the Kingdom. It gives additional proofs of the early date of the Book, before the fall of Jerusalem. It draws attention to the fact that learned men who accept a later date, and believe that the Book is a revelation, are compelled to hold that it was written at different times and by different authors. Further evidence is supplied, showing that the letters to the Seven Churches of Asia were intended for the seven ages of the Kingdom, and not for the local Churches. It is shown that logically minded men who accept the letters as they are addressed, are constrained to hold that the Book was written at different dates by different authors. The Domitian date and the literal interpretation of the letters involve an attack on the authority of the Book, like that of Dionysius of Alexandria, whose argument was that the Book was not written by John the son of Zebedee and that, therefore, it was not canonical (see p. 30). Some notes are furnished as to the unreliability of S. Irenaeus as an historical witness. Nero's place in the Revelation of the Kingdom as the Destroyer of Daniel, the Antichrist of the Jews, is pointed out. A translation of the Greek Text printed in these pages is supplied, and compared with the Douay-Rheims version of the Latin Vulgate. A number of illustrations are introduced to enable the reader to follow the historic symbolism of Revelation.
The Book of Revelation is in a very different position in the twentieth century, from that which it was in in the first century. In the first century its predictions were very vaguely discerned, even by the initiated, as they were for the most part unfulfilled. Now through the constant searchings of many minds in many centuries we know the meaning of the Jewish theme, the Roman theme, and the millennium. We know that the predictions contained in those themes have been fulfilled. The authority of the Book, as a revelation, stands proved by the test of time.
But the Book is something more than a revelation. It is a
vib PREFACE TO SECOND EDITION
mine of Christian Doctrine dating back, by all agreement, to a time anterior to the fourth Gospel; and by its own showing to some time before the fall of Jerusalem in the year 70 A.D.
It contains, for example, the greater part of the Apostles Creed. “I believe in God the Father,” ii. 27, iii. 5; “Almighty,” i. 8, iv. 8, xv. 31, xvi. 7, 14, xix. 6, xxi. 22 ; “Creator of heaven and earth,” iv. II, x. 6, xiv. 7; “and in Jesus Christ,” i. 1, v. 9; “His only Son,” ii. 27, iii. 5; our Lord, xxii. 21 ; (conceived by) “the Holy Ghost,” ii. 7, 17, 29, iii. 13, 22, xiv. 13, xxii. 17; “born of the Virgin,” xii. 8; “suffered, was crucified, dead and buried,” i. 5, 7, 18, iii. 21, v. 6, 9, 12; “Hell,” i. 18; “He rose again from the dead,” i. 18; He ascended into heaven, xii. 5; “sitteth at the right hand of God the Father,” iii. 21, xii. 5, v. 6, 13, vii. Io, 17, xxii. 1, 3; “from whence he shall come to judge the living and the dead,” i. 4, 7, 18, ii. 7, 20, 23, iii. 5, 12, 21, xxii. I2; “I believe in the Holy Ghost,” ii. 7, 17, 29, iii. 13, 22, xiv. 13, xxii. 17 ; “the holy Catholic Church " (the Kingdom), i. 6, 9, xi. 15, xii. Io, (the woman), xii. 1, 2, 14, 15, 16, 17, (the Bride) xix. 7, 8, 9, (triumphant) xxi. 2, 3, 9, 10, 14; “the communion of Saints,” v. 8, 9, Io, II, vi. Io, viii. 4, xi. 16, 17, xii. Io, xvii. I, xviii. 4, xix. 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, Io, xx. 4; “the forgiveness of sins,” ii. 5, 16, 21, iii. 3, 19, ix. 20, 2I, xvi. 9, II; “the resurrection of the body,” iv. 4, vi. II, vii. 9, 14, 15, 16, iii. 5, 12, 2I, xi. 7, Io, II, 16, xx. 5, 6, 12, 13, xxii. 14; “life everlasting,” i. 6, v. 13, xi. 15, XIV. II, XX. IO, XX11. 5.
In addition we have the fear of God, the seductions of Satan, the value of good works, the rewards of heaven, the punishments of hell, and other doctrines clearly stated.
The assault which is made by freethinkers on Christianity in our own time is mainly historical. They reject the Church and the supernatural as wanting in an historical basis. The great characteristic of the Book of Revelation is its supernatural insight into the future, “the things which must be done hereafter,” i. 19. Its great lesson is the final triumph of the Church.