W. W. Fereday.
"Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but He reveals His secrets to His servants the Prophets." — Amos 3:7.
"Tell them therefore, thus says the Lord God, 'The days are at hand and the effect of every vision.'" — Ezek. 12:23.
"I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify to you these things in the Churches." — Rev. 22:16.
"Blessed is he that reads, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things that are written therein, for the time is at hand." — Rev. 1:3.
"The vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak and not lie; though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry." — Hab. 2:3.
"We have something more abidingly established — the prophetic word — to which ye do well to take heed in your hearts, as to a light that shines in a dark place until the day dawn and the day star arise." — 2 Peter 1:19.
The Book of the Revelation.
Rev. 1 — The Preface.
Rev. 2, 3. — Epistles to seven of the then existing churches of Asia.
Rev. 4, 5. — The circumstances in which the Revelation was given to John, and the future glory and power of the risen saints for service.
N.B. — From Rev. 6 and onward all is future, and is divided into two parts.
Part 1 comprises Rev. 6 — Rev. 19:10: concerning events to take place in this Dispensation before the Lord comes.
Part 2, Rev. 19:11, — Rev. 22 — Events at and after the coming of the Lord.
Rev. 6. — is an outline of the whole of part 1.
Rev. 8-9. — form one vision; and relate to chastisements to come on the Jews in Jerusalem.
Rev. 10. — Preface to Rev. 9, 11, 13, which are separate narratives of events taking place during the same evil period.
Rev. 11. God acting, in sending two witnesses to preach - for the last 1260 days of this Dispensation.
Rev. 12. Satan acting, in expelling true Christianity from the ten kingdoms during that period.
Rev. 13. — ANTICHRIST acting in supreme power and glory, governing the ten kingdoms at that time.
Rev. 14. — A vision by itself; from v. 6, a consecutive succession of events just before the Lord comes.
Rev. 15, 16. One vision. Judgments to be sent on the Jews and extending to the ten nations.
Rev. 17. — BABYLON viewed morally, or "ANTICHRISTIANISM," showing that Antichrist at first sustains, but afterwards destroys the system which will give to Babylon its characteristic distinctness.
Rev. 18 — BABYLON viewed materially; its greatness and its doom; and, as in Rev. 17, the announcement of its destruction is given before the description of that which is to be destroyed is given.
The Personal Coming of the Lord.
Rev. 19:11-21:8. — Consecutive events from the Lord's coming, up to the creation of the New Heavens and the New Earth.
Rev. 21:9-22:5. — Retraces, and gives description of the Millennial City — the New Jerusalem — the home of the risen saints.
Rev. 22:6-21. — Precepts suitable to the end.
It is very important in reading the Word of God, to consider the particular Dispensation which this or that portion refers; to know what period in the Dispensation we come under; the character of the hour in which we are living and the peculiar features which apply to us in the Scriptures now.
Was there not an exceeding difference in the condition of Israel under David and the days of ruin when Jeremiah wrote his Lamentations? And has there not been the same experience in the history of the Church? So is it not needful that we should have a due sense of all the ruin and failure that have come in and a just estimate of the character of the present practical condition of the Church of God ?
The whole period of the present Dispensation is in Scripture marked by the appellation "the evil day," and we can see it must be so, from the circumstance of the Lord Jesus being withdrawn from the earth by the distinct act of God in judgment and seated on His Father's throne; not as yet on His own.
In the early Pentecostal days the Church presented a beautiful picture, but that has long since passed away! When Paul began his ministry, he saw the unity of the Churches he had planted among the Gentiles looking so fair for a little moment. Then this also passed away! He never saw their failure, tho' taught to know corruption would come in, whereas John had to outlive them all and to see the setting in of the tide of iniquity that was to mark the history of the Church increasingly until the Lord should return; and to hear testimony against the evil that would render "judgment" on them needful, while yet they were recognised as in a Church position.
We, on the contrary, are drawing near to the very maturity of that evil which was then becoming manifest. We are on the eve of the latter days. The standing of the Church has long been forfeited, so we have not to testify against evil COMING INTO the Church as he had, but to bear testimony to the entire ruin IT HAS BECOME, yet still to hold fast the true position from which it has fallen "till He come;" expecting tribulation, but not being moved by afflictions, knowing we are appointed "hereunto."