Some people may wonder why a book should mix the subjects of prophecy and Church history together. After all, prophecy must concern the future – mustn’t it? Most folk would agree that some Old Testament prophecies may have been fulfilled already but this book is an exposition of The Book of Revelation, surely this all yet to come!?
I can only cite my own personal experience in this, but as a young Christian, and in fact a number of years into my Christian walk, the only mention I ever heard, or read, concerning ‘Revelation’ was that it all takes place in a seven-year period yet to commence. This was frequently coupled with a statement of ardent belief that such a period must be about to start any moment now! It is not at all my desire to argue about such things, but I would like to share with you how blest and encouraged spiritually I was when I heard some tapes on Church history, by Edgar Parkyns. It was the first time that I ever heard ministry on the subject of eschatology (views of the end times, particularly interpretations of the Book of Revelation), which utterly warmed my heart as opposed to just stimulating my mind a little.
Viewing the Book of Revelation in the light of Church history is known as a historical/historicist’s interpretation. Do not think that this implies that ‘all has been fulfilled’, such is most definitely not the case. There is a view that essentially says that it is all done and dusted way back in the first century – this is known as Preterism. One much more common view held today is that most of the events contained in the Book of Revelation are principally ‘yet to come’, in a final seven-year period – this is known (among other variations) as Futurism. The view of this author is that these views actually hold some things in common believe it or not. One element they are said to hold in common is their origin and reason for being put forward in the first place, but you’ll have to read the book to learn a little more about that. The other common ground they hold in a way is that the Book of Revelation essentially does not concern the most of the Church era. If it is all long done, or, if it is primarily only about a future period of time, then the 2000 years approximately of Church history in between is not relevant to this ultimate book of prophecy. Edgar makes his point both clearly and poetically saying (I quote from memory): “Revelation is a love letter to the Church (Jesus’ bride), it is to The Church, for The Church, concerning The Church.”
Because of the nature of Edgar’s ministry and his historicist’s outlook, it means that even if you didn’t accept this particular interpretation you will still find within the pages of this book a wealth of information presented with spiritually poignant insight regarding the great subject of God’s Church. If you are interested in some straight to the point overviews of movements and developments of the Church, including some useful summaries of doctrines and heresies, this book would still prove to be of great value to you. Even if you are a convinced Futurist or Preterist or whatever, I think that you would still find much interesting revelation contained within its pages.
As a book on Church history, it is simple, outlining only key events. As a book on prophecy it is equally simple in that it concentrates on an overall framework rather than getting bogged in the minutiae of technical arguments. Unlike other material I have read on the topic of eschatology this book is essentially life giving and ultimately positive in outlook. It is not very widely available, at last check there were some used copies being sold on Amazon.
Related Reading ~ Article: The Wagon Train [An allegory] – excerpt from His Waiting Bride